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X-mini II Capsule Speaker vs Generic “Greenhills” Speaker

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Teehee. Check out the XMI X-mini speaker I won at a media raffle. The X-mini II is a small and compact speaker that connects to any device with a 3.5mm jack. The capsule twists and folds out to reveal an accordion diaphragm (it’s called the Bass Xpansion System or BXS for short). I can see why this thing won a Red Dot design award in 2008. It’s sleek. The X-mini charges via USB with a claimed battery life of 30 hours. One thing I failed to show in the demo, for lack of another X-mini, is the feature to link several of these together to form a wall of sound. The X-mini retails for about USD $35.00. For the X-Mini’s older brother, check out the X-Mini Max II.

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Now let’s compare it to this P250.00 portable speaker I bought a few weeks ago. I don’t even think it has a name: ST-01 is the product code? It’s … well. Aesthetically, it’s really just a hodgepodge of stuff put together and painted matte black. Turning it on, I was greeted by flickering disco lights. So it isn’t just a speaker: It’s a portable party (!!!). This speaker charges using any of the two types of Nokia chargers (LOL) widely available in the market. Battery life is at two hours.

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Here’s a video I made demonstrating the audio quality we get from both of these little things.

Hands down, the X-mini II comes out as the definitive winner in terms of features, but come on for P250.00, you can forgive the generic speaker. Not bad at all. This is a Christmas gift you can give to all your friends with the sticker of your company or website. Technology is cheap.

Beyond the Box in VMall is the best looking gadget store in the country

beyond the box vmall amazing

You’ve probably been here — before it was renovated. The new Beyond the Box concept store has finally re-opened at the 3rd floor food court area of VMall in Greenhills. A gadget and accessories store? Really? The design is just amazing and well, very out of beyond the box.

Check it out for yourself!

The design is just amazing and well, very beyond the box.

The design is just amazing and well, very beyond the box.

Beyond the Box has been my go-to store for Apple accessories and audiophiles will love their line of Marshall iPod speakers and Braven portable travel speakers which I’ve reviewed early this year.

This particular branch was designed by Buensalido Architects.

beyond the box 3

beyond the box vmall photo

This Beyond the Box concept store is located at the 3rd floor of VMall, Greenhills. You can follow their quirkiness on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/beyondthebox.ph

Where can I have my Lenovo phone fixed?

lenovo-k560-p700i-photos-comparison-price-philippines_2

If you’re wondering where you can have your Lenovo mobile phone repaired, here is a compilation of service centers and drop off / pick up points for your dear smartphones. The first list includes all the service centers while the second list shows the drop off and pick up points for your phones after they are serviced. If you live near the service center, all the better.
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Datablitz, X-Play issue more conflicting statements regarding the CIDG raid. Who is correct?

Previously…

1. Statement of XPLAY regarding the Datablitz raid
2. Datablitz responds to the raid
—————
Hello again. Yesterday, representatives of XPLAY held an intimate round table dinner to some of the media to further explain the recent raid of Datablitz. I was not there at the dinner as it was scheduled rather last minute. I did ask their PR rep to send over a statement of what was discussed during that dinner.

Today, Datablitz also issued an additional statement clarifying some details regarding the claim of selling “unauthorized copies” of NBA 2k13 games.

I will post both responses.

To be honest, what is disturbing to me is how the police force of the CIDG determined that these goods were “pirated” as it is common knowledge to note that this truly isn’t the case especially when it comes to obtaining sealed boxes of serial keys.

As a frequent Datablitz customer I know for a fact that they have never carried “pirated” software. So often have I been browsing their shelves when oblivious parents would come in and ask whether they have pirated versions of their games OR jail broken / modified versions of the XBOX 360 or the Nintendo Wii. With the value-added features that original games can offer today (such as online play) it would be absurd for Datablitz to even want to carry pirated goods.

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New iPad 3 Price Guide for Philippines

Big green light for the new iPad. This is the price list from the fine folks over at Technoodling. Do note that all cellular iPads being sold are not SIM-locked so you can readily add a local microSIM from any network for data.

On another note, Microwarehouse is set to open their annual MICROWAREHOUSE SALE next month. We are not completely sure if the new iPad will be offered, but it might be worth the wait as well, right?

