# Thursday, February 25, 2010
DSC06027

So I went to look at some lights in the shape of trees in Shah Alam I-City, I wouldn't exactly say it was a fun experience. First of all when we got there we had the choice to park in 2 places, illegally on the road shoulder of a 4 lane highway opposite the park where said trees are, or in a large deep car park where you need to walk a bit before you can get back topside to where the fun is.

Walking isn't usually a problem but when kids and old people are involved, you could see those kind of people just worn out and sitting on the streets. This was definitely NOT meant to be a tourist spot. There were some parking near the park area.

DSC05902

But if you tried to park in these parking, someone resembling these guys will descend upon you.

DSC05877

And tell you that you can't park in the parking. I wonder why since no one is using the spots at night anyway not like we're taking spots away from the tenants. Then one of them reminded me that "This is private property, you come into my house, you abide by my rules" Well said I-City, I'll remember that.

So what can you see over at I-City? You're going there to see stuff like this.

DSC05903

LED Lights. Tons and tons of LED lights.

DSC05888

Some will be drapped over wireframes to form some interesting shapes.

DSC06075

Then there are some that are just hung around.

DSC05894

Hmmm.. maybe that's why they wanted to keep the parking empty? But then again there're many spots outside of this scenic shot.

And of course you get to see these.

DSC06051

These darn LED trees.

DSC06041

While they might look like real trees decorated with lights

DSC06052

They're not. So we're not looking at some meticulously decorated tree here. These are essentially glorified LAMP POSTS. But I guess it's ok that they are fake trees cause I felt a lot of heat coming from such a huge concentration of lights. (Then again it could have just been the weather.)

Nothing particularly outstanding, but I guess since they don't charge any entrance fee other than having you walk around a lot. And it is closer than FGS from PJ. So... if you have the time... why not?

 DSC06096

The shot you see above contains about 1/3 of what there is to see over there.

Oh.. point to note for all you budding photographers going to all these light shows and trying to take shots of the lights. While a slow shutter speed will help you get nice pictures of lights, if you need to take pictures of people standing in front of lights like this.

DSC05964

Read your manual and figure out how to turn on rear sync flash, or night scene mode. So that you don't end up killing the effect of the lights with your flash and having your significant other go "DEE SLR also cannot take nice light picture one geh?"

Of course, if your camera can manage a high ISO shot. You can retain the multi color lit ambience of the trees.

DSC06056

I'm not teaching you how to take photos here, I'm just letting you know you should familiarize yourself with your gear for tricky shots like this. Lest your partner keep reminding you that your expensive camera can't take nice pictures.

DSC05997

OK.... I think I'm ready to go to FGS Dong Zen on Friday night then.


Thursday, February 25, 2010 1:30:55 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I had one hell of a night yesterday, first of all at around 1AM I saw a very pissed off wife run outside the house. For those unfamiliar with Chinese customs 22nd Feb was the night where some special prayers would be done by some chinese.

And someone in our neighbourhood were launching thunderclaps NON STOP from 12AM to 1AM, and everytime one of those thing’s screeched through the sky, it’d wake up the dog behind my house, and more importantly it’d woke up my wife. So instead of letting her go postal on the people I decided to take it upon myself to find the source of the disturbance and take care of it.

I found the source which was a house a couple of blocks away from mine, there were 2 kids constantly setting off the things while their parents looked on. I appealed to their community spirit and asked them to stop. Luckily they complied, and I went back home to sleep.

Until I heard the dogs barking and someone banging on the window of the side room where my maid used to sleep in. Through the tinted kitchen window I saw a man walking around the back of the house. My father scared him off by screaming at him from behind the window, at which point I ran outside to see if he dropped anything and I found this in the drain.

IMAG0176

At first I thought this was a condom wrapper from afar, but it turns out to be chewing tobacco according to friends who can read the words. Now I’m just afraid if the person will return and try to take any action against our house since we pissed him off..

sigh…


Tuesday, February 23, 2010 12:17:43 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, February 20, 2010

There are many situations when you need to move files between machines, you could either create a network fileshare if that's possible. Or you could shuttle the files using a USB drive if there's one available. I just acquired this little thing cause I wanted to see how it worked.

