The Paperless Dream

The Paperless Dream.

via Anphase – Root of Negative 0ne

Recovered from Internet Archive:

Since the beginning of time I’ve been searching for a device to replace paper. The problem with paper is that I use a lot of it. A whole lot of it. For performing a quick calculation, jotting down some notes, making a quick sketch etc., paper is the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to get that done. But there are several problems with paper.

Paper occupies physical space. I have so much paper lying around everywhere in the form of notebooks and refills and random scraps of paper it’s crazy.

That brings me to another problem. Managing all of this paper. One can form only so many stacks and each stack can only be so high. The result is that I can never find anything and I just have to dispose of the older stuff. It’s all quite depressing.

A few years back, I got the HP iPaq 211 PDA. That was my first serious paper replacement contender. With a 4″ resistive touch screen that has a 640×480 resolution and Windows Mobile 6.0 , I thought it was perfect. I got the ultimate writing app too – PhatPad (shown below).

HP iPaq 211 – PhatPad

Soon I realised it wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. While it is very responsive, the screen size, 4 inches, is just too small for writing stuff. You will notice also that the edges of the screen are raised creating a barrier around it that shrinks the writing space even more. The app is also pretty slow when it comes to flipping pages and awkward when changing colors or undoing something. The same goes for other apps too. It does have character recognition software that can turn written notes into text but that’s not the point. So the iPaq didn’t deliver what I was looking for.

The Apple iPad – Penultimate

Then Apple announced the iPad. As soon as I heard the iPad was coming, I knew I had to get one. I thought the iPad combined with a stylus would be the combo I’ve been waiting for. I have most of the popular and not so popular notes apps on the market. From Penultimate to Noterize to Note Taker HD to Note Hub to Use Your Handwriting Gold (UYH Gold). I got ’em all. Of the 500+ apps that I have installed on my iPad, a good number of them have something to do with notes. I also got a capacitive stylus early on. Unfortunately, although the apps are top notch, the accuracy of a capacitive screen/stylus is really low. These devices are designed for finger use and not for pen input. I use the Apple wireless keyboard more than I do the stylus now.

The NoteSlate

I believe the solution is finally upon us. The NoteSlate is it. Here’s a break down of the features:

Basic Characteristics

– REAL PAPER look design (pictured at the top of the page)

– ONE COLOR display (Optional multi-color display?)

– ONE TOUCH ability just with pen / eraser

– 210x310x6mm thin body

– 13 inch matte monochrome eInk display

– 190x270mm active display, 750x1080pixels

– 180 hours battery life (almost 3 weeks of daily work !)

– 280 g weight !

– basic inputs: pen with eraser, USB mini, SD Card, Jack 3.5 mm, AC/DC 12V

– Wi-Fi module on request with order (no added charge (!))

– no web browsing !

– end price $99

– ONE POINT OF SALE – NoteSlate online e-store

The highlights are 3 weeks battery life and the 13″ e-ink display. It’s flat like a paper notebook with no raised edges. It runs custom software so it’s probably not going to have performance issues. If you’ve seen e-ink eBook readers like the Kindle or the Kobo reader, you can appreciate the quality that e-ink technology offers. It’s very close to paper quality clarity. That, together with a stylus and high screen sensitivity and accuracy can make for the ultimate paper replacement.

This thing is not like the feature rich tablets that we have today. It’s bare-bones simple yet powerful. The perfect paper replacement. Lets just hope it doesn’t remain vapourware. It’s set for release in June 2011.

The Symbian Advantage

The Symbian OS is powerful. Extremely powerful. There’s nothing that you can’t do on Symbian that you can do on the other platforms. The same can’t be said about the other platforms. Allow me to illustrate.

iOS is not open, there’s no secret about that. Although Apple is becoming more flexible on the kind of apps you can use on the iPhone, there are still a lot of things they don’t allow. That is why the jail-breaking scene is so huge – it allows you to do some simple to complex things that Apple won’t allow. From turning the phone into a WiFi hotspot (coming soon in iOS 4.3 maybe?) to displaying more info on the lock screen or transferring files via Bluetooth – features that have been available on Symbian devices either out-of-box or through apps for ages. We often take these features for granted. It’s when you don’t have them that you realise the central role they play in your mobile experience.

