Category Archives: gadgets

4S

Six months delayed…critics are disappointed. Apple just released the long awaited refresh of the iPhone yesterday.  For me: it’s an upgrade long overdue.  I’ll get myself one when it becomes locally available.  The dual-core A5 chip and longer battery life alone is a big leap (6 hours internet on 3G!).

The new Siri is interesting too. Conversational English as a voice command is a cool feature.  Questions like “Find me a Persian grill restaurant.” Will bring a search list of available Persian restaurants in close proximity with the combination of GPS, Google Search, and Maps.

Apple released the new iPhone 4S - out on Oct 14

The new dual-core A5 chip iPhone 4S

 

I’m sure the iPhone 4 owners are disappointed there’s not big enough reason for them to upgrade.  I think that’s Apple’s usual approach in releasing new products.  I always skip a generation of iteration before upgrading. I’m an iPhone 3GS user and the iPhone 4 wasn’t a big upgrade for me – the iPhone 4S is though.  I hope it gets to the Philippine market soon – I anticipate it can be bought in the market by end of 2011 or early 2012.

Go to http://www.apple.com/iphone for more details of the new iPhone 4S.

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Shifting to 1Password…from eWallet

eWallet

eWallet

I had keeping myself from using 1Password over eWallet for the last 7 months.  I’ve got 1Password on a promotion last December and it was free.  I got 1Password for Desktop Mac on a MacTree (forgot the correct promo name) for free around that time too.  I’ve always liked eWallet but Illiumsoft’s downplay of the market on eWallet for Mac to be minuscule to that of the PC market leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  Foolish and stupid – for loyal customers like me.

I’ve been a regular user of eWallet since v3.0 on my Windows Mobile phones about 4-5 years ago.  I’d been happy with the user interface and usability of the password manager especially syncing it with a desktop companion on my Windows system.  I’ve shifted to a Mac platform less than three years ago.  Completely gone full Apple when I bought my iPhone classic and dumped my ETEN M600 Windows Mobile 2003 phone.  I was glad eWallet had an iPhone app later that year.  I’ve looked up the eWallet file I kept from my ETEN phone backup and loaded it to my iPhone. Voila! I got my eWallets back.

And that was just it.  I updated a wallet or two but never opened the eWallet app unless I’ve got an existing wallet that has never changed for over a year.  I had no way of syncing it to a desktop companion and have it backed up.  The eWallet I keep on my iPhone has become volatile that I wouldn’t depend on keeping my passwords on an app that I can’t look up to on more than one device. (Yes, the iPhone has backup utility.  But what if my iPhone breaks or gets stolen? How can I view my passwords now?)

I had been hoping that illiumsoft finishes their long-overdue promise to release eWallet for Mac but it seems like the release date gets pushed and pushed.  I’d understand their concerns as I am a developer myself but as a customer I see it as no full commitment.  Yes, the Mac market may be a fraction of the Windows PC market but can’t you count it with the number of potential users and sales you’d get from people they’d win over if they have a Mac desktop companion?  eWallet started with a small user-base and thrived from there.  Would it mean that maintaining a Mac version costs a lot more these days that they can’t put up time to have it released sooner? What’s with that?

1Password

1Password

It’s been nearly a year that I’ve waited for a desktop companion.  I’ve got 1Password for the iPhone and Mac that I can switch to.  I think it’s just but right that I’d switch now to have the convenience of syncing.  Here’s hoping that 1Password would improve usability of the user-interface – a minor user preference issue I can live with, not like the neutered syncing capability of eWallet with Macs.

Some Bad, Mostly Good

The Bad

The last 7 days I had an all time high with stress levels for 9 months! It’s been that long the word ‘stress’ comes close to anything that I do…the silly part – it’s not me who got stressed up the roof. I’ve only gotten close to irk and that’s it. I’ve finally got my ‘cool’ factor back! I can only hope and dream that someday work becomes fun, instead of stress. I’m on my way there.

The Good(s)

I finally bought myself a new tripod set that I’ve planned on getting for over a year! My SLIK aluminum tripod has to retire from carrying my 350D + lenses. I can finally rest easy from seeing the bent legs and the squeaking camera base. It can’t handle over 5 kilos of gear. The Manfrotto 190xprob + 486rc2 should be strong enough to handle my gears. Now that I have it, I should shoot more to prove its purpose. I didn’t buy this for nothing 🙂

I was also set to buy a new battery pack for my Macbook on my next pay but I decided to check with Digital Hub first if my bloated MB battery is covered with warranty last Saturday. This battery pack was a replacement of my then defective battery (a batch of batteries were eligible for replacement) last January 2008. I was supposed to have another year of warranty for this new battery pack but the swelling started months after January 2009. Normally, a battery pack is considered a consumable item that even an AppleCare (the 3 year extended warranty for Apple items) don’t cover them. The technicians at Digital Hub took a look at it and checked with Apple Singapore. I just got my fresh new battery pack a few hours ago after pickup. Apple agreed to replace it. Thanks Digital Hub!

