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

Using SharePoint Calendar in Outlook as Team/Shared Calendar

Do you chance by a time when you always need to send out meeting invite to the folks within your team or your organization on team activities? How do you tap on your intranet SharePoint system to make life much easier for everybody?

Let’s just say, in an organization which have a 100 people, rather than keep blasting email out on meeting appointment such as “Company Kick-Off for FY 2013”, why not consider utilizing the SharePoint Calendar List (or App in SharePoint 2013)?

Let’s see how we can do it.

  • Head over to your SharePoint Intranet (in my case, I uses SharePoint 2013). Click on the “Settings” icon and click “Add an app”.

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  • Search for “Calendar” as shown.

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  • Enter the desire name for this Calendar list.

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  • After clicking “Create”, you will see your newly created Calendar.

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**NOTE** In order to synchronize SharePoint Calendar to Outlook, the default URL as shown in the image above will not work because in this setting, it has “Minimum Download Strategy” which improves rendering performance. Therefore, you may just need to modify the URL a little to enable the “Connect to Outlook” button.

  • Modify the URL accordingly, or rather remove the “/_layouts/15/start.aspx#”.

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  • Now you will notice that the button “Connect to Outlook” is enable once again!

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  • Click on it, you will see a popup that ask for your permission to launch the following URL in Outlook. It’s just security, go ahead if you trust your Intranet.

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  • Next, your Outlook program will launch and ask if you want to connect that SharePoint Calendar to Outlook, go ahead. Look at the URL carefully before you add anything. Just be cautious of what you do.

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  • Done! You now have your newly created SharePoint Calendar connected to your Outlook.

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It’s that easy? Isn’t it?

Right now, anyone who have permission to the SharePoint Calendar is able to add event (List Item) and it will appear in your Outlook Calendar. Likewise, for any events added via Outlook will also appear in SharePoint Calendar.

In this way, the Administrator/Coordinator need not blast out email invites to everybody again! Just add it via SharePoint or via Outlook.

Cheers.

Leaving the comfort zone: From VMWare Workstation to Hyper-V

Ever since Windows 8 was on the Release Candidate (RC) phase, I have been trying to see if Hyper-V on Windows 8 could be a substitute my day-to-day operations and usage versus Windows 7 Professional with VMware Workstation. Some of the things that I need in my day-to-day would be…

  • Virtualization – I run a couple of Virtual Machine from time to time for the sake of development, testing or proof-of-concept (POC).
  • Office tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Access.
  • Internet browsers (I used a mixture of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox but put more focused on the first two for a long time already)

So let’s drill down to the need for a Virtualization software, the client that power my needs, simple one though. What I always use, what I always need from VMware Workstation?

  1. Flexibility of running multiple virtual machines
  2. Resource hungry-ness.
  3. Speed
  4. Snapshots

When I first tried Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008, I always felt that the features aren’t rich enough. The only reason that I can probably cook up for the reason why VMware Workstation has such a fancy look is that since we are paying a premium for it (yes, it’s a premium for a piece of software but well, on the other hand it may not be since we now do pay a hefty amount for the OS in order to get the Hyper-V feature. After all, we are looking at OS + Feature versus Feature only).

I am not going to do a feature comparison post comparing Hyper-V and VMware Workstation as you can find tons of them online just by Binging it.

So what really stopped me in the past but now I have move on, out of the comfort zone that every single tiny winy feature that I enjoyed? Let’s drill down on some of them and see how I have overcome it…

Internet Connectivity for Virtual Machines in Hyper-V

What used to be as easy as create additional NAT adapter is missing out in the Hyper-V and making it difficult for my virtual machines running on Hyper-V to go without connection to the internet. Once I installed Windows 8, I do a search on the internet and I came across this article by Karsten Bott where he wrote “Share Internet Connection with Hyper-V Guests (NAT) on Windows 8“. The article can be found here.

If you follow the instructions in the article by Karsten Bott, you will definitely be able to setup internet connection for your guests easily.  With my above setup, my intention is as followed…

External Link – Will get an IP from the DHCP Server and get access to the internet.

Internal Link – Purely for my virtual machines that doesn’t require internet connection (Example, Active Directory, SQL Server)

Internet Link – Sharing – This is the one that I used to tap on the internet connection that are bridge via my Wireless Adapter.

 

Viewing of Virtual Machine within the Virtualization Client Software

One major thing that is missing in the Hyper-V is that since the whole intention is for Server usage and therefore may have neglected the user-experience that users receives. So the biggest drawback between the two is that I am losing the ability to do “Fit Screen Size” / “Full Screen Mode” and it will automatically change the screen resolution accordingly. Since I am a simple person and I wouldn’t mind losing that feature… So I know that the only way to achieve the comfortable level of viewing is to use Remote Desktop Connection via the Remote Desktop Protocol to connect to the virtual machine. This is obviously treating every single virtual machine as a physical machine.

For this, I would recommend getting Remote Desktop Manager which can be found here.

With this, the interface is almost similar to how VMware Workstation presented where the Virtual Machine library is on the left, while the session is spanning from the center to the right. Each virtual machine can be opened in full-screen mode or tabbed mode.

So how do I setup this and made my user-experience almost seamlessly integrated?

–> This shows all the available virtual machine on my workstation that I brought to work everyday. 

–> This is he left hand corner that I was referring to as the “Library”.

–> This is just one connection settings to the virtual machine loaded on the local drive. Take note of the IP that was used. This IP is used in conjunction with the adapter (Internal Link).

–> This shows all the network adapters (Physical + Virtual) that I have added.

–> This is to show that since I want to control all the virtual machine that uses all “Internal Link” connection, therefore on the host machine, that master adapter must hold a IP address and also the same gateway as those virtual machine instances.

 

Last Point (The most important one) – Speed

One thing that many couldn’t deny if they are the user of VMware Workstation is the speed. It’s really slow when you try to put your running virtual machine to hibernate mode where you pause the virtual machine. This would then write the current state down. The only thing is that the time it take to put the virtual machine to sleep and also resume it is super slow and super time consuming.

On the other side, virtual machine that are paused in Hyper-V resumes within seconds. (Gosh, I am serious, seconds!)

That’s about it for my sharing post, if you think you could make Hyper-V more user-friendly, please share with me by dropping an email to me at [email protected] or post a comment here.

Cheers!
MG

DropBox Alternatives for Windows 8 App featuring “All My Storage”

DropBox Alternatives for Windows 8 App featuring “All My Storage”

When Windows 8 RTM was released on TechNet, I was so excited to download a copy and quickly installed it on my laptop that I used for my daily operations. Polished it shiny with the new OS, I need to find my usual stuffs that powered my day2 operations. Let’s zoom down to, DropBox.

I did a search in the soon-to-be-popular and populated with applications Windows Store. There I found… “All My Storage

Wooo. Judging from the amount of applications available in the Windows Store, I get 3-4 related to what I want, not that bad right? Target set on…! Get it install…

 

After installation, I will start configuring the account to grab my files…

My Thoughts – This app may seems very easy to setup, just like the usual style of other Windows App but it is still shortfall of functionality that made things more user-friendly and easy to use. Comparing this with the native DropBox client, I seriously can’t leave without the native client. However, we all know that we are moving into the era towards the cloud. It’s definitely inevitable we have to leave with more apps this way. Unless, someone out there could do better, I am sure there will be.

I will continue to search for more windows app that can power my cloud storage… Stay tuned then…