My New Desktop Setup

Lately I didn’t have much to write on technology, but I had upgraded my own desktop setup.  It was more of like going from I didn’t care to I really did care, and you’ll know what I mean by looking at the pictures below.

The story goes, I had the old desktop setup since a year and half ago or so.  When I first bought my desktop PC, I had no proper table for the monitor.  Instead of buying a proper PC table, I decided to use whatever available.  At first, I was able to place the keyboard and a small monitor on a small dressing table which had been an ad hoc storage space for junks.  Unfortunately, the small monitor I had went bad, and so I bought a 27″ monitor.  The 27″ monitor had a huge base, and so I could not place the keyboard and the monitor on the same dressing table.  As usual, I used whatever was available and so I brought up a removable part of a leather couch downstair into my room, placed the 27″ monitor’s box (i.e., the box which packaged the monitor) on top of it, and lastly the keyboard would go on top of the 27″ monitor’s box.  When playing video games that required me to hammer my keyboard rapidly, the keyboard setup portion would slide a little.  Finally, I had it with a ghetto setup, I decided to shop for a PC table.  I found one on Amazon, and the rest was history.

The table I purchased from Amazon was Modern Glass & Steel Frame Computer Desk.  Amazon delivered it fast, but when I opened it, I did find few scratches on few parts that made up the lower portion of the table.  Luckily, the glass top was fine and had not a single scratch.  All the parts were available, but few screws were already screwed into some parts.  Since few screws had already attached to the some parts I thought the table had missing screws as  the manual told me to look for a bag with part label for such screws.  Luckily, when I took a look at the parts and the screws were all there.  The manual itself was with brief explanation and images were available in each step to demonstrate which part should go with what.  The whole table was easy to put together except for the part where I had to put together the keyboard pull-out attachment.  The manual did not explain how to put together the keyboard pull-out attachment all that well at all, and the pictures were confusing.  Nonetheless, I was able to figure out on my own how to do so.  (The manual has a warning which tells you not to use solvent to clean parts of the table, but you need to use water and soap to clean all parts of the table.)

I have to say, I’m very satisfied with the table since I purchased it for only $120 (i.e., rounding up the number and not to be exact).  The table is cheap but it has the look of being expensive.  I tested my sister and asked her how much she would think I had paid for the table, and she said around $200 or more.  I smiled and said no way, it was only $120.  I loved that my sister thought the table was cost more than its actual value (i.e., being relative since when I bought it was only $120). So to end this blog post, I’m happy to have a new desktop setup which had cost me only around $120.  Oh, you can’t even find the scratches on the lower portion of the table unless you craw under the table and know where to look for them.

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Sometimes, I’m Very Whiny! This Time, It’s About Where The Heck Is My Lumia 900…

Nokia Lumia 900, powered by Windows Phone

Nokia Lumia 900, powered by Windows Phone (Photo credit: gui ambros)

I know I should not be whining too much, but I was infuriated.  I ordered Lumia 900 through Amazon Wireless, and the order went through as Amazon thought AT&T had approved my phone upgrade.  The order was hard to pass since I could upgrade to Lumia 900 from iPhone 4 (not the 4s) for only $20 (actually it would be $56 since one time activation fee from AT&T would be $36).  I was so happy and went on with my day as I so expected to be able to play with Lumia 900.

At first I was not even thought about having a phone upgrade since I was pretty happy with iPhone 4.  Unfortunately, it turned out that my iPhone 4 refused to charge its battery for couple times already.  Then there was this feeling that I was bored with iPhone ecosystem.  I had too many useless apps on iPhone that I would never even have time to play around with.  Furthermore, I rarely used my iPhone for anything else besides talking on the phone for obvious reasons, listening to music through Spotify, playing chess in spare time (although I’m really bad at chess), and using Flipboard to catch up with technology news.  The decision to upgrade to Lumia 900 was easy.  First, it was cheap as in $20 upgrade.  Second, Lumia 900 could do all the things I had described that I would do with an iPhone.  Third, Lumia 900 is a Windows Phone, therefore it’s radically different than iPhone and Android phones in term of operating system.  Fourth, Lumia 900 looks gorgeous.  Fifth, Microsoft’s mantra for Windows Phone is to be less app centric and more of getting things done.  Well, the last point could be a propaganda from Microsoft, but I see it as something I have been doing already anyway… playing less with senseless apps and stick with what matter most.

