Monday, September 27, 2010

Shutterbugging with Samsung ST500

I bought this snapper sealed fresh and spanking brand new from a friend of mine working as an FA of the Korean Airlines. She got this at the Duty Free, and when she reached home, she received the same unit as a gift. So she has to dispose what she had bought.

So timely because at the time, I was looking for a digital camera compact enough that I can lug around with me especially in the area where photography using DSLR is not allowed. Oh yes, such places exist.

In Ayala properties, for example, you need to acquire permit before you can shoot anything. So weird because the guards are singling out DSLR or professional-grade camera only. They will let it slide if you're using cellphone cam or a digicam(Point&Shoot). Prowl around Greenbelt, even in the entire Salcedo area, start taking photos, and the guards will confront you. Even in SM MOA, as one of my friends accounts, they will ask you to delete all your captured materials, or worse, sequester your storage cards.

So the only answer is to carry inconspicuous sub-compacts(like Panasonic Lumix semi-pro) or P&S cam to express your shutterbug tendencies. I found the ST500 an answer to that need. For one, it isn't so expensive, but let me outline different factors of me considering this:

1) it uses Schneider-KREUZNACH lens already, unlike other Samsung P&S which only uses Samsung Zoom camera that are not as quality lens compared to Schneider. German brand lenses are really dependable, remember Carl Zeiss? And Leica?

2) Smart Gesture Interface with integrated orientation sensors complimenting its touchscreen advantage. A simple tap or any hand gestures can make you access features easily.

3) no need to hunt around power outlets. You can charge it via USB. And even if the battery is still inside the camera, unlike other digicams which make use of a different charger set that you have to take the entire battery pack out. Such separate charging dock will add up to the overall cost.

4) HDMI support for high-def viewing on your external screen. And speaking of screen, it has smaller LCD screen compared to its successor ST550, 0.5inches short, which means that it has a more robust battery life.

5) front LCD for narcissistic, camwhoring sessions which I know the vanity in all of you will surely love

The only gripe that I have is that the installation CD is only for Windows, no Mac installer. And the manuals are all Korean. But the techno-jack that I am, I know I can get around its full features by just fiddling it overnight.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Starry starry night

I first noticed the app from Dr. Armand Lee, premiere astronomer and a brainchild behind SM MOA's AstroCamp. (Plugging: MOA's Astrocamp is the Philippine's first commercial astronomical observatory, do check it out). He showed the application as an aid in extrapolating the different positions of the celestial bodies, including cosmic clumps like Nebula and other constellations.

The app was installed on his netbook. And knowing the computing muscle of a netbook to be not as "stellar" as compared to the full-sized laptops sporting Core2 Duo and Core i(number what-have-you), I surmised that it must be an application that doesn't eat up a lot of system resources.

Rendered useful in definitely complimenting the mobility of the astronomers as most of us are on the go, chasing an astronomical phenomenon like eclipse, comets and cosmic impacts. It gives a perfect illustration of the night sky a lot like controllable telescope interface simulation. Best of that is that it is free and doesn't occupy large byte footprint. Stellarium is an open-source planetarium that provides a spheric mirror projection for your own low-cost dome.

I downloaded the app. It gives a wide angle panoramic view of the star at a given time of the day at a given place of the geographic position. It is so realistic that it catalogues 600,0000 stars and other celestial objects with ocular simulation, equatorial and azimuthal grids. It's a realistic sky in 3D.

I was just so ecstatic to have realized that the app has a Mac version. The only thing that hinders my complete resolve on switching to Mac is the availability of software. And the price of the software as well, as Mac accys and apps are normally found to be pricey.

This application has been my guide in the quest of my nightly routine, a starry starry night at the tip of my fingers, at the comfort of my laptop.

Technology of the timeworn

Terrified. I was watching MTV and found out that the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" song was stuffed into their classic hit archive. It isn't a trend for the teens anymore. My music is getting old.

