Look at that text isn’t it tiny oh its on the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro! 

A few weeks back I got my grubby little hands on a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro i7 8GB 512GB SSD-HD, this was up against the Dell XPS 13 and the Sony Vaio Pro. I have had a play on the Vaio, that is a nice piece of kit, absolutely stunning battery life especially with the additional battery. If you are looking for battery life this is the model but it can get a little pricey. The other alternative the XPS 13 I wasn’t able to get my hands on to see what it was like, but I do know a couple of people who have and that is also good performing, the touch makes little sense to my mind without being able to do the Yoga moves, this comment also applies to the Vaio.

Lets start by a few facts they all have:

  • i7 Chips (same in all)
  • 8gb ram option
  • 256 or 512 SSD hard drives
  • 13”-ish screens

and now the unique features of the models

Vaio:

sony-pro-13

  • Good -- Uber battery at little size/weight, additional connectivity
  • Bad – Cost approx. £1550 (US only for identical spec?)

XPS:

dell-xps-13

  • Okay -- £1300 for for 256 model (to memory, not available at time of posting),Middle of the board battery

Yoga:

 lenovo-yoga-2

  • Good -- Yoga-ness Moves (Tablet/Tent), Ultra high resolution display
  • Okay – Price for spec £1300, £1100 for 256 model (best deal)
  • Bad – Smallest battery capacity

Comparison Conclusion

As you can see there is little to distinguish between these models, price therefore is a big impact as well as desired use case. In my case I wanted something I could use as a tablet for presenting demos since my work is heavily sketch based it is useful to not have to carry around a tablet as well. I also love high definition displays, I am well aware on a 13” device having 3200 by bla bla resolution makes little sense when you have to upscale everything anyway, but it is nice to have and it is noticeable; there is probably a middle ground though, but hey this was the option.

Use of the Yoga 2 Pro

So as I said I got this laptop, tablet flexy thing a few weeks ago, and I have loved it ish. The resolution is great if apps supported, but still is nice and so sharp is amazing. The touch pad isn’t great, you can get used to it, but it isn’t something to brag about and friends coming from other laptops will hate it. Back lit keyboard not automatic, this is weird, it shouldn’t be a gripe, but it is, just weird on such an expensive laptop. Battery life I find is fine, can reliable take off charge for the better part of day with conservative use, if you do any heavy processing e.g. Matlab, Data churning code you will be lucky to get 3hrs.

I got the 512GB model due to it being available, but I do think it is well worth it possibly not worth £200 markup on this model but others I am sure are cheaper or alternative install yourself after. It is nice knowing I have the capacity to take a chunk of files with me anywhere I go.

So the main selling point the yoga ness, I find it useful it validates the touch, but isn’t something for every day. I generally find myself slipping it over once a week, so not much. Having said that take it to a conference and it is great for the plane in the tent mode for a video, or for demos on.

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Posted by Stuart James Sunday, April 20, 2014 3:00:00 PM

Visualise the output of .dot file using GraphViz / dot (Linux) 

Something I managed to miss from earlier Graph related posts, was how to visualise the graph using GraphViz

With your output .dot file you can simply call:

dot -Tps filename.dot -o outfile.ps

Will generate ps file for the jpg version you can simply modify the line to:

dot -Tjpeg filename.dot -o outfile.jpg

Simple an easy?


outfile_mg
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Posted by Stuart James Wednesday, March 12, 2014 10:50:00 AM Categories: HowTo Trips

Windows Phone great platform but not quite there 

Choosing a Phone platform is a big issue, people spend vast amount of time contemplating what to choose and which phone to have. I recently got the opportunity to explore Windows Phone as an alternative to Android, I have also indirectly experienced iOS.

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So let me start, my experience may be tainted by the phone. I used a very low end phone and have been now using for almost two months, the former is the concerning part. To be fair I therefore am unable to contrast speed or camera with any other phone since when you spend £100 on a phone you can’t expect much.

