Sunday, May 20, 2012

Protecting your Phone/Laptop/Tablet screens.

This happened to me a couple of days ago when my colleague at work, avenging my act of trying to wipe the dust he loves so much off his keyboard using glass cleaning detergent, ruined the screen protector of my tablet.

This claimed hours of my time spending on searching for a suitable solution. None seemed to work for me, for example:
  • Original protectors from vendors are up to $10 costly.
  • Plastic tapes are very sticky, hard to clear bubbles from and even the largest size isn't for screens larger than 5 inches, and of course nobody would suggest sticking pieces of it.
  • Some people suggested using Transparency papers and God knows why - they don't stick and you are not looking for something you hold with one hand and use the screen from the other hand, if it's a touch screen.
  • Vinyl papers are not easily available, catch scratches too early and need to be changed every few days.
  • A variety of people suggested using the device without protector. No comments on that.
After having tried the above, I finally concluded that there is nothing better than an original protector but the point here is saving money. So here is what I did and you need would too.

A protector consists of 3 layers, the thick one in the middle is the actual protector and has a sticky and a non-sticky side; there is a protection cover on both of its sides which are removed when applying the protector. You are interested in these covers. You'll find that one of them is sticky; you will join them both edge-to-edge. And now you have another sheet of protector ready for your tablet, phone or any other device you may want to protect from scratches and dust. I have used left over of my laptop's protector for my tablet already and still have enough to make another, and a couple for my phone as well.

My tablet after with newly applied protector and below is the left over for future use

When applying the protector, you need to keep a few things in your mind:

  • Use the sharpest scissors or blades you have when cutting the protector to the size of your device.
  • Use tissue paper or credit card to remove bubbles, fingers won't help.
  • Start applying from a side instead of middle of the screen.
  • Put the device on a flat surface and make sure it doesn't move or shake.
  • Cut the protector to the right size before applying.
  • The perfect place to do the whole procedure is your bathroom; turn on hot shower until steam fills the room. This is to avoid dust and wind.
Follow the tips and you won't end up with something like this

I hope this post helps you. Suggestions and feedback is welcome.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Which Smartphone OS should I prefer?

If you have some bucks in your pocket and are planning to exchange them for a Smartphone but first want to know in "plain English" which one to prefer, this is for you.
First, something many of the Smartphone owners don’t know for sure is that a Smartphone is a combination of a mobile phone and a PDA (Personal Data Assistant). Which means you will be using it for keeping your personal data like files, notes, meeting schedules, etc. as well as making calls and sending messages.
The soul of a Smartphone is not the shiny plastic or metallic body but the untouchable, software thing inside, called Operating System, “OS” in short. There is a long list of OS’s makers, out of which very few have succeeded in creating a Smartphone OS for any-kind-of- consumer. But you are still stuck in the middle of them, trying to decide the one that is “the best”. Unfortunately, with this approach, you’ll never be able to get to a fair conclusion. The question important for you is “which one is the best for me?” because every champ in this battlefield has some competitive advantages over others.
Here are some simple questions which you should answer, in order to choose something of “your kind”; but keep in mind that it’s not the Hardware devices we are talking about; you are not choosing a car but a driver with perfect set of skills. This comparison will be between Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Nokia’s Symbian and Apple’s iOS. I’m completely skipping Blackberry’s Blackberry OS here because:
a.  I have very little knowledge of it
b.  It is something designed to target business people primarily, which of course are a small fraction of World’s population
c.  Blackberry's developers at Research in Motion or RIM have made little, (if not none) progress in further development. Their version 10 has been promised for years and hasn't shown up yet.
d.  It is very unlikely that a BB user will switch to anything else (this was once true for iOS too but trends have changed in past 2 years).
So, following are 10 questions you should be asking yourself before buying a Smartphone
1. Are you looking for something cheap?
You should consider Android or a Symbian phone and eliminate iOS from your wish-list. The only limitation here is that Symbian phones are made mostly by Nokia. Technically, this isn’t really a limitation because Nokia has without a doubt been one of the best phone makers of all times, while android is offered by some of the mobile-tech giants like Samsung, HTC and LG, but also by novices like Huawei and Acer, even those cheap Chinese phones.
No, my money bothers me
You are looking for iOS, as Apple is famous of his insane prices but on the other hand, for decades, it has good reputation when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Don’t really care
Any non-iOS phone is your phone to go. You can still think of removing iOS from your list if answers to other questions also suggest so.
2. Do you like Personalization?
Yes with a capital ‘Y’
Only Android phones offer you widest range of Phones with different material, designs, colours, hardware features as well as in-depth OS-level personalization; especially, stuff like live wallpapers and Widgets are not you can ignore.
Not much but there should be some variety
Windows Phone and Symbian also have range of phones with different configurations, especially Windows Phone because it is made by multiple manufacturers. They are modifiable to some extent and change their looks with a variety of themes.
I can live with what’s provided, if it works
iOS is the only Smartphone OS which you have to accept as it is. This does not make it worthless; in fact Apple’s iPhones are customizable with different themes too, elegant in design and have been sold more than all the other Smart phones combined; it is only a matter of choice.
3. How often do you try new stuff?
In ages
Go for iOS and never look back. Symbian is also a cheap alternative.
You need an Android or a Windows Phone, because they will be throwing something new at least once every year.
I try out every new shoe in stores
Android will suit you best. So far, so far Android has launched Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean successfully and looking forward to Key Lime Pie (each version is named after some dessert), where no other Smartphone OS has had these many revisions.
4. What is your Hardware/Software (only OS, no applications) preference?
Best Hardware
You are definitely looking for a Nokia-made phone, as they are the most experienced cell phone makers in all. Nokia makes both Windows Phone and Symbian cell phones, so it is just a matter of other preferences.
Best Software
Android and iOS are equal here with their gigantic app stores containing over 800,000 apps; Windows Phone is still catching up so you might want to drop it for the time being. Symbian is not an option here.
Best combination
If it’s about “not probably the best Hardware” or the “best Software” but “best as a combination”, Apple has done an outstanding job. Second preference should go to Nokia phones with Windows Phone installed.
5. Will you be switching files and different stuff between Phone and PC?
This depends on which Operating System you have on your PC. A Windows user may choose Windows Phone but if you are a Mac OSX user, iOS should be your choice in order to keep your phone and PC synced. If you are fond of keeping your files on Cloud, Android, iOS and Windows have Google Drive, iCloud and Skydrive for you, so if you can stay connected to Internet, you may want to pick any of them. Symbian offers similar with its Ovi suite but people have been complaining about it a lot (including me).
I don’t know yet
Again, based on OS in your PC, you may select an appropriate Smartphone OS.
No. I think a Phone cannot provide that comfort
You can choose between Symbian and Windows Phone; iOS and Android are less preferred.
6. Can you learn to live without Google and its services?
Yes OR I haven’t really tried others
You can give a try to Windows Phone, although it supports other search engines too but Bing and related products like music, games and maps are fully integrated in it, and can be considered as an alternative to Google.
No. I need it for search and email
You should prefer Android or iOS
I’m a Google fan boy
Close your eyes and buy an Android phone. No other mobile OS will ever be more Google – compatible.
7. Are you a computer scientist?
You really want an Android phone, which uses Unix OS for its base and can be modified and customized more than any other Mobile OS. You can still consider Windows Phone and iOS but definitely not a Symbian.
No but I like them
You can consider any, but Symbian is less recommended.
I am allergic of Scientists
Although this is a serious offence on me but my suggestion remains loyal – Don’t buy Android.
8. Are you an app freak?
Hell yeah!
Your number 1 preference should be iOS, which offers over half a million applications for almost everything you can possibly think of doing using your phone. Android too has just about the same amount of apps in its store and growing much faster than iOS, but the number of bloatware or junk apps is also surprisingly high. Windows Phone however, being a novice, has very little to offer, i.e. about a 100 thousand and catching up slowly. Not to forget that many of iOS apps are paid, where Android offers most apps free or have a free version as well as paid one for apps.
I use only what I need and rarely try new stuff
All of the mobile OS’s offer pretty much everything you may need so no debate here.
App! What’s that?
Go for Symbian or Windows Phone as they are loaded with essential apps a common user would use. By the way, app is for Application; they are different programs like games and utilities, which can be added or removed, similar to different software you use in your PC.
9. Do you want fast…?
For common operations a Smartphone should promise to perform, Symbian is the fastest, then comes Windows Phone and then iOS and Android equally.
Don’t care
Replace the OS’s in reverse order as in above if you really don’t care about the speed.
10. Last but not least.How do you intend to use your phone for internet usage?
Everything includes Search, Emails, Chat, Streaming, Social Networks, Newsgroups, Office work, almost everything you usually do on your PC. This is something only Android or iOS can offer best. Windows Phone however, is likely to catch up soon when they build enough applications to support everything.
Limited to Search, Emails, Chat, Streaming and some Social Networking
Apart from Symbian, all others serve good for these.
Very limited use. Prefer using PC
Symbian is your choice. Of course you can use Android, iOS or Windows Phone too but they get bulky and unmanageable with time, while Symbian stays simple and fast.
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Owais Ahmed Hussain