About Me

My photo
We are what we think & my blog entries reflect how I think. Have a sip of the poison of my mind.. It's not always lethal.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Hands-On With The Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge

It's like the wayward son finding his way back on course again, thank goodness.

Previously, I dissed the S6 series for having taken away the staple features the Galaxy series have always been celebrated for. Now, the S7 series is finally here and like an S Apologist, finally makes things right again - for the most part. And hot damn, that edged screen..

Fondling the S7 series in the store


Right off the bat, I'll just let it be known that I'm not interested in the smaller S7 with its 5.1 inches display and 3000 mAh capacity battery. I'm a phablet guy who enjoys a bigger screen and a bigger battery, so the bigger S7 Edge with its 5.5 incher and 3600 mAh battery (yum) is where it's at for me. I like it bigger and juicier, that's what she said.

The first thing that captures the attention when I approach the display sets at the Samsung store is the screen. And oh my, what a beautiful screen the S7 Edge is sporting. Even though the screen is 5.5 inches across, it does seem smaller than it actually is because of the edged display and thin bezels. It's almost like a visual trick to my eyes, at least. That screen is not only looking beautifully sharp, I love the way the contents flow off the edged parts, making them pop outwards and towards you. It's stunning, to say the least. But wait, you will have to deal with some occasional mistaps as well as some glare on the edged parts under certain lighting conditions and angles.

In the S7 Edge's case, beauty does come with small prices here and there. I guess the Edge is a phone that you will have to train yourself in how you hold the phone while using it; it certainly feels more delicate than your typical flat-screened phone. I can imagine that using a good case ought to alleviate the problem to a more manageable degree though, as well as lessening accidental mistaps on those edges, with the sides of the case also functioning as bezels of sorts.

Turning the phone over to its back disgusts me as expected, what with all the eewy fingerprints and grime stuck on the glass surface. I don't know about you, but I don't like glass backs because of this very reason but I use cases on my phones anyway, rendering supposedly premium glass builds moot for me. Since it's glass and glass is more fragile, you better protect your expensive investment for the long haul anyway. So much for glass.

OEMs will always tempt you to buy their phones by making you fall for the first visual impression, causing you not to ponder about the potential problems that might come with the physical look and build in the long run, so look beyond the physical beauty and think long term in real-life practical day-to-day usage as a discerning consumer before you plunk down that credit card at the cashier. As for screen protectors that works well for those edged surfaces, the jury's still out. See? Think a few paces ahead of what the OEMs want you to think feel on impulse.

All in all, the S7 Edge not only looks good, it feels good too in the hand with its thin bezels and width.

Software

The first thing I'll always do before I dive into the software of any display phone set is to hit the multitasking button and close out all running apps in the background. People have the tendency to leave their crap behind for the next person to clean up after them, you see. If the crap is too much, the phone might choke since RAM and running resources are not infinite.

With all the junk zapped, the S7 Edge sure feels zippy. Whether it can remain zippy for the long haul will depend on user habit and periodic management of the device, especially when all the apps the user needs have all been installed and used for some time - which is something​ to bear in mind when it comes to new phones. But from what I'm observing here, the apps and the launcher are running smoothly.

The white interface of the system UI is ok, but I prefer it dark instead. Well, there's the theme store to take care of that, but I wonder if the colour schemes of themes will stick if I install another launcher after that though. Firing up the gallery to look at the photos and videos is a treat, as the contents pop and flow off the edged screens beautifully. I'm​ liking that quite a bit. I'm not sure about glare at the edges under sunlight though, since I can't untether the display sets from their stands and bring them outside under the sun to see.

As I've mentioned, how long the running software and apps can remain smooth would be something which only long term usage can really tell, so I can't attest to that yet even though things seem smooth at the moment. But that's a mileage that varies among different users in terms of usage habits and user prudence, so you can't nail such a thing down and apply the same experience across the board.

Finally, I'm not sure why Samsung has removed the IR blaster which has proven quite convenient and rather fun for me on my Note 4 (the coffeeshops will never know it was me who switched their TV programmes whenever what I was seeing was boring as heck). But oh well, at least the SD card slot is back - something much more important to me than an IR blaster when all is said and done. It's nice having an IR blaster, definitely, but it's more of a want rather than a need for me.

Conclusion

I like the S7 Edge. I've mentioned in my other blog post that if I should switch over to another phone with a non-removable battery, then it has to have at least a 3500 mAh battery. In this area, the S7 Edge hits the mark.

