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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Video Review

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Last month’s macro haul on the Sony RX-100 Mark II

1 month ago

On Blogging and Character

4 months ago

Recent posts

Batu Caves Photostitch!

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Thanks to Francis’ fantastic Kodak V570, we were able to do wide angle photo stitching in front of the Batu Caves in Malaysia. Click on the image for a bigger view.

Big Things in Malaysia

I’m spending the week in Malaysia. Old friends from college and work are taking me out. Malaysia as a nation is very passionate about big things. Their “2020” vision aims to turn Malaysia into a first world country by the year 2020. And what better way to entice this revelry and optimism than a 50-hour countdown to their 50th year of independence?

I mean, what other country celebrates their 50th Merdeka for 50 straight hours at the best airport in the world? You can view photos of the 50th. Francis Miranda (a friend from way back in high school) has a knack for entertaining everyone as seen in this video of the self-blowing flagpoles (extremely awesome!!!).

As a tribute to the big things, here are a few other “bigs” that we saw:
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The adventure thus far …

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Here is the Philippine media delegation composed of bloggers and print media folk after two days of events and workshops at Nokia Go Play, Singapore. In the picture are Alma Buelva from Philippine Star, Edgard Hilario from Manila Bulletin, Lawrence Agcaoili from Manila Standard Today, John Nieves from Gadgets Magazine, Maria Cristina Tulipat from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Abraham Olandres from Yugatech.com and yours truly. Our chaperone for the sojourn was Nikka Abes from Nokia Philippines.

It was also great to meet Catherine Yong from PC.com in Malaysia, Hazel, Gerard, Dinesh, and the rest of the Nokia Singapore / Malaysia team. I knew the vacation started when corporate shoes were kicked off the dance floor. :)

It’s now the Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, and I’ll be here till Friday this week. :)

Talking points on the issue of DRM

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The Nokia N81 … not to be confused with the “Nokia iPhone” … at least not yet :)

Very interesting points were raised during the talk on Nokia digital music forum today. A lot of DRM issues were shed to light as well as new developments in the music industry. Most of these insights come from Sandy Monteiro who is the SVP for Digital Music, Universal Music.

  • Apple did a good job of marketing their “DRM free” music when in reality this isn’t truly the case. Having an artist’s name and title is DRM. The fact that Apple only made the download available in AAC format isn’t truly “DRM free” either. Making it available only in the iTunes Store is also a sign that this is not also truly “DRM free.”
  • A new technology is being explored to allow music sharing via Bluetooth or through other means. It involves having the fourth or fifth person paying only a fraction of the cost via wireless sharing (IrDA or Bluetooth) of what the original person had to pay when he or she downloaded the music. This is sort of like a “human Bit torrent” effect. Or the new pyramid scheme for DRM :)
  • In the future, music tracks can be remixed by anyone. Let’s say you have a Frank Sinatra song – you can rearrange the instruments (instead of wind instruments you can use strings) and then upload your version of the song to the Internet. The user community can then download the song and you get a royalty fee. The music tracks that participate in this program have the prior approval of the artists and the record label. Interesting?

These were some of the more interesting points raised for the future of digital music. What do you think?

Online Mobile Retail: What happens to the telcos?

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In the past five years, the telco industry in the Philippines has become a “retail hub” for over the air downloads of mobile content including games, ring tones and other services. But what happens when companies release their own proprietary distribution hub?

Nokia, the most important brand in South East Asia launched Ovi at the Go Play event yesterday in Singapore. In the same way that Apple has their .Mac and iTunes Online Store, Microsoft has their own music store for th Zune. Nintendo has their shopping channel for th virtual console, Nokia unveils their plans for a portal by which consumers can avail of direct downloads of songs and games over their own proprietary portal.

This is a consumer boon — but what happens to the telcos (Globe and SMART in particular back here in the Philippines)? According to Vishal Gondal, founder and CEO of Indiagames, the telcos have become so-so when it comes to the promotion of mobile games. Usually, top tier games are the ones downloaded (those appearing on the top links of download portals). But what happens to the rest of the inventory of titles?

Ofcourse, telcos still provide the actual streaming service for downloads and earn from the data costs. But OTA downloads is the least popular choice in countries like the Philippines because most of the Philippine population uses a prepaid service OR are not really that educated about DRM-enabled music (piracy here is a big thing).

