Sunday, November 30, 2008
My old Logitech webcam is a great tool to use for reviews when it calls for one. But, I am in the process of hopefully getting new products to review. And to do justice to those products, I am willing to invest in a dedicated video camera.
If you saw my video review of OrbLive, a dedicated video camera could have been very useful to show how it actually works.
Well, today I was perusing the ad for Best Buy and saw some interesting cameras on sale. I think the one I am leaning toward right now is the Samsung SC-MX20. It's normally $249.99 but it's on sale for $199.99.
So far, my favorite review of this camera on YouTube is by Crunchgear.com:
At this point, what's making it hard for me is that I just bought $70 shoes (should've saved that money) and I haven't bought ANY Christmas gifts yet.
If you have any experience with this product or have another video camera to recommend in the $200 price range, feel free to post it in the comments section.
While Samsung is no stranger to touchscreens, what really makes this phone stand out is its camera features:
- 5 megapixels
- LED Flash
This makes the Omnia one of the best, if not the best, cameraphone on the market. Unfortunately, there is no optical zoom with this phone.
It also comes with an FM radio, but it doesn't have the standard 3.5" headphone jack.
Another interesting feature of the Omnia is its ability to support the Divx format.
The Omnia comes with 8GB of internal memory, which is a lot compared with other phones other than the iPhone. And the operating system is Windows Mobile 6.1.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Well, Gameloft will give it some stiff competition in December with its latest game "Ferrari GT Evolution." I loved "Asphalt 4" and I think I will be getting this one. It features no less than 33 Ferraris. Maybe I can drive the Testarossa from the 80s or maybe even the 308 GTS from the television show "Magnum P.I.?" Now that would be cool. We'll see. In the meantime, here's a trailer for the game (unfortunately with no real game footage):
The demonstration will also include television sets that show games in 3-D. Evidently, some electronics companies have been making TV sets to accomodate 3-D DVDs already. But, the industry has not set a standard on 3-D.
The NFL used 3-D before for the 2004 Super Bowl and when people view the tape they "crouch down to catch the ball. It's as if the ball is coming into your arms."
Although I love HDTV, I have not been quick to set it up in my home because I believe the sets will still come down in price. Also, buying an HDTV set will require a major living room makeover since the entertainment center we have can only fit the standard television. Maybe I should just wait for the 3-D sets!
Friday, November 28, 2008
But, that doesn't mean that this latest phone isn't good. Just looking at the specs on paper, it seems quite solid.
Music is its focus and Nokia spared no expense:
- 8-band graphic equalizer
- Dedicated music keys in the headset control unit
- Stereo FM radio (with wired headset)
- Standard 3.5" headphone jack
- Integrated stereo speakers with surround sound (I have no idea how they're going to pull this one off)
- 3D stereo ringtones
- 3.2 megapixel camera (2048 x 1536 pixels)
- Carl Zeiss optics
- 3x digital zoom for camera/4x digital zoom for video recorder
- Dual LED flash
- Flash modes: On, off, automatic, red-eye reduction
- Photo editor on device
- Video recording at up to 640 x 480 pixels and up to 30 fps
Other features the stock iPhone doesn't have:
- 640 x 360 pixels (verus iPhone's 480 x 320 pixels)
- Expandable memory slot
- Bluetooth A2DP
- Voice Dialing
I will certainly check out the Nokia 5800 when it is released.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Well, out of sheer boredom, I decided to take the plunge into two of the hottest racing games in the App Store: "Fastlane Street Racing" and "Raging Thunder."
Fastlane Street Racing - $5.99
This definitely has the BEST graphics I've seen to date on the iPhone. Cars are beautifully rendered and the backgrounds are majestic. And the animation is as smooth as silk. But, that's where my praises end.
I've always been resistant about having an onscreen gas pedal and my worst fears were confirmed. Other games like "Asphalt" have auto-acceleration so that you're mainly concerned about steering. On Fastlane, you're mainly concerned about holding that gas pedal down. Also, the steering interface is puzzling. Instead of using a tilting motion, like on "Asphalt" and "Crash Bandicoot," you have to turn your iPhone as if it were a steering wheel. While that sounds good in theory, it is actually terrible.
It seems Fastlane is more of a racing simulator than an actual game, since it is very close to real-life - the good and the bad.
Raging Thunder - $3.99 (Half-Price Sale)
Raging Thunder also is graphically smoother than "Asphalt," although the backgrounds leave a lot to be desired. This game has elements of what is missing from Fastlane: boosting (blue bar) and tackling (red bar). I've been able to win races using the boost. And I found a bar for "tackling" or crashing into other cars to be pretty interesting. Although I prefer crashing to be a bit more "invisible" like in "Asphalt" where you can just crash into a car. Some things I dislike though is the sound and animation for hitting the sides of the track. They are irritating. Plus, it looks like gunshots. At first I thought there were guns in the game! And like Fastlane, there is a time limit so if you don't hit a certain mark by a certain time then it's game over for you.
Although none of them bests "Asphalt," I do like Raging Thunder over Fastlane Street Racing if only for its fun factor.
