Sunday, January 31, 2010


Early this week Steve Jobs of Apple unveiled their new product, the iPad.  My gReader has been full of news on the latest gadget on the market.  My first impression was that it looked like an over-sized iPhone.  A base model which will run you $499 gets you a 9.5 inch LED-backlit multi-touch screen.  It has Wi-Fi, but $130 more will thow in 3G.  It has 16GB solid-state drive that can boost system start-up in a flash.  Speaking of Flash, it's non-existant, and it doesn't multi-task, yet.  I'm sure that the hack dev team will be working on that as we could see multi-tasking on the jail-broken iPhone.  It's an remarkable design as Apple is known for.  It's 9.56in x 7.47.  And it's 0.5in thick.  It weighs 1.5 pounds.  Apple does offer 32GB @ $599, 64GB @ $699, although it's interesting that you need to add an addtional $130 for 3G.

Would you buy an iPad?  Would it be a Kindle replacement?  What would you use it for? For more information on the iPad, follow the link on Apple's website:

After the jump, you will be able to see Steve Jobs' keynote along with the iPad's introduction.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

[+715] YouTube Will Start Charging for Some Videos

[+715] YouTube Will Start Charging for Some Videos: "Starting this weekend, YouTube will be dipping its toe into the waters of paid content. This behavior follows a trend we've noted in traditional media outlets. What are your thoughts on the topic?"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Video: New Final Fantasy XIII trailer has English voice cast

Video: New Final Fantasy XIII trailer has English voice cast: "

March 9 is slowly creeping up on us, which means we’ll all be sitting on our couches and playing Final Fantasy XIII until the wee hours of the morning. To keep us busy, Square just released a new trailer set to the game’s main theme, “My Hands,” performed by Leona Lewis. (At least I think that’s the main theme.) This trailer features the English voice cast, so put on your headphones and take it all in!

A few thoughts:

• Leona Lewis has a nice voice

• The animation is damn good

• The voice acting is no worse than your typical BioWare game’s (I say this now having played Mass Effect for around five hours now)

• The story feels very Japanese (not that that’s an insult, but you absolutely can tell this game was developed in Japan)

• I want an asymmetric haircut like all the male characters have—maybe they’re all AFI fans?

But yeah, it looks good. It’s been a while since I’ve played a JRPG from start to finish.


7 Best Linux Apps for Ripping CDs and DVDs

7 Best Linux Apps for Ripping CDs and DVDs: "Maximum PC: 'There's no single app that will do everything, so here are our picks for the best Linux apps for ripping audio CDs and video DVDs. '"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Everything you need to know about Halo: Reach

Everything you need to know about Halo: Reach: "

Bungie has done a great job of making fans salivate over Halo: Reach by keeping most the aspects of the game under wraps. Thus far, all the info we have been able to discern has come from the trailers which Bungie released–until now. Yesterday, leaked pictures (shown below) of an upcoming Game Informer magazine hit the web, and the information is quite revealing. It looks like the team at Bungie is going all out on this title. The magazine deals mostly with the campaign–profiling new weapons, characters, and vehicles–but tidbits regarding the multiplayer experience were included as well. All the info we have gathered is after the jump.


Rumors were floating around that the game would follow the book Fall of Reach, but this is not the case. The game will instead follow the Spartan soldiers, codenamed Noble Team, as they traverse the world of Reach before it is destroyed (the happenings on Reach occurred before anything in Halo 1). Given that the levels will show Reach being destroyed in a progressing manner, we infer that the game will take place over a considerable amount of time, instead of just a few days. The game is also purported to be darker than the previous Halo games. We will also be able to alter the appearance of the main protagonist, Lone Wolf, a feature new to the Halo series.



