The laptop and me

19 05 2007

It has been a very long time since I blogged, partly because I’m busy at work and the other reason is my new laptop – well kinda new. After I bought the iPod Nano, I’ve been drooling to own a laptop. I admit I’m a jealous techie, having seen people of all ages and races crunched their laptops over at coffee shops I desperately looked for a reason to shelve some descent money. As much as I want to have an Apple Macbook or Macbook Pro, its price is just way off the ceiling for me. Local prices range between PHP 60K for MB and as high as PHP 120K for the MBP. Well my budget only allows me to buy within the range of PHP 30K, so tough luck. Armed with the money I scour TipidPC.com to look for budget laptops with good specs and luckily I found one! The specs are:

  • 2.8 AMD64 Mobile Athlon (thumbs up)
  • 1GB DDR (thumbs up)
  • ATI Radeon Xpress 200m (err…)
  • a DVD-RW drive (thumbs up)
  • 4 USB ports with 1 defect 😦
  • Card reader
  • Gateway brand 😦
  • black (yey!)
  • and a glossy screen (thumbs up)

Well it’s not that high-spec but for its price – less than PHP 30K – it’s a bargain. After 4 months of using it I should say that it is one “helluva” good investment. I used it for programming, photo manipulation, audio creation, and everything else. Well it’s not that mobile, it’s a desktop replacement laptop but its weight is tolerable enough. I think I might keep this laptop for 2-3 years down the road and maybe after that I can buy an Apple laptop, but for the meantime I’m enjoying this baby.

P.S. For those who wanted cheap tech gear look no further than TipidPC.com , I just bought there my iPod Nano, my girlfriend’s Palm TX and lately my laptop.

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Was it marketing that made the iPod successful?

10 03 2007

About barely 2-3 weeks ago, I bought an iPod Nano. Being a music junkie, I need to have something that I could carry with me that will keep me sane from commuting. I could have bought a non-iPod product but I want to have something with a slick design, small and unobstructive, and “just works”. Scouring the local tech sites, the local malls, and tech shops I finally decided to get an iPod. At first I was contemplating on getting a 30gig or 80gig video iPod, but it was too big for me, and I don’t find the video part of it important. So, I bought a 4gig iPod 1G black, yeah it’s a 1G, but it’s still working and beautiful. I heard horrors about using iTunes, but I don’t really mind, well it’s kinda resource hog especially when using the cool coverflow feature. Well so far, I’m pretty satisfied with it. As I said, I’m a techie kind of person, and it was not marketing (well partly) that leads me to buy an iPod, it was the beauty of it.





Mac dreamy

15 02 2007

It’s not about everyone’s favorite Grey’s Anatomy but rather about me wanting a Mac machine. Recently I’ve been trying to look for a really nice – well they are really nice machines – and affordable – well Mac’s price are outrageous in this pirate-infested country – Apple machine that can

  1. browse the net,
  2. play video files,
  3. play music files,
  4. do some office works,
  5. do some fun stuff (games or what-not)
  6. and (if the machine permits) do some programming.

And so having that objectives in mind, I look upon the trusty TipidPC.com site. Techie and non-techie people who wish to buy gadgets should take a look at this site, through that site I bought a Palm TX which I gave to my girlfriend. Anyway, I was amazed to see iBook G3 sold as low as PHP15K and iBook G4 for PHP30K. It got me thinking, should I buy one of those knowing too well that the PowerPC architecture is as good as dead? For starters, the iBook G3 though pretty old is a nice bargain, at that price I could do at least 1-4 requirements for me. The real problem now is, can I do some programming. Searching the web, I found out that I can do some Java 5 programming with it, how sweet! Unfortunately, somehow already bought the iBook, poor me. And so now I’m back dreaming again of a Mac notebook, an Intel-based one.





Vista in our midst

12 02 2007

Well it has been a long time since I last blogged about any technology news lately due to busy work skeds. Anyway, the last February 3, 2007 Microsoft Philippines launched its newest operating system dubbed Microsoft Windows Vista. A couple of my friends have already installed Windows Vista in their PCs and laptops weeks before it was publicly launced. I was fortunate enough to tinker with the new OS. Asthetically speaking it looks good, the Aero interface which Microsoft trumpeted, is pleasing to the eye, its a pretty nice departure from the Disney-blue theme in Windows XP. I even asked my girlfriend about it and she likes the theme because it resembles Mac OS X – which unfortunately both of us do not possess. I also liked the revamped start-up menu – I never liked the Start button, it feels out of place, seems like it needed another button, a Stop button perhaps. The start-up menu is clean, no more desktop clutter when you click the All Programs menu, there is a built-in search tool, which is a nice improvement to the horrible Search function in Windows XP. The start-up menu is pretty responsive compared to Windows XP start-up menu eventhough both of them are running with the same specs. Good thing also is the revamp of Windows Explorer, about time if you ask me, the addition of bread-crumbs trail is very much welcome, having toyed with that style in Linux, it surely is efficient compared to manually typing “C:\Folder\”.

Overall, the look-and-feel of Windows Vista is refreshing. But frankly I was expecting for more. I havent yet tested the other new features touted by Microsoft in Windows Vista, rest assured I will do that in the upcoming weeks, but right now Im still happy with my Windows XP.





Filipinos…. introducing the Apple iPhone

10 01 2007

Apple Computer, Inc. (oh I mean Apple Inc.) has recently shown the world their “revolutionary” product that will reinvent the phone market, the highly illusive iPhone.

