Tag Archives: youtube

I Hate BlackBerry: Why It Sucks

I Hate BlackBerry

RIM is no stranger to bad press. When the whole blogosphere is counting down the days until they die, you know something is wrong. I’ve been using BlackBerry for a few years now. As much as I love the phone, there are lots of things about it that I can’t stand. A brief history. my first real smart phone was an Android and I decided to try out BlackBerry. I’ve used it for the past few years and although things have gone relatively smooth, there are still issue about this phone that bugs me. The browser sucks, the phone is slow to boot, I need to reboot after every app I install or remove, the app world sucks, and watching that spinning clock makes me want to throw the phone at my wall. Enough rambling, let’s get this down on a nice list.


1. The Browser sucks!

BlackBerry BrowserThe BlackBerry Browser sucks. Most BlackBerry owners are still on OS5 where the browser is horrible. It is way behind in terms of web standards. and there is always issues with rendering Javascript. This browser is ancient, slow, and crap. You can’t open multiple tabs and you can’t download files larger than 2.9MB. 5MB for email attachments. You mean I can’t even download a standard MP3? Lame. I will say that the browser on OS6 and OS7 has improved the experience but they only bring it on par with the competition on Android and iPhone. I know the screen size on (most)BlackBerry smart phones are smaller than those on Android and iPhones but this does affect the web browsing experience. There’s only so much you can see on a small screen.


2. Long Reboots

I dread seeing app updates available for my phone. You would think this is very convenient that you get a message in your inbox reminding you of app updates but what this really means is enduring another long reboot. My computer takes less than a minute to boot up, why does my phone take 11 minutes to boot up? Yes, I’ve timed it. Even then, I still have to wait for the phone to become usable as the system hangs and verify security. Sometimes, I would wait for a bunch of updates to build up and install them all at once. Then I would reboot the device once instead of doing it each and every time I update an app. The long reboots are required for app updates, installations, and removals. The process reminds me of those long anti-virus/malware scans I used to endure when I was using Windows. I didn’t miss it when I went to Linux and I wouldn’t miss it if this hassle went away. On Android, when you install apps, you can use it right away without rebooting. Same for removing them. BB10 is supposed to unify the smart phone with the QNX PlayBook OS and you don’t have to reboot after installing apps so until then, this is something that sucks about BlackBerry.


BlackBerry Reboot
It can take over 10 minute!

3. App World and App Selection

BlackBerry App WorldLet’s face it. The App World sucks. Android and iOS have a larger library of apps compare to BlackBerry App World. They always seem to be talking about a milestone which is currently over 70k apps but I don’t see them. Most of the apps on the App World are garbage. I came from Android and they are not immune to trash either but where are the good apps? Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me how many apps are in xyz store. What I am looking for is quality apps. I’m looking for Skype, Netflix, HuluPlus. You know, the big names. Too often I hear about a cool new app and they offer a mobile app. “Download for iPhone or Android.” Where’s BlackBerry? Is this necessarily a fault of RIM? Yes and no. While it’s not technically RIM’s fault that people don’t develop apps for the platform, us end users don’t really care. We just want the apps. When we open the App World and can’t find Skype, we don’t think, “Man, Skype should make an app for BlackBerry or the PlayBook.” No. We think, “Why isn’t there any apps on BlackBerry App World? What is RIM doing about it?” I hate the App World. If I hear about a cool new app, I can count that it won’t be available on BlackBerry.


4. Stale Phones

Pretty much all BlackBerry smart phones aside from the Storm/Torch/Style are the same. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. RIM found a formula that works for them and the keyboard is iconic to the BlackBerry image. The problem with that is people are getting bored. They want something different. I believe what RIM is suffering from is happening to Apple. After years of the same thing, same style, and same phone, people will look for something new. It happened(is happening) to RIM and it’s happening to Apple. Just look at what people are saying about the iPhone, 3G, 3GS, 4, and 4S. I will say Apple is executing things a bit better than RIM. All their phones are good when they come out. RIM tends to spread themselves thin with lots of variations especially cheaper entry-level phones like the Curve. Don’t get me wrong. I have the Curve and it’s a decent phone but I always have Bold envy when I see it. iPhone users enjoy having a great product because they know their phones were top of the line at one time. They are never treated as second class. Cheaper phones are good for market penetration in developing countries but I live in the US. I don’t care about marketing strategies in India and Africa. Most iPhone users have a sense of pride when owning their phones. Once upon a time, BlackBerry users had this feeling too. Not anymore.