The biggest difference in gameplay is Bungie’s use of an overhauled graphics engine. As we saw in the in-game trailer, Reach will show a massive improvement over the graphics in Halo 3 and ODST. Reach has outsourced facial animations to Image Metrics, who have worked on titles such as Assassin’s Creed 2 and Gears of War 2. Besides better graphics, Reach will increase the scale of combat. Previously, only 20 AI characters could be on the screen at a time, but with the new engine, over 40 AI and 20 vehicles can be present! Cut-scenes have been improved as well, and are going to be more cinematic.

The HUD is now yellow instead of blue, and the health bar has made its return, alongside the energy shield we have grown accustomed to. The motion tracker is now oval-shaped instead of the customary Halo circle. Assassinations are different as well. Instead of simply coming behind an enemy and meleeing, one must hold down the melee button; resulting in a satisfying knife slash.

Reach is said to incorporate full stealth gameplay. You are now able to sprint via the use of equipment permutations (there are other permutations, we just don’t know what they are yet) available at certain points in the levels.

Co-operative campaigns, splitscreening, theater, and Forge all make a triumphant return in Reach.



Reach introduces a slew of brand new characters, starting with the Noble Team, comprised of 5 Spartan III’s, and 1 Spartan II. Carter 259, Kat 320, Emile 239 (He has the skull helmet in the trailer), Jun 266 (the sniper), and Lone Wolf are the Spartan III’s (with Carter and Kat being the only original members of NT), and Jorge is a Spartan II heavy weapons specialist, and thus larger than the rest of the team. Marines similar to those in Halo 1 will be in this game, and it is possible that Human Insurrectionists will make an appearance.

The covenant are back, and deadlier than ever. The grunts look considerably more threatening but will most likely continue to be pushovers. Elites make a return in Reach as well: they seem taller and are no longer hunched over. If Reach multiplayer allows for both Spartans and Elites, then this is a significant improvement as Elites won’t have the same hitbox issues that we’ve seen in previous versions of Halo. Jackals seem to have been replaced with “Skirmishers,” an enemy who attacks in packs and flank secure positions. They should prove to be annoying at the very least. An unfortunate change, especially for those who play with the IWHBYD skull on, is that Covenant soldiers speak in their own languages, instead of English.



There are a few exciting changes and additions to the weapon repertoire available in Reach. The sniper, assault rifle, and magnum will be returning, but it seems the battle-rifle will be replaced with a single shot rifle dubbed the “Designated Marksman Rifle.” It’s possible they removed the BR due to its inaccurate spread, but we can’t be certain. The needler also gets an overhaul, and has been morphed into a mid-range headshot capable weapon. Due to inconsistencies in the game physics of spike and flame grenades, both have been removed. This leaves only frag and plasma grenades.


I’ve always thought that if there are vehicles in a game, you should be able to drive them, no matter what. It seems Bungie felt the same way. We will be able to drive civilian vehicles, alongside the more common warthog. A new helicopter transport, the Falcon, has also been introduced.

Covenent Spirits (the dropships in Halo:CE) return alongside the more powerful Phantoms, which now have a search light.


Our Take:

Halo: Reach is looking to once again disrupt the first person shooter genre. The graphical overhaul is much needed, and thus far is impressive. Halo has always had a compelling storyline and the introduction of new characters, enemies, and most importantly a new world, are sure to keep players enthralled. This little sneak peak sure leaves me wanting more, and I cannot wait until the Beta is available to the public.


Old computers rejuvenated with SSD upgrades

via Ars Technica-- Old computers rejuvenated with SSD upgrades: "
SSDs are usually used in expensive computers like the Ars God Box and the MacBook Air, but SSD vendor RunCore's CES display points out that they can revitalize older computers as well. Several older computers were demoed sporting shiny new SSDs and running Windows 7 like champions. And maybe, some time this decade, that upgrade strategy might become cost-effective.

