Archive for the ‘Gadgets & Technology’ Category

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It’s out! It’s out!

April 5, 2008

Smile.. Roar!

I’ve been reading through the PH forums and the Canon EOS 450D is now widely available in Manila 🙂 looks like we even beat the release of the XSi in the US and pinoy dslr newbies and avid photographers are grabbing it off the shelves. I’ve also seen this being sold here in Vietnam but the Japan version, Kiss X2. Surprisingly, it’s more expensive here than what we have back home where it’s bundled already with a 1Gb SD card. Sounds like a good deal to me!

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iPhone, schmiphone!

March 19, 2008

Argh! The wait for the next iPhone is unbearable. I’m missing out all the good stuff but I hope it’s going to be worth it. The trick with buying gadgets is to just do it! If you keep waiting, you won’t ever get to having one.. it’s a vicious cycle! Playing around with Apple’s touchscreen and GUI has always been a winner since the iPods came out. I’m more excited though for being able to view pictures of the family especially my li’l one and once you have a baby, you can never get enough of seeing your mini-me. That’s my main motivation in getting one soon. The iPhone in Vietnam is priced almost similar to Manila with the 16GB costing around $670..ouch! With that amount, I can push the DSLR up the queue 🙂 

I’ve had a chance to play with an iPhone lately and I really like the SMS conversation view.. fantastic concept indeed! Let’s not even mention about Safari.. taking mobile browsing as close as the desktop experience. The touchscreen response is amazing and I can blab about the features the whole day.. convincing many others to buy one before I do 😀

But.. i’ll still hold off for now. Still waiting to see how far portable storage will go and stretching the 16Gb limit. For the next gen iPhone, here’s my wish list and Steve Jobs will soon rule the world 🙂

  •  3G – This is a sure feature for the next iPhone release but i doubt if i’ll even use it.
  • 5 megapixel camera – This will be a monster if Apple changed their existing 2mp. It will now match with the Sony Ericsson K-series and Nokia N95s camera phone. Without any doubt, people won’t have choices left but just to buy an iPhone.
  • 32 Gb capacity – moore, moore, moore’s law 🙂 Will SSD be considered for iPhone’s next upgrade.. only time will tell as the price of SSD drops.
  • Extended battery life – must keep going, and going, and going… It’s a good time to play Rihanna’s “Please don’t stop the music”.. literally!
  • External storage slot for additional capacity – In my dreams! 🙂 Apple would never do that… ruins their strategy you know. Too bad 🙂

Do I smell an early Christmas in June when iPhone 2.0 is released? A few more months to go!

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Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon!

March 4, 2008
Patapon-Main

 Waaaah! The wife can’t play this game yet since the PSP is still bricked as of this writing. Still working on finding someone who can unbrick it for free or if we’re desperate enough, we’ll just pay for it 😦 This was one of my most anticipated games but more for the wife’s liking and I’m sure Anna will have fun with the Patapons! More screenshots and the trailer of this cool PSP platform game:

Patapon-1

Patapon-2

Now say it with me.. Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon!!! 🙂

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iPhone 16 Gigger

February 7, 2008
Buy Me!

 That’s what I’m talking about! Apple has now released the 16GB version of the iPhone and it should now be worth buying this life-changing gadget! He who waits shall be rewarded with more storage! hehe 🙂 This one still doesn’t have 3G though and Apple mainly increased capacity and added new features such as home screen customization.

 A lot of people still have high expectations for the upcoming 2008 iPhone which will probably have 3G as this seems to be the last piece of this desirable device. In the Philippines, we’d rather send SMS or make voice calls rather than have a videocon since 3G has always been treated as a “feature” more than a “functionality”. Although 3G’s high-speed data access would definitely be an advantage to compliment the iPhone’s wi-fi capability so you would have options on areas outside wireless internet coverage.

 In Vietnam, 3G is still being explored as of the moment by the different mobile carriers due to the large investment in infrastructure. The display on my Moto V3xx is showing 2G only! hehe 🙂 I’m certain it will catch up soon enough and this country will be fully connected with the growth of the mobile telecoms industry.

 I’m a bit excited to have my first  touch screen phone but the price tag here in Vietnam stopped me from getting one.

 My verdict: I like the capacity upgrade but it’s not yet time to buy the iPhone as I’m waiting what other surprises Steve Jobs has with the iPhone second generation. 🙂 It will get better, I promise.