DSC05844

This is Vantec's ezShare Pro device, on the box it states that you could copy files between machines without having to setup anything. I was interested to see how it works so I thought to myself why not?

So... how does it work? Basically you plug the device into one computer, and then you plug a normal USB cable into the other end and then into another computer. Both systems will then register a new CD drive attached to it, then you run the program on said 'CD' on BOTH MACHINES and that gives you an explorer interface to drag files between the machines.

Simple? Yes. Can be done in other ways? Yup. But hell... might come in handy one of these days..


Saturday, February 20, 2010 10:53:56 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, February 18, 2010

So I’ve talked about Small Basic before, and they’ve just released a new version. So what’s so cool about this nice little tool for learning basic? Well it’s about how you can now show code to people. For example, let’s say I have a simple turtle program and while I can show you the code here.

start:
GraphicsWindow.Clear()
Turtle.MoveTo (0,0)
Turtle.MoveTo(GraphicsWindow.Width,0)
Turtle.MoveTo(0,GraphicsWindow.Height)
Turtle.MoveTo(GraphicsWindow.width,graphicswindow.Height)
Turtle.MoveTo(0,0)
Goto start

Then start explaining what the code does or… if you have already downloaded Small Basic, I could give you the Small Basic code of TRM169

Or… you can just SEE THE CODE IN ACTION with the brand new RUN IN SILVERLIGHT publishing capability and you can actually see how the code runs!

And that is just so farking cool! Unbelievably useful for showing people how code samples would work! Think there are still some bugs though, but not a bad start.


Thursday, February 18, 2010 8:50:55 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2 widely used touchscreen technologies, resistive and capacitive. Both are essentially touchscreens which allows you to interact with the system with your fingers but what about when you want to WRITE on them? Like when I want to scribble ideas in OneNote? That's when I realized how different they work in that aspect. Check out the video.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010 4:27:31 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

So... it's was just announced... Windows Phone 7 Series it is... And after the whirlwind of a coming out party. Here are my initial thoughts on the system. And I'm gonna count up how many shots of alcohol I'm gonna take after this. Go watch the coming out video first if you haven't done so yet.

The Zune UI -

peoplehub

It sure looks like something you'll either love or hate with all the cropped title bars and stuff. My main worry is that with this spanking new UI. Backward compatibility with previous apps is damn near IMPOSSIBLE to achieve, in fact if you watch the video webcast (which they say they'll put an archived version up later) They said that they didn't want to splinter the UI experience anymore, ie. HTC's touchflow, Sony's XPanels, Samsung's shitty Omnia menu, etc. etc. Putting backward compatibility for WM apps will end up like putting backward compatibility for when Pocket PC's moved the start menu from the bottom to the top. The other telltale sign that backward compatibility is dead is the catchphrase that appears in the preview video that it's a brand NEW BEGINNING (or something like that)

While losing backward compatibility is a VERY BIG ISSUE, starting fresh with a new system architecture that knows how to deal with programs whose developers didn't take much effort into respecting the rules of the system will be good for the system in the long run. And so I shall drink to all the great Windows Mobile programs which *might* be lost in this transition (more dev info coming during the Mix conference) And hope that future developers can take better charge of their code, less the OS do it for them.

Is there multitasking or not? - This is a big question that was not answered, but just hinted by the preview video. The video poked fun at the fact that other phones *cough* iPhone *cough* let's you do one thing at a time, stare at one chunk of info at a time and no way to interact with it. This is because when you allow multitasking in a device with system constraints like a phone, a program is liable to kill and collapse the device, ie. Opening WAAAAYY too many heavy webpages in your web browsers on your phone. But then... the preview video kept talking about how we'll be able to have Live In Motion with the new Windows Phone 7 Series. So what kind of multitasking support would we as developers will get? Here's my theory, observe the Start screen (ie the new Today screen).

startscreen

Now... during the webcast, a few things can be observed. The Live Tiles as they are called, were refered to as  SUPER ICONS that deliver up to date information relevant to that tile. Tapping on the tile brings you over to the relevant Hub. My theory is that the Tiles are just like the Today screen plugins in Windows Mobile, and these are the ONLY THINGS that actually multitask, so programmers will be encouraged to split their apps into services and UI portions to retrieve data and present them to the user. Of course this model would only apply for task based apps like Messenger, Twitter, etc. etc. Doesn't answer how a new alternative music player would work to play music in the background.