And similarly my gadgets are getting old too. They aren't technology of the times as it were once. They were technology of the timeworn now.

How many of you are still lugging around the same sets of gadgets that I do. Shown in pic are what is in my laptop bag: Nokia 6500(Smart), Samsung J600(Sun), iPod Touch, and my iPhone 3GS(Globe). Even my iPhone is getting old too as the iPhone 4 is now proliferating in the Philippine market already.

I maybe a modern day Batman with 'utility belt-like bulges' in my pockets because of these devices, but they are screaming relic aging. I am Batman with renaissance gadgets. I even still have an Acer Aspire 3620 laptop that is still working and in good condition since 2006. That old huh. Also not in the picture were Motorola Q, Nokia 6260, and MPIO MP3 player, all are still working but currently decommissioned.

Truth be told though, these gadgets have performed exceptionally well beyond my expectation. They have served as my virtual concierge in each leading department of functionality quite well. They have been with me in all vectors of mobility, like shadows clinging to its host, like a servant unflinchingly loyal to its master. But mind you, they all look like brand new. I took care of my devices well as they take care of me too. They're still shining shimmering splendor.

I am not really a gadget addict. In fact, if one has to rummage my bag, they would see basic elements of a civilized man who is always on the go: iPhone 3GS, Nokia 6500, Samsung J600, iPod Touch, MacBook Pro, Samsung ST500 digital camera, their accessories, USB Modem(Sun and Smart), USB drives, and other necessities like passport, ATM, credit cards, perfume, powder, mouthwash, etc.

See? Just the usual stuff of an ordinary Joe-on-the-go. Terrific.

iPhone 4 launch at Makati Shangri-la

"Good News! You may have a chance to get an iPhone 4 TODAY, Sept. 26. Please be at Makati Shangri-La Hotel (Rizal Ballroom) from 4pm-5pm and bring your valid ID. Hurry! First come first served. Limited stocks only. Please disregard this message if you have already availed of a loyalty reward recently." --- a txt from the friendly Globe robot.

I lined up for the public release of the much coveted iPhone 4, but to my dismay, I have found out that the iPhone 4 variant that I want is not yet up-for-grab. It's the iPhone 4 White. They only have the black variant.

But for those who would like to settle for the black(or borak black, as how Epoy describes it), you can check with your nearest Globe Business Centers to avail it.

Those who couldn't wait just opted buying them from Singapore or HongKong. Well, it might be cheaper there, knowing that HongKong doesn't have VAT(that's probably why they are acclaimed to be Asia's shopping capital, for economic reasons), and if you just get the a unit for yourself, there'll be no customs duties as well. Just take it out of the box and use it right away.

Some things I noticed from my friends though, the microSIM activation varies. Some only took like 3-5hours, some are not yet activated exceeding 7hours. Do they activate microSIMs on a24hour period assimilation?

Although one need not line up long from the registration area but inside the hall, it was a bit chaotic. Some clamored for the availability of their unit, some complain for the inconsistency of their bill and plan issue vis-à-vis termination. I have learned though that you can get an iPhone 4 16GB for free if you sign in for Plan 1799 for 36months. Oh well, the 32Gb stock depletes during late afternoon so one can only avail the 16Gb(should he wishes). Bottleneck is at the payment section, but lucky me since I refused to get the black, I need not experience what my friends have gone through. The Customer Representatives were really friendly but the density of the population inside was staggering. I refused to go with my friends taking the smorgasbord feast the Globe prepped for them because I was full coming from John&Yoko Cosmopolitan Japanese Restaurant right before the event.

Kudos to the Globe Customer Representatives, they have tried their best to dish out the best customer experience we all yearn.

John&Yoko: Cosmopolitan Japanese

Right before I flew in to the iPhone launch held at both Makati Shangri-la Hotel and New World Renaissance Hotel, I had my late lunch at the John&Yoko Cosmopolitan Japanese. It's an upscale fusion resto but generally a Japanese-inspired menu with the affinity of a bar atmosphere.

