I have switched to a Microsoft created Application

I have switched to a Microsoft created Application

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am an Apple fan. But when it comes to software, some do it better.

Source : http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7ViOIA76DOc/UAlWEDcv2HI/AAAAAAAAF_U/bzjJG6hBQE8/s1600/Outlook+Logo.png
Outlook 2011 – Mac

Typically my workflow involves an iMac, rarely do I rely on just a Macbook Pro. The Macbook Pro is reserved mainly for when I’m away from the desk and need to work. In the industry I am in, I rely heavily on emails flowing to and fro daily. For the past 5 or so years my main tool for email was the Apple Mail.app and calendars was of course the Calendar.app that is built into every device whether its Mac OS X or iOS. I have to say it has done the job well for me so far, with thousands of emails to synchronise daily and the same goes for calendar.

As for the task list I use daily that was handled and is still handled by a third-party application calledWunderlist which in by itself is an amazing application for getting everything organized.

Source: https://i2.wp.com/www.wunderlist.com/blog/wunderlist-pro/image1-big.jpg?resize=421%2C314&ssl=1
Wunderlist Pro

With Wunderlist I can assign and track tasks and sync files seamlessly across devices.

Here is where the change is happening, over the last week while working out of a hotel room and at another office location. I have had to rely only on the Macbook pro for daily driving. As such I decided that I would start fresh, give something else a try because I now don’t have my multiple monitor setup to work with. Now I decided that I will switch from the default mail.app on the Mac OS X over to Microsoft Outlook. Yes you read that correctly I didn’t say Mailbox or something similar.

I have to say after relying on outlook for a few days I do like the fact that all of the things I use daily are actually located in a single application. Rather than switching screens and launching different applications that run in the background, I can safely manage my Mail, Calendar, Task list and also take Notes in the same application. (disclaimer: last time I used Microsoft products as a daily driver has to be some five to six years ago.)

At first sight Outlook 2011 was a little overwhelming for an Apple user, there are all these buttons and menus you have to drill down into, you there are so many advanced preferences etc. But after a few hours of customization, I have it all sorted and setup the way I would like it to be, that is make it look as minimal as the Apple Mail.app.

Outlook Mail interface

After the initial setup, it was smooth sailing from there on, it was so much easier to jump from mail to calendar to notes to task and back to mail again as needed in my workflow. I can prioritize what needs to be done today and quickly add that to my task list then move over to my flagged mail and sort them out by what has to be done today vs what i can put off to next week.

Working with the calendar application, I can safely lookup my the calendars of my peers and managers when scheduling meetings to see when they are free vs relying on sending an invitation and waiting for a reply. Also the meeting helper works very seamlessly when working with multiple calendars.

Outlook 2011: Mac

So there are no Cons? 

Well of course there are cons, I couldn’t let that slip by that easily.

First off, the ribbon menu/button system is a mess.

Microsoft Office ribbon menus mess

There are so many things on there of which many of them repeat what another button does. Also about those buttons, there is no way to customize them and move them around the way I would like it, for example: the send and receive button in the dead centre of the application is not where i would like that to be, for me it should be the most left of the application. Ohh did I mention there is a second send and receive button on the menu bar above the button ribbon? Yup there is.

It’s the little things like this that would push more and more Apple users away, but because it is not intuitive doesn’t mean it is not powerful. I think if Microsoft can simplify the interface and make it less clogged than it would be a worth competitor the Apple installed Mail.app for a daily driver for most people.

All in, I am going to give it a few more weeks by switching to Outlook full-time on my daily driver work iMac and will report back the results in about a week or so. Wish me luck.

Review: Oontz Angle Bluetooth Speaker

OontZ Angle Review

Looking for a good bluetooth streaming speaker to take with you on your next trip while on vacation on a cruise or maybe you want a little speaker that is highly portable that you could listen to while in the bed or maybe in the bathroom while at the same time keeping it under $50?

I too was in this boat, looking around for a speaker that is portable, has great battery life and to top it off still has great sound. After looking for months, testing all different brands and spending numerous hours in a Best Buy store and local guitar shops. I finally settled on a speaker that fit all of those needs plus the need for quality music (great sounding).

I finally found the one I’ve been looking for, the OontZ Angle. This is a little bluetooth speaker manufactured by a well-known speaker company called Cambridge SoundWorks.

http://media.get-sale.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/OontZ-Angle-Plus-Wireless-Bluetooth-Speaker-1.jpg
OontZ Angle Bluetooth speaker

Here are some specifications on this speaker:

Dimensions:

  • Ultra lightweight – just under 9.1 oz (258 grams)
  • Length just 5.31 in (135 mm)
  • Height is  just 2.67 in (68 mm)

Bluetooth Specifications:

  • The OontZ Angle can playback music wirelessly from most Bluetooth enabled devices that support A2DP* and AVRCP* these devices include: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android smartphones and tablets, and most MacBook Pro or PC laptops.
  • *A2DP stands for advanced audio distribution profile;

Battery:

  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Charges from micro USB connector cable (charging only cable included)
  • Up to 12 hours play time when fully charged and playing at about 2/3 of full volume level.**
** Results may vary
What’s in the box:
  • The OontZ Angle –Ultra-portable wireless Bluetooth speaker
  • Micro USB connector charging cable (charging use only, not for data)
  • 3.5mm Audio line-in cable
  • The OontZ Angle User Guide

This device also supports HFP (Hands Free Profile), which means that you can use this device as a speaker phone when needed. There is a mic on the backside of the device that allows you to make or answer incoming calls.


How does it sound?

Looking at the size of this little speaker and the two little drivers sitting behind that black grill one would say that this device looks like it would produce lack luster sound, but this is not the case. I have put this speaker through the paces and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of sound. The sound was clear and crisp, the mids and highs were tight and well-defined. You can distinctly hear the instruments in the background while listening to certain music.

As someone who enjoys all genre of music, this device was tested with genres that range from classical music, jazz, R&B, reggae dancehall and even some dubstep thrown in there also.

I must say, if you are coming into this looking for deep bass you are looking at the wrong device. This device has just enough lows to compliment the mids and highs without overpowering it or distorting the sound quality. Even at higher volumes close to the max output this device still does not distort the sound coming out of the drivers.

So how about the build quality

Holding this small device in the palm of your hands you would think it would weigh way less than it actually looks. There is a little heft in comparison to the way it looks. This heft comes from the solid build quality. On a daily use this devices was tossed into my tech bag and has gone to places from the beach to the deck of a cruise ship or the steamy shower of a bathroom with no issues.

The matte finish on the outside is a soft touch plastic/rubber surface that does not scratch easily. Also the front grill of the device is amazingly sturdy, after being tossed around no bruising or bending of the grille has happened so far.

There are three control buttons on the backside of the device that controls the volume and speakerphone function, there is also an on/off toggle, aux in, micro usb and a charge indicator LED light that are all well-built.

https://i0.wp.com/i.i.cbsi.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim2/2013/06/26/OontZ_Angle_by_Cambridge_SoundWorks_BluetoothSpeaker_35792500_35792451_35792480_35792498_35792499_07.jpg?resize=525%2C375

Ok so what about the pros and cons

As far as pros and cons go there are one of each I have found so far and these are:

Con:

There is a constant on LED light situated in the dead centre under the grille on the front of the device which can be annoying to some. The light is constant blue of the device is powered on and there is no way to turn it off. So if you are going to use this on the nightstand in a dark room. The blue glow can become annoying after a while.

Pro:

So the biggest pro for this device can be found in the price, yes the price. This device MSRP is $69 but can be found online for as low as $27. At that price with the quality of sound there is no way you could go wrong with one or more of these devices if you’d like to have something a little louder than your phone or tablet or portable computer.

This speaker also comes in a variety of colors.

So in conclusion, if you are really interested in a bluetooth speaker for a damn cheap price but with a high quality build and excellent sound. Look no further than the #OontZ Angle.

Purchase here:  http://amzn.com/B008JGR9MO