Tag Archives: smartphones

black friday

25 Nov

london 2.44pm 12.8C sunny blue sky. friday 2016

i suppose i must be of another generation where the word black denotes death and that something horrible has happened. that is what i always feel when i read  or see ‘black friday’ anywhere. but it seems this generation thinks of it as a great day, when it is time to splurge out, or that after today they are working for themselves rather than for the taxman, or that today is a day they start getting the profit.

well i thought i shall get into the mood of it and join them by buying something. but it was a half hearted attempt really haha.  i had thoughts of wondering what it will be like to own a smartphone so i went to the nearest carphonewarehouse at victoria, and looked at the cheapest thing on the wall display… an alcatel with 3.5inch screen . £49 to buy outright. a young kid came up to me, he was looking so young and asked me if he can help me. i asked if it takes a ordinary sim card… and he said i shall find out. and came back to say it takes a micro sim card. there is another size called a nano that is even smaller. so i thought oh well, that is that then, because i got a standard size one from talktalk which i am using on my nokia mobile.

then he said round the corner there is another carphone warehouse who could chop it to size for £2. that is news to me. u can chop it smaller? and sure enough, he showed me a picture of the standard size, with the actual chip pasted in the middle looking much smaller than the cardboard that fits the standard size slot. i suppose there must be some skill in cutting it , otherwise anyone could do it themselves right? but it is good to know that i could buy one of these smartphones without fearing my standard size sim card wont fit. or having to order a micro sim specially.

i suppose the nano one will have to be ordered specially . but i think only very expensive models like iphones , or the top brands will be using those. and if u got the money to spend £700 on them, u can afford to splash out on a nano sim, dont you think? but in the end i did not buy from them . even though he said u can pay just £19.99 and top up with £10 and it is yours. you dont have to use the sim, just use yours… and keep the other as a spare. but online i have seen one that you can buy outright for £39, and another which they say just top up with £20 and it is yours. and that one is 4 inch. i cant remember which online store i saw it, now. but i am sure it will pop up on my outlook express as an advert . haha.

the thing is i am not sure what a smartphone do. i mean apart from making like an ordinary phone, does it work like my chromebook? only smaller? and if that is the case i allready got my chromebook so why should i need it? are there other things that it will do that my mobile , and my chromebook separately does not? if so, what are those, and is it worthwhile to buy one?

questions, questions, and no one to answer them. maybe because the answer is oh just stop asking the questions allready, and just buy one and try it out. haha. maybe deep down i am just not convinced i want one. 

added 10.45am 1 dec 2016. cloudy 3.9C. read this about more than 1million accounts breached , via android devices. 57% were in asia, 9%in europe. it then can access google accounts like google drive, google docs, gmail. it makes me hesitant about getting a smartphone, because if i get one i want an android device. the malware has not infected europe that much …yet. it might be if i get one i should go for the latest product as it might have better security. well, the main reason i got chromebook was for the security, and i am not willing to have to bother again with potential security breaches that would by pass my chromebook security  if i get a smartphone. so i shall postpone getting a smartphone for now. it affects 

Android 4 (Jelly Bean, KitKat) and 5 (Lollipop). so another way of countering it is to get smartphones with android 6 marshmallow or higher.



Digital StillCamera

this one is a porcelain horse that my friend covered with gold leaf to make for his father’s 90th birthday. it is to suggest he is still going strong like that horse, at the ripe old age of 90.

added. 10.49pm 7C dry . mustbe quite a eerie sight in central london tonight, seems there is a power cut affecting only soho and westend. certainly i was not affected. i am sure all those businesses there would have preferred they are not affected, as it is the busiest part of london.  it seems it started around 5pm, and lasted about 4hrs. the daily mail had some pictures showing the huge advertising board at piccadilly completely dark. and all the streets are dark. on a friday night too when people will be out and about on the start of their weekend revelry. the tube network was not affected, but the theatres have to cancel their performances. 

smartphone and free coffee

17 Oct

london 7.10am 12.7C monday 2016

this advert came up in the telegraph webpage just now, i have seen it often, but am puzzled how it works. at first i thought u have to pay a bus fare or tube fare using your mobile with this app  and show proof that u paid, but it seems u dont even need to do that. just show them u got this app in your mobile phone and that is it, u can get a free coffee from cafe nero. and is it all day on mondays? that cant be right… surely? or can u claim that free coffee just once.  times like this makes me wish i have a smartphone. ( until i read the conditions) .have you used it, and do u really get it for free? what is the catch i wonder? added. read the conditions, should have read it first of course before i make any comments, and found out it is for one free coffee on monday between 3 oct and 24 oct. so basically valid for the month of october only. 

