Friday, December 25, 2009

Goseiger, 2010 Super Sentai

Well, the pics are floating on the web already for the 2010 Super Sentai.

Hey, the helmets have mouths on them, and the colors, just like... Goggle Five! LOL
Now all wee need to know is which pretty boys and gravure idols they pick for the casts. LOL. Super Sentai, entertaining all ages forever.

Avatar and Sherlock Holmes

2 new movies that I watched. My review, and the obvious precaution of spoiler alert.

1. Avatar
I watched this movie in 3D (alas, the IMAX 3D tickets were quickly sold out, so the standard 3D would have to do). Pretty impressive visuals. This movie is a showcase of how far CGI technology in cinema has become. It's just amazing the way they portrayed Pandora's colorful and lush jungle environment. The 3D effects are not being overdone either (although there are few obvious scenes that are there simply for the 3D effects). It's definitely a visual treat.

As for the story, well, if you saw the trailer, you already know the story. It's the typical "soldier went undercover to gain information on the opposing party, fell in love with a girl of the opposing party, and decided to defend them" story with a scifi background. It's also portrayed the action of invading another culture/country (or in this case, planet) to gain their resources for profit (sounds familiar?). It's a very interesting portrayal of current world issues with a sci-fi twist. Other than that, nothing special. Guy falls in love with the girl, girl falls in love with the guy, girl thinks guy betrayed her, guy makes a com-back, war, the good guys won, the end. The movie itself is pretty long, a bit more than 2 and 1/2 hour. It pays though, as the pacing of the movie seems pretty good, not overly rushed.

The sci-fi part itself is, unfortunately, not well explored. Pandora planet is apparently a giant mesh network, where information can be transferred to and from, this includes brain signals. Heck, how did they make the avatars to begin with? What happened to earth? (Jake said that the "sky people's" home were no longer green or something). When Jake found out that Na'vi can transfer a mind into another body, why didn't he do it right away, thus not having to worry the enemy getting into his real body? And wasn't that chick turned into a zombie in Resident Evil? LOL.

Anyway, impressive visuals, pretty cool watching it in 3D, so so story and acting, surprised to see Sigourney Weaver in it. Pretty entertaining, but nothing to write about the story. To be honest, I'm tired of sci-fi movies that portrays the future and/or technology as bad. This is why I like Star Trek, which seems to be the only sci-fi franchise that portrays us, humans on earth, turning for the better in the future (watch any Start Trek episode/movie, and you won't see a muscly jock military soldier gungho with machine guns).

2. Sherlock Holmes
This movie was a quite a surprise for me. I like detective stories. When I saw the trailer, I was prepared to be disappointed as the trailer seems to show this new Sherlock Holmes as an action movie filled with Holmes fighting, not the image I have with Sherlock Holmes the great detective. In short, I'm afraid for a too dumbed down "Sherlock Holmes" movie. Well, the movie turned out to be very good. Sure, the fightings are in there, but Sherlock Holmes is still Sherlock Holmes, paying attention to details and deducing things from observations. Also, during his fights, he fought using his brain, planning his attacks from a science/medical point of view. Not too shabby. I'm sure the action and jokes are there to appease the mainstream audience, but they don't dumb down Holmes' detective skills. However, they also seems to hope the audience already know about Sherlock Holmes stories/characters (I have no idea who Irene Adler was), which may be a good thing so no time is wasted in the movie explaining the back story or whatnot.

In short, an extremely entertaining movie. This movie also setup for sequels as it introduces Professor Moriarty in the end, Holmes' well-known nemesis. My only gripe with this movie is that the person sitting next to me in the theater smelled awful.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More J-Dorama

Haven't been posting for a while due to twitter. Twitter feels more convenient than blogging. Oh well, now I feel that I need to do an update. For what? More J-Dorama, of course.

First, Tokyo Dogs.
Starring Shun Oguri and Mizushima Hiro. It's another police/detective dorama. It's kinda funny considering Mizushima Hiro starred in Mr. Brain as a cop too. However, this time he's more like a cop with Nanba senpai's personality. LOL. Oguri's character, on the other hand, is a rigid serious cop from the US. Pretty hilarious combo, especially when Oguri's mom always calling him in the middle of the action. Of course, the Kamen Rider connection is here, with Hiro being Kamen Rider Kabuto (the real one, not the lame one from Decade).

Second one is Otomen.
Where to start? First, we see a son that loves playing with girl's stuff and stuffed animals. Next, the father announced to his son and wife that he wants to be a woman. Then the wife, while being admitted into a hospital due to the shock from what the father said, told her son that he has to be manly. LOL. This is just the start of the dorama. You can tell things is going to be extremely hilarious. So the son, now in high school, tries to become manly by joining the kendo club and acting manly, while actually like sewing and cooking, and still playing with stuffed animals at home (can't stop laughing seeing his friend's expression when he saw that). He met a seemingly normal girl, that in the end of the first episode, actually kicks ass and protects him. LOL. This is why I love J-dorama. You wouldn't see anything (especially about high-school life) with this kind of story in the US. Another reason I love J-Dorama.

The announcement:
The wife's reaction:
Asuka with the stuffed animal he fixed:
His friend's reaction, very touched:

LOL. Oh, of course, too add on the hilarity, Asuka's antagonist/rival (acting as a bully, but seems to know a lot about flowers... LOL) is Kimura Ryo, the same actor that was all over Nanba senpai in Hanakimi (Nakao), and all over Chiaki senpai in Nodame. This is going to be some seriously hilarious show. But wait, what about the Kamen Rider connection? Of course there's one. Seto Koji, aka Kamen Rider Kiva, is in the show too, albeit as a supporting role.

Lastly, I can't wait for the new Nodame Cantabille movie. Hopefully the fansubber group can do their magic.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How low can you go
How low can you go

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sushi dinner
Sushi dinner

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New slew of Apple products

Yesterday, Apple updated a slew of their products as rumored. Here's my quick take on them:

1. iMac: The most noticeable difference is the 16x9 aspect ratio of the screen, compared to 16x10 on previous iMacs. That changes the size, with the small one being 21.5" and the big one being 27".
Things I like (that makes me want one):
-Aluminum back instead of plastic
-1080p resolution on the 21.5"
-SD card slot
-Support for Apple earbud with mic
-Option of discreet GPU for the 21.5" (previously, the small iMac only have integrated GPU)
-The 27" model supports video-in, so it can be used as an external monitor
-Wireless keyboard and the new magic mouse are standard.

Things that I don't like:
-The option for the new intel Core i5/i7 processor are only available on the 27" model. This is highly annoying. Not everyone want the giant 27" iMac, nor have the desktop space for it. Heck, my TV is only 25". This kind of upselling is typical of Apple.
-Previously, iMacs have been using notebook processors due to the design and thermal concern. Now is the first time Apple is using desktop processor (according to blogs like engadget) on the iMac. Who knows what kind of problems might come up (typical Rev A issues).

A nice update, but I wish Apple push in the Core i5/i7 processor across the board.

2. Mac mini. Just a minor spec bump from the previous mini. Alas, no price drop, and the value of the mini remains questionable. What is interesting is that now Apple is selling a Mac mini server, a mini without an optical drive, but with an additional hard-drive in it. This sounds like a great idea and I would love to get one, except that Apple is selling it for a whopping $999. Why? Because they bundle in Snow Leopard server OS with it. Again, the typical upselling. :(

3. Macbook. The white plastic Macbook got a makeover.
Things I like:
-Lighter and more sturdy construction
-Glass trackpad
-7 hours of battery life
-Support for Apple headset with mic

Things that I don't like:
-Firewire is gone. :(
-No price drop on the price point
-No option for SSD. This wouldn't be a problem in the past as it was pretty easy to upgrade the Macbook's hard-drive, but now with the sealed battery, it's much harder to open the thing up just to upgrade the hard-drive. Boo! Hard-drives are the most likely component to fail, and making it not easily user accessible is highly annoying.

