Archive for May 2009

Review: HTC Magic

HTC is really doing a good job in designing great phones. After the amazing Diamond 2, HTC bring us another great phone, HTC Magic. The 2nd Android phone in the world. The first Android running cupcake and without a keyboard.

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The HTC Magic comes in 2 colours, Black and White. I kinda like the white version (and luckily my review unit is white too). I saw the black version during the launch event and it is quite a finger print magnet. Oh well, it’s hard to find good looking phone that doesn’t attracts fingerprints nowadays. The HTC Magic has a 3.2 inch touch screen, 116g and 11.3 x 5.556 x 1.365 cm. You get the usual HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.0, WIFI and GPS that you find on all respectable Smartphone. 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus and video recording capabilities. The HTC Magic has 512mb ROM and 288mb RAM which you can expand with a microSD card. And a digital compass which I think all Android phone must have as there are quite a number of Android applications that makes use of this feature.

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One thing that is sadly missing from the HTC Magic is the 3.5mm jack. You plug the supplied earpiece into the ExtUSB instead. It’s the same ExtUSB found on most HTC phones (which we found out that it also supports Mini USB too).

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Like the HTC Dream (or Singtel Dream as they call it in Singapore), the HTC Magic comes with a Trackball for navigation. The good thing about this trackball is that it glows when there is a unread SMS. Cool feature. Trackball is pretty good for navigations and scrolling thru text that you are typing. But I’m not sure what will happen after prolong usage. Hope it doesn’t end up like my mighty mouse which refuse to scroll down after long usage.

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The HTC Magic is designed with a slight curve at the bottom. I find this curve pretty useful when you rotate your phone to landscape. The curve actually provides more grip. Pretty useful when using the camera or some cool Android applications like Wikitude and Sky Map.

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HTC is well known for making changes to the OS that their phones are using. We saw the beautiful job they did with TouchFLO 3D on Windows Mobile. (By the way, did I mention that if you ever going to force me to use a window mobile phone, make sure it comes with TouchFLO 3D?) HTC didn’t make any drastic changes to the Android interface since the user interface is already quite intuitive. The interface is very responsive and scrolling is a breeze. But HTC did improve on the keyboard which I really love. The virtual keyboard on HTC Magic is pretty good. Much better than the original virtual keyboard. I’m able to adapt myself to the HTC Magic’s virtual keyboard very quickly since I’m already quite used to the iPhone’s keyboard. The only difference is that the iPhone is 3.5 inch while the HTC Magic is 3.2 inch. But the smaller screensize didn’t pose much problem for the keyboard. There is predictive text too which auto-corrects your typo. And iPhone users will be happy to learn that pressing SPACE twice on HTC Magic’s virtual keyboard will also give you a fullstop. (I’m not sure if this is the same for default Android keyboard) The dialer has also been improved by HTC.

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HTC also added Microsoft Exchange support on the HTC Magic. Note that Microsoft Exchange support is not by Android itself. So you will not be able to find Microsoft Exchange on other phone by default unless the manufacturer also add Microsoft Exchange. Other apps by HTC includes a PDF viewer and Quick Office.

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Speaking about apps on Android, I was told that Android Market now has more than 3200 apps and still growing. OK, honestly speaking, I was expecting the number to be much higher. I think it’s mainly because there is only 1 Android phone in the market currently and not all countries support Android market that sells apps. Currently, developers can’t sell their apps in Singapore yet. I heard they are working on it and should be ready by end of the year. So in the meantime, you can only download free apps in the Android Market, which offers quite a good selection of applications. I see several localize applications like Foyage, Straits Times, iToday, SG Buses (which isn’t working currently as NextBus is down) and buUuk. Our friends from CodeAndroid also has a RSS widget in the Android market. Let’s wait for more developers to take up Android platform. With the digital compass found on HTC Dream and HTC Magic, developers can do a lot of amazing mobile applications.

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I only played with the HTC Magic for less than a day as it is currently the hottest product by HTC. Everyone is asking for the review unit. And honestly speaking, I’m loving this phone already. I think HTC did a very good job on the HTC Magic. It is certainly going to be on my highly recommended smartphone list.

The HTC Magic will retail at S$1048 without contract. It will be available in early June on all 3 telco in Singapore. Let’s hope that the pricing with contract will be more competitive.

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In short:
All Android phones should be made this way.

Likes:
Microsoft Exchange support
Responsive User interface
Digital Compass

Dislikes:
Price tag
No 3.5mm jack

Many thanks to Gina from The Right Spin and HTC for passing me the review unit before it hits the store in June. And thanks to Zi Yong from CodeAndroid for joining us at our Gear65 recording and showing us all the secrets of Android.

Hmmm….. Maybe I should just do a Mas Selamat and swim over to Malaysia so that I don’t need to return this review unit. (OK, maybe not.)

“Save the Fail Whale” Threadless Twitter Tee

Threadless is having a Twitter Tee contest for everyone to nominate Twitter message for voting. The winning tweet will be printed into T-Shirt and the twitter-er will walk away with $500. Sounds cool huh?

So here is my entry for the Threadless Twitter Tee.

Save the Fail Whale!

Vote for me ok? Thanks. :)

Online letter – MP had no empathy

This kind of things will never see the light without new media. I’m actually pretty surprised that TodayOnline published it online and kept it up for so long. I thought they would have taken it down by now. Anyway, this letter has been reposted on several website by now. So no use taking down too. Now I wonder if this will ever make it to the Mainstream media.