Another interesting thing which I noticed was that, no one mentioned anything about an application launching screen. While this Start Screen sure looks like it could be it, I shudder to think what happens when you've installed enough tiles to make the user have to run a finger marathon to get to what they need. Oh wait... the iPhone already does that!

It's an interesting concept, and I guess I'll know the answer when Mix arrives.

What is the developer experience? - For me and countless other developers out there, this is the question that still remains unanswered, can we still write apps without paying additional licensing fees? can we deploy apps without using marketplace? WHAT do we write apps with? All these questions will have to wait till Mix to be answered. But I have my theories. While using .Net to write apps is practically a no brainer, the main question here is... WHAT DO WE DEVELOPE THE UI WITH? A typical WinForms app would clash HORRIBLY with the new Zune UI, not to mention it'd be crazy to try and implement an animation engine for elements and such. If only Microsoft had some sort of framework for presenting and animating elements through a storyboard, if only Microsoft had some form of runtime that can be used to sandbox applications and yet still provide the flexibility of a rich presentation experience along with the core .Net familiarity to the developers...

Oh wait... there is! Microsoft has both Windows Presentation Framework and Silverlight which can be used as a basis of creating rich animated applications. And the base specification of the device is supposed to be able to support all this now!

I'll drink myself silly if there's no way to write .Net code on a Windows Phone 7 Series, and it just wouldn't make sense for MS to have to make yet another framework for rich applications which doesn't inherit from WPF or Silverlight.

We'll find out at Mix I guess.

There is one thing to note though, with all the talk about games, and Live integration.  And the fact that the hardware platform and specifications have been standardized. It's not too hard to picture XNA support to be in Windows Phone 7.

The hardware platform - The Windows Phone 7 Series (Hey.. that grammar is just wrong!) device platform has a standardized specification. So everyone will have a WVGA screen (that's 480x800 I guess, hey.. I think I know what kind of upgrade the iPhone 4G will get!) At least a said high spec'ed process and if I didn't hear correctly... FOUR POINT MULTITOUCH? I personally don't get the idea of multitouch as UI gestures, cause they're usually not intuitive and they generally means you can't do the operation with one hand which is important on a phone. But having 2 point multitouch helped the iPhone gaming industry since you could have a virtual joypad where you could move and press ONE button at a time. But FOUR points? Is that really necessary? Can you actually fit four fingers on a screen and STILL see what you're doing?

The 3 buttons on a Windows Phone 7 device will be Start, Back and Search. while I understand why the first 2 buttons are there, the Search button..... well I guess we'll see how that works out. I guess it's more useful than a call button which only searches for your contacts, but can it guarantee that I can find a person to call as fast as on my Windows Mobile phone right now and not as inefficient as the iPhone dialer?

Right now the virtual keyboard looks like a copy of the iPhone one, and I didn't see it in use enough to notice if it shares the same deficiencies (ie. letter's don't change to indicate CASING state). There're more screen pixels, why can't a better keyboard be made?

I'm glad that Microsoft isn't making the phone, since if Microsoft IS making the phone it'll most likely mean WE'LL NEVER GET IT IN MALAYSIA, since that'll mean they need to have an entire support for the device over here. They can't even do that for a game console or music player, how could they do it for a phone even if the target market is larger? I'll drink to that.

The integration with the Zune software is nice and everything, but if it means that I can't use my phone immediately upon purchase and have to activate it using the Zune software ala the iPod/iPhone, that would NOT be nice!

