Monday, December 31, 2012

Walking Dead The Game Review

I'm feeling a little emotional right now. And it's all because of a video game. I just finished Walking Dead: The Game, Episodes 1 and 2, and there's a stew of emotions in my chest. This is an achievement that few video games have managed. I can think of only a handful of games that made me cry or get angry or feel something. There's the moment in Ico when you lose the girl, or the endings of some Final Fantasy games, or that moment in XCOM when your favorite character died, or the cliffhanger at the end of Half-Life 2, but there are so few games that manage to evoke an emotional response from its players. Walking Dead isn't the most beautiful game to look at. It doesn't have revolutionary gameplay. But boy, can this game make you feel something.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Project Blackintosh Stage 3: The Installation

Getting Mac OS X to run on a hackintosh seems simple enough. If you know how to read and can follow directions, you'll be able to do it. There are plenty of pitfalls along the way though, so it's important not to get frustrated or to lose heart. There's so much to do. The best advice I got from the tonymacx86 forum (which specializes in hackintoshing) was this: "If you want to eat an elephant, take one bite at a time." Wise words.

Everything I learned about hackintoshing, I learned here: tonymacx86. They're genius. Full credit to these guys. I'll be discussing the steps I took to make my hackintosh in very broad strokes, just so that interested people can get some idea if this is for them or not. The process is described in more detail if you follow my links.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

How I got my Photo Mojo back. And Merry Christmas!

I haven't written a photography post in a while. That's because I was feeling a little glum about photography. Like many photography geeks, I think that new gear will make me a better photographer. So I was feeling blue about not getting a new camera. It just wasn't in the stars. Because of that, I took fewer photos, left the camera at home more often, and when I did shoot, I just wasn't as into it. Then I went to the zoo.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Project Blackintosh Stage 2: The Build

Almost finished with the build...

I disappeared for a week because my new hackintosh computer – a PC that runs OS X – took up all my time. I was obsessed! But now it's built, and I am thrilled with the performance. This was my first mackintosh build and only my second PC build. (I've worked with Macs all my life.) The build proved to be challenging. I found it fun though. I like working with my hands. The software side was frustrating, but in the end it all worked out. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nerd Finds: Christmas edition

Look! It's a fake PS Vita. Just for giggles.

It's that time of the year, and while every tech site is writing about their must-have gadgets of the Season, I'm going for those cute, and cheap gifts that will win over the heart of any nerd. Here's where to go shopping.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

iPad 1: The Resurrection

It's alive! Thanks to a little Greenhills magic, my broken iPad is once again in perfect working order, tweeting, shooting angry birds, and running in temples. Total cost was P3,000 for a replacement battery. The act of opening the old iPad introduced a couple of new scratches, but all in all, I have to say that I was very happy with the whole experience. Plus I feel like I'm giving Apple's philosophy of non-user-replaceable batteries and forced obsolescence a big "Up yours!"

Friday, December 7, 2012

iPhone 5 vs iPhone 5: SMART vs Globe

Well that took longer than expected, but the prices are finally out and you can snag an iPhone 5 before Christmas, December 14 if you're lucky. SMART and Globe have announced their pricing. Here goes:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Apps for Kids: Disney Channel Edition

My toddler is a Disney Channel/Disney Junior junkie. So I loaded up my iPad with apps based on the TV shows that he watches. I really should stop calling it my iPad. The kid has taken it over, haha! This post is for you, moms and dads.

Monday, December 3, 2012

GCASH American Express Virtual Card lets you shop with a US billing address

At first I thought, yeah yeah yeah, another virtual credit card. I already have one of those. Don't need another credit card. Please don't bother me! Good thing then that my wife, Topaz Horizon, was asked to try out the GCASH American Express Virtual Card for her blog. What is it exactly? It's a whole lot of things, but the one thing that stood out for me was that you can buy things in the US from stores that require a US billing address.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

PS Vita just got interesting: Free Vita games for PlayStation Plus Subscribers

A few months ago, I got a PlayStation Plus membership because of its instant games collection. For $50 a year, I get like a dozen free games and discounts. Now a similar instant games collection is here for the Vita. And it costs current Plus subscribers NOTHING. How awesome is that?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LG's humungous 84-inch TV

84 inches. Now that's a big TV.

