Unboxing of Gadget–Toshiba Encore Mini

This post serves as my thoughts after viewing the blog post from the SharePoint Guru & MVP Todd Klindt.

I couldn’t see no reason not to buy one set of this to meddle with since it is really selling at a cheap price! Where on earth could you find a tablet with full load of Windows 8.1 at just USD 99?

So here is just my unboxing experience of this little monster. I will explain on how do I go about ordering one of this from the States later on since I resides in Singapore.

 

General Unboxing

The box is designed rather normal, just like any laptop that you can find in the market. I find it rather decent – probably this outlook earns a 4.5 out of 5.

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This is the side of the box clearly stated this is a Toshiba Encore Mini WT7-C16MS. My feel of the reason why the code “MS” appears is because this was a set that is resell by Microsoft US directly out. (I may be wrong, do not fault me!)

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Now, I shall open up the box and get welcomed by Windows 8 along with the Microsoft Signature Experience. This is the program that is available in the US where computers sold by Microsoft US that is enrolled into this program will have some perks tagged with it. Click on the link to check it out.

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One thing that I love about getting Microsoft products is that, I am never lack of getting other perks like Skype World Unlimited or Office 365 plans. Seriously Microsoft, I salute you!

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We are all good with the packaging, let’s now dive in deeper with what is inside the box.

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Does it look pretty decent too? Well, there must be something that you think it is short off such as the power adapter? Well, I think that isn’t on the mandatory list since the price is so cheap! The set itself is so light and battery could be charged easily via USB to another computer or if you have some of the 3rd party adapter; it will get the job done.

Let’s take a look at the side of the tablet.

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Remember to read the notices carefully! (Well, I ripped it off after taking this photo!)

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Comparison (vs Apple iPad Mini Gen 1 & vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3)

Let’s have the Toshiba tablet as a benchmark.

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Then we put the Apple iPad Mini Generation 1 beside it.

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I feel that the Toshiba tablet is about 2/3 of the size compared to the Apple iPad Mini. Screen size is definitely way smaller because of the Microsoft Licensing to the manufacturer that if anything that goes below certain inches (from time to time, this may change – therefore I am not quoting any sizes here), the license to the Windows client will be made free. This in terms bring the benefits to Manufacturer and Consumers. (Cheers to Microsoft again!)

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The back view of the two devices. Seems rather ok but at this time, I feel that the Toshiba tablet gives me a very “plastic” feeling where it may be more fragile than the Apple iPad Mini but anyway, an iPad Mini can purchase how many Toshiba tablet? (Do the mathematics yourself!)

 

Getting Stuffs from Microsoft US Store to Singapore

The answer to this problem is to thanks comGateway service of BuyForMe. I made the order via their online portal by inputting the details of the product I am looking for since Microsoft US Store only allows US credit card to be used for making payment. This is something that happened way before since my Toshiba tablet has arrived to Singapore already.

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The mobile application that comGateway has notified me via Push Notification and email that my items that I have engaged them to assist in the purchased has arrived at the US address and is pending the next action from me.

Administrative Fee

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Now, you must be wondering how much fee I have paid. Look at the image above, it clearly stated that the processing fee is US $4.95. The fee is so low (as it is 5% of the price of the total purchased order) that I could probably missed a cup of StarBucks drink just for this tablet.

Shipping Fee

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The shipping charges from US to Singapore is US $30. Well, does it make sense to you? Ship 3 of this tablet back to Singapore would get me one tablet for free. I see it as a form of investment to calm the little monster in me in which I am always yearning for new gadget. To each its own. If you think that your biggest drawback is the shipping, then probably wait for all these to be made available in Singapore or at least to our neighbouring country.

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This just merely just detailed how much heavy that tablet is in the box. I am poor in understanding how all these shipping charges are tabulated but since I want it OR need it, just get it over and done with.

Is your heart melted by the price tag or are you retreating because of the hefty price to pay for the shipping? Speak to me a little and see how my next purchase could include yours.

Cheers.

Milton Goh

Unboxing of Gadget–Toshiba Encore Mini

Chance Upon–vSphere Mobile Watchlist (Mobile App)

While I was doing my usual surfing for mobile applications on my devices (iOS on iPad / Android on Samsung Galaxy Note 3), I happened to chance upon this application – vSphere Mobile Watchlist by VMware, Inc. Swipe through the available screen captures provided in PlayStore, I saw some exciting things that I can do with this application so I went ahead to down it.

The application looked like this in PlayStore.

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As what it is shown in the description, “Monitor the VMware vSphere VMs you care about and remediate any alerts remotely”. It is that simple right? Simplified the way System Administrator(s) work now!

Since I have a one-server vSphere environment at home, I quickly login to the environment to test out the application.

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Since my mobile phone and my lab server sits in the same network, I could easily access the vSphere instance without any issue. However, for other system administrators that are on the move most of the time or wish to work on a quick-fix or reboot a Virtual Machine (VM) in the movie theatre, then probably you will need to bypass security layer like connecting to the vSphere environment through VPN.

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After successful login, it just presented me with a very neat outlook (which is something that I like the most, don’t build unnecessary features that complicates things when we can do only this much in a small device like our mobile phone!).

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Clicking on the “+” (plus) sign on the screen will bring you to the list of Virtual Machine (VMs) available for selection. Initially, I have no idea what I should be doing! However, by a few knocks, I finally get to know how this works.

