Sony DPT S1 13.3" E-ink Reader

Eyes feel drained and tired after reading from the laptop.. So glad we have E-ink readers. Sony DPT S1 has been out for years, and it's price finally drops to an acceptable range. Considering I will have 3 more years of papers to read, I bought it. There would be new tablet out namely Good E-Reader, but I decided not to wait. Besides, from online people have shown by modding hardware you can hack the device and run Android 2.2 on it. Plan to take a look at that.

HoloLens blows my mind

HoloLens blows my mind.. awesome everything except the limited display area and resolution, and its weight (a bit heavy if you put it on head for > 30min).

hololens
hololens

07/15/2016 Update

Okay, somehow Microsoft Store does not allow me to return one of two purchases on the HoloLens. So I have two now... Well, and equivalently my money is gone... If anyone is interested to develop apps with me (or on some level of cooperation as requested by Microsoft), please feel free to leave a message below. I'll contact you how we can "share" (you know, you need to pay, and it'll be yours, but we have to "cooperate" a bit). This is a one-time only offer, valid until someone gets before you! What you get will be completely the same you purchase from Microsoft Store (if you have the invitation code).

MDP 820 Tablet Is A Shame

Intrinsyc is a tech company working on embedded system and IoT devices located in Canada. It released a tablet named MDP 820 (also a smartphone) that has Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor embedded. They claimed the tablet was

the first commercially available Android development tablet with 802.11ad Wi-Fi

This claim is so strong that I couldn't resist getting one as I got a router that supports 802.11ad network. I was so looking forward to it, and yet I did not notice in all webpages (here, here, and here) that list this tablet as "available for purchase", one page states below the figures in the middle of the page, without any remarks, that:

Not every feature listed here may be supported by the current version of software.

Ha, what are in the odds that "not every feature" means "we do not support 802.11ad in software and yet this tablet is our first tablet that supports 802.11ad network."

It's true that snapdragon 820 enables faster computations and blah blah blah, but the sale point of this tablet, the most important feature, is dismissed, or missing on purpose.

MDP 820 tablet is a joke, a shame, and even a lier, though Intrinsyc puts it under the development platform category.

Breif on TP-Link AD7200: The First 802.11ad Router

Recently I find TP-Link AD 7200, the world's first router that supports 802.11ad is now on sale at Newegg, costing you $350. Although we do not have 802.11ad supported devices to test it, TP-Link gives us a good start. For those who do not understand 802.11ad, below is a short description.

Everyone knows WiFi, which is using 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals and follows 802.11b/g/n/ac standards. Each standard can be quantified by bandwidth, e.g., 802.11ac supports in theory 1Gbps max, meaning you might struggle in streaming 4K videos, files, executables, games at the same time. 802.11ad defines in theory 7Gbps that leverages 60GHz signals, and you will have no problem doing all sorts of stuff. The down side is you cannot have blockage between the router and device (i.e. maintaining line of sight). It supports over 100m transmission range for throughput remaining at > 300Mbps (by experiments).

And below are the photos of this router (fancy and good looking). I also opened it to see the mysterious inside.

The router has 4 antennas for 2.4GHz and another 4 antennas for 5GHz. There is also an internal antenna placed at the edge of the router (left edge, connected close by the white cable in the rightmost photo). It should be 60GHz's antenna (array). The internal antenna is for 5GHz or 4GHz, and the 60GHz's antenna (array) is the closest stick/bar to the internal antenna. TP-Link said that the antenna array for 60GHz is 32-element, so I'm guessing it's either 4-by-8 or 2-by-16 rectangular array (cannot see the elements on the antenna PCB board). The chip is using Qualcomm's QCA9008-SBD1. For other detailed information and figures, please refer to Newegg and WikiDevi.

For those who want to see how the configuration page looks like in this router, you can visit TP-Link's emulator. Regarding the performance of this router (e.g., link quality, actual throughput, etc.) on 802.11ad, we'll have to wait until the real 60GHz devices coming out. Stay tuned.

Coupon for Cloud At Cost

Update: if you just want to play with some VPS or use it as a temporary VPN or something not important at all, use it. Its servers are in Canada and that's probably its only advantage. Avoid it if you want serious VPS. It's quite unstable..

Find a 90% off coupon for CloudAtCost.com through their Twitter account.

This is a VPS service, and you pay it once for life. While it might be not very safe/reliable to be used for web hosting, we can certainly use its cheap service as crawler or VPN or other stuff. It does not limit your usage in bandwidth..

Continue reading Coupon for Cloud At Cost

Samsung Gear S2 3G and Tizen System

Lately I purchased a Samsung Gear S2 (AT&T) online. I have been looking at this watch for a while, and it recently lowers its price. What is really cool is that, comparing with its WiFi version (and other smartwatches), Samsung Gear S2 3G is the only one supporting number calling and messaging. That says, it has a sim card and a speaker on the watch.

Some people may say, well, who wants calling using a watch? That's true. It will look weird if we talk to a watch. The true valuable thing is the connectivity. When we are outside we do not expect to have Free WiFi around always, and having an embedded sim card with internet connectivity saves lots of troubles. Here I am only talking about taking a smartwatch outside. A smartphone may or may not be carried around. For example, although I also have a Sony Smartwatch 3, which is also awesome, I cannot sync and get any notifications while I am running outside. It bothers me a bit since I could miss important messages etc.

I love Samsung Gear S2 3G because of its capabilities. But after using it for couple days I also feel a little disappointed. Yes it works with Android and gets notifications just like what happened on my Sony Smartwatch 3, but the truly supported apps are too few. Getting into the Samsung App Store, it is not even close to Google's Play Store, from UI to touch response to app qualities to app numbers. So why the system has been out for so long but developers do not really push the efforts there?

Driven by the question, I started some investigations in Tizen IDE and how to develop a native app for Tizen system. First thing is the Tizen IDE is slow and looks cheap. It seems like an incomplete tool when we create a project from an app example. Errors pop up frequently from no where and yet the app can be successfully compiled/built if you ignore the errors. That makes me feel uncomfortable.

Second thing I find is actually very interesting, but at the same time worth worrying. Unlike Android using Java or C to write apps, Tizen supports HTML5 + Javascripts. Well, indeed using HTML and JS does ease the process towards an app, but they cannot really do what we want using Java or C. The app is pretty much a webpage, and does not provide any guarantees in the programming efficiency.

Also, we cannot use traditional Android ADB to communicate with the watch. Recall that Tizen is a new system based on Linux. So Samsung provides a tool called SDB for command line communications. SDB.. lol

Anyway, we might need to dig a little bit more to see how we can use JS and HTML to access smartwatch's sensors. No matter what, I am sort of seeing why developers rarely come to the Tizen platform:

  1. Difficult developing tools
  2. Not-even-a-true-programming-language developing language

Oh, btw, Samsung even has different app selling stores for developers. One is for phone and another is for wearables. That is hilarious and hard to understand...

TiMER2 Smart (NFC) Ring

When I went back to China, I found this little NFC ring called "TiMER 2." The ring has two colors for men and women.

TiMER2 Smart Ring Poster

The ring is very cheap - under $15 on ebay. It's claimed to be IP68 so you can wear it under water. And the ring has two NFC tags, one under the little "diamond" (webpage said "SWAROVSKI diamond" and I could hardly believe so) and the other on the opposite side. Each tag has 138 bytes storage.

I bought it for its good looking as well as its two NFC tags. Tried their app and it literally sucks. The app sucks in both functionality and user interface. If you plan to get one, just use regular NFC reader/writer app to write/read the tags. I believe on the market there are far better apps doing what the TiMER app could do (e.g., unlock screen, store name card, store data).

Project Tango Tablet... Hmm...

Got the tablet two days ago and played it for a while... Project Tango utilizes IR depth sensor to obtain the distance of different objects (and possibly the resulting image is a combined work with fisheye camera). My assumption is they use camera to do some imaging processing to find out rough edges of different objects, and then use the depth sensor to get distance info. And to be honest, it is just a big toy when things work like they should. Continue reading Project Tango Tablet... Hmm...