And here I was, so happy with my 46 inches. I now think of my new TV as a "big, budget TV" because it was a pretty sweet deal for a high quality set. Meanwhile if you have P800,000+ to spend, LG's got you sorted with this BIG BUDGET TV... Get it?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lessons I learned from Blogopolis

Went with the wifey, Topaz Horizon/Topaz Mommy, to Blogopolis last week. We had a blast (and learned a lot too)!

Recently, I decided to take this blog a little more seriously so I went to Blogopolis, a seminar held by Nuffnang at Shangri-la Makati. They had some really fab speakers talking about marketing your blog, building your brand, as well as content creation.

It was very informative and inspiring, and it was great meeting other bloggers as well as hearing their stories and how they made it work.

Without further ado, here's some of the stuff that I learned from Blogopolis which I hope to apply to my blogging:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Project Blackintosh Stage 1: The Parts

I hope my blackintosh will look something like this

The first step in building a hackintosh is figuring out what parts to use in your build. Some parts will work better than others. Some not at all. As usual, research is key in creating your hackintosh build. Head on over to tonymacx86 for some sample builds. The lists in the forum are really quite comprehensive. You'll be able to find a build for almost any computing need, plus instructions on how to get everything up and running. 

My build is basically a headache-free gaming hackintosh that is as cheap as possible. I didn't stray very far from the recommended Ivy Bridge build to keep compatibility issues to a minimum. Here are the components that I chose (may vary from the actual ones that I buy based on availability and budget):

Monday, November 19, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome

Battlestar is back, and it's a webisode on YouTube called Blood and Chrome. The first episode is out now, and it features a young Bill Adama setting foot on the Galactica for the first time as a pilot. Go check it out! Mini-review after the jump.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Google Nexus 4, 7, and 10 are almost upon us. It's war, Apple!

Hello Google Nexus 4, 7 and 10. Shipping for these tablets (and phone) starts oh, just the other day, Nov 13, in the US of A. In case you missed them when they were announced, here's another look. They look nice. They look powerful. And they're cheap. You hear that, Apple? This means war.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ford Focus: Testing the Tech

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've probably heard of the new Ford Focus, a car which is hitting the streets, well, right about now. We got to kick the tires, take it out for a drive on C-5 and SLEX, and most importantly, test the gizmos that they've built into this car. Seriously, there's like an array of sensors all over the car. It's nuts. You almost expect it to drive itself, and it kind of does: it has the ability to park itself. And you can talk to it. Got all of that? Talking car parks itself! 

Oh, and it does BGC to Alabang on one liter of gasoline. If you drive nicely. Ain't technology grand?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why I didn't buy an iPad mini


I couldn't get myself to buy an iPad mini. I waited months for it. I even said I'd probably buy one. But when the time came to buy a new tablet, I got a full-sized iPad instead. 

I'd venture that my reasons are the same reasons why iPad mini reception has been lukewarm -- well, as lukewarm as 3 million in total iPad sales (iPad mini and iPad 4) in three days can be. And here's why:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Early iPad mini, iPad 4, and iPhone 5 local prices

These iProducts aren't available in local retail yet, but as these things go, you can get them online. Don't ask me if these prices will go down. I don't know. They usually do when the iDevices hit the usual channels (Power Mac Center, Globe) but there's really no telling. It's still early days. Prices after the jump!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nerd TV: Shows you shouldn't miss… or maybe you should

It's another new season full of TV that nerds will love. Or maybe nerds like us will hate these shows because some of them aren't doing so well right now. Here are the shows that I'm watching now (plus one that I'm not watching quite yet):

Monday, October 29, 2012

Turn your Mac into a Kinect with Flutter

My high point for the day was using this app, available on the Mac App store for free, called Flutter. What it does is allow your computer to be controlled using gestures, much like you do on your Xbox 360 with Kinect. You wave at your computer's webcam to stop/play a song on iTunes. Or gesture to go to the next/previous track. It's genius!

