Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Nokia Lumia 710: my personal impressions

I’ve always been fascinated by the mobility computing from a consumer perspective. My passion goes back to the 90’s when I owned 2 PockePCs (a Compaq and a Casio Cassiopeia with Windows CE 2.11), a Palm Pre 2, A Psion Revo (best smartphone keyboard ever), several Windows Mobile Phones and an Android device.

I have to be frank, when I first looked @ the first Windows Phone model, I was not that impressed. The metro style was kind of strange, considering where the other devices (iOS, Android, WebOS) where heading to. But when I started to use it, I realized the full potential. And I became addicted…

I got this beautiful present for Christmas (probably my family is VERY aware of my addiction :)), which was a Nokia Lumia 800. Superb phone, stunning display, lots of memory. But it doesn’t fit well.

What I mean is that I’m not a big fan of big phones (the Samsung Galaxy Note is like a giant phone to me, it’s not even a phone!). Technology is trying to “micro-do” everything since the Motorola 8700 and we’re going back to where we were before. Even though I see the value of them, I just don’t like to idea to carry a huge phone in my pocket. So my choice went to the Nokia Lumia 710.

I got the device yesterday and the price is at least a half of the normal Smartphone prizes, no matter which OS you like. Which is a good start…

When you lift the device for the first time, it’s seems like you’re handling an empty case, it’s just super lightweight. The form factor, something some people underestimate, it’s great. It perfectly fits in your hand. The USB connector is not in an awkward position like the Lumia 800. And it has buttons, instead of touch ones, which is great for a guy like me who was used to like the old IBM keyboards doing a lot of noise when you were typing.

Of course it lacks something: memory is only 8GB, the display is not even comparable with the Lumia 800 (TFT VS AMOLED, but the Gorilla Glass is good to have), the battery is only that powerful (although it’s removable, which is a good thing) and the camera is 5MP compared to the 810’s 8MP (which is ok for me. I don’t pretend to take stunning pictures from a phone).

You can have a look at this comparison I found (but there are plenty more out there):


If you’re still undecided, take a look at Tom’s Hardware Nokia Lumia 710 review.

I finally found the device I was looking for and I have no plans in changing it for anything. It reminds me, in a way, the HTC Mozart, one of the first Windows Phone I had, which was a great phone.

So overall I’m very satisfied with this purchase (at least this one I won’t regret it:)) and, if you want to see some pictures or have more info about my experience, just let me know in the comments box and I’ll definitely share them here.

And lastly, YOU, what Windows Phone do you have or you’re planning to buy? :)

Twitter name change with capital letters

I joined Twitter on April-May 2007 (I don’t remember exactly), when people thought that Twitter was just a mere “what am I doing” tool. Then I kept my account but I decided to use Jaiku which had, on that time, geo-location already. Jaiku “lost” the micro-blogging battle (and Google was not that happy about that as it bought Jaiku..).

Then Twitter changed, and people realized how powerful this tool can be. But I don’t want to talk about that in details (maybe in another post) but I want to focus on an issue that is still present.

On that time I used the nick Alead (with A capital letter). After starting to re-use it, I decided to change the name (you can easily do so by going to “Settings –> Profile –> Username), in line with the trends, to alead.

I realized, year over year, that sometimes I couldn’t see my tweets’ re-tweets made by other users.

The reason? some client don’t support the new re-tweet feature. Or, I should say, they have that feature but for some reasons they see my username as 2 different ones. So basically, if you re-tweet in the old style using a phone client, everything is fine (and if you use TweetDeck or Metro Twit you can see them in the Mentions column). But If you re-tweet in the new way, chances are you won’t be able to see them (it doesn’t happen all the time, it seems to be random).

Hootsuite and Rowi, for example, do not allow you to see the re-tweets made in this way. And there are probably other twitter clients that don’t allow to do that.

