Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ghosts of my Gadgets' Past

I am always a staunch believer that every natural phenomenon is a fruition of stimulus. Even as simple as terrestrial rains are caused by transitory condensation. A catalyst instigator of some sort, the one that causes the "cause" of the "effect."

Even my affinity to gadgets is triggered by some precursors of this uncontrollable passion, forming like a billowing clouds of smoke, awaiting for the fire to appear in its blaze of glory. 

Who would have thought that my fondness to PDA is because of Mrs. Lily Ong's(fondly known to us as "Mader", our collective respect to her stature... and tenure) new retail merchandise, the Franklin Ebookman. I vaguely had any knowledge on it at first until it was presented to us during one of our routine meetings(Ops meeting). 

To most of you, you don't even know that such a product exists. To my colleagues in the Marketing Department of Avid Sales, it may already have resided in the cobwebs of your memory, and to the branch heads who either ignored it or don't know what it is and how it is used for, this was the foundation of today's technological marvel. The wizardry of yesterday is now the basic component of our new digital lifestyle. 

The Franklin is an ebook reader that works much like the current crops of ebook devices like Sony eBook Reader. But during those times, devices like this costs real estate. And I thought I would pass of the desire since my salary grade couldn't compensate my buying frenzy. 

Or so I though, but one day, Roch Dalino, our then-brand assistant, went to our office with a dysfunctional Compaq Ipaq 3970. It was the time that I relish temporary ownership of the product, fiddling every nooks and corners of the display to figure out what's wrong with it. And it was probably my first baptism to the fires of touch technology.

The Franklin was already crossing its way to become a PDA, with similar PIM functions to boot aside from Franklin Reader and Viewer. 

Now, so many years had passed by. I became a senior member of two most renowned PDA user organizations in the Philippines, the users group) and a PinoyWindows Mobile(PocketPC users group). I also share coffee moments of Marvin Emata, formerly of Computer Devices Corporation, to talk about his Sharp Zaurus, a Linux based PDA. 

I have guzzled every science of these gizmos. I already have owned several of them in my lifetime, and if only I get to keep all of them, I probably have a gadget relic slash library named after me. 

But to date, these were the only ones that survived the ocassional losses and the daily wear and tear.  The Motorola Q 8 Windows Mobile Smartphone, Sony TJ37 PDA, Handspring Visor Prism, Nokia 6260, and a Motorola handset whose model name I couldn't remember. On top of it were cable tangles of CDR King Mice(would we call it mouses if we're referring to the plural form of computer mouse?) and MPIO FY200 256 MB MP3 player.  On topmost is the  retail box of my newly acquired iPhone  3G. 

Not in the picture were the Palm M105 and Sony Clie SJ30, which were already serving new masters. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Arsenals of Mobility

I have long been itching to write(or more appropriately, "publicize") what I have been donning everytime I turned mobile.

I fancy light travel and if only I can incorporate technology into my human bile system, I would probably have done it before. Has anybody from MIT developed nanotechnology cellphones that can text and dial at the volition of my thought?

If none yet, I don't have a choice but to square of some considerable weights whenever I'm on the road, for a meeting, symposium, and business travel.

Although Siemens didn't offer much travel privileges, I have my offshore endeavor that showered me with such concessions.

You heard it right, part of being a writer-in both literary and journalistic capacity, is to reap the benefit of travel here and abroad. And I have always been ecstatic whenever an oportune time comes, except for some minor repulse on humidity I always experience when I travel locally. But hey, we are a tropical country and in one way or another, my body will soon acclimatize.

Yes, so far, I have been to Cebu and CDO to cover local festivities, and whenever I pack things up, I only have my check-in luggage and my laptop bag, which is also where my other gadgets reside.

Luggage for my functional clothes. I don't bring clothes that I don't use or reserve for a chance that I might use it. If I run out of clothes anyway, I just rush into malls to get one. I have never been out into the Amazonesque type of remote regions not to find any decent clothing shop to drop by.

And of course, my laptop bag sans gadget container has these to boot.

1) Europack Messenger slash Body Bag(depends on how you carry it): It has pockets that contains my credit cards, cellphone units and chargers, passport, and my netbook plus AC Adapter. What's so charming with it is that it is not bulky, unlike other laptop gear bags. It is as it it is tailor-made for my Toshie nettie.

2) Toshiba NB205-310: Enthralled by its sleek look and awesome design philosophy, I bought this nettie out of sheer luck. I never thought reviews proved right that it has a monster battery. It can endure 9hours of straight computing and surfing marathon. Enough for me to either chat with boss, clients, and freinds while being able to churn out impressive knockdown powerful articles. I have spent almost the entire day at Starbucks but power dissipates only half of battery meter.

3) iPhone 3G: Who says infopreneurs like me don't know how to have fun. Well, you're wrong. In fact, as mundane as talking to flight attendants(noh, I'm not flirting) can be fun for us. But what more when my iPhone serves its entertainment purpose by letting watch my favorite TV series(Burn Notice, Leverage, Fringe, and 24) while I'm away, or at least playing some cool, smooth jazz to reinvigorate my wearsome itineraries. And finally, it served as a competent replavcement of my first MP3 player wayback 2003, the MPIO FY200 256MB(c/o Jason Teh) which only uses triple A battery to juice it up. But really, this iPhone acquisition is due to a man named Redford Larredo. Damn you Epoy! After a night of chat, he was able to gregariously lure my heart into buying this device that morning after.

4) Samsung i780: Thumboard-implemented PDAPhone which is also a touchscreen wonder when you don't want to use the mouse-like feature of the phone. Yes, it literally does wonders, and those were the reason why I grab this phone instead of the Blackberry 8520. I'd say that this is everything a businessman need. Great messenging application for both email and SMS, Opera Mini is a breeze, and a GPS to triangulate possible easy way points. I was never wrong to choose this instead of HP Ipaq Business Navigator after a week of use. Although the novelty of having a scroll wheel in the function of HP, much like an iPod wheel, I just couldn't bear the thought of doing mutiple presses to spawn letters when texting. I am such a classic typist. "One press, one letter" kind of person.

5) Samsung J600: I only use this if I know that someone out there who uses Sun cellular is about to call me. Most of which are personal related calls. But this is handy enough to be the third mohican in my pocket.

6) Smartbro USB Stick: Consider it the ammunition of my arsenals. Afterall what good is it for my devices without the ticket to the world wide web. Given as a gift from my brother, this has served me with the purpose of providing the pocket broadband, whenever wherever. Although I am planning to hit on Sun USB stick soon for another option.

7) CDR King 16GB USB Drive: CDR King has been the potpourri of accessories to compliment our gadget and mobile lifestyle. It has served as a commissary for literally almost all IT related products. And to have a USB drive is a basic staple. And as of this writing, the highest capacity avaiable in the mainstream market is the 16GB.

Of course, given all those arsenals of mobility requires healthy mind and body. And to keep myself rev'ed up into the demands of my travel, I bring in some regimens for a sensible lifestyle. Not a gadget by category but they aid me in the elaborate capitalization of my hardware. Yes, I control my hardware, not the other way around. And how else for me to be able to do it than with these:

1) Kyusoku Bihaku Glutathione Activator: I don't want to tattle you with classes on biochemistry but with the onslaught of glutathione products getting commercialized, you must have known the positive effects it can do to our body. KB, as what is commonly termed by beauty top brass, contains 480++mg of glutathione, the highest content so far, hence explains its effectivity in detoxifying our body through glutathione streams. KB combines free-components of gluta for better absorption and retention. It comes with Rosehips Vit C, especially formulated to aid in amino acid synthesis.

2) Metformin Hcl: The shuriken is for the Ninja, while the metformin for diabetics. Having had a diabetes mellitus since God knows when, this is also a must have pill I have to bring in my luggage. Contains molecular formula freely soluble in water to effectively lower down blood sugar. Spare me from discussing with you the dual hydriphuclic polymer matrix properties of it. What you need to know is, this is a diabetes drug.

3) Shisheido Whisis: It's an L-cysteine folks. It is not a glutathione but a potent one in whitening process. Three to five times more potent than glutathione. It works to suppress effects of melanin formation to elimninate dark areas of your skin like scars, acne, freckles, uneven skin tone, and sunburn. So if you're out in the sun even for just a minute, makes sure you have three tablets of this aside from your sunblock.