No that impressive. Imo, loosing Firewire makes this Macbook more like a downgrade. Expect more demand on the refurbished older Macbooks (grab one if you must have Firewire).

4. Magic Mouse. With the recent news that Apple lost the "Mighty Mouse" name, the name change is highly expected. Finally, another Steve Jobs' obsession coming to fruition, a mouse with no buttons. LOL. Instead of a scroll ball, the surface is multi-touch capable. It's natural to do scrolling on this, but multiple fingers gestures are pretty awkward. It is standard on iMacs, and seems to have better battery life. Oh well, at least you don't have to clean the stupid ball on the old Mighty Mouse anymore.

Other updates include the new remote, and updated Airport Extreme (thus Time Capsule). Not too exciting. Another typical Apple update, with plenty things to love and hate.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My first AT&T wireless bill

Well, I got my first AT&T wireless bill. (Why? We'll get to that in my upcoming post) Why am I doing a blog post about a bill? Because it came with a manual! Yeah, that's right. A manual for a bill.

We usually think a bill as simple. It just shows you what you owe and what you're paying for. But of course, leave it to the wireless carriers to complicate a simple common sense approach by adding bogus fees, charges, taxes, etc, to the point that people are simply confused that they have to pay more that what was advertised (for example, the fees/taxes/charges on my bill is around $10 already!). I'm guessing AT&T did this because they must have gotten a lot of phone calls from people demanding explanations about their bills. Of course, it would have been more logical to simply make the bill simpler, and advertise prices as they will be on the bill. But no, logic is not the way US wireless carriers work. :P

I found this to be too funny that I have to make a video. LOL.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Test post from email

Saturday, September 12, 2009

T-Mobile's myTouch 3G Quick Impression

I stopped by a T-Mobile store yesterday to play with the HTC myTouch 3G. HTC myTouch 3G is the US version of HTC magic, HTC's 2nd gen Android smartphone.

The phone itself feels fairly compact, not as bulky as I thought. Definitely not as bulky as the G1 because the myTouch 3G doesn't have a physical keyboard. If you're coming from a non-touch-screen dumb-phone/S60/Windows Mobile, you'll be amazed by the UI. It uses capacitive touch screen, like the iPhone, thus offers more responsiveness than the likes of resistive touch screens that are commonplace in S60 and Windows Mobile phones. Touch is quite responsive. Having a good touch interface really change the way you interact with the phone. A lot of things become more natural than pressing buttons.

Google maps is awesome. The myTouch 3G has a built-in A-GPS and digital compass. Paired those with Google maps' street view, and you have a completely new experience. The digital compass will keep track on where you're facing automatically. All the other apps are standard fare. The music player is just a basic player. The camera doesn't seem to be that great, but it might be simply because I'm playing with a demo unit.

Like I said, if you're coming from a non-touch screen phones, or smartphones that are designed to use stylus/using resistive touch screen (S60, Winmo), Android's UI is surreal. Considering that this is just version 1.5 of the OS, it's quite an amazing accomplishment. Now, note that I didn't mention the iPhone.

I don't have the iPhone, but I've been using the iPod Touch since the 1st gen. Let's face it, Apple nailed the iPhone OS' UI pretty good. Although the myTouch 3G uses capacitive touch screen, I find the responsiveness to be slightly below my iPod Touch. This is very prevalent when typing on the virtual keyboard. Although the myTouch 3G has auto-correction, which helps a lot, I find myself mistyping letter far too often compared when I'm typing on my iPod Touch. Then there's multi-touch, which is non-existent on the myTouch 3G. Multi-touch makes the iPhone's touch UI to feel very natural, like pinching in/out to zoom in/out. I find that the lack of multi-touch makes the Google maps and internet browser apps on the myTouch 3G to be less intuitive. Then there's the menu button on the myTouch 3G. Really, why do I have to go away from a big touch-screen to press a small button on the bottom to pop up a menu? It detracts me from the whole touch experience. Not cool.
A side note, as far as UI responsivess on a capacitive touch screen, imo the ZuneHD is even better than the iPod Touch, thanks to its nVidia Tegra processor.

So, there's my quick impression on the myTouch 3G. It has a much better user experience compared to the plethora of dumb-phones/resistive touch smartphones. However, Apple really set the bar pretty high. Good thing is, Android is open source, and you can see how quick it's improving going from 1.0 to 1.5. With more and more phones coming out using Android, we will see more and more interesting features. Motorola already announced its Android phone, the Cliq, which is focused on social networking. HTC Hero, HTC's 3rd gen Android phone, will have multi-touch. Once the OS reached 2.0, we may see Sony Ericsson's xPeria X3 using Android.

At this point in time, a regular consumer will have a better user experience on the iPhone. As far as subsidized price, it's the same price as the iPhone. iPhone has more memory, but myTouch 3G has microSD slot. The downside of the iPhone in the US is that it's locked with AT&T, and T-Mobile provides better value in the monthly bill. I do hope, and rooting for Android to be as good, if not better as a platform.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/9/09 Apple Special Event impression

You can download the Special Event keynote from iTunes. I'll be going through the keynote chronologically.
1. Steve Jobs appeared, alive and well, albeit super skinny. Once we go through the whole lackluster event, I think this is the biggest news of all.

2. Genius. Blah, who cares. I already pointed out in the past that Genius to me is stupid. Apple now put the Genius feature for apps. Will see how it goes. I don't have the iPhone, so no ringtones for me. However, $1.29? Really? I thought it was 99c and you can make your own (this option is still available though). In short, ringtones are still a rip-off. Make your own and save your money.

3. iTunes 9. The new iTunes store does feel better than the old one. Definitely easier to navigate. The catch? No more shopping cart. So don't just click happy as it's all 1-click buy now. You have to utilize the wish list to simulate the old shopping cart (yeah, they said wish list is a requested feature, while what they did was renaming the shopping cart). iTunes LP is what cocktail becomes. It's cool, but until they have iTunes LPs for Eurobeat artists like Dave Rodgers, I won't be bothered. They also added Extras to movies, so your iTunes movie purchase is filled with non-useful content that you don't care, like the DVD version. :P

4. Syncing is much more granular now. Instead of having to make individual playlists for specific artists/genres to be synced, iTunes 9 have that option built-in. This is a nice addition. Syncing is also more granular with podcasts and videos, allowing you to specify certain podcasts/videos that you want in the device indefinitely.

5. iTunes 9 Home Sharing. This is a nice feature for those that have iTunes libraries scattered on different computers. Finally iTunes can automatically aggregate the library content between computers with couple of clicks. Very useful if you keep a library on a desktop and another on a laptop. The catch, you need iTunes account, and it only works for computers with the same iTunes account (so no copying music from friends/other family members). Yeah, the recording industry is not that stupid. Kudos to them to limit what you can do with your own content. Luckily, iTunes are now DRM free, so you can always do it the old-fashion way. Home Sharing just makes it a bit more convenient.

6. You can rearrange the App icons of your iPod Touch/iPhone from iTunes 9. Nice long-awaited feature, but I want folders to group certain apps instead of having pages of clutter. Oh well, maybe iTunes 10.