when waitrose is making people buy something before they can get their free coffee, and that is once a day…(it is being tested at some stores , so i dont doubt that it will be extended to all stores soon…and about time too i think). though now u can still get a free coffee to takeaway.

i dont go there and get their free coffee everyday,( i dont believe that if something is there for free, i must take advantage of it. in fact sometimes i do go there to browse and still refrain from getting their free coffee )  but even if i did, i think it too generous of them.

added.19.10.16  and now it seems they are increasing the £5 spend that gets u the free newspaper to £10. people are complaining, but it is natural that they do, when u take away something that used to be free, people feel it more. 

this offer from mastercard is a promotion i think to try to get people to load the app and use it for all their smartphone contactless payments. from my own observations, on the buses, i dont see many people using their mobile phone to pay. and those who do are apple users. but maybe now that android is allowing it , perhaps i shall be seeing more people use their mobiles now to pay.

the question to ask is will all the usual limits , daily limits and weekly limits and free hour use apply to the smartphone payments as it does for the contactless cards? i must say the engineers who can program all that into the system must be real clever for it to recognise all those conditions of use and automatically allow it to apply for the millions of transactions every day. added. this news article gives more detail. u need a mastercard credit card. i noticed even i dont have one. mine are all visa. banks have used visa that is why i got visa . mastercard have disappeared from the scene, it is a v gradual process, now i think they are trying to get back their market share. i wonder why they disappeared. perhaps they have a falling out with the banks, because banks have a strong influence as to which card u get. 


just some architectural detail window ledges and surroundings and balcony

added. 11.33pm 11.9C very mild this weather we are having. it feels comfortable in the flat even without the heating on.  the met office predicts this winter will be very cold and dry. they say their powerful computer can now predict the winter weather a year ahead. well, we shall see. that computer had not been very reliable before.  i am sceptical but i guess it will help businesses to plan ahead and to let council store grit for the roads , or not if what they say is true and that it will be a dry winter so no need to grit the roads as much as normal… though i think if i were council i will just rely on their short term forecast and still order the usual amount of grit. not worth saving that little bit and risk being caught short of grit if their prediction turns out to be wrong again. added. this guy who forecasts the weather without technology, also agrees. so it might be this winter will be cold though he predicts snow in london so not dry. unless they can argue snow is not rain, so can be considered dry. haha.

 but i have a feeling i will still not need to put on the heating.

the bbc ditched the met office this year so they hope to be proved right and make the bbc feel they have dumped them too soon. haha. their £100m computer can only do a 62% accuracy. not much different from 50-50 really. for that money i want 80% accuracy or more at least!!

power of tech

4 Oct

london 8.17am 15.8C sunny tuesday 2016

it seems yesterday the early morning was a cold spell, 2C in guildford, but in london 8C. personally i did not notice it in my flat and only knew of it because the weather forecast on tv mentioned it. there was cloud cover this morning so the temp did not drop as low. it was 12C early on. and with the sun coming up it rose up abruptly to 15.8C like now.

i got a overspill feed in my wordpress reader and read this post ‘the godlike powers of tech’ about how the smartphone has changed the world. i was asking earlier in another post what is so good about the smartphone. it certainly answered it.

it seems it is inertia that made me resist wanting to change. i guess i too will one day succumb to smartphones and use it instead of a chromebook. just as i have moved from a pc to a chrome book. i think it is allready happening now.

my main gripe about smartphones is its small screen and difficult to touch type on it. many smartphones now can throw it onto a big tv screen, and portable keyboards connected by wireless tech can mean not having to have a keyboard fixed to the device. so i can envisage a time when i will move to a smartphone. and it will be a short step to a wearable smartphone, a smartwatch perhaps. 

