I don’t usually cook as most men do. My parents rarely rarely let me cook and I don’t have any interest either. Sure I can fry eggs, bacon, cook packed noodles, even cook rice but other than those, I can’t afford to claim any pride on cooking because I know close to nothing about it.
I like writing update type of posts because it’s very casual to write and I can finish it in one sitting. It’s also very spontaneous so there’s not much effort needed here especially if you’re feeling lazy like me. 🙂 Without further ado, here we go.
Completing the Redesign
I wrote about a blog design update post some months ago but still I haven’t finalized everything yet. It’s getting closer though as I have finished putting widgets and modifying some pages. There are some minor kinks in this theme that I’m hoping to fix soon.
The logo isn’t still there but I do hope I can have it before the month ends. Also, this theme has a wide header below the main content area and I wanted to customize so it looks really good. I haven’t decided yet on what to put but I have so far experimented with putting some of the pictures I’ve taken myself as a filler. I want to have an image header that is as personal as possible but I don’t want to be too vain by showing pictures of myself. 🙂
Nevertheless, I searched for sites that are using the same theme and found this blog. Let’s say I want my header graphic to be kind of the same as hers.
Flickr as the service of choice
I didn’t really waste time since I wrote my thoughts on storing photos online. The commenter Jem has corrected me in that Flickr actually allows 1 TB worth of photo which is more than adequate for my needs. They don’t seem to be reducing the resolution of my photos as well.
So I went with Flickr and started uploading photos again. Feel free to check out my Flickr account if you feel interested.
Reorganizing my room
This is kinda offtopic and offline but I started a project for redesigning and reorganizing my room. This will be very hard to do because a). my room is very small to begin with, b). I need to spend lots of money to make it better.
The second reason is related to me living in my parents house. What that means is most of the schemes, colors and whatnot are standard for our whole house and there’s not much that I can change here. Well changing our house too much is not feasible at all either.
I’m still in my early 20’s (well 24 to be exact) but I should perhaps start having a plan for moving out and live on my own.
There are a couple of local companies that have contacted me for a mini collaboration. It is my hope that the mini collaboration is the start for something bigger down the road. 🙂
The first is PricePanda which is a service that compares the best prices for each products. I’ve used them plenty of times before and I discovered through actually just Googling the actual products. Check them out as they’re a heck of a useful website for finding and buying stuff online
They’ve done a great guest post on the Evolution of Smartphones so make sure to read the article in case you haven’t done it yet. They also have a banner ad on the sidebar that I gave to them.
The second one is Zalora Philippines which is some kind of an online service for shopping clothes, shoes, accessories and anything that is related to looking good and fashionable. I also have used them before and even suggested them to my friends.
Zalora was kind enough to give me a gift certificate in exchange for our mini collaboration. The lady I’m in contact with was very kind and accommodating. But it was the service that is really impressive.
I ordered stuff from them through the certificate that they gave me and the orders arrived in less than 24 hours which was amazing. Throughout the process their staff have been helpful to all my inquiries and nagging questions. 🙂
Look out for more future collaborations between this blog and Zalora. 🙂
Accepting Guest Posts again
During my hiatus, it was the guest posts that kept this blog alive and now I would like to announce that I’m accepting them again. But for a difference, I’ll be more strict this time. The article obviously has to be top-notch but at the same time I am only allowing up to 3 links and the links have to be relevant otherwise, they would only be placed on the poster’s signature and nowhere else.
I tried the model where users would register and do their own guest posts from the WordPress backend. That didn’t work too well as I was overwhelmed with spammy guest content from users. So instead you can submit your guest posts the old fashioned way which is through the contact form.
So that’s it for the updates! 😉
I started taking pictures back in 2007 when I was in my early college days and like most people, I only used a point-and-shoot digital camera to take photos. Back then, I would store the photos on my hard drive and then upload it on Friendster. Technology has evolved and from Friendster, I started uploading them to Multiply, then Facebook and then now Instagram.
Looking back I realized that not much has changed really. At least for me, the change was mostly on the sites I’m uploading pictures to. And I find that normal because these photos are majorly tied to the “in” social network which has changed quite a bit in the last 5-7 years. What changed on my end is my interest in the subject of photography. No I didn’t own a lot of cameras during the period but I became more obsessed with taking better photos and investing on better equipment.
