My blog’s headline proudly states “Discussing Digital Marketing, Aviation, Travel and Technology”. Technology? I’m sorry but over the past 16 odd months of my blogging timeline I don’t remember writing much about it.
Of the 30 posts I have penned (typed…ok?) down, Digital Marketing, Aviation and Travel have got their fair share under the sun but the same cannot be said for “Technology”. My topic cloud on the right hand side states that clearly. Personally I love technology, and I consider myself to be fairly above par as far as tech geekery is concerned but my blogging skills have so far evaded giving out that impression.
Heck, I would even go on to say that the other 3 passions I mention in the headline, Digital Marketing, Aviation and Travel, have all bloomed only due to my affair my technology and my adoption of tech trends, but somewhere Tech got sidelined. May be it was lack of a topic or may be I thought I won’t be able to contribute a unique POV.
As luck would have it, last week I finally decided to put my iPhone 5 up for replacement due to battery issues (and even got myself locked out of twitter proper, but that’s a story for another day). I had to get myself a replacement device for the next 2 days. I had 3 options at home: A pretty old iPhone 3G (updated to iOS 4.2), a pretty darn old HTC Desire and a good looking Nokia Lumia 620, running Windows Phone 8.
I did what any apple fanboy would, and went with the 5 year old iPhone 3G over the 5 month old Lumia 620. I tried fiddling with it for few hours, trying to do a clean iOS install but eventually gave up as Samsung’s under clocked 412 MHz processor proved too slow for my multi-tasking nature.
And thus started the idea of this post, picking up Nokia Lumia 620, running Windows Phone 8. First up, as most of you would know it’s a pretty good looking phone, well made and well designed, even ebbing some commentators to compare the recently launched iPhone 5C with it through memes on the Internet. And who wouldn’t fall in love with Nokia’s clear black display, which to me is one of the best in the industry to look and drool.
After fiddling around with its user settings, customizing the phone’s home page display to my ease, I started my first ever two-day
fling with a Nokia and Windows based device in years. Since iPhone’s introduction in 2007, I have used only those and my last device in the pre-iPhone era was Nokia’s N-GAGE gaming phone, running Symbian.
By the way, this Lumia 620 was the same device that got me to Barcelona earlier in the year and meet with footballing greats. Anyways, coming back, I instantly felt quite comfortable using WP8 and the learning curve for me was probably 30-40 minutes. Yes, I have used the device for short periods before which led to some familiarity but overall it wasn’t that tough.
There are various things about WP8, which works really well. The oft talked about live tile concept is quite nifty which helps in making the OS more pleasing to the eyes. The typeface used throughout the OS is brilliant and clearly Windows Phone 8 was ahead of the curve in sensing design sensibilities for the consumer, as clearly depicted by recent release of iOS 7, which takes similar cues in typeface and animations. The metro design language, or “Modern UI Style” as its being called now, has worked quite well for Microsoft.
Unfortunately an Operating System is not just about eye candy, if it were, Microsoft would have won Game-Set-Match quite a while ago. An operating system is essentially used to “operate” the device its installed on, and that’s where WP8 failed me 4 times in 2 days of using it. The reliability of the OS was at-par at best, and in this cutthroat world of smart devices at-par just wont cut it with the consumers.
Another area where I felt WP8 needs immediate re-haul and attention is Notifications. As someone who absolutely requires notifications for everything, from news articles, to alarms, to appointments, to apps, and coming from the iOS camp, notifications on WP8 felt malnourished at best to me. Notifications are meant to deliver snack-sized pieces of content to you on the screen, so you don’t have to go searching for it inside the phone, saving you the time. It’s supposed to be glanceable and easily readable. WP8 does none of that. It does notifications on top of the screen, which come for couple of seconds before vanishing from the view, forcing me to open the NDTV and CNN-IBN app every time to check out the news item. Yes, I need to know all possible going-ons in the world. That’s what proper and glanceable notification systems do to human beings.
