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About Pay to Win

29 Jul

If you play a Pay to Win game, you are a stupid person. It’s blunt, it’s offensive, but it’s also the truth.

Let’s put it into perspective. I have always said, this particular model is like authorized cheating, and people agreed. But so far I have struggles to pin down a perfect metaphor. Let’s say you’re playing Football, and you’re up against a team at their home ground. There’ll be definitely be some officiating favor going for  the home team. But that’s part of the game right? That’s how it has always been for sports. So what’s wrong with cheating at games? That’s because the official favoring a home team is like those old day game cheat codes, nobody likes to talk about it, and it happens under the radar. Pay to Win is like FIFA announcing because one team paid them a handsome amount, the game shall begin at 5-0 to them.

If you’re playing a Football match that started as 5-0 against you,  you’re a mentally disabled person. And whatever you’re doing, it’s not sport. And same way, if you’re playing something that’s Pay to Win, whatever that is, that’s not a game. And don’t say it’s fun nonetheless. Would you enjoy a football game starting at 5-0? Stop giving those developers your money.

To Universal App or Not

30 Jun

Windows Phone 8.1 brings a host of improvements. Most notable and consumer facing among them are the Action Center, Cortana, improved start screen, all the Senses etc. But the feature that might end up being the most useful to the users without them even knowing is the introduction of Universal Apps, the compile once and run on all devices apps. Since its introduction, there have been a lot faster app additions to both Windows and Windows Phone store. Previously you’d have to wait for developer to do both separately, if ever; but now cool apps from Windows store appear on Windows Phone store simultaneously, and vice-versa.

So what’s not to like?

The problem with Universal Apps are a bit low level. Literally. While they make great sense for indie developers and even bigger publishers to take advantage of it to maximize their usage of resource allocation, Universal apps are all managed code apps, and will always be slower than their native cousins. Improvements to platform itself will keep bringing down the performance hit associated with managed code, but a gap will remain. So while these apps are very good, and even desirable in cases like TV apps and the likes, if an app requires maximum performance possible, developer probably should stick to native apps.

Especially if the developer is Microsoft itself.

It’s downright depressing to see a loading screen on a first party app. I don’t want to see a loading screen on my music app. Ever. Not a resuming screen either for that matter. I don’t want to see those screen on my podcast app, on my videos app. These are core functionality app, and people try them, a lot. If a platform loyalist like me is outraged by it, think how someone trying it in a store would feel! An iPhone or top end Android devices will be there to rescue from the terror that is loading screen. That cannot be too great for the already tiny Windows Phone market share.

So dear Microsoft, you have the resources. Please use it to kill those loading screens. Universal apps are great, and should help Windows Phone a lot in coming days. But don’t use it on places where it will bring more harm instead. There are places for it, first party pre-installed apps is not among them.

Devil Is In The Details

22 Apr

There have already been plenty of reviews of Windows Phone 8.1. This is obviously not a review. Just a list of details, major or minor, only doable by someone who regularly uses the OS.

Good:

  • Keyboard now suggests/offers emoticons!
  • Updated boot animation is good.
  • Updated icon for outlook account and exchange.
  • Parallax implementation is good.
  • Does call grouping in call history.
  • Map nicely integrates POI from Foursquare. More important stuff appears first when zooming in.
  • More tiles across the device spectrum.
  • Manual checking of app  updates.

Bad:

  • Xbox music sucks. SLOW.
  • Slower performance.
  • Podcast app has no browsing.
  • Outlook account is still called Hotmail.
  • Office apps not updates one bit.
  • Still no contact picture in call history.
  • Setting still a mess. No icons.
  • Transit direction is not using the transports’ (either of bus and train) names to denote them (NYC), only the direction.
  • No need to give that pop-up when I check for app updates.

Neutral and Time Needed:

  • Cortana sports integration is woefully incomplete.
  • Worsened battery performance.
  • Worsened memory management. IE is unloading tabs too frequently.

I want to see:

  • Cortana to have batch operations. (Turn off all alarms, Move all alarm forward by 3 hours, )
  • More options for Action Center quick actions.

These all may seem pretty small time stuff to a lot of people, but a lot of these small stuff can get in the way of a great experience. So here’s hoping someone is paying attention somewhere.

Laundry List for Windows

24 Jul

Microsoft has been enjoying an almost monopoly in enterprise and consumer computing for almost as long as personal computers has existed. But as Android and iOS gains popularity, Microsoft needed to take necessary measurements.

The Metro Modern design language is in my opinion Microsoft’s doorway to dominating next generation of computing. But as it stands, compared to the desktop environment, it is still woefully lacking. This post is intended to be a “laundry list” of tweaks I believe Microsoft needs to do on Windows for a improved user experience.

Windows Desktop

Add podcast support into Windows Media Player. OR Update Zune.

Desktop can get Metro Interface elements like this.

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Internet Explorer zoom settings should be independent of the Metro IE.

Desktop apps should be able to integrate with charms bar too. Do more than just screenshot share.

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Lumia 920 Battery Life

8 Jun

This is bit of a selective disclosure, but remains worth noting that Lumia 920 can get absolutely amazing battery life. It should be noted that this is a European build running on AT&T’s network, so instead of LTE, it is maxing out on HSPA+, which could alleviate some load. I cannot provide specific measurements, but my judgment it was average usage.

Surface RT vs. New iPad: A Comparison

17 Oct

And so it has finally surfaced(pun intended), and the tech world is going into their analysis mode to determine which is better and why and which deserves our hard earned penny. So I am going to jump onto the bandwagon and offer my 2 cents. Rather than simply posting a chart and compare few bullet points, I am going to talk about what’s behind those bullet points. Bullet points are easier to look at, but there are always more to those points that everyone should take into consideration before taking out the wallet. What does higher/lower resolution means? What are the benefits of having a keyboard? What about the apps? How does having a USB port benefit me? Let’s take a look.

First thing first and let’s get this over with, that is resolution. I must say I am kind of disappointed about the resolution on RT. The resolution of 1366*768 is kind of disappointing to have, it should have been 1080p, not less but not more either. But I shall thoroughly disagree with iPad fans here and say more resolution is not necessarily better. Yes higher resolution and in turn higher pixel density is great to look at, but it does inarguably come with a few caveats, weight(if not battery life), heat, performance. iPad 3 despite having a stronger SoC inside compared to iPad 2, had visibly worse gaming graphics as this article finds.

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Random rant about recent Windows Phone issues

29 Sep

This is a rant. Rant about many things, several random things that are bugging me.

Dear Microsoft,
I like it you guys are trying the whole secrecy thing, it gives an aura of coolness and mystery. But please realize that the world is not the same as 10years ago. There are two other major platforms and developers are going to have to choose. So it does not help when they don’t get info from you. Secrecy would have worked if you had very few products and/or had a set release cycle. Secrecy works for Apple because their product portfolio is not as vast, and also they are expected to release those products in a one year circle, so developers kind of know what to expect and when to expect. But with many products in the Microsoft family and completely unknown cycle, they are left completely in the dark.

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