Windows Phone 8.1 vs Android Marshmallow

i recently got a OnePlus 3 and it broke not even a week into its use. the phone is amazing: lightweight and blazing fast. the screen (color and resolution) and the speakers could be better but it’s a flagship-level phone for $400 so i can’t complain too much. plus, the alert slider is wicked awesome.

OnePlus 3 front and back

the screen started artifacting and flickering and devolved into a reboot loop, and finally failure to boot. i sent the phone in for a repair and switched to my backup phone: a Lumia 635 that has Windows Phone 8.1 (it won’t run WP10).Lumia 635

as i got back into WP (i’ve been on it before), i realized how elegant of a mobile OS it is. there are many positives – and of course, negatives – to Windows Phone. i love bullet points so here are my personal pros and cons.

the good:

  • amazing contacts app that merges all data streams together
  • per-app notification settings [e.g. different sound] out-of-the-box
  • beautiful and smooth UI, especially live tiles
  • great battery life
  • daily Bing wallpaper out-of-the-box
  • excellent email experience
  • excellent calendar and tasks experience

the bad sorted from most painful to least [along with potential resolution]:

  • no Snapchat app [quit Snapchat?]
  • Messenger chatheads [no replacement]
  • Netflix app does not support Chromecast [use a computer that does]
  • HBO GO [no replacement]
  • no native Gmail app [would need to switch to for best experience with the native mail app]
  • no Amazon Shopping app [use the mobile site]
  • no Amazon Video [no replacement]
  • no Youtube app [buy tubecast pro for $3]
  • no Google Keep [switch to Wunderlist or Evernote]
  • no Google Music [switch to Spotify]
  • no Google Maps [switch to Waze]
  • no Venmo [use]
  • notifications in the action center do not disappear even after you’ve launched the app and handled them

the list of bad is doable but aggravating nonetheless. i am getting an Amazon Fire tablet which would in theory allow me to handle the missing app and functionality were i to have a Windows Phone. that said, i really wish these apps were just on Windows Phone. i’d actually switch away from Android back to Windows Phone.

My New Computer

so the specs:
Antec 902 ATX Case – $80
Intel Core i5-750 Processor – $176
Corsair 2x2GB DDR3 1600 RAM – $80
Diamond Radeon 5770 Graphics Card – $138
OCZ 700W StealthXStream PSU – $38
MSI P55-GD65 Motherboard – $141
WD SiliconEdge Blue 64GB SSD – $130
Cooler Master Hyper 212 plus CPU cooler – $30
total $813

i didn’t take pics during the build process because i was lazy… and you can see plenty of those anywhere on the web. build time was about 4 hours? it was a lot of fun. much thanks to Eddy Wong for helping me out.

this computer was built mainly to play Starcraft 2 on max settings. i’ll update once i try a couple of games on it =D

UPDATE: starcraft 2 works on max settings on 1680×1050 perfectly. need to grab myself a cheap 24″ monitor for some 1920×1080 action.

UPDATE 2: processor is OC’ed from 2.66ghz to 3.2ghz and RAM running at 1600mhz. doesn’t reach 60 degrees C on full-load with prime95.

UPDATE 2017-Jan-3: This computer is over 6 years old but still running great. The processor was actually OC’ed to 4ghz stable [which is a stupid overclock for air cooling]. Various parts have been been upgraded such as the graphics card and extra RAM and a new monitor, but the core mobo and processor remain.

My New Audio Equipment

so i just moved into Student Village 2 on BU campus. i’m the first person to live in my room – it’s kind of awesome. the entire place is baller. it feels more like a hotel than a dorm. i also gave myself early christmas gifts this year in the form of new speakers and a DAC.

my new speakers is the Audioengine A2, which i purchased for $180 shipped. i’ve put about 30 hours through the speakers and they have developed a little more. the bass is good (not overpowering like my Z5500) and the highs are obviously much better. are they worth it? i would say barely.

audioengine a2 frontaudioengine a2 rear

i hooked up my new DAC (purchased on eBay from a chinese vendor), the Zero 24bit/192khz DAC and headphone amp (2009 version). i have about 10 hours on it and it sounds fantastic – definitely worth the $150. this unit’s best feature is that the op-amps are easily swappable (google the zero dac review thread on compared to my previous DAC, an internal creative audigy 2 value, the sound is cleaner, crisper, better highs, tighter bass, more separation, bigger soundstage – just overall better.

zero dac frontzero dac back

i’m going to keep running these two units strenuously for some more burn-in. i think the speakers are probably half done… the zero’s supposed to be considered burned in after 100 hours.

