This is festival time in India, and I thought it is also the right time to buy a new mobile as most companies will have some offers. After spending a lot of time with mobile comparison sites, user forums I had decided to buy the Samsung Omnia I8910 HD. I bought the 16 GB version for 28,599 INR with 5 % cash back making the effective price a little over 27K.

Picture courtesy: GSMArena.com

Main features

  • 3.7 inch AMOLED capacitive touch screen with 640 X 360 pixel resolution (16:9 widescreen) – Simply gorgeous!
  • 256 MB RAM, 600 MHz processor with PowerVR SGX graphics
  • 8 MP still camera with image stabilization, smile shot, face detection, blink detection, geo tagging, high ISO (up to 1600)
  • World’s first High Definition video recording in a mobile device (1280×720)
  • 16 GB memory (8GB is also available) with micro SD slot (up to 32 GB)
  • Stereo speakers with DNSe 2.0 (Digital Natural Sound Engine) and Virtual 5.1 channel Dolby surround
  • Flash support in browser
  • GPS, Digital Compass
  • Wi-fi, DLNA, bluetooth 2.0, 3G (HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps)
  • Battery standby time of almost 26 Days (600 hours)
  • Accelerometer sensor, Proximity sensor for auto turn-off, Scratch-resistant surface

I had 5 phones in my list when thought about buying a new phone. They were

  1. iPhone 3G
  2. iPhone 3GS
  3. Nokia N97
  4. Samsung I8000 Omnia II
  5. Samsung Omnia I8910 HD

I am listing the pros and cons of each phone and matching it with the Samsung Omnia I8910 HD. I hope this will be useful for anyone searching for a new phone. (Sorry for the long post, but I couldn’t make it any shorter)

iPhone 3G and iphone 3GS

iphone - picture courtesy Apple.com

My budget was around 30,000 Rs. The old iPhone 3G with an 8 GB version would’ve cost me 29,000 and was definitely within the budget. But when compared with Omnia i8910 HD, the phone lacks many features.

Advantages of Omnia HD over iPhone 3G

  1. Better still and video camera – Iphone 3G has only 2 Mega Pixel camera and no native video recording support. Compare that with the 8MP camera of Omnia HD. Quality wise, it is definitely one of the best camera equipped in a mobile phone and features face detection, smile detection, blink detection, image stabilization, wide dynamic range, high ISO(up to 1600), geo tagging etc. And the best part is yet to come -  It is the first mobile phone which features High Definition (HD – 720 P means a resolution of 1280 x 720 px) video recording.
  2. Better screen – Omnia i8910 has an AMOLED  screen with a resolution of 360 x 640 px 16:9 widescreen where iPhone has a 320 x 480 pixels resolution. The AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic LED) enables more appealing colors and brightness with better battery life.
  3. Better sound – Omnia i8910 HD is equipped with stereo speakers (the speakers are located in the extreme ends which results good stereo sound out of the box) and DNSe 2.0 sound processor with virtual 5.1 channel Dolby surround.
  4. Better processor – Samsung i8910 Omnia HD has the more powerful ARM Cortex A8 600 MHz processor with PowerVR SGX graphics while iPhone 3G has a slower ARM 11 412 MHz processor.
  5. Better memory – The i8910 HD is equipped with 256 MB RAM. For storage, it has 8GB / 16 GB onboard memory and supports microSD cards up to 32 GB making a whopping total of 48 GB. iPhone 3G has only 128 MB of RAM and for storage it has 8GB/16GB onboard memory. However, there is no external memory slot available. Also, even the 8GB iPhone version costs more than a 16GB Samsung Omnia HD.
  6. Outstanding battery life – The i8910 Omnia HD, equipped with a 1500 mAh battery, has a whopping standby time of 25 – 26 days on a normal (2G) network.
  7. Better multimedia support – The i8910 HD supports almost all video formats (DiVX/XviD/WMV/RV/MP4/3GP) and sound formats( MP3 / WMA / WAV / RA/  AAC / M4A ). So unlike iPhone, you don’t need to convert media files. Just copy the files to your phone and enjoy.
  8. Stereo FM radio with RDS – In India, the data charges are usually high and bandwidth is less. So internet streaming radio is still not an option for Indian customers.  Unlike iPhone, you can enjoy FM radio stations with the i8910 Omnia HD.
  9. Can do multitasking – In iPhone you can only run very limited applications simultaneously (Like iPod & Safari). But the Omnia HD allows heavy multitasking with its large memory and powerful processor.
  10. . Unrestricted Bluetooth 2.0 – Unlike iPhone, you can have full Bluetooth support. You can send/receive files, business cards etc.
  11. Full flash support in browser – Unlike iPhone, the browser has full support for Flash
  12. More value for money – Omnia HD is also equipped with a digital compass and Route 66 application for navigation (License for two years). With all these features, it still costs significantly lesser than the old iPhone 3G

Please check full comparison (GSM Arena) of Omnia i8910 HD vs Iphone 3G

iPhone 3GS

When comparing with iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G S has definitely some advantages – better camera with touch focus, video support, digital compass. But can iPhone 3GS match the features of Samsung Omnia i8910 HD? Let’s find out.

The following are the areas where iPhone 3GS has improved. Lets discuss each.

Camera – Though iPhone 3G S has a better 3MP camera when compared with iPhone 3G, it is still ‘no match’ for Omnia i8910 HD’s 8 MP camera. Omnia HD camera is also equipped with a plethora of features like face detection, blink detection, image stabilization, smile shutter, wide dynamic range, high ISO up to 1600, panoramic mode etc. Omnia i8910 HD clearly wins in video department as well. HD video recording, slow motion recording etc are something that the iPhone 3GS can’t do.

Processor and memory – The iPhone 3G S is equipped with the same or similar processor and memory as i8910 HD. For storage, the 3GS has 16 GB / 32 GB options – but not expandable. Omnia i8910 HD can have more storage – 16 GB onboard + 32 GB expandable =  48 GB. So Omnia i8910 has a slight advantage here.

Price – iPhone is not officially available in India. You can find unlocked phones in ebay and some mobile stores. The price ranges from 45,000 Rs to 55,000 Rs. Yes, you can almost buy a MacBook for the price. It is definitely not value for money. You can have Omnia i8910 for almost half the price with more features.

Full comparison of I8910 HD and iPhone 3GS

Advantages of iPhone 3G /3G S

  1. The iPhone OS is more polished and usable – This is an area where Symbian needs to improve. The S60 5th edition  running on Symbian 9.4 OS is just a touch compatible interface while the iPhone OS is optimized and designed for touch usage.
  2. Multi-touch screen – You will miss the multi-touch gestures in iPhone/iPod Touch in Omnia i8910 HD, especially with images. However the default browser has a good alternative. Touch the screen for 2-3 seconds and the zoom is activated and by moving the finger up/down the zoom can be controlled. I think, the same option should have been applied with images as well. But apart from that you can’t feel much difference as the i8910 Omnia HD has a good responsive capacitive touch screen optimized for fingers.
  3. Outstanding application availability – The iPhone application store is flooded with thousands of applications and most probably, you can find more than one application for any single task. Though the Samsung Omnia i8910 HD is equipped with all applications that you might need – it is almost complete with Office document viewer, dictionary, media upload application – finding new applications can be a little difficult. Nokia OVI store has a decent number of applications but does not directly support Omnia HD (though there are methods to hack this).  Samsung has started an application store, but the support for Omnia i8910 is yet to come. Hopefully, Samsung store will support this model soon. Also, a little bit of googling will help you to find applications.

My Decision

As I’ve pointed out Samsung Omnia I8910 HD is equipped with lots of features and iPhone 3G can’t match it. Also, for the price of an 8 GB iPhone 3G (29K) you can buy an Omnia HD with 24 GB (16 GB internal – 28K + 8 GB SD card – 1K ). So I had no problem removing iPhone 3G from my list.

Though iPhone 3G S is better in terms of performance and hardware when comparing with the older iphone 3G, it still can’t compete with the feature loaded Samsung i8910 Omnia HD. Also, the price is a big let down. Simply, the phone is not worth it. An Ipod Touch with similar features is available around 12 K. Now, what extras are there in the iPhone 3G S ? A camera, GPS, and phone. But price is almost 4 times of an iPod touch. How can any one justify the price?

Nokia N97

n97 - picture courtesy gsmarena.com

Nokia N97 is another touch screen mobile running on the same S60 Fifth edition. Certainly this phone has some good features like 32 GB onboard memory plus expansion slot. It also has a physical full QWERTY keypad.

Advantages of Samsung Omnia i8910 over Nokia N97

  1. Camera – i8910 HD has better still and video camera when compared to the 5MP camera of Nokia N97.
  2. Better screen – Though Nokia N97 also features a similar resolution screen, the technology is different. It uses normal TFT while i8910 is powered by AMOLED. Watching images and videos in this screen is simply great.
  3. Better RAM and processor – Nokia N97 is low on RAM (128 MB) and processing power (ARM 11 434 MHz processor) when compared to I8910 HD.
  4. Capacitive touch screen – While resistive touch screen is good for stylus operation it is not that good for thumb operation. For thumb operation, the i8910 HD is better as it has a capacitive touch screen.

Advantages of Nokia N97

  1. Nokia OVI store – It has a decent number of applications for download from the OVI store.
  2. Full QWERTY keypad – Nokia N97 features a full QWERTY keypad which makes it more suitable to business users.

Full comparison of I8910 HD and Nokia N97

My Decision

Though a full QWERTY keypad is an advantage, it makes the phone more oriented to business usage rather than multimedia. Also, the resistive touch screen technology is not optimized for thumb operation. Though it runs the same Symbian OS, Samsung has the touchWiz UI running on top of it which makes the interface more pleasant. Another deciding factor was of course the camera and screen quality. So now, only the two Omnias remain in the list.

Samsung I8000 Omnia II

Picture courtesy - GSMArena.co

Omnia 2 is released after the Omnia HD. The main difference is the Operating system. Omnia 2 has the  latest Windows Mobile 6.5 and it runs the touchWiz on top of it (which can be turned off if required) and the interface almost looks like that of an Omnia I8910 HD.

Advantages of Omnia HD

  1. Camera – The camera in Omnia 2 is a 5MP one and there is no HD video recording.
  2. Better color depth – Though the Omnia 2 has a better resolution and same AMOLED screen, the color depth is only 65K instead of 16 Million as in Omnia i8910 HD. This may not be differentiated normally, but gradient background may not look good.
  3. Capacitive touch screen – The Samsung I8000 Omnia II is rather optimized for stylus usage as it comes with a resistive touch screen.
  4. Better battery life – Though both batteries have similar ratings, the I8910 Omnia HD lasts longer as Symbian is not as resource hungry as Windows Mobile
  5. Digital Compass – Digital compass is not present in the Omnia 2

Advantages of I8000 Omnia II

  1. Better screen resolution – Though both features same AMOLED 3.7 inch screen, the Omnia 2 features a higher resolution (480 x 800 pixels) but sacrificing color depth.
  2. Slightly better processor – The Omnia II is equipped with slightly better processor (some site reports it is 667 MHz while some other mention it as 800 MHz).

Full comparison of Omnia I8910 HD and Omnia I8000 Omnia2

My Decision

Though, it was a close battle between the two Omnias, I was more attracted to the Omnia HD because of the following reasons.

  • Better still camera with higher Mega pixel rating ( 8MP vs 5 MP)
  • Better video camera with HD recording
  • Capacitive screen optimized for thumb operation
  • Better color depth and the right resolution to watch movies and pictures
  • Though the Omnia HD has a slightly lower clocked processor compared to Omnia 2, it is still a higher end processor for a Symbian device (as it is not resource hungry as Windows Mobile).
  • Personally I am not a big fan of Windows or Windows Mobile

Conclusion

After a lot of research, I settled for the Samsung Omnia I8910 HD 16GB version and bought the phone for around Rs 28,500 with 5% cash back offer. The screen is really great to watch movies and photos. The HD video recording produced excellent quality video – though sometimes at a dropped frame rate. The still camera  is excellent with almost all the features available in a point and shoot camera. It has face detection, smile detection, image stabilization etc. Also there is a panorama made which can be used to take good quality panoramic pictures effortlessly. The phone has almost everything preinstalled so that you rarely need to install any other application. It is almost complete with a good dictionary, Office document viewer, media uploader, podcasts, a video player with subtitle support, a browser with full flash support etc. Also, firmware updates bringing some enhancement to the features like 3D task switcher, kinetic scrolling (like iPhone) in browser etc.

picture courtesy - Samsung picture courtesy - Samsung

But if you want to install other applications, you might need to do some googling as the phone is not directly compatible with Nokia OVI store (well, there are some hacks). Samsung application store also does not support this phone. May be they will support this phone soon. (I am planning to do a separate post on the available applications soon)

After using the phone for two weeks I don’t have much to complain, in fact I am really proud of my phone – an unmatchable screen and the first (and the only, right now) high definition video camera in a mobile. Truly high end stuff with true value for money price. I will recommend this phone to anyone who needs the best multimedia phone.

But as I am an Ipod touch user, I miss those multi touch gestures sometimes – especially with images. Also, I feel, the S60 5th edition is not the best OS in terms of touch usability. It is a normal OS which was made ‘touch compatible’ – not designed or optimized for touch usage. I couldn’t stop wishing if this phone was on the Android platform!  I think, Android is the only platform which can compete with or probably overcome the usability and application support of iPhone OS. Insha Allah, my next mobile will be running on the Android platform :)

Thanks for reading this long post. Please post your comments and thoughts.

In India, the default download server selected is an Indian server ftp.iitm.ac.in which is very slow and causes very slow download speeds even if you’ve a 2 Mbps broadband connection. This was very obvious when I tried to upgrade to the Ubuntu 9.10 Release Candidate. I was getting download speeds in the range of 10 – 20 KBps with my 2Mbps broadband connection.

The best method is to find the fastest server using update manager itself. This will test all the download servers and will select the best one. In my case, a server from UK is selected. After that I was getting download speeds of 180 KBps to 220 KBps which is more than ten times faster.

Steps to fix the slow download speed

  1. Open the update manager (System->Administration->Update Manager)
  2. Click Settings…
  3. Check the first tab (Ubuntu Software)

    Select Server

  4. Open the Download From dropdrown and choose Other

    Select other

  5. Click on the Select Best Server button
  6. Select Best Server

It will do a series of test and will select the best server automatically. After that you’ll get maximum download speeds when updating or installing additional packages. This is applicable to Ubuntu and Kubuntu.

Good download speeds

After this optimization, I am getting maximum download speeds in Ubuntu / Kubuntu.

Unarguably, Microsoft Windows Live Writer is the best tool I’ve used for offline blogging. It has a simple and user friendly interface, supports images, tables, maps and video. Further it has the ability to enhance features by adding plug-in. The generated HTML code is also clean and XHTML valid. Some tips for using it.

Check your blog’s capabilities

Live Writer has a very useful option to check your blog’s capabilities.

From the menu, select Blog -> Edit blog settings and select Accounts (you might need to select your blog firs from the Blogs menu, if you’re managing multiple blog accounts). Then click on the View capabilities link.

writer-1

Depending on the blog, some options may not be available and some of the tips may not be applicable. But if you’ve a WordPress blog, most of the options will be available.

Enable the auto save option

By default this feature is disabled. Enable this and even if there is a system crash you can recover the content (just like MS Word).

From the menu, select Tools -> Options select Editing and enable the option

Livewriter-options

Enable the auto remind option for titles, category and tags

Enable this option so that you won’t publish an article accidentally without entering titles or selecting category.

From the menu, select Tools -> Options select Preferences and enable the options

writer2

Enable the check spelling before publishing option

It is recommended to have spelling check enabled before publishing your content. This will ensure that there is no accidental spelling mistakes.

From the menu, select Tools -> Options select Spelling and enable the option

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Can copy paste Video embed code directly to the editor

You don’t need to go to source code view or select Video insert option to embed a video. You can directly copy paste the embed code in the GUI editor. It is smart enough to understand the clipboard content.

Can copy paste images from clipboard

Images can be added from clipboard. For e.g.: you can use, the Windows snipping tool to capture part of screen and directly paste it to the editor – no need to save as a file (If you want better control over file names, it is recommended to save the image first as a file)

Make sure XHTML is selected

Make sure, XHTML mode is selected for better code generation.

From the menu, select Blogs -> Edit blog settings and select Advanced

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Pictures can be uploaded to a specific folder or another server using FTP

Images can be uploaded to the blog in normal way (For e.g.: in WordPress, it will be organized by year and month) or you can upload it to another or same server using FTP. This way you can keep all your images in the same folder. (Not recommended for WordPress as it organizes the images in a good way)

From the menu, select Blogs -> Edit blog settings and select Pictures

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Can save the post as a draft in blog and it can be accessed from anywhere

If you’ve drafted a post in one computer and want to continue editing in another computer, instead of saving the post as a local draft you can save the post as a draft in the blog. In this way, you can access this draft from anywhere.

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Add ping servers

You can add ping servers so that whenever you publish a post, these servers will be notified and can re-index your blog.

From the menu, select Tools -> Options -> Ping Servers and enable the option

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Following is a good collection of ping servers. Copy and paste to the text area.

http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2

http://1470.net/api/ping

http://api.feedster.com/ping

http://api.moreover.com/RPC2

http://api.moreover.com/ping

http://api.my.yahoo.com/RPC2

http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping

http://bblog.com/ping.php

http://bitacoras.net/ping

http://blog.goo.ne.jp/XMLRPC

http://blogdb.jp/xmlrpc

http://blogmatcher.com/u.php

http://bulkfeeds.net/rpc

http://coreblog.org/ping/

http://mod-pubsub.org/kn_apps/blogchatt

http://www.lasermemory.com/lsrpc/

http://ping.amagle.com/

http://ping.bitacoras.com

http://ping.blo.gs/

http://ping.bloggers.jp/rpc/

http://ping.cocolog-nifty.com/xmlrpc

http://ping.blogmura.jp/rpc/

http://ping.exblog.jp/xmlrpc

http://ping.feedburner.com

http://ping.myblog.jp

http://ping.rootblog.com/rpc.php

http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php

http://ping.weblogalot.com/rpc.php

http://ping.weblogs.se/

http://pingoat.com/goat/RPC2

http://rcs.datashed.net/RPC2/

http://rpc.blogbuzzmachine.com/RPC2

http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger/

http://rpc.icerocket.com:10080/

http://rpc.newsgator.com/

http://rpc.pingomatic.com

http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping

http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2

http://topicexchange.com/RPC2

http://trackback.bakeinu.jp/bakeping.php

http://www.a2b.cc/setloc/bp.a2b

http://www.bitacoles.net/ping.php

http://www.blogdigger.com/RPC2

http://www.blogoole.com/ping/

http://www.blogoon.net/ping/

http://www.blogpeople.net/servlet/weblogUpdates

http://www.blogroots.com/tb_populi.blog?id=1

http://www.blogshares.com/rpc.php

http://www.blogsnow.com/ping

http://www.blogstreet.com/xrbin/xmlrpc.cgi

http://www.mod-pubsub.org/kn_apps/blogchatter/ping.php

http://www.newsisfree.com/RPCCloud

http://www.newsisfree.com/xmlrpctest.php

http://www.popdex.com/addsite.php

http://www.snipsnap.org/RPC2

http://www.weblogues.com/RPC/

http://xmlrpc.blogg.de

http://xping.pubsub.com/ping/

Make good use of the split post functionality

Split post functionality is useful if you don’t want to show the full post content in home page. You can split the post and only the first part will be shown in home page (This is different from excerpt). Please note that, this may not be supported in all blogs.

After the desired portion of content, click on the split post icon in toolbar.

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Make good use of the Auto Linking feature

Live Writer has a good option to insert links automatically to  certain words and phrases. For e.g.: if you want to link to the YouTube video site automatically when you write YouTube, it can be set in the Auto Linking. It is better to limit it to happen only for the first occurrence.

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Make good use of the Paste Special feature

If you’ve copy pasted contents from MS Word, you might’ve seen that it produces lots of inline style tags which may affect the layout of your blog or cause HTML validation errors.

Live Writer has a nice feature to avoid this – Paste Special. Using this, we can either remove all tags or just remove special tags.

After copying the content, from the menu, select Edit -> Paste special (Ctrl+Shift +V)

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Change default image sizes and image style to match your blog

Live Writer supports automatic resizing and styling of images. The image border option is an excellent feature. It has support for shadow, rounded corners, reflection etc. You can add some effects like Sepia, black & white etc or adjust brightness and contrast.  A copyright watermark can also be added.

For image resize you can set 3 options. You can change this according to your blog. For e.g.: set the size of  “small” to the thumbnail size in your blog, “medium” to the full width of the main content area.

Select the image and you’ll get the image options in right sidebar.

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Enhance features with Plug-in

One good feature of Live Writer is the ability to support plugins. The functionality can always be expanded with plug-ins. There are already some good plugins available (I will do a separate post on plugins).

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Some useful shortcuts

Publish to blog – ctrl + shift + P
Paste special – ctrl + shift + V
Categories - ctrl + shift + C
Edit view – F11
Preview - F12
Source view - Shift + F11
Toggle edit using theme – ctrl + F11
Insert hyperlink – ctrl + K
Insert image - ctrl + L
Check spelling – F7

image

Microsoft has officially started using Twitter. When I checked just before writing this, they have around 4000 followers. But there are only 3 tweets so far and the last one is updated 7 hours ago.

Url: http://twitter.com/microsoft

It’s Twitter day at Microsoft, apparently. Not only did the software giant announce that it would start adding tweets to its Bing search results, the company actually started officially using Twitter today.

To be clear, Microsoft had a rather large presence on Twitter before through its various departments/products/services, but now it’s using the main  /microsoft account to tweet. The account is being run by its corporate communications team, consisting of four people.

Source: Washington Post

Microsoft has also decided to include tweets from selected profiles in its Bing search results.

Today we’re unveiling an initial foray into integrating more real time data into our search results, starting with some of the more prominent and prolific Twitterers from a variety of spheres. This includes Tweets from folks from our own search technology and business sphere like Danny Sullivan or Kara Swisher as well as those from spheres of more general consumer appeal like Al Gore or Ryan Seacrest.

Source: Bing blog

Windows 7 beta will shutdown in every two hours from July 1st 2009. If you want to continue using Windows 7 you will need to download the Windows 7 RC1 (release candidate version). It will work till March 2010. From March onwards it will also shutdown in every two hours and will expire on June 2010.

I think this is a fair game by Microsoft. If you want to test Windows 7 before buying it, you have plenty of time to do that by testing Windows 7 Ultimate edition. Microsoft also gains from this policy because most users will upgrade or buy Windows 7 as they won’t like to switch back to the buggy Vista.

Windows 7 will be available from October 22nd. But you can safely buy a Vista(retail version or pre installed) PC now as you can freely upgrade it to Windows 7 when it will become available (offer not valid for Vista Basic).

The estimated retail prices for upgrade packaged retail product of Windows 7 in the U.S. are:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Upgrade): $119.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Upgrade): $219.99

And the estimated retail prices for full packaged retail product of Windows 7 in the U.S. are:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Full): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Full): $299.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Full): $319.99

Source: Microsoft

Don’t want to spend anything ? Don’t like bi hourly shutdowns ? Download and install Ubuntu 9.04 for free or request a free installation CD :)

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About me & this blog

Hello! my name is Hafees. Living in Kerala, India. I've been working as a web developer for more than 5 years. At present, I am working in Flip Media, the leading independent interactive media agency in the Middle East as Group Head of programming team.

Being passionate about technology, programming and photography, through this blog, I will be writing about technologies, softwares, computers, gadgets, photography and anything that fascinates me.

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