This is regarding my new Nokia Lumia 920. About a week back, in the evening while at the new Phoenix Mall, Velachery I was taking some pictures with the phone of the mall’s exterior at night. Suddenly the phone slipped and fell down in the pavement, when I picked up what I saw was shocking – the entire front glass broken. I tried (with a paper tissue over my fingers as these Gorilla glass pieces can be dangerous) touching the screen, it seemed to work fine. This breakage follows the tradition in my family of breaking “Glass” of new gadgets – my son did it last year with my iPad2.
On reaching home, I backup’d the device using Windows Phone connector app, strangely without touching and unlocking the phone (with the PIN) you can’t back up. Next day gave the phone for repair to Nokia Customer Care. Though I didn’t expect it to be covered under warranty (it would have been great customer service and gesture if Nokia did it), I was shocked when the service centre quoted Rs.18,000 + Service charges for replacing the Glass. This amounted to over 50% of the phone’s full price. Expecting some miracle I exchanged couple of emails to Nokia India Head office, finally I got a shocker from them – that the phone can’t be serviced, beyond repair. Realising I have it a wall, I went back to Service Centre and I have asked them to fix it. Expecting to get back the repaired phone in next few days.
Before you ask, I did try local repair shops – no one in Chennai seems to have the spares for Nokia, they have it for iOS devices & Samsung phones.
I am wondering. All phones get out dated within 12-18 months, and all touch phones are prone to getting dropped & broken. So instead of spending Rs.30-40K ($800) on a high end phone, how about getting a sub Rs.10K like Nokia Lumia 520 or Micromax A90S. Stolen, broken, out dated – I can buy a new phone every year and still in 3 years end up spending less than a high-end phone
Continuing my experience of using Nokia Lumia 920, I am doing this post. I am using Windows Phone connector for Mac in my iMac to sync media & photos from the iTunes and iPhoto library there. Everything worked well, except while doing sync last few days I was troubled with an issue. I had just added to iTunes 4 large video files (each over 2GB), then I synced with Windows Phone connector. Though I didn’t select these 4 files it was trying to sync it and failing due to lack of space. Adding to this, I couldn’t see any of these files in WP Connector App the videos had been classified in iTunes as Home Videos. I was going crazy why Connector app insists on syncing these files. I tried rebooting Mac, rebooting Phone, deleting all the files in the device through Browse Devices and re-syncing, but every time these 4 files I didn’t want got synced.
Finally by chance, in Music category I unchecked the "Recently Added" box. Then I tried sync, this time the Home Videos didn’t get sync. So my conclusion was Music settings in Playlists affects Video files in iTunes as well.
On Further investigation I found out a better way than to turn off entirely “Recently Added”. In iTunes, “Recently Added” is a smart playlist. Editing the rules for Smart Playlist you can prevent any video file from getting picked up in that list. I did just that, enabled “Recently Added” in WP Connector and tried sync. All worked fine.
Today I had a client meeting and I had do some demos with my iPad3. I don’t have 3G in my iPad, I generally share the connection from my iPhone. Now with my shiny new Nokia Lumia 920 (Windows Phone 8 OS) I tried to do the same. I could setup everything (enable Internet sharing in phone, connect to the WiFi hotspot from iPad) easily but for some strange reason I couldn’t connect from my iPad. Trying to connect from iPad, even stopped the data connection in the phone. After returning to office, I tried to connect to the Phone shared WiFi Hotspot from my Laptop which didn’t work, but I was able to connect from an Android Phone.
I had purchased this unlocked phone from Flipkart (India) for full price and I am on Vodafone Chennai 3G data plan.
Searching the web I saw many suggestions – one suggesting I change the Access Point settings (in my case they got OTA updated from Vodafone when I first turned on the phone, so I didn’t want to mess with that) and the second suggestion (#22 post by Soxpranos in this page) was the most weirdest but doing it did solve the problem. Now I am able to connect through WiFi from iPad, Android, Laptop through my Nokia Lumia 920 3G connection.
The fix was to install Spanish (Spain) keyboard !
On a related item, while I was rebooting the phone it got stuck on the Nokia banner and refused to start up. Pressing power button long didn’t help, and then any other key combinations. It turns out I had to do a soft reset – this is done by pressing and holding Volume Down and Power button together for few seconds. Doing that solved the problem.
To do a hard reset (which wipes the phone data), you need to press Volume Down,Power,Camera buttons together for few seconds till the phone vibrates; then keep pressing only Volume Down and Power buttons. Detailed instructions can be found here.
I bought a Nokia Lumia 920 & using it as my mobile for last two weeks. Yes, you heard me right!
