# Sunday, September 11, 2011

I picked up the Microsoft Touch Mouse today. And first thing to comment about it the packaging, on the outside it looks like a normal box.

DSC00887

But even in retail display mode, the top of the box is actually a flip lid which you can raise to check out the mouse during display.

DSC00888

Then, when you buy it back home, all you have to do is remove 2 extremely sticky pieces of tape to be able to separate the top off the box from the bottom which holds the mouse

DSC00890

The mouse is attached to a plastic base which secures itself to the mouse via it’s battery compartment.

DSC00891

very ingenious design I must say, I had no trouble at all getting to the mouse. Except for ONE part, if you looked at the picture above it tells you to remove the mouse by tilting it off the plastic base. Problem is that the final small hook that latches on to the mouse was a bit tight and made a scary noise (you don’t want the owner of a new gadget to hear plastic snapping noises when they remove the item from the packaging) when I finally peeled it off the base.

Other than that, the packaging was a win in my books.

So, the packaging looks and works great, but how does the mouse work?

DSC00894

Based on looks, it’s your usual sleek, ambidextrous capable mouse. It feels more hefty than other wireless mouse I’ve been using, probably because of the extra electronics to support the capacitive touch functionality and also because the thing uses TWO AA batteries instead of the now common one AA battery.

You can find many reviews about how the touch surface on the Microsoft Touch Mouse work elsewhere on the Internet. But here, I’m gonna tell you what every other review I’ve seen failed to mention.

Why I WON’T Be Recommending The Microsoft Touch Mouse To My Peers

I was extremely reserved about the Microsoft Touch Mouse when it was first announced, my main fear was that I was afraid that there wouldn’t be any physical switches on the mouse and thus clicking the mouse buttons would be a very weird experience. But then after reading reviews and they mentioned that the mouse actually clicks with a physical action I was a bit relieved, it was also a nice plus that you can use your thumbs to swipe the side of the mouse for navigate back/forward in your browser. So the ONLY real problem for me would me dealing with the lost of the middle mouse button.

Or so I thought.

Remember how I mentioned that the mouse physically clicks? Yes, there is a physical button underneath the mouse. BUT… there’s only ONE BUTTON there! The Touch mouse detects right click via a little cheat, basically it’s a right click if there’s no finger contact on the LEFT HALF of the mouse and the button is clicked! I’ll emphasize this

YOU CAN’T REST A FINGER ON THE LEFT HALF OF THE MOUSE WHEN YOU CLICK IT IF YOU WANT A RIGHT CLICK!

I don’t know about you, but when I right click I rest my finger on the left half. So unless I’m in the minority group of how people use mice, it boggles my mind why the hardware engineer thought it was such a good idea to detect right clicks as such instead of using a rocking top shell with actual physical left and right switches? Maybe it was because a rocking shell would have made the capacitive area prone to breakdown?

This also means of course that you CAN’T PRESS BOTH BUTTONS DOWN AT THE SAME TIME!

Definitely a question I would like to ask the hardware engineer if possible. Here’s a video explaining the problem.

Because of this little caveat though, there’s on way I’m going to flat out recommend the Microsoft Touch Mouse to anyone. I mentioned the technical to my wife and she’s the type of person who leaves her finger on the left mouse when she right clicks, she also agreed that that’s a STUPID DECISION INDEED!

So… the Microsoft Touch Mouse FAILED THE WIFE ACCEPTANCE FACTOR!!!

I didn’t know that it was possible for a mouse to fail WAF other than because of it’s physical design!


Sunday, September 11, 2011 9:47:35 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, September 03, 2011

This post collects all the important Windows 7 Tablet PC posts I have posted on my blog for easy referencing.

The Windows 7 Tablet PC Optimization Guide
If you have a Windows 7 Tablet PC and you want to know how to use it more effectively, this is where you want to go.

A Touch Optimized Windows 7 Theme
Have no time to go through the guide above, just download this theme and make your Windows 7 Tablet PC more touch friendly in a snap. Still not an excuse to skip the guide above!

Why Doesn't Windows Show Me What Keys I Pressed During Password Entry
A solution to a quirk/feature of how the Windows Virtual Keyboard behaves when you're entering passwords.

Browsing Effectively With IE9 via Touch
Some tricks you should know when browsing the net with IE9 using only your fingers.

The Windows 7 Tablet PC Experience
Don't have a Windows 7 Tablet PC yet, and wondering how the experience is? Check out this post for videos on both the good AND bad experiences of a Windows 7 Tablet PC

Why A Windows 7 Tablet PC Will Never Be 'Better' Than An Apple iPad
A post discussing the topic above.

