iPad

I own a Nokia E72 mobile phone. While I have not owned mobile phones longer than five years, I have in that time span been through two mobile brands. My very first mobile phone, gifted to me by father when I was early on in the University, properly convinced that I didn’t need a mobile phone, was a Sony Ericsson. It was a small mobile phone, the name of which escapes me now. I may still have it, somewhere, in some drawers, lost but not forgotten. I used it until it nearly died out. The engravings on the buttons grew muddled, colour on the handset faded out, the battery dead, replaced and dead again, etc. It would be safe to say, in hindsight, that I used it heavily.

My second mobile phone was another Sony Ericsson. It was the first mobile phone I bought. I was immensely excited the night I bought it, on way from work. The excitement of buying a new gadget is one that doesn’t ever diminish in its intensity, never goes away, no matter how many gadgets you buy. It is there right around the time you decide to buy a new gadget, and lasts well until after you’ve bought it. That was my second Sony Ericsson phone, and would be my last.

After I had made heavy use of it, I slowly moved away from it over to Nokia. I had a mammoth but reliable Nokia E61 lying around, which I was using for testing Symbian applications. Yes, this was roughly the time when I worked on Symbian application development. And that is all I am going to say of it.

My fourth and current mobile phone is a successor to E61: Nokia E72. I loved that phone when I bought it. I still love it in some ways. While E61 could be said to be too, E72 is what you would call a proper smart-phone. It features a lot of things that could help you do all sorts of things on the Internet, besides the usual functions of phone. It also has a full QWERTY keyboard. While I had owned an iPod Touch, I’d not been a big fan of touch screen and touch phones. I strongly believed that I could never be able to reliably use a phone with touch screen as the only form of input. This bias was in part due to my reliance on and affinity for physical QWERTY keyboards on phones.

Over the past couple of months, I was growing a little frustrated with my E72. While it worked as anyone would expect of it, I found that as far as applications that let me run wild on the Internet were concerned, it was severely limited. Sure, there were applications to do anything from using Facebook to Twitter to Foursquare. But I felt stifled. There were browsers but I didn’t feel the urge to browse anything on my mobile, unless it was an absolute emergency. I could post tweets on Twitter, but I didn’t enjoy interacting with others’ tweets. The same could be said of my experiences with Facebook (as far as I can tell, there is no native, official application for Facebook from Facebook for Symbian S60) or Foursquare applications. It just wasn’t fun, or even comfortable.

So for the past couple of months, I had been strictly debating getting an iPhone. iPhone 4S was out by then and it made no sense to get anything below that model. Some friends suggested time and again to go for the iPad instead. Where I was almost convinced that iPhone 4S would be my fifth phone, the recommendations for iPad threw my mind back in a state of confusion. Naturally, I compared the pros and contrasted the cons of both devices. Of course, one is a phone, the other a tablet, but when I compared the iPhone to the iPad, I actually compared it with iPad and my E72. That is, if I were to get an iPad, I would continue to use my E72 for the phone needs. There was a big difference in price as well, with a factory unlocked iPhone 4S coming at an exorbitant 67k PKR locally, while an iPad2 with WiFi cost only 48k PKR.

I still remember clearly the night I was at the club on the courts, playing tennis with my partner. He had finally bought the iPhone 4 a day before, after having looked for the white one for under a week. That night, I came home, and finally made up my mind.

The next afternoon, I was at the Apple Store I regularly buy from, purchasing an iPad2 WiFi with 16GB disk space. I had decided it. As I would find out, it was one of the best decisions I had made in my life in a while.

