Google Play Growing In Asia

I recently got a new Droid Razr on Black Friday. I ordered it online. I have been playing around with it particularly with Google Play. Computerworld has an article about how Google Play is outpacing the Apple App Store in Asia, particularly in Japan and South Korea. Here are some highlights I gathered from that article.

The growth of Google Play in Asian countries has been so robust that Japan exceeded the U.S. for the first time in Google Play revenues in October.

Google Play revenues grew 311% from January to October, while App Store revenues grew 13%.

The success in Asia for Google Play is partly because more people use smartphones and tablets in Japan and South Korea than other countries.

Since the App Store is expected to earn nearly $5 billion in 2012, that means Google Play is on pace to earn about $1.25 billion in 2012.

Remmina Remote Desktop Client

Remmina is a free and open-source project released under  GNU GPL license. Remmina is a remote desktop client written in GTK+. It’s perfect for system administrators and travelers needing to work on remote computers. Remmina supports multiple network protocols like RDP, VNC, NX, XDMCP and SSH.

I currently use Remmina to view my Macbook Air remotely from my Linux desktop. It works great so far. I have it running for a better part of the day. It’s seem to be responsive. The remote mouse and keyboard works perfectly. The screen quality is not quite near as the Macbook Air display, but then again, it’s a remote desktop client.

Remmina is available to Ubuntu and Linux Mint users. You can install by typing on the Terminal:

sudo apt-get install remmina

The Remmina Remote Desktop Client icon is available under Menu > Internet.

Visit Remmina’s website.

Google Samsung Chromebook for $249

Google announced today an 11.6 inch Samsung Chromebook for just $249. The Exynos 5 dual-core processor-powered laptop runs on ChromeOS and will have a 1366 x 768 screen resolution. In addition, there will be 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM. The battery life is six hours. This laptop is perfect for those who use Google cloud services regularly, such as GMail, Docs and Google Drive.

As expected, Chromebooks has its own set of detractors. People either love it or hate it. Some columnists label Chromebooks as netbooks, whose popularity have been waning the last year. Some argue Chromebook’s effectiveness, suggesting to go for a smartphone, a tablet or an ultrabook. With the price point of $249, it’s enticing enough for those wanting to go with ChromeOS, that’s quite dependent on the cloud.

The only big question is, for $249, will people buy it?

Mac Mini With USB 3.0

Along with the iPad mini being introduced on October 23rd, Apple also plans to upgrade the Mac Mini with USB 3.0 ports. Will there be processor and storage upgrades for the Mac Mini? There is no telling at the moment. I guess, we just have to wait until the October 23 announcement. Regardless, the USB 3.0 upgrade is good news for prospective Mac Mini buyers, like me.

iPad Mini At $249

You gotta love leaks. The word on the street (internet) according to Gizmodo is, the new iPad mini is going to be priced starting at around $249 for the 8GB version. Higher models will be priced more. Here’s an excerpt from the LA Times:

The posted picture, which according to the blog comes from an anonymous informant, shows 8 GB versions of the iPad mini will go for 249 euros, or about $320. But Gizmodo is reporting that the U.S. price is likely to be $249. As it points out, Apple charges roughly the same figure in Europe for the third generation iPad as it does in America. It doesn’t conpensate for the foreign exchange difference.

As for the inventory list provided by the German blogger, the price goes up to 349 euros for the 16 GB model, 449 euros for the 32 GB device and 549 euros for a 64 GB version. The cellular-connected versions of the iPad mini start at 349 euros for the 8 GB model, 449 euros for the 16 GB model, 549 for the 32 GB and 649 for the 64 GB versions of the device.

Now, how accurate these figures are, you really can’t be sure. But, it looks very promising for people looking for a smaller and affordable iPad. Interestingly enough, Amazon’s Kindle Fire is priced at $249. So, it looks like Apple is matching the price of the Kindle Fire.

Windows 8 Pricing

A new ZDNet article just revealed Windows 8 pricing. Although Microsoft still hasn’t officially released the price, it’s partner Newegg.com has. Based on what I’ve seen, the Windows 8 pricing is more palatable than previous editions. Users are more inclined to purchase since prices seem more reasonable. In addition, Microsoft has reduced and simplified the number of OS choices to just four. It’s amazing what simplicity does to lessen the user confusion. Here are the four choices:

The Newegg page lists four separate products:

  • Windows 8 Professional Upgrade – $69.99 (save $130)
  • Windows 8 Pro Pack – Product Key Card (no media) – $69.99 (save $30)
  • Windows 8 (Full Version) – OEM $99.99
  • Windows 8 Pro (Full Version) – OEM $139.99

The two OEM products are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

I suggest you  get over to Newegg.com and pre-order Windows 8. They offer a $10.00 discount.