Stale BlackBerry Design

5. 1 Convenience Key?

It appears when they are moving in the right direction, you catch them taking one step backwards. One of those nice little “perks” about owning a BlackBerry was the convenience keys. On older BlackBerry phones, you had two, one on each side. One is usually automatically set up for the camera and the other is set up for voice commands(that sucks). You could set these convenience keys to quickly open up your favorite apps or in my case, turn on the flashlight for those time when I needed some light. Quick, convenient and cool. Tell me why in their infinite wisdom that they decided to remove 1 convenience key? Why? What was the point? Did people have too many keys to press? I can tell you from my experience that 1 in not enough. It’s little things like these that piss off your users.


6. Poor Media

BlackBerry Music PlayerFrom my understanding, BlackBerry smart phones, in general, are not very good phones for media consumption. Now, I say “from my understanding” because when it comes to music, my Curve rocks. Maybe because my Curve has these sweet media keys at the top of the phone. I can play/pause, and seek tracks easily without having to open the music interface. These keys even work for Pandora radio. Every other BlackBerry do not have these media keys and navigating the media player can be a hassle. Not to mention if you want to view videos, you’ll have to settle with the usually small screens. This makes consuming any rich video media a pain like watching YouTube.


7. Small Screens

While Android and iPhone users get to enjoy their large touchscreens, BlackBerry users are still stuck using screens about half their size. There are some exceptions like the Torch line and the now dead Storm but for the most part, a small screen over a full QWERTY keyboard is what we get. Today, multimedia, web browsing, and gaming are big parts of what most use their smart phones for. Doing that on a screen half as large is twice as inconvenient. It’s a general trend that most people prefer using a phone with a full size screen rather than a full size keyboard. The convenience of a larger screen outweighs the lack of a physical keyboard for the average consumer. This is especially true with the growing popularity of HD media. Smart phone trends say, “small screens are out, large screens are in.”


5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Sound On YouTube

Mic Check

Mic check! Wait a second. This is YouTube. Why should I care about sound quality? After all, isn’t video quality what the “Tube” is all about? Most people know sound quality is important but they still tend to focus more on HD videos. Technically, YouTube is all about video but don’t overlook the importance of sound. There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t pass on sound quality, especially if you are making or thinking about making videos. We are so spoiled by 1080p videos that sound quality is an afterthought. We don’t usually place an importance on sound but there are plenty of reason why it shouldn’t be overlooked. You may not know it, but audio quality can determine whether you finish watching a video or whether you click somewhere else. I’m going to list 5 of them. I’ll bet my money that if you visit YouTube daily, you will relate to all of these reasons. Let’s get to it.


1. Clarity

This one is easy to understand. When audio is clear, you don’t have to “work” to understand or decipher it. A good microphone will eliminate background hums and white noise. These noises are stressful and distracting. When you are watching a bad or distracting video, it’s easier to minimize or look away compared to muting or lowering the volume. If you’ve ever worked a third shift job, you will understand the significance of background noise and the effects it has on your body. Noise is louder during the day than at night. This may not seem like a big deal to those with “normal” schedule, but these noises can result in low-quality sleep and added stress. This is the same reason houses near highways are generally cheaper to rent/own. While you probably won’t lose sleep over a YouTube video, background noise will annoy you. Keep background noise down with a good mic. No one want to hear “hums” and “hisses.” Think about this. When you are watching a YouTube video and you can barely hear the person speaking, what do you do? Most people will turn up the volume. What if background noise is present? Most people will just leave the video. Having clear, accurate audio is just as important as having clear video. Some would argue more so.