Digital StillCamera

detail of the bark of the london plane tree that is planted on the roadside.

added. 3.32pm 19.5C. yesterday at midnite stanstead airport was crowded with returning passengers , 5000 of them all landing from 2plane loads. this was reported in today’s newspapers. must be 2 cheap flights coming in at about the same time and carrying all those who went away in sept and wanting to return now. well for those of us who are staying , it makes us glad we decided to stay in uk and not going on holiday. haha. we need reminding how awful travelling for leisure can be,treated like cattle really. 

my friends have gone off on their holiday yesterday. but i dont think they were caught in this , as they were leaving the country and on earlier flights.

one went to torrevieja, spain, to stay with a british friend who has bought a flat there intending to live there all year, but finding the summers too hot and so going there in winter instead. i would be interested in his report of what he finds there. 

the other two went off to gran canaria in the canary islands.

it is actually logical to take the holidays now, as the flights will be cheaper and not so crowded. and i hope they would have bought their holiday money, because today the £ dropped to its lowest for 3yrs. £1 =1.14euros. almost on par if u consider that tourist rates are always worse. ah well, those tourists who are here in uk must be glad that their holiday here is even cheaper. 

all the more reason to have a staycation for those of us who dont fancy paying the higher prices for a european holiday.

added 5.09pm, i see my google calendar has alerted me to the turner exhibition free entry today. or rather pay what u like, but the minimum is 1p. it applies every tuesday. till 2.1.17. u can get quite a quirky art for the contenders to this prize. i remember one time it was blinking ceiling lights … like it was going to fuse… call that art!! haha. 


VCR recorders and gadgets

27 Jul

london 9.42am 18.2C cloudy wednesday 2016

my friend has been trying to persuade me to buy a smartphone saying it is £100 or so now. he calls that cheap. not to me it is not. and all because he wants to be able to use whatsapp, and skype to chat to me.

my chrome book cannot take skype. though chrome has been saying it is making it available, but only to certain brands with their latest models. mine is a toshiba chrome book and skype is not working on it. fortunately i dont really like to chat on the phone. it is very intrusive because phone calls and alerts make u compelled to answer them.

i keep reading that smartphones are getting cheaper, but in london i have yet to come across one that cost  less than £25 that i would like. i read in india they are cheap, one , named the freedom phone is £3. but it will never be sold here in uk at that price. and perhaps there are catches to that, one would be wary of a phone so cheap , some corners must be cut. though maybe if all you want is a smartphone to get wifi , surf the net and receive emails,skype and whatsapp, it will do surely? but for now i must be one of the very few individuals who  have never owned a smartphone.

reminds me of the dinosaurs who still use video recorders. it seems a company that makes them have finally decided to stop producing them. who buys VCR videos recorders nowadays?? maybe all those with old video tapes that they want to see movies or porn on. haha. even myself have got rid of my old video recorder and video tapes. they were superseded by dvd recorders but i do miss not being able to record the tv programs on my old VCR recorders. those were simpler times really. on the other hand, the picture quality on them is not very high. whereas now we have High definition, which does make everything much nicer to watch.

last call to all windows users to upgrade to free windows 10, before 31july. must be quite anxiety inducing to some, who are fearful they will lose something if they do. i could of course tell them buy a chrome book, haha. but they might be in that state of sticking to something even if it is real bad for them , because they fear getting rid of it and trying something new. i used to be like that, until my laptop using windows became so slow that even i got fed up, and so i uploaded chrome and found it was faster and easier to use and no more filled with dread everytime something has to be upgraded wondering if it is a virus, and the anxiety of uploading the upgrade and the fearful period waiting  to see if the system still works.

after that it was a no brainer to switch to chromebooks when my laptop died and i had to buy a replacement. and it has been happily ever after ever since. haha.



state of broadband access in the world now

23 Feb

london 8.21am tuesday 2016 sunny 6.8C

this article gives the state of play of internet access in the world today. it is a review by mark zuckerberg about facebook’s program to bring connectivity to the world’s poor. so even if egypt and india have stopped his free basics, it is available in other countries. i read in another article, which i cannot find again, so cannot link it here, that smartphone takeup is largest in developed countries, 68% in uk, for eg, but 17% in india. malaysia for a wonder is 65%. that surprised me. 

but this article says the biggest users of smartphones are  watching videos on their smartphones. i suppose that is not surprising as videos must use up a lot of juice. and it seems it is  only 10% of smartphone users, the big users, are causing this increase.

to me it is strange to want to watch videos on a small screen that the smartphone provides. but then it may not be so strange, maybe these people dont live in big houses, and cannot afford large home screens, or if they do have it, they can still use the smartphone to grab the video, and can throw the image from their smartphone to a big tv screen; and also they might like to watch videos on the go.

and i think when they say videos, it is utube and porn, so that may account for a large chunk of the type of videos they see.

did u think they watch movies on their small screen?. grow up and smell the coffee. haha . it is most probably porn, or lots of those pop song videos, or silly videos by vloggers, and so called celebrities . but they are the ones that advertisers want to catch. i can see why i am not that eager to buy a smartphone. video watching do not  appeal to me .


a smartphone for 251rupees

17 Feb

london 11.41am wednesday 2016 9C cloudy

this is in india, ringing bells, are selling it, from thursday , (which is today, as india is one day ahead of us). it is about £2.50.

