Microsoft… oh, Microsoft

The gloomy weather of this morning gave very little indication of the eventfulness of the day to follow.

I switched on tablet PC as I would usually, wanting to transfer some long owed photographs from our last trip to some friends. Little did I know, that the first image I would see after log-in was not going to be the beautifully blooming tulips I had on my desktop, but instead, an error message:

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Naturally it had seemed out of place, as I have just the one drive installed with my device and an rather obscure flow of worry showered over, placing doubt towards the security integrity of my device.  This is when I realised, that not only had my desktop become unavailable, the start menu was also inoperable.

Google is always a good place I reach to for inspirations – and without much ado, a post outlining a similar issue surfaced.  The particular forum post suggested that the system32 folder containing user profiles may have become unavailable… but how could I verify?

The only dormant icon on the desktop suddenly glowed like a candle would on a storming dark night.  The ‘Recycling Bin’.  Breath was held-in, eternity passed after the mouse’s double-click action, and there it was, a functional windows explorer window.  I could disguise better, but the in the sensation of relief, rounds of “Ha, ha, ha.” did burst towards the ceiling.

My files, my data, my settings still existed at some location on the disk, and that was all I cared for.

Confirming that it was caused by last night’s Windows Update at shutdown, speaking with a Microsoft representative who hung-up the phone on her end after advising of a phone transfer… the discovery of another Windows Update which resolved the issue… and all… that…  was all just history.

I am now looking at the beautiful tulips again, yes, a Microsoft Windows default image, but it is, by all means, the one I chose.


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Realtime HTML5 Canvas Drawing

CANVAS is a word that returns bars and pubs when searched in google, but in actual fact, is much more correlated with the painting platform both realistically and virtually.  Whilst easy to access web-based multi-user word editing softwares are available, it is the re-introduction of live-canvas that enables more than 1 user to view, edit the created collaborated picture file that brings CSCW to a whole new level.

I love that HTML5 is able to offer CSCW via a easy to integrate canvas with a simple <canvas> element.  This offers websites a further personalized interactivity with its users as seen by chat room providers, allowing multiple users to collaborate on a single piece of artwork in sessions.

The canvas tag can also be utilized by developers to draw and animate using script, which I find to be a great tool to enhance the attractiveness of online experiences.

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CUES app – heuristic approach towards mobile productivity

Upon the release of the iPhone 5, it was quite an surprise to stumble upon this interesting productivity app when browsing the Apple store.

The idea behind CUES is to remind the user of a task to attend to, when they have entered the vicinity of the task location as preset by the user themselves.  The mobile application is the first that I have come across to utilize GPS location services common to most mobile phone devices today, towards productive use unlimited by just ‘friend-search’ social implications.


The application is unfortunately, currently only available at $1.99 for an iPhone, with news that an Android version is currently being produced.  Personally, I find the application slightly difficult to use when a task needs be added at a new location (must create bookmark regardless of once-only use) and the battery drainage to be too high (constant activation of GPS location-based features).  It would seem to defeat the purpose of the app if I were to switch the GPS services on and off when entering areas I know that preset tasks exist already.

Having said so, I do look forward to seeing further updated versions of this app with improved UI, allowing for improved accuracy of locations in small proximity.  Aside from which, CUES app does exactly per application description and is the most promising location-based reminder app I have seen.

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Path – linking your close ones


The words ‘social’ and ‘mobile’ inevitably for myself, links towards that one blue-icon-ed application where most people’s friends count are in the hundreds.  For myself, discovering path not too long ago was a surprise all together, which lead to some serious ‘falling-in-love’ that followed instantaneously. 

The ‘Path’ application is categorised as a communication MoSoSo that links to your friends through either the mobile device’s contact list, or facebook, with user choices of who to selectively invite manually.   I have less than 20 friends currently on my friends list and it is a very manageable small circle of actual close friends, with whom I am willing to share my locations, emotions and everything else Path has to offer.

The application’s advantage and in turn, its disadvantage both lies on the fact that the user group at this point, is relatively small in comparison.  Advantageous in that not every ‘acquaintance’ needs be added as a ‘friend’, but those truly close may not be using the app.  Path serves well as a ‘inner-circle’ MoSoSo if the latter disadvantage can be resolved without attracting social dyslexic malfunctions.

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Image   The most classic form of WYSIWIC that rings a bell straight away, would be remote computer access using Virtual Network Computing (VNC) technology.  RealVNC is the most common official software available and is most commonly used by anyone offering IT support off-site or gaining access to another smart device from a remote location.

This program is not the most suitable for Computer Supported Co-orperative Work, containing all the common problems of a ‘strict’ WYSIWIC such as multi-user doing different tasks in synchronisation.  I do, however feel that it was extremely easy to use when combined with synchronous communication where users were able to communicate live, the work carried out on the accessed device in a demonstrative/file edit and feedback/problem solving way.

Personally owning 4 ‘smart’ devices including a desktop pc, a laptop, a smart phone and a tablet pc, I sincerely look forward to being able to utilize the program one day to the extent that eliminates the need to carry every single portable device most days when away from home.  Requiring all devices to be switched on when accessed is a definitely a bit of a downer to the environment on a social scale, hurting the wallet on a personal level (but the prospects remain rather exciting).



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Yet another facebook post


The very instant that the word ‘awareness’ came up, ‘facebook close friends list’ appeared so vividly in my mind.


The facebook app is not new, I like how it gives you accessibility to your friends’ and pushes notifications you deem important directly to the smart phone status bars so you can be aware of the latest updates to events and posts.  Lately, I’ve discovered that awareness is promoted further by facebook with a simple ‘close friends list’ which push notifies literally every update from friends on the list directly to the phone status bar, so you see your friends facebook posts as soon as they post.


Yes, it does become annoying at times when a bestie is a post re-blogging spammer, and it almost feels stalker-y by tracking a facebook friend’s every update, but it saves time and furthers awareness about the ones you want to hear about asap from the many.


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WeChat for iPhone / Android

It was only a month ago that I widened my eye at a friend speaking into an iPhone and listening to an voice reply moments later in the form of a instant message without dialling voice mail.  ‘What’s this?’ I’d asked with much astonishment, only to discover that it was to be an app called ‘WEIXIN’ aka ‘WeChat’, distributed by China’s largest IM platform (‘QQ’) provider ‘Tencent’.   

The app enables asynchronous distributed interaction between its users in the forms of instant messaging via text messaging, photo sharing, voice messaging, location-sharing, and group messaging with the recent addition of video messaging in version 4.2 beta.  It even comes with a locational GPS service where users are able to chat with strangers using the same app within a set radius of each other.

WeChat’s hold-to-talk voice messages seems to use very little data usage and have
not yet being noticed to generate sends/receive connection errors as seen with ‘Facebook’ and ‘Line’ when using network data transmission instead of wi-fi connectivity. 

I feel that instant messaging platforms such as WeChat that supports human interaction past simple text emoticons where true emotions are expressed asynchronously via voice/video.  

 This app also comes with an SNS interface affiliated with the user’s WeChat account, making it truly a mobile lifestyle bank if all our friends can be connected (perhaps when the day comes that Facebook ‘find’ is integrated 😛 )!




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