On to Android, the new kid on the block. Just after I got my Android phone, my first after a series of Symbian devices, I noticed something quite disturbing. The APN settings were not copied from the SIM card/carrier or where ever they come from! This NEVER happened with any of my previous Symbian devices from both Nokia and Samsung. Even the ones I imported from around Asia and Europe. I had to go through many hours of searching and trying deferent combinations until I got it right. So much for first impressions. So, you just got an Android phone with a front facing camera. You should be able to make regular video calls over 3G right? Wrong. Android doesn’t support the standard protocol. The same protocol that’s on many feature phones from many manufactures! You have to get apps like Skype or something – major bummer because if like me, you had a deal with your carrier for free/subsidised 3G video calls, you’re out of luck.

On both Android and iOS, data can be used without warning. For the first time I’ve had to get a data plan for my phone. With Symbian, there’s a pop-up with options to choose the network to connect to when a connection is needed. There are no services that use data in the background unless you allow them to, i.e, you have more control.

The connectivity on Symbian is unrivaled. From Bluetooth connectivity (v3.0 on the N8) for headsets, keyboards(Android lacks this) and file transfer(iOS anyone?), to the FM radio(iPhone again) and FM transmitter(both lack it), there is no competition. Some older Symbian devices even have Infrared ports(like the legendary n95).

The Symbian touch UI is probably one of the most complex on the market. People who hate it probably don’t know how to use it. There’s also an advantage to it – if you can use a Symbian touchscreen phone then you can probably use any touchscreen device that has and will ever come out without reading the manual!

There are some major kinks that Nokia/Symbian need to work out on the UI front though. If they are able to sort that out in a huge way, Symbian will become/remain the top smartphone OS of them all.

3D Phones? Come On, Really?

Maybe 60 years ago the headline was Colour TVs? Come On, Really? And a few years before that it was Sound In Movies? Come On, Really? But seriously, come on, really? My point is, 3D at the movies and especially 3D in the home, hasn’t really taken off. What gives them the impression that it will work on mobile phones? Google certainly doesn’t support 3D in Android yet and there aren’t many apps(if any) that have anything to do with 3D in the Android Market.

LG Optimus 3D

LG is going to unveil the worlds first full 3D smartphone capable of 3D photography and video recording at Mobile World Congress(MWC) 2011. The phone also features a glasses-free LCD 3D display. The thing about 3D is that it’s not everywhere. Where are you going to view these movies and photos? On your phone’s ~4″ screen only? On the 3D  TV that you probably don’t have yet? Granted, there are some 3D TVs, photo-frames and laptops on the way and already on the market, but they cost a lot. This 3D phone is like an invitation for an expensive ride that’s going to crash.

It’s future proof though, right? Not even close. First, there’s no guarantee that this 3D phone thing will take off. We might remember it as one of the great flops of 2011.  Second, 3D hasn’t really been standardised. So the kind of 3D that this phone produces and displays may not be the one used by everyone else, making it redundant.

The ultimate questions are, does a 3D user interface have advantages over 2D interfaces to justify the price? Are videos or pictures that much better? Like the difference between black/white and colour, SD and HD, day and night?

Phone screens are small and you interact with them; tap, flick, swipe, long press etc – effectively obscuring your view of the display partially. They are also flat; 2D with a width and a height. Introducing depth in the UI without extra screen real-estate is a formula for disaster. Unless it’s just a cosmetic change and that makes whole thing pretty pointless.

3D phones are a gimmick not worth paying for. I wonder when coffee making holography phones are going to be announced? It’s about time!

Plans for the future

Out with the old, in with the new

Samsung i9000 Galaxy S
Samsung i9000 Galaxy S

Well, figured I should use this blog to vent other thoughts.

First off, a bit about the Samsung i8910. I thought the most likely update for it to get was Touch Wiz 3.0. I emailed some folks at Samsung and they don’t have any plans to implement that on the device.

