[EN] Unboxing Asus F200MA-KX384B + Asus Eos carrybag


Some weeks ago I bought and configured for my brother his first laptop. He needed a quite portable machine able to handle basic tasks, such as Facebook, Youtube, writing stuff for school in Word, music listening, movie watching and internet browsing in general. He needed also a machine with a decent battery life, to use during his frequent bus trips, so I thought that buying a netbook would have been an excellent solution. I went for an Asus F200MA-KX384B (quick specs: Intel Celeron Dual-Core N2830 a 2.16Ghz, 4 GB RAM PC3-6400 1.600 MHz, 11,6′ HD 1366×768, 500 GB HDD, Windows 8.1 with Bing, 30,2 cm x 20 cm x 2,56 cm, 1,24 kg, link on Monclick.it), because it had very balanced specs for its price (sub 300 euro), and I bought an adeguate carrybag with slim form factor as well, called Asus Eos carrybag (link on Monclick.it). Asus has always been very good into designing low-cost, compact machines (they are the ones who invented the netbooks after all!) and this F200MA-KX384B follows the tradition. It feels very robust and quite nice when you touch it, and the keyboard and the trackpad are ok for the price. The only problem is Windows 8.1, that is a very crappy operating system (IMHO), and very annoying to configure (ex. it needs a LiveID in order to work). With Windows 7 this netbook would have been perfect! The bag is very nice as well, and the laptop fits just perfect in it. There is also space for a standard size mouse and for the power adapter, so you are fully served!

Anyway, I will post after the break some quick unboxing pictures of both the laptop and the bag, in the case you are also thinking to buy them 🙂 Sharing is caring!

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[EN] Productivity tip: the importance of summarizing every exam of your life



Let’s say that you just passed an exam, got a certification or completed a course / training / other kind of education for which you studied hard for a couple of months. After the celebration of the event, it could be quite nice to have a seat and write down a short summary of the main topics, keywords and useful terminology that is convenient to remember regarding it. Your mind is still “fresh” about it, you still have the whole picture in mind and you haven’t archived yet all the books / material you used to study, so it’s the right time to do it. In some weeks you won’t remember mostly anything about it, but you could be in the situation in which showing up the opposite is essential. For example, when you apply for a new job, the employeer could ask you general questions regarding your certifications. Answering to those using the right keywords and with a firm behaviour will make you look professional and like an expert about that topic, also if you are not, and maybe it could lead you to get a job offer. Work life is all about selling ourselves at the best we can, and this tip could work well for the purpose with a little effort.

[IT] Samsung Galaxy S3: come risolvere il problema del jack audio che si sente in mono


Il Samsung Galaxy S3 è davvero un ottimo smartphone: schermo grande, buona risoluzione (1280×720), enorme potenza computazionale (quadcore), slot microSD, batteria sostituibile dall’utente (con disponibilità in commercio di batterie di ricambio originali Samsung sia normali che estese, una rarità ormai!), memoria interna non eccessivamente intasata da bloatware (al contrario dell’S4), assenza di interfacce / servizi / personalizzazioni estremamente invasive (al contrario di HTC, Sony e Huawei), supporto micro-SIM (e non il più esotico nano-SIM), ottima ricezione. Ma purtroppo scopro solo ora, dopo un anno di uso intenso ed amore incondizionato, che il Samsung Galaxy S3 ha un difetto congenito che parecchie persone hanno riscontrato: il jack audio, dopo qualche mese di utilizzo, inizia a malfunzionare, riproducendo il suono in mono e non più in stereo. Ne parlano innumerevoli threads in inglese, tra cui questo, questo e questo.

In sintesi, ogni x minuti bisogna giochicchiare parecchio con il jack delle cuffiette per riavere il suono in stereo (e non solo da sinistra), il che è abbastanza frustrante per chi come me lo adopera principalmente per musica, film, video-lezioni e internet. Ho provato, come suggerisce qualcuno sui forum, a fare una pulizia dell’interno del connettore audio adoperando una bomboletta d’aria compressa, ma nessun miglioramento, sono proprio i contatti ad essersi consumati o dissaldati. Non ritenendo il massimo della vita acquistare un nuovo smartphone top di gamma (o ex-top di gamma) soltanto per un jack del cazzo, mi si presentavano le seguenti opzioni:

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[EN] Word Notebooks: the best notebooks in the world for to-do lists nerds!



