Monday, June 30, 2008

New iPods rumor?

With the day of the iPhone 3G coming closer, more and more rumors are starting for iPods on the net. With Apple putting the iPhone 3G price at $199, it's pretty confusing to consumers in regards to pricing of the iPod lineup. Anything at the $199 price will become a hard sell, since the comparison is the iPhone 3G 8GB.

My take:
-Shuffle: no change, maybe price drop (1GB gone, 2GB at current 1GB price).
-iPod nano: Apple pretty much nailed it with the 3G nano. There isn't much they could do more. Maybe capacity bump across the board and/or price drop. You could see some hints at the prices of the refurbished nanos. Maybe 8GB or 16GB @ $149. It would be hard for Apple to promote the nano at $199, considering the iPhone 3G price.
-iPod classic: There is no announcements/rumors about larger capacity 1.8" hard-drives. The iPod classic is already at 160GB. Price drop will overlap with the nano/iPhone/Touch too closely. Maybe 100GB/120GB @ $249, and 160GB @299, but unlikely.
-iPod Touch: In the past, at the same price with the iPhone, you loose the phone, but gain more capacity at the same price point. With the iPhone 3G, consumers might look at the Touch as the worst deal. Apple could ignore the Touch altogether, pushing people to buy the iPhone. If not, there must be some price cuts/capacity bump. I'm guessing $100 price drop across the board. Same price with the iPhone 3G and all the new apps without 2 year commitment to AT&T.

My wish:
-iPod nano: bring back the aluminum enclosure like 2G nano. I can't believe Apple brought back the highly scratchable chrome back for the 3G. 16GB is a must, considering all the competitors (Sony, Creative, etc) have 16GB already. Maybe also put the Nike transmitter built-in so we don't have to deal with dock-blocking attachment anymore.
-iPod classic: I want a flash based iPod classic. The nano is great, but the click wheel is just too small. The iPod classic has the perfect size on my hand. Make it full aluminum (ala mini/2G nano) and flash based (32GB+).
-iPod Touch: Make it cheap and use the backing of the first gen iPhone. And where's the shuffle by album?

To be honest, there isn't much more innovation you can do on a digital audio player anymore. Apple nailed almost everything, including gapless playback on MP3 & AAC, something that the competitors cannot even figure out yet. Microsoft tried wifi sharing, but it's going nowhere. Creative will come up with their X-Fi DAP, but too late and who cares. With memory card prices getting cheaper and cheaper, more and more people are using cellphones as their basic DAPs. Everybody realize this (Apple with Touch/iPhone, Sony Ericsson with Walkman phones, Nokia with XpressMusic and N-series phones). It's cheaper for people to buy a 2GB microSD card than an iPod shuffle. The MP3 player as we know it is going to the way of the PDA, replaced by cellphones, and Apple is definitely aware of this. I can see Apple will focus more and more on the iPhone/Touch, especially with the new firmware and apps. The iPod as we know it might be gone, or maybe Apple will just keep the nano as a low end DAP, and push the Touch as the main iPod.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hot summer finally here!

The weather finally showed some summer temps for the past couple of days. Here are the readings form my car's outside temp sensor from Saturday and Sunday.

Yes, I set my car to show the temp as degree Celsius, not Fahrenheit.

More Go-Onger stuff

Another hilarious scene at the end of episode 19.

Also, another proof that super sentai series are part of Japanese culture. This is a clip of an Air Defense School Band playing Go-Onger opening song. Yes, they're all adults. :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Best Doritos

Spice Sweet Chili!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Twitter Over Capacity

This is what I got when I tried to log-in to twitter tonight.
Free Image Hosting at

Stupid AT&T commercial

I just watched a commercial for AT&T wireless, about a family of tourists in France. The ad is bragging that if the family had used AT&T, they would have reception over there. WHAT THE #@%!?

Sure, you'll get something, as AT&T wireless use GSM, and GSM is widely used all over the world. But they didn't say the catches:
1. AT&T international roaming charge can cost you an arm and a leg. There are plenty of blogs showing stories about people being charged thousands of dollars when they travel overseas. To avoid that, you have to opt in to an international plan. Still not cheap.
2. AT&T phones are locked. A savvy consumer will try to get a local GSM wireless provider plan to avoid AT&T ridiculous charges. But guess what, your AT&T phone is locked so you cannot use it with any GSM provider. This is one big thing that Americans don't seem to realize how they are screwed by AT&T.