Here’s the spec sheet for Freedom 251 model

Display – 4.00-inch

Resolution- 540×960 pixels

Processor – 1.3GHz


OS – Android 5.1

Storage – 8GB+ 32 expandable

Rear Camera – 3.2-megapixel

Front Camera – 0.3-megapixel

Battery capacity – 1450mAh

why is this phone not being offered to us in uk? it seems the original photo they featured is not the picture of the phone. the real look is shown here. does not look as slick, but still it is cheap.

they are saying it has got to be subsidised by the indian govt to cost so little. its performance may not be all that fast. but still, such a phone will get everyone on board the smartphone train.

what did they always tell us, if the deal is too good to be true, it is. this one might be a scam. 



malware pre-installed in smartphones

25 Jan

london 8.31am 11.4C monday 2016 . sunny

seems that is what is happening. smartphones from china have been tampered with by a third party who embed malware inside the hardware which makes it difficult to remove. the malware sends you adverts. and steals your details, including passwords etc. the new thing in this is that the malware cannot be uninstalled as they are the fixed installations in the handset. i have noted the date when this was written up, sept 2015. so it is not new news. new to me because i missed it when it first came out. none of the newspapers in uk wrote about it. yet it is important news surely? has it been dealt with by now and the threat is no longer there? i wonder?

malware preinstalled

Here are the devices infected with the malware: Xiaomi Mi 3, Huawei G510, Lenovo S860, Alps A24, Alps 809T, Alps H9001, Alps 2206, Alps PrimuxZeta, Alps N3, Alps ZP100, Alps 709, Alps GQ2002, Alps N9389, Andorid P8, ConCorde SmartPhone6500, DJC touchtalk, ITOUCH, NoName S806i, SESONN N9500, SESONN P8, Xido X1111

Edit: A spokesperson from Xiaomi told Trak India that the malware is injected by a third-party supplier and not by the manufacturers themselves. “Unauthorized retailers can inject malware into any device bought from an unofficial channel. This is why we strongly recommend buying Mi phones only through authorised channels such as Mi.com, Flipkart, Amazon or Snapdeal

another link saying samsung phones are also infected. that report is dated 18.6 2015 so may be old news now. also xiamei 5 is the latest one so xiamei 3 may be old hat. the world of hi tech is fast moving. makes me glad i am with my chromebook and not have to bother with all this smartphone nonsense. haha.

seems to me that smartphones users are the targetted group now instead of pc users. but i think the companies are now tightening their security againt third party interference. 

cheap smartphones in india

20 Jan

london 10.02am 3.3C wednesday 2016 sun/cloud yesterday high of 5C , low -1C.

when i saw those refugees in europe using smartphones, i thought how come they can afford them, but looking at this post , about a smartphone company selling it for £24, £30 and giving 1 yr free internet… makes me realise that in the rest of the world, smartphones are cheap.

it is only in uk that they keep it expensive. i bet there is some close shop practises going on in uk. prices are kept inflated just because people here are very willing to pay high prices if u bundle it up with free internet call plans. there are too many people here who are willing to skimp on other things rather than skimp on a smartphone. whereas in india, there are too many poor people and they have to bring the prices down to attract them into the smartphone market. 

i remember a long time ago when mobile phones were the rage, ( that was a long time ago wasn’t it? haha) and i was in malaysia and was able to buy a nokia mobile phone for 100ringgit ,  £17 at that time. i am still using it .

that was considered cheap , because in the uk it was much more then. but now of course, u can get such a phone here in uk for that amount . the market has now shifted to  smartphones, and they are still very expensive.

so i wonder when we in uk will be able to get smartphones for £25 without being tied to a 24month calling plan contract. in india they can. and with the free internet, people can get whatsapp and use that to contact friends and family. it seems to me the rest of the world have got cheap smartphones, but europe and uk are still stuck with expensive ones. i wonder if the eu is deliberately stopping the cheap phones from coming in. it would lead to loss of jobs in all those businesses selling smartphones and their call plans. 