Friday, October 26, 2012

James Bond's phone

James Bond uses Android? Never mind the Rolex craze of yesteryear, this Bond wears Omega, drives a BMW, and uses an Android phone – the Sony Xperia TX to be precise. The phone looks pretty slick! But that's normal for Sony (no longer Sony Ericsson!) phones. I heart their design. And the TX will be upgradeable to Jelly Bean. Looks good.

We'll be seeing Mr. Bond with his Xperia TX in the upcoming movie, Skyfall, coming out this October 31. I for one am really excited about this movie! And if you want Bond's phone, Sony is running a promo right about now where it's giving away free Xperia cases.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nikon V2 is official!

I never liked the V1 because, in a nutshell, it gave you a smaller sensor at the same expensive price, but I have to admit that the pictures that the V1 takes actually seem quite good. Now Nikon has updated the camera and announced the V2. It's a 14-megapixel shooter capable of 15 frames per second, and it still has that hybrid autofocus system. We'll see how much the image quality has improved around November, when this camera will be released. What we know so far is that the V2 looks like it fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Ergonomics my foot. It's hideous! 

What Apple ads should say

The other night, I stayed up until 2 AM for a liveblog of the Apple event. And I realized at 1:30 AM that it really didn't matter what Tim Cook and Phil Schiller were saying. I mean, let's face it. Love Apple or hate 'em, they're going to sell millions of these things. They don't need sales talk anymore.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Apple taglines really mean

I hate to admit that I don't have much to add to the conversation about Apple's new products. They look great. They'll sell like hotcakes. They're not surprising. So instead, I'll just poke a little fun at Apple. Below you'll find what Apple has to say about their amazing new stuff, and my translation of what they actually mean. [Insert evil laughter.]

Apple's tagline for the iPad mini: 
"Every inch an iPad"

What it means:
We want you to think that you're getting a full-sized tablet experience, not a shrunken, compromised tablet experience. You see what we did there? We simultaneously built up the iPad mini while shooting down all other smaller screen, 7-inch tablets, like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. We're genius!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Project Blackintosh

I didn't come up with the name. Some other dudes at did. But it will be my next computer. 

What on earth is a blackintosh, you ask? It's a build-it-yourself Mac (hackintosh) made from off-the-shelf PC parts and capable of extreme gaming. And it's black.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Next gen gaming is already here

The next generation of gaming has been delayed. Or has it?

The pic above is a screencap from Borderlands 2 running on PC. I'm starting to think next gen gaming is already here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Worst headphones ever

Music is a must for me when I go for a run. When my Sony in-ear headphones (great performance but not made for sports) died on me after years of use, I bought this pair to replace them. Philips headphones, in my experience, have been okay in terms of sound quality, and they're cheap. Nothing to write home about really. Good enough if you need something in a pinch, and I just wasn't willing to pay upwards of five thousand for a pair of adidas/Sennheiser in-ear headphones (my first choice). Boy do I regret that decision.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why the iPad mini is the greatest product Apple should never make

Apple's invite to its October 23 event.

It looks like the iPad mini will be announced any day now. The rumors all point in that direction, and these rumors are starting to get pretty accurate. Product launches seem useless nowadays. 

Apple will no doubt sell millions of these iPad mini things. The market wants a 7-inch tablet – if Android sales are to be believed – so making this product is a business no-brainer. It lets Apple keep its lead in the tablet category. I'll buy one. Maybe even two if the price is right.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

LCD vs LED: LCD wins! Whut?

This is our new humongous TV, the largest television I've ever lived with. Pure unadulterated happiness. Got it on sale from Abenson's, and the Sony sale should still be ongoing until the end of the month. Officially, on their online ad, Sony only has the 40-inch LED TV (and smaller) on sale, but depending on where you go to buy a TV, there might be other items for sale too, like this 46-inch LCD TV, which we got for a cash price of 40k with a free DVD player and sound system to sweeten the deal (retail price was 45k without the sweetener). 