Playing with Colors

I finally got hold of a Spyder2 Express from Bella Lucé last week.  Life has and will be different then on – at least for my hobby in photography.  Jo Avila had been a great mentor in photography.  He showed me the benefits of color management and take away the ‘guessing game’ into printing.

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Spyder2 Express

The Spyder2 Express is a color display calibration device that automatically measures the display’s color output and creates a display profile to set the display to show colors correctly – at least close enough, as compared to ballparking with your eyes with manual calibration using Adobe Gamma or the Mac’s Color calibration preference pane.

After calibrating my display, I viewed some recent photo sets that I have in Aperture.  I was surprised to see that most photos I took for the last month were too saturated.  I wouldn’t worry though.  I haven’t printed any of them yet so I can still adjust.  I don’t even have to repost them in the web since most likely, anyone viewing my photos doesn’t have a calibrated display.

Some of you may ask: Would I recommend buying a color calibration device for your displays?

If you intend to print your photos, then YES you should.  If you solely view photos on your display or just post them on the web, it should be a toss coin for you (whatever makes you comfortable).  It’s debatable if it is practical or not – I would, however, say it is better than not calibrating at all.

A Bug in RemoteCaptureDC with Canon G9

Sigh! I’ve been trying to work on a simple project I have in mind using the G9 and RemoteCaptureDC. I planned to take a 24-hour time interval shot of the cityscape over the window of my apartment but the app crashed on me twice.

RemoteCaptureDC crashed in the first 9 hours, and then another. I can’t be wide awake for 24 hours so I missed the next time it crashed…lost 2 hours of capture. I can’t make a time-lapse movie out of that. I’d have to do with the 18 hours that I’ve got.

Simplistic controls

Simplistic controls

It must have been a limit in the number of shots before it crashes that is causing this – maybe a memory leak in the RemoteCaptureDC app? I have v3.0.0.13 and I can’t find any new updates that may have a bug fix. I can just hope next time I can time the ‘scheduled crash’ so I can resume the shoot.

Good thing I didn’t really miss a good sunrise so I don’t have remorse over the idea of a failed attempt. The weather over at Kuala Lumpur and over at my vintage point (window is looking northeast with KL and the Petronas Towers in view) for the last few months had not been very interesting. It was almost always clouds, short time of blue, and not a faint hint of crimson on both sunrise and sunset. It must have been better over at another location looking west to get a better sunset view.

iPhone 3G in the Philippines on Aug 22, 2008

Globe Telecom’s investors briefing today has set the initial release of the iPhone 3G on Philippine shores on Aug. 22.  A press release has been posted from Globe’s iPhone 3G site showing the mobile plans set for Globe customers.  A ‘Reserve’ button is available for eager customers to get in line for a unit come its release date.

Personally, I’m glad that a legitimate source of the Apple iPhone is available to Filipinos – including Apple’s warranty coverage.  However, my gripe is with all five mobile plans.  It’s prohibitive – and none even comes with unlimited data service.  The iPhone just became level with no distinction with other Nokias and Sony Ericsson’s in the market.  What user can make use of its 3G features, Map Location, always connected MobileMe sync capability, and iTunes and App Stores?

Finally the official price plans are out...but will I take one?

Finally the official price plans are out...but will I take one?

I was initially hoping to get one for myself…but I don’t think getting another expensive mobile plan just for the 3G version makes sense at all.  I’ll keep my classic iPhone while my Globe Visibility unlimited data plan will fill its place.

Strobist Wannabe

So I got myself a new 580ex II flash two weeks ago.  It’s been exciting ever since.  I was pushed to buy the strobe because of this strobist site.  Reading from this rich tutorial site, strobist is a revolution amongst photographers.  An experimentation…a play with lights.

Over the next few days since I had the 580ex I looked for ‘accessories’.  I got myself a cheap wireless trigger and a DIY softbox diffuser.

A 580ex II, Cactus PT-04 wireless, and a DIY diffuser

A 580ex II, Cactus PT-04 wireless, and a DIY diffuser

I played around with the setup.  I’m very satisfied with my experiements – although they need a lot more work…but I’ll get there.

A shot of my Wacom Intuos using an off-camera strobe

A shot of my Wacom Intuos using an off-camera strobe

I have tried testing out flash guns before to convince myself of buying one.  I wasn’t really ecstatic about the results when I tested it “on-camera”.  When I read the articles in the Strobist site about wireless/remote triggers and its results in controlling shadows, I was restless to try it out.  If you want to know more about using off-camera strobes (it’s another name for a flash), then go to http://www.strobist.com.