So, I was so expected to see Lumia 900 to arrive at my front door.  A day later, Amazon sent me an email and informed me that they had redirected my would be gorgeous Lumia 900 back to their base of operation, because something had went wrong with my phone upgrade approval.  In their email, Amazon told me to call AT&T up for further explanation.  I called AT&T, and they told me that Amazon might have ran out of Lumia 900 phone.  I was amazed!  Could it be Lumia 900 was this hot?  On a second thought, could it be Lumia 900 wasn’t a sure deal for everyone, therefore they would not stock enough of these phones and had none in stock when the supply of these phones ran out?  Eagerly, I rang Amazon up since AT&T told me Amazon might be able to help me with straightening my problem out since I went through Amazon the first time around for the phone upgrade.  Amazon told me that AT&T had sent them a message which to deny my phone upgrade plan.  Nonetheless, I spoke with AT&T earlier and they told me that my phone upgrade plan was already approved and all I had to do was to activate the phone when I could receive the phone.  I told that to Amazon, but all Amazon could do was to reverse my upgrade plan so I would have my original phone plan again.

I know, my original phone plan was a great phone plan as it had unlimited data option.  My iPhone 4 was grandfathered in with earlier phone contract.  Still, I was prepare to let go the unlimited data option for a radical change to Windows Phone ecosystem.  So, in the end, I have to wait and wait and wait in order for anything to happen.  I wasn’t impatient but as a customer I was expecting a lot more from the two giant corporations.  I’m curious how came these two gigantic corporations had failed to communicate with each other and let the customer to experience a non-smooth transition in regarding to phone upgrade?

I’m not really an impatient person, but I guess once you got used to super fast deliveries from Amazon you would expect too much from them in the end.  Amazon had never failed to deliver anything to me before, but this is the first.  Perhaps, once in a while, there will be the first of something which begs me to have an experience of.  Amazon was my first choice of ordering smart phone since it would deliver products amazingly fast, and it would be cheaper for me to order Lumia 900 through Amazon.  I talked to AT&T and they told me AT&T could only sell me Lumia 900 at $90 something (I forgot the exact amount, but it was $90 something).  The choice of ordering Lumia 900 through which party was obvious.  Now, I’m crossing my fingers that they would reverse my phone plan correctly so I could once again begin the upgrade process… again… sigh!!!

Do you have a bad experience of ordering a new or upgrade or replacement smart phone with Amazon and AT&T before?  Why don’t you share your story with everyone in the comment section, right beneath this post of mine.  So, go ahead and post yours OK?

Amazon Cloud Drive App Won’t Work On Mac OS X If Mac Users Have Disabled Java, Also Supports Windows

So, I notice Amazon has just launched Amazon Cloud Drive Desktop app so Amazon users will be able to upload their digital files to Amazon Cloud Drive through their computers without the need of opening up a web browser.  Usually, Amazon users have to visit Amazon Cloud Drive’s web destination before they can upload their digital files.  Unfortunately, I’m unable to test out Amazon Cloud Drive Desktop app on Mac OS X since it utilizes Java.  OK, not because Mac OS X cannot use Java, but it’s that I had disabled Java on Mac OS X for security reason.  Mac OS X has been targeted by Trojans, malicious programs that design to steal and capture sensitive information (and installing backdoor programs onto) from users’ computers, and these Trojans exploit Mac OS X through Java enabled applications.  One good example would be the Flashback Trojan.  Anyhow, users can also install Amazon Cloud Drive Desktop app on Windows.