I started using iPhone exactly 4 years back, first with iPhone3G and two years back iPhone4. Then I got myself deeper into Apple Ecosystem, moving all music/movies to iTunes, buying an iMac to manage/store it and then recently iPad3. So this month when I decided to change my aging iPhone4, the choices in front of me were just two. Go the least friction route to buy iPhone5 or go with Windows Phone. I don’t seem to like Android so that was a sure no-go for me, I have tried Samsung Galaxy Note II as recently as few weeks back and I have used for more than a week MicroMax A90S with Android 4.0 ICS. Seeing the features of iPhone5 and using it from friends who have it, I would like to say I am not impressed. iPhone5 is a great phone, but I don’t see any upgrade in there from iPhone4 other than the processor & display (which looks pretty odd dimensioned to me).
A brief on Mobiles I used in the past:
In the past I have used/tried various Windows Mobiles including XPhoneII in 2004, BenQ P50 in 2006, HTC S710 in 2007 and HTC Mozart (With first version of Windows Phone 7) in 2010. Before iPhone my favourite was Nokia 9300 (smaller sibling of the Nokia communicator). After waiting two years for a good phone to emerge from Nokia-Microsoft partnership, I finally was impressed with Nokia Lumia 920. The earlier avatars of Lumia phone didn’t interest me, because they lacked support for my mother tongue (Tamil). Lumia 920 supports Tamil due to the underlying Windows NT kernel in Windows Phone 8 OS.
I went with Nokia Lumia 920 and not HTC 8X due to Nokia generally having better Voice quality from its superior Radio electronics & better low-light camera. I spend considerable time with the phone in Dubai (during last year XMAS vacation) where a friend was using it and online reviews (comparing with competition) before deciding to order it on 18th February from Flipkart. The price I paid was Rs.36038, this was before the recent Budget tax hike now the phone costs Rs.37510 when I saw today.
Experience of using Nokia Lumia 920 for two weeks now:
(My home screen customized)
After buying the phone I still had my doubts. Can I adapt myself to Windows Phone UI from iOS, won’t the weight of the phone bother me (Lumia 920 is 185g where as iPhone4 is just 137g). Now after two weeks of using it as my only phone I can say that I got used to Windows Phone and in fact I love it. Going back to iOS or Android looks time travel back in time. The heaviness of the phone is not that noticeable, I felt it made the holding/handling of the phone better, kind of sits firm in your palms; I never felt the phone was slipping and I haven’t dropped it so far (touch wood), which can’t be said of iPhone even with Apple bumpers.
Unlike what I feared, the setup of the phone went without any hitch. Vodafone pushed Access Point settings automatically Over the Air (OTA) and everything worked fine on first attempt. Configuring my 3 emails, Contacts, Tasks were buttery smooth. This included my work account (Office 365 Exchange Online), Hotmail (Personal Contacts & Calendars) & Gmail custom domain email. The Windows Phone connector for Mac OX made it super easy to sync my Photos with iPhotos & Music/Movies/TV Shows with my iTunes library in OS X.
Initially I missed few things of iOS like Favourites in Contacts, Unified Mail & few apps. As I use the phone I am learning new ways of accomplishing the tasks in WP which at times are is better than iOS way. For example the separate tiles for each mail account makes it faster instead of iOS change folder and especially while sending emails. Instead of Favourites in Contacts, you can group your contacts in Outlook.com and pin individual groups as Live Tiles – this has an added advantage of able to see all social activities of people within the group in that tile itself. Instead of double-click on home button in iOS to switch Apps, you can long press the back button & see running apps before switching to them. Screenshots can be taken with nearly the same key combination (Windows softkey plus Power button pressed together). Instead of iCloud, photos & documents are automatically uploaded to Skydrive which is a full service cloud storage service compared to iCloud.
Features that I found to be great about the phone, which makes it a better choice than iPhone5 for me (in order of advantage) are:
- Microsoft Office – The original is still the best!