Finally, Windows 8 scheduled release date is October 26.

Free Boingo Wifi In San Francisco

If you’re traveling, working, or just walking around and near San Francisco, Christmas is coming early, courtesy of Microsoft and Boingo Wireless. Microsoft recently inked a deal with Boingo, to sponsor free Wi-Fi access at certain hot spot locations in San Francisco, as part of the Windows 8 celebration, to be announced later this month.

Here’s the announcement from Boingo’s website.

Boingo Wireless (NASDAQ: WIFI), the Wi-Fi industry’s leading provider of software and services worldwide, announced today that Microsoft is sponsoring free Wi-Fi access at high-traffic New York and San Francisco locations from now through the end of the year. The Wi-Fi sponsorship is part of the launch celebration for Windows 8, and will introduce the new Windows Store for Windows 8 to the app builder community. Consumers can also enjoy browsing great new apps in the Windows Store, view staff recommendations and get personalized picks based on apps they may already use.

As part of the holiday promotion, Microsoft’s sponsored Wi-Fi is immediately available for users of all Wi-Fi enabled devices in six Manhattan subway stations, supported by Transit Wireless’ state-of-the-art network, and across Wi-Fi hotzones covering iconic San Francisco locations including Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, UN Plaza, the Financial District, Nob Hill and more. Microsoft will also sponsor Wi-Fi via more than 200 Manhattan hotzones, starting November 1. The Wi-Fi hotspots are part of the Boingo’s Cloud Nine media platform, a global advertising network that enables brand advertisers to reach target audiences through high engagement Wi-Fi sponsorship.

TweetDeck’s New Design

Have you seen TweetDeck new design lately? I haven’t been using it for at least three years. Just wondering how it looks now, since Twitter has acquired TweetDeck in May of last year. I heard the creator and developer of TweetDeck, Iain Dodsworth, has received $40-$50 million dollars for selling his company to Twitter.

TweetDeck still looks familiar. The multi-column design is still there. You can easily switch back between the dark and light designs, which is a great idea by the way. Some people like white backgrounds. Some people like dark backgrounds.  Adding columns is very easy. You can practically add anything to each column.

You can add timelines, home, interactions, mentions, search, lists, trends, messages, favorites, activity, inbox, scheduled, @mentions and @me to any column that you desire. Sorting the columns is very easy. Simply click on the left and right arrows when you are adding or editing a column. The column will automatically slide left to right.

The only complaint I have is, I wished TweetDeck would have a responsive design.  I would love to see TweetDeck be responsive to any screen size. Having six columns might look good in a big monitor, but viewing it on smaller screen might involve moving the horizontal and vertical scrollbars.

Overall, I love the design. It’s very intuitive. You can easily add columns and customize content any way you want it.

Fixing CodeIgniter Email Setup

I have been using an application I wrote in CodeIgniter that sends email notifications when an advertising link is activated or when it has expired. Several weeks ago, it suddenly stopped working. It was no longer sending email notifications as intended. I was using GMail’s SMTP server to send out the email notifications. GMail’s SMTP does require authentication. Typically, the CodeIgniter’s email preferences are located in the “config/email.php” file. It dawned on me that changing my GMail password broke my script. Here’s my email preferences found in the config/email.php file.

$config['protocol']='smtp';
$config['smtp_host']='ssl://smtp.gmail.com';
$config['smtp_port']='465';
$config['smtp_timeout']='30';
$config['smtp_user']='yourusername@gmail.com';
$config['smtp_pass']='your password';
$config['charset']='utf-8';
$config['newline']="\r\n";

So, updating the password fixed my problem.

Amazon Ads on Ubuntu

Canonical plans to integrate Amazon search results in the next release of Ubuntu 12.10. This is an unpopular move to most Linux users because most Linux users want an ad-free environment. I recently moved away from Ubuntu due to the fact that I have to deal with technical issues every time there is a new release. I have to constantly fight with issues that were previously resolved and now broken again with the latest release. The introduction of Unity just made things even worse. I hate Unity. That’s one good reason, I moved away from Ubuntu to Linux Mint and Mate, since Mate is based on Gnome 2. Now, with the introduction of Amazon search results, in Ubuntu 12.10, will result in more Ubuntu users moving away to other distros. Good luck, Canonical. I hope you think more about your user base, that what actually goes into your pocket books.