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Too Many Messaging Services

Look at your phone’s apps and count how many messaging services like whatsapp or kakao talk you have. I bet there are more than two or three. On my phone, I have whatsapp, Line, Facebook messenger, Path/Talk, Skype, Telegram, Kakao Talk, Snapchat, Twitter, BBM, and probably more. It’s ridiculous. The problem is that none of these clients talk to each other, so if the person you want to contact uses a specific client, you have no choice and have to install that particular client.

In the recent weeks, I had to switch between phones due to travel. This action rears its ugly head when you try to keep these messaging services in sync, keeping your current account and chat history. It gets annoying real fast. I’m going to share my 2 cents on some of them.

First, whatsapp. If you have been following my tweets, I don’t like whatsapp. It is clunky and not keeping up with modern tech trends, yet you will be forced to have one since many people are on it for some reason. I mean there’s a reason Facebook was willing to buy them with a boatload of money.

So where do I start. One thing about whatsapp is its low barrier of entry. All you need is your smartphone’s phone number for verification. If you only have and use whatsapp on one phone, you are good to go. Thing is, we have more than one smart devices now. More and more people have more than one phone, in addition to tablets. Well, you cannot use whatsapp on multiple phones at once, and you cannot even install it on non-phone devices. You are pretty much stuck with your single phone. Now are you seeing why I think whatsapp sucks?

How about switching the SIM of the phone? No problem here. As long as you are using the same phone, whatsapp will still work, albeit it is linked to your older SIM number. Luckily whatsapp makes it easy to change your number if you want to. Note that if you register a new account with the new SIM, it will be a separate account. I have seen people that travels having multiple whatsapp entries since they don’t know any better.

What if you want to use a different phone? This is where the fun starts. I would be referring to Android from now on as iPhones have the ability to do full backups via iTunes or iCloud. You can simply reinstall and reverify the new phone with the same SIM, but you will lose your chat history and media as they are local to your old phone. So how do you retain them? This is where the process is broken. Basically, he app is actually keeping backups on your local phone, but getting them to a new phone is hardly something a lay person would be able to figure out on his/her own. Basically you have to connect your phone to your computer, copy the whatsapp folder to your computer, and transplant that to your new phone. Luckily his is fairly easy on Android, plus there are many apps that allow you to copy files via wifi. After the transplant on the new phone, simple install and verify the app and it will ask to restore a previous backup. Not easy, but doable. Now, one thing I found is that sometimes whatsapp simply refuses to do backups on the new phone for some reason. This can prevent future transplants to other phones as you won’t have the latest chat history. One way is to do a clan transplant. If there’ san existing whatsapp folder on the new phone, delete it first before transplanting the folder from your old phone. Also check immediately on the new phone if the app is able to back things up.

Now, let’s get to the usage itself. Whatsapp is very basic, and most people can figure it out. You can create groups, etc. You can auto-sync your friends as long as you have their phone numbers that they registered with whatsapp. But functionality is fairly barebone. You can attach pictures and multimedia, but there are no stickers nor VoIP. It feels like the yesterday’s messaging app. It’s less personal. Add on to that the inability to install the client on non-phone devices and lack of clients for PC, it just doesn’t feel like a service that fits the modern days of IM. It feels like the ICQ of mobile IM.

Second client I want to talk about is Facebook messenger, the IM solution from the company that bought Whatsapp. Like it or not, in terms of usability, Facebook messenger is probably one that is at the top. First, it is platform independent. You can install the client on phones and tablets, and you can use them all simultaneously. Furthermore, it’s Facebook so you can always access your chat on the web on any computer. Considering that most people are on Facebook already, it is likely that you can contact your friends this way. Furthermore, it is cloud based, meaning you don’t have to do backups and whatnot. All your chat history are stored on Facebook’s server, so whenever you access the service, they are all there. And since the client is linked to your Facebook account, it can be independent of your SIM/phone number.