Ovi allows for downloads via PC or WiFi. Also, remeber that the new music downloads will be available at a higher bitrate of 192kbps, which is a much larger file compared to the smaller “optimized for mobile” 64kbps files.

Ovi promises to offer more value not just with downloads, but by merging the whole digital mobile experience with your desktop PC and your friends via online community support. Can the telcos challenge this business model?

Nokia Go Play and Good Night, Singapore!

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Taken from Equinox at the 70th floor of Swissotel. After an eye opening press conference and performances from the local talent, a few of us went out for some drinks before calling it a night. Media workshops tomorrow!

I wrote a few things about this afternoon’s Nokia Go Play event at Cellphone9:

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During the media party, I was stunned by one particular performance by Corrinne May. Her music is eloquent, flowing, evangelical, and passionate. Her latest album is titled Beautiful Seed.

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P.S. The Hainanese Chicken is to die for.

The Lighter Side of … 8/29/2007

Ria Jose is looking for a date with a potential for a long lasting serious relationship. You can apply for this position here. Serious applicants only :)

Gail’s dog now has a blog. Read about Sheero’s adventures in the real world :)

Amidst all the controversies of late taking podium on the Internet, our favorite MIke Abundo gets inducted into his new term with the Philippine Internet Commerce Society by Senator Loren Legarda. I dropped by with some friends to show support as his channel editor for b5media. Congratulations Mike – hath hell really frozen over?. Kidding! :)

On Vacation (but still blogging?!)

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A really good friend doodles a lot during her spare time. This afternoon, she showed me a few of her doodles of how she perceives her friends. She made this one for me. Thanks, Riane. :)

I’m off to Singapore in a few hours. I’ll be blogging the Nokia Go Play event from there. Afterwards, I am off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to meet up with college friends and Colbert Low who runs The Gadget Blog.

Free barcodes for your blogs

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Months ago, I wrote about how TMS or Tag Mobile Service tags would provide real world links to content over the Internet. When Gail and Marc did my template back in February, I gave them instructions to place a TMS tag on the upper right sidebar which is still very visible now. I did this as an experiment to see whether it would click. As of late, I do not have an educated answer to this. I observed though that the TMS methodology would work IF the technology was made available to the public, just like how anything viral would almost always work nowadays. That way, it would not remain exclusive to companies trying to do online promotions and marketing campaigns.

The old TMS barcode tag creator involved having to give your URL and waiting a few days before the developer could email you a ready made barcode. Now, all you need to do is enter your blog URL and a barcode will be generated for you in seconds. You can create your own TMS barcodes here and post them on your blog. It will allow your blog to be accessed easily via cellphone, converted automatically for mobile viewing.

Since the service is free, I would like to believe that you can create a lot of tags for your different permalinks. You can print out the tags for your podcasts, photo albums and blog and put them on your corporate header, t shirt, or business card.

Note that the service is currently on beta. You can report bugs in this post.

[image courtesy of the S60 blog]

Why did cartoons go downhill after the 80’s?

In the 80’s, the animation industry was at a boom.
Western artists and storytellers collaborated with influences from Japan
To create the most memorable stories in western animation.
The recurring themes were
The exploration of the unknown frontier,
The synergy between man and machine,
And the study of the Institution.
This was the golden age of cartoons.

As most of the readers of this blog are children of the 80’s, I’d like to present an observation about how cartoons in the late 90’s till the present have degraded into a combination of the following formula:

1. slapstick humor
2. toilet humor
3. pop culture references to the 80’s (we’ve grown up, so we’re still the target market)

Here are my thoughts on why this has happened:

The dawn of CG in the mid 90’s put a refocus of the market to special effects rather than content. The toy industry, which kept the cartoons alive, dwindled as video games replaced die cast metal and plastic paraphernalia as the medium for entertainment. Great story still exists today, mostly in the form of Japanese animation that took over where Western cartoons died (Giant Robo, Ranma 1/2, Captain Harlock, Evangelion, and the like).

Let me take you on a trip back with the following intro links. I suggest you watch them in succession for maximum effect.