2. Alt-Tabbers

When I am on YouTube, I often have multiple tabs opened. Having multiple tabs open helps with multi-tasking. Let’s say I am looking for a headphone review. I would have one tab opened on YouTube and another on Google or Bing looking for written reviews. While I am listening to a video, I would read or skim through a written review. This goes for research too. I would look for information on YouTube while browsing through Wikipedia. Unfortunately, others do this too. In fact, I would bet that you have done this at one point or another. An engaging video becomes a podcast and the “HD” video quality becomes a nonissue. Now, you only have sound to connect to the video. Good video quality helps engage viewers and good sound quality helps engage listeners.


3. Music – When You’re Doing It Right/Wrong

Everyone loves music but not everyone loves your music. If you like country and thinking about adding music to a video, don’t count on your viewers having the same taste as you. A common mistake people make when they are making videos is adding over-played or annoying music. One great example is “009 Sound System – Dreamscape.” This song is un-officially known as the “YouTube National Anthem” because so many people use it for their videos. It’s a bad joke that won’t die like “Chuck Norris” and “In Russia…” jokes. There is a time and place to add music. Don’t put up skateboarding compilations using “Drowning Pool – Bodies.” Bad music will make viewer leave in 3 seconds. Good music will have people asking “What’s the name of the song?” Another thing to consider when adding music is correcting the levels. Don’t blast the music in the background if you want to talk. No one will hear you. If you “hurt” your viewers’ ears, you will get a big red bar of dislikes.


4. Entertainment

People are on YouTube for many reasons. To get information, to learn, to connect with others, and to be entertained. Sometimes, a good, well animated voice will be enough to get you subscribers. Even if you have a great voice, you may be shooting yourself in the foot with a crappy mic. A bad mic can make you sound monotone and boring. A good voice is something you can’t really help but you can at least get a good mic to keep your voice clear and your viewer engaged. It’s strange at first but you have to pretend like you are talking to real people. You can’t talk like you’re reading a script. That’s boring and people can instantly tell. When you have guests over, do you talk to them like a robot? No, so why would you do that in a video? Good audio quality creates a more personal experience with your viewers. This will help increase comments and activity. Maybe even more likes and favorites. People love to be entertained and poor sound quality ruins the mood.


5. Patience

The last reason why you shouldn’t overlook sound quality is patience or rather, the lack-of. People are impatient. Most people will decide to watch the rest of your video after the first 5 seconds. Long pauses or spikes in sound levels test this patience. It is easy to find clues of this. Throughout YouTube, you will see top rated comments saying “3:12 to skip the boring part” or “You wasted 45 seconds of my life.” People have busy lives. They don’t want to be bothered with crap and although this is not solely a sound issue, if a viewer watches your video and has to “work” to hear you, you’re in trouble. No one wants to increase the volume when they don’t have to. No one wants to hear background noise. And no one wants to listen to head-banging music on a video review. Don’t test a viewer’s patient. More often than not, you will lose.


So that’s it. These are 5 quick reasons why you shouldn’t overlook sound on YouTube, especially if you are making videos. Clarity is about reproducing your sounds accurately. Audio quality becomes most important to Alt-Tabbers who turn from viewers to listeners. Music can make or break your video. Entertaining voices can keep viewers. And finally, everyone is impatient. Probably the simplest way to improve your video’s audio quality is investing in a good mic. Usually, the stock microphones that come with digital cameras suck. Most people would rather watch through a video with good sound and bad video quality than one with good video quality and bad audio quality.


Lenovo Thinkpad x100e Full Review

Lenovo ThinkPad x100e Display

I was in the market for a cheap netbook with a fairly decent keyboard. I wanted one that I could lug around without having to constantly worry about it being scratched, scuffed or dented.  I babied my Macbook Pro and I noticed when I brought it around, I was a little too obsessed with keeping it clean. All of the reviews pointed out to the Lenovo x120e because it apparently had an amazing keyboard. While it wasn’t too expensive, my budget just couldn’t afford it. So, I did some research and found some good reviews on its predecesor: the x100e. (Yeah some bad reviews which I’ll address below) I was super excited to find the x100e on amazon marked down as, “Like New” for a relatively cheap price. On top of that cheap price, I had just sold some books to receive some amazon credit. And to my liking I was able to apply that credit to the x100e. I could not wait to receive this “Like New” item because it was bundled up with an extra battery and a nice reversible sleeve. The specs were listed as 250gbs, 3gbs of ram, and the AMD Turion Neo x2 Dual core processor L625 1.6ghz. It was the top of the line x100e so it seemed like an amazing deal. I’ve only owned this machine for a few days but rest assure, this review will have my honest opinions and experiences.




First Impressions After Unboxing

Upon opening the box, I was pleased to find it came with everything that was advertised.  However, after careful inspection I did notice that there were many scuff. Not a big deal, I intended to keep this machine as a beater anyways. Once powered on the Lenovo’s fan kicked right in. I thought it was a going to go away but the fan just increased its intensity. Long story short, I did a CPU check up, and it was up to 84C. After reading many forums I was told that a low voltage computer like the x100e shouldn’t go anywhere near that heat.  So basically I got a bad egg. I did read a lot of reviews that suggested the x100e does get hot and loud however, what I got was ridiculous. Super loud fan and super hot bottom. So I filed a claim with Amazon and now I’m pretty much just waiting for a response.


Lenovo ThinkPad x100e


Now aside from all of that, here is the full review


With a 11.6″ 1366×768 Matte screen this netbook is in a league of its own. If you’ve tried to type outside with a glossy screen then you must know the burden it comes with. My friends and I go to Borders often and it does get annoying trying to get some serious typing done when there is a huge glare on your screen. My previous Macbook Air had this problem. However, with the Lenovo x100e even when sitting in direct sunlight the display was still legible. In my opinion, and for my usage, this is a huge plus. I write better outside of my bedroom and in most cases those places always has the sun beaming down on me. There is no doubt that the Matte screen keeps me content with writing. Aside from any glaring issues the screen itself has a high pixel density which makes the text very crisp. Keep in mind however, at its max resolution the words on the screen are somewhat small.What’s unique about this display is that I can push it back until it is completely flat. Indeed, it doesn’t beat a tablet but it still makes it much more comfortable to lay down on my couch and watch videos on it with the screen  flat-out.





On the model I have I was surprised to find that I was able to view videos taken at 1080p with my canon 60d without any lag. I was also able to watch 720p YouTube videos. I gave 1080p a go and for the most part it did run with a few dropped frames. Sadly, while viewing 1080p YouTube videos in full screen mode the video froze. (Not in all cases) I’ve noticed the dropped frames and freezing more while viewing 1080p trailers as shown in the video below. (The screens resolution doesn’t go up to 1080p, so regardless 720p is fine.)  Finally , as hot as the netbook already was, the fan only got  louder and hotter.

Multitasking went pretty well. I was able to listen to music,  run a few programs such as Aim and Skype,  internet explorer with a bunch of tabs open, all while typing this review on Microsoft word. I’m no gamer so I can’t tell you from first hand but I have seen this same laptop playing some basic games at low settings with decent frame rates. Nothing amazing, but hey, its there. I’ve seen World of Warcraft and Half Life 2 on this machine on low settings run well. For basic usage, I was overall impressed with performance. I read a lot of reviews rave about how underpowered it is. Some people just expect an Alienware wrapped in a tight netbook package. I thought for a netbook the machine’s performance was great overall.




To no surprise…. I love this keyboard…. The only other keyboard that I can say betters this is my friends mechanical one. The x100e has a chiclet style keyboard with each key curving in slightly to cradle your fingers. The keyboard itself doesn’t feel cheap at all and it is extremely fast and responsive. I typed this entire review on the x100e with zero complaints.