So this is just to make you aware of this, and maybe push the developers to implement it better…

One last tip: if you are new to twitter, be sure to choose a very “simple and short” username: remember there are only 140 characters available and you need to let others add their own comments…:)

The Airlines’ Affair

I just got to Bucharest for a business trip, 3 days’ meetings with Microsoft Romania to talk about the Communities and the Microsoft MVPs. As I’ll probably talk about that on another post, I just wanted to drop a few lines about my recent flying experience and the experience overall.

I never booked a flight with Alitalia (part of the SkyTeam) primarily because of the strikes. But, as it seems everything’s cooling down, I decided to do so (and not only for that, I could fly through Linate :)).

My experience was pretty good and I had to change my mind on that.

The online checkin was easy and more complete compared to some other airlines. I could print the boarding pass and also ask the system to send me a text message and an even an email as a valid boarding pass. In there, I could also pick more comfortable seats for just 20 euros more. And this is definitely a good service.

Even the flight was a 2 hours one, there were monitors for each seat. There were documentaries, trip details and cartoons. Not that much but what would you expect for a short flight like that?

I also know that pilots are very good. Not that the others from other Airlines are not, but I have a friend who works there and tells me all the good stories around that.

When it was the time to land, it was crazy windy and people were really scared. But the landing was perfect (and a run of applause to the captain !).

So overall my experience (and I would like highlight that: it’s just my personal experience) was very good. I’ll definitely get more Alitalia flights in the future…

I also remember some time ago I posted about a website reviewing all the Airlines in the World (including giving Awards). In Europe, Lufthansa is still number one (and my favorite one as well) and there’s gonna be the 2011 Awards that will take place in Paris @ the end of June.


During these years, and thanks to my job, I had the pleasure to fly with different airlines so here is my Top 5 personal ranking (sorry if there are not many APGC nor LATAM Airlines but I had very few trips there):

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Emirates
  3. Lufthansa
  4. Czech Airlines
  5. MALEV Hungarian Airlines

Swiss and SAS were great in the past but I never had the chance to “test” them anymore…

One more thing to mention regarding the US Airlines: I would say that, overall, they are not comparable to the rest of the World’s Airlines in terms of service offering, comfort and entertainment. And this is probably because people in the US tend to get a flight in the same way as we get a bus :)

Categories: Amenities, Reviews, Travels

Gmail cooler than Hotmail ?

During one candidate review and another (:)), I thought about writing a post about e-mail messaging offering. And this is something I’m thinking about for several days.

I wanted to compare the 2 services from a higher perspective (but you can find a detailed one in the link provided below). I selected Hotmail and Gmail as they are the most used e-mail services abroad (so please bear with me Yahoo and AIM users :)).

So the question on my mind was: why users tend to adopt a Gmail account?

There are a number of features we need to keep in mind.

Free space: Gmail now offers around 8 GB available space while Hotmail offered 5 GB, than 25 GB and now it’s almost unlimited (it detects if you need more space, and then it is automatically increased).

Filtering: they are both doing a great job on filtering messages

Spam: both are good in terms of junk emails. Someone would prefer one service or another but the Junk filters are both pretty good

Forwarding: with Hotmail you can send messages from different accounts (“on behalf of”) like Gmail, AOL Mail and Yahoo! Mail. Same as Gmail.

Advertisement: they both have it (on the web)

Security: they both use https encryption

Privacy: well, Google automatically scans e-mails to add context-sensitive advertisements to them. It seems your e-mails not read by a human but a bot will scan them to send ad-hoc advertisements. Also, senders’ emails are scanned too so (and this is one thing that really concerns me), if you have sensitive data to send to your customers, are you sure these e-mails are not really read by someone? What if you work for a Company which is a Google’s Competitor on a particular are? Hotmail uses Country-based advertisement so Microsoft does not need to scan your email messages. And a question: does Gmail “owns” the content you have in your Gmail account? That’s a question for you guys !

Search: Gmail does probably a better job in searching through your folders and emails as it uses the Google search engine (of course if you don’t access your emails through a client).

Web interface: Generally speaking, the Gmail web interface is thin and fast. Hotmail contains more advertisements.

Mobility: both services are accessible via a mobile phone easily. Of course if you have a Windows Phone 7, Hotmail works best. Same as you have an Android phone and a Gmail account (you have a dedicated application for that).

Other services: of course both of them try to drive their own additional services. Calendars, Contacts, SkyDrive, Windows Live Messenger, Office Web Apps, Google Buzz, Google Docs….you name it !)

Attachments: both are good now in terms of sending heavy files

There are probably other features I’m missing here but that’s ok to have an overview.

So, in the end, who wins? I think nobody wins and both are winners. So how come Gmail is perceived as cooler than Hotmail? Hence the reason why you tend to adopt one service for another. Does it depend to your needs? I don’t think so. Does it depend on space or spam filtering or mobility access? Not at all, I’d say.

The reason, IMHO, is brand awareness. Again, Google does a better job in branding its own services. Some of them are better than Microsoft’s ones, some of them are not. It’s the way in which it positions itself in the market. As someone said on Twitter: “#Microsoft writes software to sell software, #Apple writes software to sell hardware, #Google writes software to sell users”. This is no secret and an absolutely true statement: it corroborates what I’m saying here.

+ the power of the Long Tail. If you link branding (remember, Google is an Internet Company) with the Power of Mouth, than your chances of success are enormously higher. People talking about this particular feature or service to other people, online and offline, is the secret of success.

So, in the end, is Gmail cooler than Hotmail ? It seems so. And if you think about it, it’s in your head already. You don’t have to scroll down all the functionalities to see which service is best. It seems it’s already a fact (but it’s not, if you drill down into details). And this has been “caused”, believe it or not, by the Long Tail,  the Power of Mouth, together with a good Branding Awareness.

So, to go Off Topic for a while and apply this to other stuff: you can brand anything. I believe a lot of people in the IT Industry think marketing or digital marketing or whatever you wanna call it is just fluffy/it’s not important. But they’re wrong. If you do it wisely and effectively, it’s the most powerful thing you can do.

Even for yourself (go have a look to this book and read it if you’re interested in this…)

Link to: How Does the New Hotmail Stack Up to Gmail?

My impressions on the Palm Pre 2

If you know me, you should know that I’m very addicted to Smartphones in general.

I always dreamt, several years ago, of a device that could do a lot of things: an all-in-one device. And now we have reached that. Camera, Internet, one cable for every device, etc.

As I’m getting my brand new Windows Phone 7 (the Company will provide me one) I bought, as a personal phone, a Palm Pre 2.

I’ve always been a big fan of Palm back in the days.


I have to say it’s perfect for personal use. It’s more like a phone than a PDA but it does almost all I need to do. Of course it’s missing a lot of features but let me get into details.

First and foremost, it is not available in all the Countries worldwide. Let’s put it the other way around: it’s only available in 4 Countries Smile (USA, Canada, UK and France at the moment).

That implies that the Catalog (Marketplace) has a small amount of applications and no paid apps are available. I see Palm (HP/Palm) is doing a pretty bad job in promoting the device. Probably after the CES there will be some announcements around new devices and web OS updates (at least there are the rumors that I’ve seen on twitter).

So let’s get into some details (I’ll skip the specs part but you can find them here):

UI/Notifications: lovely ! I really love it, you open applications and keep them opened while you scroll horizontally to move from one app to another. You can also combine 2 apps together so you can better organize your activities. The Palm also has a good notification system that goes below the ”main page”.

Keyboard: I love it. It’s not perfect (I do remember the BEST keyboard I’ve ever had !) as the buttons are very small but you can write e-mails (I mean, even long e-mails). For me it’s pretty important to have the possibility to write e-mails. I know new devices let you do that, but I’m probably too old school to use the screen Smile.

