Appreciation Post: Slack

I am a huge fan of online collaboration. Even though I am not in the IT industry, my lifestyle needs it and heavily depends on it. It was on college where I learned to use them mostly for backup and collaboration with people for academic and student org purposes. I have tried a lot of productivity apps and all that techniques just to find which ones suit my lifestyle. I have lost track that sometimes I only remember the sites I registered to when I receive promotional e-mails from them! Right now, I still use those tools sometimes for work, but most of the time for my organizations whose members live far from each other. In the Mozilla Philippines Community, we have been using MoPads (Etherpad), Google Drive & Calendar, Facebook, IRC, Hangouts and Trello to do our planning sessions without having to meet up. Imagine the clutter of having to always check multiple sites and having to bookmark a lot of links just to keep a project together! We usually talk on Facebook, then when an idea pops up we take note on a certain Etherpad and so on. We sure have a hell of a hard time backreading.

A friend introduced me this new service, Slack, which was on preview release when I signed up. It was love at first sight.

Slack is an online communication tool, which aims to bring everything together in one place. If your organization is like ours who uses a lot of different services just to work on a single project, you’ll love how Slack brings all of those in such an organized place where you can easily browse and backread.

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First Impressions: Geeksphone Keon running on Firefox OS

A sweet little thing arrived in the mail when I got home from work! Hello, little orange phone, Keon!

The packaging is quite unique from what we are used to with smartphones. It a square box which opens upwards to reveal the phone.

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And when you lift it up, it will reveal the manuals and accessories.

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At 199g it is slightly heavier than an iPhone 5 and lighter than the S4. The back has a neat matte surface similar to the Kindle Fire HD.You can find more specs here.

Yes, the phone gives you a familiar feeling with only a circle button and three hardware buttons on the left side. The UI doesn’t give much confusion for smartphone users, as they are almost the same as most UIs currently available. The round icons are quite familiar too.

It has the usual connectivity features like WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, Internet sharing and 3G. The battery life is quite impressive. I have tried leaving it with WiFi on for more than 24 hours and have left it on stand-by for 3 days.

Keon is not really a powerful phone, but if you just want to have the basic features with Internet connectivity, with an expected price tag of Php3-5k, this is a good choice. Especially if you are a mobile apps developer or you plan to become one.

Firefox OS was built using open web technologies and is of course, entirely open source. What makes me say it is perfect for developers? Well, for starters, developers don’t need to pay anything to submit an app to the Marketplace AND Mozilla doesn’t intend to gain anything from their earnings, if they plan to sell their apps. Talk about using and marketing a phone plainly for developing the Web and exploring its capabilities, instead of the usual capitalist thinking.

The OS and the device still have a lot of areas to improve on. However, I must say that I have a huge trust on the open community about developing for the sake of the craft and not merely to heartlessly earn from it.

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App Appreciation Post: Spotify

This is currently my top favorite app. Spotify is a music streaming app with a wide selection of tracks! And I mean WIDE. REALLY WIDE.

Anyone?

With Spotify, I bid goodbye to downloading pirated music and having to store music in my HD! (though I only have around 5GB worth of music and well, I can really use that space) I am only a free user though, so I have to endure commercial messages but well, it’s cool.

It is not available in the Philippines so I used a proxy (which is from Germany, lol) to sign up and use the application 😛

My favorite Spotify feature is sharing your music with friends! My Spotify account is connected to Facebook and I get to connect to my friends who are on Spotify! I can see what they are listening to right now, which I can choose to listen to as well. I get to discover a lot of new artists because of that. ;_;


I stalk your playlists, bitchazz.

So we have here my org mates on Spotify…

and we create party music playlists that we play in the org room! In freakin loud speaker.

We also have this Japorms playlist where we add songs from our childhood. I love the Aqua songs here, haha.

In Spotify, you can create your own playlist and share it to your friends. People can subscribe to it. You can also create a collaborative playlist which allows anyone to contribute music to the playlist.

And because it is online music streaming, I can access my playlists anywhere. *eyes sparkle*

There is a Spotify mobile app for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Symbian. I think only Spotify Radio comes with it to free users. You must be a premium user to use Spotify on Symbian and Windows Phone.

And I also use Flutter with it. Very neat.

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Due to peer pressure, I installed Windows 8 RTM. I got a copy of this along with a serial key c/o my dear orgmates who have Dreamspark accounts. So yes, no piracy this time.

I must say that it has 50% different feeling from Windows 7, which is similar to the time I moved to Vista from XP. =_= Very nifty visuals, though I must admit I am getting tired of Metro. Windows 8 pukes Metro all over your face from the Start screen to the Metro apps. This has a very mobile feeling which I dislike. Gahd, I refuse to move on to the smartphone age because it encourages socializing and uhm, egoism.

To sum it up, I’m not sure if I’m going to stick with this OS.

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Faye’s Nifty Tools List

Because I have finished a task today and it’s procrastination session before I start another, I decided to enumerate tools I find very useful in my everyday life.

Windows’ Snipping Tool

From data outputs in the software we’re using for our courses to random lulz I find on the Internet, I use this tool to capture them all.

Notepad++

Colorful colorful codes. I use this for web design but this very light monster can help you do your programming on loads of languages.

Pixeur

A very neat pixel color selector. You can use the eyedropper tool on any place in your computer to find its hex color code, RGB etc.

Wappalyzer

A very nifty browser plug-in in knowing the technologies being used on a website. *sneaky smile*

Web Developer

A useful browser plug-in that does a lot of web-related stuff, like setting the browser size, disabling CSS styles, validation tools, among others.

Video Download Helper

I use this browser plug-in to download media in websites. For example, this video from YouTube. Heehee. It also provides video conversion options.

Colorzilla CSS Gradient Generator

One of my favorite web-based applications. Very useful.

CSS3generator.com

Super light CSS3 codes generator. I love the Internet.

Google Docs

A great gift to mankind. My classmates and I use this for online collaboration. Its forms are a gift from heaven.

And then the usual popular basic necessity stuff…

Of course there’s MS Word and PowerPoint 2010. (Save as PDF in Word 2010, greatest gift to mankind)

I also do most of my tasks in Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects and Dreamweaver CS5.  (Other versions don’t work well with Windows 7)

It is also important for me to have Filezilla for FTP purposes and XAMPP for localhost purposes (I use a lot of WordPress so yeah).

BitTorrent. This has been my torrent client since the beginning of my piracy renaissance period.

WinRAR. For my compressing needs. (Hell yeah, RAR compression which can compress my PSD files into about 50% of its original size.)

VLC Media Player. The lightest media player in the world. (Hooray MKV files and soft subs!)

Chikka Messenger. Because I usually don’t have mobile prepaid credits.

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PSP Go Hands- on Preview

The PSP Go, Sony’s big announcement for E3, crept out way early. The PSP Go was leaked ahead of schedule in a video with Qore host Veronica Belmont and John Koller, director of hardware marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America. A basic rundown of the portable console reveals that it has 16GB of onboard storage, no UMD drive, is substantially smaller, and will cost $249 when it hits retail on October 1.

According to Sony, the PSP Go isn’t meant to replace an existing PSP but merely augment the device for a different class of users. It made the device for those who abandoned physical media; hence, the 16GB of storage space, expandable via the M2 memory stick slot.
With onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the PSP Go downloads data, games, and connects to headsets wirelessly. Sony is emphasizing downloadable games for the device, a play to meet Nintendo’s DSi Shop and Apple’s monumentally successful App Store for the iPhone. Representatives indicated that there’s a good will plan in the works to prevent alienation of existing PSP owners. Basically, if you already have a ton of PSP games, Sony will likely offer some sort of program so that you don’t have to repurchase them.

The PSP Go weighs 40 percent less and is 50 percent smaller than the existing PSP-3000. Despite its lightness, the PSP Go feels very solid. The sliding mechanism moves smoothly, and it seems like it could take a decent amount of wear and tear. Like the iPhone, the PSP Go does not have an interchangeable battery.
While we haven’t exactly had a prolonged gaming session with the device, the smaller screen doesn’t seem to detract from gameplay much. The Go’s screen has the same resolution as the original PSP, except it’s squished into a 3.8” LCD.

Surprisingly, the PSP Go isn’t much larger than the iPhone. It’s roughly twice as thick and extends slightly over the iPhone’s screen to totally cover it. As a result, the controls are also squished together, but they don’t seem to suffer for it. The buttons and D pad work well, and the analog stick functions about the same as the one found on the original PSP.
We didn’t get to try out any of the wireless capabilities of the console or even the software that will come with it. From a hardware standpoint, the PSP Go seems remarkably well built and fit for consumption. We’ll have a more in-depth analysis of the handheld once we have a retail kit.

(http://e3.gamespot.com/story/6210984/psp-go-hands-on-preview?om_act=convert&om_clk=features&tag=features;title;2)
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