Why Desktop Browsers Don't Smooth Zoom Like Mobile/Tablet Browsers
Points out why a desktop browser running on Windows DOES NOT smooth zoom like on things like an Apple iPad, why this is the case and why smooth zoom in a browser is not a performance measurement.


Saturday, September 03, 2011 1:20:51 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, August 21, 2011

One of the things which is going to be the hardest thing to teach WZ and make him understand about the consequences of his actions. It's easy enough to tell him when he's done something wrong or right. But what happens when he does something that doesn't have a clear cut definition on what is right or wrong?

How do I teach him that when that time comes, it's not a question about doing the right thing but rather can you live with the consequences of your actions?

Is that something you can even teach instead of having to experience or come to a conclusion for the question yourself?


Sunday, August 21, 2011 4:24:26 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, August 15, 2011

This is a wireless network camera.

DSC00855

This is a BATTERY POWERED wireless network camera.

DSC00856

This is a RELATIVELY SMALL CR2 BATTERY POWERED wireless network camera.

DSC00857

You’ve just seen the Trek Ai Ball battery powered wireless network camera. It’s unique feature is that it is an honest to god WiFi Network camera in an extremely tight package and through the use of a battery means its can be truly wireless. All these features make for some very interesting applications.

The camera has very little physical features, the entire rear section after the blue divider line happens to be the battery compartment.

DSC00861

It’s design has an interesting purpose, more on that later. On the side you find the on off switch.

DSC00860

when you first turn it on the camera will establish a ad hoc network which you connect to using your web browser, then like any other network camera you will be able to view the feed from it. image quality is…. usable, but I guess I shouldn’t be expecting miracles from a 3V driven camera.

trek-shot

So… it runs off a pretty expensive little battery, the manual says it’ll run for about 90 mins on a fresh battery depending on how long you spend looking through it. The range of the wireless radio is about 2 rooms in doors I expect longer range reception when you have line of sight.

Now, they didn’t expect people to keep running the camera off batteries, so they sell a cradle accessory.

DSC00863

which, luckily for me was included in the old slightly trampled package. The cradle basically allows the camera to be powered through a USB connector, or what I’d like to call 5V of the gods! The socket sits at the back as you’d expect.

DSC00866

The entire front half of the cradle is actually a battery analog complete with the necessary contacts.

DSC00864

But the damn contacts on my cradle wasn’t high enough to reach the contacts in the camera, causing me a few moments of panic as I thought something was wrong with my set. An interesting thing to note is that the voltage coming off the contacts is 3V and not 5V, so there’s some sort of resistor dropping the voltage in the cradle.

So all you need to do is just snap the camera onto the cradle and you have your typical connected network camera.

DSC00867

Snap is the right word to use, because there’s a horrible crunching noise of weak plastic whenever you insert or remove it, wonder how long it’ll last if you keep moving it from the cradle.

So, while the cradle grants the ability to use 5V to power the camera, the stand gets in the way, luckily it is easily removed by unscrewing it from the side.

DSC00868

So now I have a more compact camera, now all I need is a source of power to make it mobile again, and a way to secure said power supply to the camera. I believe I have the parts.

DSC00871

And here’s what I ended up with.

DSC00872

Why is it that all user hacks end up looking like IEDs? But aside from that it is now a slimmer package which can be concealed easier, also the fatter battery should provide a longer runtime than the single battery.

Why should you get it?

It’s a pretty darn small battery operated network wireless camera, yes it broadcasts it’s SSID out in the open and there doesn’t seem to be any advanced settings available to turn that off. But still if a light bulb went on in your head when you heard the product description you know you want it!

Why SHOULDN’T you get it?

There’s no onboard recording medium, you’ll need a Java capable web browser to record streams. Or… you could just BUY their iOS recording applications, I understand that the apps would most likely be generic enough to work with any MJPEG source, but seriously? I bought your hardware and you couldn’t even give me the software for it? Not even just the ability to ONLY VIEW the streams? (granted, if all you wanted to do was view the camera, browsing to it using most modern mobile browsers would work)

Another downgrade of the Ai-Ball’s appeal is that the build quality just doesn’t feel too good! inserting the cradle feels like it’s gonna snap the hooks, the battery door feels thin and flimsy, the power switch feels flimsly. You get the picture?

If you DO intend to pick it up, do realize that there are TWO hardware revisions out there, v3.0 and BEFORE V3.0, from the pictures I see on the web seems like v3.0 has some new management functions in admin mode for dealing with the wireless settings. I got a PRE v3.0 model, guess that’s why they were bundled it along with the cradle.


