[Gadget]–Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard

I realize that I have been getting lots of different mouse and keyboard since year 2013. So just a couple of days ago, I went to grab one keyboard from our local computer store, Challenger. The latest addition is the Microsoft Wedge Mobile keyboard that has Bluetooth connectivity capabilities.

One thing that spunk my head recently is that, why isn’t there more devices that are manufactured or design to have Bluetooth connectivity installed? Devices nowadays are getting smaller and comes usually with one or two USB port. My previous work laptop (Dell XPS 13) comes with two USB port but only one that is on-board mounted to the mainboard. The other one are just external one that is connected to the power source of the mainboard. Therefore one of the problem that I faced with my Dell XPS 13 is that I couldn’t use the one that is not connected directly to the mainboard to power up my portable hard disk else I will be getting some USB malfunction issues.

Unboxing

I rather fall in love with the packaging of Microsoft products this days as it really improved a lot.

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Form Factor

I rather like the form factor of the Microsoft Wedge Mobile keyboard, the keyword “mobile” simply just explained all. It just meant that any devices such as iOS or Android Tablet could use this as long as there is Bluetooth capability. It also comes with a cover so that to protect the keyboard when travelling especially when placed in the bag with other items.

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How does it compete with the Surface Type Cover 2 that I have and is already using with my Surface Pro 2 currently? In terms of the size, the Wedge Mobile keyboard is about the same with my Type Cover 2, just that we should not be counting the touch pad area that is part of the Type Cover 2.

2014-01-29 23.45.00

The Wedge Mobile keyboard is thicker compared to the Type Cover 2 because of the ability / need to be able to plug in 2 x AA batteries. However, that compartment that is used for the batteries is a good place used for holding the keyboard up so that the keyboard do not lie flat.

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Conclusion

It is a really good keyboard in terms of mobile usage. However, in terms of Ergonomics, of course it cannot fight with the other version that Microsoft has. Do checkout other series from Microsoft here.

For the comfort of carrying it around, I would give this keyboard 9/10. The 1 point that I have deducted is the keys are rather small for some, not all.

[Gadget]–Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard

My Revamped Command Post @ Home Office

It has been a long time since I wanted to use my new polished Microsoft Surface Pro 2 as my only computer for my day work and other purposes after office hours. However, the problem lies with the ability to connect two of my monitors to my Surface because it comes with just one Mini DisplayPort. So all along I have been stuck with using my Lenovo T420 that I bought in year 2011 primarily for my University usage. It has a good specifications but I realized that although the RAM and Hard Disk is never a problem, it felts a little sluggish for the CPU. It just seems to take slightly longer to process stuffs now.

I have been wanting to get the a docking station so that I can hook up more stuffs (USB etc) to my Surface but the one docking station from Microsoft itself is really expensive! With a price tag of USD 199, I simply could not put myself into buying it! One disadvantage of that docking station is that, even if extends more USB ports but I am still limited to extending one monitor only. So while posting over on Twitter, Todd Klindt (@toddklindt) recommended me the one he used for his Surface. He recommended to me Plugable UD-3900 Dual Display Universal Docking Station. The price tag for this is USD 119, which is relative fair. I could simply order it from Amazon but the constraints is…

  1. For this item, Amazon does not support shipping directly back to Singapore. Therefore I will be stuck with using vPOST (which provides me with a US address and have it shipped back from vPOST all the way to Singapore).
  2. Lesson learnt from my last purchase of hardware from US through comGateway the last time have spank me to think – Once bitten, twice shy. Refer to post here.

So I took some time to do more research on whether there will be any docking station available for purchase off the shelf in Singapore but to no avail. Then on one fine day, I got to check out this post from Paul Mah (@paulmah) where he wrote a review on the docking station from Targus that he was provided to write the post. I drop him a tweet to check with him on whether where I could grab one of the docking station which he had used before. He was kind enough to have given me the set that he has as it has been lying around in his new home for a long time. So credits goes to him for enabling my Surface Pro 2 to be connected to two of my monitors. See photo below with my new command post.

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Look at the docking station in action:

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I personally think that the Microsoft Surface adoption rate is very slow in Singapore because I don’t see lots of people using that as their preferred tablet. However, I believe more and more people would start to buy the idea of using a Surface for their work/study if Microsoft is willing to bring in Surface Pro 2 into the Singapore market.

Cheers!
Milton Goh

My Revamped Command Post @ Home Office

Welcome my first Windows Phone 8–Nokia Lumia 1320!

I have been searching for an ideal Windows Phone for the longest time ever and have been contemplating on which model to go with since most of them matches my requirements because I am a basic user. After my Samsung Galaxy S2 was being pick-pocketed during my last trip to Vietnam, I decided that I should be venturing into getting my second Windows Phone (my previous one is Nokia Lumia 800 – Black).

Let’s see the new gadget added…

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I really love this bag, it just made me feel proud walking out of the shop!

