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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Year’s End Reflection Part 02

Well, it’s the end of 2012, might as well wrap up my supposedly year’s end “reflection.” Yes, I was going to post more reflections, but ended up being too lazy until it’s, well, just mere hours from new year. πŸ˜›

As I have mentioned so many times, Accel World pretty much filled 2012 for me. Not only it brought back my interest into anime, it also made me do AMVs. I started with iMovie as it’s pre-installed on my Mac, and it’s very easy to use. Really, iMovie IMO is THE killer app on the Mac. However, as I progressed, I noticed many of the limitations, mainly the limit on how short a clip can be inserted into the project, the restrictions in titles and fonts, etc. I also started to learn how to sync clips to the music, and to actually think about the lyrics and the meaning in correlation to the clips that I used. As time progresses, I also learn more special effects, like transparency, split screen, etc. It can be seen on the Accel World AMV I made below, using Hikaru no Go’s OP, Get Over by dream. This is also the time I transitioned from iMovie to Final Cut Pro X, as the titles I used were still the simplistic iMovie titles. Kudos to Apple in making Final Cut Pro X more affordable so lay people can actually buy and use this pro software.

I also started mixing my favorite music genre, Eurobeat, in my AMV. The faster tempo and the higher energy of the genre really make Eurobeat a great music for AMV, although the lyrics are usually nonsensical love related theme, which makes it harder to find a good match for an AMV.

The last AMV I made in conjunction to the ending of the Accel World anime is probably my best attempt in making a quick AMV, focusing mostly on synced scenes with the Eurobeat track rather than special effects. Amazingly, it garnered 5000+ views with 20+ likes! Thank you! ^_^

Alas, after Accel World ended, my spirit in making AMVs also went downhill (plus real life stress keep piling up). I hope I can continue in making AMVs.
Well, in time before the new year (at the time of typing). Pretty much 2012 is the year of Accel World for me. Waiting for the second game and the second OVA. I really really wish for the second season!

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in anime, music video, reflection

 

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Decade Leap

Found this video when I was digging around my iMovie projects. I made this parody about two years ago, parodying Kamen Rider Decade as the series Quantum Leap. In a sense, both series are kinda similar, both Tsukasa and Dr. Beckett are trying to find their way home by traveling though dimensions/time. Heck, even at the beginning, both didn’t have memories of their past. πŸ˜€

Looking at the video again, clearly I was a complete novice, using simple fonts on iMovie (although I did try mimicking the scrolling fonts of the original opening of Quantum Leap). This also shows how easy iMovie is, for me to be able to make something like this.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2012 in kamen rider, parody

 

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Nexus 4 vs iPhone 5 Quick Impression

When Google released the Nexus 4 16GB for $349, it’s a no-brainer for a gadget geek like me. I have blogged my rant about Apple’s iPhone 5 pricing. Getting the Nexus 4 seems a perfect follow up.

I have had the Nexus 4 for a couple of weeks now. The device is made by LG a glass back (reminds me of the iPhone 4/4S). It makes the device feel substantial, even luxurious. It makes the Galaxy Nexus feel cheap. Of course, having a glass back has its own downfalls, mainly fragility. Some online reviewers have theirs cracked. I would think it’s similar to the iPhone 4/4S, and since my iPhone 4 is still pristine, I think I can handle the Nexus 4.

Unlike the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 4 has a built-in battery and an external tray for the micro SIM. Yes, it uses a micro SIM. Not a big deal nowadays as plenty of phones use micro SIM now (eg. Nokia Lumia phones). The tray design is vaguely familiar, like the ones on iPhones. Except, the hole is a lot smaller, so you cannot use the iPhone’s SIM eject tool, nor a paper clip. YES, LG DECIDED TO MAKE A SUPER TINY HOLE TO EJECT THE SIM, SO YOU HAVE TO CARRY ANOTHER TINY SIM EJECT TOOL. Yes. this is incredibly frustrating. Seriously, why? The hole is so tiny that when you use the included SIM eject tool, you feel that you might bent/break it. I mean come on Google, you didn’t do this on the Nexus 7 (made by Asus). Stupid LG. This is by far my biggest problem with the Nexus 4. It doesn’t have a microSD slot either, but this is nothing new as Google has eliminated SD card slot since the Nexus S. Your option will be 8GB or 16GB on-board.

Okay, setting that tiny hole aside, the phone feels really nice, again thanks to the materials used. The form factor is wider than the Galaxy Nexus. While the Galaxy Nexus has 720p screen resolution, the Nexus 4 extended the width to 1280 x 768. Google took advantage of this, cramming more apps in the app drawer, 5 apps per row. It feels very tight though. Another thing to consider with the wider resolution is the wallpaper. If you have Google restore your phone, you might find your old wallpaper cropped to fit the wider resolution.

