# Sunday, 31 March 2013

You could download some free open sourced sample site, or can even hammer out a simple catalogue and ordering system via code if you’re capable of doing so.

But the thing is that after the customer has paid for their order then comes the REAL WORK, it needs to get the PHYSICAL item to be delivered to the customer and that’s not something the website can actually do!

“How hard can it be to package something up and send it to the post office?” You might ask? The answer to this question is determined by the scale of operation. If it was just a housewife trying to sell some things through a blog, then yes it’s a simple matter of her logging on to check on pending orders, pick all the orders HERSELF, pack all the orders into boxes HERSELF, send it to the post office HERSELF, and then update the order status with tracking number HERSELF. Then yes, it’s not complicated at all since it’s all done by ONE person, and only ONE person needs to know about the state of the order.

Now imagine if it’s an online store of a public company, when an order comes in, the Order Processing department would verify the orders, send it to the Storage Warehouse to pick the items in the order deliver it over to the Delivery department for actual packing and delivery then update the delivery status of the order. All this while that this is happening, the Customer Service department must have enough visibility of the process to be able to answer any customer enquiries that pop up.

Different companies and organizations would have different workflows and auditing requirements than the simplified scenario which I listed above, the most important thing to understand is that the work required to build an Online Store Website ISN’T limited to just making a website which the customer can buy stuff from. Depending on who’s running the online store, the backoffice to support the entire process might turn out to be just as complicated as the online store website itself!


Sunday, 31 March 2013 13:37:29 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 22 March 2013

I found this Battery Case for my Nokia Lumia 920 at Brando.com

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Looks like your typical phone jacket style case.

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Just that it adds about 1CM to your phone, and it’s weight is almost doubled as well. Dropping the Lumia 920 into the case is done by extending the top a little.

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So the Lumia 920 can then be snugly plopped into the case.

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The hold is pretty tight but the fact that it is still just plastic probably means that it’ll eventually loosen to a point where it’d be unusable. There’s also a little kick stand in the back of the case which you can use to prop the phone in landscape movie viewing mode.

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You’ll also find the ever important power button and charge indicator at the back.

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Each of the lights represents 25% of battery content, to start charging your phone all you have to do is press the button, the lights turn on and you’re good to go!

Unfortunately probably due to the fact that there’s only a very small battery in the case I’ve only been able to recharge the Lumia 920’s battery for about 50% through the battery case. Also, while recharging it gets QUITE hot since now you have TWO batteries which are undergoing a power exchange close to each other.

Another thing to point out is that the battery case is recharged via a Micro USB port at the bottom of the case, should you wish to charge your phone’s battery before charging the case’s battery, you can press the power button on the case and power will be diverted to the Lumia 920 first. This DOES NOT redirect USB data though, so if you want to connect the phone to your computer you must remove it from the case.

In conclusion, due to the fact that it can only provide 50% back to the Lumia 920 this might not be the extra battery solution you’re looking for. You might want to go for a traditional battery pack which provides larger power content instead. What a battery case DOES give you is the convenience of not needed to have a cable tethering your phone to a battery pack when you need a charge. If that’s what you’re looking for then you can give this battery case a shot.


Friday, 22 March 2013 00:02:30 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 18 March 2013

Well, thanks to my son losing the wireless dongle to my Microsoft Arc Mouse I had to get a new one. After a while I settled on the Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse.

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You might think that I’m crazy to get another mouse with the word TOUCH in it after the fiasco that was the Microsoft Touch Mouse but the Sculpt Touch Mouse ALMOST works as well as a normal mouse even though it has the gimmicky TOUCH word in it.

First and foremost the Sculpt Touch’s THREE mouse buttons are all real physical switches, non of the touch surface nonsense here.

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Where’s the 3rd button you say? In a right move the touch strip / mouse wheel area is a giant clickable button. Kudos to the designers who figured out people prefer to work with real buttons.

Now let’s talk about the touch strip

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The touch strip is basically just a replacement for the mouse wheel. Understand that making the wheel a touch area not only makes it sound cool technologically, it might actually cost LESS since it’d consist of less moving parts and sensors than an actual wheel.

Not only can you perform the obvious vertical scrolling, you can also scroll horizontally. Swiping to scroll horizontally is actually much better than tilting a wheel to scroll horizontally. But of course, whether horizontal scrolling works or not in a program is hit or miss since there’s no standard for that if I remember.

The touch strip also has one simple effective trick that makes it feel like a real mouse wheel. It RUMBLES. I think the proper term is called haptic feedback. Basically, you know how a physical mouse wheel has notches in it so you can feel that you’ve actually hit one of the increments? The subtle rumbling of the Sculpt Touch attempts to simulate that feeling, and it works quite well I must say! You can adjust the subtlety of the rumble through the use of the downloadable Mouse And Keyboard Center software.

With the simulated bumps of a mouse wheel the Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse should have been a perfect Bluetooth mouse if it wasn’t for a simple, crucial flaw.

Sometimes touch isn’t detected properly.