7. iPod Touch. The most disappointing and lackluster announcement. Everybody, including me, is expecting a new Touch with camera, and maybe GPS+compass. Phil went on and on about apps and games, something that everybody knows already. Dissing the PSP and DS won't change the fact that the "new" Touch is NOT new. I guess the rumor that there's production/manufacturing issues with the camera unit is true. So, Apple is focusing the Touch for gaming. Imo, wrong move. Without a significant hardware update, the ZuneHD with nVidia Tegra and 720p HD output + HD radio is a LOT more tempting for enthusiasts, especially Windows users.
So, what do Apple have? 8GB for $199 (the old 2G), 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399. No camera. The 32 and 64GB version are said to be "faster" and support OpenGL ES 2.0, but no confirmation yet whether it has the same innards as the iPhone 3GS. Whatever, Tegra on the ZuneHD sounds better and better. For comparison, ZuneHD 16GB will be $219, and the 32GB will be $289. However you see it, if you're a Windows user and looking for a new toy, the ZuneHD is extremely tempting and gives better value than the Touch, unless you're on a Mac or you want apps.
Other than the ZuneHD, there is not much competition here though. Creative's Zii is not out yet. Sony X series? That's an even worse joke. 16GB for $299, and 32GB for $399 for a standalone MP3 player? I expect Sony to put the X series on clearance soon.
How did I do on my prediction? Well, I was wrong about most of it, only got the 2G 8GB for $199 right.
No Phil, the iPod Touch is not the best iPod yet as it cannot even do shuffle-by-album, something that the Classic and nano can do for ages. The Dell in the back pocket is cute though, something you copied from Sony's Vaio P ad? :P

8. iPod Classic survived! Really, a lot of bloggers, including me, expected Apple to axe the Classic. I didn't even know there's a 160GB hard-drive that thin yet. Oh well, this is good news for some people. Apple is the only one left that sells hard-drive based MP3 player. Microsoft already axed their hard-drive based Zunes. 160GB for $249. No drop in price as Apple knows they're the only player in town now in this category. No new features either, not even the voice over, something that I predicted. Again, I missed the mark, only matching the price point of $249, simply because I was not aware of the thin 160GB being available.

9. iPod Shuffle, the dreaded 3G Shuffle is sticking. Phil kept saying it's the "easiest" iPod to use. Liar. Apple didn't even bother to drop the price. It's still the 4GB for $79, and only added 2GB for $59. Oh, how about an even more expensive piece of useless metal, 4GB stainless steel 3G Shuffle for $99. $99? Really Apple? For something that is barely usable? Let alone that, it's not even gapless capable. Utter fail!
Let's see the competitors:
-Sony's new E series, not as tiny as the 3G Shuffle for sure, but it is much more usable, compatible with any OS, 8GB for $79, 16GB for $99. So, a tiny piece or metal for $99, or a usable MP3 player with screen and buttons, and 4 times the capacity for the same price. Which one would you pick? You have to be a super harcore Apple fanboy to choose the Shuffle.
-Sandisk Sansa Clip+, again, not as tiny as the 3G shuffle, but more usable due to a screen and buttons. 8GB for $69, 4GB for $49. Sure, it's plastic instead of metal, but usability goes up 1000x with only half the price. Take that Apple! Really, Apple could be losing the low-end market here, a place where Apple is doing decently before with the 2G Shuffle.

10. The new 5G nano. So, the iPod that is getting a video camera is the nano, not the iPod Touch. Huh? Yeah, that's what I said. I'm not really sure Apple's strategy here. Steve Jobs said they're targeting the Flip camcorder market. I don't know if that's a market the nano should be going though. The Flip market is going away anyway, as most of today's compact point-n-shoot digicams at similar price point can also take videos (some even in HD), have better optics, optical zoom, and upgradeable memory. Oh, and they take much better pictures than the Flip. So, imo the Flip itself is not going to last long, and Apple wants to go in? The Touch is in a better position to have a video camera as it has the OS for video editing, picture/video uploading via wifi, and apps. The nano has nothing of those. Even worse, the video camera on the new nano cannot take pictures.
On the other hand, there are quite a few surprises. The video itself is 640x480 30fps. Not too shabby, although I wish Apple added widescreen resolution. Also, according to the new spec, the new nano supports HE-AAC. Well, that's new. And yes, iTunes 9 allow ripping to HE-AAC now, max 80kbps. I think there's something going on here. Apple wouldn't just add this for no reason.
Now, the pricing. 8GB for $149, 16GB for $179. People that are not interested in the camera will look elsewhere, like Sony new E/S series (16GB E345 is $99, 16GB S545 is only $129). Even if you're interested in the camera, you have to wonder how's the video quality. No auto-focus? It's clear that Apple added the cheapo camera to keep the premium pricing. Really, if Sony, a company that is not that smart in term of pricing their products, can sell a 16GB MP3 player for $99, I expect Apple to do better.

11. Norah Jones. No Beatles. Nuff said.

So, a pretty lackluster event. The biggest news is, Steve Jobs is alive and well. Apple is missing the mark on everything except the Classic. The 3G Shuffle is as useless as it was, and instead of price drop, Apple upped the premium. The nano, instead of being cheaper, got a questionable video camera, and no significant price drop. The Touch? Where should I begin? Nothing new, weak pricing and featureset vs the ZuneHD. Microsoft, this is your big chance to push the ZuneHD as much as possible. Even better, just drop the price point to $199 and $249 for the 16GB and 32GB ZuneHD respectively. That might give Steve Jobs a bit of headache. Oh, and where's Mac support for the Zune? This is a rare chance for Microsoft to snag some Mac users. However, I doubt that MS is that smart (they cannot even put unicode fonts in the Zune).

Now, taking a step back, let's take a look at the iPod Touch lineup. Did you notice something missing? Yeah, no 16GB! There a jump from 8GB to 32GB. I wonder what is going on here. I can speculate that, assuming the production problems is true, that Apple has to fill the gap quick, and put the 8GB 2G Touch back. The 16GB was reserved for the intended new Touch with camera. Also, in the end, Steve said "See you soon." I'm guessing an October event, introducing the true 3G Touch with video camera, 16GB at $249 and 32GB at $349, filling the gaps nicely, co-existing with the current lineup. Voila! :)

There you go, my impression of the 9/9/09 Apple event, and with some analysis/rumor at the end to boot! :P

Monday, September 7, 2009

Final Attack Ride... Di..Di..Di..DiEnd!!

September Apple event is coming

It's this Wednesday, 9/9/09. I'll be following gdgt for keynote coverage and watching TWIT live for Leo Laporte's commentaries (and occasional live spycam from the keynote). I'll be comparing notes with my own prediction.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

ZuneHD dock box

ZuneHD dock box, originally uploaded by patashinka.

ZuneHD dock box

Decade vs Kuuga: A bunch of fools

LOL. I found these pics in forums. Apparently Masahiro Inoue (Kamen Rider Decade) and Ryouta Murai (Kamen Rider Kuuga: DCD ver) have been fooling around, parodying Decade's transforming into another rider, ...

...and Decade Complete Form's finisher. Hilarious!

Glad to see the actors are having fun! LOL

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sushi dinner 2

Sushi dinner 2, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Sushi dinner 2

Sushi dinner

Sushi dinner, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Sushi dinner

Monday, August 17, 2009

Watching District 9

Watching District 9, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Watching District 9

Thursday, July 30, 2009

J-Dorama: Hancho

Yet another detective/mystery dorama. Hancho is like the complete opposite of Boss. The leader (Namikiri from Zettai Kareshi), is a kind and soft-spoken leader, the cases are a bit simpler, and slower pacing. Not as exciting as Boss, but oh well, a nice filler while waiting for other doramas to be fansubbed.

Of course, there's Kamen Rider connection here too, although they're just supporting characters. There's Kamen Rider Hibiki as a patrolman, and in episode 2, Kamen Rider Knight as a guest star (also Kirihara from Keitai Sousakan 7)

Update: LOL. The Kamen Rider connection didn't stop there. Kamen Rider Agito is actually in here too, as one of the main casts. I truly didn't recognize him. I mean come on, short black hair? Definitely not a recognizable trait, right? LOL. (He had long colored hair in Agito, like normal Japanese person... LOL). So, Agito, Hibiki, and 1 episode of Knight.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

2009 iPods rumor

Okay, time to put on my analyst hat and do my own rumors/predictions for the next iPod lineup coming later this year as more and more rumors start popping up in the blogosphere. With more and more "analyst" pulling stuff out of obviousness and thin air, I think I could co better.