Spiral Zone
M.A.S.K.
Tiger Sharks (showed on Mondays as part of Comic Strip)
C.O.P.S.
Thundercats
Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors
Centurions
Inhumanoids
Mighty Orbots (only ran for one season)
Gobots
Transformers
Visionaries
Sky Commanders
Bravestarr
Silverhawks
Bravestarr
Bionic Six
Galaxy Rangers (this show had my ultimate favorite theme song)

So, can you name more? Which were your favorite 80’s cartoons? This fun 80’s flashback post is an example of how content will always be king. No amount of technology can compete with well-weaved stories. Either I have a point, or I’m just getting old. :)

P.S. Of course there were some really campy but otherwise entertaining shows like Captain N: Game Master (Nintendo’s marketing campaign) and … *snicker* Chuck Norris and the Karate Commandos. As for the latter, can you count the number of times the narrator says Chuck Norris’ name?

b5media Jobs: Sports Freak Wanted

b5media is looking for a sports freak to head the growing sports channel team. If you are interested in applying, please send a short introduction and blog URL to Christina Jones at christina at b5media dot com.

This Channel Editor’s core role will be to develop our Sports Channel into a dynamic group of blogs. The job includes:

  • recruiting bloggers and supporting them through the launch process of their new blogs
  • motivating and supporting
  • guiding and encouraging our existing team of bloggers
  • liasing between bloggers and management
  • developing the channel as a whole
  • general tech support for bloggers

In short – you’ll be responsible for making our Sports Channel the best it can be!

For the full list of requirements and details, please proceed here.

Is Wowowee’s Wilyonaryo really rigged?

Videos have been circulating around the Internet on the live rigging mistake from the Wilyonaryo segment of Wowowee. You can view the longer version of the video and voice out your comments.

Honest mistake? Production error? Or really a rig?

Discuss.

Four offline marketing tips to promote your blog

If you’ve read the papers today, the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Super section has launched Blog Patrol, which is a weekly feature of well-written blog entries that is republished on the dailies by the Super editors. Today’s feature article was from a really long blog entry of www.redjeulle.blogspot.com.

We at Super love how blogs have exploded. We love it even more when blogs are well written. To encourage better blog writing, we will spend time online looking for the best blog entries that we can lift and publish in our own pages. If you think your entries are print-worthy and we’re taking too long in making our way to your blog, send smoke signals to super@inquirer.com.ph.

Here are four simple offline marketing methods to get new readers:
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Remember, remember the 5th of September

iPod stocks have not been replenished in two weeks. Rumors point to a big Apple announcement on the 5th of September. All signs point to the new generation of iPods that would seem to carry 16GB of NAND flash memory running on a heavily rewritten OS X platform. Truth be told, the new iPods that allegedly would be launched on the 5th are, to my best guess, what the Asian iPhone owners already have – an iPhone sans the phone capabilities.

Here are the possible iterations of the form the new iPod will take:

The rumor of the iPhone nano will be confirmed? This is highly unlikely, as the iPhone has not even been officially released in Asia. A move like this would definitely undercut sales of the current iPhone that’s not even available in the Eastern part of the globe.

The widescreen iPod nano? With iLife ’08 and the iPhone demonstrating the vast implementation of Coverflow, what is to stop the iPod from implementing this? The new iPod will run on a heavily rewritten Mac OS X and will feature video playback and 16GB of NAND flash memory.

Resources:

3G iPod nano
Apple to hold event on September 5th
Current iPod supply dwindles

Do yourself a favor — if you’re itching to buy an iPod in the next 11 days, don’t. You will be extremely disappointed.

My closet dancing frustrations are now satisfied by BOOGIE for the Wii!

I have always been a frustrated dancer. When Yapi and I went to look for new games for the Wii before she moves to China, we were adamant enough to scour Greenhills for a copy of Boogie, the new dancing / rhythm game published by Electronic Arts. Boogie, despite the low reviews from GameSpot, is one of the most fun workout games that utilizes the Wiimote and a USB microphone (yes you can sing too!). Though the game has its limitations, EA is definitely on the right direction to coming up with a great rhythm and motion game.

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The speaker on the Wii Remote acts as a metronome, and there’s also a visual indicator on the screen to help you stay in time to the music. The more moves you time properly in a row, the higher your score. As your score increases, so does your boost meter. Once you’ve obtained a bit of boost, you can hold down the B button to trigger a series of arrows at the bottom of the screen. If you follow the pattern correctly, your character will perform a special dance move that will net you big points. [read]

Sharm told me I lost weight during the Taste Asia II party. Blame it on the Boogie :)

Boogie is available at Datablitz for P2,300.00 (the cheapest one I’ve seen at Park Square, Makati). It comes with a Wii USB microphone but any USB microphone can be used for the Karaoke mode.

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