Being a cosmopolitan prowler that I am, I said to myself that this is probably the kind of restaurant that represents my cultural root. No, I am no Japanese. And I seldom fancy Japanese food, particularly the raw variety. But Yoko having sprung from an Eastern ancestry, while John as the icon of Western liberty is an untold story of my culture. My rural beginning in one of the far-flung towns of Cebu is largely traditional and conservative, while my current environment, Manila, where almost half of my growing years is spent, is a place highly esteemed by its dynamism, liberal, and fast-paced lifestyle.

The John&Yoko though is just a Filipino restaurant forged by the owners Marvin Agustin and Ricky Laudico. I failed to ask if they have other business partners but those two are all I know. It's good to have dined in a myriad of restaurants because you will have a fair share of knowledge already as to the brainchilds of these brooding establishments: their owners, chefs, interior designers, industrial partners, etc.

The place is a cornucopia of modern lighting and snazzy interiors. Serving on your dining table were waitresses in an all-black outfit with skimpy skirts that add a modern tapestry to the resto's theme.

My gastric tank at that time can only accommodate a Seafood Yakiudon and Crunchy Squid Teriyaki, but during drought time(empty stomach), I know I can chow the entire pizza pan. Consequently I couldn't vouch for other menu since I haven't tasted them yet. But the John&Yoko is a good place for a group of friends to unwind as their tables usher a minimum of 4 pax.

John&Yoko, from a marketing perspective, is a topnotch branding ingenuity, a fusion of two opposing worlds, and a union of the best in them. It's both chic and classical screaming in crescendo.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

InOMN tayo!!!

(InOMN) International Observe the Moon Night was the first in the Philippines, and an astounding success at the least. Held at the SM MOA ground, we offer public showing on the moon using our mounted astronomical refractive scopes. There were five scopes mounted, including the Cutting Edge's Celestron unit, so public need not wait long lines to view the lunar marvel.

InOMN is an astronomy outreach foundation that follows NASA's first celebration of their historic missions of the moon, including one featured at International Year of Astronomy last 2009. Thanks to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite that made all the lunar missions a breeze.

International astronomical community is forging a partnership with NASA and their centers to bring excitement in the observation of the Earth's closest neighbor in space.

It was also a perfect time to highlight the significance of the Moon's role in the formation of the evolutionary process of life as we know it. Let me reiterate what i have discussed to the public about the Moon's history:

4.6billion years ago, the Earth was too young, it's 60% from its completion period, and is densely hot that it's virtually covered by a mantle of hot magma. 30million years later, a planetary embryo(named Theia) that is about the size of Mars loitered around the Earth's 'lagrange point.' And because Theia is gaining mass, the gravitational stability to keep the two worlds apart has become insufficient, thus Theia collided with the Earth and the exploding debris began shooting upward into the Earth's orbital plane, binding with the remaining nucleus of Theia in an accretion process and ultimately became our Moon.

Our Moon was very young then. And was too close to the Earth, it was about 30,000km away, but right now the Moon is about 360,000km to 400,000km depending if it's perigee or apogee. It was too close that when you look at it in the night sky it was about 20 times larger than what it is today. Creepy huh. The tidal bulge creates ocean tides as large as 1km in vertical length. The Earth by that time barely had a land mass. Tides played vital role because without it, some biochemical processes and other building blocks of life would not have been possible. It sends chemical material into the shallow grounds where sedimentary grains binds with the biofilms of microorganisms, particularly the cyanobacteria(blue green algae). And we know that cyanobacteria accounts 30% of the Earth's entire photosynthetic production.

700million years later, life was formed. Single celled protozoans to phylum chordata now existed.

I was asked by one of the public viewers if it's true that the Moon will be lost from our midst. His exact statement was: "Sir, totoo po bang mawawala yung Moon sa atin?"