Monday, August 15, 2011 9:42:07 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, August 07, 2011

And so... another year, another attempt to get the ultimate meeting Tablet PC. The Asus T101MT generally worked well but with palm rejection mode on, writing on the screen had some irritating problems every now and then, but since I had no other choice at the time I lived with it. And of course, now I've find a replacement. The Fujitsu T580

DSC00824

Once again I've gone with the convertible form factor.

DSC00825

The Fujitsu T580 again falls under the portable notebook category with it's 10" screen, for general tech specs you can refer to the Fujitsu Product information site. So what made me decide to get the T580?

Hybrid Digtizer

DSC00817

The NUMBER ONE reason is that the T580 has a hybrid digitizer, so not only does it have a 4 point capacitive multi touch screen, it has a honest to god DIGITIZER, which means writing on the screen with the digitizer pen is FANTASTIC.... Except for 2 problems.

The first problem is that I can't figure out how the digitizer works, wheter it's magnetic reasonance (inference.. or whatever) like a Wacom pen or ultra sound like this pen I once had. Why am I even interested in how it works? Because sometimes the pen goes crazy (once so far) and acts like I never lifted it up from the screen, and this was exactly how crazy the old ultrasound pen would get when it had too much interference. Some people attribute it to N-Trig's (the OEM provider for the pen) QA problems with manufacturing the pens but I'm not too sure about that.

The second problem is that the pen is powered, while don't mind having a powered pen. The problem is that the power source that the pen uses is a AAAA battery, no I didn't spell it wrongly, I DID say A A A A. Here's how it looks sitting next to a AAA.

DSC00816

Yes, I also didn't know AAAA batteries existed till when the Tablet PC was first launched and the Compaq models used them. It seems like they decided to go with AAAA because of it's slimmer profile in order to be able to make it small enough to fit inside the pen silo

DSC00819

Having the pen kept inside the device is always a good thing no matter what Steve Jobs said. That said, I do have one worry about the T580's pen silo, it seems to hold the pen via friction instead of any lock mechanism so I do wonder how long would it last.

So where do you BUY AAAA batteries? Well, I've found ONE shop in Malaysia that actually stocks them... I should go buy a pack for emergencies even though they mentioned one battery last a year.

The other method of getting AAAA like batteries is to butcher a 9V battery.

WP_000299

A 9V battery consists of 6 1.5V cells that are slightly shorter than a AAAA battery, the polarity points are usually reversed, not ALL of them salvaged this way can be used in the pen but at least I have a way to get some in a pinch.

Power in a tiny package

Even though it has the tiny footprint of a 10" notebook, the T580 comes equipped with a Intel Core i5 1.3Ghz, which can turbo boost to 2.0Ghz under load. That's enough to do pretty much any work I have for it! While the powerful processor might turn out to be a power hog and shorten battery life, I created a special power profile which I use during meetings which puts the maximum processor performance at 45% and STILL it runs OneNote pretty well and have about 3.5 hours of battery life.

One interesting added advantage about all that power is that the integrated Intel HD graphics GPU is DirectX 10 compliant (compliant, doesn't mean it has great performance) And therefore the system is more than capable of running the Windows Phone 7 emulator, that coupled with the availability of a multitouch capable touchscreen means the T580 is an ideal Windows Phone 7 development machine, because with a multitouch device you can debug multitouch code on the Windows Phone 7 emulator itself without the need for an actual device!

The Extras

The T580 comes with a built in 3G modem, evident by the presence of a flat little antennae on the top of the screen.

DSC00826

Which means I could just turn off the normal Wi-Fi radios to save power.

DSC00841

At least I could IF turning of the wireless switch didn't turn off WiFi, Bluetooth AND the 3G modem as well. Luckily through the use of Fujitsu's own Power Saving Utility applet I am able to selectively turn off WiFi and Bluetooth radios only.

Another added surprise is that the T580's SATA hard disk slot is easily accesible.

DSC00840

I immediately splurged on a 64GB SSD to replace the 500GB Hard Disk that it came with so that I don't have to worry about any problems that moving around a spinning hard disk might cause.

Summary

The Fujitsu T580 was not my first choice as a replacement for my Asus T101MT, I was initially looking at the sleek Fujitsu Q550 Slate Tablet PC, but all the enterprise features which Fujitsu put in it pushed the price up to a level which I was not comfortable to get something just to work as my notepad, since that is what the Q550's main responsibility would have been cause its powered by an Intel Atom CPU. Where as with the Fujitsu T580, I have a complete ultra portable development machine to work with.

My usage of Tablet PCs are always compared to the iPad, and people have always mocked the weight and thickness of my convertibles. But it's ok, my Tablet PCs allow me to get actual work done so I don't care too much about that any more.


Sunday, August 07, 2011 12:17:07 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |