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# Monday, 13 October 2014

A new breed of Windows Tablets are emerging, it's the dawn of the ultra low spec Windows Tablets, the first one which I was able to get my hands on is a Malaysian rebadged Windows Tablet called the Joi8 by SNS. Check out my impressions below.

These tablets have only 1GB of RAM, so how well does Windows 8.1 actually run with only 1GB of RAM? Here's a quick overview.

But of course, for some people, they just want to know how well DOTA2 works on it!


Monday, 13 October 2014 00:07:53 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 29 June 2014

I was working on a test game using Unity3D v4.5 when I bumped into a few quirks here are some quick notes so you don't need to scratch your head like I did.

How Do I Get Rid Of 'Developement Build' Text?

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One of the strangest thing is the word developement text that's constantly hovering on the lower right corner of your game EVEN if you set Unity to NOT build a developement build, even if you compiled your Windows Phone app in RELEASE mode. The fix was simple enough, you set the build configuration to MASTER mode.

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I did a quick scan of the build settings but I couldn't find any difference between Release and Master but it works interestingly enough.

Why Is The Windows 8.1 Visual Studio Project Meant For ARM Processors?

Trying to run the Windows 8.1 (and possibly the Windows 8.0 one as well) Store project built by Unity will give you this error

Error : DEP0700 : Registration of the app failed. Windows cannot install package SappyUnity because the package requires architecture ARM, but this computer has architecture x64. (0x80073cf3)   

For those of you unfamiliar with the ARM term, that's the processor used in devices like Windows Phone, iOS, Android and also Windows RT based devices. The processor you are running Visual Studio and Windows on is x86 so you'll need to do a quick switch so you can run and debug the app on your local machine.

Select Build-> Configuration Manager

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Then in the configuration screen that appears, select x86 from the drop down on the top right.

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Note that you also have to change the configuration to Master to remove the "Development Build" text from the screen. And also when you're building for the Windows Store you need to build BOTH an x86 and an ARM version so that you can have the widest potential audience coverage.

Lock Your Windows 8.1 App Orientation

By default the generator Windows Store app by Unity doesn't lock your app to a preferred orientation, so do remember to open up your Package.appxmanifest file and lock your app to landscape or portrait orientation depending on your requirements.

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SAVE YOUR SCENE FILE!!!!

It's soooooo easy to make games in Unity, you drag some objects onto the scene, you attach some behaviours, press the RUN button a few times to debug your game. And all is good! Then something causes Unity to crash, you restart Unity and you find yourself staring at a BLANK SCENE!!! But all your assets like scripts, prefabs, etc. etc. are all ok.

This is because unlike working in a compiled system like Visual Studio, work files such as opened scene files aren't saved in Unity when you hit the RUN button.

So do remember to SAVE OFTEN!!! Lest you lose ALL of your work because of some accident!


Sunday, 29 June 2014 09:52:50 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, 10 June 2014

After making a free app like my M2 Sony Camera Remote app sometimes as a developer even though it's free. It'd be nice if there was some avenue for getting paid by our users if they so wish to show their appreciation.

Some of you might say that a good way is to use In App Ads, but I really hate the ad systems that are out there which most people use especially on games that my son plays on the phone or iPod touch. Frequently you see many inappropriate, non family friendly ads.

So, to that end, I resort to using the In App Purchasing system offered to me by the Windows Store. And here's the presentation and sample code which I did on Malaysia's //Publish/ day event.

Check it out here.


Tuesday, 10 June 2014 23:38:43 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 14 May 2014

I'm refering to the Asus Vivotab Note 8 of course. What makes it the ULTIMATE meeting Windows Tablet?

  • Small portable 8" Form Factor
  • Intel Atom Baytrail for long battery life and great relative performance
  • Wacom Digitizer Technology!!!
  • A BLOODY SILO TO KEEP THE DIGITIZER IN THE TABLET!!!

It's amazing how many people trip up on that ONE LAST damn item! Don't they know that if you don't keep the pen IN the device then no one will use it because everyone will be afraid of losing the expensive pen and thus take it with them sparingly (glares at Microsoft for Surface Pro digitizer mount solution)

So now we have here what could be the BEST Meeting Windows Tablet, and yet... as usual... the ball is dropped somewhere find out where in the review.


Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:03:27 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, 24 December 2013

I bought and have been using the Acer Iconia W4, it's a small compact 8" Windows 8.1 tablet using the latest Intel Atom Baytrail processor, check out my short video review here.

When I got the Acer W510 I found that it was a pretty decent media consumption machine, but the new Intel Atom Baytrail in the Acer W4 is just AMAZING when it comes down to watching videos, having NO ISSUES at all consuming H.264 videos of high bitrate. I'd say that the fact that it has so much processing power at it's disposal and since it's running on PROPER x86 Windows 8.1 it's pretty future proof to playback H.265 videos as well. Check out the video proof here.

I've actually done numerous videos regarding the Acer Iconia W4, and I have a few more down the line, so check out the playlist below and subscribe to get informed when new videos get added. View the playlist now.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013 15:30:30 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 06 July 2013

So your website requires an additional ActiveX control to work, no shame in that it’s not like HTML5 is perfect or that every browser has implemented all the features which everyone is dreaming of. You just need to do one small little change to your webpage so that Windows 8 users who are using Internet Explorer 10 in Metro/Modern/Windows UI mode will be informed that they need to view the site in the desktop IE because ActiveX controls only work in desktop mode.

It’s a simple change, just add this line to the HEAD section of your webpage.

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="requiresActiveX=true" />

While the name of the tag contains the word ActiveX, this holds true for ANY kind of browser plugin other than Flash which will only work in IE10 desktop mode under Windows 8.

For more details about this switch you can refer to this document.


Saturday, 06 July 2013 22:50:27 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 07 March 2013

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With great fear of it being not supported I bought a SanDisk Ultra 64GB Micro SDXC card to use in my Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro, the main reason being I was all too familiar when the shift from SD to SDHC and having to worry if the card can be read in the slot or not.

According to it’s Wikipedia entry, guess I shouldn’t have been that worried.

Basically, an SDXC card is the same as an SDHC card just that it has a capacity limit of 2TB. The issue of compatibility is more on the software side, as SDXC cards are formatted to the exFAT file system by default. Most modern Operating Systems would have support for this format.

The other bullet point is of course, in your typical SDHC slot the maximum read/write speeds of an SDXC card cannot be achieved.

All in all, it’ll work fine in Windows, maybe not up to full speeds depending on the reader card slot but you’ll still be able to use it.


Thursday, 07 March 2013 10:31:33 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 22 February 2013

There are now many thin Windows based Ultrabooks and Windows Tablets running on SSDs, for budget reasons you might have bought one with limited storage. Say 32GB or 64GB and had hoped to expand your storage via other means, either by the use of SD cards, slim form factor USB drives, or some other cheap expandable storage. But after a while you'll realize a very serious limitation to such an upgrade path. Quite a few programs will detect if they're being installed to or running from a removable media and refuse to work in such a manner.

Luckily there is a way around this limitation, which is through the use of a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) file. A VHD is a file that represents an entire disk, hence it's name.

It's easy to create a VHD file, just press the Windows key to bring up the Start screen or menu depending on wheter you're in Windows 8 or Windows 7 and type Disk Management into the search box. You'll see an option called Create And Format Hard Disk Partitions select that. (In Windows 8, the option is under the Settings category of the search results).

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In the Disk Management program, click on Action -> Create VHD.

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You'll then be presented with a dialog box to decide on what kind of VHD to make.

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Use the Browse button to select where to create the VHD file, you should probably choose to directly create the VHD file on the USB stick or SD card to save the time to move the file onto it later.

Specify the size of the VHD file under Virtual Hard Disk Size. This CANNOT be changed once so make up your mind about it.

IMPORTANT NOTE : Due to the difference in how storage manufacturers and the OS calculates free space, remember to ALWAYS give a buffer of around 10% from the stated capacity of your media if you're not creating the file on it directly. For example if you have a 32GB thumb drive, you should specify 29GB (10% of 32GB being 3.2GB) as the size of your VHD file. Also note that you'll need to format your storage media to NTFS or exFAT instead of FAT32 in order to support extremely large files.

Under Virtual Hard Disk Type make sure it's FIXED.

Press OK and then go grab a snack or something, cause it'll take a while to make the disk depending on the size you wanted.

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Once the VHD is ready you should see it in the bottom section of disk management. It should be at the bottom of the list so you might need to scroll down to see it. If you don't see it, then under the Action menu where you selected Create VHD previously, select Attach VHD and select the file you created.

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It'll be the one that has the Not Initialized words on it, and of course it'll be of the size you specified. Right Click on it and select Initialize Disk.

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Leave all the options as default in the next dialog and just press OK. The disk will now be ready as a basic disk.

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Right Click in the Unallocated area and select New Simple Volume.

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A dialog with a few pages will pop up, the first is a greetings screen, the second...

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Is for you to confirm the formatted size of the volume, by default it should already be the maximum capacity which is what you should keep it as. The next dialog is important.

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It'll ask you for the drive letter you want to assign to this drive. You should assign a drive letter that's near the end of the alphabet if you plan on permanently using the VHD in this PC. The next screen will ask you about formatting parameters.

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Just leave everything on default, but give it a Volume Label if you'd like. Click on next and then finish up the wizard and wait a while for it to format, once completed the new drive letter will appear in the status display and Windows Explorer.

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So... you now have a virtual hard drive that for all intent and purpose IS a real hard drive to Windows. So you can do anything you want to it, install programs on it, back it up using file history, etc. etc.

But there's a slight problem, the VHD goes away everytime you reboot your system. It'll stay in your system if you do a standby or hibernate as long as the media the VHD is on isn't removed from the system when it wakes up. Which means that you'll need to reattach the VHD everytime you reboot the PC.

Running into Disk Management everytime you reboot your PC isn't the most convenient thing to do. So what you need is a quicker method to mount the VHD files.

Here are two batch files which automate the process of mounting the VHD

Update You dont' need this if you're using Windows 8, double clicking on a VHD file will mount them even if the OS says there was a problem doing so!

Single VHD AutoMount Script

Multi VHD AutoMount Script

To use the SINGLE VHD script, copy it to the same folder as your VHD file, and rename it to the same name as the VHD file. ie. If the VHD name is mainvhd.vhd the batch file name is mainvhd.bat. Double click to run and mount the VHD

The MULTI VHD script will mount ALL VHD FILES IN THE SAME FOLDER as the script file itself, it's basically for anyone who doesn't know how to rename a file properly... although if you fall in that group you probably shouldn't be doing this. Smile with tongue out

Note that you still need Administrator rights to mount the VHD.

Hope this super long post gave you some help on how to deal with the relatively limited capacity of your Windows Tablet / Ultrabook! On a last note, writing to a VHD on an external storage should be slower than directly writing directly to the storage itself, but I don't find it that much of a problem, your mileage may wary depending on the performance of your media.


Friday, 22 February 2013 00:20:51 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Acer W510 doesn't come with a full size USB port on the tablet, as mentioned previously Acer has provided a USB Micro to USB port (ie. USB OnTheGo) cable in the box. But when you're mobile you don't want to have a cable dangling around no matter how small a thumbdrive you're connecting it to.

Knowing that it might be a problem I looked around for a solution and found this.

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It's basically a solid USB OTG plug, it's also set at an angle so it doesn't extend outwards of the W510 much.

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The W510 is a bit thinner than the plug itself, so it's not going to lay flat when this is plugged in. The fact that it's pretty close to the body *might* cause some problems with extra fat USB devices though.

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I bought these from Deal Extreme, they come in a pack of 2 connectors. One in each direction

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So one will point towards the top, and the other point towards the bottom of the W510.

Highly recommended if you want to have a more mobile, less dangling experience with the Acer W510. You can grab them here. (affliate link)


Wednesday, 30 January 2013 23:10:15 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Acer Iconia W7 is one of the numerous slate form factor designed for Windows 8 PCs that launched along side Windows 8

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It might look like a normal tablet, but it is actually a PC and in the world of PCs its all about having the ability to choose what kind of PC best suits your needs, and the W7 does offer some interesting features.