I wouldn't say that's super cheap (second tier brands go for much cheaper) but for a big brand like Sony, this is superb value for money for a quality product. So anyway, yeah, the surprise winner between LED versus LCD is... a bigger LCD.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Juan Tamad app

Who says Pinoys are lazy? We can make apps! The Juan Tamad app is an iOS game that's based on the old stories of, you guessed it, everyone's favorite wiseguy, Juan Tamad. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why I'm against the Cybercrime law (and why you should be too if you aren't already)

“There’s nothing more important in a democracy than a well-informed electorate. When there’s no information or, much worse, wrong information, it can lead to calamitous decisions and clobber any attempts at vigorous debate. That’s why I produce the news.”

--Will McAvoy, The Newsroom

Aw snap, now I've done it. I just had to write this blog post and now I might go to jail. Yes, jail, who'd have thunk it? It's the law as outlined by the recently passed "Cybercrime" bill, which was signed into law by none other than PNoy Aquino of the falsely pro-Filipino nickname. 

Things may have settled down since last week's furor, but the fight goes on.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Dark Knight Returns Part 1

I had high hopes for this one. The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller is a classic. It's perfection in graphic novel format, and I've always said that they should turn it into a feature film. Like 300, that other Frank Miller graphic novel, it's practically made for a screen adaptation. Any smart director wouldn't mess with it. Just look at what Zack Snyder was able to accomplish with 300. Of course, The Dark Knight Returns is a series of four lengthy books, so condensing it into one movie would have been tough. When I heard that the animated version would be three movies, I was very excited. I raised my expectations another notch. Then I heard that Peter Weller was going to do the voice of Batman. And the expectations went higher still.

This animated feature is a straight-to-BluRay movie, and that should have clued me in as to what we were dealing with here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Which camera should I buy?

Olympus E-M5 vs Fuji X-E1 vs Panasonic GH3 vs Olympus E-PL5 vs Fuji X100. FIGHT! You can also think of this as my Photokina wrap-up post.

Just before Photokina this month, I was all set to buy an Olympus OM-D E-M5. I still might. But other cameras have come along that are mighty tempting. I made a list of pros and cons for each camera, which is always a good thing to do when gadget shopping. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

From Up On Poppy Hill review

Thought I'd break up the gadget news with a film review. From Up On Poppy Hill is the latest feature film from Studio Ghibli. Nothing could be further from high tech than Studio Ghibli's old world values, but the studio's work has a special place in the heart of every nerd. My favorites are Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and well, virtually every film they've made. They're that good. So when I heard that they released a new film, I was excited, to put it mildly.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

iPhone 5 selling in the Philippines

Okay, the iPhone 5 is really here, though not from Globe or Smart, so no plans bundled yet.

The other day, it was Villman who had the iPhone 5. This time, it's from Widget City Hub. This is their announcement on Facebook:

"iPhone 5 available now for orders!
16GB P47,000
32GB P56,000
64GB P61,000
LTE fully functional in asia with A1429 model.

*Note to all buyers:there are 2 kinds of types of iPhone 5 in the market
A1429 and A1428 here's the difference of the variants.

Careful not to pick the wrong one!
Happy shopping!"

Friday, September 28, 2012

iPad Price Comparison UPDATE

I recently discovered a number of online stores selling iPads, and they're cheaper than retail. The first shop is iWidget, which is a Multiply site. You'll also find them on Facebook, plus on Facebook (where they are called Widget City) you can view their non-Apple inventory which includes Kindle Fire HDs and Nexus 7's. The other shop is One Stop Shop Gadgets, which I also found on Facebook. I was going to include Lazada on this list but for the moment, there are no iPads selling on the site. Looks like business is good in online retail. Prices after the jump.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

iPhone 5, Nexus 7, Nikon D600, Kindle Fire HD selling in the Philippines

Stumbled upon these gadgets – Nikon D600, iPhone 5, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD – and yes, there are local prices for them. Warning: hide your money!

Olympus M. Zuiko 60mm Macro looks awesome

The reviews for the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro are beginning to trickle out. And the lens looks awesome. They're comparing it to the 50mm f/2.0 for Four Thirds, which is a great lens. The new 60mm is said to be even sharper. And it makes a pretty good portrait lens too. (Unless you like blurry ears, then maybe you should get something with narrower depth of field, hehe.) As a portrait lens, they're even comparing it to the Olympus 75mm f/1.5, another stellar lens. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

SMART vs Globe: NTC Fight!