Will I buy the S7 Edge? No I won't, even though I like the phone. I'm more of a Note person and if the S series has bloated to a bigger and more beautiful 5.5 inches screen and a bigger battery, perhaps the next Note might surpass 5.7 inches with reduced bezels and come packing more juice - A bigger curved screen with reduced overall physical size and being able to go a longer distance. Slurp.

But yeah, it's hard to pass up on the S7 Edge. It has turned my head to give it a second look, unlike the previous iterations before it. That's a good thing in my non-fiction book. From the handicapped S6 series, which to me personally, was a failed experiment, I think Samsung has redeemed themselves with the S7 series this time.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Family's House Moving: From West To East

Mum has been staying with my elder sister, her hubby and their 3 children for many years now ever since the late 90's, after my nephew (my elder sister's first child) was born and mum took on the task to provide an extra pair of hands to help take care of my nephew when his parents go to work during the day and at the same time, be a coach and guide to their maid.

As the subsequent long years rolled by, my 2 nieces were born 5 years apart from each other and multiple maids have come and gone when their employment contracts ended. Currently, mum is still helping to take care of my youngest niece who is going through primary education as well as providing guidance to their present maid. My elder sister is indeed blessed with the ideal family setup and wonderful children.

They have been staying in the western part of the country just like I am (me and my Lioness in our own den) and my second sister as well (her own house). Since we all stay in the west, visiting one another at our own respective places of residence during the family gatherings has always been convenient.

Today, my elder sister and her family, along with mum and their maid Zo, are moving over to the newly bought condominium apartment in the east my elder sis and her hubby purchased - which is at the extreme opposite end of the country. Elder sis and her hubby fell in love with the apartment with its handsome sea view.

As family, me, my Lioness, my second sister and her boyfriend all came to help with the house moving. I'm actually going through a bout of coughs and phlegm buildup and therefore, I'm feeling a bit under the weather; but I knew I could still manage it and helped my family out. We made trips back and forth from west to east and back again (picking up my Lioness halfway after she finished her alternate Saturday half-day work), shifting labelled cartons and furniture over to the new place.



Halfway through the chores, prolonged exposure to the dust associated with house moving intensified my phlegm buildup which made me more uncomfortable, resulting in my nasal passage feeling like it's choked up like a clogged-up rusty old pipe while at the same time, I had to deal with my coughs. To alleviate my condition, I drank as much water as I could.

Towards early evening, we finally managed to shift the last of everything over from the old house. Phew. Now that the dust has settled and I can breathe easier again, my Lioness and me both went downstairs to have a little stroll to check out the condominium compound.




To conclude this house moving day, elder sis and my bro-in-law took all of us out for a sumptuous dinner before we all went home. When my Lioness and me got back to our block, she went up to our house while I go get my coffee fix at the neighbourhood basketball court and at the same time, deal with something welling up inside me and subtly gnawing at me from within. I guess it's another Emo moment.

The impact of distance punches in

For so many years since the late 90's, family always felt like just a short bus ride or a short train ride away. That feeling ended today. From now on, I will have to travel from one end of the country to the extreme opposite end to visit my family at their new home.

Today almost felt like sending off people dear to you who were migrating. That's an exaggeration of the situation, I know, but at the same time, the parallelism was there; albeit a similarity that's of a less severe magnitude in comparison. Even so, I'm beginning to miss my family already and I'll go as far as to admit here that I'm wondering why I'm feeling strangely.. 'abandoned', for lack of a better word. I wonder if second sis, who is left behind in the west as well, is feeling the same.

You are probably rolling your eyes already at this point but like I've said, 'tis an Emo moment. Emo moments are usually not very aligned with, and skewed a little from actual reality and they are usually exaggerated and overblown perceptions of said reality; but the fact remains that I'm finding myself to be really missing my family a lot now as I take sips of my coffee. It's not the coffee though.

Before today, it had always been comforting knowing that family was so close by. But now, they've moved far away. That won't stop me from seeing them of course, but I guess the comfort of anytime-close-accessibility has been replaced by a huge chasm called 'distance'. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and creates an Emo out of you.

On top of it all, I'm worried about mum. She told me that it was rather hard for her to leave her friends behind in the west. You see, my mum is elderly and her legs are giving her some problems, so it won't be an easy matter for her to travel the long distance to go visit her friends back in the west. Mum told me she is really gonna miss her morning coffee sessions with her friends. As it happens, she doesn't know anyone living in the eastern part where she has just moved to.

I'm making a mental note to call mum even more often now to chat with her and to remind her to come stay over at my place whenever her granny-caretaker duties can be put on temporary hold. Before I left just now, I made sure that her portable radio was right next to her bed. At night, she listens to her favourite radio station. I hope her humble little radio companion will take her mind off her losses during the night when the mind tends to wander more.