Big problem is, it’s Facebook. Some people just don’t want to deal with Facebook (even though it also owns whatsapp). Second, people associates Facebook with the website, not the messenger client. Plenty of people I know are not even aware of the client, and some still think of it as part of the bigger Facebook instead of just as an IM service. So it’s unfortunate that even though Facebook has a superior client than whatsapp, most people still use he latter.

Usability is there. You can attach your standard multimedia stuff. You can even do VoIP. But the stickers are piss poor, less personal that I would like.

Next, I want to touch a bit on Skype. Skype is pretty much the de facto standard for free video conferencing, but obviously one can also use it for messaging. Personally though, I feel the client is too heavy for a simple messaging need, and no great stickers. Furthermore, there’s barrier of entry in creating yet another account with Skype/Microsoft. Other than that, it is platform independent, and cloud based.

Fourth one is Telegram. It is touted as a secure solution for the privacy conscious. It is actually a great platform/service. It is open source, and platform independent. You can have it running on your phone, tablet, computer all simultaneously. Yeah, whatsapp starts to look clunky right? In Telegram, all chat history is cloud based, so no need to worry about backups and transferring stuff. Verification needs a phone number, but it can even be a Google Voice number, freeing you from the traditional phone number. Alas, no stickers, and so far I have only one friend using it…

Last but not least, Line. I have a personal bias on Line, mainly because of the stickers. Yes, I am a sucker for stickers of things that I like. For example, no other services offer stickers of Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online. To me, Line is very personal due to the stickers.

Usability wise, it is in between. Unlike whatsapp, it has a PC client so you can keep on chatting in your computer (Windows and Mac). However, just like whatsapp, the mobile client can only be installed on phones only, and you can only use one phone at any time.

If you are switching SIM on your current phone, it’s straight forward like whatsapp. If you want to switch to a new phone, things get more complicated. Unlike whatsapp, you can link your line account to an email or Facebook so you are not tied to a single phone number (which is ironic that you cannot install it on a non-phone mobile devices). This allows easier log-ins on new devices. The problem is the chat history. The platform has some sort of cloud-based storage, but it’s not comprehensive and reliable as the client forces you to delete the current content if it detects a duplicate log-in. Furthermore, you starts fresh on any new device you want to use, forcing you to re download stickers and having no chat history unless you manually restore conversations. Backup feature is available, although it is also clunky. Unlike Whatsapp, you can email your chat history and restore it on another device by simply downloading the email attachment and having the app restores it. Problem is, it is per conversation so it can be tedious if you have many conversations going. Also, it doesn’t backup media.

My personal bias is towards Line. It is not flexible and it’s a hassle when moving to different devices, but it is still more personal to me than whatsapp. A PC client is also a bonus. If Line allowed installation and usage simultaneously on multiple mobile devices, it would be perfect. What won me over are the stickers.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I still end up with a slew of clients on my smartphone. A social messaging service relies heavily on what your friends are using. If they are more comfortable using a certain platform, you end up having to use that platform. Whatsapp is a clunky and dated platform, but most of my contacts uses it. Annoying, yes, but it’s the unfortunate side effect of the preference of the masses.

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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Installing Windows #rant

I am a Mac user, and there is a reason why I switched to OS X a while back. Well, apparently there is a Windows only program that I have to use. So, here’s an adventure in installing Windows 8.1 on my Macbook Air.

First thing first, I would need an ISO of Windows 8 for OS X’s boot camp. Why Windows 8? I have a Windows 8 upgrade key, and no, Windows 8 key cannot be used to activate Windows 8.1, despite Windows 8.1 being a free update. It’s amazing the things Microsoft went through to make sure legit users are inconvenienced.

Now the ISO itself. Guess what, Microsoft does NOT provide one. Yeah, Microsoft has gone above and beyond to ensure that you rather purchase a new Windows 8 computer. If you have a friend with a Windows 7/8 PC, you are in luck as you can simply download the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant and it will allow you to download the installation set and create an ISO.