It's a pissing contest of titanic proportions. The NTC did some benchmark tests on the services of the two biggest telcos and came up with some unflattering results. (If you want to check out a balanced report, click the link for one from Rappler.) Globe and SMART both reacted strongly to the tests, which you can also read in the link. My reaction is summed up by the somewhat blurry meme above, which I found on Facebook. But you get the idea. As the Alma Moreno saying goes, damage you do, damage you don't.

New PS3 Skinny

This is the new PS3 and it's a beauty! Sony says it's 20% lighter and more energy efficient. Both good things. I wish it were 20% cheaper, but it's around the same price as before, though the hard drives are now larger. So it's $270 for the 250GB and $300 for the 500GB model.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sound Shapes Review

It's a platformer and music visualizer in one, a game that lets you play inside music. What's not to love?

There's no shortage of cutesy indie games out right now, but Sound Shapes manages to stand head and shoulders above the rest by the strength of its concept. In this game, the level creates music. Cloud platforms sing when they appear. The beat is pumped out by crushing machines that will kill you. Creatures sing a series of notes when you interact with them. It's like seeing a Radiohead song come to life. As a platformer, the game can be solved by consciously figuring out the pattern behind the beats or finding out the perfect timing to jump onto that singing cloud. Or you can forget about it all, just let go and immerse yourself in the music.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ben Folds Five "The Sound of the Life of the Mind" Review

You know that feeling when your favorite band announces a new album, their first after a bajillion years, and you hope, you anticipate, you pray that this new album will be the Best Thing Ever? You can almost taste it. You falsely think that through the album you will relive the hey-day of your favorite band, and you mutter a novena and sacrifice a chicken so the album might be more awesome than awesome. Then you hear it, and it's not any good at all, and your disappointment pierces all your hope and anticipation, sends it plummeting towards the earth, sets it on fire, and jumps up and down on it till it's broken and dead. That is not the new Ben Folds Five album, The Sound of the Life of the Mind. This album is the bomb. It's the bee's knees. It's great, more awesome than awesome, the Best Thing Ever.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Attack of the Large Sensor Cameras

If there's anything you need to know about new cameras nowadays, it's this: the sensors are getting bigger. In every camera category, the sensors that they're using are increasing in size, and this means an increase in image quality as well (among other things). This is good news for all photographers and all fauxtographers as well, such as myself. 

Wii U coming soon! Hooray?

Hot on the heels of iPhone 5 news and Photokina news, the Wii U was announced to thunderous silence. Well alright, the gaming press made all the noise you'd expect, and the fanboys made some token noise as well, but this isn't the rabid madness that preceded the Wii release.

I'm concerned about the Wii U. 

Here's what we know so far:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Olympus Stuff

 Almost all of these new cameras and lenses leaked out days before the official announcement. Can no one keep a secret nowadays? Here are my top picks from Olympus' latest announcement.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What Apple didn't announce

An alleged iPad mini leak photo

iPhone 5, iOS 6, new iPods, yadda yadda yadda… But wait. Aren't we missing something? The iPhone 5 is an amazing technological achievement, and Apple deserves the millions in sales that will surely come its way, but the iPhone 5 is also nothing new. Many were hoping for an announcement from Apple about something truly new and revolutionary. You know, the kind of magic they used to do. But we didn't get it.

To be specific about things, here's what we missed:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Sony RX1 changes everything (not an Apple iPhone 5 post)

Screw the iPhone 5! THIS is what I'm most excited about right now: the Sony RX1. I'm not even going to make an iPhone 5 post. After staying up late for the Apple announcement, I told my wife at 2 AM, "The iPhone 5 looks like a nice phone, but it's not a game-changer. Not like Sony's new camera."

So here's a shot of the RX1. What the hell is it? Why are photographers wetting their pants when they find out about this little camera? And why is it cheap for $3,000?

Monday, September 10, 2012