So this is my chosen phone the entry level Nokia 520, £100 or ~£80 network locked.

Basic Tech Specs:

  • Primary camera sensor size: 5 MP
  • Display size: 4'' WVGA (800x480)
  • Processor name: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4

What works great…

Microsoft Integration-ish

So given this is a Microsoft platform I was surprised how little it actually did. Windows Phone has seem to go with the approach of complete App isolation, I am sure in defence of this is a massive security bonus. I am surprised there isn’t a way for an app to get access to credentials even via generation of another unique access token based on the permissions you give to the phone. I spent a lot of time signing into all the different products/services. On the plus side there is easy access to all of these services.

Simple UI

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The tile/metro/modern UI is a much discussed argument, some love, some hate. I personally really like the interface I think it works incredible well and provides instant access to the items you want most. This is of course if you keep it clean and organised. In contrast to my predecessor phone the Samsung Note (original) I found generally I didn’t loose much “glance” information despite smaller screen and resolution.

Search Button

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Now I have often heard said people are irritated by the search button, whereas I found it useful there are countless times I grab my phone to search for something this combined with the voice to text working 60% on long queries 90% on bi-gram queries was enough to keep me satisfied.

What’s missing

Swipe Down Network Info (always)

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On the home screen there is a nice feature where you swipe down from the top you get network information e.g. signal strength, internet speed(GPRS,HSDPA..). Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to always apply. For example search wonder why a page is loading slowly when in the browser swipe down and nothing.

Sound Control

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This is a big pain to me something that I feel is severely broken. To contrast on Android you have two sound volumes, one for media and one for alerts/calls. Now this may seem petty, but is so incredible useful. For example I may want to listen to music and not have incredible loud ring tones. Having said this, I believe this is fixed in WP 8.1!

Background App Persistence

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So one app that I was hoping would be significantly better on Windows Phone was Skype. What I found was it was as unreliable and annoying as the one on Windows 8. Messages don’t come through then pile in, and calls are occasional and inconsistent. This isn’t the only app that suffers from this phenomenon WhatsApp, Line therefore it has led me to conclude something is going wrong in the background state. This probably has big battery bonus making my cheap Nokia last almost two days on a single charge. It does lead to frustration.

More things…

There are many other things, the only major one I didn’t touch on was keyboard the Windows Phone keyboard is simple and not changeable something another element I miss about android. This leads to the text selector being a nightmare sometimes working perfect but trying to edit a letter or word can be a challenge.

Who is this phone / platform for?

This is an amazing business phone simple elegant and does what it says on the tin. I am convinced Windows Phone will only get better, and 8.1 will surely be a leap along that line. For anyone on iOS I think they would find Windows Phone great, with many benefits. The only big problem for iOS users is style, there aren’t to my knowledge any (to use a common vernacular for iPhone) sexy Windows Phone phones. This could be solved by third parties building them but I am not sure Nokia has it in them, with the recent trend away from Windows Phone from third party this is going to be a challenge.

Catch up or leap frog?

As I alluded to above this phone is really playing catch-up I am hoping they pull something out the hat but with the “apparent” delay of WP 8.1 therefore making it hard to believe 8.2/9 will be available this year, it is going to be a struggle. I believe Android is now a very solid platform, so much so it has moved to what gadgets(toys) come with an android phone than what is new. Give it a year.. I do expect great things from Google.

Conclusion

This platform/phone has it’s place and it is good at what it does, but for many it wont cut it. I had high hopes when I started using Windows Phone fulltime after Christmas, as time went on I have found myself waiting to get back onto Android. So my conclusion is really get this phone if you or the person you are recommending to likes the simple phone experience this stereotypically is parents and other senior family members.  If you are iPhone move, Nokia has great cameras and the platform just works. For me its back to android in a few months!

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Posted by Stuart James Saturday, February 22, 2014 6:23:25 PM
Stuart James