I wish Nokia and/or Sony Ericsson would do a counter ad, saying how you're screwed by AT&T overseas, and then promoting unlocked phones for sale, and maybe showing another family enjoying their vacation without worrying about roaming charges by using their unlocked phones with a local GSM provider.

Screen Sharing

Amazed by Microsoft's Remote Desktop software that allows me to control my Windows PCs from my iMac, I'm thinking I bet Apple have this built-in in the OS. Yup, it's called Screen Sharing in Leopard. Apple made it even easier. All I need to do is to enable "Screen Sharing" on the target Mac (in my case my Macbook), allow access for specific user(s) (this is for security. I you don't do this, anybody with a VNC client on the network can access the Mac), and voila. I logged out from my Macbook, went to my iMac, opened up Finder, and my Macbook is listed on the Shared computer list. All I needed was to click "Share Screen," and a Screen Sharing app started, and I can log-in to my Macbook via my iMac.

Again, probably nothing new for some computer networking experts, but I still find these features to be awesome. Having multiple computers used to force me to go to different computers to control them. Even with a KVM switch, it's still a hassle. Now I can control everything from 1 computer. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Remote Desktop

I never realized how useful Remote Desktop is before! I regularly use my iMac now, but I still have a Windows PC on its side. It has its own keyboard, mouse, taking up space. Thankfully Microsoft makes a Remote Desktop software for Mac. Make sure you get the version 2 beta. The official one 1.03 is way old.

All I did was enable remote desktop on my Windows machine, log-off, and then I can log-in to that machine using my iMac via the Remote Desktop software. This is probably not new for many people, but I just realize how useful it is now. LOL. I can even log-in to my HP Windows Home Server unit, which is headless (you cannot connect any monitor nor keyboard directly on the machine). Sweet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Insignia Digital Converter box

I got my DTV box coupon not too long ago. What am I talking about? In February 2009, if you've been getting your local channels for free over-the-air (using rabbit ears), those analog channels will be gone. Newer TVs have digital tuner, but most people (including me) have TVs that still use the old NTSC tuner. The solution is to get a digital to analog converter box. Get your coupon here. The coupon will take $40 off a digital to analog converter box sold at most electronic store (Bestbuy, Target, etc).

My local Target has an LG model, but it's been out of stock for days. So I ended up buying the Insignia model from Bestbuy. Usually, I don't really like Insignia (it's Bestbuy's generic brand). Most converter boxes are sold for $60, so you cannot really get one for free with the $40 coupon. Yeah, IMO it's a rip-off. I'm sure manufactures can sell the box for $40 or less with consumers getting it for free with the coupon, but I bet some CEOs still want to make some money out of a government program.

Politics aside, let's listed some of the points for this converter box.
1. They're NOT HD. I'm sure a lot of people are confused by this. The boxes that are eligible for the coupon are just digital tuner, not HD tuner. Sure, you get a widescreen picture, but that is not in HD res. It's obvious if you see that all of these boxes only have RF and composite output, not component or HDMI out, which is required for HD output.
2. Noise free picture. Sure, they're not HD res, but it's digital, so say bye-bye to those snowy picture. I never have cable, so the picture quality is a big improvement over the poor analog channels that I've been watching for years. Also, they're widescreen, so I don't have to deal with black bars on the sides of my widescreen TV anymore. If you've watched the news in HD, you'll know the difference. Lack of details, less sharp, etc, but at least they're noise free and widescreen.
3. Still require the rabbit ear. You still need them. Although regular ones that you already have should work, if you want to buy a new one, buy an amplified one. With digital, if you have a weak signal, you'll see artifact, choppy pictures, or no channel at all. Amplified antennas really help, with a downside having another AC adapter to worry about.
4. The Insignia box has a very simple program guide. The problem is, you have to "browse" all the channels first for it to get the guide, which kinda defeat the purpose of a program guide. Still, it's nice to see what's on.
5. Yet another remote. You'll be using the box to switch channel, not the TV. So if you have a universal remote, start programming it for the box too.