Physical buttons follow the Galaxy Nexus design. Power button on the right side, volume on the left. Micro USB on the bottom and headphone jack on the top. The power button seems a bit recessed though, and coupled with the wider body, sometimes it’s not easy to press the button with one hand. Having a case that covers the power button may worsen the condition.

The Nexus 4 runs Android 4.2. The lock screen allows widgets, and I am seeing more and more apps supporting this. Careful though, having your emails right on the lock screen means anybody can read them too. Swiping the screen to the left turns on the camera. This is a very useful feature, giving Android a similar capability to iOS and Windows Phone. Speaking about the camera, 4.2 gives you 360-degree panorama feature, called Photo Sphere. So far, I find it to be so so, with resulting picture having plenty of stitching errors and distortions. Can’t comment enough about the camera quality, but so far, it seems so so too (not something you would brag against an iPhone 5 or Lumia 920 users).

Usability wise, the Nexus 4 is smooth. If you think the Galaxy Nexus is smooth, well, this is better. The wider screen may take time to get used to, but it makes typing a bit more comfortable. The Nexus 4 really is the benchmark of Android experience as intended by Google. If you have a Galaxy Nexus or a Nexus 7, you are probably already familiar with the 4.2 features. The Nexus 4 doesn’t really bring any extras on 4.2 that you won’t get on the Galaxy Nexus, other than maybe HDR photo. What you get from the Nexus 4 is a better processor and GPU (running the latest Krait CPU and Adreno 320 GPU). Oh, and it has better support of 5GHz Wifi n. The Galaxy Nexus supports this, but only on a very narrow group of channels. The Nexus 4 fares better. In addition to penta-band HSDPA, the Nexus 4 also supports dual-carrier HSDPA. No official LTE support, although the tinkerers online found out that it supports one LTE band with a hack (not going to be useful for practical purposes).

I am a fan of the Nexus lineup, owning the Nexus One, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7, and now the Nexus 4. I am a fan of phones that are unlocked and not carrier controlled. At its price, the Nexus 4 is right. I do have to say though, skip the 8GB version. 8GB is not enough with modern usage, unless you don’t have any content on your phone. 16GB is the bare minimum.

Now, let’s move to the iPhone 5, Apple’s latest and greatest money maker. I had the chance to observe the new iPhone 5 unboxing, and using it long enough to have an impression. I will make comparison with the Nexus 4 along the way.

First of all, build quality. Yes, the scuffgate you read online is real. The white iPhone 5 I observed had a big scratch/dent on its side out of the box. This is ridiculous, especially if you are paying $$$ for it. I have owned many Apple and other consumer electronic products, and I have yet to have one that have a physical damage out of the box. Good thing Apple knows this and having it replaced with a new one is easy, but still, it’s ridiculous, considering a company like Apple. One thing though, the iPhone 5 feels very light, which is kinda amazing considering what Apple packs in it. My iPhone 4 feels like a brick compared to the 5.

Other than that, the iPhone 5 is, well, an iPhone. I have the iPhone 4, and although it remains smooth enough under iOS6, the iPhone 5 feels a lot snappier thanks to its A6 processor. Apps launch almost immediately compared to the iPhone 4. The smoothness feels so great that even my Nexus 4 feels “laggy.” This is what I like about iOS. Android is trying to catch up with Project Butter, but it has quite a bit way to go (not helped by 4.2 that seems to make my Nexus 7, the poster child for smoothness, laggy). While the Nexus 4 is wider than the Galaxy Nexus, the iPhone 5 is taller than the iPhone 4. So adjust your wallpapers. The extra height gives you an extra row on the home screen for apps. Compared to my Nexus 4, however, the keyboard on the iPhone 5 feels cramped. Yes, it has the same width as the iPhone 4, but the taller screen adds the cramped feeling as the body looks narrower now.

As for iOS6, my iPhone 4 does not get many of its new features. Apple introduced its own Maps app in iOS6, but since the iPhone 4 doesn’t have Siri, it doesn’t have turn-by-turn navigation either (thank goodness for Google Maps app). Another feature that my iPhone 4 doesn’t get is panorama. Just like previous iPhones, tethering on the iPhone 5 is carrier controlled, even if you buy an unlocked version. Hardware wise, the iPhone 5 supports LTE, dual-carrier HSDPA, and 5GHz wifi n, a clear advantage over my iPhone 4. However, I’ll take my Nexus 4’s penta-band HSDPA anytime. I was ranting about the new lightning connector, but I kinda like it now. It’s very compact, and the design makes it much easier to plug the connector in and out, without worrying about whether you do it right or upside down. The only problem is for people that have invested a lot of money in the 30-pin dock connector accessories (including me).

In the end, the iPhone 5 is an iPhone. If you managed to get one that didn’t self-scuff in its box, it’s a very nice phone. It is very light and snappy to use. After looking at the Nexus 4, however, the unlocked iPhone 5’s price is a jaw-dropper.