Let's start with the iPod shuffle. The iPod shuffle got an early makeover earlier this year, in the form of the 3G Shuffle, which sports no buttons on the main body. It drew a lot of criticism, but it seems obvious to me that this is just Apple's testbed on how the market will react to the voice over feature. Couple things that may happen:
1. Apple keeping the current 4GB 3G shuffle as is, maybe dropping the price to $50-$60 level.
2. Apple bringing back the 2G shuffle form factor with buttons, but with the 3G innards (Voice over, Apple lossless support, Apple earbud+remote support, etc). Apple is still selling the 2G shuffle (1GB for $50), so why not making the lineup matching again with the same form factor. I can see Apple spinning the criticism of the 3G Shuffle by saying "The people are demanding buttons on the Shuffle, and we're going to give it to them!" (Cue in the claps and cheers from the audience). I still think Apple might drop the price to the $50-$60 level too. 2GB 2G Shuffle for $40-$50, 4GB "3.5G" Shuffle at $50-$60.
3. Clean up the 3G Shuffle even more, getting rid of the shuffle slider resulting in just a completely smooth piece of aluminum with a headphone jack (no buttons nor sliders). Put an accelerometer in it, and voila, Shuffle with "shake to shuffle" feature. LOL.
Whatever happens, I just want Apple to put gapless playback into the Shuffle.

Next, the iPod nano. The 4G nano is a clear sign that Apple is running out of ideas for the lineup (Shake to shuffle? Really?). In fact, I still prefer the 3G nano's Now Playing screen as it shows the song's rating while the 4G nano does not. The only thing that makes the 4G nano attractive is its selection of colors. So, here are my predictions:
1. Keeping the same 4G nano but adding voice over feature, and cutting the price so Apple can push the pricing of the iPod Touch without overlapping. So maybe 8GB for $99, 16GB for $149, in line with the current refurbished pricing.
2. Currently, there are rumors about the new nano sporting a camera. Imo this is just too farfetched, and even sillier than adding "shake to shuffle." Unless, of course Apple has something up their sleeve. I'm guessing of a touch screen nano. It will have a touch screen covering the front face completely like the iPod Touch. Instead of having a full iPhone/Touch OS, it will just have a stripped down ver of the OS, with only the iPod app plus the basic apps (Contacts, Calendar, Photo. No Mail/Safari/app store, etc). Now, with this setting, adding a camera might work, as it already has the OS to support it. Basically an iPod Touch nano, focusing more on the iPod features. Obviously it will have voice over too. The camera would probably just the basic 2MP one from the 1st gen iPhone (Apple probably already have a boatload of these), not the 3.2MP one from the 3GS. This might work, and will also give Apple a leverage to keep a bit of price premium. 16GB for $179, 8GB for $129. I can see the new slogan already, "Touch, on the smallest iPod ever."
Regardless of what happen, it's a given that there is going to be a price cut and voice over. Either way, I can see the line of standalone DAPs on its last leg, with the trend going to a mobile-OS based PMPs (in Apple's case, the iPod Touch).

iPod Classic, the original iPod lineup that, unfortunately, is getting a step-child treatment. Last year, it didn't even get any UI upgrades, other than the support of the earbud with remote+mic and Genius. It also an oddball in Apple's usually clean lineup, having an overlapping price with the iPod Touch. My guess for the Classic:
1. Keeping the same 120GB, adding voice over. Really, Apple cannot do much on the classic. I don't see Toshiba releasing higher capacity 5mm height hard-drives than the current 120GB. Plus, Apple's obsession with thinness made them discontinued the thicker Classics last year, so I doubt Apple would bring them back. Price cut might happen too, dropping the price to, let's say, $199 to $229. Really, not many competitors here other than the Zune 120, so Apple might as well keep the same $249 price point.
2. Discontinue it altogether. Apple might just decide it's time to truly focus on the iPod Touch, and the oddball Classic pricing was in the way. This might irk some people desiring high capacity players, but I don't think the majority of the consumers would be bothered. I doubt the sales of the Classic is that great, as the big sellers are the Touch and nano.
3. Make a flash based Classic. Really, this is my wish. As much as I love the 3G nano, its controls are just too small. I love my 5G iPod, but the hard-drive prevented me from using it on the go. If Apple went to the route of the Touch nano, maybe we can see a Touch Classic. It will have a full touch screen like the iPod Touch, but with the stripped down OS like the Touch nano, focusing on the iPod capabilities (no safari, no app store, etc). Price and capacity, maybe 16GB at $199, and 32GB at $299. Imo this is highly unlikely though, as it is really overlapping with the iPod Touch, and Apple usually prefer a clean lineup.
Well, it's sad to see high capacity hard-drive based players are going away. It wasn't that long ago we have hard-drive based Creative Jukebox, and the original iPod. Flash memory are just more reliable, and their pricing continues to go down.

Lastly, the iPod Touch. This is the flagship iPod product. Current rumors are that the next Touch will sport a camera, and I think it's true. I can see the next Touch sharing the same hardware with the iPhone 3GS, minus the phone, GPS, and compass. It will have the same camera, the same video recording capability, and a built-in mic. Voice over and voice command are a given. The only question is pricing.
1. 1 way is Apple keeping the premium price and follow the same trend as the iPhone. 16GB for $299, 32GB for $399, and keeping the 8GB 2G Touch at $199. Apple does want people to get the iPhone, thus the 2G Touch pricing was not cheaper than the iPhone 3G. Apple might decide to keep the Touch prices higher than the iPhone 3GS to encourage people buying the iPhone instead.
2. Or Apple can be aggressive, simply price the 16GB new Touch at $199, and 32GB at $299. This will really make the competitors scrambling (especially looking at Sony's pricing of their X series).
3. A more conservative pricing, matching the ZuneHD. The ZuneHD is rumored to start at 16GB at $249, so maybe Apple would simply follow that. 16GB for $249, 32GB for $349. Still a good deal if it has the auto focus camera and a built-in mic. Might not be so hot otherwise though, as the ZuneHD can output 720p.
To be honest, I just want Apple to put shuffle-by-album feature on the iPod Touch. this is a basic feature on the regular iPods. Why is it not in the supposedly "best iPod ever"?

So, there's my analysis prediction for the next iPod lineup, way before all the so-called analysts making their obvious predictions. Take that. LOL. Alas, I'm not getting paid while those so-called analysts are getting paid for writing the obvious.

One can see, as I already stated before, that the trend is going towards mobile OS platform. Standalone DAPs are going nowhere, and a smarter device is the obvious next step. Microsoft is using Windows mobile/CE for the ZuneHD. Apple already have the mobile OS X for the Touch. Sony is going Android for their next Walkman. Standalone DAPs will be just low end cheapo DAPs.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Futatsu no Spica & BOSS

I just finished watching Akai Ito. Need to watch different doramas with lighter theme. By the way, a lot of the problems in many sad/depressing life doramas could've been prevented with a condom (referring to the teen pregnancy theme in Akai Ito and Koizora). Geez.

Anyway, here's a new one, Futatsu no Spica. Apparently it's from a manga/anime.
Another dorama, another story. This one is about students studying to become astronauts. Doesn't seem like a fun storyline, does it. Well, how about this:
Nakagawa Sara decided to leave her old life & memories (she lost her memories anyway in Akai Ito) and pursue her dream becoming an astronaut. At the National Tokyo Aerospace School, she met Kamen Rider Zeronos who shares the same dream. With their other classmates, they have to face tough challenges provided by Tomine Issei (the wine critic from Kami no Shizuku), a seemingly mean instructor. Oh, then there's the 3rd son from Atashinchi no Danshi playing water rockets (I don't know the story about him yet, still on the 1st episode).