But what if you are stuck with only a Mac at your disposal? Well, Microsoft does provide an ISO for the Windows 8 Enterprise trial. (Hint: their link for the 64bit actually will download the 32bit version, and vice versa.) Yes, Microsoft, a huge software company, cannot even put the right link to their software. Just another step to discourage user from downloading an ISO, I guess.

After downloading that and running boot camp, I managed to install Windows 8 Enterprise trial. Can I use my key to activate this into a regular Windows 8? Nope. Apparently this trial version cannot be used for anything other than a trial. But at least I have a Windows installation now that I can use to download Windows 8 upgrade assistant, right? Nope. Apparently Windows 8 was not available for download in my area for some reason. WTF Microsoft? Still, all hope was not lost. I Googled “upgrade windows with only a product key,” and Microsoft has a utility that can download an ISO for Windows 8. Great, progress.

Now that I have a real Windows 8 ISO instead of the trial, I purged the Windows 8 Enterprise trial install, created a new boot camp with an actual Windows 8. So far so good. But then it cannot be activated since my key is an upgrade key. Yes, Microsoft makes sure that you cannot use the product you bought. Good thing there is an easy workaround for this one, using the “rearm” technique. I still had to make a phone call to a Microsoft rep that gave me a set of numbers, but finally my Windows 8 install was activated. So time to update to Windows 8.1. Easy, right?

Nope. Windows 8.1 is available from the Windows store, and Microsoft forces you to download it from the store (no ISO). If you use the utilities I mentioned above, they will tell you to go to the Windows store. Problem is, downloading Windows 8.1 from the store would always result in an error and failing to install. This was extremely annoying as the error happened AFTER I had to wait for the 3+GB download to finish. Subsequent retries forced me to redownload the whole thing again and again. Oh my Lord.

After browsing the net to find a solution, I finally decided to do a “reset” of Windows 8. This is a nice feature of Windows 8. It basically “re-install” your Windows 8 installation without deleting your data. Programs not from the store will be deleted, but it’s still more convenient that having to do an actual full re-install. Problem is, this process uninstalled all the Apple drivers and boot camp, so I had to re-install those afterwards. Oh, and of course there were 92 patches that I needed to download and install for every fresh Windows 8 install I did.

After days of downloading, installing, and installing stuff, finally, Windows 8.1 update from the store managed to run properly. Yes, finally! Such a ridiculous process. Really, does Microsoft expect a lay person to be patient enough to go through all these just to use a Microsoft product?

So Microsoft, if you want people to install Windows from your store like Apple, make sure it fuckin works. If you cannot do that, the least you could’ve done is to provide straight ISO downloads so people can simply do an update the traditional way. But no, you rather have your legit customers annoyed and confused.

There is a reason why I switched to OS X.

/rant

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Attack on Titan dub #rant

It’s been a while since I blog about anything, but of course, it’s time for another rant. 😀

Yes, Attack on Titan is already dubbed in English. I usually don’t like the idea of something being localized, but I have mixed feelings as technically Eren should be speaking in German, not Japanese.. 😀 But that’s beside the point. Dubbing, I mean localizing anime that is originally in Japanese makes no sense in this modern age, unless you have phobia against Japanese language. I would like to point out that even Chinese movies are now shown in theaters in original Chinese, not dubbed. Korean dramas are never dubbed. So obviously the public can accept the idea of watching a show in foreign language and reading subtitle. But Anime? “OMFG I DON’T WANT TO READ MUST BE DUBBED!!!” :roll eyes: No seriously, those are the responses from a LOT of people, including those claiming to be anime fans. Apparently to them, society only speaks in English.