What if you want HD? Too bad. You either have to get a much more expensive HD tuner box, which is not eligible for the $40 coupon, or buy a new TV with HD tuner. If you have a windows XP media center PC, or Vista Home/Ultimate, you can buy a USB HD tuner for your PC, and use it to enjoy HD channels on your TV. Windows' program guide is excellent. I have an XP media center PC and WinTV HVR 950 USB HD tuner. HD picture quality is awesome. However, the overall setup is not really stable, and the WinTV tuner's reception is not that great, even when I use the same antenna as the one I use for the Insignia. I settle for the Insignia box, until I buy a new TV with built-in HD tuner.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Go-Onger Ep17

LOL, again, Go-Onger is just hilarious. The main team is so carefree. This time it's Sousuke. Poor Sousuke, not getting his food for the first time, LOL. Check the clip, and don't miss the pose parody done by the villains.

Monday, June 9, 2008

WWDC 2008

Streaming video is up at

OK, here's my take on the WWDC 08 keynote.
1. iPhone 2.0 firmware.
OK, just bring it out. It's not coming out till July. My Palm Tungsten E is dying (battery & touch screen screwing up), and with the 2.0 firmware, I can easily use my iPod Touch as a replacement, since 1 app, the only app that I use on my Palm will be available for iPhone (epocrates).

The apps look amazing. You don't see app development for Windows Mobile nor Symbian being marketed this way and hyped so much. Games are great, and hopefully we'll see more fresh gaming idea, just like what Nintendo DS brought to the market.

Why apps are so great on the iPhone?
First, high res screen. Other phones from other manufactures usually use (very) low res screen, limiting the image quality and overall experience of the GUI, especially internet browsing. PMPs have high res screen already (Cowon A2/A3), and Apple has the unique position having the experience from iPods.
Second, processor speed. Other manufactures usually cut short in the processor used on their phones, usually using whatever cheapest processor they could find, resulting in slow UI response (like many Windows Mobile devices) to the point that it hampers the regular usage of the device. Even Nokia smartphones suffer from slow response and thus poor experience, even though Symbian has many apps.

The ugly side of this, $10 charge for iPod Touch users. WTF? We already had to pay for the previous firmware upgrade, now we have to pay more? In comparison, Sony adds new features in firmware upgrades for the PSP and PS3 multiple times, for free! MS adds new functionalities to the older Zune for free. Of course, I will bite and pay for this to have epocrates for my Touch. T_T

2. Mobile ME.
I thought the rumor was a joke. The name just doesn't seem "cool." It reminds me of Windows ME. What is it? It's .Mac rebranded, refreshed, and redesigned to work across Mac, iPhones/Touch, and Windows. Windows? Well, most of it will be web based, and there's support for outlook. So, it's still $100 per year. It has more uniform interface with Mac OS' own and iCal. 10GB storage is upgraded to 20GB. Sounds great? Well, consider that Microsoft offer Live Skydrive for free, and it has 5GB shareable storage space, so if all you want is online storage, nothing beats free. Plus Microsoft will have Live Mesh, which will be Mac compatible too. The upside of .Mac is syncing, and with outlook support, it might entice some people. I already like .Mac's syncing across my iMac and Macbook, but the cost is just too hard to swallow. IMO Apple needs to offer at least a free Mobile ME with maybe only ~2GB storage space, something like that. When Live Mesh goes final, Apple needs to up the ante.

3. iPhone 3G
Finally, long awaited, the newer Jesus Phone. 3G support so people outside the US can think that iPhone is up-to-par with the various 3G phones already on the market. July 11th is the date.

When Jobs started announcing the features of iPhone 3G, it's hilarious that the crowd are getting crazy over things like "flushed headphone jack." LOL. GPS, I never use GPS before, so I don't know if it matters. Battery life seems to be greatly improved (presumably with better power management).

70 countries. Singapore & Hong Kong, yay. Japan, wow. Ooops, not Indonesia, the place that usually gets the latest cellphones, but rampant with hackers and pirates. Are you afraid Apple? Wonder why.

Apple priced the 8GB iPhone 3G at $199. Plus, Jobs said Apple will set the price not to exceed $199 US in all those countries. WOW! This is BIG! Other manufactures usually have variable open prices outside the US (eg. Nokia latest model sometimes is sold at thousands of dollars at launch, then dropping down in price through time, and the cycle repeats). Now, there's gotta be a catch for this price. Although we will see what will happen in those countries, Apple is still going to lock the iPhone 3G with AT&T in the US. WRONG MOVE!