- Carl-Zeiss Lens & Camera – The camera is great especially in low light, see the pictures I took with this phone here
- Nokia Music – This provides free legal download of millions of tracks including the latest Hindi & Tamil language songs. This is an under spoken feature of Nokia over other WP OEMs
- People Hub – This is the unique differentiator of WP, where it gives a unified view of your contacts across their social networks. The pictures for each contact makes it much better than iOS contacts list
- Nokia HERE Maps – For India Nokia Maps is great especially its turn by turn and Near-By search
- Kid’s corner is a nice feature unique to WP (now in Amazon Kindle Fire) where you allocate a home screen with access only to Apps/music/videos of your choice. With my son taking my Phone most of the time when we are out, this is a great feature for me
- The display at 4.5-inch size & resolution of 1280 x 768 is brilliant, compared to 4 inch and 1136 x 640 of iPhone5. And the display is clearly visible even in outdoor sunlight
The Apps that I have discovered & currently using for the tasks I do (in Alphabetical order):
- 7Pass (Paid) – App for opening Keepass Password files
- Amazon Kindle
- Burrp – The peer review of Restaurants in India
- Facebook – Though you don’t need a standalone app due to People hub, good to know its still there
- Lync 2010 – The office communicator for work collaboration
- MetroTube (Paid) – The YouTube! clone due to Google not providing one
- MSN India Cricket
- PDF Reader – From Microsoft to open Adobe Acrobat files, latest update supports Password protected files and more feature. Surprised Adobe doesn’t have an official version yet
- Twitter – I like the latest version of Twitter App giving it a consistent UI across platforms
- WhatsApp – I have been a late adopter of this Mobile Texting platform
- WordPress – The official app Use to manage this blog including approval of comments & view stats, lags behind iOS version but functional
- Nextgen Reader – After trying many RSS readers, this is the best I could find
One thing that didn’t work was the USB connection of the phone to my Car Stereo. The Pioneer Audio system supports only iPod interface, so does all the equipment at my Gym. As a stop-gap till I buy a Bluetooth adaptor for the Car Stereo, I have dusted my old Zune Player & connected it to AUX Audio input in the car.
Two features I am missing from iPhone are 1) the hardware toggle button for mute. With Lumia 920 its a 3 click operation – press power button, then volume up/down, followed by touching the ring/silent icon on top right, 2) the long battery life of iPhone, Nokia Lumia 920 gives me on average usage about 20-22 Hours before it dies, which by itself is great compared to competition but I am spoiled by iPhone.
In summary, I am happy with Nokia Lumia 920 and you should consider it as your next smartphone
Update (22/Mar/2013): After doing some tweaks and few full charges, I am now able to get over 24 hours of battery charge, with 10-15% to spare. The tweaks were setting the Brightness to Low, Automatic Photo sync to Skydrive turned off, Location services off, NFC – ON.
I have been using Outlook 2013 for few months now & I love it. Initially I didn’t see anything different from Outlook 2010 other than “Metro”fication of the User-Interface & In-place replies.
After reading about it in Office Blog, I enabled the social integration features. WOW, these features are cool. Basically it allows you to connect your Outlook to social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & SkyDrive). Doing this allows you to see additional information including Pictures of people in your Outlook contact list. These include people who may not be connected to you directly but have provided their profile photo for Public access. It also shows “What’s New” from their social activities in the contacts pane itself. Interestingly this updated information seems to flow to my iPhone/iPad as well through Office 365 & Outlook.com (that’s where I have kept my contacts centralized).
1. To get this feature, first ensure you have the “Outlook Social Connector 2013” enabled in Add-Ins from Options menu.
2. Go to File->Office Account menu, select “Add a service” button and add all the Social Networks you want to. That’s all.
More about this feature is in this post “The new People Hub in Outlook 2013”.
I spend considerable time in keeping my contacts organized and details (Phone, Mobile, email, addresses) maintained in correct schema in Outlook. With Outlook 2013, I didn’t like the new People contact sheet that allows in-place editing of details through a simple textbox. This is seen below:
(Outlook 2013 Contact view with in-place editing)
This is in place of the more fine-tuned Dialog Editor that comes in earlier versions of Outlook. A friendly tip from a Microsoft (MCS) contact, made me find the option to get back the old contact’s editor. You get it by “Change View” in People then selecting Business Card or List view.
(Classic editor for editing contacts in Outlook)
I know that you can configure the password expiry (how long before user is prompted to reset their password) for an user in Windows Server Active Directory for all Domain Users. But how about for a standalone Windows 7 alone machine. I have got “Windows 7” installed in my Home Desktop (iMac) through Parallels. I use Windows7 for writing this blog with Windows Live Writer and for doing my mails with Outlook 2013 (which I find much better than the Outlook 2010 for Mac OS). Windows OS kept prompting me to change password every other month and I got bored of it. Though it is a good security habit to change password, in this case, it is lessor of a concern for me than convenience.
I couldn’t find the option in the usual Control Panel – User Accounts Applet. I tried firing up the Local Users and Groups snap-in for MMC console through Start-Run (lusrmgr.msc) but since this for Windows 7 Home Premium I was told that feature is not available.
After some searching I found this Microsoft Answers article on the command I can use to control the Password Aging parameter. To do it, launch CMD.EXE in elevated mode (Run as Administrator) and run this command: net accounts /maxpwage:unlimited
Problem solved. Now I am not prompted anymore to change password in Windows 7 Home Premium.
For many years now my Desktop PC at work has been connected to Two Monitors. Almost all first time visitors to my room ask me about the two huge monitors sitting in my Table. Then I get to explain the benefits, which are basically about improved productivity & studies done by Microsoft Research. Dual Monitors allow you to open two Excel spread sheets at the same time, have two presentations open side by side & easily copy paste slides without switching apps, mirror the screen and turn one of the monitors to your visitors to show what you are seeing. I usually have Microsoft Outlook & KeePass open in the right hand-side monitor and keep working on the left hand-side monitor, this allows a quick glance to an email or password or IM. Once you get used to having Dual Monitors, you will really miss it when you don’t have it. And if you thought this is luxury, see Robert Scoble who has 3 monitors in his desk and wants more.
After moving to Windows 8, I found the Dual Monitors to be more interesting – I can run Modern UI apps (Formerly called Metro Apps) in one Monitor & Desktop apps in another.
Recently Microsoft introduced a nice new feature in Windows 8 called “Panoramic Themes”. Panoramic themes extends a single wallpaper across two monitors. For this the displays should be of same size & resolution settings, the panorama will not automatically extend across both monitors if their settings are different-Instead, a different image will appear in each display. Over the months Microsoft has been populating Windows Themes library with quite a selection of Panoramic Themes, I have currently set my PC to Cityscape Panoramic theme (seen below in the photograph) and I am enjoying the familiar skylines of Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Vancouver & London (all the 4 cities I have visited). If not for the thick bezel in the two monitors, the panoramic view is perfect, you see the roads seamlessly flow between the screens.
(My setup of Dual Monitors showing the awesome Cityscape Panoramic WallPaper in Windows8)
Another new feature is for Themes containing regular-size (non-panoramic) images, instead of just duplicating the same image (as in Windows 7), Windows 8 will display a different image in each monitor.
Though Microsoft through Windows 2000 was one of the earliest OS to support Indic Languages including Tamil, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7.x (both being based on Windows CE OS) never supported Complex Script rendering using Unicode. This meant I couldn’t move to a Windows Phone from my iPhone if I wanted to still read my mother tongue (Tamil) – which I do.
I got interested when Microsoft announced in June 2012 that they will move in the new version “Windows Phone 8” from Windows CE to the full Windows NT Kernel. This was a good sign that WindowsPhone will finally get Complex Script rendering support and the blog post then even said it will support 50 World Languages (but there was no mention of which languages or about Tamil in specific). So I was left waiting for the Windows Phone 8 SDK release so that I can check on this with the emulator.
Finally my wait was over with Microsoft releasing the Windows Phone 8 SDK today. Immediately I downloaded, installed the SDK, fired Visual Studio 2012 & wrote a small App that displayed “Tamil” text in a TextBlock. This happened to be yours truly ‘s writing code after a long time and I did the code in my all time favourite programming language “Visual Basic” (now as VB.NET)
Behold!. I saw crisp rendering of Tamil’s beautiful script on the emulator screen. Since the emulator is a virtualized environment running the same bits as in a real device it is 100% sure it is there.
I checked in the built-in IE 10 browser it too supported Tamil script just fine (seen above BBC Tamil website rendering fine in Windows Phone 8).
Update 5th March 2013: About two weeks back I purchased a Nokia Lumia 920 running Windows Phone 8, tried out Tamil text rendering. Its working just fine across all apps I tried. Thanks Microsoft. I wish you have added Tamil Input (Keyboard) support as well. Following are screenshots from Nokia Lumia 920.
If you are using Microsoft Outlook with either Exchange Server or Office 365, you may at times see few emails titled “Synchronization Log” as Unread mails. I have been getting this for years now and it is a known harmless issue and can be safely ignored.
If like me having Unread mails bothers you, you can do this simple fix. To correct it the user needs to customize the search folder as following:
- Go down to Search Folders
- Context click on the “Unread Mail” folder and choose “Customize “Unread Mail”
- Click on Browse
- Unselect the checkbox for “Search subfolders”
- Select manually all folders you would like to see Unread mail from
- Press OK and OK again.
More details here.
As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner at “Vishwak Solutions” we have been using Microsoft Exchange server as our Mailing, Contact & Calendaring solution for many years. Till last year we have been running Exchange Server On-Premise, this meant having at least 4 servers, uninterrupted power, redundant connectivity and so on. Though Exchange is the best solution for this workload, it is still lot of work from a management perspective, especially since we are less than 100 users. Having tried out earlier the alternatives (Linux Mailserver, Google Apps and others) I feel Exchange Server & Outlook really improves team productivity. So earlier this year, we moved to Office 365 – Microsoft cloud hosted Exchange. And we have been more than happy with the results – both from management of the service and from users angle, the ride has turned out to be great. You can access your mails, calendar, contacts from any device (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Nokia, PC) & anywhere. And at about $4 Per User Per month it is attractively priced too. For Small & Midsize brainer it is a no-brainer to go with this.