Source:  http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/02/amazon-cloud-drive-desktop-app/

Best Buy’s Weak Online Presence Adds More Doubts To Best Buy’s Future

Logo of Best Buy, US-based retail chain

Logo of Best Buy, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not too long back, I had posted an article on Best Buy’s closing down of 50 selected stores.  In the article I had mentioned how brick and mortar stores such as Best Buy can actually survive the onslaughts of online juggernauts such as Amazon.  Unfortunately, lately I have the feeling that Best Buy might never be able to recover and will find itself to go down the path of failed big box retailers such as Circuit City.  How come?  So far, Best Buy does not show any sign of taking customers away from its main competitors such as Amazon, and so Best Buy’s in store strategies are definitely not working to Best Buy’s advantages.  Meanwhile, personally and recently I had a bad online experience with Best Buy which confirmed my thinking now that Best Buy might never be able to regain the market dominance.

So, the story went like this.  I purchased Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings with Best Buy’s website.  I went for the digital download version.  I thought digital download version would be quicker than just drive to the store and grab a physical copy of the game.  I was wrong!  After the purchased of the digital version of Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings, I waited for at least forty five minutes to one hour more (something like that) before I received a confirmation email that contained the instruction and detail of game download.  Unfortunately, Best Buy wanted you to download Best Buy PC App first before you could download whatever digital contents you bought with Best Buy.  So I went ahead and downloaded Best Buy PC App, and I found out the app refused my login credential even though I had log into Best Buy account using the browser just fine, using the same credential of course.  I called up Best Buy for help but got redirected couple times before someone was able to help me solve my problem.  So, I thought finally everything would be smooth sailing!  Unfortunately, I found out that through Best Buy PC App, the download of the game was way too slow.  Sure, the game was huge in size, around 13 GB, but I had downloaded many things around this size so many times faster than the download speed that I got from Best Buy PC App.

My Internet connection was and still is capable of downloading stuffs up to 24 Mb/s, but my download with Best Buy PC App felt like the speed was lurking below 5 Mb/s!  I wasn’t downloading anything else at the time!  The download with Best Buy should not have any competition, therefore it should be able to download much much faster.  It wasn’t the case as you already knew!

The moral of the story was that Best Buy’s online capability is so limited that it hurts just to buy stuffs from Best Buy’s online presence (i.e., website).  The idea of downloading digital contents from Best Buy is to save time from driving to a store — an illusion of instant gratification.  Perhaps, I think in certain scenarios even this notion might not be so true when one does the math, to be exact.  (What if you live so near to a Best Buy that you can just walk to it?  So driving to the store might get you the game faster than downloading a really huge game over the Internet, right?)  Unfortunately, Best Buy’s online presence is too slow to deliver its digital contents, therefore Best Buy’s online competitors may not have a hard time in pulling certain customers away from Best Buy.  Don’t Best Buy know that their online customers might also be their brick and mortar customers?  When a brand is as huge as Best Buy fails to beef up its online presence, it tells the customers that Best Buy brand isn’t a serious brand anymore.  The feeling of Best Buy isn’t serious enough might translate into something much worse for Best Buy brand, because Best Buy isn’t the only brand in town that can deliver the goods.  So, I think Best Buy needs to beef up its online presence quick and they have to do it right or else time is running out for Best Buy, I think!

In summary, I really want to see Best Buy and other brick and mortar stores survive and thrive, because these stores allow me to experience an illusion of instant gratification — as in driving to a store and grab something quick.  Nonetheless, when these stores fail to please customers on their premises, their only chance might be all about their online presences (another potential for delivering an illusion of instant gratification).  If these brick and mortar stores have weak online presences, in general isn’t this means that these stores are deliberately delivering a slow death to their brands?  It won’t be a good thing for customers when brick and mortar stores go away, because waiting for one day delivery is still one day waiting.  Sometimes, more days of waiting for a delivery can happen at chances.  So, I really want to see Best Buy and similar brick and mortar stores shape themselves up, quick and fast!

Want To Keep Your Data Around For 1000 Years? You Don’t Need Alien Technology To Do So! You Just Need Millenniata M-DISC discs!

A photograph of a digital disc with disc rot.

A photograph of a digital disc with disc rot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not too long ago I had contemplated on the question of how to keep data around forever.  Nonetheless, as many other grand questions that had popped into my mind before, this one too came and disappeared from my mind without an answer.  Until now!  I stumbled onto a YouTube video with the title “Millenniata M-DISC Permanent Storage Archival Grade Media Showcase NCIX Tech Tips,” and I had a eureka moment.  Of course, Milleniata M-DISC would not be the answer for my question, because even with Millenniata M-DISC data would go corrupted in about, 1000 years?  But it was close!  Close enough for me to have had a eureka moment!