Ok... let's wait for Mix and see what else I can rant on, and see wheter I'm right about certain things.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010 12:35:12 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, February 14, 2010

2009 was supposed to be the year we see cheap Tablet PCs running with Netbook hardware, but Asus become the only one who actually 'shipped' a netbook Tablet PC. But then again shipped might be too strong a word since it was almost impossible to actually find one on the shelves here.

But now there's a Tablet PC netbook that is widely available. And it feels pretty good to use too.

DSC05694

This is the Lenovo S10-3T Convertible Tablet PC Netbook. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it means you can take the notebook from this position.

DSC05709

Give the screen a little twist...

DSC05721

And you end up with the screen looking at the other side.

DSC05722

At which point you can plop it down and you've got...

DSC05727

The iPad!!!!! Seriously people, this thing has the same screen dimensions and resolution as the upcoming Apple iPad but of course is an actual PC. While the thing isn't light weighing in at a bit more than 1 kilograms, it's a great example of things to come if this happens to be the year where touchable PCs drop to an affordable price point ala the original idea of the Widnows Tablet PC concept.

Oh for those of you who are familiar with Tablet PCs, let me answer a few questions that you might have. The screen hinge is TIGHT it basically snaps into position at the 0 and 180 degree points and once it locks, it's gonna STAY there! I wonder if this friction will be there throughout the thing's lifespan?

Also another interesting tidbit for the Tablet PC enthusiasts, so... which direction does the screen rotate? Clockwise or counter clockwise? The writing on the hinge gives the answer.

DSC05713

It can rotate 180 degrees in BOTH directions, it can't rotate 360 degrees which means you have to return it back to tablet mode with the same path you took getting there. This was unexpected on this sub RM2000 (~USD600) tablet pc.

Another thing that surprised me was how they designed the hinge and battery, normally tablet pc batteries are in front cause they need to make space for the hinge assembly, so imagine my surprise when the bottom of the S10-3T sans battery looked like this.

lenovoback

The hinge assembly is staring at me right in the face! That would mean that the battery would need to have a hole in the middle. And it does have a little valley in the middle of the battery that slides into and covers the hinge assembly.

s10batt

Other interesting things of note is that this has the typical assortment of netbook ports, which means.

DSC05702

On the right from right to left, analog VGA, 2 USB ports, a hole for where the TV antennae would go in another model, and the bluetooth/wireless switch.

DSC05701

On the left from left to right, the power jack, network jack, air vent (yes, it get's pretty loud if you get the CPU worked up enough that the fan needs to engage at full strength) and the 2 audio jacks.

DSC05730

On the front you'll find a rubber cover blocking an SD card slot, which unfortunately is NOT ABLE to close when there's a card in the slot. On the other end of the front panel you'll find the builtin mic, now before you say "That feels like a bad place for a builtin mic!" IT IS! Either the placement is bad, or the mic just plain sucks but it's TERRIBLE as a Skype communicator, I think you'd have to speak directly into it for it to work properly. Pickup is pretty poor when you just try to talk while typing on the keyboard.

Speaking of the keyboard.

DSC05711

It's a very nice keyboard! Almost feels like they didn't need to compromise on the key size at all! But note that they DID compromise on the touch pad, it's one of those new fangled ones where the buttons are embedded in the lower left and right corners of the pad. Which means if you don't install the actual Synaptic touchpad drivers the touchpad will still register mouse movement when you move your finger in those areas when you try to click the mouse. NOT something you want to happen!

DSC05715

The lower left corner of the screen has a vertical strip of 3 shortcut buttons, from the bottom up they are the mute button (it's almost as if they know people have to need to quickly mute the volume of whatever they're watching!) The rotate display button (There's also an app which rotates the display based on the orientation of the device for you people who love auto orientation rotation, I HATE IT!) And... I have no idea what the 3rd button does...  I think it should fire up the Lenovo launcher program but I couldn't reinstall that when I installed Windows 7 Ultimate on the thing. So the button does nothing right now.

DSC05714

The power button is on the lower right corner of the screen, along with a switch for you to lock the power button so you don't accidentally turn off the machine when holding the thing in tablet mode.