An ancient Dell Pentium M laptop with a RunCore SSD, running Windows 7 like a champ with a WEI score of 1.0, the lowest possible score

The booth contained a number of very old PCs, including a Pentium M laptop and a Celeron-900-based Eee 900, all with RunCore SSDs inside, running Windows 7. Their Windows Experience Indices were all low, hobbled by antique processors, small memory, and slow integrated GPUs. But they were responsive and quick-feeling thanks to the SSDs inside of them. The Dell Pentium M laptop and the Eee had WEI scores of 1.0 and 2.1, but packed hard disk subscores of 6.8 and higher.

For this to be a cost-effective upgrade, the cost of the SSD has to be a fraction of the replacement cost of a new device; no one will drop $200 on an SSD upgrade for an Eee 900 when $380 buys a new Eee 1005PE. RunCore's SSDs start at 16GB for $99 and 32GB for $159, so the upgrade option won't make sense for a lot of users, but MacBook Air owners with the hard disk model will appreciate the upgrade.

An Eee 900, based on a pre-Atom ULV Celeron, packing a 6.8 HDD WEI score.

Of course, the ultimate target for SSD adoption is in new computers, and RunCore, while an underdog in the SSD market next to Intel, Samsung, and others seems to be doing one thing right: focusing on small models at low cost. When the iPod and other PMPs transitioned from HDDs to SSDs, their capacity went way down; the convenience of flash memory trumped extra capacity as users discovered they didn't actually have that much music.

The same story may occur with PCs, but even if not, small SSDs may come to be used as second drives. Laptop chassis are frequently large enough to allow adding a small SSD to use as a boot drive if the laptop were designed that way, and if the cost is low enough, this may be the preferred form of SSD transition for some laptops. In any event, RunCore's demo is a dramatic illustration of the reasons that SSDs are so prized.

Friday, January 8, 2010

How to Install Windows 7 on Ubuntu Using VirtualBox

How to Install Windows 7 on Ubuntu Using VirtualBox: "
Do you want to install Windows 7 inside Ubuntu? If your answer is yes, then you will need virtualization software like VMWare Workstation or Sun Virtualbox to setup an operating system (guest OS) inside an operating system (host OS). The process sounds more complicated than it really is so don't worry.

If you are ready, here's a step-by-step instruction on how to install Windows 7 (guest) inside Ubuntu (host). But first, some requirements:

Ubuntu (9.10 preferred)
VirtualBox 3.1
Windows 7 Installer
1024 MB of RAM (at least)

Now let's get started:

1. Download the latest version of VirtualBox from HERE, and then install it.

2. Navigate to Applications --> System Tools and open VirtualBox.

3. Create a new virtual machine by clicking on the 'New' button to start the setup wizard.

4. Create the name of your virtual machine (VM), in this case 'Windows7', and then select the Operating System and its version (see below).

5. Specify the amount of memory (RAM) to be allocated to the VM. I've got 2048 MB of RAM so I decided to use half of it to make Windows 7 run a bit snappier.

6. Now create a new virtual hard disk and just click on 'Next' to start the Create New Virtual Disk Wizard.

7. For the disk storage type, I use “Dynamically expanding storage” as I always do.

8. For the virtual disk storage size, make sure to allocate more than 5 GB for you to successfully install Windows 7. Click on 'Next' and finish it up.

9. Windows 7 now appears on my list of virtual machines. Double-clicking Windows 7 will open the First Run Wizard. Click on 'Next'.

10. You will have to select the installation media for the guest OS so make sure the Windows 7 DVD installer is loaded.

11. Finish it up, and then a prompt will appear (see below). Just ignore it and click 'OK'.

12. Windows 7 installer will now be running in a moment. Just install Windows 7 like you normally would, and see the finished product :-)

Here are a couple of screenshots of Windows 7 running inside my Ubuntu desktop:

If you want to find out which do I think is better between Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10, watch out for my follow-up post (coming soon) from this article: Ubuntu 9.10 vs. Mac OS X Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7.


2009 is the Year of the Linux-powered Smartphones

2009 is the Year of the Linux-powered Smartphones: "
Although I don't consider 2009 as the year of the Linux desktop, most of you will probably agree with me that this is the year of the Linux-powered smartphones. We can mainly thank Android for this as its popularity and market share has been growing at a rapid pace.