4) Cosmo Skin Grape Seed Extract: Before the glutathione came into hype and spririted trend, the most common sources of anti oxidants were Vit C. E, and beta-carotene. However these sources were not inexpugnable enough to combat free radicals and are excreted in the body within a short time of ingestion. Grape seed extract has been known to remain in the body for as long as three days, making this twenty times more potent than Vit C and fifty times stronger than Vit E. It is taken along with the glutathione regimen.

5) MAC Studio Fix: Don't get me wrong, I am neither gay nor have the tendency to be one. I am never bent to effy(short for effeminate). I only use press powder during special ocassions like cocktail evenst and product launchings. It's the most versatile press powder around, with great seemingly coverage. In fact, you might not even need a foundation already if you have this. It has the most excellent texture, and the MAC sales lady told me that the reason for being is that it went through the reifniery process three times, that is why the fine "granules" stayed into your skin astuteley, with an almost matte to dewey feel to it, and you need not retouch even after getting sweaty.

6) Nars Lip Gloss Harlow: Probably the most common lip products around, Nars Lip Gloss provides the gloss that naturally glides into your supple lips. Not so heavy, enough weight, and stays into your skin for as long as it can. It's a universally flattering shimmering goodness.

7) Bvlgari Omnia Amethyst in special atomizer bottle: Because Omnia product lines are housed in a ring designed bottles, lugging it around in your small laptop bag is a bit cumbersome. I put it inside the special bottle that I can easily slip into the bag pockets, preserving precious space that it requires. Its iridescenece amethyst fragrance is best for evening ocassions. Of course, you have to lightly apply it, you don't want your male colleagues smell that you're spraying female perfume, much worse to think that you're incurable womanizer that a women's smell sticks into your body all day long.

8) Dolce&Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme: When The One was phased out by D&G, I thought it was the end of my world. Little did I know that it was just the beginning for my even awesome existence. You might ask, why do I wear women's perfume when I profess myself to be a man at every inch. It is because I am super sensitive to smell that brusque fragrance triggers my sinusitis. Light Blue is citrusy at first but when it evaporates in seconds it provides a Jasmine floral tinge which is gorgeously light and essentially effluvious.

Ok, I'm a bit vain. But let me remind you of that KC Concepcion commercial to always look at your best, because you never know who you ran into. Very true, for us journalists.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Apple Nano: Shoots videos only, stills maybe to follow

Everytime Apple initiates an assembly of Mac talks, bigots like me went blustering with frenzy and excitement. The same goes true with the Rock'n Roll event that makes the Mac cult went gaga in prophesying on what could be the next product offering. 

It was at this time when Apple Nano Video was announced, along with other products like iTouch 3.1 and the new breed of funky colored Shuffles.

To be honest, there is nothing distinctive that day aside from the Apple Nano video.  

Although a bit late, at least Apple listened to the series of our whinathon by implementing video technology in its Nano product line. Yes, we're already tired of the crappy videos of the CDR King's MP4 Players. So this offshoot of Nano Video is a beacon of hope and possibly a catalyst for change at how we look at small media players.

The display, which Apple claimed to be 65% brighter than the previous Nano, has widescreen and full screen option. 

Not only does this play dazzling video, it has a camera as well to make one. The caveat though is that Nano camera only shots video and not in still formats. 

Another notable feautures are the FM transmitter and a Coverflow interface that would let you ripple through the album cover and music libraries. 

Slapped with a 2.2inch vibrant screen that displays video at the highest pixel-per-inch density, the Nano is a caper worth watching. 

Annodized aluminum finish makes it look sleek and splendid, although rear panel is shiny but it somehow compliments to my affinity to anything glamorously glossy. 

Price for 8GB is Php8,790 and 16GB comes at a Php10,490.

Any of my friends thinking for an advance Christmas present for their early adopter friend? An iPod Nano 8GB would just suffice for me. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

HP Mini 311: Ion-clad gladiator

HP may have now occupied the same pedestal as its fiercest contender, Asus EeePC, toppling off another largest netbook maker, Aspire Aspire One, thanks to the effective brand recall by the nomenclature of "Mini". They may have capped the rising success of Mini Cooper, but they have made its mark through an alreday squeakingly saturated netbook market. Come to think of it, almost all brand giants came out with its own variant of miniature computing craze, a slot once solely occupied by Asus EeePC.

