Recently I’ve been looking at journaling again. Paper book journaling for keeping note of random things. I hasn’t been successful on doing it all though.

The main problem is the difficulties about putting what where. For random thoughts, Twitter should be a great place. It offer sharing as well as timestamping. But I found myself too lazy to pull out my phone and with the instantaneous nature of social media, it’s not always that relevant to post about something that already passed.

Blog always hit on me as the media where you’re writing newspaper column. It requires long thoughtful trail of words to be actually worth it.

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Drawing book

Remember that saying about how keep writing/drawing to get better ? I didn’t fare so well with writing because basically I use simpler words and thus sounds boring. Yes, even with much less vocabulary than a typical writer, I tend to use even less of the words I’ve already known.

Luckily the drawing side is a bit better. Although I still don’t feel like showing them to anyone, I think my drawing has got better, albeit still monotone and too lazy to pay attention to the details.

My “recent” jump into drawing again starts around middle of last year, after I got my iPad mini and bought a stylus (at that time, Pencil by 53). I’ll keep the stylus review for later (tried four already) or the drawing apps review.

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Crowd curation service

One of the difficult thing after taking picture is to organize the pictures, group them and separate the junks from the decent.

So is there a crowd curation service that will let many streamers rate and group your photo? You can then choose which one you feel is the best.

The use case:

First, user upload their pictures, all the pictures they want. These pictures will be automatically published in batch based on user selectable timeframe (per week, per month) or a custom set (per project). This is to help keeping track on pictures that are already organized before.

Picture owner can also set the deadline and number of maximum and minimum photo inside the curation.

Main feature of the review sets are speed because hundreds of pictures will need to be reviewed.

Other users will then be able to rate, set tag, stack, or group them into stub sets. The decision by each curator is invisible to other users to keep independence. Name of the set owners can also be made invisible if the user wants to.

Picture owner can then review the reading spread and the most common organizations. When decided, the curation chosen will be used.

Curators who won the task will get points and is possible that they set price for peoples to request their service when their ability is acknowledged.

The user profile won’t have pictures of the photo they uploaded, but it will show their custom sets (except for private galleries) to present their taste.

Numerous apps

Numerous is an iPhone application that do one thing, display numbers. The idea is to present numbers in our life, not just what’s kept in our phone but dynamically updated numbers.

Unfortunately there’s still some small things that could have been improved in my opinion.

  • The blog need an RSS feed.
  • Button to delete a tile is too small to hit. A bigger button would have been nice.
  • A button to set the date/time data to “Now” will help with manually updating data.
  • A customizable relative number of days (x Year x Month x Week x Day) will be more useful than the current day only.
  • The date tile can’t be updated with IFTTT.

Especially on the number of days. Seems like the use case they have when designing is for counting down to certain day, so the number of days are more important. In my use case, I use it more to count numbers since a certain day so it’s a lot more useful if I can see the repetition of that date, be it a birthday, anniversary or the monthly bills.

Microsoft customer

Continuing the previous rants, since Microsoft aren’t showing any prospective in short term for Windows Phone to close the gap with the other two platforms, I’ve decided to just end the agonizing about the biggest pain point for that OS, at least for me.

As non-deniers would know, platform is only worth as much as how much you can do with it. In Windows I can do many things from writing text notes, to browsing the internet, to designing skyscraper, to creating a movie.
Okay, I lied, I can’t to the two later tasks. But point being, there’s tasks that can be done. In the phone platform, that doesn’t change, especially since despite there’s more time wasted using web browser in the desktop, tasks in phone is increasingly done using applications. That’s the pain point often repeated by groups called whiners by the deniers.

Meanwhile, Microsoft aren’t showing they realize that they need to be faster and more aggressive in pushing the developers. Reach OS feature parity, show developers they have everything needed to build something like they have in iOS and Android without limitation, and deliver it faster than anyone else.

In the other hand, they kicked the supporters with slow release, lack of devices, and treating their own platform as 3rd class citizen.

So, since the CEO said they want to focus on service and availability in all platform, I decided to be the customer they wanted.
I’m still using Outlook for my mail and PIM like calendar and contacts. I’ll be using OneDrive and OneNote. I won’t be using Bing though, because in all their wisdom about “US and the rest of the world” the application for search and maps is not available.

Most importantly though, is that I will stop giving any expectation to Windows Phone. Let them do whatever they want and die when they choose to. I’m getting an iPhone 4s for the application and practical use need.

Like I said before, I really prefer Windows Phone’s interface. I read faster than I recognize icon, so there’s another win to Windows’ application list compared to iPhone and Android. I like the calendar and contact display better.

But if that’s the only thing they can offer (and the camera, which is kind of moot since I always bring my camera), they could have treated the OS like S40, an OS for feature phone and peoples who are content with whatever they get out of the box. Why promise apps if the famous and popular apps are not coming ? And if an apps become big in Windows Phone, you can be assured that it will move to other platform and could even get updated more frequently over there.

So, bye. I’ll be watching, but stop giving any expectation that things will be going for the better.

Make a feature phone instead

To start with, there’s Microsoft related news this morning, especially the rage from Microsoft’s lack of care to the platform. The situation now is like an answer to JFK’s famous quote:

Don’t ask what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.

The answer is: I’ve loved you, but do you love me back ?

For you who want to say just use iPhone or Android if I love them so much: no, we don’t.

I love my Windows Phone OS, just like the guys in Crackberry forum love their Blackberry OS.

I don’t like Android and would rather use WebOS(†) or MeeGo(†).

The problem is, you can be sure anything but the big 2 wouldn’t have the applications. Even if the application is available, there would be feature parity since it’s a drop and forget apps. Ask any web designer and online marketer what’s their opinion about companies making website just so they “have a website” and never update it. Those are the official apps in Windows Phone’s apps store.

Having the greatest OS is close to meaningless in the age where services are decentralized. I don’t want to use Google’s services such as mail, hangout, youtube or maps. But I want to use Flickr, Facebook, and other features provided by 3rd party.

Not having those apps is like having a lavish party of the century but without anyone coming, it’s just not that interesting.

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Galaxy Note 3

Recently, my brother gave me his Samsung Galaxy Notes 3. He got it from his client while he already have an iPhone and a BlackBerry. Another smartphone prooves to be too much to handle so the choice is either give it to someone or sell it away.

I think I’ll try it for a month. But after that I’ve planned on returning it to him because I intend of getting a BlackBerry Z3. Hopefully the price would be better at the time, although I’m not putting my hopes high for another discount.

So, how is my impression of the device ? Since I’m never a Google fans, I’d have to say there’s not much. I can summarize my concerns into two main points:

  • Stylus support. I can input text with writing, and more importantly, I can train my memories about Japanese characters because my ability to write kanji is terrible.
  • Apps support. Developers are still not pouring the best of their efforts to Windows Phone. I use VSCO and Flipboard routinely. I also like the Hatena applications (although the blog apps is only available in iOS). The apps are usually with more features and updated more often.

The rest are not that fascinating actually. The only other application I used routinely is Flipboard.

Yes, not much in the line of functions. The battery also drains really fast.

Physical size is big and the location of back button to the right is confusing because I also use Windows Phone where the back button is to the left. Memory card slot is hidden behind the back cover so I can’t easily slip my camera’s memory card either.

Well, for a one month companion.