PRICE:
iPad 16 GB WiFi = Php 23,990 (iPad 2 was priced at Php 23,990 at launch roughly a year ago)
iPad 32 GB WiFi = Php 28,990 (iPad 2 was priced at Php 28,990at launch roughly a year ago)
iPad 64 GB WiFi = Php 33,990 (iPad 2 was priced at Php 33,990 at launch roughly a year ago)
iPad 16 GB WiFi with Cellular = Php 29,990 (iPad 2 was priced atPhp 30,990 at launch roughly a year ago)
iPad 32 GB WiFi with Cellular = Php 34,990 (iPad 2 was priced atPhp 35,990 at launch roughly a year ago)
iPad 64 GB WiFi with Cellular = Php 39,990 (iPad 2 was priced atPhp 40,990 at launch roughly a year ago)

AVAILABILITY:
Metro Manila Apple Authorized Premium Resellers:
Beyond the Box One Rockwell
Beyond the Box Lucky China Town
Beyond the Box Resorts World
Digital Hub Robinsons Galleria
Digital Hub Robinsons Place Manila
Digital Hub Market Market
Digital Hub Virra Mall Greenhills
Power Mac Center Greenbelt 3
Power Mac Center Trinoma
Power Mac Center Megamall
Power Mac Center SM North Edsa
Power Mac Center Mall of Asia
A Shop Podium
A Shop Eastwood Mall
iStudio Shangrila Mall
iStudio Bonifacio High Street
iStudio ADMU Campus Store
Switch Alabang Town Center
Switch Marquee Mall
Switch Ayala TechnoHub

There is signal underwater! Hands on with the Patima iPhone 4s UW Housing

UPDATE For a more affordable iPhone 4/4s casing, check out the iDive Site case for only PHP 5,999.00

Photo above: That’s me, doing extreme camwhoring! Shot by Boogs Rosales.

EDIT 3: Have a look at the new Patima housing for the GoPro HERO / HERO2

EDIT 2: Instead of hardware, iOS 5.1 users can download the i-Patima app that lets you use the camera underwater. DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

EDIT: Since the new iOS 5.1 update that changes the way users access the camera from the lock screen, Patima is releasing an adapter that will allow you to continue using the iPhone4s as intended underwater.

Some time ago I got word of a pretty little item that would amaze SCUBA divers and iPhone users. Made in Korea, the Patima underwater housing could withstand pressures up to 300 meters deep. That’s almost 1,000 feet and way way beyond recreational depths. Well I finally got the chance to try it out thanks to Jovic of Splash UW Imaging. Before I continue, note that I am not affiliated with Splash UW Imaging in any way nor do I get anything from the sales of this product.

Let’s begin!
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Take your iPhone 4s underwater (up to 300 meters!!!) with Patima

Ed’s Note: Want to see the Samsung Galaxy Note underwater? Check it out!

As a guys who likes to take photos underwater, I tend to keep my choice of camera brands within the confines of the “1-Way Test” … which simply begs the question “Can I take it underwater?” So I’m more inclined to invest in photography equipment which you can wet. The geeky appeal of it all is trying to figure out how to keep electronics from staying dry at 100 ft below the surface and the concept is challenging. Well, we did it for an iPod, so what’s stopping us from taking the iPhone down?!

So when I got an iPhone 4s from SMART, I really had no intention to take it down. Well, I knew it could be technically done with a special consumer-rated case from Lifeproof (Howard did a review on it on Technoodling recently) and Gabe Mercado did give me a demonstration at 5ft deep in salt water.

But the question is, can you take the iPhone 4s down to recreational SCUBA depths of 60-120ft? Well, Patima’s new casing exclusively for the iPhone 4s allows you to do so. Not just into recreational depths … but up to 300 meters folks.

Exclusive for camera or video functions of the iPhone 4S
– Rated to 300meters, anti-moisture and anti-dust purposes
– Simple operation with 4 buttons
– Compact Size and light weight
– Material – CNC milled Aluminium Acetal, Stainless Steel
– Finishing – Anodized after Barrel, Sanding and coating
– Color – Silver
– Size: 185 x 70 x 40mm
– Weight – 400g on land
– Available controls: Rec Button, STOP button, Program Confirm Button, Camera/Camcorder mode Button and Power Button

PRICE: PHP 15,000.00 via Splash UW Imaging located at the 2nd Floor Greenhills Shopping Mall (across Krispy Kreme)

OK looking at the shots, I’m really wondering how exactly will you unlock the iPhone with the three buttons? The three buttons + home is obviously used for the camera, gallery and photo / video switch (again not sure how you’re going to switch). I’ll probably get an explanation how it works and hopefully a run-through. I don’t see any slots for strobes or video lights so you pretty much have to do a DIY config to get this thing working 100%. Nonetheless, I don’t think Patima designed this to be your primary underwater camera, but still. It delivers.