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These is all the items that I have gotten, the phone set itself, a lanyard given free (by right it is for purchase with Nokia Lumia 1020) and the 25 dollars worth of App Voucher that can be used in the store.

Finally, there is one shot that I felt worth showing to everybody.

2014-01-15 21.26.34

Now with a Windows Phone 8, let’s PowerShell !

Regards,
Milton Goh

Welcome my first Windows Phone 8–Nokia Lumia 1320!

Is free WiFi a good idea?

I just came back from Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) this morning in which I spent a good four full days over there on a leisure trip. This is the second time that I am visiting this beautiful city and I am really happy with the experience I had there.

If there is one thing that I would like to comment about this developing country, it will be how incredible they are in enabling most restaurant / cafe / roadside stall to provide Free Wireless Internet Connection to all patronage. Amazing isn’t it? For the whole of last year, I have visited Bandung (Indonesia), Bangkok (Thailand) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) and it is really amazing that I actually do not need to subscribe to the Data Roaming plan with my local telecommunication provider. (This really saves me approximately SGD15 – 20 a day!)

So why is Free WiFi good?

Imagine that while walking down the street during my leisure trip, I definitely patronize Cafe or Restaurant to fill my stomach with the local delights. Then at this time, it would be good to have Internet Connectivity to catch up with my friends on various social medias or simply to check my emails (office and/or personal).

When I am travelling, we try our very best to avoid taking the taxi even though taxi isn’t expensive at all. We love to enjoy the scenery that we can see with our bare eyes when we are walking from district to district (yes, I am sure, district!). So there are times when we really need the internet badly because some phone that doesn’t have the full GPS module or is based on A-GPS (Assisted GPS), we will be best to have internet to download the maps or to get our coordinates properly.

So what is the disadvantage over convenient?

Have any one wonder about the security over free WiFi? If it doesn’t bother you, carry on with whatever you do, if it does, be careful of what you do over the free WiFi!

Are you one that…

  1. Access personal information such as Internet Banking information over Free WiFi?
  2. Access secured information such that would expose your personal password (which may leads to losing of confidential information?)

Then probably you will need to be prudent of what you do using the free WiFi.

Cheers.
Milton Goh

Is free WiFi a good idea?

Winter Scripting Games 2014–I’m in!

The Winter Scripting Games 2014 is around the corner and the practice event just kicks off this morning.

Do you really want to missed out such awesome event? If not, check out the following link!

ScriptingGames.org

On top of that, are you in Singapore? Join us for a discussion lead by PowerShell MVP Matthew Hitchcock on the upcoming Scripting Games (7th January 2014, 8pm on Lync). Find him on twitter at @hitchysg

Cheers and see you around! Smile

Milton Goh

Winter Scripting Games 2014–I’m in!

USB Ethernet Adapter–Becoming the norm

I realized that in certain weeks after I have converted my desktop server into multiple Intel NUC box to replaced as a farm of Hyper-V servers, I actually needed to purchase more USB-to-Ethernet Adapter converter so that I can connect to various VLAN (Virtual LAN) in my network. I uses different brand all the times because the local computing store do not usually carry the same brands all the time even though the intervals period that I made the purchase is just 2 weeks. It’s weird, I know.

Take a look at the one that I have bought recently.

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There are a couples of other brands available but I had affinity with J5Create products because I am currently using their USB-to-DVI converter and it is perfect, I would say.

There are many folks out there who said that it is a best practices to have at least 4 NICs when running Hyper-V for various purposes but since this is just my lab environment, I would definitely add in more, when needed. Since the convenient of just USB converter is so much easier now.

I still remember in the past when I was running my desktop server, what I did was to add in PCI NIC card which I could add to maximum of around 3 (2 x PCI card + 1 on-board LAN).

Cheers.
Milton Goh

USB Ethernet Adapter–Becoming the norm

My thoughts on – ComGateWay BuyForMe Service

Back in November, I was doing some research on switching my gigantic tower server into something that is a small-form factor machine that still slightly match up to my needs to run all my lab instances. So before I decide to let go of the tower desktop, I was deciding between Intel NUC or Gigabyte BRIX. As I resides in Singapore where mostly goodies (mainly latest technology) that was released will not be made available in Singapore market within three months or it will never appear due to whatever reasons anyone could think of.

At that point of time, I was pretty attracted by the latest release of the Gigabyte BRIX NUC with the Haswell chip. As a person who does a lot of online shopping, I chance upon the service provided by comGateWay (BuyForMe Service) where it really interests me. So in this post, I am going to share my thoughts of this service that I have went on to try making my first order from NewEgg through comGateWay spending couples of hundreds.

Here is the breakdown:

  • Who is this service for?
  • What is the charges like?
  • What is the process of the purchase?
  • What are the problems faced? (In my experience)
  • Who is at loss?
Who is this service for?

Generally, this type of service provided by comGateWay serves a few groups of people similarly to what vPost has to offer.

