Saturday, February 6, 2010

Toshiba Portege T110: Reglatic red fetish

This may neither earn the notoriety nor the legality of a netbook title, but its lightweight and screen size hits the category. Toshiba has once again hit my laptop fetish by coming out another laptop that's worth my pocket(less).

I am writing a short first hand experience on this unit I am currently considering as my netbook replacement and a main computing workhorse.

Lately, as some of you may know, my netbook, a Toshiba Mini NB205-N310 has been cuddled by the arms of a new owner. And that it has been replaced by a yet another Toshiba of technically a different computing class. Maybe a cross-breed between a full grown- laptop and a netbook. Identity crises it may seem, but I chose this because I can't lug around a huge 13inch notebook and yet couldn't ogle a floor plan and electrical lay out from a 10inch netbook.

I was actually ruminating on the black variant but it is more smudge-magnet than the red one.

So I choose red instead, risking myself for being branded as gender-displaced fella. But hell not, I am every inch a man, at least as I thought myself to be, hehehe. And of course, it's my money dude, I spend it the way and things I wanted, I don't care what others will say, I love this color. I love this Toshiba Portege T110 in goddamn red. Reglatic red, as Epoy fondly tagged its nomenclature, derived from the color of women's menstruation fluid. Total ewwwness...

And from my first few days of use, let me share to your my virginal views. For those who are contemplating of buying this, you may want to read this first:

1) Lightweight
2) Visually enticing
3) Good built quality
4) 11.6inch screen
5) HDD protection(shock sensor technology)

1) For a few-days-used laptop, it is unlikely to have a 4.9% battery wear, even if I tried calibrating it already
2) Grainy webcam
3) Slow processor, so make sure you compliment it by slapping in a higher capacity RAM. I've got a 3GB of RAM in it
4) Sound is too soft. I tried removing the Conexant Peeble Driver, as what other forum suggested, but sound doesn't work at all if I do. Or I may have been doing it the wrong way
5) Only a Windows 7 Basic is installed
6) Smudge magnet, especially the black variant

The product, by the way, is a Satellite T115-S1105 in the US market, but became a high-end SKU in the Philippines as Portege T110. Satellite T115-S1105 costs $479. So adding an estate tax(estimated to be $25) and shipment cost(estimated to be $60), you'd most likely be getting the unit for around Php27-28K. The Portege T110 is being retailed at around Php39k(card price) and Php37k(cash price). A total rip off I could say. But I got mine for Php29K only from a carefully(painstakingly) sourced-out supplier, feels like this is is my reward to self.

Besides, no complain here, Portege is not a netbook, it is a high-end Toshiba laptop.

Avatar 3D: First 3D Movie Experience

It maybe a super post-mortem post, but out of the feeling of ecstasy that I am unable to just keep it to myself, I'd rather share it though.

Last January, people in my midst are raving about the "unalloyed happiness" and a romanticism brought from the movie Avatar. Sure enough, as I get swayed by their movie remarks and reviews, I managed to sneak in to the theater.

Oh yes, my very first 3D experience indeed. Directed by James Cameron, same film pundit that brought to you the movie Titanic, had once again unbridled his ingenuity by coming out of one of the very best full-length 3D of all time. And to say that it is really one of the best is but just an underestimation. This has catapulted itself into tinseltown fame and garnered awards form the prestigious award-giving body.

One thing I have discovered on this 3D though, 3D glasses only works best with 20/20 vision. I ended up donning a 3D glass and to the surprise of many spectators within the movie house, I put up another layer of glasses, this time, my very own eye glasses that corrects my astigmatism and refractive error. This makes it clear and really astounding experience just as if the leaves and the falling particles are falling down on me. Plus, shooting spears that makes me elude myself, and the raging water part also has the realistic effect that brings me a feeling of drowning.

Nevertheless, i went out with full-scale smile on my face that after the movie, I have nothing in my mouth than WOW... CUBAO. I watched it at Greenbelt 3 though, where else than on the movie house near my place.

Watch it, it might just be your first exhilarating 3D experience in the hallmark of your good memories.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mobile Transitions

I am self-professed road warrior ever since the day technology came down as mankind's mantra of convenience. I practically work on coffee shops and some of them have been my "unofficial office" already. I have been donning a whole gamut of mobile devices here and there, pockets to pockets. One morning, after my training class, I was chuckled by one of my trainees to the title of being the "Renaissance Batman", given the motley of mobile devices wrapped around my waist a la utility belt. Sure enough, I can almost be called as such, minus the thought of wearing these gadgets with a brief and a cape, in spite of the stealth of a mask.