Online Only – MP had no empathy
Letter from LAWRENCE LOH KIAH MUAN
Updated 10:07 PM May 13, 2009

It started with Member of Parliament (MP) Seng Han Thong being set on fire. Then came MP Denise Phua who was threatened by a rag-and-bone man. Recently, MP Cynthia Phua was subjected to a display of violence by a constituent.

Although these incidents are disturbing and a cause for concern, I wonder whether the constituents are solely to be blamed.

Allow me to relate my personal experience.

In February 2001, my older son died in a naval accident whilst serving National Service. In that year, my younger son was due for enlistment. A friend, a very active grassroots member, suggested that I approach my MP, for help in exploring the possibility of getting an exemption for my younger son. I was reluctant but he went ahead to fix an appointment for me at the Meet-The-People Session (MPS). I subsequently relented and he accompanied me there. It was in March 2001. That was my first appearance at a MPS, and it was to be my last.

I waited until midnight before I could meet the MP. Prior to this, he was given the case paper which detailed the objective of the meeting and the circumstances of my case.

When I entered the room, his first remark was “Yes, what can I do for you?”. There was no attempt at offering a word of sympathy or condolence. I then related my situation and said that both my wife and I were very traumatised.

His next remark “What traumatic, after two months, you won’t be traumatic?”. With that, I decided to end the meeting. And with that, my respect for him hit ground zero. I was too stunned and grief-stricken to react. Someone who was less-controlled and less-measured than me could have flown into a rage and become violent.

MPs are elected or appointed to serve the constituents. People who attend the MPS are those who have real problems and need help. In a lot of instances, they are stressed, distressed and troubled. What they need is a caring soul, a helping hand, a gentle voice, and words of hope and encouragement. To dispense these, MPs need good interpersonal skills and a high EQ. Arrogance, a patronizing, chiding and belittling attitude, aloofness and lack of empathy will only trigger acts of rashness and violence. Many of our politicians have a high IQ, some are scholars. However, a high IQ is not the only attribute needed in a political career. A high EQ is equally, if not more critical, especially when it comes to dealing with the constituents.

In my case, I would have felt good if my MP could have been a warm and caring person. If he could have been empathetic, consoling and helpful. All these qualities can only come from the heart, not from the mind.

How many of our MPs can stand up and be counted for this?

This is like a complete failure. What kind of person replies in such a manner? For goodness sake, you are a MP. At least show some sympathy to the poor guy who just lost his son. And his son passed away while serving the nation. Its sad that Singapore don’t really honor people who lost their life while serving the nation the way US did. Sometimes you wonder is it worth sacrificing your life for the nation.

Even if you can’t give the younger son exemption for NS, at least offer to write a letter to Mindef to ask them to consider posting him to a less dangerous vocation. (Which I’m glad that Mindef eventually did that without the help of this useless MP) What kind of Asshole reply with “What traumatic, after two months, you won’t be traumatic?” I’m surprised that Mr Lawrence has such good endurance. I’m sure the MP won’t be this lucky if he said that to other people.

While I do not support violence, I also hope that MP self reflect on their own actions. Why would someone suddenly for no reason turn violent against them? Surely there is a reason behind all these attack. Are they the cause of the attack? Did they do something that angered the person? If they are, perhaps they need to change themselves so that they won’t piss people off. Else perhaps they should consider stepping down as MP. I really don’t wish to see another MP being attacked.

Oh, in case you are wondering, the MP in question here is Mr Chan Soo Sen from Joo Chiat. (The author of the letter wrote in the comments that he is from Joo Chiat. And Joo Chiat only have 1 MP) Why am I not surprised at all? Oh ya, I read about him on EastCoastLife’s blog too.

Palm finally release the release date for Palm Pre

It’s official!!! FINALLY! Palm Pre will be release in US on 6 June 2009. It will cost US$199.99 after $100 mail-rebate and 2-year contract.

No wonder these people are so happy.

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Still no news on when the rest of the world will be getting the Palm Pre yet. But well, at least we are one step closer to seeing it in Singapore. Right? Who knows, maybe it will be here by September 09? *super optimistic mode on*

Dee Kay Dot As Gee Recession Giveaway: $5 Coffee Bean Card

This whole recession thingy is quite scary. Many people lost their jobs. Those who are lucky to keep their jobs either have their pay cut/freeze, take forced unpaid leave or received lesser/no bonuses. (Unless you are from the CDC located at the North Western side of Singapore)

After reading Engadget’s recession antidote, I’ve decided that I should also do my part for all my Singaporean readers and spread some positivity in these troubled times **Drink**. The things that I give away are mostly things that I’ve gotten from door gift or won in contest. If anyone wants to sponsor some stuff for my recession giveaway, feel free to contact me.

The first item on the Dee Kay Dot As Gee Recession Giveaway is a $5 Coffee Bean Card. I got this after filling up some survey from SPH. But since I already have a Coffee Bean Card, might as well give it out. There is only one $5 Coffee Bean Card to give away.

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OK, $5 might not be enough for you to order a Ultimate Ice Blended. But it should be enough for the coffee of the day or something. I know a lot of you have been cutting back on coffee since the recession. So this might come in handy. Besides, you can top up the card and use it to enjoy the same privileges as other Coffee Bean Card owners.

How to apply:
Just drop me an email me with the title: “Dee Kay Dot As Gee Recession Giveaway: $5 Coffee Bean Card”. If you don’t know my email address, then sorry, you don’t qualify to take part. *Cough* My email address is under the profile section *Cough*
I will randomly select a winner in 1 weeks time using excel RAND() function. Refer to the rules for more details.

PS: More Recession Giveaway coming up. So keep a lookout for it.

Update: Application for this Recession Giveaway is now closed.