Thursday, October 30, 2008

My History Of iPhone 3G Cases

Like many other iPhone users, I have gone through a LOT cases in the short time I have had my iPhone 3G.
I tried to get by with a $10 original iPhone silicone cover, but that blocked the 3G's proximity sensor (which is bad because the screen won't disable when you put the iPhone to your face as you take a call).
The cover I really wanted was the Agent 18 ClearShield, which is very nice. I still have it and use it on occasion. I also bought a Marware CEO Premiere leather holster, which fit the iPhone well even with a cover on. While the ClearShield was nice, it is very FLASHY. If I'm not at a fancy party, flashy doesn't suit me very well. Also, the ClearShield is very slippery.
Then, I got a great deal on a black Griffin Wave case. This is one of my favorite cases and I used it for a very long time. I love how it's sleek, but not slippery. It has a matted feel but easily slips out of your pocket. The case is also somewhat transluscent so you can tell I have a white iPhone without blinding you with that fact. The one downfall about this case is that it has a two-piece design. The one time I dropped the phone about 5 feet onto concrete, the cover came off on impact and slightly scuffed the bezel. Although there was no major damage, it was a shame that I couldn't get FULL protection with that design.
So, finally, I came across the Contour Showcase for the iPhone 3G (shown in picture). The case itself is a one-piece design and it comes with a holster. I have accidentally dropped the phone with and without the holster and it holds up very, very well. No damage whatsoever. I love the holster because it has a vertical clip, which is exactly what I wanted. The clip also acts as a horizontal stand to watch movies.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Drive Car In-Game Before Real World

USA Today is reporting Nissan will show off its new 370Z in the game "Need For Speed Undercover" months before it hits the showroom.
The game will be released in stores on Nov. 18.
This comes on the heels of the campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama buying ad space in an X-Box 360 video game.
We've seen software makers advertise their own games in other games they create. Third-party advertisers, however, are a completely different story. The idea of advertising in a completely virtual world is quite bold if you ask me.
Hopefully, this could lead to the underwriting of software to make games cheaper for the consumer. But, I know that's not realistic.

I plan to buy the iPhone app version of "Need For Speed Undercover" and I'll review it here when it is released.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spore Halloween: Black Cat

I created and uploaded a Spore character called "Black Cat" just in time for Halloween!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Next Time You Go To Outer Space, Leave Behind The Scotch Tape has an interesting article about our favorite adhesive: Scotch® Tape. Evidently, Scotch® tape emits X-rays when you peel it off the roll. But, here's the catch: it only happens in a vacuum.
I'd love to see the conversation before the scientists figured this out:

Scientist #1: Scotch® tape... I bet I could find a way this could be hazardous to people!
Scientist #2: Oh really? Bet you $5 you can't!
Scientist #1: You're ON! Uh... let's start with unraveling the tape in a vacuum...
Actually, the article goes on to say that this discovery could lead to inexpensive X-ray machines for paramedics or in places where electricity is at a premium.

Hawaii Makes The Highlight Reel... Again!

The University of Hawaii football team shows how tough it is by grinding out a 38-31 victory against a very good Nevada team with a spectacular TD catch by Malcolm Lane with less than 25 seconds left in the game.
Thanks to UHBows for getting the clip of the catch from ESPN.
The previous week, even in a loss to Boise State, the Warriors managed to make the Top 10 plays on ESPN. Check out both of these videos and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin article with a great picture of the winning catch and the post-game press conference.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Could iPhone Be A Terrorist Tool?

Yahoo! News is reporting that Twitter, GPS maps and voice-changing software are being identifed as "terrorist tools," according to a draft U.S. Army intelligence report.
When I read that I thought, "Wow! That's sounds like an iPhone!"
There's a myriad of free Twitter apps on the iPhone; Google Maps already comes with the iPhone; and you can buy an app like Voice Changer [iTunes link] to record and change your voice.
There's even a whole chapter called "Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter."
At first, rolled my eyes at this article. But then again, terrorists are probably not too different than us. And THAT is a scary thought.

