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Don’t do a lot of tech reviews but since my son gave me the Asus Zenfone 5 to use and his only request was to do a review. I thought why not. I am after all a self-confessed geekess.

I had a conversation a month or so ago about Android phones. They’re all pretty much the same and if you’re a “Google” person like me, then really easy to set up. You just sign in with your Google account and you’re up and running in a few moments.

I am so much of a Google girl that my business runs on Google Apps. And I don’t regret it for a bit. Makes life a lot easier and upgrading much faster. My business is in the cloud. My laptop or phone could go kaput and other than a temporary annoyance at having to set up another piece of hardware, I just sign in to my various cloud services and have lost nothing. Or almost nothing. But I digress.

The Asus T00J Zenfone 5 is mid-level, dual phone running Jelly Bean 4.3. I guess that’s (the dual SIM) why I wanted to try it. While my main phone is a du (despite their shoddy, patronising customer service, they do still have the best packages) but I still cling to my Etisalat phone number that’s been with me for more than 15 years. It did not have 4G and its 3G signals weren’t brilliant. But then, that could not necessarily be the fault of the phone. I hear from those that know that the local ‘providers’ prioritise their bandwidth to the detriment of us 3G users – which is a bit unfortunate and unfair. So I wasn’t able to tether it for some much needed Wi-fi during an event.

Setting up the phone wasn’t too difficult once I had prised the back off the machine to install the SIM cards. Not very kind to your nails but otherwise simple enough. Like a lot of these phones, there was considerable bloatware from Asus. All of them do it and unless you really want to commit to the brand, no point in setting up another account. I used the Zen UI for a few days and found it easy enough to set up. Found all my apps and installed only the most common ones I used – messaging (WhatsApp, Hangouts, etc); cloud and storage (Dropbox, Copy, Evernote and Drive), and social media (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Path, Pinterest, Instagram, Hootsuite, Buffer). With a total built in storage of 16Gb – there was plenty of storage for my needs at least. I don’t really game on my phone – I have tablets for that – but I do use it mostly to manage mail, calendar and my social media.

There were a few server crashes. As a matter of fact, halfway through a message on WhatsApp, the keyboard suddenly went wonky. It kept displacing some of the letters and I had to resort to using the Google keyboard or downloaded a keyboard (ai.type) from the Playstore and found this quite useful.

Would I recommend the Asus? Possibly for someone that does not use it as extensively as I do. I don’t use my phone as a phone as much as I do for everything else. I’m going back to my HTC One (its battery needs replacing after a year) but I still find it the nicest Android phone to use. The 4G signal and wireless hot spot is useful when I am out and about and it picks up wireless signals quite effectively.

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Asus Zenfone 5 – It’s all much of a muchness Don’t do a lot of tech reviews but since my son gave me the Asus Zenfone 5 to use and his only request was to do a review.

Oh how I love thee, #Sugarman

TheSceneClub

Sugarman posterIts been a while since a movie has left such a strong impression and last night’s screening of “Searching for Sugarman” by The Scene Club did just that. Directed by Malik Bendjelloul, who sadly committed suicide this May, the Oscar winning movie (more a documentary) charts the story of the search by a ‘investigative’ music journalist and a fan from South Africa to find out who Rodriguezwas. Actua…

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So the Dilmah guys were back in town late last month. Knowing my tea-swilling habits (okay not as bad as others), Caroline of CTT PR always sends me a heads up for some of the events around their (now in its second year) High Tea competition.  Conducted in conjunction with Emirates Culinary Guild, the (now) annual event is approved by World Association of Chefs Societies and offers chefs the opportunity to compete and produce tea cocktails and mocktails, among others.  You can see some of the photographs from this year’s competition here.

I attended a session with some of the chefs and a few select tea swillers on an inside track to not only the different types of tea but also the pairing of teas with the right kind of food.

The session was hosted by Dilhan C. Fernando, the founder’s son and the current global director for communications for the organisation. To say that he (and his team) are passionate is an understatement. There were lessons shared on the various types of teas (black, oolong, green and white) and that they all stem from one plant. The difference in tastes and flavours depend on the soil and the weather – he compared them to wine – even had tea served in wine glasses so that you could swirl, and swill and see the differences. Dilmah has a dedicated website on all of these details (though its undergoing a revamp and scheduled to be online mid October).

We learnt about the different temperatures and timings, and process of brewing the perfect cup of tea (even got a free timer – Yay). It was quite illuminating. Apparently just soaking the tea is not enough – you need to stir a couple of times to get the right amount of brewing. We also learnt about the pairing of some of the Dilmah teas with some food like breakfast tea (black) with a burger; a lovely Moroccan Mint tea with chocolate fudge (what’s not to like about mint and chocolate) or Oolong tea with cheesecake or a camomile infusion (not a tea) with Apple Pie. IMHO, the first two worked well. Not sure about the latter two (combinations I mean).

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High Tea with Dilmah So the Dilmah guys were back in town late last month. Knowing my tea-swilling habits (okay not as bad as others), Caroline of CTT PR always sends me a heads up for some of the events around their (now in its second year) …

The TiE after party #TiECon (at The Act, Shangri La Hotel)

Talk about Inspiration #TiECon

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The TiE team celebrating the end of a fabulous first day

The TiE team celebrating the end of a fabulous first day

I am not big on conferences. As an entrepreneur, I am much too busy to take off a full day to do just this and nothing else. So it has to be really big and really attractive. I have to be honest – I am a TiE Charter member and as a PR agency in the group, helping them with some media relations and press releases etc.

Like all my clients, I…

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