Now HP once again released another delight to delight our penchant interest in mobility.

Not so long after the release of HP's grown up business netbook, HP Mini 5101, here comes an 11.6incher netbook packed with NVidia Ion LE graphics. It is the first successfully implemented Ion chipset netbook in the market today. And HP have dunnit, but while someone did, the others are surely there to follow, whith coming closer. Take note, Asus was the first netbook to slap with Nvidia graphics via Asus N10J but it was not the NVidia Ion.

HP still have rehashed their first chart-topping milestone in the netbook category which is the implementation of a 92% keyboard, springy and responsive ones. Having known for its unorthodox trackpad click placement, this time they have maintained a conventional one by placing it at the bottom of the trackpad.

The 11.6-inch screen has a native resolution of 1366 x 768 which is modestly bright and vibrant. What is noteworthy is that it is capable of full HD and has a 16:9 aspect ratio for widescreen movie affionado. If you’re eager to see HD videos on a larger screen, the Mini 311 has an HDMI out port too.

Standard specs includes - 3 USB ports, microphone port, headphone port, Ethernet, and 5-in-1 card reader. Inside there’s a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM (expandable to 3GB), and a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU.

Package will sport Windows 7 and a 6cell battery to withstand an entire day of surfing, and with a price point starting at $399.

Let's see where this Ion-clad netbook is heading in its fight to the finish.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Samsung i8000 Omnia II: Rockstar shine

Samsung has been one of the forerunners of a device with brightest LCD quality. True to its crusade, they have been trumpeting the OLED technology since it came into being. And no diference is the Omnia, Samsung's one of the firsts(if not the first) entry to HDD based mobile phone. Now, the market is staring at the second iteration of Omnia II dubbed by the coded nomenclature of "i8000. "

Competing against the HTC's TouchFlo interface, Samsung came up with its own, TouchWiz. A flagship interface that works like a multitouch shell of the phone's operating system.

The new Omnia has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. Sporting on a bigger screen size, gaining half an inch from the first Omnia, it has a 3.7 inch screen and with a monster resolution of 480x800, four times to that of the first Omnia.

Samsung i8000 slapped with AMOLED technology has been brimming with full confidence. And to say that it has the brightest, crispiest, most vibrant resolution among mobile devices is but an underestimation. Imagine yourself surprised at an event but you forgot your camcorder, you pulled up your Samsung i8000, capture video, and wowed yourself on a DVD quality playback. That is something from a mobile phone you couldn't just ignore.

Even if Samsung i8000 deserves rock star status among phones, it still has minor hiccups.

Let's see my collection of fearless rants and festive raves:

What's HOT:
1) fanfare of feautures is centered towards TouchWiz 2.0, winning over HTC's TouchFlow 3D
2) finger friendly menu that you wouldn't need any styli to fiddle interface
3) overhauled and organized PIM functionality
4) robust messaging platform that makes use of landscape and portarit mode, just like iPhone
5) it's a delight when i8000 veered away from Memoir's and Instinct's "full html browser" by making use of Opera Mini as a standard browser
6) DVD quality video recording is a vast improvement
7) excellent audio quality for TouchPlayer playback, employing its propereitary WoW HD, Samsung’s DNSe technology
7) WinMobile 6.1 is upgradeable to WinMobile 6.5 for free

What's NOT:
1) LCD has a plastic cover on the LCD, just like my Samsung i780 which makes images gets a bit washed out upon direct exposure to sunlight
2) plasticky feel makes one think that it is of a low quality material
3) WindowsMobile only limits to 65k colors, my iPhone 3G has 16m
4) just like my i780, i8000 too has noticeable delay in taking pictures
5) i couldn't get the NavFone Plus GPS application to work, just as I couldn't get the Enhanced GPS app of my i780 to work either
6) though it flaunts a barvado of a lightning speed processor and RAM, the lag is just downright noticeable, but maybe we blame it on Microsoft

Samsung may have nailed right this time with i8000 but we hope that they would address the technical flaws on the third iteration.

Friday, September 11, 2009

SmartBro and Globe Tattoo: Unrelenting Price Wars

Today's technology is not only dictated by manufacturing cost but by law of supply and demand, mostly. Same goes with services. ith today's rising demand of on-demand internet services, two of the country;s giant telco plummeted their price point to cater to their respective market shares. And lowering the price further to cannibalize their competitors. 

