Friday, January 17, 2014

What's so good about Nokia Asha 210 phone

Frankly speaking, I have enough of my Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone. True, it does everything from the mundane to the esoteric. I have an app to tune my guitar, an app for star gazing, a posing app for photography, etc. In fact, it has basically replaced my need to use a regular PC other than for serious photo editing purposes.

Turning my attention to feature phones, I am quite taken in by the Nokia Asha 210. This phone runs on the old Nokia S40 platform (not as sophisticated as the Android). As a result, power consumption is very low and the processing speed is supposedly fast (i.e. I haven't bought one to try out yet). I really would want a phone with a battery that lasts for a week based on low usage.

The Asha 210 has a physical keyboard, which is a classic feature to have now that anything retro is in vogue. It has a dedicated button to bring up Whatsapp. Due to this and due to the physical keyboard, it is the ideal phone for heavy texters. It also has a dedicated button to launch the camera, which is great for impromptu shots.

The Asha 210 runs only on 2G and not 3G, but it this is probably alright for text and call purposes, since we are not talking about internet browsing here. It also has WLAN for use on home wifi, which is very handy to have.

Without having tried one and basing on specs alone, I daresay the Asha 210 is quite a good alternative to my smartphone for my text and call purposes. The built-in Whatsapp makes it THE reason to want this phone. If you are interested to get one too, make sure it is the RM-928 variant, which has dual SIM capability and which allows you to charge the battery through the microUSB port.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review: Epson Expression Premium XP610

This is the fifth printer I have bought in the last 11 years. I have enjoyed using every single one of them and everyone of them have all been well and truly utilized. When I finally upgraded to Windows 7, I had no choice but to retire my trusty HP Laserjet and my old faithful HP PSC 2310 inkjet. Both were still in good running condition but are incompatible with the newer OS.

So here comes my new "toy" - a spanking new up-to-date printer that has all the important and necessary features for modern home use. I won't list down all the features, but only the ones I am thrilled about.

Perhaps the most exciting new feature is the built-in wifi, which I have wanted for a long time. Setting up was quick and easy. I can now print straight from my smartphone, my laptop, or my PC. The printer sits far away from my PC. It does not need to be connected up with a PC. It is also compatible with Apple's Air Print and Google's Cloud Print.

I can scan by using the front panel, straight into a memory card, a PC, or to any cloud storage location. On my old scanner I had to launch a scanner program on a PC in order to scan. The scan quality is practically flawless, both in terms of sharpness and colour reproduction.

This printer has 5 separate ink cartridges, including a photo black. The ink levels can be viewed easily on the printer's front panel or on a computer. Third party (much cheaper) replacements can be bought from the Caribbean Market or on eBay. It has very good reviews for its colour prints. I have yet to try it out on high quality archival paper. I have quite positive vibes about it.

I would certainly recommend it to anyone for home use, especially due to the fact that it works almost straight out of the box (for heavy usage, consider the Epson Workforce series). Setting up was easy and hiccup-free. In spite of all the advanced wifi and cloud features, the front panel is very simple to use and a non-techie should feel comfortable with it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Venus Bay outing for pipis

Here's the scoop. It is about a great catch, but not of pipis but of my camera falling into the water.

Last Sunday was a great day for pipi catching at Venus Bay. The water was not too cold and the mid-morning sun was not too hot. The pipis were large and plentiful at the low tide. I had to work fast as the tide was coming in quickly and the strong wind was creating waves about two feet high. I was getting myself increasingly wet; first at knee level and then at waist level.

Alas, pipi catching and photography do not go hand-in-hand (was that a pun?). I was carrying my little compact camera with me, kept in a pouch tied around my waist. The pouch got a little wet at first. Not a problem. Then I got a phone call. While scrambling to fish the phone out of the pouch, my camera fell out. It hit the water, but due to quick action I managed to save it from drowning... fully submerged, that is. But the damage was already done. The camera still turned on but behaved oddly.

As hoped for, after three days of drying out by itself, the camera is back to normal now. This will be the last time I am going pipi catching with a camera. Besides, the strong wind on that day was blowing up fine sand and it would have been a disaster had I brought my expensive lenses and DSLR with me. The sand would have easily gotten into the zoom lens where it protrudes. I have learned my lesson. Get a Go Pro instead.