LOL, yeah, after a while, it seems that I'm seeing the same actors/actresses again and again in dorama. Oh, and it seems every dorama now has a Kamen Rider connection.

Speaking of recurring actors, A-kun (from Akai Ito) decided to leave Mei-chan and joined a detective team in BOSS.
A funny mystery dorama. The main lady detective is a profiler, but due to the discrimination against police women, she is given a team of people with questionable qualities. However, they always managed to solve the mysteries. Very fun dorama.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

I finally watched Transformers 2, on IMAX. ^_^ Well, it's not really a real IMAX, it's kinda like a fake IMAX/IMAX lite. The screen was bigger than a regular theater screen, but far from the real IMAX screen. Anyway, here are my impression of the movie.

***WARNING*** Spoilers ahead.

The good stuff:
-Optimus' fighting scenes are simply awesome. In the first movie, Optimus looked pretty weak for an Autobot leader, but on this movie, he kicks ass. One battle had him fighting 3 Decepticons all at once, including Megatron. He ripped some Decepticon heads/faces, literally, quite a few times.
-Soundwave is in the movie, complete with his familiar voice. Sure, he's just a satellite and didn't participate in any of the battles, but it's still cool to hear his signature voice again.
-Optimus and Jetfire "super-linking" is also awesome, albeit only temporary. I didn't expect this at all. Basically Jetfire sacrificed himself to combine with Optimus Prime, becoming a jet-pack/armor/big cannons. Powering up like this sounded more like something the Japanese would do, so I was completely surprised. Really awesome. Alas, the armors fell off at the end of the final battle, thus this is not a permanent feature.
-The first combiner appeared, Devastator. I always love the combiners in Transformers. Devastator is the first Decepticon combiner, and was featured in the movie. Sure, it's nothing like the cartoon version at all, but at least they did it. The downside is they didn't really show the individual smaller robots. It would've been more awesome if they have all the individual robots fighting first, and then combined mid-fight. Due to the more organic style the movie took, I thought they wouldn't be able to do combiners. Glad they did it.
-Most movies use fictional characters. In Transformers 2, they actually use Obama as the US president.

Things along the way that I guessed wrong:
-When I was shopping at Target, they have Superion, an Autobot combiner, as a Transfomers 2 movie toy lineup. It's a re-color of Superion from TF: Superlink, and did not match the organic style of the movie at all, but I was hoping he would show up. Alas, not the case. Only Devastator appeared.
-Although I did guess that Optimus is going to die, I thought he would be dead for good just like in the Transformers cartoon, thinking that they would bring Rodimus Prime in. But no, Optimus was revived.
-When Sam died, he met the ancient Primes. I thought Sam is going to be the actual Matrix of leadership himself, thus becoming a Transformers and combining with Optimus Prime, reviving him. Kinda like the Godmasters in TF: Masterforce where the Transformers have human partners. But no, he was revived and simply stab Optimus with the Matrix. Kinda wished he's dead for good though (more of that on my rant).

Now, the bad, the annoyances, the ugly, the sucky parts, aka my rant about the movie:
-Humans, humans everywhere. I mean God, even Megatron only had very minimal screen time. Forget about Ironhide, Ratchet, etc. Even Bumblebee didn't get that much screen time. Most of the scenes are about the humans. The amount of screen time spent on the humans are a lot more than the first movie. I mean come on, this is supposed to be a Transformers movie, a movie about robots. None of main human characters are even dead (only the cannon fodders were).
-Too much un-needed scenes. The scenes about Sam going to college are a complete waste of screen time. Too much unnecessary scenes (he's getting ready to go to college, leaving the house, the parents, going to college, his mom got high, going to college party, etc). Yeah, there are few funny scenes, but all of them are hardly related to the actual plot. Instead of this, they should show more scenes about the Autobots hunting down Decepticons, or put more background about Starscream building up his army. Something more about the Transformers, not about a teenager getting anxiety attacks.
-Too many un-needed characters. First, Leo Spitz, a conspiracy theorist geek. His character is pretty much a comic relief, who is hardly even funny. His character is completely unnecessary. In fact, I could imagine the movie without his character at all, and it's still going to be the same. Then there are the 2 stupid Autobots, Mudflap and Skids, that are supposed to be another comic-relief, but served nothing other than 2 un-needed annoyances. Next, Sam's parents. It's not like they are not needed, but they have too many un-needed screen time. They have more screen time than any of the the Autobots. Again, without them, the movie would've not changed that much. Next, Alice, a Decepticon Pretender. She's basically a Decepticon transforming into a human. Wait, what? Another un-needed character, which are shown mostly in those un-needed college scenes, and also a plot hole. If the Transformers can transform into a human, then why don't they all do that? Why bother with vehicles if they can simply blend in looking like humans? I thought I was watching Terminator 3. (Note that the Pretenders are actually featured in Transformers: Masterforce, but that's a Japanese only series)
-Too-many un-funny stereotype jokes. There are so many of these that sometimes the movie felt really unbearable. Sam's over-protective mom, Sam's "anxiety" attacks, the college weed, Sam's sexual awkwardness with Alice, Mudflap and Skid's banters, Jetfire's "old-man" behaviors and farting, all scenes about Leo, the soldier encounter at the border (New York? I don't get it), etc.
-When Jazz died in the first movie, the Autobots are clearly saddened by it. When Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots died, it's like nobody really cared except Sam. None of the Autobots (Ironhide, Ratchet, Sideswipe) seemed to be bothered. I mean I would expect Ratchet to at least tried his hardest to revive/fix Optimus, but no, nothing.
-Sam Witwicky didn't die. Yeah, I really wish they killed this character. When Sam died, I was rejoicing. Finally! I was so happy that I can finally watch a Transformers movie without a story about some teenage angst issues. But no, suddenly he revived. What a waste. Hopefully they killed him in the 3rd movie.
-Too many obvious scenes selling Megan Fox. Yeah, Megan Fox is hot, but come on, please be a little bit more discreet about it. First scene, she was painting a small logo on her bike, wearing a super short shorts, and bending down. Yeah, right. the last quarter of the movie were the worst. They have a frantic battle scene between the military, Autobots, and Decepticons firing at each other, but then when Megan Fox was running, it's in slow mo. Not only once, but a few times. Megan Fox fell on the sand, slow-mo. Megan Fox doing something, slow-mo. I mean WTF? It's like Michael Bay gave up on the movie and simply using Megan Fox and bouncing tits to sell the movie.
-Simply not enough bots. Sure, Optimus did some superb fighting scenes, but other than those, none of the other Autobots do much. Ironhide, Ratchet, and Sideswipe have only a brief of screen time, and they're supposed to be the main Autobots. I barely saw Arcee. The Decepticons had better share, but still hardly enough screen time compared to the humans. I saw the annoying Leo a lot more than Megatron.

Transformers 2 is an eye popping CGI/explosion action fest. Although it's an okay movie, as a Trasformers movie, it's still disappointing. They could've done a lot more about the Transformers. Hopefully they would do better for the 3rd movie. I can't see any more reason to have Sam Witwicky character, other than to keep Megan Fox and use her as the movie's sex symbol.

What I want to see on the next movie: More combiners, Omega Supreme, Unicron, Fortress Maximus, more super-linking/power-up modes, and less/no humans. Oh well, they probably could've just had Megan Fox taking off her clothes as the 3rd movie and call it a day, and it will still sell.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

First Impression of the Genius Bar

So, if you're following my twitter, you know that my iMac's hard-drive is dead, and it's actually an opportunity to experience of going to the Genius bar at a local Apple store. Couple points that I would like to make:
1. Make a reservation online. Don't think that you can just walk into an Apple store and get help right away, especially for tech support. While I was waiting for my turn, I saw a couple of people being told to make a reservation for another day.

