Saturday, March 10, 2012

Travelling only with the Nokia Lumia

I do love to experiment with new gadgets, but I only buy the once that I use primarily to get my work done. So when I got the Lumia, my purpose was to replace my phone, laptop, camera and to some extent the Asus T91 while travelling. Basically I just wanted to have one descent device that has all the functionalities that I need to get my work done.

Office on the go
So I recently travelled to IITK to attend a conference. My first ever software engineering conference. And I enjoyed it, and met quite a few interesting people out there :)
Usually when I go to conferences, I carry my Asus T91 MT along with me. But this time around I wanted to deliberately travel light. So the only device I took with me was the Nokia Lumia 800. On my tablet I usually use OneNote to take down notes and occasionally record interesting talks. This has always worked out great for me. And with a battery life of about 6 hours for the tablet, the thing easily lasts for a day of the conference without any charging cycle.
The Lumia comes with Windows Phone 7.5, whose Office hub did a great job of replacing my tablet for the trip. There is one major difference however: on my tablet I almost never used the on-screen keyboard to take notes, I have always preferred using the pen stylus to actually write down stuff with OneNote. On the Lumia I have to use the on-screen keyboard to key in the notes, the keyboard and the predictive text is pretty good at this job though. So basically all went well for the note taking part. The same was true for the camera. I never missed my DSLR. That, it is another matter that I didn't actually go for any outings. The only photography I did was some at conference and a few more while wandering in the beautiful IITK campus.

Irctc disaster
For the onward journey we could only manage to book a sleeper class ticket. And I had no clue what we were landing ourselves into: people with overloaded luggage, people without tickets, a commercial break after every minute (believe me this was even worse than watching a movie on prime time), and the most spectacular event of one Babloo-bahia jumping of running train and the rest of the family also wanting to execute the superman's act :)
That was more than enough motivation for me and my friend to get a tatkal ticket in AC compartment for the return journey. Believing that Irctc (the railways unit that handles online reservation) has a great mobile site (, I started the booking process. The Lumia has a nice browser and is fairly easy to use and get the work done. But somewhere in between the reservation process the site decides to totally give up, showing me same screen again and again. At this point I had to call it a day, call up a friend on campus and rush to his room with a loaned cycle from another friend (thanks apr :) ). But by the time I restarted my reservation, all the seats were gone ! And I eventually ended up booking on the next train, but using a Windows laptop.

Email and stuff
This is just cheese. All my accounts (work and personal) just works out of box. The best part is of course the people hub with the goodies of social integration. And with IE9 just about the whole Internet (sans the flash and silverlight crap) is at your finger tips.

Yes I enjoy the fact that I can write for the phone on the move using TouchDevelop (

Battery life
This is one issue which has been sour spot for many Nokia Lumia users. However, this was never the case of problem with me, even then the good guys at Nokia care replaced my initial unit. I got fairly good battery life on roaming with mobile data (EDGE) switched on. Typically the charge lasted for about 24 hrs, with occasional use of the GPS for sports tracker (went cycling in morning around the IITK campus). I guess, with the latest updates to the firmware, Nokia has addressed most of the issues with battery life.

Note: This post was entirely written on Nokia Lumia using the IE9 browser and the standard blogger interface. Slight editing was then done on my desktop.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

MeTA Studio online update : portable workspaces

A new online update to MeTA Studio is now available for download. The current version is 2.0.04032012.

Use (Help -> Check for updates) to get the updates. If you are not able to use the online update, manually download and extract: in the meta/bin directory.

Major changes:
  - New tracker glyph (now these are dotted lines and are more differentiable from the bond lines)
  - Workspaces are now easily portable. You can easily copy the workspace directory across machines. For existing workspaces, simply edit .mws file to remove reference to any absolute paths. If you need any help in this regard please file an issue at: and I will revert back.

Have a nice week ahead :)