My answer to the chagrin of everyone: The moon is receding away from Earth at 1.5inches per year with a gravimetric drag that will slow down the Earth's rotation. Two existing theories indicate that Moon will either wander into he vastness of space or by that time, the Sun will become a red giant with a coronal atmosphere that would engulf the inner planets and will play a tug of war between the Earth's gravitational pull, ultimately tearing the Moon apart. And the Moon's debris will fall back into the Mother Earth, where it was once came from.

InOMN(Philippines) will also be featured at QTV's The Beat, with President James Kevin Ty on deck. Stay tuned.

For those who will be joining us in our future events, I will post the details here. Once you're on the site, you can catch us with our astronomer badge and IDs. Feel free to approach us and ask questions.

Cherry Mobile: Price is their brand strategy

Philippines holds a commanding market for the mobile phone industry, with Filipinos almost changing makes and models almost every six months. We are so distraught about our handset unit that it has somehow become part of our fashion signature, and for some, a symbol status. We would not have been a world's "text capital" if not because of our incurable fancy to mobile phones despite our economic improbability. But there are thrifty few in some of us who preferred the most practical option.

If you are that person, how practical can you get when it comes to mobile phone. Have you ever scrimped with your trusty Nokia 5110 for the longest time now? Or stayed in love with that Ericsson T-series one liner clamshell phone? Or the Alcatel "Safeguard-looking" phone.

Or you'd better be grab the new price-buster models from Torque and Cherry Mobile that would cost cheaper than you regular balance. Ok, I'm exaggerating, I just couldn't believe that there are phones in the market that would cost Php1,000 or less.

Lately, a friend Jordan lost his Nokia phone at one of the drinking bars we are frequenting to. He even tried going back to the bar just to check with the waiters if there's any phone left from the table he was seated. To the unlucky him, none was found. Or admitted found.

Right now, the fellow is just sporting a Cherry Mobile P1, smaller than the size of my Filipino astronomer membership ID. So small, it is as small as its price range. If that isn't the cheapest phone out there, I don't know what is.

The P1 is housed in a sturdy plastic with five different eye-catching candy colors: Black, Red, Green, Blue and White/Silver. The user interface is straightforward. 8-year-olds would find the UI of the Cherry Mobile P1 a piece of cake. The phone’s functions come with its price tag. It’s limited to texting and calling making it an awesome secondary phone. So if you’re looking for an affordable phone and your only requirements are being able to text and call, this is one phone to consider.

It's a no frill phone. It can do your expected basic phone function: SMS with predictive T9 input, GSM 900/1800, and 8-tone polyphonic melodies reminiscent of a Tamagochi. Not bad for a subPhp1,000 price point device. Indeed, Cherry Mobile's brand positioning is the price. Nothing beats that.

I particularly like Jordan's comment when we started raising our eyebrows upon looking his phone that we initially thought to be just a calculator or a keychain. He said, "it's ok, I may have the most backward of phones in terms of features, but I am driving a Honda Civic SIR, let's just drag the road and I will let you bite the dust." The guy has a point. Or he is just pissed off.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

VAIO: brand of the brass?

Sony Center by Avid(previously Avid Sony Shop), my humble root, where I previously work as a Product Management Officer for five years is where we went to hunt for a bargain(to reasonably priced) VAIO laptop for a friend, Clarence. Yes, we have found a whole gamut of them sitting on the Avid shelves. We have haggled the price, beefed up the specs, and squeeze for the best value deal.

Since VAIO laptop is naturally pricey, just as how natural it is for the carabao to have four feet, the deal didn't flourish into a successful sale. Instead, it has become a repartee of old friendship. I ended up talking with the Branch Head, relishing our hey days and what-could-have-been moments.

VAIO is insanely priced. In fact, I remember one Sony executive(name withheld) who said " if we make it, people buy it." I have been surrounded with Sony lifestyle and broadcast products for the past five years. They have been known to produce high quality craftsmanship and a excellent design. But I don't know why it has never succeeded in driving its own following the way the Mac does. Maybe because at the end of the day, it is still powered by Windows? The way everyone is?