Online "Wife" Goes Warcraft!

Think you're online too much? Think again.
A 43-year-old woman from Japan has been arrested for illegally accessing a computer and manipulating data, according to the Associated Press.
The woman was "married" in the online game "Maple Story" and was divorced without notice. That made her so angry that she logged into the game using her "husband's" character and killed him off.
Now, it's been a while since I've played "World Of Warcraft" but even THAT game didn't give you only ONE life!
After reading this ridiculous story, I actually want to TRY "Maple Story."
I think my virtual credentials are fairly extensive:
  • I'm a veteran of the first iteration of "The Sims."
  • I maxed out levels in both "City of Heroes/Villains" and "World Of Warcraft."
  • I've tried out "Second Life" and just found the newer "Kaneva."
So, I'll update my progress in the game here on my blog.

Friday, October 24, 2008

How Photoshop™ Can Be Evil

Those who are Photoshop™ experts have a great power. But, this same power in the wrong hands can prove to be catastrophic!
Alas!... the sign of the Armageddon...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"LOST: Season 5" Fan Videos

If the iPhone is my 24/7 obsession, then the television show "Lost" is my seasonal obsession.
And, for some reason, "Lost" fans tend to be video makers, myself included.
Knowing how hard it is to cut a "Lost" fan video, I found a couple of great fan videos promoting the upcoming Season 5. Now, if you have NOT seen the finale of Season 4, consider these videos as SPOILERS. You have been warned. Now, enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

To Qik Or Not To Qik

One of the big knocks about the iPhone is that you cannot use it as a video camera, like many other mobile phones. Although it wasn't a dealbreaker for me, I would LOVE to use my iPhone as a simple video camera.
Up to now, the only way to do that is to jailbreak, or hack, your iPhone. One of the programs you can download is Qik. One of my friends used it and I like it for what it does. It's good enough until Apple decides to implement it.
Recently the founder of Digg, Kevin Rose, posted on his blog a non-jailbroken version of the Qik program and he claims that it will be on the App Store soon. However, Qik posted a response on the company blog which says:

  • Qikkers and Qik fans out there - I want to clarify the questions that are being raised about Qik coming to iPhone App Store. We are looking into this, but at present are not sure when and how this will happen.

Personally, I hope Qik will end up in the App Store. It would be advantageous to Apple to buy some time while they work on other more pressing software matters like push notifications and cut and paste. Meanwhile, you can watch the Kevin Rose video and dream...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

When Tiger Woods Just Doesn't Cut It

Tired of waiting for EA Mobile to release Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 on the iPhone? Well, now you can get a game with the name of the 19th best PGA player in the world - Ernie Els!
Ernie Els Golf 2008 is in the App Store for $6.99. Although there are generally good reviews of it on the App Store, there are also some very negative ones.
Electronic Arts did a great job with Spore Origins, even if it is only 1/5th of the actual desktop game. So, I will save my money for the Tiger Woods game, which I expect to cost $9.99. Hopefully, we'll see this game in November or earlier.
Check out this picture of the Ernie Els website (see, below). He must love the iPhone because he uses Cover Flow right on his home page!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Video Review: Tunic Guitar Free

I knew a written review of "Tunic Guitar Free" wouldn't cut it. A proper review of this guitar tuner would have audio of the guitar before and after. I could have done audio only, but what fun is that? Anyway, enjoy the review!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Can't Wait For The BrightKite iPhone App!

Social networking is HUGE for iPhone users. The Facebook and MySpace apps are some of the most popular apps. There's a long list of Twitter apps available. BeeJiveIM is the most expensive social networking app for the iPhone, but people are willing to pay $15.99 for a great program. And, Fring took it another step forward by including Skype and other VOIP capabilities on the iPhone.

I believe the next social internet network to benefit from a native iPhone app is BrightKite. I have found that it is superior to Loopt, which is a similar app. BrightKite has many features similar to Facebook, but it is more location-based. When I tried out the BrightKite webapp, I knew it was a perfect candidate for the iPhone's GPS hardware. Hopefully, it will turn up in the App Store soon.