DSC05716

The camera is off center on the upper right corner of the screen, why do people feel that this is a good place to put it? Or is it there only because there's no where else for it to go?

And now let's talk about how well it works!

So, after all the show and tell pictures let's talk about how does it perform. Well, first of all the S10-3T runs the new Intel Atom N450 aka Pineview aka Cheaper, Faster processor than previous Atoms. It IS spiffer than any other N270 or N280 netbook I've seen. Most evident when running Plants vs Zombies, my benchmark for netbook performance. It can handle your Flash games a bit better than the old processors but don't expect any miracles on the video processing side.

Speaking of which, WITHOUT the GMA 500 graphics that was in previous Z series Atoms, kiss hardware H.264 decoding good bye! There's no way to watch 720P video on this thing.... unless you go get a proper software video decoder such as CoreCodec's CoreAVC with it, you CAN actually watch most 720P video... and not do anything else which you're doing so. Also... if you do watch such high bitrate videos, you'd be torturing the CPU a lot so expect the expected battery life to drop from 4 hours to... 2 hours?

The base configuration for the S10-3T that I've got came with 1GB of RAM, but the RAM slot (and hard disk it seems, yeah it's a normal spindle drive and not an SSD.) is easily accesible and can be swapped out for a 2GB, I just wonder why they went and stuck a warranty serial sticker over the RAM chip if they expected users to change it?

The 2 point multitouch capacitive touchscreen works as advertised, and with Windows 7's touch enhancements it's VERY possible to control and use your apps in Tablet form without too many problems. (I'm gonna be recording some video about the Windows 7 touch features soon to show this off) Oh.. there doesn't seem to be any palm rejection on the screen, I've just bought a stylus for use on capacitive screens, but I'm having an interesting experience with that and it's in need of another report.

But here comes the biggest problem!

While Windows 7 makes the system fully usable using only touch operations, the touch features are only available in HOME PREMIUM AND ABOVE. In order to keep the entry price level low, the S10-3T ships with Windows 7 Starter Edition. On ANY ORDINARY Netbook, that would be enough to use the system efficiently. But on a touch equipped system like the S10-3T you WANT Windows 7 Home Premium and above on it if you really want to take full advantage of your touch screen. (Lenovo did include apps that use the multitouch functionality even in Windows 7 Starter, but that's ONLY in specific applications, nothing beats having actual OS support for multitouch) So if you do pick up the Starter Edition unit (which seems to be the only one available here in Malaysia right now) Do pick up a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium so you can upgrade to it and make full use of your hardware.

So what's the verdict?

This is gonna be much easier to do than the Fujitsu UH900... If you're looking for a Tablet PC Netbook right NOW? This would make a good one, it has multi touch, relatively cheap, good performance, just do remember to iupgrade up Windows 7 Home Premium at least! If you're looking for a Pineview Netbook but are not particularly interested in touch features, plenty of other cheaper ones out there.

I'm still shocked at the quality of the device vs the price, I'm glad we've come to this point for the Tablet PCs, the point where a convertible Tablet PC is actually affordable and without a high premium compared to normal laptops. Hopefully this will spur the industry to make better computers to write on now!


Sunday, February 14, 2010 12:05:21 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, February 13, 2010

See.. I'm not the only one that's an influence to WZ's gaming activities.

DSC05743


Saturday, February 13, 2010 10:26:24 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

So I’ve been playing Bioshock 2 for a while and while I’m enjoying the game I feel that there’s something I just HAVE to get off my chest.

For a big daddy, I die WAY TOO EASILY! All it takes to kill me is about 3 solid clubs to the head and I’m back in the Vitachamber. While you might say that it’s because you play as the very first big daddy therefore as a prototype you’re weaker and such but let me remind you that you’re still wearing the Big Daddy Deep Sea Diving Helmet. Which I’d think would be able to withstand a few blows from lead pipes.

And for that matter, how the heck does the characther eat, drink and smoke all the health items? Is there a feeding tube somewhere which we can’t see?