But the VAIO is a laptop so adorable that had it not been for my Mac, I would have gotten it. My only existing gripe with VAIO is that most of its notebooks have a mediocre battery life.

Next to VAIO would be a Toshiba, but I ended up having three Toshiba laptops in my lifetime because of its exceptionally long battery life that even an Energizer bunny frazzled out in keeping its lengthy runtime. Toshiba is priced at a premium rate as well, but not as high as the VAIO.

I asked Clarence on what is it in VAIO that he is seeking after, amidst the flurry of cheap Taiwan brands in the market. Just as I expected, he said it's the "perception of exclusivity", that only few people can have it. I don't know if there's truth to the apothegm that VAIO is for the Windows brass while Mac is a make for the mighty moguls. This is probably what marketing can do to our lives, we'd become slaves to perception.

I capitalized the word VAIO because it is an acronym which stands for Video Audio Integration Operation, just like CLIE and BRAVIA. Yes, I know my product well.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Non-Negligible

It's small. Maybe(or mostly) taken for granted because of its banal nature of use. But this packs a high-value proposition.

How many have you experienced a heap of misfortune while you're about to brave a river of investment. How many of you failed because of a mundane thing that you never thought could be such of a pressing relevance. How many of you had been held at the mercy of one piece of device that could have taken you to a milestone. How many of you lost an account because your portfolio presentation slide gets corrupted. Or worse, your laptop conks out. Or simply you forgot to bring your projector adapter.

This is an Apple miniDisplay-to-VGA adapter. Because my Mac doesn't have a VGA port which is still a de facto standard for majority of the projectors(when will they ever have DVI or HDMI as a default connector), I need to have something that will bridge my current sets of ports of my laptop into a projector.

This would have been easily overlooked. I came from a Windows-based laptop which still include a VGA port from its myriad of connectivity options. Good thing I checked the projector ports. My presentation at Manila Planetarium could have been a bum.

I immediately called up Herbert if he has a miniDisplay-to-VGA port. And if he could lend me his. His ever-noteworthy kindness favored my plea. But since I am slated to provide series of presentations on astrophysics, I hinted if I can just buy his since he barely used it. He just used it thrice, I think. The cheapskate that I am harbored the adapter for just a thousand bucks. That is Php800 less from the retail cost. Yes, I know what you have in mind. Php1.8grand for just a piece of adapter? It is. It's an Apple. I could only wish CD-R King has one but they don't have. For some Mac-totting businessmen, Php1.8k is just a small price to pay for an investment value. But I struggled such a thought to keep on buying expensive accessories. That is why I have a wide reach of contacts for the wise buyer in me.

Small device wallops a wonder.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Big Bang Theory TV Series: Season 3

I am on frenzied hunt for episodes on the new season of The Big Bang Theory. And it's this Big Bang fever that my laptop's wallpaper is fixated to it. I so love it that it sits second to my best television series to date, first is 24, no less.

So what is it in this sitcom that makes me love with brainiac fancy and roll with grotesque laughter. Big Bang is probably the hardest format to be produced on TV, as far as script if concerned. Chuck Lore and Bill Prady, the show's creators, may have a hard time injecting humors that are scientifically inclined to the daily lives of the characters.

It centered about a group of CalTech physicists who can unlock the mysteries of the universe but are too socially inept to connect with most people here on Earth. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) are roommates who spend their free time with fellow scientists Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar), playing board games in Klingon and watching recorded Stephen Hawking lectures. But the planets start shifting when they meet Penny (Kaley Cuoco), a pretty blonde waitress/aspiring screen actress who's moved in next door. Even though she doesn't have a terribly high IQ or an affinity for quantum physics, Penny's looks and willingness to befriend them has the geeky guys trying their best to charm her with their limited social skills.