What usually happens is I would take pictures using my entry level Sony Nex 6 camera. I would make sure I take good pictures (note I’m still a novice in this area though) and then once it’s done I would store it on my hard drive but then upload either on my personal Facebook page or Instagram. As we all know, both of those services decrease the overall quality of the pictures. But still who cares? I have my original source on my hard drive right?
Well, not until now. I realized that I need to take a look at a service where I can upload my best shots. Maybe not really just the best ones but every photos that I’d like. A major requirement for the service is that it would not (majorly) alter the photos and eventually decrease the quality.
No I’m not building some kind of a image portfolio here but it’s my personal desire to have a place online where I or my friends can look at photos that I took and hopefully those aren’t too bad for them to feel bad. And so that is why I started searching for the services.
I actually have a Flickr account and this is where I realized that I have been taking photos for quite some time now. I like the service a lot but it functions as a social network itself which can be a problem. That might take away the focus of me just uploading photos to finding friends, commenting on their photos, browsing other people’s pictures and etc. That’s not a big problem though.
I haven’t used Flickr in years but I remember that you can’t really use the service to upload pictures continuously as they have a limit for free accounts. They also compress your photos (not as bad as Facebook though) and that would only go away if you fork out some money and pay for a subscription.
But maybe it has changed and I’ll just have to take a closer look at the service again.
Photobucket is an equally popular service however I kind of view them more as a casual image uploading site as oppose to something that has a more personal feel to it like Flickr. Nonetheless, Photobucket seems to be as good as Flickr but it has its own limitations for a free account.
I’m personally not too high on Photobucket for some biased reasons but I know I’ll take a look of this service again and see where it fits.
Picasa is a popular photo sharing service owned by Google. Doing a quick look at it, it seems they have their own share of features that are not available on other platforms. I read that they accept more file formats (including RAW) and they are of course very much integrated to other Google services.
I should take a look at Picasa because I’m pretty much a Google person like most people. I use a lot of Google services but I’m not sure I have any use for the Picasa integration at all (what? integrate to G+? meh!).
The website of this service strikes me as a a photo and card printing service rather than an photo sharing site but it seems like the latter part is a very good service on its own.
Shutterfly doesn’t have any limitations for uploading pictures and unlike others, they actually store the images in full resolutions and uncompressed. Like other services, they also offer some basic photo editing tools and integration to social networks. And of course, they have this tied neatly to their printing services in case you want to get a hard copy of your photos.
I haven’t reached the point yet where I’m nit-picky with the features that a service comes with so I think I would do fine with all the services I found above. However, I can’t really use all of them and upload to each every time as that would be very silly. It’s also worth-noting that me picking a service doesn’t change the fact that I would still upload photos on Facebook and Instagram since both are services that I heavily use for other purposes.
Overall, I would say Flickr has an advantage as I’m already an existing user there. Unless Flickr has a deal-breaker kind of limitation on their service, then it would be tough for other services to win me unless of course they offer something that is so good that I’m willing to switch and start over from scratch. But who knows?
I’d like to hear your thoughts here. Feel free to suggest other services as well. 🙂
This is a guest post by Pierre-Adrien Mongin.
From IBM’s Simon in 1993, the first phone to feature touch screen qwerty keyboard and email, to today’s Apple mania and continuous proliferation of new devices: we have witnessed the rapid evolution of the smartphone. Now that we are in a position where touch phones are essentially the norm, how much has really changed since its awkward beginnings? And what does the future of these wireless handsets hold?
Callie Payne, the smartphone expert at PricePanda offers you an analysis of the evolution of the smartphone, from business luxury to everyman’s essential.
Wider reaching Technology
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007 it had a 3.4 inch screen, 320 X 480 pixel resolution (one of the best at the time), 8GB expandable storage and a 2MP camera. Today, these specifications are run of the mill, if not poor. Even very low budget smartphones today, such as the newly released Samsung Galaxy Star II, a phone marketed with young teens, first time mobile users and so called “emerging markets” in mind, share identical specs with this first, revolutionary touch phone. It seems that the market is developing very quickly.
Today’s high end handsets favour much larger screens, with a new tendency towards so called “phablets” a new evolutionary strand which straddles the functionality of a phone and a tablet. The new iPhone 6, said to be released in September, is rumoured to have 13MP camera, 4.7” virtually unbreakable Sapphire glass screen screen and possibly 1704 x 960 screen resolution and an enormous 128 GB storage capacity.
Evidently, there is a large gap between luxury products and budget devices, but there has also been a certain tendency towards the democratisation of the technology recently with Samsung Galaxy’s choice to make all their new budget Galaxy devices compatible with the newest android (KitKat) and Androids choice to make its newest software optimised with 512MB RAM, i.e the cheaper smartphones.