2. Do your homework. Just like any tech support situation, things can go faster/smoother if you do your homework. In my case, I already did my own diagnostics to confirm that the hard-drive in my iMac is truly dead. At the genius bar, the genius tried to do his own diagnostic by booting from his external hard-drive, which didn't work anyway. If I didn't tell him what I did, we would probably have spent more time trying to diagnose the problem. Also, write down your Mac's serial number and/or Apple care number. It would help the genius since Apple put the serial number of the iMac on the bottom of the stand(!).

3. Speaking of time, just because you have a reservation, don't expect that you'll be helped right at the appointed time. It seems that there are only a few geniuses in the store, and depending on how long they are working on each customer's case, things could be pretty backed up. I had to wait for a bit over my appointed time because the genius wasn't done with the customer in front of me.

4. Waiting can be awkward in an Apple store (I assume it depends on the store). The one I went into doesn't really have a set "counter/line" like a traditional B&M store (except for the line for the iPhone 3GS). When I arrived, naturally I went to the genius bar. Then one of the guys said to check in on the counter, which is just a small table in the middle with 2 iMacs and a girl with orange T-shirt. Good thing one of the guys obviously saw I was confused, asked my for my name, and quickly went to one the iMacs on that table and "checked" me in. Then It's a waiting time. There was not a set "waiting" area. I was standing like a doofus, then I just sit down on an empty chair near the "bar." I'm guessing Apple wants to make the experience more casual, but at the same time it could be confusing without proper signs/directions.

5. Somebody need to clarify/make a guide for the color-coded T-shirts of the Apple store employees. There are employees in cyan, orange, and dark-blue T-shirts. At first I thought the cyan are the geniuses, but I think they're sales. Orange is probably concierge? The gal that is checking people in wears orange T-shirt. The geniuses are in dark-blue.

One big point that I want to make, is how GLAD I am that I bought Apple care (Apple's extended warranty) for my iMac. I bought my iMac in May 2008. Guess what, the hard-drive failed on June 2009, 1 month after the default warranty would've ended. Without Apple care, it would'be been $100 just for the diagnostic. Now, if this is a regular tower PC, I wouldn't worry about extended warranties. In fact, I replace broken hard-drives pretty often on my other PCs. They're regular PCs so it's easy to just buy a hard-drive, open up the case, and replace it. However on the iMac, it's a different story. I looked at tech websites, and to get to the hard-drive in an iMac, you would have to dismantle the whole thing, remove the glass display AND the LCD. That's too hardcore for me.

Another great thing about Apple is the presence of the Apple stores. If it's an HP/Dell PC, and it needs something fixed that I couldn't do myself, I would've to call a tech support in India, setup a shipment, ship the computer, wait for days/weeks (excluding ship time), etc etc. Or, HP/Dell would send a spare part and I would've to do the repairing myself. Or go to Bestbuy's Geek squad and spent a fortune. Compare that to setting up an appointment with the Genius online, coming in on a weekend to a local store, and being told that things will be fixed in a couple days. It's definitely a much better experience. The only downside is if there are no Apple stores around your area.

So, there you go, my first experience with Apple's Genius bar. We'll see how long it would take for Apple to fix my iMac. The genius said it's a day or two. Hopefully my iMac is well taken care of.

Note to self: consider SSD when buying a new computer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

iMac going back into its box :'(

iMac going back into its box :'(

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dead iMac :'(

Dead iMac :'(, originally uploaded by patashinka.

The hard-drive in my iMac went toast. :-(

2G iPod Touch Bluetooth

3.0 firmware unlocks the Bluetooth capability of the 2G Touch. I tried pairing it with a Sony Bluetooth dongle, and it works fine for the most part. Pairing works, albeit a bit slow vs a cellphone. The Sony Bluetooth dongle has playback controls. Play, pause, and volume controls work, but next/prev track controls do not. The mic on the Bluetooth dongle is not recognized by the Touch nor apps like Skype. :( oh well. Turning on wifi while streaming audio via Bluetooth caused audio dropouts and weird slowdowns. Other than that, it's a nice perk but not terribly useful.

iPod Touch 3.0 firmware

I decided to cough up yet another $10 to update the firmware of my iPod Touch to 3.0. This trend of Apple charging money for firmware updates for the iPod Touch is truly annoying. I mean come on, they are going to sell Snow Leopard, an OS upgrade, for only $29, yet $10 for a firmware update for an iPod? I have yet to see other companies charging money for firmware updates. Even Sony gives free firmware updates for the PSP and PS3.

Anyway, aside form the rant, here are a quick impression of the 3.0 firmware installed on a 2G Touch.
-The download size of the firmware is a hefty 257.8MB.
-Installing and upgrading the firmware on my 2G Touch went without any issues. It seems pretty quick too, quicker than I expected.
-Couple new options in iTunes for the Touch. First is the option to encrypt the backup (iTunes will ask for a password). 2nd is the option to sync notes (not sure if this had existed before or not).

Now on the 2G iPod Touch itself:
-A lot of the features have been previewed twice by Apple, on the sneak peek in March, and on WWDC 09.
-Calculator seems to load faster
-There's an option to turn on Bluetooth in the Settings. Yup, Bluetooth on the 2G Touch is unlocked with the 3.0 firmware. Have not played with it though.
-Shake to shuffle. It is a gimmick on the 4G nano, and imo still a gimmick.
-In Settings, there's an option to manage your iTunes account.
-Autofill for Safari. Could be a security/privacy concern for some. I leave it off.
-Spotlight search: Quite amazing. You can set on what it will search in Settings. You can set to invoke Spotlight with double click of the Home button.
-Speaking of search, almost all of the built-in app like Music, Video, Contacts, Mail, etc have Search on the top if you scroll up through the top of the list.
-Voice Memos. Voice recording, obviously the 2G Touch would need an external mic as it doesn't have a built-in one. I use the Apple in-ear bud with mic, and it works fine. You can also trim the recording afterwards. Other than that, pretty basic. I expect more 3rd parties will make good external mics for the Touch/iPhone.
-Maps have some GUI changes. Nothing significant, but seems a bit prettier with some new dots and icons.
-Now you can log-in to your Youtube/google account in the Youtube app. The app will list your fav videos, and you can rate & put comments on videos.
-Stocks got quite a bit of facelift. It will show a larger graph on landscape. It also list some news related to the particular stock.
-Copy-n-Paste. Well, it works, across apps too (tried copy-n-pasting from Safari to Notes). The Shake to undo is pretty neat. A lot of people are making fun of Apple's cut-n-paste, yet I don't really see a lot of devices implement copy-n-paste across apps nor undo.
-When you invoke the iPod controls on the stand-by screen, it will show the track title, album, and artist.
-Chinese character input. Now you can use your finger to write down a Chinese character. Not that great though as a finger is not as thin as a stylus. The iPod will try to guess what you're writing, and it seems to work okay. I don't think it will be efficient though compared to stylus-based input.
-Now you can pay audio podcasts at double the speed or half the speed. Useful for lectures I guess.
-Still no shuffle-by-album feature. >:( Lame, just lame, considering this feature have existed on the regular iPods and nanos forever, and the fact that Apple is touting the iPhone/Touch as "the best iPod."
-Movies are now available on the iTunes store. Dunno how useful this will be though as it would take forever downloading movies on the device, even via wifi. Then there's the capacity issue.
-TONS of language options and keyboards. This is quite amazing actually. I have not seen an electronic device being localized extensively into so many languages in 1 firmware.

