Wednesday, June 27, 2007

iPhone Overhyped?

Of course it is.

Well, here's some facts and more hype.

Engadget's iPhone facts from the first reviews

Should You Buy an IPhone? from the Houston Chronicle.

Smart Money Daily: 6 Major Flaws in iPhone That Could Cost You a Bundle

And the iPhone guided tour from Apple.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Thought I wanted a Wii

(I could not resist the title, the alternate one is "Wii or Xbox 360 or PS3")

Last year the Nintendo Wii was on my Christmas wish list, but I choose the 8GB iPod Nano instead. I'd more or less intended to buy a Nintendo Wii sometime during this year either as a present or an entertainment appliance.
But after thinking about it, once the novelty of the motion sensitive play wears off, the selection of games do not really appeal to me. Nintendo-lovers relax – I’m not saying the games for the Nintendo Wii are not good, I’m just saying that they don’t appeal to me personally.

The most costly competitor is the Sony PlayStation 3, which seems a natural choice since I have the PlayStation 2 and the Sony PSP. The PS3 would even allow me to play PS One games on my PlayStation Portable. Almost 600 US Dollars for a gaming console is well out of price range though. Okay, it plays high Definition Blu-ray movies too, but I don’t have a HDTV. It also plays most PlayStation 2 games, but I have one of those. As for showing media, I have a Media Edition PC. I was almost tempted by a "trade in your working Sony PlayStation 2 and get $100 off the PS3", but then the rumors of a price drop began to surface. Now it appears that there will possibly be a price drop by Christmas. Since it is unlikely to be more than $150, I don't think I'd want to wait that long.

Then there is the Xbox 360, somewhere in the middle ground between the Wii and the Sony PlayStation 3 (although many may differ). It has been out for over a year and has a large selection of games. Generally the games appeal to me more than the Wii selection of games. There are also a large number of accessories, including third-party accessories, which are cheaper than official Xbox 360 accessories. Of course if you add enough extras to the Xbox 360 it is going to cost as much, if not more, than the PS3, but it also boils down to the games. The Xbox 360 is a year ahead of the PS3, and it shows in the wide selection of games. The latest games are so expensive I would be likely to rent to make sure I like a game before shelling out $60 for it. Another thing which intrigued me is that I could use the XBox 360 as a media extender for my Media Center PC . My main concern about the Xbox 360 was its reputation for failure. I researched this and figured that it should be an acceptable risk if I got a decent warranty.

One requirement I had was that I wanted to be able to play games in my study, where I don't have a television, but two PC monitors. That way I would have more chance of actually using the gaming console – the PlayStation 2 is in a spare room hooked up to a nice LCD TV, but I very rarely play it. That is no real problem since it is mainly used to watch DVDs. A PS3 or Xbox 360 are too expensive for use as mere (standard definition) DVD players. The decision was swayed by the availability of a VGA cable for the Xbox 360. So, after talking it over with my wife, I got the okay to get an Xbox 360 as a birthday present.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007



Sunday, June 17, 2007

Travel Tech

While I was waiting at the departure gate at Los Angeles airport(LAX), a young woman nearby had been looking at pictures on her Sony VAIO notebook. Then she started taking snapshots of them with her RAZR Cellphone. Surely there must be a better way to transfer photos from the notebook to the cellphone I thought, but possibly she didn't have a memory card in the cellphone and the Sony Notebook didn't support SecureDigital Cards.
If it did then it would simply be a matter of copying the pictures to the microSD card, which would have to be inserted into a SecureDigital card adapter (most microSD card come with an SD Card adapter). Then she could insert the microSD card into the RAZR. That way, assuming the pictures on the Notebook were in the right format, or could be converted to the right format, they would be transferred to the cellphone.

Okay, maybe just taking photos of the pictures on the notebook's screen seems simpler, but using the card would definitely result in better quality.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Apple iPhone?

After Apple advertised on TV that the iPhone is coming out on June 29, I got asked whether I intended to get an iPhone. I guess a lot of technophiles got asked the same question.

I won't be getting an Apple iPhone.

The reasons:
1. Price - $499 for a phone with a two year contract is ridiculous. Accessories will also increase that price - you can't just buy the iPhone, you'll need a holster or case of some sort, plus a screen protector and of course a cool Bluetooth headset to go with the cool phone.
2. A cellphone with an MP3 Player, already got one (the Treo 650). I don't use
the MP3 Player part of it since I have an iPod Nano.
3. Switching carriers. I’m not overly found of Cingular, er, AT & T
4. The "unknown" factor. This is an unknown, untried cellphone – what bugs lurk there?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Retro Gaming

Retro Gaming (or Retrogaming as wikipedia prefers to call it) is to quote wikipedia: "the hobby of playing and collecting older computer, video, and arcade games. These games are played either on the original hardware, on modern hardware via emulation, or on modern hardware via ports on compilations".

It makes me feel old to see Tetris and Duke Nukem 3D referred to as Retro or "Classic Games", but it is still a pleasure to be able to play duke Nukem 3D on a handheld, specifically a Tapwave Zodiac (which is almost on its way to becoming a classic handheld). There are two versions of Duke Nukem 3D available for the Tapwave Zodiac, one which is a stripped down version re-written specifically for the Zodiac (and not very good either), and the other a free one which uses the original DOS data files.

Aaah, the retro Tapwave Zodiac for retro gaming... (the one shown above is the silver 28MB Zodiac 1, not the black 128MB Zodiac 2)

Friday, June 01, 2007


Yes, yet another cellphone. Good or bad, my work has given me a cellphone. Of course this would be while I'm still carrying my boss's cellphone and Blackberry. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't get an entry level LG, instead I got the LG VX8300 which as I have mentioned before is a pretty decent phone - I bought one for my wife a year or so ago, and quite like the handset myself.

The main thing this phone lacks is a decent assortment of ringtones, because of course Verizon wants you to buy some ringtones from them. The pleasant surprise is that it actually supports Bluetooth.