The smartphone is a fashion accessory that everyone has access to, with the recent trend towards cheap devices. However, will these devices actually last or are we evolving into a disposable “planned obsolescence” stage of smartphone evolution? Is the phrase “buy cheap buy twice” really what we want for the future of our handsets?
Smartphone Usage in South East Asia and the Philippines
For markets in the South-East Asia, the smart gadget “saturation” brings not only the latest fashion accessory, but affordable access to the latest technology and personal development. In the Philippines smartphone usage stood in 2013 at 53% and is predicted to grow by a further 22% in just one year. With local brands such as Cherry Mobile and MyPhone dominating the Filipino market with low budget, yet high performing smartphones the potential reaches much further than non-stop access to beloved facebook.
According to a recent World Bank report (Download the PDF), the increase in portable wireless communication devices use equals across the board increase in productivity and benefits. Farmers have better access to information increasing agricultural productivity, taxi drivers have real time traffic updates and broader citizen engagement means wider reaching updates such as weather warnings. The devices are being used more as mini computers than they are telephones, particularly with the increase in free calls over Skype or Facetime. As the internet becomes more and more mobile, it makes sense that smartphones, with their continuous 3G connectivity and relative portability of size, proliferate.
The evolution of smartphones has reached a peak in its evolution where there is a significant turnover in products, bringing the prices down on the technology. While this has its downsides such as planned obsolescence and internet over dependency, the greater reach in market brings a giant step towards closing the information gap. Access to wireless internet has become more and more desirable in the 21st Century, and therefore more widely available thanks to the demands of the market, benefitting all.
I have not considered myself a gamer despite staying in front of a computer 85% of the time. And even when I do play, it’s mostly just one game which is NBA (EA before and 2K in the past 3-4 years) and nothing else. Add the fact that I’m employed to a company where playing games and live streaming it is the main thing and it becomes even weirder.
A quick look at my background would make it less weird actually. My first console was a Playstation 1 and it never got upgraded again. I got a decent PC during my high school days but even then I was mostly just playing NBA games. I did dabble with some other games like Halo, Quake, even Call of Duty but they never got me interested.
Fast forward to today, I just don’t have any equipment to play games. I guess even since 4-5 years ago, my machine won’t hold up with any good games available even during the time. But thinking more about it, it’s not entirely about that. It’s also about me not being too interested in playing games perhaps. I started doing blogging and some other online things since early 2008 and considering it has become my life, that was one of the factors as well on why I’m not playing games despite the fact that I’m in front of my computer most of the time. Now it can be argued that perhaps if I have a more modern console or a faster computer then I might have enjoyed and spent more time with it. That’s up in the air.
The near future…
What does the future hold for me regarding gaming and live streaming? Not a whole lot of change probably. We have a work thing where we would play and live stream games using our streaming software every Friday (or every other Friday). So I said to myself “Why not start a channel & build an audience, see where it takes me?”. Generally-speaking, that is a good reason enough for me to start. My work computer is an i7, we have fast internet (fast upload), no one is streaming NBA 2k and maybe the vacant spot is just waiting for me. 🙂 Maybe I’m too upbeat too. :p
But one thing I’m sure of is doing this shouldn’t take too much effort. I’m gonna try this out and just do it. No pressure for myself whatsoever. If it works, good. If it doesn’t, it’s still good since this is part of my work for the company. So I have nothing to lose really.
Time for some shameless promotion. I started the channel ‘MediMode‘ on Twitch and the channel is mainly about live streaming NBA 2k gameplay. I’ll probably be rambling a bit through the microphone while playing but most of the time you’ll just hear gameplay audio. I’ll try to play with a human as much as possible but if no one’s available then I’ll play against the AI.
Again if you’re interested in some 2K gameplay or you play the game yourself (and think you’re better than me) then feel free to check out my channel at Medimode. And please ignore the Taylor Swift display picture for now.
A company named Applewerkz reached out to me and asked me if I’m interested in getting some mobile items such as a premium case, screen protector and slick wraps for free. As I love free stuff like we all do, I accepted their offer in exchange for a review of the products that will be sent to me.
Background of Applewerkz
Here’s a brief background on Applewerkz. They are a company that specializes indistribution of retail cases and accessories for popular mobile brands such as Apple, Sony, Samsung, Blackberry, HTC and etc. They are based here in Philippinesbut they have an office in the US as well. Very nice.
They carry products from top mobile phone accessory brands such as Slickwraps, Spigen-SGP, Zenus, Dracodesign, ElementCase and etc. I was surprised that they have a lot of branch in the country as shown below:
I received three products from them namely the Spigen Neo-hybrid protective case, the A&C Nanoshield screen protector and a full body wrap from Slickwraps.
Prior to getting these, I would say I’m not the type of person that buys accessories for my mobile phone as I mostly use it as it is. I find buying phone accessories not necessary as it just complicates your phone and make it more bulky. While I was opening the package I realized that the tradeoff in most cases is worth it and I became more excited with the products.
The first one that I opened is the Spigen Neo-Hybrid case since it’s the most noticeable among the three.
Spigen Neo-Hybrid Case
I heard about Spigen a couple of times before and knew they were making protective cases. When I put in the neo-hybrid case, I was initially astounded with how big my Nexus 5 became considering it’s a thin phone. After getting used to it, I started liking how my phone is more secure than ever with this premium case.
The premium case from Spigen has an enhanced shock-absorption which means it will protect your phone more in case you drop it or it hits something hard.
What’s tricky with the Spigen case is that once you put your phone in, you will have a very hard time removing it and reading some articles online, it seems to be the general consensus among the public. I’m not sure if the case is meant to be removed occasionally but keep in mind that doing so is not an easy task.
A&C Nanoshield Screen Protector
Next is the Nanoshield screen protector from A&C. Now this protector isn’t your typical screen protector as it’s actually a liquid screen protector.
Basically, they have this “nano-shield” solution that you will rub into your phone’s screen & then once it dries up, you already have the invisible screen protector applied.
What does this do? According to the packaging, it makes the screen scratch resistant, it reduces finger marks and smudges and it improves clarity and brilliance. Quite frankly, most modern phone these days are scratch-resistant already so using this one is perhaps not needed.
I also didn’t feel it reduces my finger marks but I felt that it improved the clarity of my screen slightly. Overall, I didn’t feel this nanosolution is really needed however for those who own phones that are a bit old, then this solution might help you out.
Finally, we have the popular Slickwraps. It’s a custom skin that is multipurpose. One purpose is to provide a pleasing aesthetic look to your mobile phone and the other one is to protect your phone from dust and other substances.
I wasn’t really excited seeing it as it looked nothing but a sticker to me (which it is) and in fact I thought of not putting it at all. However a colleague convinced me to put it and upon fully putting it, I started liking how it complemented by Nexus 5 phone
The one sent to me has this “leather-like” look and my colleagues were easily impressed with how great it matched. I guess Slickwraps really makes your phone look slick after all.
After putting it, I then became interested on its design variants and I started looking on it through its own website. To be honest, I liked how a lot of them look and I might purchase some more in the distant future.
Overall, I was quite happy with receiving these three items from Applewerkz. While the neo-hybrid case and Slickwrap seem redundant since the former essentially makes the latter unseen, I would say they’re both good for their intended purpose. It’s also quite amazing that Applewerkz is selling these popular brands which means instead of finding a local dealer or settling for a substandard alternative, you can just go to your nearest Applewerkz store and get it from there.
Make sure to visit the nearest Applewerkz store and see what they’ve got for you.
I hinted at a blog design makeover in my previous blog post and here it is now. Unfortunately, it’s not 100% complete yet and because the current blog theme during the time looked more messed up while this is being cooked up, I decided making this new design live is a reasonable decision rather than continuing with a messed up theme.
There will still be lots of changes that is going to happen over the next few weeks and months however in terms of the layout and structure, this will be it. 🙂 As you can see it is simpler and cleaner than ever and with less elements to be distracted about. I will still run ads as they come but it will not be in the same quantity as it used to before.
Finally, I am still feeling my way on the things that I can do with the new template which by the way is from Genesis of Studiopress still. As hinted on the temporary header, I would like to make the design more picture-oriented. Not that I would start posting pictures solely and forget about writing text, but I’d like to see if I can add something more “artistic” and “creative” to the way I do things and by that I mean running this personal blog. I also don’t have a logo yet considering the old one simply can’t be transferred here. I also wanted a new logo to refresh things up and I’m fortunate to tap the services of a talented graphics designer which happened to be my friend. I’m excited!
As always, let me know what you think and what I can improve more in the design. I will be writing a full blog post on the blog redesign once it’s completed and I’ll go in-depth on what the changes mean to me and to you as my reader.