As I was writing some weeks ago in this post (sorry, it’s in italian), I spend a lot of time every month reading/searching for new tips & tricks about how-to improve my personal productivity. Some of the best tools available are to-do lists, a quite effective way to keep your mind focused on what you have to do and when you have to do it, and to free it up from useless information every time you complete a task: just draw a line over it and begin with the next one. For practical reasons, I always write my to-do lists on paper, but I always felt the need to have them all in one place, and to carry them always with me, so I can take note of the new tasks I would like to do wherever I am.

Thanks to the great blog Lifehacker, I discovered these Word Notebooks, that come bundled with an “unique bullet point system […] to organize your tasks efficiently“. I tried it on my own paper sheets for some weeks and I was really shocked about how efficient and innovative this system is for to-do lists management, so I decided to order a pack of three Word Notebooks (9.99 $ + 10.25 $ for shipping to Sweden), innovation must be rewarded! I got them after just five working days (thank you USPS) and now I’m starting using them.

They are quite well done and pocketable, so I can easily bring them with me together with my smartphone. The Word Notebooks website guys shipped my package one day after the payment (via Paypal), so it’s an excellent service by that point of view, buy with confidence. The shipping cost could be lower and help them spreading more in Europe, but any other cons in my opinion, awesome product 🙂

More pictures after the break 🙂
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[EN] The easiest way ever to download and read manga on the Kindle



As I wrote here, I recently bought a Kindle 5 mostly to read manga on it (and some literature books of course, but that’s off topic).

It’s an awesome device, but because of the small screen size, you have to somewhat “adapt” your manga before copying them to your Kindle, in order to maximize the usage of the available screen area and the whole reading experience. Not so long time ago, you had to use tools such as Mangle to remove the extra-borders and the white spaces from the manga after the download, and it was really a painfull and long process to go thru. But nowadays things are better and a lot faster with the fantastic and ultra-easy method I will describe to you 🙂

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[EN] What’s the best device to read manga on-the-go? Is Kindle the definitive manga reader? Is Kindle better then tablets for manga reading purpose?


What’s the best device to read manga on-the-go?

I have searched the answer to this question for years, because I have always been an avid manga reader and collector, and the idea to read manga in digital format on-the-go has always thrilled me. I started in 2009-2010 modding two netbooks for this purpose (Asus eeePC 701, Samsung N145 Plus) and they worked quite well actually, bulkyness apart. The Samsung one had a ultra-nice 10′ screen that was able to display every kind of comics format (american, italian, french…), not just mangas, so I abused of it for months. They were both heavy of course (900 gr and 1.1 kg respectively), but their “book shape” made them somewhat comfortable to use (lot of space for your hands).

Believing that it was time to upgrade, I decided to go slimmer, and I tested a pair of tablets (Samsung Galaxy Tab 7′ in 2011 and Nexus 7 in 2012-2013, both first generation models): their screens were excellent for the manga reading purpose, but they used to weight just too much to be comfortable.

Yes, tablets are heavy, and not comfortable at all for reading. The whole experience was so frustrating that I didn’t use them more than 30 minutes for day, because my wrists were unable to handle that weight much more (beware the carpal syndrome!). Another problem with tablets is that they are not designed to be just readers, but to be multi-purpose devices of course, so I realized that I was spending more time setting the brightness of the screen and switching off the screen rotation / wifi everytime, than actually reading manga on them.

So I sold my Nexus 7 and I bought a Kindle 5th Generation (aka Kindle 5) for 79 € on Amazon.it.

I’m testing it since some weeks and it’s just fabolous! It’s so lightweight (170 gr vs Nexus 7’s 330 gr) that you can use it for a whole day and your wrists will not even notice it. For manga (and books of course) is a must-buy. The interface is minimalistic and you can start reading in a bunch of seconds, no fusses no worries.
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[IT] Gameboy Pocket vs Gameboy Color



Vi avevo raccontato mesi fa di aver acquistato un Gameboy Pocket, ricordate? Ecco, successivamente ho acquistato anche un Gameboy Color, altro tassello mancante nella mia infanzia e nel mio curriculum vitae da retrogamer.

Ho speso un po’ di ore giocando con entrambi, specialmente all’ottimo shooter “Solar Striker” reperibile su eBay a pochi spicci, e devo ammettere che il Pocket è leggermente superiore al Color. In primis, per l’ergonomia: il Pocket è più compatto e squadrato, mentre il vano batterie del Color è più bombato, rendendo meno piacevole impugnarlo. In secundis, il tasto on/off del Pocket è situato dove qualunque appassionato di Gameboys si aspetterebbe di trovarlo, ovvero in alto a sinistra, mentre nel Color è stato spostato sul lato destro, una decisione alquanto fastidiosa.
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