Here's a video of the BrightKite iPhone app in action:

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Blackberry Storm!

This video appears to be the best representation of the upcoming Blackberry Storm. It is Research In Motion's first touchscreen mobile smartphone. As an iPhone user, this is the first smartphone I've seen that I actually like. It's stylish and large enough to be practical without being too bulky. However, it seems the Blackberry won't be intruding into the iPhone multimedia market anytime soon (and vice versa, the iPhone still can't compete with RIM's enterprise features).

The one thing I appreciate about RIM is that this promotional seems to be up-front about the performance of its device. Apple has been accused of deceptive advertising for the iPhone 3G. Because the video is so honest, it is also a bit heartbreaking. That's because the touchscreen performance is not even close to the iPhone. Blackberry users upgrading to this touchscreen phone may find it acceptable but iPhone users will find it harsh. After every selection, I notice a nearly one second pause. RIM shouldn't feel too bad because the Samsung Instinct, LG Dare and the T-Mobile G1 Android all seem to have this drawback.

I also question the screen size. You cannot view a full widescreen movie or television show at this screen ratio. Disappointing for a smartphone that was supposed to make strides in multimedia. The 3.2 MP camera, however, is superior to the iPhone. It has flash, autofocus and video recording, none of which the iPhone has. I have found, though, that the iPhone is able to take decent pictures. Check out my Flickr set full of iPhone photos: Street Hiking On Oahu.

One MAJOR feature that the Blackberry Storm is missing is Wi-Fi connectivity. Although 3G speeds are nice, a Wi-Fi connection is much faster and saves your battery life. The reason why I went with the iPhone in the first place is internet browsing. And so far, it appears I made the right decision.

Blackberry rules the business world and the Storm will have business users having more fun with its new touchscreen and upgraded multimedia capabilities. However, it doesn't appear it will make a dent into the iPhone multimedia market just yet.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

AM/FM Tuner iPhone App - WunderRadio!

One of the criticisms of the iPhone is the lack of an AM/FM tuner. The WunderRadio app fulfills this needs very well. It is $5.99 on the App Store. While that may seem steep as prices on the App Store keep falling to foster competition, it is well worth every penny.
WunderRadio takes the live internet stream of a radio station and broadcasts it on your iPhone. So, if your favorite radio station does not have an internet stream, you're out of luck with this app. Thankfully for me, just about every radio station I listen to (and I don't listen to much) is available.
I also have AOL Radio, which is an adequate app to listen to genres of music. But, it has ZERO radio stations in Hawaii. I was also told that Tuner is a great radio app, but unfortunately it doesn't accept Windows Media Audio 9 streams and that covers just about every ClearChannel radio station. In Honolulu, there's mostly ClearChannel stations.
With WunderRadio, I've had success with about 10 radio stations on Oahu and six radio stations on the neighbor islands.
The list includes the #1 radio station KSSK, KKEA ESPN 1420, Hot 93.9, Star 101.9, 98.5 Island Reggae and KTUH.
It also supports NWS Weather radio and scanners from (although none of these are available in Hawaii).
Apple Rating: 5 out of 5. Strongly recommended.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New iPhone 3G USB Power Adapter

Apple is in the midst of a recall of the iPhone 3G Power Adapter. Here's what Apple says about the problem:

Apple has determined that under certain conditions the new ultracompact Apple
USB power adapter's metal prongs can break off and remain in a power outlet,
creating a risk of electric shock. We have received reports of detached
blades involving a very small percentage of the adapters sold, but no injuries
have been reported.
Today is the first day of the recall, so tonight I went to the Apple Store at Kahala Mall to make the exchange. A couple of people were there to do the same thing and the wait was minimal. You need to return the old adapter and the Apple Store needs your serial number to process the exchange. You can find your serial number right in your iPhone at Settings --> General --> About.
You know you have the new one because there's a green dot sticker on the face of the adapter. I know it's hard to see in the picture I took. The lighting in my bedroom is horrid.
If an Apple Store is not at a convenient distance to your home, you can order it via this webpage:
If you do the exchange through the web, make sure you mail Apple back the old adapter otherwise you will be charged $29.
And for those who care, here's a map of my latest cross-town walk using the iPhone app Distance Meter:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Preview Of iPhone OS 2.2