Both phones represent the latest and greatest form the perspective of the platform, pure Android vs iOS. The Nexus 4 is definitely the best bang for the buck. At $349, the 16GB model is still cheaper than even the iPhone 4. The only challenge is trying to get one. However, the iPhone 5 does carry the strength of iOS. Apple’s ecosystem and walled-garden is a very nice place, if you can afford it.

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2012 in android, apple, google, impression, iPhone

 

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Year’s End Reflection Part 01

Still waiting for Accel World Season 2… so I’m just going to do a reflection of 2012.
First of all, thank goodness the world didn’t end. If it did, the chance of seeing Accel World Season 2 dropped to zero. So yeah. πŸ˜€
My 2012 was illustrated heavily with, what else, Accel World! Looking at my past posts, I had quite a gap between Steve Job’s death and the iPad 3, I meant the “was new iPad” announcement. But then Accel World came into my world, and that’s what I was blogging most of the time.

Experiencing such an awesome anime also made me want to start making AMVs of, well, Accel World (duh, what else). The first one I did was simply using clips from the first arc, cut and spliced using iMovie with the first opening theme song, Chase the World by May’n. I checked Youtube’s stats today, and I was surprised it garnered 11000 views. LOL. Sure, it’s not much, but still I was quite amazed that my sloppily done first time AMV garnered that much interests (80 likes!). I didn’t even use RAW clips so the AMV was filled with subtitles. Well, I’m happy, and thank you for those that viewed and liked it. I will try to make another AMV if I have time.

A way to do a reflection is to simply read my own tweets on twitter. Good thing Twitter now allows you to request an archive about all your tweets. Early on in 2012, I was enjoying:
-my Galaxy Nexus
-Kamen Rider Fourze
-Gokaiger
-GoBusters

And I was bitching about:
-10bit MKVs
-tech companies
-Youtube
-Gundam Age
-Saint Seiya Omega

Until Accel World came, and all I was tweeting about were about Accel World. I even signed up for Hulu Plus just so I can watch Accel World before waiting for the fansubbers.
So yeah, 2012 didn’t start until Accel World. I just can’t stop liking this anime. I’m truly addicted. Can’t wait for the second game, can’t wait the second OVA, and cant wait for another season! SAO is great, but I need moar of Accel World!

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2012 in anime, music video, reflection

 

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Silver Crow as Kamen Rider Fourze #accel_world #fourze

I don’t know why it took me this long to do this parody. ^_^ The countdown scene speaks for itself.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in parody

 

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Pre-anime Accel World #accel_world

Many (including me) found out about Accel World thanks to the anime. We are now familiar with the characters.

Haru’s height is greatly exaggerated to be very short and his demeanor is more comical, while Kuroyukihime is portrayed as a tall and slender “princess,” and we see many many fan arts reflecting characters based on the anime.

However, Accel World has existed as a light novel way before the anime, started way in 2009. It is very interesting seeing the fan arts before the anime. Here’s an awesome one, featuring the Nega-Nebulous members from pixiv.

We see the characters have a different style to them, especially the duel avatars. They are less “mecha” and feels a bit more organic compared to the anime version. Kuroyukihime looks a bit more like a normal girl, and black-haired Haru looks like a bad-ass! Haru is short, but not as short as the anime portrayed. ^_^

Yeah, I’m bored. I am waiting excruciatingly for the second season of Accel World, or at least the second game and the second OVA. My addiction is barely met with browsing fan arts on pixiv. >_<

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in anime, manga

 

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My Annoyance with Apple

I love Apple. I love Apple products. They have great design, beautiful, functional, and have details and aesthetics that are commonly absent on other consumer electronics products. However, I am getting more and more frustrated with Apple’s recent products and their decisions to take control from the user. The main product I am going to talk about is the iPhone, mainly the iPhone 5.

Let’s start with pricing. Apple has been pricing their flagship iPhone to start at $649 unlocked since the iPhone 4. Same thing today with the iPhone 5 16GB, $649. Now this would be okay if the market remained static for the last 2 years. But fact is the market is not static, and the way technology progresses is to be better and cheaper. Let’s focus on the iPhone 5, 16GB, priced at $649. Now you would think “Oh come on, it’s an iPhone. Don’t compare it to the iPad.” Yeah, I AM going to compare it to the iPad, where the 16GB LTE iPad 4 with the large retina display is CHEAPER ($629) than the 16GB iPhone 5. You can argue about miniaturization, but let’s face it, $649 price point of the iPhone 5 is overly inflated at this point. Why does this annoy me? Because Apple actually provides good value for the money on their other products. The Macbook Air is a great example, where it is better quality than most Windows ultrabooks, yet without too much premium. I can say the same thing for the iMac and the Mac mini. If you look at the margins of the iPhone, it’s huge. The iPhone is now Apple’s main cash cow.