What?  1000 years you said?  Yes I did say so, but I didn’t make it up.  Just watch the videos right at the bottom of this blog post and you would see they had said the same thing.  Anyhow, nobody would be able to live 1000 years, therefore keeping the data for 1000 years would be excessive, right?  For you and me, the answer is yes!  For the future of mankind, the answer is not even close.  What if we humans need to keep some data around forever so history can be told again and again to whoever wants to know about us in millions of years later?  For the dinosaurs, they have their fossil bones, for us, we might have our data discs and fossil bones too!  For folks who are paranoid about not losing data as long as they are the masters of their data, I think Millenniata M-DISC might have to be the solution for them.

What is with the might have to be the solution phrase?  Well, I like the idea of having data around longer than my own lifespan or anyone else’s lifespan, but writing data onto any disc is troublesome.  Plus, buying disc and keeping them is also troublesome (i.e., many trips to the store or losing discs or forgetting to label the discs).  Nonetheless, I still think Millenniata M-DISC has paved the way for what soon to come that blows your mind!  This is my hypothetical slashes prophetic saying and thinking, perhaps someone might try to improve Millenniata M-DISC concept and technology and come up with a way to allow people to store data onto hard drive form factor that allows data go uncorrupted forever?

OK, data go uncorrupted forever might be a wishful thinking, because nothing lasts forever in reality!  Not even the sun, the moon, the stars, and anything else you have ever thought of as having been around forever.  I still think though, data to last for 1000 years on a hard drive form factor is way more awesome!  Therefore, I’m crossing my finger and hoping that someone can improve the Millenniata M-DISC data storage concept sooner than later!  For now, I think I might try out Millenniata M-DISC technology.

Millenniata M-DISC technology is expensive, but is not out of reach for ordinary technological enthusiasts like you readers of my blog.  For an example, when I browsed Amazon for Millenniata M-DISC, I saw 10 pack size with 4.7 GB spec for each M-DISC costs around $26.24.  In my honest opinion, I don’t think $26.24 for 10 M-DISC (4.7 GB storage capacity which secures your data for 1000 years) is too bad!  Of course, not even with Millenniata M-DISC to have such capability as storing data to last 1000 years can circumvent the price drop of popular technology (at least I think so).  So, I guess just like any other technology that has been around long enough, we might see Millenniata M-DISC discs to drop in price gradually.  If this happens, we might see people flock to M-DISC technology so they can keep their data around forever just for the sake of having the ability to do so.

Google Turns Up The Heat Against Competitors With Google Play, Allowing Googlers To Enjoy All Of Their Media In One Place Online

I don’t know what to make of Google Play just yet in practical sense, but it’s available now!  Nonetheless I dabble on…  It seems to me Google Play is how Google turns up the heat in competing against Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iTunes.  Google Play seems to boast of allowing Googlers to access all of their media in one place, but the beautiful thing about Google Play is that Googlers can access all of their media in one place online.  So, as long a Googler has an Internet connection and necessary equipment (e.g., laptop, iPad, iPhone), he or she can basically browse their media with Google Play.

Of course, users who actually have been buying and consuming Google’s media will definitely experience eureka with Google Play, but users who are so far only consuming media from Amazon or Apple might hesitate to try out Google Play — they might not want to invest their money in Google Play when their vast archives of media are already stored with Apple or Amazon.  Nonetheless, I think Google Play looks awesome and might be an awesome all in one online media destination for Googlers, because Googlers get to check out their books, movies, music, and so on all within Google Play.

I’m pretty sure that Googlers have to sign into their accounts before they can fully enjoy Google Play, because Google Play links all of their Google’s media accounts together.  How do I know this?  I can actually browse my Google Music within Google Play.  Of course, once you have a Google account, I think Google Play is pretty much made itself available to you.

Update:  Oh, one last thing I forgot to mention in this post is that Google Play is also making Android apps available to Googlers!