Wayback 2001, I remember being one of the few to have a PDA swiveling in my belt. It was the Sony PDA back then. I have two of them in my lifetime, one after the other since my salary couldn't afford to grab them altogether. But before my Sony PDA, there was a Handspring Visor and two Palm PDAs. Here are the PDA's I have had as far as I can remember: Palm M105 > Palm M505 > Handspring Visor Prism > Sony Clie SJ30 > Sony Clie TJ37.

Then, out of desperate need to have a bigger screen mobile device, I bought a laptop. It was Acer Aspire 3620 back then. I still have it as my back-up laptop, or desktop, however I use it. Same time I have my company-issued Fujitsu S6130.

Now, with the ever-changing landscape of mobile needs, I have purchased three laptops in a span of three years. And let me reveal its grins and grimaces based from my first-hand experience:

HP Mini 1001TU: (Bought December 2008). While I am so enamored by its elegant black and glossy exterior, one major letdown it has is the meager capacity hard drive and a low-capacity battery. It's a 3cell unit that only has a 60GB HDD. Although I have no need for a high-capacity drive, I have a desperate need for a high-capacity battery since not all coffee shops have power outlets, and not all coffee shops with outlets are available most of the time. Most often than not, they aren't.

But a looker for this HP is the glossy LCD and a superb, crisp screen resolution. The LCD is covered with a glass panel, making it just one-membrane LCD, a really good design in its class.

Keyboard has been a legacy feature of HP, with a 95% keyboard. What is cumbersome on typing small keys, HP does away with it by churning out larger keys.

Toshiba Nb205-NB310: (Bought August 2009). An answer to HP's lack thereof. With over 9hours battery, I can endure almost an entire day of straight computing. Plus a 160GB hard drive to boot, I can save my fave movies as back up in case my iPhone conks out. Althugh I am not really pleased with its exterior, as I was teetering a buying frenzy for the HP Mini 5101 that time with a more elegant, business-focused exterior, Toshie NB205 was an average looker. But HP Mini 51010 took a long a time to come in the Philippine shore and I badly need a laptop portable enough for my upcoming business trip. So I grabbed the Toshie instead.

With chiclet keys spaced opulently with each other, the keys are a good design factor to use.

The silver design is just my only gripe since it usually magnetizes dusts and dirt which is more apparent than the black-coated netbooks. That is also one of the reasons why I was supposed to be getting the HP Mini 5101, not just because of its aluminum lid and magnesium alloy bottom.

Toshiba Portege T110: (Bought January 2010). Not long before I had my Toshiba NB205, I relinquish it out to give way to a yet another Toshiba. This time a Portege. The reasonbeing is that I need a bigger screen yet portable enough for mobile needs. I have been doing graphic works and floor plans that ogling them at a 10.1 Toshiba NB205 is alreday a sore for me.

Although, this Toshie has more unpromising feature than the others, I chose this out of having no-choice at all. Let me provide you with some: Grainy webcam. Audio is too soft. Although some tech forum dispensed an advise to remove Conexant Peeble Driver, and just use the HDMI driver, but I ended up having no audio at all. Processor can be a bit slow at times but is negligible. Battery is already at its 5%wear for a few days of use, despite the fact that battery has been well-taken cared of (as per Laptops ideally should only have 10% wear on the first year of use.

Its close competitor would be the HP Pavilion or MSI Wind U230. But they are powered by AMD+ATI combo, a known juice suckers.

But one thing I like about this is the elegant exterior. I will post another lengthy review of this once I have time.

So, how do you like the "reglatic" red(as Epoy fondly calls it, a nomenclature derived from the color of women's menstruation fluid) as a lappie.

Mobile Indulgences

I have been into gazillion gastronomic indulgences lately that I can almost claim to be well-versed on many cuisine terms. Yes, those were the terms that my neural cells have been shying away to digest. And I don't just hop from restuarant to restaurant but places far from the prying eyes of a food critic.

I have probably swept almost all nooks and corners of the metropolis, from business districts to the far alleys of the old Manila, from malls spanning the entire landscape of the metro Luzon, from Serendra to Sta.Lucia, Greenbelt to Glorietta, from Tutuban to Trinoma.

Among the restaurants I've been into, the following might just be in my list of come-backs, becaise of their service and well-worth menu.

The decision factors would be: excellent display of customer service, the coziness of ambiance, reasonability of food (meaning it should be priced right), food presentation, and cleanliness of facility and utensils.