While you may remark that it's just my type who will like this show, think again, as the show reaped accolades from general public, with awards to boot, Favorite TV Comedy in the 36th People's Choice Awards and Best Comedy Series, 3rd Ewwy Awards. Both awards are garnered 2010.

Why. Because the show is typically just about romance and friendship. The show's storylines aren't exactly original even. It promotes all of the expected clichés about people in the sciences -- they have a passion for sci-fi characters and can't sell a pick-up line to save their lives, etc. -- and, in Penny, it also puts forward the stereotypical "female bimbo" image.

But The Big Bang Theory also has some funny moments and endearing qualities. Leonard, Sheldon, and their friends fully embrace their genius and recognize their social shortcomings. They also understand the value of friendship. In the end, they're just a group of nice guys basically having fun and looking for love.

The show is intellectually stimulating as I turn out guessing Sheldon's imbued trivia on science especially on the part of discrete particle physics and quantum cosmos.

A talk about Quantum Physics

Just recently, I was giving a lecture on quantum physics which covers Fundamental Forces of the Universe and Standard Model of Particle Physics to my fellow Filipino astronomers at the Manila Planetarium. While Dr. Armand Lee is not around representing the Philippines in the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics in Beijing, I was commissioned to be on deck to do the talk. Speaking of Filipino contingents, another Filipino astronomer, my professor, Chris Go is also representing the Philippines in the European Planetary Science Congress in Rome.

As the 21st century begins, physicists have developed a commanding knowledge of the particles and forces that characterize the ordinary matter around us. Simultaneously, astrophysical and cosmological space observations have revealed that this glimpse of the universe is incomplete— that 95 percent of the cosmos is not made of ordinary matter, but of a mysterious and enigmatic something else: “dark matter” and “dark energy”. We have learned that in fact we do not know what most of the universe is made of.

Understanding this unknown “new” universe requires the discovery of the particle physics that determines its fundamental nature. Powerful tools exist to bring the physics within reach. With astrophysical observations, we can explore the parameters of the universe; with accelerator experiments we can search for their quantum explanation. Energies at particle accelerators now approach the conditions in the first instants after the big bang, giving us the means to discover what dark matter and dark energy are—and creating a revolution in our understanding of particle physics and the universe.

I'd like to note two of the thrown questions and my answer:

Q: So what then is the fundamental particle that makes up a matter.

A: With the current discrete particle science and its available technology, quarks and leptons are the elementary particles. However, science is evolving and we don't know if there are even sub-quantum components that make up a quark and lepton. So if you see textbook that says it's an atom, that textbook has to be revised.

Q: What will happen out of the blackhole made by CERN.

A: CERN is trying to mimic fraction of a second after Big Bang by colliding hadrons at 14TeraElectron Volt. Similarly such collisions would theoretically create mini-blackholes. However, these blackholes are very microscopic that they will not pose a threat to the human race. They could not even stand a second. They dissipate after 0.00000000000000000000000001 seconds. One should be concerned about the solar radiation first that goes into the Earth's atmosphere because they are by far a hundred times more potent and energetic than these laboratory blackholes. So, in summary, Large Hadron Collider is not a doomsday device.

We are conducting lectures regularly, during our monthly meeting, so 100 hours of astronomy might be a paltry. I might be giving out another lecture, this time might be about Dark Matter and Dark Energy, still about astrophysics, because that is where my specialty lies.

Cerchio: Italianno Magnifico

Just before my lecture on astrophysics for my fellow astronomers held at Manila Planetarium, I had a lunch at Cerchio. It is an Italian-derived fusion cuisine found at the stretch of Tomas Morato, a brainchild of the same folks who brought to you the Romulo Cafe.

Criteria for my restaurant find should be 50% ambiance, 20% menu delectability and variety, 20% customer service, and 10% techno-friendly(wifi access primarily).

Surprisingly, I found out that that restaurant has the ambiance, interior, and impeccable brand of customer service I was looking for. It's a bit squeaky though in terms of real-estate space, as one can absolutely hear the other diners of adjacent table talking. So if one would fly a private talk, I highly recommend that table near the mirror area straight across the restroom.

Because I was multitasking in prepping my Powerpoint slide, I didn't order a rice meal, instead I just grabbed a Chicken Tortilla Wrap(six of them already had my stomach full) and a glass of cold tea, as I find it cumbersome to fiddle with both spoon and fork while on my keyboard and touchpad. I never thought that the place can get full during lunchtime, as I expected a heavy deluge of people only to cram at night. It's Tomas Morato and most people are awake at night.

The place though is nicely designed, an excellent repartee of black and white, of spheres and circles. I never even thought that the old and unkempt apartment this one was once would turn out to be such a beautiful, classy restaurant with an urban loungy feel. A cut-PVC pipes formed a pixel-formation that gives a halftone of privacy instead of a plain transparent glass.

Best place that touches my fancy is the one located at the second floor, alongside the black and white chair bristling with the bookshelves as a backdrop. It's "sitting fashionably" on a vogue-design elements.

I didn't find the taste arresting to my tastebud though, but what the heck, I was busy with my AstroPhysics/Quantum Science lecture slides.

Celebrities on a Mac

My place is nestled in between GMA and ABS-CBN, and that my surrounding is swarmed by neighbors working in each coast. My Starbucks hang-out too is similarly teeming with people from both stations, celebrities and commonalities, stars and spectators.

And while it's an ordinary sight for me to see them on set, it's incredibly a rare sight to see these folks sporting Apple branded products. Most of them, iPhone(as expected). I say "expected" because of the rising statistics of Apple product ownership at every Filipino household. It's somehow true, I think, as three of our family members own an Apple product, my Mom has an iPhone 3GS, my brother used to own MacBook but he's currently relishing an iPad and an iPhone 3GS now, while I own both iPhone 3GS and a MacBook Pro.

Mac has forged a kind of community, a following that apart from the WinTel devices, the sense of esprit de corps in Mac is rooted in the hearts of the users. A tech cult, as some would describe it. In fact, since I work most of my other supplementary business errands at coffee shops, I have been approached many times by unknown fellow Mac user as to optimization, usage, and some 'how-to' concerns of their devices. A kind of affinity I haven't experienced when I had my Toshiba 2 years ago, yet I just had my MacBook Pro barely 2 months. Although I have been on deck with Mac-based non-linear editing system since 1999.

Similarly, when I see stars donning their MacBooks/MacBook Pro's, it roused a different shiver and cordial spirit into my senses. Something that we have in common.

Mac occupied a smaller percentage in the pie dominated by Windows-based devices, but that same small percentage also what creates a perception of exclusivity.

Countless times I have seen Mac being a prop of a movie or TV show, but for stars to really use them, it's just a sight to see. I know there is nothing sensational about it, but with their overweening schedules, seldom would you see one celebrity enslave himself over a computer. Much more a Mac. Ok, you may have the same shoes with Piolo Pascual or similar cuts of jeans with John Lloyd Cruz, but there is something innately unusual surge of magnetism when a celebrity uses a Mac, just as you do. Or maybe it's just me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Samsung Galaxy Tab: Android-Powered Slate

Apple has the uncanny ability to rally its cause into all sectors of society. I remember when I first clamor for an iPod, then comes the iPhone. And just as I already have a MacBook Pro, here comes another one to bite the dust in me. Apple iPad had gone from mere eBook reader to a handy entertainment companion.

Back when Apple brandished an almighty white product line, everybody goes white as well. When Apple lay grounds for the state-of-the-art touchscreen technology, every mobile phone manufacturers tried churning out theirs. And now that Apple revolutionized the ebook experience, everybody wants something of the same kind on their bench.