Enough of that commentary, and back to Attack on Titan. My benchmark is Yuuki Kaji, the seiyuu of Eren. He is a pro seiyuu, having voiced a LOT of anime and video games, including Hope in FF-13 and Haruyuki in Accel World. His performance is just top notch, thus he is frequently appears in anime, either as the main or supporting characters. The English voice actor is Bryce Papenbrook. I have no idea who he is, but apparently he’s also the English voice actor of Kirito in SAO. Whatever. The performance will speak for itself.

On the video, fast forward to minute 18. Let’s start with the Japanese version of one of the key scenes in episode 1, when young Eren saw his house destroyed and his mom eaten by a titan.

Note voice acting, when Eren is calling for his mom, when he’s running, his shock when seeing his house and the titans approaching, and his scream when his mom is eaten. Also notice the performance of Eren’s mom. You really sense the desperation and panic. That’s called voice acting.

Now the English dub. Fast forward to minute 17:50 or so.

First, Armin sounds like shit. Seriously, it’s the typical 90s generic dub voice. The Japanese version used a female seiyuu, and it adapts to the character well. But obviously in English, they have to force a male VA, and it just doesn’t work. Let’s hear Eren. Oh man, talk about just reading a script with made up over-dramatization. When Eren is running, you don’t sense any panic nor urgency in his voice, only some artificial hysteria. Oh, and typical “localization,” they have to add dialogues that are not there in the original. When Eren noticed the titans are coming, he only gasped in the original. But in English, they have to add “Oh no.” Why? Because the “acting” is not good enough to reflect the same scene so a dialogue has to be added to tell the audience what he’s thinking? Come on. “Isoge Mikasa” becomes “Hurry up damn it.” Yes, using profanity to mask your crappy dub job. Seriously, WTF?

And then Eren’s mom, simply reading a script. There’s very little sense of urgency and sounds more like a nagging woman than somebody that actually cares about Eren and Mikasa. In the Japanese version, she said something about “at this rate, all three of us…” It reflects their desperation and helplessness of the situation. In the dub? “You want all three of us to die?” Seriously? So Eren’s mom becomes a bitch that want to shift responsibility to the kids as the reason they would die? I guess it’s typical of the western culture to blame somebody else huh. This is why I extremely HATE dub. There is NO REASON to change dialogues in a way that it changes the characters. It’s bull shit. English dub producers seem to think that they are suddenly the “creator” and can change things willy nilly. Bull effin shit. ZERO respect of the source material.

When Hannes picked up Eren, the dubbed Eren said “Put me down you bastard.” Obviously no such profanity in the original. Again, using profanity to mask a crappy dub job, typical bull shit English “localization.”

And finally, the climax of the scene, when the titan picked up Eren’s mom. In the original, Eren simply screamed “Yamero!” with all his might. In the dub? “Stop it no…” LOL. It just happens in Japanese, “Yamero” has three syllables. You might say I’m nitpicking, but I guess they need to add more syllables to match “Yamero.” This is another reason that dubbing just does NOT work. To match syllables, you end up making the situation a bit awkward and/or unnatural. That’s like watching English movies dubbed in Japanese. It does NOT work.

Yes, I criticize Japanese dub the same way on contents that are originally in English. The difference is, you don’t see people saying they have to watch English movies in Japanese dub, unlike anime where the number of people with phobia against Japanese language is astounding. You would think in 2014 there is more tolerance for foreign languages and cultures, but I guess not.

So there you go. In short, bull shit dub job that changes dialogues and characterizations, pretty much the typical English dub, done by producers with no passion for the original material, and no respect towards the original. Oh yes, let’s add profanity some more to make it more “adult.” Bull shit.

On the other hand, I would be interested if they dub Attack on Titan in German.

/rant

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in anime, rant

 

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Apple 2010 September Music Event

So, yeah, something happened yesterday. Apple did their annual September music event to release new iPods. The keynote was available live, streaming for SL and iOS users. Yeah, Snow Leopard. I had to use my iPad to watch it. 🙄

Anyway, I’m just going through the keynote chronologically.