The final rant is that even though we can swing a drill the size of our helmet like a simple bat, this particular act would dictate that Big Daddy is stronger than the average man. And yet when would smash the drill into a splicer’s head we have to club them a couple of times compared to just once and seeing their head’s explode due to being bludgeoned by a heavy object?

I find there can only be one reason for this to happen, why the splicers can withstand so much pounding to their heads by a big giant drill.

They’ve got BETTER HELMETS! I hope I can find out who their supplier is.


Saturday, February 13, 2010 2:26:12 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I had a dream, of having a fully capable Windows PC that could fit in my pocket. The ViliV S5 answered the call, but ultimately poor driver support for Windows 7 means that I have to let it good and continue my search.

Good bye S5, I hope you are of more use to your new owner.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010 2:14:34 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

Well, after the scathing review and disrecommendation I gave the Fujitsu UH900 I've figured out what causes the screen to tint and how it can be dealt with. And also how to actually calibrate the touch screen to get it to work properly. Please check back the review again for these updates.

The disrecommendation has thus been changed to the usual "You can get it if you like it" recommendation that I usually give.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010 10:36:52 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, February 04, 2010

I've had experience with a few Fujitsu Tablet PCs, first with the Fujitsu P1610 then with the Fujitsu U1010 I found those two Tablet PCs to be EXCELLENT representations of Tablet PCs of their time. Then, recently I also got the ViliV S5 it's a great sturdy little device, but I was ultimately disappointed with the lack of Touch driver support from ViliV. And so... based on only the mere thought that Fujitsu has been making great Tablet PCs since way back. I came to acquire the Fujitsu UH900.

DSC05658

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Fujitsu's latest device, once again like in my P1610 post just plain seeing the device doesn't fully reveal the size of the UH900. Well folks, it's roughly the size of a book.

DSC05674

I guess that still doesn't help too much since books themselves don't exactly have a standard size.

DSC05675

So let's go with a more traditional form of measurement then.

DSC05676

So it's able 8 inches wide, and about 5 inches deep. It's roughly 1 inch high. So once again I've bought a pretty small notebook yet again. But of course there's more than size that's special about the UH900.

DSC05659

The UH900 has very limited space for ports, and on the front of it you find (from left to right) a USB port, the speaker grill (normal strength, would never pass the chinese wedding dinner test like most notebooks), then you have the multi IO connector which contains the video and network ports, another USB port later and you'll find a simple SD slot, I haven't tried it yet but I'm gonna guess it's an SDHC slot.

DSC05660

On the right is where you find the wireless toggle switch which controls both the wireless network radio and the bluetooth radio. And at the end is the power plug. The little grill in the middle seems to be a ventilation grill. I don't hear another sound coming from it so it couldn't be another speaker grill

DSC05662

On the left you find the earphone plug and yet another ventilation grill. The rear of the device is completely devoid of anything except for a larger ventilation grill.

DSC05655 

Some of you might have noticed that I haven't mentioned the battery yet even though I've covered most of the angles. That's because the whole BOTTOM of the UH900 IS the battery. Removing the battery practically reveals the guts of the machine.

uh900bottom

Definitely the first time I saw a notebook's fan without opening it up. And for those of you celebrating the sight of a SIM Card slot... well that's the problem, it seems like it's JUST the SIM Card slot, I don't see any radio in the device manager... hmmmm... maybe it's hidden in the BIOS setting. Give me 5 minutes... Nope no setting to enable a GSM 3G modem in the BIOS although I did find something interesting, first of all there's a setting to set the touch screen to Tablet or Touch Panel mode. And secondly was an option to enable Virtualization Technology? Does the Atom Z530 support hardware virtualization?

uhbatt

The battery while having a wide footprint is only about half an inch thick.. And because of the small size it's battery capacity is 7.2V at 1800mAh. For those of you who don't understand battery specs, let me give it to you in plain english. IT's a SMALL BATTERY!

DSC05664

Open up the UH900 and you'll find the 5.6" screen sitting in between an EXTREMLY thick bezel. This thick bezel will probably get criticized a lot, but come on people! It's THIN enough already, some components had to go somewhere! Besides, with the wider footprint means you get a keyboard with more keys. And because I know some people are into this, here's a nice big closeup of the keyboard.