Halfway through Summer

so we’re halfway through summer. it’s gone by quickly for me due to a serious job, where i actually have to do work, haha. speaking of which, i’ve been working with the same client for over a month now. just when i thought i was going to close out my project, i had to pick up someone else’s slack. frustrating and a little disappointing, but it’s work to do and experience to be gained. “no pain, no gain” is very true… when i built my first computer, it died every couple of months. in exchange for my pain, i learned a lot about computers. working on this mess of a website, i’ve learned a lot about web development. my resume should be top-notch by the time i graduate college, haha.

i recently started re-watching Neon Genesis Evangelion [with my friend Mathias]. it’s a pretty good anime, although disturbing. the general consensus is that the anime starts out with a plot, but becomes more and more abstract nearer to the end. you have giant robots fighting giant creatures in the beginning… by the end of the anime, you got people fighting with their own consciences. i remember watching it when i was younger – definitely puts some interesting perspectives and ideas into your brain. one such idea is that our identity is split amongst everyone we know. we have a view of ourselves, our ego – and others have their view of us – what we look like to them, how we act like to them, etc. i always thought it was interesting.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

i’m looking forward to this weekend – going on a biking trip with some buddies on saturday. the weather looks nice so it should be a fun and relaxing ride. next weekend is finally the camping trip. it is one of the biggest events of my summer… a fun retreat with friends. this year it’s going to be at Willard Brook State Forest. last year was Harold Parker, i think. next year, probably Myles Standish.

oh right, i got my blackberry tour. of course, you can reach much more indepth reviews online, but overall, the phone is pretty good. it’s my first blackberry so i don’t have anything to compare it to. the qwerty keyboard works well – i type with maybe 1 or 2 mistakes per text message. the phone’s construction feels solid minus the loose battery cover. the screen is sharp and the OS is alright. they really need to overhaul their included Java-based browser though =/ it’s only good for viewing mobile-designed sites. being connected to the internet (i like to call it the cloud) all the time satisfies my addiction pretty well.

if you’re read through this entire post, it must mean you’re pretty bored or you like reading my shitty writing. speaking of which, my verbal skills (mainly pronounciation) have gone down since i started my internship. i have trouble saying words over 4 syllables for some reason… it’s quite pathetic. it must be all the programming. left side of brain versus right side or whatever. oh well, goodbye.

My New Mouse – Logitech G9 Laser

so i impulse bought this as a slickdeal – $29 after rebate from amazon. i’ve had this mouse for about a week now. i switched from a MX518 – which was working fine, haha. both mouses are gaming-grade and both perform very well.

mini-review: the mouse feels nice in the hands, especially if you have a gamer grip (usually more focus/pressure with the fingers) due to the wideness. i’ve tested it in my normal games and it’s definitely responsive and accurate. the mouse’s ability to store profiles is great – having certain bindings for each mouse button is so useful and convenient.

i’m a big fan of logitech. they make great products. i have logitech z-5500 5.1 speakers, logitech g15 keyboard (1st edition), 2 logitech mouses, and some other items.

Logitech G9 Laser Mouse

Life So Far

there’s nothing to write about except how well my life is going. i’m about to finish my 4th week at my internship – i’m learning so much – and my project is more than half-way done. this weekend is going to be filled with shenanigans. there’s still a lot of summer left – so much to look forward to… camping, montreal, end-of-season tournament, six flags, and some more.

my long-awaited blackberry tour is going to be released in ~2.5 weeks so i can finally upgrade to a smartphone (with internet). i checked out the palm pre today at a sprint store and it looks really nice. the interface is slick for sure – definitely a true iPhone competitor. i think i will upgrade to the blackberry with only a 1-year contract so i can upgrade again next summer =O maybe to the palm pre or an HTC touch pro 2…

Blackberry Tour

i don’t have much content on the site now right. when i feel less lazy, i’ll add to my portfolios.