In the end, is it worth $10 for 2G Touch users? I'm afraid I have to say yes, as the 3.0 firmware will unlock Bluetooth on the 2G Touch. 1G Touch, however, don't have Bluetooth nor mic support for voice recording, so the value of the 3.0 firmware is not that great. Thing is, sooner or later I can see that most apps in the app store would require the 3.0 firmware.

I still think for Apple charging money for firmware updates is lame. You don't see this behavior with any other companies. The lack of shuffle-by-album feature is also super lame, considering this is a standard feature on regular iPods. Some of the features like cut-n-paste are way overdue. The 3.0 firmware is the natural progression of the iPhone/Touch platform. While companies like Sony are still confused on what they're selling, Apple is definitely turning into the definitive portable media player maker. With the iPhone 3GS getting better camera and video recording, we'll see if those feature will trickle down to the iPod Touch.

I will post more impression on the Bluetooth feature later.

Monday, June 15, 2009

test posting from twhirl to everything. =)
test message from

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Random pic

Random pic, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


CPR?, originally uploaded by patashinka.

CPR? Looks more like suffocation.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Nissan Cube

Nissan Cube, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Saw a Nissan Cube. Looks pretty cute

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Juicy surprise! Lol

Juicy surprise! Lol, originally uploaded by patashinka.


Bentley, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Bentley in front of me. Economic crisis? Lol

Black cod. Kinda small

Black cod. Kinda small, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Godzilla roll

Godzilla roll, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Damn it's hot!

Damn it's hot!, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

E3: The Big 3 Press Conference impression

Just finished watching the press conferences of Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony at E3. You can watch them at Gamespot.
Anyway, here's my impression. Note that I don't think I'm a hardcore gamer anymore. Although I still love gaming, I feel that I cannot keep up with games that are too time consuming. Maybe I'm getting too old. T_T. Also, even though there are some announcements made on specific press conferences, nowadays game developers cannot afford to be console exclusive anymore, and many games being announced are multi-platform.

-Their press conference started with a bang, The Beatles Rockband. It started with a very nice animation of a cartoony version of the Beatles. And, Microsoft really showed everybody that they have money, by having Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appeared on stage, including Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. They didn't say much or anything significant, but it felt like MS showing Sony/Nintendo that they have the $$$., Netflix and facebook on 360. I don't know, but who cares? Plus, is only for XBL gold members. I can get for free on my iPod Touch. Besides, who wants to listen to music with the noisy 360 around? I can get Netflix streaming without additional cost on Vista Media Center.
-Monkey Island! Yay, they are remaking the original Secret of Monkey Island adventure game. I hope this will bring back adventure games on the map. I grew up and love adventure games.
-Squenix showing a playable demo of FF13 on the 360. Looks great. It's like they're giving a finger at Sony. LOL. Alas, it's dubbed in English, and it's already confirmed that US FF13 won't have Japanese voice. :(
-Hideo Kojima, announcing Metal Gear Solid: Rising for the 360, starring Raiden. He spoke in English. Why did I mention this? We'll find out later.
-Project natal. It's Microsoft's attempt to counter the Wii motion control. Their approach is not with motion control, but with motion capture, no controllers at all. Instead, they have a camera capturing all your movements. The video showed some promises, but the live demo fell flat. It's no way as responsive as the concept video. Sure, it's still in development, but I don't think MS can pull an effective motion capture at consumer grade hardware/prices. But that's not the surprise. The surprise is Steven Spielberg showing up on stage. Yup, Microsoft brought Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and now Spielberg. Even Sony didn't bring any celebrity on-stage.
-Overall, MS' press conference is so so. Not a fans of the Beatles, so couldn't care less about their game (Now if they make DJ Hero Eurobeat, I'm buying ^_^). I'm hardly impressed anymore with yet-another FPS game, let alone more Halo. Love to see more traditional adventure games. Project natal looks promising, but I don't think it will deliver.

-If you're a Mario fan, you're in for a treat. New Super Mario and Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii, and Mario & Luigi RPG for the DS. Yeah, Nintendo is squeezing more $$$ out of their mascot.
-If you have been reading any tech blogs, the Wii motion plus is nothing new. It will track how you hold the Wii remote, and create a lot more possibility of motion control on the Wii. Imo it's also the most plausible tech that will actually work as advertised, compared to MS' project natal and Sony's motion control. Wii Sports Resorts gameplay is shown. Unlike MS and Sony, Nintendo is ready to ship this.
-Wii Vitality sensor. It's just like those heart rate sensor on treadmills. Dunno how it's going to be useful in gaming though, other than Wii sports and the likes.
-Team Ninja + Nintendo making a new Metroid game. Looks cool, but I'm not really familiar with Metroid in the first place. I might get the bundle of older Metroid games first.
-Misc other games: More RPGs from Squenix, a new Resident Evil game for the Wii (looks like a rail-shooter, RE officially becomes a shooter game, not a horror adventure game anymore), Dead Space for Wii, some games for the DSi, and more Nintendo bragging how they make games for everyone (read: more shovelware).
-Not terribly exciting either. I might get the Wii fit plus and Sports Resorts. Other than that, meh.

-Sony is still selling PS2, and telling people to buy it. That means no PS2 backward compatibility in PS3 anytime soon. First fail.
-How many times Hannah Montana is mentioned? Pink PSP? Instead of releasing the various colors of PSP like in Japan, Sony is focused on Hannah Montana. Second fail. I mean is Sony really that desperate that they have to rely on Hannah Montana?
-PSP Go is official. 16GB, awkward analog thumb-stick, Memory Stick M2 so you have to spend more money instead of using your current Memory Stick duo/pro duo, not released till October, and $250. $250? Sony is just out of touch with today's economy. For that amount of money, people would rather buy the iPod Touch/iPhone, which is highly more usable device with a really big potential as a gaming platform. Oh, and guess what, knowing Apple, they would release the 3G Touch in September, BEFORE the PSP Go is out. Oh, and what if you already have UMD-based PSP games? Well, you have to re-buy the downloadable versions. 3rd fail. I think developers and users would start avoiding UMD altogether. Oh well, at least a nail in UMD's coffin.
-Squenix showing a video, yup only a video, not a playable demo, of FF13, unlike MS' press conference. 4th fail. Oh, and the video showed the game dubbed in English. I think it's official that US ver of FF13 will not have Japanese audio, even though PS3 uses blu-ray. F U Squenix.
-FF14 announced to be exclusive on the PS3. This is actually a surprise. However, FF14 is an online MMO, just like FF11, not a traditional JRPG. 5th fail. Why? Sony said it's PS3 exclusive. Squenix, later on the same day, announced that FF14 will be released simultaneously on the PS3 AND the PC. Yup, that "exclusivity" didn't even last a day. It's obvious that this cannot be PS3 exclusive since an MMO needs a large user base, and the PS3 doesn't really have that many user base to begin with.
-Hideo Kojima announcing a Metal Gear game for the PSP, speaking Japanese with a translator. Now, didn't he just speak English at Microsoft's press conference? LOL. The trailer is funny though, especially at the end, typical Konami.
-PS3 motion control. Looked like a black dildo with a lighted tip. LOL. Now, with Sony's, you have to have 2 of the motion controllers to simulate a bow & arrow, while Nintendo could do it with just 1 motion controller (Wii remote + Nunchuck). Still, the tech demo showed some promises and it utilized the PS3 Eye camera, looked more plausible than Microsoft's project natal. It's still prototype though, while Nintendo is ready to ship the Wii motion plus.
-More hype around Playstation Home. It looks great, until you realize Sony nickel-and-diming every small things, and it's just a glorified IRC chat room with long load times.
-Gran Turismo, finally for the PSP. How long have we waited for this?
-There is an exciting news at Sony's press conference. God of War 3. Its gameplay looked awesome, and so brutal. I'll be looking forward to this one. Other than that, it's just another meh. No mini PS3, no price drops, nothing super exciting.

