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Lumia 950XL Review - Great hardware that needs better support

1 June 2016

Microsoft has recently lent me a 950XL for review. I appreciate being able to use this loan unit but that has not influenced my opinion of the device or of Microsoft – this is my personal view and no 3rd party has influence directly or indirectly on my opinions.

Lumia 950XL Photo

The Phone

The 950XL is definitely a great piece of hardware, the screen is beautiful, it's fast and the camera is fantastic. It certainly matches up to my Nexus 6P in all of those regards, but it is not without it's faults. Aesthetically I prefer the Nexus 6P, the 950XL doesn't look bad, but it isn't a stunning device either, the matte black plastic body does really do anything to make it look like a premium device. When there are Android flagships, and iPhones with all metal bodies it seems kinda unfortunate that the best Windows 10 Mobile device today uses black plastic. Having a removable battery and a microSD slot on a high end device is certainly something to be welcomed though, the 950, 950XL and LG G5 are the only high end phones I can think of with both. For some people the 5.7" display might be cumbersome, but coming from the Nexus 6P with the same size display, I had no issues. The 950XL is actually a little shorter. Whilst I haven't tested the battery life extensively, I had no real issues with it. I didn't have any particularly long days during my time testing it. Whilst it could still be a problem for some, but it's certainly good enough for my use.

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CoreCLR on ARM

14 July 2015

Earlier today I got a C# hello world running on Ubuntu 14.04, on a Raspberry Pi 2. Sure this has been possible for a long time with Mono, the significance is that I was running the hello world with CoreCLR. This is the first time on Linux for ARM CoreCLR has worked, though a lot of the work was done thanks to Windows supporting ARM. This code is still yet to be merged, and it doesn't do much more, stack unwinding is broken which is needed for a lot of things, but it's a big step. I was very happy when I saw the words Hello World on my terminal.

First hello world

Getting an A+ on the SSL server test

1 April 2015

A+ Score

Setting up this website has always been more of a learning exercise for myself than trying to provide a useful resource to anybody. I'd be very happy if anyone finds any value in what I write, but in general I do it more to know how to configure a web server correctly. Recently I've tried to increase the scope of my knowledge, and now I have both automated Amazon S3 backups (which I will write about at a later date), and this server also scores A+ on the Qualys SSL test, the highest rank achievable.

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Microsoft has changed

19 November 2014

When I switched to Arch Linux as my primary operating system about a year ago I did this not because Windows itself was bad, but because it made my work flow better, embedded development was easier, most software I used was open source, it was good. A year later I'm now back on Windows and about to buy a Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has changed and it's good.

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Dealing with a server meltdown

24 October 2014

Unfortunately I've recently suffered a major setback in that my previous server host has lost access to the servers they used from their provider. They were not a small company and shows that bad things happen to everyone. I am now using DigitalOcean for this website, thanks to the Github Student Developer Pack.

Despite previously saying I was going to be more vigilant with backups, this has since lapsed and as such, I have lost some data unfortunately. I aim to recover what I can as this site was cached by Google and others. I still need to setup the https certificates again and enable SPDY, my priority was getting this back.

What have I learnt? Well firstly that you can't trust anyone to keep your data 100% of the time, I'm now using DigitalOcean and I intend to use their snapshot feature and maybe try their backups. It's also shown that I should pay more attention to how I setup applications the first time around as doing this again I fell into several traps that retrospectively, I remember previously.

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