This Patima case doesn’t seem to be compatible with other iPhone models.

List of SMART LTE sites in the Philippines

EDIT: Here’s a visual map of the LTE sites as of Dec 29 2011:

High resolution version here

EDIT: Updated list of LTE sites from Smart Communications as of December 13 2011. Please click on the image for full size.

SMART is in the process of rolling out their LTE sites across the nation. I am one of the beta testers involved in this rollout alongside over 120 other civilians. The HUAWEI USB dongle that was provided gets speeds up to 46Mbps which is around half the speed of the proposed LTE Network of SMART Communications. LTE is hardware dependent so even if the network allows for above 70Mbps, the mobile phone or dongle you have will limit the speed. 46Mbps = 5.76MB / second.

This is a list of LTE sites for future reference. I will add to this based on the feedback of the beta test group and personal experiences. Note that this is only an initial list and does not reflect the commercial release of LTE in the Philippines.

List of confirmed LTE Sites in the Philippines

Boracay
Jump Store, Megamall (Cyberzone) — LTE connection is shared via WiFi
Greenbelt 3 (CBTL area)
Greenbelt 2 (Mary Grace area)
Greenbelt 1 (Bon Chon, Starbucks / AIM area)
Promenade, Greenhills (Figaro area)
Festival Mall, Filinvest

List of LTE sites being turned online
** does not reflect the final list of LTE coverage

Quezon City
Cubao
15th Ave Parc
Ateneo
magnolia
UP Diliman
Xavierville

Manila
Singalong
Manila P. Noval
UST

San Juan
Annapolis
PLDT Greenhills

Pasig
Ugong
Meralco Ortigas

Pasay City
SM Mall of Asia

Makati
Greenbelt
PLDT Wise Tower
RC Bldg Pico
VAR

Mandaluyong
Wack Wack
SM Megamall

Muntinlupa
Filinvest City

Super cheap Samsung camera deals with free underwater housings starting at PHP 12,990.00

**EXCLUSIVE FEATURE**

This promo isn’t out anywhere else. So this is the first time you’ll be hearing of this before it goes uber public. Many weeks ago I helped test out a potential underwater adventure bundle with Samsung and Microwarehouse leading the experiment. You can read about the entire experience here. Well, fast forward to yesterday, the product testing was a success and I’m really proud to have been part of the team that made this package what it is now.

What it is: the cheapest adventure bundle you will ever find in the market.

Question: Where else will you find a decent camera with waterproof housing up to 130 feet for only PHP 12,900.00?

Answer: NONE! Nowhere else! Only here!

There are a total of three models available:

Samsung PL210 – ultra zooming camera
Samsung SH100 – WiFi enabled camera
Samsung PL120 – 2 viewing screens (front and back)

These are all decent P&S cameras on land. Adding the Seashell case for underwater photos protects the camera up to 130 feet. It’s perfect for beach trips and SCUBA divers.

You can avail of this package from Splash UW Imaging in Greenhills or in Mobile1 at the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell.

Whatever you choose, these Samsung cameras have decent auto WB focusing underwater. If you don’t snorkel or visit the beach often, this package is still epic as the underwater case can be used as a ruggedized casing on land! Winner! The Seashell case is a trusted housing for most point and shoot cameras. Since it’s made to fit almost all models, some functions on specific cameras may be limited. At minimum you will be able to press the shutter button underwater (can’t change settings) which is all you really need IMHO. Spread the word! These cameras are perfect for barkada outings!

Important Note: I do not work for Samsung / Microwarehouse nor was I compensated to help with the testing. They paid for the SCUBA tanks and lunch though.

The Panty Shield for Underwater Cameras: Leak Insure

One of the horrors of bringing a camera into the water is the fear of having your housing leak. Sure, you’ve greased your O rings and meticulously cleaned the crevices of your case from sand particles and dust. But there is that nagging feeling that something beyond your control can happen and you won’t have the precious time to save your camera from a flooding incident. Rather, you’re stuck underwater watching water consume your expensive piece of electronics.

So it’s here — the “panty shield” for underwater housings. If in case it really does leak. Leak Insure absorbs 400x its mass in water, trapping and slowing the flood into its absorbent surface giving you more time to react and surface immediately without harming your camera.