Those familiar with the different iPad2 models available will know that there’s a WiFi + 3G one available. Apart from having to pay under 10k PKR more, the main reason why I decided against getting the 3G model was the unavailability of 3G in the country. I know that you don’t necessarily have to have 3G to be able to use the connection, because any type of data-plan from your provider, such as GPRS or EDGE, will work. However, as I will explain, iPad is a content consumption device. When I say that it is a content consumption device, I mean it in a massive way. It has been designed for consuming a lot of content, including in the form of video, audio, and text. When I decided to buy it, I imagined myself using the iPad like I do my laptop. And I can’t ever imagine using my laptop over EDGE/GPRS in a way that satisfies me. Similarly, I didn’t think the iPad would shine on an EDGE/GPRS connection.

In the next post, I will explain exactly how the arrival of iPad has changed my life, how it has affected it, how I use it, where and when I use it. I will also list down the wonderful apps I use frequently, and make an argument for iPad being an awesome device for reading books/content in particular.

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A look at the year that went by!

There is little at least, if not a lot, to be gained from having an optimistic outlook towards life. I’ll be honest when I say I haven’t ever believed that entirely in my life. But from being pessimistic and negative for the most part, I’ve come to realise painfully the absence of optimism and how much it has the potential to scar you emotionally. It would also be wrong to say that it doesn’t hurt to be optimistic. Disappointment from something you had strong hopes for, can hurt you in a very real way. But, that is a price you can usually afford to pay.

Lying in bed, trying to think of what if anything phenomenal I accomplished throughout the year that is no more I am forced to draw nothing. I can’t remember anything significant I did. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything worthwhile or significant to any extent. I just can’t remember. It’s probably due to the cracking headache I’m having. I don’t know.

The year passed by so quick, it’s hard to say where it went. I’m not the kind of person, as much as I try to be otherwise, who makes clear, real goals and lives by them. That doesn’t mean I’ve no goals. I do. I’m just not obsessed with the whole goal-setting thing. Although a lot of times I think that things around me simply unfold themselves, and I naturally flow through them.

Work wise, this was the year where I tackled many different projects, of varying complexities and sizes. I learned a lot of new things. Of import were my exercises in finding ways to deploy both Django and web.py Python frameworks on IIS on Windows. I went on to write a guide to deploying web.py on IIS which got accepted into the official cookbook documentation for the web.py project.

Insofar as tech gadgets are concerned, I was lucky enough to upgrade to the high-end Apple’s MacBook Pros, especially since my previous MacBook had developed several faults. Very late in the year I made what was perhaps the best decision in terms of buying anything when I bought the iPad2. It would be an understatement to say that it has had an impact on my life. The iPad has had a phenomenal impact on my life. If it is any testament to that statement, I’m writing this post on the Elements app on the iPad and will publish it using the WordPress app. I’m so glad I made the decision to buy it after much deliberation.

This year saw a lot by way of reading. I bought more books in paperback and committed myself to reading more. Not only that, I also forced myself to reading, daily, two dozen different interesting feeds. With the coming of the iPad, my reading saw an exponential increase, not only in the form of ebooks but many online feeds and content sources. A man must read, in order to survive. I believe strongly in that.

On the personal side, there were certain events that shook my life. It didn’t affect anyone’s but my own life, but they had a huge impact on me, and not sadly in positive ways. My emotional self took a battering. I also played a small part in helping save a friend’s life from half way across the globe. Thankfully, this year saw family bonds getting a little stronger, which I am very grateful for.

With regards to tennis, this was a great year for me. My game improved by leaps and bounds and I played some of the best tennis of my life. I have been more and more in love with tennis every passing day. Sometimes I think that that is the only true love left in my life.

All in all, I can’t say that the year was bad for me, nor would I want to say it was great. It was a balanced mix of both good and bad. Regardless, I’m thankful for everything and everything. I’ve been blessed beyond what I care to realise. You only need look at someone less fortunate than yourself to realise what you have been given. I do that almost everyday. And I feel bad about those severely less fortunate in particular. Yet I’m also guilty of forcing myself in a bubble at times that hides away the outside from me. I should always realise. I should always be grateful.

My best wishes to each and everyone of you. Please stay safe and be well! A very happy new year to you.

Thank you!