I’m not sure if it’s a sensitivity issue or it’s just because of the simple reason that sweaty finger tips don’t work well on touch surfaces, but there are times where I’d swipe the strip but there’s no rumble, indicating a failure to detect my touch. Irritating enough to not recommend for use in games since you don’t want to not be able to swap out your guns at the wrong time.

Another thing to note is that other than the touch strip and the fact that it has a Bluetrack sensor, there’s nothing special about this mouse. Only has 3 buttons + wheel and that’s it.

I wouldn’t recommend it without reservation, but I also wouldn’t recommend against it.

Update 3rd April 2013: Just realized that sometimes when you click the mouse wheel it’ll also detect a scroll up signal. Which makes it a little annoying!


Monday, 18 March 2013 23:50:11 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 13 March 2013

So I got a Seagate 1TB Backup Plus hard disk to act as a backup for my new PC, I took it out of it’s box and it looks pretty nice and all.

Then I noticed the rear portion where the USB connector was felt a bit loose, I wiggled it a bit and it felt like it could be detached so I yanked it and….

Out pops a USB3 to SATA connector!!! I was shocked, I expected this to be done by some brandless Taiwan company but for Seagate to give us a free direct USB3 connector? I just had to make sure that the connectors weren’t some special special non standard SATA interface so in went a hard disk.

And it work perfectly! So not only did I get a new portable hard disk, I got a USB3 to SATA cable on the side as well! This is really neat, such a long way from Western Digital screwing people for trying to buy cheap 2.5” hard drives!

So if you’re interested, here’s a box shot so you know what to get.


Wednesday, 13 March 2013 22:33:45 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 08 March 2013

The Nokia Cinemagraph program on my Nokia Lumia 920 allows me to make interesting animated GIF files, while interesting GIF files don’t share very well currently. It would have been better if it was a more widely used MP4 file. So once again I break out the old FFMPEG and made a simple front end for the express purpose of converting a GIF file to MP4.

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You’ll need to copy the GIF file to you PC before you can work on it, and before you ask. YES, I realize that it would have been better if this could be done on the phone itself but I haven’t found any thing to help me achieve that yet. Maybe Nokia will realize we’d like to be able to share our animated Cinegraphs through social media easily and built it into the next update.

But for now you can download the program here : M2SimpleGIF2MP4 

Unzip into a folder and run the M2SimpleGIF2MP4.EXE, should be pretty obvious how everything works. And here’s a sample.

Embarrasing Note : So.. after I did all this, then only I figured out where the share function in the Cinemagraph app is hidden, WTF indeed, Nokia should make the button more visible! Smile with tongue out


Friday, 08 March 2013 00:08:10 (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]  | 
# Sunday, 03 March 2013

If you’re a web developer, and you’ve been making web sites for mobile devices you’ve no doubt come across using this META tag to control the width of the browser’s view window.

<meta name="viewport" content="width=800" />

Given the snippet above, the window would be constrained to a pixel width of 800 pixels. If you don’t know how this works, basically it’s like resizing your desktop browser window to 800 pixels, since the user can’t do such a thing on a mobile phone browser you as the content provider would need to do it.

In any case, pretty much all modern mobile web browsers would support the use of this to control the viewport window width. And of course, so does Internet Explorer 10 for Windows Phone 8. Kind of…

It’s not that IE10 doesn’t support the use of the viewport meta tag. But rather it’s limited in what can be supported. From my testing you are able to set the viewport width to these values using the viewport meta tag:- 240 (Will be resized to 320), 320 and 480.

Setting the width to any value other than those mentioned would result in the default width of 1024 to be used, and that’s not what you want!

So? Is all hope lost if you need to set a arbitrary width value for your viewport in IE10? Is it time to add to the #iesux hash tag archive?!

Nope.

While we can’t have full control over the viewport width using the META tag, we can use another method which is through the use of the CSS device adaptation features. Basically you just need to include in your css file somewhere a directive like this.

<style type="text/css">        
    @-ms-viewport {
        width: 550px;
    }
</style>

No no no, put your pitch forks back down this is not a Microsoft only feature, the MS prefix is just to indicator that it’s still a vendor specific extension like how box-shadow and border-radius used to have it. See.. here’re the W3C specifications for this.

Anyway, with this you will be able to set the viewport to any value which you want. Therefore when you want to set a viewport width and make sure it works with all mobile browsers you would make your page contains something like this.

<meta name="viewport" content="width=550" />
<style type="text/css">
@-ms-viewport { width: 550px; }
</style
>

Anyway here are a few more notes regarding this viewport setting.

When doing testing on your Windows Phone with different viewport values, don’t just REFRESH the page whenever you update the viewport value. Usually the phone doesn’t respect the new viewport value when you just do a refresh, best to close the tab and open the URL from a new tab.

Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 (not phone, the actual PC version) in both Metro and Desktop modes will actually respect the @viewport value. Just remember that the Metro IE has it’s zoom level turned up a bit by default. The fact that a PC browser actually respects the @viewport directive could lead to some interesting applications.

Finally I find it funny that the compatibility repository Can I Use doesn’t seem to have an entry for @viewport wonder if it’s because it’d bad to show MS actually being ahead of everyone else in supporting something. Smile with tongue out


Sunday, 03 March 2013 10:55:30 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |