HTC One X soon in South Africa

As I posted before, I am due for a new cellphone and top of the list is the HTC One X.  I have just noticed that it will be at MTN soon.  See front cover of the May 1-17 MTN Catalog

Now lets just hope that it is actually in the stores also.

PayCity.co.za major Fail .. my experience over the past couple of week – #fail #paycity

As it happens to most of us, we tend to drive to fast from time to time and pick up some traffic fines that needs to be paid.  In the past there was a site www.payfines.co.za which worked just great and one could easity pay one’s files.

During November 2011 I got 2 fines on the same day (be carefull when you in Stellenbosch) and I tend to let it lie till the second notice before I pay the fines.  Why should I give my hard earned money to somebody else if I can hang onto it.

During March when I wanted to pay my fines, www.payfines,co.za did not exist anymore and was redirected to www.paycity.co.za.The first issue I had was that I had to re-register since my payfines.co.za registration did not work anymore. I did the register part and had to email some documentation to get activated which was done and a couple of days later my access was given.

When one sign’s into the site the following screen is presented:

When you select the “View and pay your traffic fines” (marked in red above), the correct list of outstanding fines are listed to be paid:

Selecting what fines to pay and clicking the PAY NOW button works as should be.  One is presented with the input fields to make your payment via Credit Card as expected.

After entering all the Credit Card details and click the PAY NOW button, everting just fails:

Clicking OK removes the Dialog box but the site just hangs and the only way to recover is to close the site totally.

This has now been going on for more than 2 weeks.  I contacted PayCity.co.za vie email, telephone and even twitter but have not received a satisfactory response at all.  I did get a response via Twitter

As can be seen, this was more than 3 days ago and the PayCity.co.za system is still not working.  I am glad I do not depend on the system to buy electricity or some critical service since the service and quality of their site is pathetic.  Payment integration services are not difficult to do and if they do not know how then I highly recommend that they get somebody that can sort their problems out.

The irony is that in the latest TygerBurger (dated 4 April 2012), PayCity GM Jean-Claude Allegrucci claims how much money people can save by using their service.  Mr Allergrucci, before making claims like that, please ensure that your site is working like advertised and provide a decend and acceptable service if something goes wrong.

Off to go pay my fines the manual way at some counter or if you aware of another online service which will allow me to successfully pay my Stellenbosch fines, then please let me know in the commenst.

Time for cellphone upgrade — HTC One X is the front runner — but when in South Africa

My current cellphone contract has come to an end and I am due for an upgrade.  It will definitly be an Android phone and the current front runner is the HTC One X.

I am a MTN contract subscriber and have tried to find out if and when this phone will be available on contract in South Africa. So far I could not get any answer on this.  If somebody have an idea then please comment below.

From what I have seen in the reviews, this is a awesome device and I am praticularly impressed with the 8MP camera and video taking capabilities.  Have a look at the below video.

The only thing that I might miss is the absence of a SD card but with 32GB of internal storage that should be much of a issue.

Udacity learning — Week 2

I mentioned that I am doing an online Python course through Udacity.  The results from week one is out and I got 89% for my first homework assignment, got 1 question wrong and it was a realy stupid mistake.

Currenly busy with week 2 work and must say that I am enjoying it.  The work is getting more complex and we a now getting into the nuts and bolts of Python.

Let me go and do my homework for week 2 — sound’s like I am back at school again 🙂

Cellphone contract due for renewal — either HTC OneX or Samsung Galaxy SIII

My current 2 year cellphone contract is up for renewal this month.  I have been using a HTC Desire for the last 2 years and absolutely loved it.  Comparing to today’s Android phones, the Desire is very limited particularly when it comes to internal memory and storage.

I have already decided to stay with an Android phone so the iPhone is not even on my list to look at.  

I have narrowed my search down to 2 phones namely the HTC OneX and the Samsung Galaxy SIII. On the left you see the HTC OneX which was announced by HTC at the Mobile World Conference and the specs is well known. On the right is what the Samsung SIII might look like.  Samsung has not annouced the phone yet so there is not official images of it yet.  From rumours and leaks, it seems to be in the same spec class as the HTC OneX.

I am a HTC fan so I am leaning towards the HTC at the moment but will wait till the Samsung SIII has been announced and then take both for a test and only then decide. I just hope that my mobile provider, MTN, will be bringing both to South Africa.  They have already indicated that they will be bringing the SIII but have not seen anything about the HTC OneX.

From what I have read about the reviews of the HTC OneX, everybody is highly impressed with the phone particularly with the camera that is on this one.  Seems like HTC has gone out of their way to make the camera experience a real good one.  I use my camera phone fairly often so a good camera is a must on the phone.  I am eagarly waiting for reviews on the Samsung SIII and what reviewers have to say about it.  I am particurlarly looking forward to a side by side review of the 2 phones.  Please comment below if you have seen or read a review like this.

Onwards to my new phone 🙂

 

Studying again — at my age: Udacity

Today I want to talk about Udacity, a online Univercity if you like and I quote:

We believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost. Using the economics of the Internet, we’ve connected some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world.

Currently they are running 2 cources

  • CS 101: BUILDING A SEARCH ENGINE
  • CS 373: PROGRAMMING A ROBOTIC CAR

I have enrolled for both but not sure whether I will have the time for the Robotic one.  

I have just completed the first week of the Search Engine one and must say that I enjoyed the way it was teached and the pace at which it was run.  I even did the homework assignment so am eagerly awaiting on how I did with my homework. The course is presented as a series of videos with questions and exercise throughout.  The interactivity is well done and it even has a browser based Python interpretor, so one does not need to install anything on one’s computes.

The course is using Python to build a search engine, I come from a Sofware Development background with years of C, C++ and PHP behind me but has never realy learned Python.  Also just like to mention that I am over 50 years old so studying is a new experience again but as they say, one is never to old to learn.  

Looking forward to receiving my homework assignment result and week 2 of the course.

    Android Favorite Apps – Part 2 – Time Recording

    This is the second part of my series on my favorite Android application and the applications that I use on a daily basis.  Here is part 1 on TV Shows Fav
    As part of my working life, I have to keep time of the work I do and the hours I work.  The Android app that I use for this is Time Recording.  The app is available in a Free version and a Pro version.  I use the Free version that is ad supported and the ads do not realy bother me.
    Basically it has the following functionality:
    Timesheet manager – easy to use, highly adaptive

    Manage your timesheet.

    Basic functionality:
    • Check in & out
    • Task assignment
    • Daily & detailed notes
    • Overview of day, week, month
    • Data export & email as CSV, HTML or XML
    • Integrated backup & restore
    • Google Calendar Sync (one way only, only for Pro users)
    • Dropbox integration for data export, backup & restore (Pro version only)
    • Pro version is ad-free

    Highly configurable, many additional features:
    • Date and time formats
    • Hourly rates, paid overtime
    • Calendar options (first day of week and month, bi-weekly reporting)
    • Target time
    • Widget to display running day total
    • Status bar notification when checked in
    • Tasker/Locale plugin support (Pro version only)
    • Public services for integration into other apps

    Limitations:
    • Smallest tracking unit is one minute
    • No multiple trackers
    • No mileage or expenses
    • Only one overtime rate

    If you need to keep time for something work activity then I can highly recommend Time Recording.

    Android Favorite apps – Part 1 – TV Shows Favs

    I have been using Android for almost 2 years already, currently own a HTC Desire running Android 2.2.  This is a series of blogs that share my favorite Android apps which I use on a daily basis.  

    Lets start off with TV Show Favs.  I love watching TV Series and this is the app I use to keep track of what is shown on a daily basis and what I have watched and what is still in my queue to be watched.

    This is what the home screen look like:

    TV Show Favs home screen

    The Schedule menu option list what will be coming up on a daily basis and also what one has recently watched and what is still in the queue to be watched.  Here is what the schedule screen look like.

    TV Show Favs - schedule screen

    As can be seen from the above, I have a fair amount of TV shows I like to watch but to be honest, do not get the time to watch them all.  At least they pile up on my media centre for those cold and wet rainy weekends.  In a future post I will cover my ,media centre setup — yes all running on Open Source software.

    So if you have Android and like to keep track of your TV Shows then get TV Shows Favs .. you will not be sorry.

    TouchPal Android Keyboard

    While browsing Twitter yesterday, I came accros a Swype like keyboard for Android called TouchPal.  It is free in the Android Market and I installed it and started using it.

    I was immediately impressed with how it works.  It seems much more accurate and responsive than Swype and I just prefer the overall interaction with it. I like the little switch on the space bar to switch Prediction on and off.  English is not my home language so prediction can be a real pain.  The only drawback at the moment is that I could not find a Afrikaans (my home language) language pack for it. 

    It even has Voice input and recognition but I have not really tried this so not sure how good this works.

    It is fairly customizable and lots of settings that you can set.  The defaults works just great.

    For the time being this will be my preferred and default keyboard.  Here is a screenshot of me using it in Tweetdeck (my other favourite app at the moment)

    My handset details:

    Handset:  HTC Desire (yes the original from a couple of years back)

    Android:  Version 2.2 (Rooted ROM .. just did not had the need to upgrade)

    Give it a try, you will not be sorry 🙂

     

    2012 is here and only one wish — let it be better than 2011.

    2012 have arrived very quietly in my household, not that I can say the same for the neighbourhood.  

    I only have one wish for 2012 and that is that it is better than 2011.  It was a very tough 2011 and I do not want to have a year like that again.  

    Wishing everyone a good and prosperous 2012, may all you dreams, goals and wished come true.