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Bricked! :(

February 7, 2008

Bummer!!! After successfully upgrading my PSP’s custom firmware before from 3.03 OEC to 3.40 then to 3.52m33.. it finally caught up to me. I am now officially part of the Bricked PSP member’s guild.. haha! 🙂 Darn that Inacor MCE XMB looked sooooo good and this is what happens during long holidays! I was supposed to stick with my current AppleCor XMB but I had to upgrade to support the MCE theme. At any rate, I was prepared to be bricked.. (consoling myself at this point). Here’s some screenshots of the (huhu) previous Applecor XMB I had: 

PSP-version
PSP-system
PSP-Camera
PSP-games 

Inacor-MCEApplecor was the perfect XMB and I wasn’t planning on moving away from 3.52 unless a specific game requires a higher firmware. That all changed when I saw the MCE theme which was smoking hot! That was the time I said to myself, Ric –it’s time to move on now to a different XMB but it was only compatible with 3.71m33 CFW. Once you see a preview of Inacor MCE, there’s a high probability you would be changing your XMB too! Check out the features from its creator named Skyfox. I usually do a lot of research prior to changing CFW or themes but I just didn’t put in much effort on this one.. hence, a bricked PSP is the result of a brave but careless soul!

There isn’t any PSP unbricking services here in Vietnam and I’m certainly not going to buy another unit just to create a Pandora/Jigkick battery. If I was in Manila right now, our fellow PinoyPSP members would have taken cared of this for free! I was searching through Google Vietnam putting keywords such as “bricked psp”, “unbricking” and “custom firmware”. The results were I would say.. lost in translation! Nevertheless, I attempted to SMS one person since it was the closest result I got not knowing if he was even in the same city as I am. Here’s the message I sent:

“Allo Tuan Mau, do u unbrick a psp phat? Are u in Hanoi and how much? Do u also upgrade to custom firmware after unbricking? Tnx”

..and voila, within a few minutes time, I got an immediate response! Talk about fast turnaround time and his reply was… “I don’t know”. BWAHAHAHA! 😀 From that point on, I knew this had to be done outside the country. But don’t panic people! A contingency plan is in place for my complacency. This was all craftily prepared if something like this happened 😛  Thank goodness for our friend Red (hubby of Anna’s close friend Maan) is coming over here to Hanoi next week, I can ask him to bring my paperweight PSP back to Manila and have it unbricked there. Hulog ka ng Diyos brother Red!!! Save the PSP, Save the World! Anna will then bring it back here by April.. sorry honey for the extra weight you have to carry around 🙂

 The wife must be snickering right now ‘coz she knows I don’t have the chance to beat her high score at Lumines! hahaha 🙂 I shall have my name on top again by April! Arrggh!

Noooooo!!!!!!

 I later found out that upgrading to 3.71m33 is a bit tricky due to some conflicts with the ID storage key. I fixed my corrupted storage keys using Chilly Willy’s ID key cleaner but I still should have prepared for a possible brick! Charging this one to experience. I’ll prepare a pandora kit later on for worry-free upgrades in the future! 🙂

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Canon EOS 450D / Rebel XSi is out!

January 26, 2008
Buy me..

Boy, this is one time that hesitation helped! I was starting to get into photography and ready to pull my buying trigger with the Canon EOS 400D/Rebel XTi/KissX after reading several reviews and enduring the dark battle with the Nikonians (that Nikon D40 was so tempting for a newbie if you’re looking for a budget DSLR investment worthy of your hard earned money!) After much Googling, I found out that Canon will be announcing their EOS 400D replacement at the PMA conference which is consistent with their 18-month new product cycle. Well here it is! The Canon EOS 450D (Rebel XSi) has been officially announced by Canon. The rumors were pretty accurate that it would now have LiveView (LCD preview ala Point and Shoot camera) and with a higher megapixel. I won’t go into details with the technical features since it’s readily available at dpreview but this DSLR may be worth waiting especially for a newbie like me.

What makes the new 450D better than its EOS predecessor ?

  • 12.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor (I won’t be printing large images but the higher resolution is much welcomed!)
  • 3.0” LCD with Live View Shooting (a LiveView feature for those lazy days when you just want a P&S function, and a 3-incher LCD to review your pics better, that’s what I’m talking about!)
  • DIGIC III image processor (Ric has stopped drooling at this point.. more, more!)
  • Compact and Lightweight body (I was expecting a smaller body like the persistent Nikon D40 but the larger LCD screen makes up for it. It’s still an EOS with their signature robust body and with slight modifications to the grip)
  • SD card support (Goodbye CF! I wonder how much difference would it make on R/W speed compared to the previous memory storage format for DSLRs. The upside is that the SD card makes it easier to port this through the laptop’s built-in card reader which is mostly supported by manufacturers).
  • Larger battery capacity (Well done Canon! This’ll hold off purchasing a battery grip!)
  • Image stabilized version of 18-55mm lens kit (Great feature for the stock lens kit!)