1. Updates on retail stores. Blah blah blah, nice stores. Update on iOS, blah blah, revolution, blah, blah, Google you suck, blah, blah, apps. Next.

2. iOS updates. Take home note is that 4.1 is coming next week with bug-fixes, and will feature HDR photo taking capabilities. I hope this feature will be available for the 3GS too, as we 3GS users have been gimped from iMovie already. New to 4.1 is Game Center, and Epic is showing their new game, powered by Unreal Engine 3, running on an iPhone. Pretty amazing, considering it’s running on a phone. Nintendo and Sony, be very wary. Hardware on mobile phones are advancing much more rapidly than the hardware on Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. iPad users will have to wait longer for iOS 4.2, coming in November, and it will feature wireless printing and AirPlay (AirTunes part deux), in addition to all iOS4 features.

Jobs demoed 4.2 on his iPad, showing the same old stuff such as “multi-tasking” (I rather call it task switching), threaded mail, folders, etc. One thin I notice in the 4.2 Safari browser on Job’s iPad, the “multiple tab” button seems to show a number now (can be handy to show you how many tabs are opened), and the “plus” icon is now an arrow “send to” icon.

3. Finally, the new iPods. Apple decided to renew all the iPod lineup (except the classic).
-First, the shuffle. The main complaint of the 3G shuffle is the fact that it has no buttons. Well, 4G shuffle brings back the buttons. So it looks like the 2G again, except that it’s square. Meh. At least Apple recognize that going obsessively minimalist doesn’t always work. It has all the voice over features from the 3G. 5 colors, 2GB, $50.

-Second: the nano. All the rumors were true. The 6G nano is square, has a clip, and uses a touch screen. It’s so small that it’s only a tad bigger than the shuffle. Sounds cool, right? Well, Jobs kept saying how it’s better, but he obviously skipped the features that are gone from the previous nanos. First, it’s a smaller and lower res screen than even the 3G nano. The video camera is obviously gone. Oh, and guess what, no video playback. Yeah, talk about going backwards. Also based on the demo screens, looks like the playback feature will mimic iOS, meaning no shuffle-by-album. The kicker? It still carry the same price as the previous nano: $150 for 8GB and $180 for 16GB. So, do you want to pay the same price and get less? Apple thinks so. We’ll see how the market responds. Pretty disappointing imo, and not even as much color options as the 4G/5G nano.

-Third: the Touch. Freakishly thin. It has the high res “retina” LED display, although Jobs conveniently didn’t say whether it’s the same IPS display as the iPhone 4 or not. My guess is that it’s not, and it won’t have oleophobic coating either. Looks like Apple really wants to make sure that the iPhone holds its value over the Touch. The new Touch will sport the A4 chip, although whether it runs as fast (or faster) than the iPhone 4 is not yet known. Gyroscope is included, and also a front facing camera for facetime. Rear camera is also added with HD (720p) video recording. The rumors are pretty much spot on. The pricing is a bit odd, with 8GB for $230, and jumps to 32GB for $300, and 64GB for $400. I guess Apple want to keep their good margin, not willing to reach the $199 price point, nor do a 16GB version.

Funny how Jobs demoed the nano, but not the new Touch. Also funny that Jobs went through the new iPods fairly quick, only halfway through the whole keynote. So what’s next?

4. iTunes. New iTunes 10, new icon, slightly updated UI, and Ping. Yeah, Microsoft has bing, and Apple now has Ping. It’s social networking inside iTunes. Errr, sure, that’s assuming that your friends are also using iTunes. Nobody I know uses or buy music from iTunes. They use bittorrent. 😛 At best, Ping is probably just going to be a niche amongst hip Apple/iTunes users.

5. One more thing/hobby, a 2nd gen Apple TV. Super tiny, just HDMI and optical out (no component), ethernet, wifi. No purchases, just rentals. Err, yeah, not sure if that’s what people actually want (hint: bittorrent). HD movies is $5. Sure, it’s HD, but Red Box DVD rental is just $1 per day (bittorrent is free). At least the new Apple TV supports Netflix streaming, so Netflix users don’t have to spend more money. TV shows rental is 99c. Err, sure, they’re cheap enough, but I already have Netflix, and spending more money just doesn’t jive with me (again, bittorrent is free). You can stream content from Youtube (interesting since Google is doing Google TV), Flickr (alas, no Picasa, Facebook, or other online photo storage support), and mobileME. You can still stream from a Mac/PC running iTunes. No Apple, I want to be able to stream my own videos form a simple NAS/Windows Home Server. 😦 In addition, there’s still also the codec support issue. I’ll stick with my HTPC running XBMC.

The new Apple TV is going to be just $99, shipping in a month. So, who’s Apple competing with this new Apple TV? The obvious one is Roku, a netflix client at a similar price point. The upcoming contenders are Google TV boxes and boxee box. Add on top of this, a lot of devices and even TVs today have a netflix client built-in already, and some also offer youtube/Amazon video capability. It seems that the market feels too crowded for the wrong reasons.

…and that’s it. The keynote re-run cut off the Cold Play music.

So, what’s my take on the new iPods? How was my prediction?
1. iPod shuffle
Well, I only got the price right, 2GB for $50. Apple usually is pretty strong headed in terms of the design choice they did (button-less shuffle), so I wasn’t expecting they would go back to the 2G design. But I guess consumers win this time.

2. iPod nano
I did better this time, due to the leaked cases pictures. New form factor, touch screen, no camera, and same price points. One should question the value of the new nano. Sure, it’s smaller, but you’re basically paying the same amount of money for less (no camera, smaller screen, no video, presumably no shuffle-by-album). Also, the competitors are way cheaper than Apple now. Just for example, Sony’s entry level E-series MP3 player can be had for less than $100, and you’ll get 16GB! Previously, Apple has a reason to retain the higher price point with the video camera. I don’t know if the consumers are willing to shell out twice the money just to get something smaller (with less features to boot). Imo the only reason Apple could do this is simply because they owned the MP3 player market. iPod as a name has become the Kleenex of MP3 player. This also shows that a standalone MP3 player as a device is a dead end. There’s almost nothing else to innovate (to the point that Apple added a camera on last gen nano). Now the only way to go is backward, I guess. Disappointing. However, it is still tempting to get one just for the cute/collectible factor. I mean I have bought pretty much all generations of iPod nanos (all of them, 1G to 5G). I mean gotta catch ’em all, right? 😀

3. iPod Touch.
Most of my guesses hit the mark: retina display, facetime, front face and rear camera. I just didn’t expect Apple to completely replace the lower end with an 8GB version of the same generation (instead of using the 3rd gen Touch). The surprise is HD video recording. Sounds awesome right? You gotta wonder though, that new Touch is even thinner. How the heck Apple did it, considering that even the 3GS camera is too thick for the 2G/3G Touch. Well, looking at the spec, you’ll see the ugly side. Yeah, the new Touch can record 720p video, but it’s obviously a cheapo crappy sensor, as its picture taking ability is only 960×720 resolution. That is not even 1MP. I mean come one, find a dumbphone/cheap digicam that still do less than 1MP picture. Extremely pathetic. This is yet another Apple’s obsession with thinness, sacrificing feature. I rather have a thicker Touch with the 3GS camera in it. I guess Apple just want to make sure they have more stuff to roll out for September 2011. Still, it’s a good buy, especially 32GB for $300. Plus you can do facetime, and it’s iOS. There’s virtually no competition here, yet. Heck, Sony is still selling their 16GB X series for $300. The only contender is the ZuneHD, which is due for an upgrade too. Rumor is MS is going to do a Winpho7 Zune HD without the phone, but the bar is already set fairly high, with the Touch having Facetime, HD video recording, and retina display.