Lenovo ThinkPad x100e Keyboard Close Up


Lenovo’s Famous (Or Infamous) Nub

If you don’t already know, the ThinkPad series’ all come with a little red nub in between the “B”  “G” and “H” keys to essentially be your trackpad’s replacement or secondary option. One first usage, I thought that the nub wasn’t anything impressive. I, personally, wasn’t accurate at it, compared to the trackpad, so I thought that there was no reason to use it. However, I’ve quickly learn to love it. With the nub, you technically never have to leave the home row keys. Just type away and when you need to click on anything just move your index finger to the nub and there you go.  To compliment the nub you have a secondary right and left click above your trackpad.




I’m actually surprised to find how loud these speakers are. I didn’t expect much from a netbook at all. But at about 60% volume I was able to listen to my favorite tracks while there was a ton of noise in the background.



Design And Aesthetics

Some people find the ThinkPad series, including the x100e, to be an outdated look. However, I, along with many others, appreciate the look. I find it professional looking. A nice black compact laptop with a matte finish. It’s simple, which to me, makes it all the more appealing. My friend and I conversed on the aesthetics of the x100e. We came to the conclusion that, at times it’s better to have a laptop that looks low-key. You’ll have no distractions and you’ll  get some work done.

Lenovo ThinkPad x100e



The Lenovo Thinkpad x100e comes with 3 usb drives, one of which is powered. It has an SD card reader which has been very useful considering I own a Canon 60d. An ethernet output for those who still need it. (Wireless for the win!) While it doesn’t have an HDMI output it does still have a VGA out. The x100e  has a webcam which to my surprise is actually very good considering it’s a .3 megapixel camera. It also faired well in low light. Nothing jaw dropping but I was still fairly impressed.


If you’ve read my above paragraph then you must know by now what I’ve gotten a bad egg. It gets extremely hot, and the fan runs loud. I’ve seen plenty of reviews of the machine, including video reviews, and while not the most silent, they are more or less quiet. Time to time the cpu may heat up causing the fan to crack up. But aside from my case, I honestly don’t see this being a deal breaker. I got the bad egg,  I won’t base my experience and say that all x100e’s have my problem.



Battery Life

To be blunt: Bad. I have both the 3 cell and 6 cell battery. True story, just today, I took the x100e out with the 3 cell battery fully charged. My friend and I tampered with it a bit in my car and then we were off to Barnes and Noble. We probably stayed there for about an hour and the computer already warned me that the battery was going to run out soon; it had about 5 percent battery left. So in total with the 3 cell battery, I’d say it lasted 1 and a half hours to 2 hours TOPS. With the 6 cell battery it does give it a decent 4 hours. While 4 hours is decent, in comparison to other netbooks, (Yes, I’m calling the x100e a netbook) the x100e’s battery is poor. My friends Asus run about 7-8 hours while my other friends HP netbook rans about 9.

Lenovo ThinkPad x100e 6 Cell Battery
6 Cell Battery. Check our Flickr channel for a comparison with the 3 cell battery.

You also get the option to expand your battery life by under clocking the system. You just choose one of the many options the x100e offers such as, “Video mode”, “Maximum Power” “Energy Saver” etc. On the 6 cell battery  On the 6 cell battery the best I’ve seen on energy saver mode was about 4 and a half hours of battery. The brightness on energy saver is automatically turned down and the overall performance of the system drops. But even with the drop performance I was still able to do my basic task fine: typing, music and chatting. On maximum power it dropped to about 2 hours. (On the 6 cell!)


On the 3 cell maximum power gave me about 57 minutes. While on energy saver mode it was around 2 hours and 15 minutes.

The 6 cell battery does protrude a tad bit but it’s not a huge deal breaker. (Above picture has the 6 cell battery)





I like the x100e.  It doesn’t have the processing and graphic power that todays netbooks are pushing out, but it still does what I need without any lag. I was able to type word files while doing some basic web browsing. It does all of this with the company of a bright sunlight on my back. At the end of the day it’s a netbook so it’s no gaming machine but its graphic capabilities are enough to watch hd videos. If battery life isn’t a HUGE issue, and 4 hours is fine, then this is the netbook to consider. If you can find this netbook for about 200-300 bucks then I say go for it. It’s a great machine that you won’t be disappoint with especially if you intend to do a lot of typing.  If you can’t find the x100e for about 200-300 bucks tops, then I would say get the x120e at around 400 dollars. It’s essentially the same exact build with better specs. I hope you enjoyed this review. The TechShift team and I gives Lenovo a huge thumbs up for giving typist like myself an amazing product.