So, it's October. No push notifications, cut & paste functions, stereo Bluetooth capability and voiced turn-by-turn navigation. That's what I want in that order.
But, I'm calm. I'm not raising my voice. I don't see the purpose in getting mad about things like this.
Still, the Google Android OS, the Blackberry Storm and the Nokia 5800 are about to put a LOT of pressure on Apple to get more functionality on the iPhone. Push notifications alone would make the iPhone 1000% more usable. In fact, all instant messaging apps, save for Fring and BeeJiveIM, are practically useless because none of them work in the background and push notifications alone would take care of that.
So what ARE we getting in the iPhone OS 2.2? By the way, none of these have been officially confirmed:
  • Redesigned Google search in the Safari browser and different look for the App Store on the iPhone. It's cool but, really, who cares?
  • Preference to turn off auto-correction. I really like auto-correction. It's the one thing that makes typing on the iPhone so much easier and faster. But, it's not good if you want to text in Ebonics.
  • Emoji support. That's basically "emoticons" in Japanese. By the way, I'm of Japanese ancestry and I think emoji is quite silly. I NEVER heard a lack of emoticons as a reason in the U.S. why someone would not buy the iPhone. But, I'm sure anyone who texts or e-mails frequently will find many uses for it. I wonder if my Twitter app will support emoji? A lack of emoji was cited as the main reason why the iPhone isn't catching on in Japan.
  • Google Street View. Probably the most interesting feature in 2.2. It allows you to see the map at street level as if you were really there. Check out this YouTube video:

Somehow, I have a feeling Google Street View won't be supported in Honolulu. I can hope, though. UPDATE 10/10/2008: Google Maps does not support Street View in Hawaii.
In the end, I do feel that 2.2 is a relatively weak upgrade considering the other functions that the iPhone really needs. I guess the faster we get to 2.2, the faster we will get to the other functions.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

iPhone App Review: i.TV

I try to search the App Store everyday to find the latest and greatest iPhone apps out there.
This morning, I found a gem of an app. It's called i.TV. That's "eye-dot-tee-vee." It's a free app with your local television and movie listings. It's an all-in-one entertainment app.
It's great as a movie listings app. It does just about everything Now Playing does, except for Rotten Tomato ratings and a link to But, it also has features I haven't seen elsewhere. You can save your favorite actors and it directs you to where you can see them on television.
As a television app, it also does quite well. But, since it is very graphic intensive, the program does move slower compared with a paid app like What's On. In fact, the app suffers from intermittent crashes. The i.TV website says it knows about this problem and will be addressed in an future update.
Because browsing through hundreds of channels can be slow, the ability to sort through television programs is indispensible. My favorite "sort" is by genre. You can even save your favorite programs to quickly see when it airs next. However, I wish I could save my favorite channel.
It's a very good app considering it is free (with advertisements). And it looks like the company who made the app put a lot of money into its software, its website and this commercial:

Apple Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Docked a point for crashing problems and a half point for relatively slow browsing performance in television listings.

Update: As of 10/10/2008, i.TV is the #1 free app on the App Store.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

FSU Kicker: Acting - A+, Kicking Field Goals - F

I promise this will be my final blog about the Hawaii vs. Fresno State football game.
Here's a clip from the game you won't see on any ESPN highlight:

The kicker for Fresno is redshirt freshman Kevin Goessling. Apparently, he's a great actor. I'm not sure if his act was despicable or brilliant. Either way, missing those field goals cost his team the game. Call it karma or "what goes around, comes around" or "athletic justice." The people in Hawaii call it "bachi."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