So, there you go. There are a lot of other games announcements. Overall, the main them of the big 3's press conferences are next-gen game controls. Nintendo with its Wii motion plus, MS with its motion capture project natal, and Sony with its own motion controller. Nice concepts, but we'll see how plausible they are in real life, with Nintendo being the most plausible and ready to ship.

I do hope classic point-n-click adventure game genre to be back on the map. With the focus of non-hardcore-gamers, I hope we will see more games in this genre. A new Gabriel Knight game would be awesome. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer is here!

Summer is here!, originally uploaded by patashinka.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pocky choco banana

Pocky choco banana, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Miso Ramen

Miso Ramen, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Test, originally uploaded by patashinka.

Another 1

Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone.


Test, originally uploaded by pika2000.


Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone.


Test, originally uploaded by pika2000.


Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone.

Test upload

Test upload, originally uploaded by pika2000.


Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Big ass padlock

Big ass padlock, originally uploaded by pika2000.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

God Hand Teru, 1st Episode Impression

First episode of God Hand Teru has been subbed by TimeLesSub (Fansub FTW!). Apparently, this dorama is based form a manga of the same name. Teru is a young new doctor/surgeon in a top hospital. His dad is a brilliant surgeon, that people call him of having the God Hand. The first episode started just like any dorama. I thought this is going to be a J-dorama version of ER. Well, the realism is completely shattered on Teru's first surgery. Here, take a look: (make sure you watch in HQ)

First of all, there are a lot of pauses of silence and self thoughts during the surgery. In real life, the patient would've been dead from the get go. You don't see doctors pausing and having deep thoughts during surgery in ER. But okay, this is a dorama after all.
And then, bam, Teru's superpower is shown. I swear I saw him saying "Henshin!" Now, that is just too much. I mean come on. In the J-dorama Voice, Daiki, the main character, has an anime-like deductive power, but the CG effect is very minimal and within the context of the situation. God Hand Teru's surgery scene is just way too overblown, contrasting the rest of the dorama. Reminded me of the Nintendo DS game Trauma Center. Oh well, hopefully they don't recycle that lengthy fanservice "Henshin" scene too often.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Well, I decided to join in the Get Down meme, using a stop motion of Kamen Rider Dark Kabuto action figure. Enjoy:

This is my first attempt in making stop motion animation, and yeah, stop motion is quite tedious. Basically I took a couple pictures of the figure in different poses. At first, I tried iMovie09. Well, the meme requires the stop motion to be pretty fast. iMovie09 doesn't allow picture slideshow to be faster than 1 second per picture. The fast forward effect is not available for slideshows either. Tried iPhoto, no luck. Finally, I decided to dust up the old iMovie HD (iMovie06). Luckily I still keep a copy when Apple offered them for free. iMovie HD allows very short duration for pictures. Perfect. I created the stop motion video using iMovie HD, and did the final editing with everything else in iMovie09.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More Get Down ("ゲッダン") Internet Meme

LOL. This phenomena is more infectious that I thought. There are pretty much any anime characters you could think of doing this in Youtube. Everybody is doing it, and it's worldwide.
Let's start with George W Bush.

Even Kim Jong Il is getting down. LOL.

Get Down ("ゲッダン") Internet Meme

I can't believe I missed this. This is yet another internet video meme infecting youtube. It's started from somebody posting a glitch in the game GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64, where the characters and objects are spinning.
This is the original glitch video:

Well, somebody added a J-Pop song, Promise by Kohmi Hirose, and the result is hilarious!

Of course, knowing Japan, come the animation versions:

Oh, and don't forget the double Lockon Stratos version. I can't stop laughing.

And, typical Japanese, they have to make the real live action versions.

OMG, this is just hilarious. Oh yeah, the guy on the top left corner is naked... LOL.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wonton soup 4 lunch

Wonton soup 4 lunch, originally uploaded by pika2000.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sakura-con 2009 Day 1

Day 1 of Sakura-con 2009. My first 2 hours was pretty much wasted waiting in line to pick up my badge, and I pre-registered already. The regular registration line must be worse. The line was DAMN LONG! The line in 2008 wasn't this long. I even saw a lady freaking out, bitching to one of the staff that she already waited too long and wanted to cut in line. LOL. To make matter worse, they announced that their credit/debit machine broke down. I almost felt a riot was coming. After I left, the line was even longer. Not a good start.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Kamen Rider Decade Funny Clips

Natsumikan is probably Decade's most powerful enemy.

To be honest, I'm getting disappointed with Decade.
1. In the 1st episode, Seto Koji appeared, reprising his role as Wataru. As a fan, that makes me think they might bring the main casts form the previous series, making Decade like a reunion series, like the annual Super Sentai versus where new casts meet the old casts. Alas, that's not the case. So far, all the other Rider's world are alternate universe, and no cameos at all. Even Kiva's world episodes didn't have Seto Koji in it. Forget about Mizushima Hiro returning as Kabuto then, he's probably too busy with his new marriage and movie. Also, no Takeru Sato in the Super Den-O and Decade movie either. No Kento Handa in the Faiz world either (even though he appeared in Go-Onger).
2. Kamen Rider Decade started with a bang, the Rider War. All the special effects and CG you can think of is in the 1st episode. Fast forward, now they have to use a freakin in-animated toy for Kivala. It was so obvious that it's just a toy with a string. Very embarrassing for a show that have been using CGs heavily, especially for the Final From Ride transformations.
3. Decade can use a Final Form Ride card, and "transform" any of the riders into a weapon or some sort. WTF? It's just weird. This is not Transformers. This is obviously a ploy to sell toys.

The belt is very neat though, but you have to buy the other toys to get more cards.
Good thing that Shinkenger seems to be a better show.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Walk in the Park

Couple days ago, I went to a local park to test drive my Fuji F200EXR digicam. Here's two quick slideshow I did with iPhoto09 & iMovie 09. Make sure to go to youtube and watch the HD versions of the slideshow.
HD links: Slideshow 1, Slideshow 2.

On the second slideshow, I also put in videos taken with my Samsung MX20 camcorder. iMovie09 is simply awesome. It can produce pretty high quality videos with only a couple of clicks. For example, the picture-in-picture feature, something that I thought is only available in pro software.

I created the slideshow with iPhoto09 first. However, iPhoto09 doesn't do the music very well. It cannot fade-out the music at the end of the slideshow, resulting in an abrupt end. So I exported the slideshow as a 720p quicktime video without music, and then used iMovie09 to add the music. iMovie09 itself has different themes for slideshow, but I like the once in iPhoto09.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pocky Dessert


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Filipino food for lunch

Too much pork! But the flan was awesome.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yet another J-dorama, Voice

Still in J-dorama addiction mode. Another one I found to be really great is Voice.
It's a story about 5 med students, studying forensic medicine. You would think CSI, but this is still dorama (although one of the students is a fan of CSI, having posters and DVD boxsets at his place). The premise of the show is that forensic science can convey the last word, the "voice," of the dead, hence the title "Voice." Aside from Daiki's anime-like power of deduction, it is actually a pretty touching drama. Each forensic case has very emotional meaning and touching story. Episode 3 even made me cry. LOL. Yeah, forensic is not about solving a fancy murder case, but it's about finding closure for the family members of the dead.

But hey, why am I watching this? Yup, of course there's a Kamen Rider connection here. One of the students, Hanei Akira, is played by Sato Tomohito, which is also Kagami Arata, aka Kamen Rider Gattack in Kamen Rider Kabuto. (he's also in Hotelier, as son of the hotel owner).
sato - gattacksato - voice

Another great J-dorama. Very touching stories. Another reason that J-dorama is very addictive.