  • Shoppers who do not resides in United States but hope to purchase merchandize from retailers that resides in United States.
  • Shoppers hope to purchase from retailers who resides in United States that do not offer International Shipping.
  • Shoppers who do not have a valid United States credit card to process the payment for the purchase.

So I fall in one of the group where I am a resident of Singapore and I do not have a United States credit card along with a United States postal address.

 

What is the charges like?

Nobody runs a business like a charity and even charity also provide salary / wages to the volunteers even if it the bare minimum. So running a service like this require funding to keep the business healthy.

I am going to extract some sample from comGateway website directly instead. Let’s imagine I am now purchasing an item that cost me USD 100.00 and it weighs around 1.5KG, this is the charges comGateway will charged me should I use their service.

comGateway-BuyForMe-Service-Example

Credits to comGateway. Smile

From the image above, we can see that comGateway charges a 5% of the cost of the merchandize and does not include the shipping charges between my retailer to the designated address of comGateway. So it will cost me approximately USD 17.00 in order to process the international shipping from comGatweway designated address all the way to the lovely Singapore where I resides.

Does it sounds cheap? Well, it really depends. Let’s take a look at the real-life example. The order that I have made.

comGateway-BuyForMe-Service-MyOrder

Just take note that when I was keying into the comGateway BuyForMe form, I didn’t include the shipping from NewEgg to comGateway therefore I was told that the final amount to be paid will be included which I need to clear before the item will be shipped out from comGateway designated address to Singapore.

 

What is the process of the purchase?

To better illustrate how comGateway works, this is an assumption that I have made in the following diagram.

comGateway-Purchasing-Route

  • Shoppers (illustrate myself) fill up the form through comGateway website. Make payment to comGateway first.
  • comGateway will then follow the instructions that I have provided through the form and make the necessary purchases through the “Vendors”. (For this part, I will explain a little more later on in the Problem section.)

All-in-all, NewEgg (or any other retailers) will not know whether you were the one that made the purchases. It is known to the retailers behind the scene which I have classified as “Vendors”.

Do note that any communication will always be between myself (or yourself) and comGateway and not to the intended retailers.

 

What are the problems faced?

If the merchandize that was purchase is not faulty, this service provided will be a perfect one. However, things doesn’t always ended up in a nice way or in any way that one would expect.

So it all happens when I received my Gigabyte Brix and I couldn’t get the system to boot up. Thereafter, I tried to lodge a support ticket with NewEgg directly but unfortunately since I am not the one that have made the purchase, that leaves me out with many details such as,

  • Order number
  • Invoice number
  • Order date
  • Purchaser email
  • Purchaser card type
  • Purchaser mobile number

So I felt a little frustrated and I contacted comGateway directly. So they told me that in order to protect the privacy of the “purchaser”, all these details could not be divulge to me. The only way is that they could aid in getting the “purchaser” to contact NewEgg to explain on the problem nature. (Look, for this, since the coordination will includes so many parties, this simply takes a couple of days before I could proceed with the next action.)

In the end, probably NewEgg have suggested to have the item shipped back to them so that they could process the returns either by swapping for a new set or doing a refund of the product based on the cost. When comGateway informed me about this, I could do nothing but to have it shipped back to comGateway designated address via DHL from Singapore. It costs me SGD 105.00 to have it shipped back.

After I happily (why happily? at least one item is off the tray now and things are moving) shipped it off, I patiently waited for the replies from comGateway to see if they have received my package before they once again have to go through the iteration of packaging the box to have it shipped back to NewEgg.

One greatest disadvantage of this multiple parties relationship is:

comGateway-Responses

The very first email that I have sent to comGateway was on the 24th November 2013 and this case was dragged all the way till 29th December 2013 before it decides to close a couple of days ago which I will have an email detailing it.

comGateway-Responses-01

At the time of creation of this blog entry, it is 3rd January 2014 at around 11.30am (GMT +8) so the it will be around 2nd January 2014 that they informed me the refunds is going through, like finally.

 

Who is at loss?

As per the topic, who is at loss for the whole process? Me, yes, the shopper will have to bear all the cost and charges for every action they have committed since the day they decided to buy from the retailers who do not support International Shipping. Let’s calculate the loss –

  • I made a total purchase of US$489.98 to NewEgg and I am getting back US$400.65. (a loss of US$89.33 which is for the miscellaneous deductions as highlighted above)
  • I paid comGateway US$24.50 as a fee for the service rendered. (the 5% charge)
  • I paid around US$10 for the shipping from NewEgg to comGateWay.
  • I paid SG$105 for the shipping from Singapore back to comGateWay.

So the total amount that I am getting back in reality is – SG$390 after conversion from USD to SGD.

 

Summary

I am not trying to discourage people in using this service provided by comGateWay, however, I hope that people would consider what to purchase online before deciding what service to be used in order to enjoy the same merchandize that folks are enjoying in United States.

I would definitely be using this service provided by comGateWay the next time when I am buying something but definitely not computer hardware.

Just my two cents. Cheers!
Milton Goh

My thoughts on – ComGateWay BuyForMe Service