McMackin: Right Coach For The Warriors

What a difference a week makes. I know a lot of Hawaii football fans are riding high after the amazing overtime win against No. 22 Fresno State at Bulldog Stadium, 32-29. But, you should watch this video from of head coach Greg McMackin after the heartbreaking loss to San Jose State a week earlier:
Uncut: UH Coach Mac 'Devastated' After 'Must Win'
After hearing from McMackin and seeing just about everything he talked about translate to a win on the field, I know that he is the right coach for the Warriors.
I couldn't believe my ears when I was listening to local sports talk radio this past week about how many chances UH should give McMackin to prove himself as a head coach. A week ago, the Warriors were 1-3 with the only win of the season coming against a team that's not even in the same NCAA subdivision. But isn't it a little early to call for the coach's head?
Hawaii's losses came against now No. 12 Florida [there was no way we were going to win this one], Oregon State [whom USC couldn't even beat in Corvallis], and a well-[Dick Tomey]coached San Jose State team.
But, after seeing the win against Fresno State and going back to the San Jose press conference I know that Coach Mac is the right person to succeed June Jones.
McMackin talked a lot about turnovers. And, granted, some of the Bulldog turnovers were just sloppy football. But three of the turnovers were interceptions, which tells me that the coaches were making adjustments and the players executed. It's amazing that Coach Mac had a vision for winning the turnover battle and actually made it happen on the field.
McMackin also talked about the heart of Ryan Mouton, who actually played while hurt in the San Jose State game. Mouton ran a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the Warriors scoring effort against Fresno State, and was undoubtedly the spark the team needed.
And, the injured quarterback carousel finally came to a stop at Inoke Funaki. Hopefully, his two-touchdown, 170 yard performance is a sign that he is coming into his own on the field.
Hawaii may not have as much talent as last year, but it has the right coach in place to be competitive on any given Saturday.
Don't be a fair-weather fan who dwells in the past.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Crown Jewel Of Walks

I found a quicker and shorter way to walk from my home in Kalihi to Pearlridge Center. But, it was a LOT of uphill walking. If you click on the full screen version of the map, you can choose to see the elevation. It was nasty.

Still, I was lucky. It was an overcast day with breezy winds. If it was very sunny with no winds it would have been brutal. And phsyically, I don't feel very sore or tired. I'm going to need a new challenge.

As usual, I used the Distance Meter iPhone app to track my walk.

View Interactive Map on

iPhone App Marketing Takes A "Quantum" Leap

I think iPhone app marketing will become a useful tool in the worlds outside of computing, namely politics and entertainment, as evidenced by a couple of interesting applications in the App Store.
Yesterday, the presidential campaign for Barack Obama came out with an app called "Obama '08." It's basically a way for volunteers to get together. The app also lists where Obama stands on all the issues. Not bad for a free app. And, of course, you can donate money through the app and make calls to your friends for Obama (yeah, right).
Today, I found an interesting free movie promotional app called "James Bond - 007." The title and the logo immediately caught my eye.

It features trailers, video blogs, movie synopsis, list of cast & filmmakers, as well as a chance to preview and download the movie's main song.

Although this isn't more than what you would find at the movie's website, an iPhone app is the perfect venue for this kind of content. Next to no one would waste their precious free time at home sitting at the computer watching 007 videos. BUT... when you're bored and on-the-go, anything goes!

This is how a movie should be promoted on the iPhone. "The Dark Knight: HaHaHa" was a silly and poorly executed attempt at promoting a movie.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Favorite iPhone Apps

It's been officially 12 weeks since the iPhone 3G came out and my new smartphone has taken over my life.
No doubt one of the best things (and sometimes worst) about the iPhone is the relatively new Apple App Store. It is Steve Jobs' attempt to make every iPhone customizable depending on the user. To some degree, it has deterred jailbreakers. Unless you want to do video recording, home screen customizations and running programs in the background.
Still, you can find a lot of gems in the App Store for free or very little cash. We've all gone through the tip calculators, the lightsabers and the beer drinking apps. But, how many apps do we USE on a daily basis?
Here's some of the apps that I have been using a lot in the last few months:

AirMe/Exposure - One of the features of the iPhone 3G that I was dying to try out was the ability to geotag photos. That means every picture you take is embedded with a GPS location that can be put on a map. That's exactly what I did with my Flickr photoset Street Hiking On Oahu. If you click on the "Map" feature you will see exactly where each photo was taken. Each photo is also tagged with the current weather conditions. I use AirMe to take the photo which is automatically uploaded to my Flickr account. Then, I use Exposure to check if it is there. Exposure is also great at looking at the photos that have been taken near your current location and featured pictures from all over the world. There is an Exposure Premium but the only difference is the ads, and they don't bother me too much. Otherwise, both apps are free.

Facebook - Version 2.0 of this app just came out and it has really put it over the top as the best social networking app on the iPhone. You can do just about everything on this native app as you would on the web. The only things you don't have access to are third-party applications. I have been reconnecting with high school buddies on Facebook and this great iPhone app helps me to do that on the go. Free.

Twittelator Pro - Since getting the iPhone, I have also become a Twitter addict. I used to use Twitterfon but I didn't like the light blue motif (although that is very Twitter-ish) and it was pretty straightforward without added features. So, I decided to invest $4.99 into Twittelator Pro, a native Twitter app with features that aren't even on the Twitter website. My favorite feature is the thumbnails of uploaded pictures. Also, Twittelator just came out with a set of emoticons.

Asphalt 4 Elite Racing - To me, this is the BEST game hands down. The use of the accelerometer is phenomenal. The game is fast-paced and rarely misses a beat. Even though I'm done with the whole game, I keep playing it for the rush. It's also fun derailing your opponents. It's like a PS2 racing game on your iPhone. It is well worth the $9.99.

Distance Meter/iPump Total Body - A couple of iPhone apps have been encouraging me to exercise more and to lose weight. I have been walking long distances lately and I found a great app to track it. Distance Meter shows my total time, distance, speed and calories burned after each workout. I can then upload the stats to and have my route put on a map. Here's an example of one of my very long walks: Kalihi to Pearlridge. Distance Meter is $2.99 but you can also get Trailguru. It has very similar features and is free.

iPump Total Body is like having a personal trailer right there in the gym with you. A workout regiment is outlined with each exercise. There are great pictures and a written explanation, and if that's not enough there's a video with a narrator! The video is probably the best feature. When you're done with the exercise you can log it in the app. This also costs $2.99, which is cheaper than other similar apps which are not as good.

Here's some other worthy apps by genre:

  • Reference: Bible - Easy to read, lots of translations and can be used offline. Free.
  • Sports: MLB At Bat - Great live game features, lots of player/team stats and video highlights. But, it is subscription-based ($4.99 for half a season; $2.99 for postseason only) and will have to be bought again next year. It also never had team standings in the native app; it directed you to Still, sports iPhone apps have been disappointing to say the least and MLB At Bat has been the best effort by a professional league.
  • News: Associated Press Mobile News Network - Quick loading and easy to read with a lot of pictures and videos. Free.
  • Music: BeatMaker - A $200 drum machine becomes a $19.99 iPhone app.
  • Productivity: Air Sharing/Datacase - Use your iPhone like a hard drive with the ability to read your files. $6.99 each.

New Look For iPhone 3G & Me

As much as I liked my old Blogger template, it was too restrictive. Especially when it comes to making some money with ads on my blog. I've been researching what it takes to make money on the web and I got some inspiration today to get going on that.

For those who come here regularly - thank you for listening! My blog shouldn't change all that much. I might want to blog more often just to keep the site fresh. But, my blog will be about ME and the things I like.

And who knows? Maybe I can quit my day job. Or maybe not. But, I'm curious to take a ride on the blogging circuit.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Waikiki Sunset

It's that magical time of the day - the sunset. Most of my life I've only seen the sunrise over the mountain. But, I've seen a lot of sunsets. I barely made it to Waikiki to catch it. I could have gone to Sand Island instead but the magic isn't quite the same.

Posted by ShoZu