DSC05665

The keyboard is sufficient enough for me, but then again my hands are small and I've also cut my teeth on the U1010 already so I guess if I can live with that I can live with this.

DSC05668

The trackpoint of the previous Fujitsu U series convertible Tablets makes a come back sitting in the top right corner of the keyboard, on the top left are the mouse buttons. For those of you who are dismissing the weird placement of the trackpoint and buttons, realize that this is so that you can hold this thing like a book in your hands and still work the mouse. And with a weight of less than 500grams you'll be carrying this around a lot.

The power button is in the middle.

At this point when I was unpacking the device I was happily in love, with the sleek exterior (yes... glossy=fingerprint magnet), lightweight feel (though the UH900 is so light and thin around the silver trim area, it creaks a bit when you apply pressure), the nice wider keyboard, then I pressed the power button.

That's when IT greeted me. The screen came alive and I was greeted with the familiar Fujitsu logo BIOS bootup screen, only thing that wasn't familiar was this faint YELLOW tint. At first I freaked out because I thought there was something wrong with the screen, but then I remember what I read from the UH900's feature page. The UH900 is said to be SUNLIGHT READABLE, and true enough when I took it out in the sun the screen is visible with even at 30% brightness. Anyone who's used notebooks outdoors will tell you that you need a BRIGHT screen to fight the brightness of the sun, but the UH900 has the BEST SUNLIGHT READABLE SCREEN I'VE EVER SEEN. (Will snap a pic of this later)

But making the screen sunlight readable must have came at the price of getting a yellow tint on the display, this is most likely caused by the fact that the screen is being lit differently than the traditional backlighting that makes it sunlight readable. I would probably thought that my screen was defective and I should return it to the shop but check out what wallpaper Fujitsu used as default.

DSC05688

The overall yellowish tinge of the background wallpaper almost hides the tint of the screen, it's as if someone decided to use this wallpaper as default to hide the fact that the screen doesn't appear fully white. (Note, I've tried and I tried and I tried, but I was unable to get a picture that shows the tint of the screen, maybe a video might work better later)

EDIT : After using the UH900 for a while more I noticed that the screen seems to need to a 'warm up' cycle. The longer and brighter the screen is on the faster it'll 'warm up' It seems to be the easiest to see the effect by running the screen at MAXIMUM brightness for about 10~20 minutes? Once it has warmed up the backlighting seems to be more balance, while the yellow tint is not visible anymore the screen does look a bit dull... but at least doesn't look like it's looking through a sepia filter.

Slightly disappointed by the screen quality, but luckily my profession doesn't require me to have perfect white balance on my screen. I continued to play with my new toy. Did I mention that the Fujitsu UH900 has a MULTI TOUCH Touchscreen? This is confirmed by a quick look at the computer properties under Windows 7.

And this I thought to myself, THIS IS WHY I SHOULD HAVE STUCK WITH FUJITSU, cause they've had experience building tablet PCs, and they've been putting the RIGHT drivers in them (Shame on you ViliV!)

The touch screen works as nice as the one in the U1010, people would probably want to ask right now is it a hard touch or a soft touch screen. I don't know how to answer that since no one actually pointed out to me what is a hard touch and what is a soft touch before. I can tell you that it responds pretty nicely when I tap it with my fingernail.

That's right.. my fingerNAIL, those of you familiar with touchscreens knows what that means. The UH900 is not using a capacitive touch screen, it's using a resistive one. So it's a multi touch resistive touchscreen. Those of you hoping for a nice glass top on the UH900 can start groaning now. Personally I haven't found much difference between the 2, but then again I've been using touchscreens for a while now so I pretty much know how to get the best use out of it.