You will need to select the radio button shown on the left of each Virtual Machine listed and it will appear on the dashboard (or main page) of the mobile application.

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I selected a few and head back to the dashboard and you will see those selected are somehow the “highlights” that you may want to view instantly upon logging in using the mobile application.

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In the dashboard, there is two views (on the left which shows more details compared to the lesser details one on the right). It is rather useful if you really have lots of vSphere hosts loaded and you want your attention to be focus on selected VMs on every host. After all, you care for what is most important to you although all of them are equally important but in every environment, there will definitely be servers that has more weightage compared to the rest.

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Diving into the individual Virtual Machine gives you more details of the selected VM. On the glance, it just provides you with information that you want to care most. For example, if you received an alert from your monitoring tool telling you that one of your server are hitting the threshold of 80% in CPU utilization or the available storage is less than 10%. You probably want to validate that piece of information immediately upon login to your vSphere environment. Notice that there is 4 nodes at the bottom, it just means that there are more information if you swipe to the left.

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Page 2 shows you the console view while Page 3 gives you a list of commands that is available similar to what you see on the VMware console used for administering VMware Virtual Machines.

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Page 4 is one of the important one where it shows you all the Tasks & Events pertaining to the Virtual Machine. This will be really useful for troubleshooting purposes.

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Very comprehensive filtering features built in so that the Administrator could filter accordingly to what is the level of details he/she wants to view.

VMware is really good with graphical representation of the information that is gathered which I really really appreciate the team who developed all these. Some of the breakdown of the graphs that you will find.

CPU & Memory

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Disk

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Network

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Want to quickly send the current state of the individual Virtual Machine to your team mates to review or escalate to the next support level? Well, you could easily gather the information and email it over through your mobile!

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Remoting / Accessing the Virtual Machine

If you are at your weep-ends where you really need to login to the server to check out what is happening within the server, then the mobile application has built in something that is as similar to the experience you get during a Teamviewer session.

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Using the on-screen keyboard, it takes a bit of effort though (I am not a fan of working with small screen unless I really have to). It will definitely be more soothing to your eyes when the screen is rotated.

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That’s all for the Virtual Machine section. Now, let’s move on to the Host.

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Similar to the Virtual Machine view, it gives you a holistic view of the utilization of the Host.

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This view gives you all the Virtual Machine that is hosted within the vSphere host and the list of datastore visible to the vSphere host.

The statistical portion of the Host is exactly the same as the Virtual Machine so I will be omitting the screen shot to save some of your bandwidth. 🙂

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Much lesser functionality compared to Virtual Machine but is definitely aligned to the what it has in the VMware console. The Tasks & Events is the same as the Virtual Machine ones and filtering possesses the same as Virtual Machine too.

One very last feature that is useful for System Administrator when administering a farm of vSphere host and Virtual Machine is that, sometime you would want to group certain Virtual Machine and Host into different view as the different group may signify usage for different projects or team. Take a look at the feature “WatchList” where you are available to create new “WatchList” and pull in respective Virtual Machine you would like in this view.

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Select the Virtual Machine or Host that you want and then shift it into the WatchList.

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Do you find this application useful for System Administrator? Is there any features that are lacking from this? Share with me in the comment fields and let’s discuss!

Cheers.

Milton Goh

Chance Upon–vSphere Mobile Watchlist (Mobile App)

First Experience with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Glacier

Awhile back, I was looking for a solution where I can continuously archive a substantiate set of Surveillance media so that it can be offset from my local Network-Attached Storage (NAS) as the media file a day could get as large as 15-20GB depending on the amount of activities.

Here is the quick glance of the various services offered by Amazon AWS.

AWS_Glacier_01_Dashboard

Next, I will go to Amazon Glacier. This is the dashboard of Amazon Glacier if you have not used it before.

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Amazon Glacier named each “Container” as “Vault” so each user could have multiple Vault to separate the different purposes. Perhaps in another way would be, each vault is for different project or different level of usage in the application so that to segregate the access to the files.

The next important thing to me whenever I utilize “Cloud” services would be the region I am able to select because, Speed matters to me the MOST.

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I would love to have my files placed as close to me in Singapore but I guess Amazon still do not see the value or demand of this service here. Therefore, I went ahead with Tokyo as my next preferred location.

AWS_Glacier_03_Create_Vault

Create a new vault is really easy, no complex fuss about it at all. Just key in the name of the vault and you are good to go!

AWS_Glacier_05_Create_Notifications

So you like notifications when your automated jobs run at weeps hours and notify you when it is completed so that you can have a sound sleep and waking up to reading “Success”. (Really sounds like an Ops Guy at work yeah?)

Somehow this notification thingy is related to the other service that Amazon has to offer. I would not be diving in into too much of it yet as my whole intention was to find a low-cost storage that can be offloaded from my local environment where I can quickly find and grab files as and when needed. For more information, click here.

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Newly created vault will appear in this Dashboard where it will list down all the Vault(s) available. What is important in this dashboard is,-

  1. Size – the amount you utilized and you be charged the following month (because Amazon AWS charged based on your utilization)
  2. # of Archives – is the number of Archive important to you? Yes, it is important to me because I am kind of meticulous about this. What if the media file that I need the most is missing, it should at least tally with the amount of files uploaded etc..

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The setup is all done up, the vault is being created and ready to be utilize. Here is the various ways to access the Vault to Store/View/Grab/Update files on it.

Cheers.

Milton Goh

First Experience with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Glacier