Now, I can tolerate that if everything else is fine with the product. Heck, I bought my iPhone 4 unsubsidized. But look around various forums, even the ones on Mac-focused sites, and you will find that the iPhone 5 has a serious build quality issue out of the box. Scratches, scuffs, even now bendgate (where some users finding that their iPhone 5 are bent) stories are continually shared by people. Some fans are spinning this as wear and tear. Sorry, but I’m not going to accept that a $649 device can be scuffed so easily. I have the Nexus One, well used, but it still looks pristine. Same thing with my other phones, Xperia Arc, the Galaxy Nexus, and even the iPhone 4, which is my daily driver. All still look great. I’m not going to pay $649 for a phone that can get scuffs right before I even open the box. That’s ridiculous.

Next major annoyance is the way Apple restrict the cellular wireless settings on iOS. On any other phones (eg. Android), when you switch carriers, you can simply update the APN settings on the phone to get going. Not on the iPhone. The APN settings for certain carriers (eg. AT&T) are locked out from the user, EVEN ON AN UNLOCKED IPHONE!! Why? For example, I use my factory unlocked iPhone 4 on straight Talk. On Android, I can simply add Straight Talk’s APN settings myself to get data to work. Not on the iPhone. By default, data won’t work, and since the Straight Talk SIM I have is for AT&T tower, the settings are not accessible. WHY? This is supremely stupid. It is basically Apple bowing down to AT&T, and screwing users on AT&T MVNOs. There are workarounds. Somebody made a website specifically to change the iPhone’s APN. Yeah, isn’t it ridiculous? You have to rely on a third party website to set-up your phone, something that is not an issue on ANY OTHER phones out there. Oh, and you think by going to that website, everything’s fine, right? NO! You still don’t have access to MMS. Yeah, Apple is BLOCKING you from enabling the feature of their own product. Makes no sense at all. To actually enable MMS, you have to either jailbreak your iPhone, or do a SIM swap. I did the later and finally got MMS working on my iPhone 4. Again, if you have an Android phone, all you need to do is update the settings straight, and you’re done without having to deal with these ridiculous workarounds.

Oh, and Apple doesn’t stop there. To make it even more difficult, the iPhone 5 uses a nano SIM. Yeah, the micro SIM is not small enough, and just when other manufactures start using micro SIM (ie. Nexus 4, Nokia Lumias), Apple just went ahead making their phone “special” by using the nano SIM. You may not think it’s a big deal, but considering only the major carriers carry nano SIM (the only MVNO that carries a nano SIM is Red Pocket at this time), it just makes your life more difficult to simple use your own freaking expensive phone. Yeah, cut your own SIM? Good luck. This is basically Apple telling you to stick with its partner carriers, where Apple themselves are getting a percentage of your monthly payments. The fact that the nano SIM is still fairly rare makes the SIM swap trick above even more difficult. Why of why Apple. Why do you make it so hard for people to use your own products?

To add an even more confusion, that LTE iPhone 5 you buy may not work with LTE where you are. Yeah, Apple makes two versions of the iPhone 5. Based on Apple’s own website, the two versions of the iPhone 5 are one for AT&T/Canadian LTE, and one for CDMA/international LTE. In the past, to get a universal “world” phone, you get a GSM (most of the time it means AT&T) version of the phone. Not with the iPhone 5. The CDMA version actually supports more LTE bands that many carriers outside the US uses. The GSM/AT&T version only supports LTE on AT&T and Canadian carriers. So much for choice! Worse, if you buy the unlocked iPhone 5 in the US, it’s highly likely that you will get the AT&T version instead of the international version that everybody else around the world got, limiting your choice if you travel (ironically, none of the so-called tech “journalists” tried to verify this with Apple). Luckily Verizon is selling their iPhone 5 unlocked (unlike AT&T). This is a reason why I hate LTE. I’ll take penta-band HSDPA anytime.

So, let’s recap. For $649, you get a 16GB iPhone 5 that can get scuffs before you even open the box, that uses the uncommon nano SIM, and Apple makes you do workarounds to simply access the APN settings on your own phone. Meanwhile, Google is selling a 16GB unlocked penta-band HSDPA Nexus 4 for $349. Seems like an easy choice. The only thing is I have invested heavily in the iOS ecosystem and accessories. In the end, I would still be sticking with iOS. My iPhone 4 is still doing its best. At this rate though, I would be more likely to get the iPhone 4S instead of the 5. Sure, the A6 processor is fast, but the 4S still uses a micro SIM and still has the 30-pin dock connector (instead of the lightning connector used on the iPhone 5).

Or, I would just get the iPhone 5 anyway in the end. It’s futile. I am so dependent on the ecosystem that I cannot just use Android as my main phone. >_<

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in apple, iPhone, rant

 

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