So I started testing it out and I noticed the first problem with the screen, it has a sort of sensitivity void around the top and bottom edges. Let me illustrate with a picture.

uh900touch

Basically it's VERY VERY VERY hard to touch the center top and bottom edges, I've tried recalibrating the heck out of the touchscreen just to be sure it wasn't me but... no dice. it's REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to touch those 2 areas. Fujitsu DROPPED THE BALL ON THE UH900'S TOUCH SCREEN! I couldn't believe it, and it really hurts me to type the last sentence. And then there's another problem that I encountered. It's regarding the 2 columns of touch buttons on either side of the screen bezel.

DSC05678

They just don't want to work for me! I tried pressing the square, pressing the icon, but nothing happens! Pressing the square works as if I tapped the extreme left corner of the screen but that's it.. nothing happens. I've checked the Fujitsu program for configuring the buttons but they're all setup properly! I just couldn't believe how Fujitsu could ship drivers that didn't work properly!

EDIT : Hey I fixed this! After I published this I remembered that Fujitsu has it's OWN tablet calibration software, so I had to go into the Control Panel, View by Small Icons, then find the Tablet Calibration item. Remember we're looking for the Fujitsu one, not Windows one. Perform calibration using Fujitsu's program, then go to Windows own Tablet PC Settings control panel applet, RESET calibration data first, THEN Calibrate again. Now I can hit the side buttons as well as the screen edges better. Still pissed that Fujitsu didn't tie the calibration in properly though.

And on another note, which I think is related to the sunlight readable screen again. If you look at the screen at a proper angle, you can see the grid wires that make up the touchscreen.

Some additional notes about the touchscreen for those of you who are interested. You cannot open up the screen to be fully flat on the table, so if you choose to write with the included stylus strap (there's no stylus silo in the device) or any other stylus (I'm planning to nab a nice DS stylus myself) you'll have to support the screen with one hand, it's not too hard since the screen is small and light. There doesn't seem to be any sort of palm rejection, not even the type that was present on the U1010 which ignored large pressure areas.

I can't really answer performance and battery life questions yet but from first impressions. Yes, the battery does seem like it'll only give you about 2 hours of active time, the only advantage here is that because the screen works well in sunlight, there are situations where you can actually turn down the brightness more than a normal notebook. On that note... do that many people use notebooks in the sun to make it a feature? Here in Malaysia doing so would mean you're basically frying yourself under the sun.

Performance wise, the 1.6Ghz Atom processor coupled with the 2GB of RAM helps to give it that extra kick when using the system. Also helps that the UH900 ships with a 64GB SSD drive. (drive performance index under Windows 7 is 5.9) The UH900 is using the GMA500 for graphics display so while it doesn't do miracles for games playing a 720P H.264 encoded video using Windows Media Player is PERFECTLY POSSIBLE due to the fact that it knows how to access the GMA500 for hardware decoding of the video stream. 1080P... not so possible.

And that's it for my initial impressions, just let me know if you'd like to ask me any more questions about the device. But first let me answer that nagging "Should I get one?" question.

NO WAY IN HELL! I'm serious disappointed at Fujitsu about this, I can live with the yellow tint on the screen, I can deal with the relatively short battery life (compared to the S5) but what I just can't figure out is why the heck does the touchscreen has that sensitivity problem on the screen edges. This is Fujitsu we're talking about here, the company that has been making Windows Tablet PCs since the VERY BEGINNING. I TRUSTED THEM to give me a great touch screen experience, I trusted them so much I bought the UH900 WITHOUT ANY PREVIOUS EXPRIENCE WITH IT (yes, I'm a stupid consumer, should have done more research, bla bla bla)

If I could return it, I WOULD! Then I'll go get myself the U2020 or maybe even just a new battery for my U1010. Ok, hope you've enjoyed my little short story about the Fujitsu UH900. ;)

EDIT : So... now that I've sorted out both the touchscreen and yellow tint issues of the UH900 I'd change my recommendation from No Way In Hell to You can buy it if you feel like it. Try it out, if you like the form factor and are comfortable with the price. Go ahead. Just be aware of how to recalibrate the screen and how the screen color changes while in use.


Thursday, February 04, 2010 11:10:21 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, February 03, 2010

And here I go again… a bit earlier than I expected.

image


Wednesday, February 03, 2010 2:27:41 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |