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Updated: Be Careful what you for

24 Aug

I started using about two months ago after I learned a little about the company.

It seems they had (at the time I encountered the info a few weeks ago) most of the over one billion dollars of the investment capital they had received remaining to be spent. More importantly they are apparently trying to eliminate fake goods from their site. Wish, as I understand it, supply goods direct from countries such as China at a heavily discounted price, the trade-off being that shipping is usually quite slow.

This gave me confidence in using the site and I have managed to purchase a couple of items that seem of satisfactory quality… However…

It seems things that at least some items are oversold. As mentioned, I’ve purchased a few Micro SD cards through them, and it appears despite the listing information they have been too good to be true. Let me elaborate.

First off I ordered a pair of 512GB Micro SD cards listed as Class 10 speed and at a price that appeared too good to be true, as indeed it was. The cards do seem to be fast enough to use in the 1080p camera I use on my bicycle, but for expanding the app space on a Kindle Fire (their original purpose) they are very slow. Ditto for file transfers in general. Filling up that 512GB would take a very long time.

Compared to other Class 10 cards I have, the speed was quite shocking, but the size does appear to be correct so far, in as much as I’ve filled up a few GB of data with no issue, but not approached anywhere near the full capacity.

So then I ordered two 256GB cards listed at 633x speed. I’d love to tell you how fast these are, but despite a delivery estimate of two weeks ago I’ve yet to receive them, so I guess I may be able to report on the refund process if they don’t arrive soon.

In the meantime I ordered and received another 512GB Micro SD card (this one apparently being U3 speed – awesome!!!). Again I rant this through a benchmark and it came out slower than the initial cards!!!! Real world file transfers are also very sluggish, but I have managed to use it for transferring some files between a laptop and Raspberry Pi.

Virtually all the reviews of this card (and several others) show people generally reporting that they are happy. The devil is in the detail here though, as it appears 99% of these people are saying “the card arrives quickly but I’m yet to use it”, with a few saying “it works OK in my phone”. Only a very few people appear to have used actually the card. Of them only a few report it as slow.

I wrote a review to join the couple of other reporting on the lack of advertised speed. With this review I added a screenshot of my CrystalMark benchmark findings. It appears the test was accepted, but the image rejected. I guess that explains why every image in the reviews is of the physical card itself.

Call me old fashioned, but I find this fishy. I’ll leave you to decide how you feel about this.

I’m currently waiting for to deliver a Toshiba Exceria 256GB Micro SD card. I already have an old 128GB version of this (benchmarked – it’s very fast) so I’ll be interested to see how this on compares if it ever arrives. Apparently it arrived in the UK today. I’ll report back in the comments.

So, so far my experience has been mixed, to the point where if this final card is of similar quality to the three I’ve already received, I’ll go back to paying 3 times the price for merchandise from 7DayShop or Amazon instead.

One final note, I’m also somewhat alarmed at some of the products listed at, notable flick knives, knives disguised as credit cards, knuckle dusters, hemp seeds, etc.

In one stroke this makes me question the legitimacy of the site as a whole, especially with this stuff appearing on the main browse screen of the app. Some of their teeth whitening products look a bit scary too.

So overall seems an interesting site. I’m sure I’ll order more from there in the future, but I’m going to be increasingly cautious about what I’m getting myself into. In a nutshell, at this point in time for me, it’s fair to say other retailers will still be seeing my business.

Essentially, buyer beware. The site seems legitimate, but the product selection isn’t the best quality in my experience.



Right on cue the “Toshiba” card arrived. I’ll let you decide how kosher it is.

Here’s the original from Amazon:

And the card from the supplier:

It’s interesting that the read speed is fractionally higher, but that write speed is criminally (and unusably) bad.


Android. So how’s it going?

3 Nov

It’s been over a month since I made the switch from Windows Phone to Android as my main daily driver, so how’s it going?

I’ll write a full review of my thoughts soon, but overall quite well. I never took my eye entirely of Android so there’s very little surprising going on, but as my main phone it’s mostly been a good experience with a few distractions. That’s only fair to expect, any platform switch is going to experience some hiccups.

Surprisingly, my main frustration has been trying to find a decent alternative to the brilliant NextGen Reader, an RSS app that uses Feedly as its backend. If I ever get that one sorted things would be much easier.

Anyhow, I’ll report back soon with a more in depth progress report.

If Microsoft aren’t using Xamarin, why should I?

4 May

Microsoft, in a move that many developers were hoping for, purchased the really rather brilliant company Xamarin. Xamarin provides a tool to write cross platform apps from one code base, namely C#. Brilliant! Now the promise of being able to develop for iOS, Android and Windows from the one code base could become a reality without costing a fortune!

Microsoft also purchased Wunderlist. This will gradually be retired in favour of their new application, Microsoft ToDo. Microsoft recently released clients for Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.

None of which were written in Xamarin apparently.