they were unable to stop cheap steel from coming in, and that has led to a loss of jobs with steel plants closing in uk… 

whatsapp is now free for all

19 Jan

london 10.42am, 3.2C sunny tuesday 2016

before, it was $1 a year , after the first year, if u have the whatsapp in your smartphone. but it has been announced that it will be free to all. and no adverts either. how will it pay for itself?  the answer, it will make money from businesses contacting individuals. how is that,i wonder? i dont quite see how that is done.

 facebook bought it for £13.2billion in 2014. it found that the imposition of a $1 fee(small as it is) harmed its growth in developing countries, as it seems ‘many there dont have debit or credit cards so are afraid that after the first year’s free usage , they will lose contact with friends or family’. (or so that was how the whatsapp blog says it, but i think the reality  means that after the first year free, they all discontinued the app , perhaps because they dont have credit or debit cards, who knows! and so cannot continue even if they want to;  and facebook loses them).

it seems to me that facebook is willing to forego the revenue from whatsapp, rather than have people leave as it wont be able to mine them for data information of their usage of the web.

and maybe it can persuade businesses to pay to get access to their customers or anyone contacting them for queries or whatever. though what company want to get involved? it means they have to hire a person or persons solely to answer text queries? a waste of time really. unless it all boils down to they buy the phone numbers and so can text those people with adverts pretending to be friendly messages. 

but whatever the reason, the end user now have a free whatsapp to play with . and if they bring in voice as well as text, it will threaten the mobile companies with their call plan and , it will threaten skype too, which is used for international calls (skype is owned by yahoo i think).

i have a call plan with talktalk mobile, it is free to me, for a year. and i find it difficult to use up the 250text i allowed free each month. but i daresay i shall get into the habit of texting people so i have a feeling that come the end of this free offer, even i will be tempted to get a smartphone and download whatsapp. 



18 Dec

london 7.35am 13.2C(still dark outside sunrise 8.02am

Dec. 18, 2015 Rise Set
Actual Time 8:01 AM GMT 3:52 PM GMT

i noticed sunset is starting to get later againi am confusing myself. normally i would expect the sunset to get earlier. so i would expect it to be 3.49pm as we get closer to the winter solstice. but it is not happening. instead it is getting later. this is really confusing to me. 

it has been at 3.51pm for quite a time. last year it settled at 3.53pm (and 8.05am) at the winter solstice before retreating. 

anyway today i read this article about the smartphones replacement by most people being about 1.8yrs. that is what people say, but in reality it might be longer now what with having to move their music and pictures and what not to the new phone not being as easy to do. it seems people using notebook pc says they replace it every 3yrs, but in reality they do it every 5yrs.

i myself say i replace my pc every 5 yrs, but in reality it is 7yrs. and i expect to use my present chrome book for as long as it lasts, because it upgrades itself automatically and so as long as it keeps working, i expect to use it for at least 10yrs. haha.

i have not even gone into smartphones. and allready this article is  saying the smartphone market is reaching saturation. here in uk, the smartphones are being subsidised by the phone companies because they allow u to upgrade your smartphone with their call plans, where u can pay by installment but that is now not so much a bargain as they are adding the interest payment. so that might explain why replacement rate is reducing. 

  but this does not happen in other countries, and people have to pay upfront. how can they afford it? … aren’t these countries full of poor people? ( of course i forget that there are a few that are real filthy rich)but i see all those invading migrants coming to europe have smartphones…, it makes me wonder what do we mean by poor nowadays.

poor people can now afford smartphones? or are the smartphones really quite cheap there and artificially inflated in uk, just to force people here in the uk to pay for calling plans?

or are we getting a better class of refugees? not a down trodden bunch of desperate asylum seekers but  economic migrants, who can make demands, like refusing to submit to finger printing etc. or resorting to charging the barricades in calais? 

seems to me there are various marketting ploys that skews us here in uk towards shackling us with a phone company’s calling plan.

people may start to ask themselves why use a smartphone when u can just buy a chromebook and use the free wifi that is everywhere? and just use an ordinary phone to make phone calls and text. which is what i am doing. i have a feeling many will realise they have been fooled by the hype.

even i myself have been tempted to get a smartphone, when talk talk gave me free 250mb data. but remember that little bit of data will lead u to use more and more and before u know it u are trapped. beware of people bearing gifts. haha.