I guess Apple has not been to SE Asia. Most phones sold there are unlocked, even phones sold under a contract. People in Asia like to switch phones & providers, especially if they're traveling. IMO if Apple wants to be successful in Asia, without giving money away to hackers/unlockers, Apple needs to sell the iPhone 3G unlocked. So back to Indonesia, this is a place where they have the latest models from Nokia, etc, being sold, even before other countries like Singapore. The pirates will simply buy/smuggle the iPhone 3G from Singapore/Hong Kong, and unlock it. Nobody would bother buying the phone locked from the cell service provider.

Apple better be selling the iPhone 3G unlocked in Asia, and if they did, expect a flood of Americans/ebayers importing the phone. Moral of the story, just sell the phone unlocked, anywhere, period. Ditch AT&T. Apple has the upper hand anyway, AT&T is getting more business thanks to the iPhone, even from people that don't like AT&T.

Not unlocked, I'm not buying. Even worse, the rumor is that the iPhone 3G will have to be activated in store, in contrast of the first iPhone where users can activate it at home. Plus, it will have worse and more expensive data plans from AT&T. Yup, US cell providers can only go backwards, charging more for less service. Another reason for Apple to sell the iPhone unlocked if they really want to change the way the cellphone business is done. I guess the $10 upgrade fee for my Touch doesn't sound too bad.

That's it. No Fusion, no new Macs, no tablet. But hey, Steve casually mentioned OS X 10.6 called Snow Leopard. But of course they don't want it to steal the thunder from the iPhone 3G. 10.6 already? And I just upgraded to Leopard... T_T

C'mon Apple, why is it so hard not selling the iPhone unlocked? Even if Apple sold the iPhone 3G unlocked for $100 more ($299 for 8GB), I'll buy it right away. If Apple want to lock me to AT&T, then they are no better than those freebies locked phones. Asians want unlocked phones (if not, they'll hack it anyway). Business users want unlocked phones (more economical when traveling by using local GSM providers and not giving AT&T $$$ for roaming charges). I want it unlocked. Apple, you've just missed plenty of customers.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Myself Yourself

Currently watching Myself; Yourself anime series. Another reason why I like anime. They can be funny, cute, yet touching and sad at the same time, reflecting real emotions.

Of course, fansub FTW! ^_^

Monday, June 2, 2008

Go-On Yellow promoting Korean drama

I just love Go-Onger's hilariousness. We know Korean drama is very popular in Japan. So, what is the next step? By prepping up the younger kids to watch the drama. Of course! LOL. So in this episode, episode 15, at the end of the show, Bomper asked Saki what is her secret to her smile. Her answer is her obsessions, including Korean drama, showing some DVDs too! Yup, so kids, start watching Korean dramas like Go-On Yellow! LOL.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Go-Onger's villain = AV idol

Well, I kinda expected that that's the case. The actress that play one of the villains in Go-Onger, Kegareshia, is an AV idol, aka porn idol. LOL. Just put her name 及川奈央 in google, and voila. Super sentai, entertaining people of all ages, young and old. LOL.

More whining Americans

I'm watching a local news, featuring the troubles Americans are facing, the increase in fuel price. They're following and interviewing a girl on how she's trying to save money. Well, sounds more like whining to me. First, she said now she's making coffee at home instead of buying. OH BOOHOOO! Is that supposed to draw sympathy? Next she's talking about her car, and she wondered what should she do, sell her car? Well, guess what she's driving, an Acura RSX. Again, whooping BOOHOO! If she is really concerned about fuel prices, get a more economical car/hybrid. The news is trying to show how "bad" the economy is. In a way, yes, American economy is not doing pretty well, but showing white people whining about their luxury lifestyle and luxury cars means news media doesn't get the message, or simply trying to cloud the real problems/issues.

Go-Onger Episode 14

This is a funny episode. Go-Onger always made fun of the posing scene of sentai in general, but this one takes the cake. After rescuing his friends, Hanto took charge and setup the other for the Go-Onger pose setup.

Also, this episode has a special ending featuring kids dancing to the theme song.