Oh, how about the iPod Classic? Jobs didn’t even mention it at all, but it’s still alive, 160GB, same price $250. Yeah, Apple is the only player in town here, so they see it they they don’t need to do anything.

In the end, the MP3 player is dying. Everybody is using their cellphones as their MP3 players. We already see this as Apple is now very confused on what to do with the nano. Heck, ever since I have an iPhone, I hardly use any of my iPods anymore. The only surviving market will be the low end cheapo MP3 player, and the “PDA” replacement like the iPod Touch, where it’s turning into a mini computer at the $200+ price points, where people is expecting more than just an MP3 player.

How about the Apple TV? Well, my kind of content is J-dorama and Tokusatsu, with Anime sprinkled all around. No content providers in the US, including Apple, offer those, so my only source is fansubs. The most common codecs use in fansubs are Xvid + .avi, or H.264 + .mkv. Neither of those are supported by Apple TV (or any Apple iDevices). So far my solution is a plain Windows HTPC with XBMC. The new Apple TV would be an interesting Netflix client though, and for people that like to rent movies. As for the 99c TV shows, well, it can be pretty expensive if you like watching TV shows. Paying $10 per month for hulu plus may be a better deal, unless you hate ads. Apple TV could’ve been more. Apple could’ve been more aggressive (apps). But I guess they have to play nice with the studios and network providers. Oh well, I’m not interested in it anyway unless Apple added more stuff later on. It seems nice to be able to stream videos from my iPad/iPhone to the Apple TV.

So there you go, my impression/rant of Apple’s 2010 September event. Will I get any of those new iPods. Well, the new nano is interesting for collecting sake. The new Touch is interesting also, as I cannot have iMovie on my 3GS. But I dunno. I rather save my money for a Canon S95. My guess is the big seller will be the new Touch as it finally has camera. People had been lusting over a camera, and the 3rd gen Touch disappointed. Now those people will get this new Touch. Also, there are people that don’t or cannot get an iPhone, so the iPod Touch is the obvious gateway for the app store. To be honest, I don’t think the shuffle and nano will sell much, especially at those prices.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2010 in apple, event, impression, ipod, september

 

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Screw you Steve Wang!


So, this is the guy that came up with the stupid Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, basically Kamen Rider Ryuuki knock-off. That show was canceled. That should be a clue or hint, but I guess somebody didn’t get the message. So, instead of going back to the drawing board, maybe get a bit more original and creative by coming up with an original western “toku” series, Steve Wang is going to rehash more copy-n-pasting, and his choice is either 555 or Kabuto. WTF? I’m sorry, but nobody shall touch Kabuto. Heck, even Decade’s alternate Kabuto is crap. Nobody shall change Kabuto’s image from Hiro. Kabuto is Hiro, period. Only idiots would be okay with this.

Let’s see. They are showing Kamen Rider Dragon Knight in Japan. Yet we don’t even see Kamen Rider Ryuuki being released as DVD in the US.
SCREW YOU STEVE WANG! SCREW YOU ADNESS! You are the reason why we will never see Japanese Kamen Rider series being released in the US. We had hope with V3 and both Kamen Rider The First and The Next movies being released as DVD in the US. But no, you had to do Dragon Knight, and apparently more crap coming. F U!

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2010 in kamen rider, rant

 

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Iron Man 2

Just got out from watching Iron Man 2, IMAX lite. In short, pretty good movie, and stay for after-the-credits scene.

*Warning* May contain spoiler.

One thing Iron Man 2 is better than the first one, the action scenes. It’s upped a notch or two for obvious reason, Tony Stark is already Iron Man, while in the first movie, it’s the origin story. The progression of the movie felt a bit rushed though since the studios are trying to push in SHIELD and The Avengers into the movie. Robert Downey Jr’s performance is great, as usual. He just nailed Tony Stark’s character. Now in Iron Man 2, Rhodey is a different dude, Don Cheadle instead of Terrence Howard. For whatever reason, I always felt the character Rhodes in both Iron Man movies to be a bit off, despite him being War Machine in Iron Man 2. There’s no back story, not much characterization, not much story, other than being Tony’s friend, and voila, next thing you know he’s War Machine. I just don’t feel the connection between Rhodes and Stark, and the change in the actor didn’t help.