So here are my top picks:

1) Outback, Glorietta : The theme is "Down Under," with boomerangs, kangaroos and koalas as the pervading motif. Steaks are the main fare, complemented by chicken and some seafood. Do not, however, expect any kangaroo steak--it is all beef (Australian, naturally). The atmosphere is casual with a touch of contemporary sophistication (not exactly one's usual image of the Australian outback). Hearty meat eaters and beer drinkers will feel very much at home here. The bar also stocks wines and spirits.The Outback restaurants I have been to have a rustic feel to them. I would compare their look as similar to a lodge pole pine structure of the American west. Inside the feel continues. The floors, tables, booths, and bar are all dark woods. Scattered about on all walls are reminders that you are in an Australian atmosphere. Pictures of exotic animals from the island, nation continent are on the walls. Aborginine tools and artifacts are screwed into the walls too. Boomerangs abound! Maps of Australia are also a given in their restaurants. The steaks at Outback Steakhouse come with a price as most of this food variety does. But as you will feel satisfied with your every meal, you’d feel that every penny is worth it, really. That’s why in spite of the luxuriously-priced menu, I still adore Outback Steakhouse. Definitely world-class, Australian-prepped steaks and prime rib. The service is excellent. After trying to coax the server that I like one of her pins, she finally gave it, not holding back that they have to sell to earn those pins.

2) Cravings, Festival Mall: The Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) Manila, a pioneer in changing the culinary landscape in the country, finds its roots with the opening of the Cravings Bakeshop. It has since been enterprising a commitment to quality and excellence. With the creative inputs of their resident chefs, culinary instructors, and lengthy years of experience in the industry, they can put up an overwhelming potential in their team of resourceful and creative Filipino chefs and bakers. It was apparent in the Cravings restaurant as they have been liberating breakthroughs in the discriminating palatte of the Filipino diners. Although their lamb taste just an average, what struck me the most is the smorgasbord salad and bevy of toppings in their salad bar.

One can concoct his own salad in so many different ways. And since I am more of a salad than a main-course person, I was able to churn out three salad classes. Macaroni, Waldorf, and American potatao. I just had a small portion of fruit salad since their fruits are just limited.

I went home really bloated and satisfied.

3) Almon Marina, SM Megamall: With superb presentation and price not bludgeoning my already barren pocket, Almon Marina has been, by far, the best deli place in Metro Manila. They serve good portioned sandwiches for reasonable prices. The quality of their ingredients isn't compromised by their affordable price. I've been eating here since God-knows-when, and I still come back to it even with all the new pasta and sandwich places that have sprouted in more cosmopolitan malls and restaurant strips. The service of the staff at Almon Marina is commendable. Efficient, fast, and relatively comparable to fine-dining. The restaurant is well-maintained and clean. The newer, more stylish pasta and sandwich places have smaller servings for a higher price

Seen in the pic is Chef Liezl who knows the culinary trade, a fellow food critic who has an impeccable taste bud, a nurse who knows how to say NO whenever my sugar intake is over the board, and a queen who has remained to be a darling whenever we think of going out for a cuisine quest.

What restaurants I am inclined to take my first bite:

1) Gulliver's Steak of San Francisco, Great Eastern Hotel, Makati Avenue
2) Spiral Restaurant, Sofitel Hotel (it's a buffet here)
3) Elbert's Steak Room, Sagittarius Building, Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village
4) Mamou (A Homne Kitchen), Serendra
5) Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Rockwell Powerplant Mall
6) Steak MD, Creekside Square, Tomas Morato
7) Peanut Butter & Co, SM North
8) PepperLunch, ShangriLa Mall
9) Wagyu Stone Grill, Eastwood Mall
10) New Orleans Bourbon Street Steaks & Oysters, Serendra

See you in any of these restaurants.

Monday, February 1, 2010

BMW: Be Much Wiser

No, I don't drive a BMW. Although I have been inclining towards my affinity to cars lately, I still don't have the sizable income to even ruminate to acquire one. Recently, I attended the BMW X1 launch. Exactly the same time when a friend from the other side of the bench, este Benz, as in Mercedes Benz invited me to come over to the launch of their M series.

During the launch, it came to my attention that the BMW X1 is priced exactly(or more or less) the same as the X3 model. What werkes!!! Illogical as it may sound, I gravitated towards one of the friends from the press to ask the logic behind the price schemes.

Although, it is an impressive car as it carries the same amazing engine that's in the120d. The idea of placing that engine, combining it with xDrive in a 3-series wagon chassis is in itself alluring.

James Deakin, who did a review of the car for an upcoming issue of C!, said that the ride and the handling are very car-like. It really is a good car. I'm more of a Volvo though than of the BMW so I got sticker-shocked with this one. Overpriced for what it's worth, there are many other (and more interesting) options available for the same amount of money. I love the Marrakesh Brown though.

The only one available here is the BMW X1 xDrive20d, which should translate to around P2.2M before taxes.

Locally, it's P3,890,000.

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