Syncing: It works. It lets you sync Facebook/LinkedIn and your Outlook/Exchange account and all the contacts are linked into a single one. If I compare it with Android, it’s a stellar device in this regard! Android was messing everything up, duplicating contacts and even trying to find the same contact in a different account (it gives you suggestions, but then it kept on doing it). Also, if you try the new HTC Desire Z, with the HTC Sense new UI interface, though graphically nice, it’s even worse. It kept on telling to link contacts but it never happened, causing to have a notification every once in a while (but I did that, I lynched those ones, did I ???!!!!).

Calendar: good. You can click on the calendar and add an appointment right away. The issue is that you can’t create meeting requests (although the device has access to the Outlook GAL so that’s strange).

Camera: yes, it’s nice but you can’t modify parameters and stuff (no options whatsoever). You can’t edit the pictures but you can upload them. Incomplete, I’d say, but does what I need to (geotagging included).

Form Factor: BRILLIANT !! That’s the thing I like most. As I have 2 devices, the second one should be very small but still with the ability to connect with your personal and professional stuff

Battery: bad, very bad. It consumes like the biggest devices on market and that is kind of strange. I know Palm is good in selling accessories so I need to buy a bigger one

SMS/MMS: nice (I’m sure some people don’t really care about it) but MMS service doesn’t work as expected. Primarily because you cannot send pictures bigger than 900 KB but you can’t edit your pictures taken from the camera. Nonsense Smile. SMS texting is good and threaded.

Social Networking: You have a lot of stuff but, again, remember your catalog is limited. So one application for tweeting, one (or probably two) for RSS, etc. And then of course you have Foursquare, Facebook, etc…

Internet: small device, small screen, bad Internet experience. Yes, it works but it’s not comparable to, say, HTC HD 7 or the HTC Desire. The experience with a Windows Phone 7 device in this regard is waaaaaaaay better. But it’s ok.

If you want more applications, I would suggest you to install the Preware, which contains beta apps and other applications. You’ll get some unstable apps but at least you have more choice.

Overall I’m very satisfied with the device as a secondary phone. It does what I need to and it’s small. I wanted to do a more comprehensive report but I don’t have much time so hope you’ll find useful anyway ! Smile

P.S: @Palm (or HP), you gotta do a better job in positioning your brand. It’s not like the old days, competition now is pretty tough (look the below nice parody for more info Winking smile):


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Categories: Amenities, Mobility, Reviews

Palm Treo 750v VS Palm Treo Pro

As I wrote in my last post,

I would like to dig into this new Palm Treo Pro that I recently bought. What I would like to do, as I’ve been a Treo 750v user for quite a long time, is a comparison between the two models (using Windows Mobile 6 in the first one and Windows Mobile 6.1 in the latest one).

Treo 750v Treo Pro

Some Palm Treo 750v Highlights (specs):

– Very ergonomic hardware

– Hardware buttons easy to use (for e-mails, text messages, etc) that you really forget you have a touch screen

– Windows Mobile 6 customized by Palm

And some Lowlights:

– Battery life (1200 mAh)

– Sync only Cable

– 300 MHz Processor

– Missing internal GPS and Wi-FI

– No switch-off button (just standing-by)

– Some issues with Active Sync through Exchange Server

– Audio and calls issues

Some Palm Treo Pro Highlights (specs):

– Battery life (1500 mAh)


– 400 MHz Processor

– More memory (256 + 128 MB Ram) available

– microSDHC (up to 32 GB)

– Windows Mobile 6.1 customized by Palm

– micro-USB connector

And some Lowlights:

– Stylish but not ergonomic (I prefer the US-only Palm Treo 800w)

– Reset button is under the battery cover (you have to slip that out to click that button)

– Keyboard is not that usable as the Palm Treo 750v (too-close buttons)

– No switch-off button (even if the rumors said otherwise)

That said, I’m very satisfied with this new device as it has all the stuff that I’m in need of (well, even more :))

Link to: Treo Pro Briefly Unveiled – Treonauts


Categories: Hardware, Mobility, Reviews