Why I’m Holding Off On YouTube’s HTML5 Video

YouTube HTML5

I’ve tested HTML5 and WebM on YouTube for about a month now and it isn’t perfect. HTML5 video (WebM)on YouTube looks like the future replacement for Flash but is it really a good thing? I wrote a guest post talking about this on Konnessi if you want to check that out. Not faulting them completely, it is in testing and there are a few known issues. One of these issues is full screen playback. When you try to watch videos in full screen, it only maximizes to fill the window. You can download some extensions to fix this but seeing that this is in testing, I decided to wait full them to roll out a fix. I see no point in installing an extension or fix to have it work in the future. Besides a different playback control, there really isn’t anything to brag about. On a good note, video ads are(currently) not implemented on this new format. This is a “Restriction” but don’t worry. Google say, “we are working on this!” Please guys, no rush!




As far as functionality, It’s pretty much the same except video annotations are not supported. Playback has been fine for a while but then things got ugly. Apparently, there seems to be some sort of memory leak or CPU issue. I would have Chromium opened to a YouTube video and all of a sudden, my computer bogs at 60% CPU usage. Video frame-rate then drops significantly and my computer responds just as slow. Killing Chromium doesn’t solve this problem. I would have to restart my machine to get it up to speed. I am not used to a slow bogging computer since I left Windows. I have tested this on multiple occasions and concluded that it only happens with the HTML5 trial running on YouTube. Isolating the problem, I have decided to leave the trial. Google’s move to push WebM seems premature. The format is buggy and every video take about 5 seconds longer to load compared to the normal Flash counterpart. I decide to be fair and try it out but as of right now, it’s not worth it. I have to restart my computer after watching 5 videos and wait longer to watch them. Are you on the HTML5 trial? What is your experience? If you want to try HTML5 video for yourself, click here to enter the trial.


Google Video Officially Ends April 29, 2011

Google Video

Today, many Google Video users got a sad email stating that Google Video will officially end on the 29th of this month. This news doesn’t come as a big shock since their purchase of YouTube in 2006. While I do think maintaining both YouTube and Google Video may seem redundant, I will miss it. I actually prefer watching 30+ minute videos on Google Video over YouTube. It was a nice niche for documentary style video while YouTube was more of a quick fix. Here is a copy of the official email:




Dear Google Video User,
Later this month, hosted video content on Google Video will no longer be available for playback. Google Video stopped taking uploads in May 2009 and now we’re removing the remaining hosted content. We’ve always maintained that the strength of Google Video is its ability to let people search videos from across the web, regardless of where those videos are hosted. And this move will enable us to focus on developing these technologies further to the benefit of searchers worldwide.
On April 29, 2011, videos that have been uploaded to Google Video will no longer be available for playback. We’ve added a Download button to the video status page, so you can download any video content you want to save. If you don’t want to download your content, you don’t need to do anything. (The Download feature will be disabled after May 13, 2011.)
We encourage you to move to your content to YouTube if you haven’t done so already. YouTube offers many video hosting options including the ability to share your videos privately or in an unlisted manner. To learn more go here.
Here’s how to download your videos:
Go to the Video Status page. To download a video to your computer, click the Download Video link located on the right side of each of your videos in the Actions column.
Once a video has been downloaded, “Already Downloaded” will appear next to the Download Video link.
If you have many videos on Google Video, you may need to use the paging controls located on the bottom right of the page to access them all.
Please note: This download option will be available through May 13, 2011.
Thank you for being a Google Video user.
The Google Video Team

Google was kind enough to remind its users and provide a download option for those who don’t already have video download plugins on their browsers. We have about a month to grab whatever we can before it disappears forever. Well, maybe not forever. Most of these videos will likely be mirrored on YouTube or archived somewhere else. Either way, download whatever you can while these videos are still up.



Here is the official Google notes. :(