I don't have any of these games, but they look wonderful! They are all premium-priced as well. All of the links take you to a YouTube video of the game.
Armageddon Squadron - $5.99
For whatever odd reason, this video has no sound.
1112 Episode 01 - $7.99
Touch Grind - $4.99 (Introductory Price)
The first thing I wanted to check out was the BlackBerry Bold. After having used the Storm, I already had some expectations of the Bold. In general, I actually liked the Bold more than the Storm. I thought it was easier to navigate on the Bold. On the Storm, the whole "pressing down the screen" thing did not agree with me as far as menu navigation. However, the physical keyboard is not any easier to use than the Storm's virtual keyboard. My fat fingers are a bit big for the tiny buttons. And the shift key is a bit low for my tastes. So, ironically, the biggest beef I have with BlackBerrys in general is the keyboard - which is also the reason why BlackBerry users hate the iPhone. If I HAD to get a BlackBerry, I'd get a Bold. The only thing that the Storm has over the Bold is a bigger screen. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean it's a better overall experience.
After feeling the hardware of the HTC G1, I was amazed to find that the Fuze was so much more solid! It didn't feel like a flimsy piece of plastic. The Fuze has a nice car-like glossy finish. The hinges that connect the screen to the keyboard are on BOTH sides of the phone, which means you can't simply peel the screen away from the phone like with the G1. The keyboard is also superior to the G1. The keys are raised enough to have a nice feel to them. The G1's keys are too flush. In fact, I have an easier time typing on the Fuze than on any BlackBerry I've tried. I also like the touchscreen on the Fuze, which seems easier to use than the Storm and the Bold doesn't have a touchscreen. The only thing about the Fuze is that it runs Windows Mobile 6.1. If the Fuze ran on the Android platform, I think it could really compete against the iPhone. As it stands, I'd get a Fuze over the BlackBerry.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Not all was good with my Storm experience though. I hated the browser. If Opera Mini was available I'd throw it on that bad boy immediately. Also, the GPS was a bit tough to use. On the iPhone, one tap of a button gives you your current location very close to real-time. I had to jump through hoops to get my current location on the VZ Navigator. But, the one great feature of Navigator was getting traffic reports. For whatever reason, traffic reports on the iPhone does not work in Hawaii. That's no surprise because the Navigation system in my Acura can't get traffic reports either but it can on the mainland. But, for some reason Verizon in Hawaii can.
And, to me, the trackball at the bottom also feels cheap. Another thing that really disturbed me was that I could literally pull the screen off at the top of the phone since there is no hinge there to prevent me from doing that. I'm sure the Android software is revolutionary. But, the hardware leaves a lot to be desired.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
1) Buy a Griffin Clarifi case. The case comes with a lens that slides over your existing lens to take close-up shots. It retails for $34.99 according to the Griffin website.
2) Download Snappr.net from the App Store for free.
Here's a video of how the Clarifi case works with Snappr.net:
Now, I do not have the Clarifi case or the Snappr.net app so I cannot vouch for the quality of these products. If Griffin Technology would send me a Clarifi case to review, I would gladly do so.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
TheFind uses your GPS to find where you are and it displays the stores that are closest to you that has the product you want. However, the list isn't sorted from closest to farthest. That may have been a good feature.
But, the app does have a map so you can graphically see which stores are nearest.
You can also check out prices on the web to see how they compare with the store prices.
If you want a no-nonsense app for your shopping, TheFind is great. Although you don't get some of the features like Slifter, you also don't have to give up your telephone number.
You can get TheFind for free in the App Store.
And while you're doing that, you can enjoy a fan video of my favorite song about shopping called "Shopping" by the Barenaked Ladies:
Friday, November 21, 2008
Last night I saw that OS 2.2 was ready for an update. I decided to try and update it before I go to work. It downloaded to iTunes fine and then my iPhone made a backup. But, at the very end of the installation I get an error that 2.2 was not installed. And in one fell swoop, my iPhone was stuck on the screen, just like this picture I posted, and then iTunes all of a sudden could not recognize my iPhone so I couldn't even RESTORE!
So, I had to go to work with a bricked iPhone.
After work, I went to the Apple Store just so that I could get my iPhone restored. Then, I came back home and it took me 3-4 hours to figure out that my Apple Mobile Device USB Driver wasn't working right and I had to get it replaced. Unfortunately, uninstalling and reinstalling iTunes didn't do the trick. What I had to do was go into Control Panel and uninstall iTunes and uninstall the Apple Mobile Device Application. Then, I could reinstall iTunes, launch iTunes and then connect my USB cord to my iPhone and it finally reinstalled the driver.
Thankfully, iTunes still had my backup from last night. However, my backup didn't reload all my applications, music and videos. I'm reinstalling those right now.
I'm sure I'll like the 2.2 upgrade. I'm just not a big fan of it right now.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I heard that the Honolulu Police Department uses AT&T for their cell phones.
I hope it comes back up soon.
UPDATE: At around 10:20 a.m. I got phone service back. At around 11:30 a.m. EDGE data was back. Then, at 12:30 p.m. 3G was back. Seemed like an eternity!