First of all the W7 is a monster of a tablet, it's hard to tell from stand alone shots but this thing has a 11.6" 16:9 screen, so it's a very tall slab.

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The screen is a 1920x1080 IPS screen, so you get your HD resolution AND a bright vibrant screen to go with it.

You get all the usual buttons on each side of the device, power and volume controls on the right followed by the audio out jack

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A rotation lock toggle switch on the top, along with the ventilation grills.

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Note that this is actually a toggle button because this allows Windows 8 the flexibility of controlling screen rotation via physical (the toggle button) or through software (via the charms bar in Windows 8)

There are actually two sets of grills which run along the top.

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The left side has your Mini HDMI port, one sweet USB 3.0 port and the power port.

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And at the bottom you find the two speaker grills.

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The speakers actually sound quite good and can be pretty loud, don't think it'd pass the chinese dinner test though. Smile with tongue out

The W7 comes with a dock

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One nice thing about the stand is that it serves as a USB 3.0 Hub, giving you 3 USB 3.0 ports when docked in the stand,

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To charge the system in the stand you'll need to plug the power adapter into the stand.

The first thing that isn't so good about the dock is that aside from the protruding USB and power plugs

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There's no real guide to help the W7 plug into the dock, eventually I got familiar enough with the process so that I wouldn't have to fumble with it much to plug it in.

Another quirk about the dock is how it 'transforms' into portrait mode. It actually doesn't, you basically have to rearrange the support plate for the dock into another groove to make it stand in portrait orientation.

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While this works, the fact that the support plate cannot be flattened means you probably would be taking this around with you much. I guess there's not much reason to do so anyway considering that it's just a glorified USB 3.0 hub. Smile with tongue out

For means of protecting the W7 when you're moving around, Acer was nice enough to provide this folio case with it. (The sales people say that it's a special deal but considering that the folio case fit in the actual packaging I kinda doubt that)

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The folio can do the usual tricks such as stand up so you can watch movies

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or slightly nudge it up so you can type on the W7 better

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So.. that pretty much sums up the physical aspects of the W7, how well does it work as a PC then? The W7 packs an Intel Core i3 1.4Ghz processor and 4GB of memory, which means that it can pretty much handle any routine PC task you can throw at it. The use of the standard Intel integrated display means that you're probably not going to be playing Diablo 3 in full res on this thing.

There is one critical flaw with the W7 though, the WiFi performance is abysmal!! I don't know wheter this is caused by the Atheros AR5BMD222 they decided to put in the W7, or wheter it's because of the aluminum body that's causing wifi issues but the W7 has very weak signal reception and also is prone to 'hiccup' on occasion, requiring me to disconnect and reconnect back to my AP to fix it.

The Final Word

In summary, the Acer Iconia W7 is a big 11.6" tablet, is abit hefty at 950 grams when you compare it to other tablets, and the fact that it uses a Core i3 means that it gets a bit toasty if the CPU gets loaded.

That said, it has a BEAUTIFUL screen, and that i3 processor means you'd never have to ask yourself if you'd be able to watch that HD video or not. In fact I wouldn't stop anyone from getting it...

If it wasn't for the damn WiFi issue, a driver update *might* fix it in the future but that's of course an uncertainty, and of course.. being a PC, you could just plug in a better USB WiFi adapter, but that's kinda inconvenient actually. This is actually the SECOND time I've seen performance issues with an Atheros WiFi adapter, kinda makes me abit cautious towards them from now on.

UPDATE 30th November 2012: An updated Wifi Driver WAS issued, you can nab it here. After running this for 2 days, it seems to have solved the INSTABILITY of the Atheros WiFi so it doesn't disconnect like crazy anymore. But signal strength is still relatively weak, but I guess that's what is expected when you have a metal body and only a strip of plastic on the top for the antennae. It might also depend on wheter or not you're holding it wrong. Smile with tongue out

So, the W7 is a great Windows 8 tablet if you can accept the gimpy WiFi capabilities.


Saturday, 24 November 2012 22:44:10 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
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