Price: PHP 475.00 for the small and medium sizes and PHP 550.00 for the large size. You can order from Splash Photography: +639175259639 (Shoppesville Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center Level B, Store # 2003). Look for Jovic.

The New Rig: JVC Picsio FM1 + Ikelite Underwater Housing, V8 LED Lights

During its heyday the Flip was the only compact video recorder that delivered good results. In the same way that we use “Kodak” or “Xerox” as verbs, most people refer to compact video recorders as Flip recorders. Enter the 5th generation iPod nano, and the Sony Bloggie: affordable compact video cameras for posting on YouTube and Facebook are the new in thing.

JVC’s Picsio is an underdog in local marketing. Have you even seen one on the shelves? At best, you’re going to get an hour or an hour and a half worth of recording and photos on a full charge. The FM1 accepts SD and SDHC cards, with almost negligible internal memory. It has very simple controls, allowing you to switch from 1080p HD video recording to 8MP stills (not so good autofocus for photos). On a 4GB card, you will get 800+ photos, but more importantly, 41 minutes of video. Since the controls are dumbed down, you can’t change the recording quality to 720p or to anything lower. You will have to do this on your computer. The FM1 comes with a landscape and macro auto focus switch on the side which you can transition between even while recording. This gives you Jason Magbanua-ish effects for depth of field blur when focusing on close subjects. Charging is via standard miniUSB direct to your computer. The formats supported are .MOV and JPEG.

But OK folks, this isn’t why I bought the Picsio. In truth, the compact recorder is only 1/3 of the package. It came with this:

The complete set consists of the FM1 compact video recorder bundled with an Ikelite underwater housing with a red filter attachment. I went the extra mile with this thing and upgraded the unit with an Ikelite V8 LED light and arm. Here is a video sample I took while snorkeling (haven’t had a chance to dive yet). Pardon the Cloverfield moments as I was being swept by the waves. You’ll notice that the LED light brings the flora to life, removing the blues which most underwater videos have. If you want to see something more professional, check this footage from the Cayman Islands shoot.

This is by far the most affordable underwater video recording bundle I’ve seen and no other brand carries this promo. Ikelite also makes casings for the Flip camera but it is not on sale. It appears that the Picsio FM1 is a new product from the latter part of 2009 and the bundle is really a way to promote the set and sale of JVC recorders. It’s perfect. 1080p resolution is seamless and the controls are easy to use especially with the casing. When buying this, make sure you have after sales adjust the casing’s knobs so that they make direct contact with the buttons.

Underwater, Ikelite bundle works like a charm. Perhaps the only complaint I have is that the screen is small, which is a standard configuration for these types of recorders, so I can’t really complain.

Price breakdown:

JVC FM1 with Ikelite Housing: PHP 24,000
Ikelite V8 LED Video Light: PHP 12,000
Video Arm / Brace: PHP 4,500

There is only ONE PLACE in Manila where you can buy this, apart from ordering online: Splash Underwater Imaging which is across Krispy Kreme / McDonald’s in Greenhills. Go up the stairs to the second floor and hang a left. You’ll see Splash towards the end of the corridor with apparel for water sports and underwater cameras. If you’re looking for the widest solution of underwater imaging devices, Jovic Santos will have them. Look for him there. I’ve provided contact details below:

Splash Underwater Imaging is OPEN @ Shoppesville Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center Level B, Store # 2003. Call us at +632 7249803 or +639175259639, email to sales@splashuwimaging.com or splashuwimaging@gmail.com www.splashuwimaging.com

Panasonic GF1 Owners: Now you can bring your four thirds underwater

Jovic Santos from Splash Photography is selling casings for GF1’s that need to get wet! 10Bar seems to be the only “serious” case manufacturer for Panasonic as the Japanese brand doesn’t seem to carry stock housings for their cameras. It is a bit pricey (almost the cost of a regular housing for a DSLR) but if you really want to take great shots with a Leica lens underwater, this is how you’re going to get it done!

A sturdy aluminum housing for the Popular Micro Four Thirds camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1. A camera system that allows interchange of lenses with a DSLR image quality, Focusing speed and DSLR performance in a very compact design. Kindly see link for camera information:

10Bar housing allows the use of the popular lenses from Lumix such as 20mm, 45mm Macro, 14-45mm zoom and 7-14mm Wide zoom lenses.