SmartBro had taken the lead in slashing down their price to Php995. Almost half of the original price. 

Now, in less than a month, Globe, from a crippling point of view, rises up with vengeance by offering even more affordable solution, this time it's Php895. 

While they fight ferociously in the arena of online services, the consumers as spectators as the sure winners. 

But only if they wouldn't degrade their service levels to commensurate the huge price decline. 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Gateway LT3102i and LT3103i: Cole Simplicity Promo

I am a sucker for watches, having owned a bevy of them, from the Baume & Mercier to the common Fossil. And I probably stake watches same level as my penchant for shoes and coats.

A laptop maker almost make my jaw dropped when they release product bundled with a Kenneth Cole watch. I say almost because I was hoping those watches were slapped with stainless steel bracelets.

If this doesn't appeal to your senses, maybe you can get the laptop and just sell the watch, for say, four grand.


Here is a link for details.

Toshiba NB205-310: What's hot and what's not

Toshiba has been a purveyor of the mobile lifestyle ever since its inception in the digital age. It has done commendable jobs in churning out one of the best notebook lines in the form of Satellite, Tecra, and Protegee.

In our midst, at Asia Pacific Rim, it has a whole new different SKU and sub-branding nomenclature in the form of Libretto and Dynabook.

Today, albeit late, Toshiba once again conquered the comptuing market by storm by coming out a Toshiba NB205-310, a successor of the first netbook line NB205-210. The main difference being the keyboard lay out. The 210 has keys placed closed side by side each other reminiscent of HP Mini 1001TU. While the newer version 310, has a chiclet styled keys with spaces in between much like Sony Vaio and MacBooks.

I am lucky enough to own one and to have noticed some grins and grimaces of this generally lovely device. Lucky enough as this was coined to be the number one of the year's Top Ten netbooks by PC World. (

This unit has been serving as amy digital tyepwriter whenever there's a need for me to produce articles for my offshore and local publication endeavors, has been literally wherever I go, Cebu, Tagaytay, and Puerto Galera, most of which are pleasure trips.

Slapped with a 6cell battery and a 2GB of RAM as an upgrade from day one, here are the few what's hot and what's not, being the master of this unit.

1) Battery life is a monster, can endure 9hrs of battery when fully charged(and properly configured)
2) Faster app execution(but maybe because of my 2GB of RAM)
3) Nice keyboard feel
4) Crisp and bright display screen and clearly viewable even in side angles
5) Visually stunning design factor

1) Audio is tad too soft
2) Creaking sound when pressure is applied to its chassis. Makes you think that it might be a weak plastic construction
3) 6cell battery protrudes like a tail that extends at the back(not an issue for me though)
4) I don't like the keyboard holes bigger that the keys because it is a possible dust magnet
5) Bezel is too large(also not an issue for me)

Nokia Booklet 3G: Taking flight where Palm Foleo left off

Few years back, Palm released what they called as an internet companion. This is the product way before the advent of what is now known as a netbook. And the time when the word netbook is solely used by Psion for their miniature computing line.

Whatever happened to Foleo is a call to arms of a lot of companies not to churn out similar product that lacks market positioning.

Maybe timing is of the essence since during that time PDA market was so ripe that people wondered what was the Foleo for when almost all features can be done using few licks and taps of a PDA.

Now at the hype of netbook craze, Nokia boldly took cudgels where Palm Foleo left off(and wasn't really able to take flight) released a similar kind and functionality. The product dubbed Booklet 3G. And by the name goes, it is pretty much oriented towards the growing internet market through 3G bandwidth, and to say that it is also an "internet companion".

In the forays of product lines dominated by the Asus and premier computer brands, would Nokia be able to make it in an alreday squeaking market?

Only time will tell but the only bells and whistles Nokia would be banking on is the power management feature which can endure an entire 12hour battery marathon. It's a 3G partnered-flagship feature Nokia offered, aside from the plethora of ports(HDMI and a hot swappable SIM card slot) and a faux-GPS(wifi triangulation) through Ovi Maps.

Comes at a hefty price of Php39,900(converted), this may endear our visual feast but it is wallet damaging.

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