Ebooking has been in the midst since the time of Franklin Bookman. Sony, at the demise of their Clie, catapulted an eBook reader too into their product portfolio. Amazon took the same lead. Yet nobody, I think, does it better with the iPad in terms of marketing crescendo and brand sensationalism.

This time, Samsung, with the unveiling of Galaxy Tab, pursued to partake in the market dominated by iPad, squeaking itself into an almost saturated pie shared by Amazon Kindle, Barnes&Noble Nook, BeBook Neo, Sony Reader, etc.

Samsung has been known to produce products of impeccable quality and unparalleled elegance. Samsung is a rising giant that I'm sure can cleanly compete with other electronic juggernauts like Apple and Sony.

Let's check some of the bells-and-whistles the Galaxy Tab is bustling about:

A bit hypersaturated LCD screen is reminiscent to their Samsung Galaxy S AMOLED screen. It has an excellent feel of capacitive response and the Cortex processor doesn't have trouble keeping up with its interface(TouchWiz 3.0 layered). But at a 7inch screen, it is a bit thicker compared, say with the Amazon Kindle.

TouchWiz 3.0 has been a de facto standard for Samsung's Android phones(Samsung Galaxy i9000 and i5800). Now they are slapping it up into their first eBook iteration, powered by the Android Froyo 2.2. Although I find the interface frivolously kiddie, it is what makes it simple and intuitive.

For the CDMA countries, hold your horses yet as only GSM model has been released out in the shelves.

Now, given all the forays of readers out there(with Toshiba Folio 100 coming into the woodworks), would you want your reader 7inch? Or stay with iPad's 9.7? Or go for the Homeric 10incher in the Folio 100.

My full review as soon as Benjie, Samsung Electronics Philippines Marketing Director, (or any SEPCO executives) hand me a demo unit. :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Nokia N900: Treading on the Linux Road

While on my way home after a grueling, no-walk-in-the-park review for my lecture on astrophysics at Manila Planetarium, I bumped on Chicosan(Chico Hipolito), known for his bevy of funny antics, he was my former colleague. He was fiddling with a new toy, the Nokia N900. Long before that, he used to be one of the mighty proud owner of an iPhone 3GS but for some reason of plain utter boredom, he finally gave it up in exchange of Nokia's flagship product line.

He walked me through the basic interface of the phone, the browser plus factor(having been able to play Adobe Flash-integrated websites), the general graphical interface of the unit, and the connectivity options.

I had known Nokia to be a stickler for the Series 60 Symbian OS. While they have raised the ante in the mobile phone hardware upmanship, it was the software that somehow topple them down in the gradually-partaken market pie. Sure, their stark dominance in this Nokia country is a hard act to follow but the market segment was continuously overruled by the advent of the iPhone and Android competition.

Although Nokia released phones that has a touch interface, their smooth factor lacks luster, comparing heavily with iPhone's interface, capping the Nokia as a "trying-hard iPhone wanna-be."

This time, an open-source Linux Maemo Project is quietly incubating at the forefront of their lucrative high-end product research-and-development. What began as a geeky experiment with Nokia 770 tablet some few years back has become the company's serious business foothold.

Maemo is known to be a platform for tablet computing while the Series 60 is a sterling choice for the pure breed smartphone. Will this reversal of fortune ultimately bring fortune to this Espoo company into the top chart as it once had been? Will it redeem the Nokia's "pioneering OS to pale interface" back into the spotlight? And will it ever live up to what Chico describe as an "iPhone killer" now that competition is getting fierce as far as entertainment phone is concerned? And with the whole slew of rising Android phones(HTC Desire, HTC Wildfire, HTC Legend, Motorola Milestone, Samsung Galaxy S, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and younger sibling X10 Mini, etc) out there?

I don't want to discuss about the phone's rafts of features as laboriously discussed by Chico since I had just had a maiden first impression of the unit. But as soon as I have the Nokia's demo/review unit, I will get back into this blog to write a comprehensive review.

For now, a fine good luck to the roadmap Nokia is treading on.

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