Introductory price of Php 55,000 for orders placed on or before March 31, 2010. Normal price is Php 65,000.00

Splash Underwater Imaging is OPEN @ Shoppesville Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center Level B, Store # 2003. Call us at +632 7249803 or +639175259639, email to sales@splashuwimaging.com or splashuwimaging@gmail.com www.splashuwimaging.com

My comments and suggestions for Globe’s Alleged iPhone 3G Price Scheme

Corporate Hero? Maybe so. But in the Philippines, it could be a Corporate Zero.

There’s a tipper with an email going around the Philippine Internet – outlining a possible initial fee of PHP 9,995.00 for the iPhone, but of course killing you with a monthly fee of P3,500.00. There’s a higher plan where you get the phone free but have to pay the rate of a Globe Platinum subscriber at P5,000.00. The latter plan is nothing new – it’s what Platinum and SMART Infinity subscribers pay for this type of service plus they get any phone they want so I will leave that be. Let’s not even talk about the prepaid plans. I have a completely different take on this. Enjoy:

I wrote about this before — forgot though if it was for print or the blogs — how the iPhone should PUSH telcos to come up with better products, rather than push the iPhone itself. After watching the keynote, it made me realize more and more why Apple works closely with a telco (AT&T) as a lot of the iPhone’s services rely on a more robust data plan, a data plan that is light years ahead of our own 3G infrastructure.

Hi Jones (no, really Hi! I didn’t see you at the last PRSP seminar I gave last week), if you’re reading this I really hope you guys can figure out how to revamp this plan to be more subscriber friendly. The reason why Steve Jobs slashed the iPhone price was to make it more appealing to the masses. As he said, everyone should own an iPhone. If I had a say in the marketing roadmap for the iPhone, I’d take this as an opportunity to do some wow-ing myself, introducing a really kick ass data plan EXCLUSIVE to iPhone buyers from Globe initially, rather than put together a hodge-podge excuse that smells of corporate spare parts, which is what the telco experience is starting to feel like. In short, the product isn’t the iPhone 3G – it’s a revamped 3G roadmap that’s too remarkable to pass up. The iPhone 3G would be, well, a springboard.

This may be an edge over competition that just wants to unlock an iPhone and use it with SMART. Truth is, the iPhone can-afford crowd is a year ahead of the average guy who hasn’t even heard of the launch date here in the Philippines (because they don’t read up on the Internet). They’re going to have an easier time sourcing the iPhone from abroad. Or Greenhills. Wherever. Just not with Globe.

As for me, I’m definitely getting one from relatives from the US who are coming home in a few weeksmaybe a second hand 1st Gen iPhone wil work? I can’t wait. It is for me, the perfect time to get an iPhone because of the SDK release and although you still can’t do MMS, video recording, Business Card forwarding, and Bluetooth file exchange, I’m still hooked, it’s insane. That really floored me. Or … maybe I’ll get one from SMART, who knows? ;) (Oops. A slip? I’m such a tease.)

Speaking on the side, I highly doubt uMobile will carry the iPhone unless they develop a native MMS application as this is one of the primary methods for sending ads. iPhone doesn’t have MMS.

So there it is Globe. It isn’t about the iPhone. Although it definitely is a news maker, it won’t follow through with the geek community here. Hey, we’re better than that. I hope the pricing isn’t final.

Original Super Smash Brothers Brawl on modded Wii?

Super Smash Brothers Wii

If you own a modded Wii, you will not be able to play the original retail of Super Smash Brothers Brawl (SSBB). Ironic as it is, buying original copies of Mario Galaxy and SSBB and running these on a modded unit will bring a disk read failure. This is Nintendo’s way of combatting disk backups which is the main proponent for piracy, especially here in the Philippines.

If you own a modded Wii and have bought a copy of SSBB from Datablitz or any gaming shop in the Philippines there are several ways around this. You can either remove your modchip or corrupt the firmware. But there is also a best of both worlds compromise that is recommended, allowing you to play burned / backup disks as well as original games. This is how it is done:
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Seen: Pink iPod nano!

Pink iPod nano at Digital Walker

So her guesses were right on the spot – the pink iPod nano’s actual color is really hot pink. The stock images from Apple are actually inaccurate. Take a look at the ecstatic photo above :)

We saw stocks of pink iPod nanos being sold at the Digital Walker store in Greenhills. The 8GB model costs PHP 8,3xx.00 which is already at 10% discount.
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