Gartner Inc. predicted that by 2012, Android would become the world's second most popular smartphone platform, behind only to Symbian OS. Leading handset manufacturers have already released several Android-powered phone models that contributed to the huge market share growth this year.

One of the smartphones that catapulted Android's success in 2009 is Motorola Droid. According to analytics firm Flurry, about 250,000 Motorola Droid phones were sold during its first week in stores in the United States alone.

Motorola Droid

But Linux smartphone business is not all about Android. Other phone makers like Nokia and Palm have developed their own Linux-based operating system that has been quite successful. Nokia has Debian-based Maemo, which powers the N900, while Palm created webOS for their multi-featured Palm Pre smartphone.

Nokia N900

As we look ahead to 2010, there are a lot to be excited about. Google is rumored to release a smartphone that's been dubbed as Nexus One. It will run the Android Mobile OS and the device will be manufactured by HTC Corporation. We've also heard that computing giant Dell has been preparing to unleash their very own smartphone.

Google Nexus One (rumored)

The future is bright for Linux on the smartphone, and I won't be surprised that the desktop will be conquered soon.


The $99 Cherrypal laptop - it runs Linux and you can buy it RIGHT NOW (but is it for real, and are these actually being shipped to those who order them?) - CLICK

The $99 Cherrypal laptop - it runs Linux and you can buy it RIGHT NOW (but is it for real, and are these actually being shipped to those who order them?) - CLICK

Best FAILS Of 2009 (VIDEO)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nikon D90

I'm interested in starting a new hobby in photography.  I am yet to own my very first DSLR.  My two top camera makers are Canon and Nikon.   My first Canon was a Powershot S40.
During those times I was not into DSLR cameras.  Years later I bought my wife, then girl-friend at that time, a Powershot SD870 IS.


It was the SD870 that tickled my fancy into photography.  I realized how taking a picture is more than just capturing an image of an event or moment in time.  It's a form of art, an expression that is more than just point and shoot.  I also realized that there is skill involved.  I remember I had a friend who had a good eye in taking pictures.  He always had the right angles and knew when to take the shot.  I admire that kind of skill.

I shopped around in looking for the right DSLR.  I'm leaning more on the Nikon D90.

I've looked at the Canon models, but it doesn't come close to the D90.  For a rook like me getting into photography, it didn't take much for me to take an ok picture.  Witht the Canon DSLRs, I'm always getting grainy pictures compared to the D90.  Some tell me that I need to learn to use the settings, but not really knowing all the ins and outs on settings, picking up the D90 without fussing with the settings took clear pictures.

I may have my eye on the Nikon D90, I don't have the $1200 to snag one.  People have told me to start out with the Nikon D40 which is a step down from a D90.  The major difference between the D40 and D90, other than the megapixels is that the D90 has the ability to take movie capture and the D40 doesn't.

As of right now, the Nikon D90 is my dream camera to likely own.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Google Nexus One: The Official Videos

Google Nexus One: The Official Videos: "
This morning saw the launch of Google’s highly anticipated Nexus One “superphone”. During the demonstration, Google showcased a variety of the phone’s features, including a very impressive new photo app, voice input, and more. They’ve now posted a handful of videos showing off each of these features, which we’ve embedded below.

The most impressive video of the bunch is called Web Meets Phone. It’s sleek, stylish, and has catchy music — and was clearly inspired by Apple’s hugely successful iPhone ads. Google’s video weighs in at a hefy 1 minute 54 seconds, which obviously makes it long for your average TV commercial. Still, given the production values of the clip, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google starts running a shorter version of this on TV. It may even splurge for a few extended showings.

You can find more videos of the Nexus One YouTube Channel (note that most of the others are showing features that are available on other Android phones).

New Camera Gallery

Voice Input

Customization (with Live Homescreens)

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