I can’t find any details of which Microsoft first party apps for iOS and Android are written in Xamarin, but I suspect it’s not many.

It should be a case that virtually all Apps from Microsoft should be written in Xamarin (with the possible exception of those requiring a significant of low level access, and even then I’m not convinced they couldn’t be coded partially in Xamarin if it’s as good as portrayed).

Microsoft used to be the best at eating their own dog food. If they are indeed doing this, isn’t it time we were told?

Windows on phones is dead…

22 Apr

… or is it the next big thing?

Well, since few people even at Microsoft are using it the outlook does look grim at the moment.

However this article makes a case how Continuum could be the future. Perhaps.

Of course my concern is that I just purchased a display dock to test out Continuum, but I can’t get it to work.

Colour me disappointed.

The top 1%

1 Feb

Or to put it more accurately, the bottom 1%.

That’s where market share of Windows Mobile has plummeted to (worldwide, I see quite a few WM phones in the wild here), and it’s depressing. As one developer who is pulling out of Windows Mobile put it “the market share is falling, and Microsoft doesn’t seem to be doing anything to combat it”.

And finally, I’ve come to agree.

I think Microsoft does see a future in Windows Phone, but it doesn’t see it as anything other than rounding out its offerings and as an insurance policy if they get locked out of Android or iOS.

What a shame. Competition was good, and having a third player is better than having two competing companies for everyone involved. Plus, I do genuinely believe Windows Mobile has the better interface, but that’s now largely academic.

So My lowly Lumia 550 may well be my last Windows Mobile device, even if the surface phone was to arrive. This makes me sad as it feels like taking a step back.

So where to next? Well, probably Android rather than iOS, purely because I’ll probably be concentrating my development efforts there, now Windows Mobile is effectively dead.

Which itself is interesting. I spent some time refreshing my Android knowledge mid last year, only to switch back to Universal Apps and then ASP.Net/Knockout/Bootstrap as work dictated.

With Windows Mobile out of the picture there isn’t as much of a draw to develop Universal Applications, after all, they’ll be universal on what?

HoloLens? Brilliant. No good to me now though.

IoT? Very interesting. But not commercially any use for me.

XBox? I love my XBox. I’m not interested in developing for it.

There’s only one thing that Microsoft can do to reignite my interest in Universal Applications right now – add Android compatibility.

Microsoft dropped the Astoria bridge (or at least postponed it indefinitely) which bought Android applications over to Windows Mobile. Perhaps it is looking at the problem the opposite way around now – bring Windows Universal applications over to Android.

That would be great!

But what would Microsoft get out of it?

Possibly sales of its development tools, which is not to be sniffed at.

If the apps go in the Amazon or Google Play stores they won’t get a cut of the revenue there, but licensing apps developed with the technology could also produce a revenue stream (although be unpopular I’d imagine). Or launch their own store, which would be silly.

Or perhaps the best thing they would get is more apps in the Windows 10 store – both desktop and mobile. That would be one hell of a Trojan horse. Possibly even enough to make Windows Mobile a viable proposition again if enough apps were released this route…

That’s one hell of a long shot, based on zero evidence. It’s just flights of fancy from a disheartened developer. But my god it’s appealing!

But that’s not where the company is going. They are more interested in seeing people using their services on whatever platform these days, and that is a good thing for them. The days of Windows being king are long gone, as well they should be in this new world.

But a unified development platform could also be potentially good for Microsoft. They too would benefit from the develop once run anywhere model that Java never quite achieved. But it’s a lot of work with many compromises…. which they have already worked out how to address with the current UWP implementation.

So come on Microsoft – make Universal Apps that little bit more Universal, and restore my faith!

Until then, I’m going back to the web.


The Glassdoor Top 25 companies to work for UK

9 Dec

I’ve just had a look at the Glassdoor top 25 companies to work for in the UK.

I’ve worked in 3 of the companies on the list.

Only one deserves to be there.

The other two were not particularly nice places to work in my experience, either for me or many others. Indeed in one case I don’t know anyone who stayed from out team, and in the other they had a very high staff turnover and the trouble they have retaining staff is well known.

Yet still I wondered about working for the other companies on the list.

With hindsight that probably doesn’t reflect on me particularly well.

NserviceBus – another day another configuration nightmare

11 Mar

Yep, this seems fair: NserviceBus – another day another configuration nightmare.

It’s not just that the NServiceBus API changes significantly and regularly, but all the little things like the documentation being either out of date or just plain incorrect. For example, try following the Step By Step Guide. When I did this a couple of weeks ago entire classes were missing from the process.

That’s just lazy.

Actually, not just lazy, also unprofessional.

Still, I very much like the irony of the company I’m working for being listed on the front page of the Particular web site as a featured client. Still, I guess it doesn’t say satisfied, just featured.

via NserviceBus – another day another configuration nightmare.