I’ve read from the Canon USA website that the EOS 450D will be released by April ’08. For Asia Pacific, I’m not yet certain but I’d be sure to find out soon and I hope it will be cheaper in Vietnam (please post a comment if you hear anything about its availability in our region). Now I’m thinking.. should I get this one or the reduced price of the EOS 400D which would be a steal! This is still under negotiation with the Budgetary board headed by my Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mrs. Simbol. I need to resubmit the proposal with a better ROI. What if I just get a videocam instead (Sony DCR) for capturing ’em Baby Justin moments 🙂

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PSP Games.. Roll call for 2007

January 19, 2008

Allo! That was a quick year 2007 and I’ve somehow managed to sneak in a little gaming time with my PSP. Here are some of the best and worst games I’ve played since owning this superrific gadget in May ’07.. The categories and the chosen ones are:

Worst Game of the year award goes to..
Freakout Extreme Freeride– The soundtrack is interesting but gameplay, graphics and controls really sucks. Stick with SSX if you want some hardcore thrilling snow action on the PSP. Note to Ricster… read reviews first before getting the game!

Disappointments of the year:
The Simpsons Game– Being a fan of The Simpsons TV series for 18 seasons, this was something to look forward to especially since I enjoyed the movie. To cut it short, the graphics are pixelated, camera view is poorly designed and this game would probably be better on home consoles such as the Xbox or PS3 as the game trailer looks promising for those other consoles. Homer and Marge, two thumbs down 😦 Ben10 did a better job!

Transformers– the movie rocks, but the game sucks! ’nuff said! Transform to another PSP game please!

Surprise hits on the PSP.. games that I really enjoyed:
Ratatouille – Help Remy get all ’em recipes! If you liked the movie, this game highly compliments it.

Virtua Tennis World Tour / or vT3– Career mode and wireless multi-player takes the cake! This was one of the games that got me to buy a PSP after seeing it on youtube.

Brooktown High – graphics are solid and I like this better than the Sims 🙂 The game is quite short though and it’s finished before you even graduated high school!

Castaway Game of the year – this is the only game I’d bring if stranded on an island with a PSP)
Nba Live ’08– Keep playing it over and over again.. dynasty mode and its latest The Crown feature makes this a winner! Adjust the game sliders for a more realistic play and it’s not as easy as the previous EA sports franchise. Nba Live ’07 was a wimp and I can easily beat the CPU in Superstar mode but this one was quite challenging. Good job EA Sports! The Go-To moves are a bit disappointing at first but the more you use your players and team, you’ll start to get the hang of it. The only downside experienced from this game is that a lot of people experienced freezing during summary of The Crown especially in Dynasty mode. So far mine has stopped after I got the European version and I haven’t got the time to upgrade to the latest CFW yet (3.71m33).

Frustrating but Fun
Lumines– The trance music keeps you going.. I still need to beat the wife’s high score. She bumped me off before leaving Vietnam. Grrr!
DJ Maxx Portable – Dance, Dance Revolution in your hands!
Juiced 2– Darn chain drifting section! I give up! It’s fun upgrading cars and racing for pink slips though. I found this game highly better than the NFS series.

My Game of the Year for 2007:
Medal of Honor: Heroes 2. I never thought a FPS game would be so much fun to play in a PSP. If you play this game with a headset, you’ll be immersed in the World War environment! From one mission to another, it’s addictive and the ease of control is amazing. Maneuver through the battlefields! When I played this game, the first mission got me hooked. If you’ve seen Saving Private Ryan.. you’ll like this.

Runners up.. we can’t let the others go unnoticed..
Silent Hill Origins – I dare you.. play this with the lights off and wear your headsets. Creepy!
Killzone Liberation – sorry, I’m a late bloomer of the PSP 🙂
Monster Hunter Freedom 2 – It’s good to play RPG once in while.

Anticipated Games for 2008:
There can be only one for me.. GOD OF WAR! The fact that this was a hot game on the PS2 and I haven’t gotten the chance to play it before, I’m looking forward to its PSP version. For Anna, I think she will like PATAPON since it’s like Locco Roco but better! This will be a great platform game 🙂

As for the wife’s favorite games:
Lumines it took Anna a few weeks to get the hang of it.. then she kicked me out of first place! I shall return!
Sims 2 Castaway – I never appreciated this game. The wife has the patience and creativity on playing this 🙂
Diner Dash– Anna’s great at multi-tasking.. so this one is easy! She finished the game in a few days! geeez!
Ratatouille– She loves Remy but I usually help her out on the difficult stages.. hehe 😛

..To  the late bloomers of PSP fanatics like me, what’s your favorite game?