I also figured out that usability of Office apps, especially Microsoft office or iWork, on mobile devices is over estimated. There were couple of instances where I could have done with using PowerPoint on my device but shrugged it off after 30 minutes of irritating use. Small screens and office apps don’t go along well. Take it from me.
With limited app availability (as compared to Android and iOS) and even more limited options while syncing WP8 phone with a Mac, Windows Phone 8 devices will always remain a distant 3rd for foreseeable future, though still a much healthier and vibrant option for those recovering from webOS and BlackBerry shocks.
Let me conclude with something I absolutely loved about WP8. Some of the pre-loaded ringtones, especially the one that featured Indian sitar and tabla (Rocking India) was brilliant and I loved it every single time I got a call. Sometimes even letting it ring out so I can hear the music. My next weekend project (whenever that happens) involves porting THAT ringtone to my current iOS 7 powered iPhone 5.
I know I may be 11 months or so late with this post, but reviewing Windows Phone 8 was not really the point, it was more to do with my experience with it which happened as recently as last week. Considering that, my turnaround time for this blog post is quite commendable, right?
Image Courtesy: Nokia
- In new stats, Windows Phone is ahead of iOS in India (techinasia.com)
- In Praise of the Nokia Lumia 520 (winsupersite.com)
- My Windows Phone makes me WANT an iPhone 5s (betanews.com)
Photo Courtesy : Airliners.net
With my last post, The Social Dutchman, I reached readers from 24 countries with inspiring feedback, providing me the urge to do better with my next. A benchmark was set for me & for over 2 weeks I thought about how to engage with more geeks like me, whether those are Social Media, Digital Marketing, Technology or in the case of this post, Aviation Geeks, or as they are called on twitter, #AVGeek.
There would have been other lists done before, maybe yes, then what value addition I bring to the table (& as a Digital Marketer, I get asked this question on daily basis) Well my simple answer is, I bring my own experience of being an ardent aviation reader for over 3 years to the table, during which I have been to over 120 aviation websites and blogs.
I have been fond of airplanes for as long as I remember, being in awe of pilots walking to their craft, clicking pictures with crappy cellphone cameras, reading every word of safety manuals in seat pocket, hell I probably was the biggest fan of Pan Am, the show which abc dropped, nerdy stuff like that but I delved more into the industry with the arrival of twitter, my favorite social network as I mentioned in the last post as well.
So this list compiles 7 of the best commercial aviation related web resources (listed alphabetically) that I know of, hopefully enthusiasts, from noob to pro level, all of them would find something they like. Your comments are welcome at the bottom of this post.
Although Airline Business is a monthly international magazine for senior airline management, it also has a blog on the flightglobal blog page, focusing on “a sideways look at the airline industry”.
13 other blogs jostle for attention on the same page, including the famous FlightBlogger. With such rich content & renowned contributors, Airline Business Blog has carved a loyal following for itself by providing unparalleled coverage on Airline News, Interviews, Infographics & well researched opinion pieces.
Max Kingsley-Jones article on Boeing’s 787 at this years Farnborough show has been 1 of my favorite off late, summing up the Blog for me by being precise, studied & descriptive.
Although Arun’s blog is full of marvelous information about aviation & his trip reports (Read this with a tissue: His report on last kingfisher international flight), this article, more so a plane spotter’s guide, as Arun explained me himself, has been “one of the best things I have ever done in my life”
Differentiating between an Airbus & a Boeing aircraft is one of the most important things for an enthusiast, a conversation starter & a handy way to show off among your friends, I can vouch for the last one.
Arun wanted to know more himself & realized there wasn’t any resource online suitable enough for him, so he wrote his own guide, took him 2 weeks but clearly it was well worth it & we can consume those 2 weeks of hard work, complete with explanatory pictures, in less than 40 minutes.
This is where I come when I need commentaries on issues pertaining to Asian aviation scene in large. Their location, Hong Kong, one of the world’s biggest aviation hubs, certainly helps in their coverage of stories.
Although Aspire Aviation is primary an aerospace consultancy business, their analysis section piques my interest with every visit, Daniel Tsang, the founder & chief analyst of the site told me he wanted to start a blog where he could express his views about industry developments & with time they added editors increasing the diversity offered.
Daniel also realized that Aspire could provide qualitative analysis for free, instead of hefty fees charged by others, as information cost fell significantly & they were in a unique position to provide Asian perspective to issues.
Since that day, without a shadow of a doubt, Bangalore Aviation has been my first stop for everything related to Indian Aviation news & analysis; turns out hundreds of thousands of other enthusiasts feel the same way.
Devesh, joined off late by Vinay Bhaskara, has this uncanny way of making the industry approachable for newbies, as well as make the pros feel at home, with their concise approach & detailed analysis. I, especially look forward to Airlines financial analysis, which Vinay undertakes for the site.
As Devesh mentioned during our interaction, Aviation has been in his blood since childhood, he has flown aircraft for 24 years himself & advised Ministry of Civil Aviation on BIAL airport, giving him an edge which very few can boast of in this beat.
I’m not at all surprised that Crankyflier.com usually figures in the top aviation blogs list everywhere, as Brett Snyder has been responsible for one of the world’s best online destination for people’s thrust (literally) for aviation industry.
My regular lunchtime reading aviation tweets usually have a link to a latest piece on cranky & I marvel at the ease with which the articles envelop the reader with excitement & information.
Brett calls himself the President & Chief Airline Dork for Cranky Flier LLC, & that dorkiness has been with him since he was a kid, like going to LAX to pick up airline timetables & birthday gifts which led to plane spotting. He has worked with airlines, travel companies & now consults on various projects, along with running a personal concierge service.
You should visit crankyflier for insights & happenings in American aviation industry, & checking up on Brett’s regular articles for Conde Nast Daily Traveler & other blogs.
Simpliflying is probably the world’s best combination of marketing & aviation for me. Shashank Nigam’s (CEO, SimpliFlying) quote during our discussion explains it best, “Our brand engagement with a can of Coke is about 10 minutes. With Starbucks, it’s about 2 hours. But with an airline, it’s anywhere from 2-24 hours. And that’s just within the cabin. So why do airlines keep applying the same marketing principles as Coke and Starbucks, despite seldom turning a profit?”
& That’s why we have Simpliflying today, right from explaining how weather problems are airline brand business, to key influencers making a difference, Shashank & his team have explained all this & more through easy to understand infographics, video content, presentations, interviews, webinars, articles & even an iPhone app.
I came across thepointsguy while I was preparing myself for a business trip to US & it has quickly become my go-to site for information on frequent flyer programs, credit card & hotel deals.
Although I would admit that the site is mainly focused on American readers, it still has some great resources for overall understanding about collection points, like The Beginners Guide, which has step-by-step instructions to become an addict.
For my travel, I was able to extract two important links concerning my hotel bookings, for example: I got to know how I could earn up to 5x air miles (in my case, it was KLM Flying Blue) by staying at Hyatt Reston, & another link helped me in deciding between going for Hotels.com free nights or Hotel Points offered at their sites. (I went with the latter of course).
During my communication with Brian Kelly’s office, the founder of the site, I was able to clearly see that unlike other similar sites, he disseminates information to his readers in a more intuitive, easy to understand & most importantly street smart way to work effectively with the system.
It has inspired me to travel one day in J class with a bag full of miles & points, instead of cash.
I would like to mention Live From A Lounge, hosted as part of Boarding Area, an India dedicated site for Credit Card, Airport Lounges, Hotel & Airline miles, run by AJ, I certainly enjoy reading his reports & he answers reader questions frequently as well.
Update: I have received an email from AJ, requesting for some additions to this summary :
LFAL is an India-dedicated site covering Indian aviation and hotels, focusing on how to travel smart and in style from India by making the best use of deals, miles, points and credit cards offered in India. Live From A Lounge frequently features in the Top 20 travel blogs worldwide as per Technorati, the global authority on blog rankings.
This Post is also featured on Bangalore Aviation, as a slightly altered Guest Post.