Windows Phone Series 7 on the i8910? Well, that seems unlikely. Turns out, Microsoft made a ‘gimmick i8910’ just to get people excited. It’s totally not happening. To get it in on our current devices we would have to replace the display with a smaller one. Microsoft certainly wouldn’t let us have this device with WP7 without Windows branding on the buttons. So sad but true. If that i8910-like device running WP7 is ever to be released, it will be different from what we have now.

Other OSes are just not going to happen. It’s too complex to implement them and there are few people who have the time or the skills to do that successfully.

With the slew of new devices coming out and Samsung’s heavy marketing of the i9000 Galaxy S, the i8910 is pretty much dead. Updates will come, but mainly to fix bugs. The introduction of kinetic scrolling will remain the biggest update the i8910 will ever receive.  Modders simply mix and match what’s there, and they are doing some awesome things with the device but not a lot will change.

A combination of old hardware(developed about 2 years ago), poor coding, and an ailing OS(Symbian^1) are to blame for the i891o’s demise. It’s a pity it fell even before it had a chance to shine.

Pity I can’t afford these new devices coming out. I’m stuck with my i8910 for a least the next year… Heck, I’ll probably have this same phone for the next 4 years!

The big move: to just

The move
The big move

My new website is

I have decided to move from to

There are several reasons for my move to the new domain.

1. More control: with the move I am more able to control everything about the website. You will see that the difference between this website and the new one is quite big. I can now embed videos from any services, store more data etc.

2. Ease: and are about the same, I transferred about 99% of the blog/comments etc to the new site.

3. Ads: As you may know, I’ve been doing all this work in my spare time without much to show for it. The new domain allows me to place a few subtle ads so I can make a dollar or two out of it 🙂

4. Easy to remember: is easier to remember, it just rolls off the tongue.

It’s still a work in progress, tell me what you think, suggestions, attacks etc. all welcomed 🙂

Support for Samsung i8910 Omnia HD to continue till end of 2010

Upadate: Update: I’ve moved to a new website

From what I’ve observed with the Samsung i8510 Innov8, it is apparent that Samsung will continue to produce updates for the i8910 up to at least the end of 2010. That’s really promising considering that many people thought the i8910 had reached the end of its life cycle and it had been left out in the cold.

Samsung i8910
Samsung i8910: It's not over yet!

So, the question is, what are they going to be doing in this time? Fixing bugs only? From my meeting, it appears as if the features are generally permanent and they may consider implementing only a few of the proposed suggestions from the report. Adding kinetic scrolling was quite a leap, it was never described as a feature on the phone but they decided to add it to enhance the devices functionality. What else is in store for the next couple of months?

Samsung has failed to deliver

Before we go into the updates, it is now apparent that Samsung has failed to deliver the official update on time. They said in their press release that:

“The firmware update will be available from January 2010 in the UK and gradually rolled out to other European markets, Southeast Asia, the Middle East Asia, Africa and rest of the world.”

According to information that I got from i8910 owners around the world, the update has not been released anywhere. Continue reading Support for Samsung i8910 Omnia HD to continue till end of 2010

Apple iPad: The be all and end all of mobile computing

The Apple iPad has been bashed the blogosphere over, even I took a swing at it. Reading through all the problems, I believe we’re missing the point. The iPad  is a revolutionary device and it will change mobile computing as we know it forever.

Apple iPad
Apple iPad, the future is now


The first thing that I’m going to tackle is where the iPad fits in. That, I believe, is the fundamental key to its success. It covers a lot of categories under its umbrella, making it a ‘must have’ device among ‘must have’ devices. Continue reading Apple iPad: The be all and end all of mobile computing

Apple iPad Launching in New Zealand first

Apple iPad
Apple iPad Launching in NZ first

The Apple iPad is set to launch worldwide in late March 2010 starting with the WiFi version which will be followed by the 3G + WiFi version in April. As with the iPhone 3G launch and the iPhone 3GS after it, the Apple iPad will be sold in New Zealand first before the rest of the world. From other similarly priced devices, the iPad should be starting at about NZ$799 which is a really good price. That places it smack in the middle of Netbook-ville. I wouldn’t wait for the 3G version which is considerably more expensive since I’m either at home or at university 90% of the time, breathing WiFi. Besides, NZ 3G plans are really bad, not at all practical for the ordinary human being. Continue reading Apple iPad Launching in New Zealand first