Samuel L. Jackson has more screen time now as Nick Fury, since SHIELD is obviously taking a significant part of the story. Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts is, well, is fine. They did cut one scene that was in the trailer, where Potts kissed Iron Man’s helm and throwing it overboard with Tony jumping and flying to get it while saying “You complete me.” Yup, that scene was completely gone, which is kinda disappointing as that scene seems to give a better mood to the relationship of Tony and Pepper. Oh well, obviously a DVD extra.

Now, many reviewers online are not too happy with Iron Man 2 having “multiple villains.” Well, to me there’s only one villain, Whiplash (Mickey Rourke). Sure, there’s the obviously corrupt senator (which didn’t seem to get any repercussion in the movie, obviously portraying real life situation), and the “evil” competing company CEO (Hammer), but I don’t count them as villains. In a super hero movie, the villain should be a super hero too, thus Whiplash. I actually like Whiplash’s part in Iron Man 2. He went through pretty much the same turn of events as Tony Stark, starting with a self-made reactor with limited resources, tricking his captor’s resources for his own purpose, and upgrade his weapon to make a comeback. Very focused single villain, unlike Spider Man 3. The climax fight, however, is both refreshing and disappointing. I made my case that I wasn’t too happy with the climax fight in Iron Man 1, where the girl saved the powerless hero. In Iron Man 2, Tony is still fully functional as Iron Man, and saved Pepper, but the fight with Whiplash is very short and not too exciting. Oh well, at least this time Tony used an upgraded reactor for the final fight (I guess it explains why Iron Man’s reactor chest is a triangle instead of a circle. Seeing that in comics and cartoons, I always thought it was just cosmetic), unlike the first movie where he relied on the 1st gen reactor.

Now, let’s talk about the gadgets. Other than Tony’s home computer, in Iron Man 1, Tony used a stupid Verizon LG phone, which magically worked in the middle east (come on, at least use a GSM phone). Iron Man 2 did a better job by giving Tony a small transparent tablet thingy with touch interface. Pretty awesome. Speaking of touch, that’s the main meme in Iron Man 2. They showed Tony doing a search on Black Widow on his table with multi-touch to boot. Then there’s the whole room virtual reality that Tony used to discover a new element. Steve Jobs is right, touch is the next step.

All of those are nice and futuristic, but then there’s a step back. Tony Stark uses Dell XPS. Yeah, Dell. A billionaire uses Dell, while a hacker working at a convenience store (Falcon) has an iMac and a Mac Pro. LOL. Yeah, I’m comparing the techs of Iron Man 2 with Bloody Monday 2. Sure it’s nice seeing the futuristic stuff, but we know those things don’t exist for consumers. It’s more appetizing to see today’s real products. Oh, and don’t even compare the US government vs the Japanese government. In Bloody Monday 2, the Japanese government are all Apple. 🙂 Then there’s a scene of Tony “hacked” the court’s computer using his transparent tablet, but the “hacking” process is just some lame ASCII of his name. They should do it like Bloody Monday 2, where Falcon uses his USB key to boot any PC into Linux, doing command lines. Now that’s more geeky.

As for spoilers, Captain America and Thor. Nuff said. My wish list for the next Iron Man movie? Extremis, which allows Tony to call up the Iron Man suit on command (it will be ultra cool if he yelled “Henshin!” LOL).

Overall, Iron Man 2 is a good action super hero movie. It doesn’t disappoint nor exceed expectations. It’s what it is, a fun movie to begin the summer season.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2010 in impression, movie, review

 

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