Phone-afficionados here in the Philippines are probable drooling about this device. With prices set at $499 for a 4GB model and $599 for the 8GB model, Filipinos will sure have the all the reason in the world just to buy this one. Who wouldn’t? Filipinos can even afford PHP 25K++ ($499++) for one cellphone, $499 iPhone is not a hindrance to us.

iPhone has the following specs (taken from the Apple site):

Screen size 3.5 inches
Screen resolution 320 by 480 at 160 ppi
Input method Multi-touch
Operating system OS X
Storage 4GB or 8GB
GSM Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900)
Wireless data Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + EDGE + Bluetooth 2.0
Camera 2.0 megapixels
Dimensions 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches / 115 x 61 x 11.6mm
Weight 4.8 ounces / 135 grams

Some say Apple got it all wrong not releasing it as a 3G phone, but that does really matter to us? I mean practically we are still buying GSM phones and 3G is still expensive here, and did Steve Jobs just say that there will be 3G versions down the pipeline? Other gripes around the net is its Multi-touch screen, with concerns of scratch-prone and damage-prone, but is Apple that stupid to release a widescreen iPhone that is scratch-prone? Until now there are still many questions left unanswered, but don’t worry Apple fans, according to the keynote, shipment of this product will still be in June 2007 in the US and 2008 for Asia, so better save up and hope that any kinks going to be ironed out.





The FOSS Bill

22 11 2006

Disclaimer: IANAL but this is going to be a boring topic but if you are interested in FOSS, then please read.

There was an article written in Inq7.net about the new House Bill 5769 on Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) which got a fussy reception during its first hearing. The FOSS bill, which was authored by Bayan Muna Representative Teodora Casiño, mandates the use of FOSS among government offices. If you’re interested in the bill you can check it here in PDF format.

Here are some of my views about the bill:

  • Section 7.2: Open Formats – I am more interested in this one. Why? With this government agencies will not constantly upgrade to the latest Office software just because the document created in Office 2003 will not generate properly in Office XP. Instead of using the proprietary .doc extensions in document files why not adapt either open standard file formats like PDF and ODF.
  • Section 11.3: This is a vague section. It states that it is unlawful for higher educational institutions to offer a professional certification using proprietary solutions if it does not offer similar certification program for FOSS and open standards. This section will – if implemented – kill corporate funding in universities. Lets take for example Oracle, this company wants to tie-up with a major university to provide free training and software to all CS students, because of the bill this university now must provide a similar free training using MySQL AND PostgreSQL AND other FOSS database application. I believe it is the school’s decision whether or not they will teach proprietary solutions to their students as they see fit. The government must not dictate them that they should teach this and that less they are criminally liable.
  • Section 22.7 and 22.8 talks about patent issues which is a right step for the government to ensure that no bogus patents will ever be patented for obvious reason. This will ensure that innovation in the IT space will continue here in our country without fear of being drag in court for patent violation.

This is a good step towards a more open and transparent IT infrastructure in our government. HOWEVER, the spirit of free/open source is all about choice. It is all about the right tool for the right job. And mandating something, I think is breaking the essence of FOSS movement. I still believe in encouraging the use of FOSS through sessions, seminars, trainings and various pilot programs. I recommend that the CICT should provide a pilot program for a transition from proprietary to open source, say if it can be done within a year or two. If it is possible then let us migrate one government agency at a time and not just give a definite year – Section 15 – that this will all go smoothly across all government agencies. I believe that open source is the past and the future of software but let us not forget that not all proprietary solutions are “bad” and all open source solution are “good”.





Will you buy a Zune?

16 11 2006

Zune is now up for sale! For those of you who haven’t heard of the Zune, it’s Microsoft answer to Apple’s iPod. Will Filipino flock to buy this new toy or will they stay with their beloved iPod? That question may not be answered for a long time since Microsoft products take months before we can see them at local tech stores. The US price is $249 and probably this will sell here for PHP 15K to 20K.

Zune offers some nifty features that is not available for the iPod, these are:

  • It has a built-in FM tuner.
  • The ability to send photos and music files through Wi-Fi. One drawback though is that you have to share it with another Zune player and music files expire within 3 days or after listening for 3 times.
  • The ability to play music and view photos, well this feature is in the current iPods
  • Wider screens compare to iPods which means good for viewing videos
  • The ability to let the user customized the Zune background

Is Zune for you?

I asked a couple of my friends if they will grab a Zune when it hits the Philippines’ shore and I got some pretty interesting replies. One friend of mine, sort of Microsoft fanboy, admitted that he still wants an iPod and is waiting for the supposedly large screen iPods because the Zune just looks big and looks heavy. Another friend of mine was interested but stated that he is turned-off by its size. When I dropped the bomb that the Zune cannot be used as an external hard drive and the 3×3 Wi-Fi feature then it was clear that he was pretty much under whelmed by it.

Will Pinoy embrace Zune?

This question is really hard to answer, but judging by the sheer number of people who uses iPod these days, then Zune has an uphill battle. iPods have been synonymous with being “cool” and Pinoys love to be “cool”. The good thing though is that a Pinoy is a social being and they may be psych up by the whole photo and music sharing. And since their is no iTunes Music Store here in the Philippines, everything is free-for-all, so the iTMS-iPod ecosystem does not hold ground here, and that maybe one of Zune’s advantage.