From where I'm sitting at the dark basketball court, I can see the road off in the distance where the bus that took me to my family's former house always travelled along. What used to be a comfortably short 25 minutes bus ride has now been replaced by coming to 2 hour's total of grinding train and feeder bus rides. The same transportation grinding will of course, have to be repeated going in the opposite direction when I make my way back to my house at the end of the day. I better look into exercises that strengthen butt endurance and fitness.

Despite the out-of-place and weird sense of 'abandonment' I'm feeling that really shouldn't even be there at all, I am happy for my family for having moved to a really pleasant new home with a much more prettier and lovelier view; I actually find the view at the balcony to be rather therapeutic. I suppose the balcony will be the favourite spot where my family will be chilling out at the most. I would myself. The only minus factor though, is that the hall is much smaller than their former house's. The bedrooms are smaller in comparison too, but not by too much.

Well, I'll have some major travelling distance adjustments to adapt to from hereon in the family gathering department of things. Why can't they start inventing wormholes already?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Thoughts On The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Is the S7 series resultant of consumer common sense demand snatching the reins back from counter-productive manufacturer deviations gone wayward? This blog post reflects my thoughts on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Samsung just officially unveiled to the world.


The atrocity that was the S6 series

The latest S7 Edge is sure as heck damn fine looking with those sexy curved edges that make screen content seem to pop out visually, while the normal S7 with its normal flat screen looks just.. well, normal.

The sales figures of the previous S6 series had been a costly flop. My sympathy goes out to the rank-and-file Samsung employees who lost their jobs but I can't say the same for the top suits who had direct control over the decision to nerf the S6 series to its atrociously underwhelming state. It served them right for having removed useful features all in one fell swoop which the Galaxies had all along been famous for: the removal of expandable storage and removable battery; which in its place, substituting it with a pathetically small in mAH capacity inbuilt one. Talk about adding salt to the wound.

If they wanted to take away removable batteries, then they should have made up for it by giving us inbuilt ones with capacious mAH capacities. But the S6 came with only 2550 mAH, which is fucking pathetic. The S6 Edge packs a 2600 mAH and that's fucking lame too. The big kick in the balls here is the fact that the S5's removable battery is 2800mAH. Sigh.

Look, I can understand the rationale for an inbuilt battery given all the new glass chassis material and all, but a sexy looking phone becomes a brick quickly if it doesn't have the stamina to last long enough for the daily mile. Wireless-charging and fast-charging are well and good, but wouldn't a battery that could last longer and thus, having to charge it less frequently be more ideally practical instead? Not everyone is a cubicle warrior with chargers within arm's reach any time of the day, and even cubicle warriors will go outdoors away from the wall plugs during their off-work hours and days.

Power banks, you say? I don't know about you, but I hate having to tether my phone via a cable to a charging brick when I'm moving about; It restricts arm movement - forget your phone is tethered via a cable, swing your arm too wide in the wrong place and angle and watch your power bank and/or expensive phone do somersaults in the air. Ka-plunk. Either that or a weakened charging port. Smart folks go for charging cases instead. Smarter folks go for capacious batteries. Cubicle warriors and folks who spend the majority of their lives next to a wall plug can enjoy munching on their popcorn while shrugging off the whole battery soap opera drama here.

Lithium ion batteries deteriorate with charging cycles over time and you are screwed when it does and you can't replace the battery DIY-style easily and cheaply like before with the previous Galaxy phones. The wall-hugging irony is strong with this one, Luke. Now go hug a wall and try not to trip on the cable on your way to said wall.

If I were a mobile phone, I'd hate to be a storage space-deprived and battery-handicapped member of the S6 range now: like a failed experiment. That's right, I've just used the words 'failed experiment' to describe the S6 series unapologetically and unabashedly. I'll morbidly admit to the fact that it made me glad Samsung's mobile earnings for the S6 series sucked hard, which was the wake-up call slap that Samsung needed for having pulled an Apple on the market. Dismal sales is indicative of the fact that the general market doesn't like your product or/and the direction you're going.

If changes bring about handicapped inconveniences that weren't there before, then not all changes are for the betterment of the status quo. Suckers soak up everything thrown at them without resistance and with complying, unquestioning acceptance, even if it makes things worse for them. Well, that's why we call them 'suckers'. And people won't have to go through the misfortune of losing their jobs if their higher-ups don't try to shortchange the market. Blind worshipping fanboys take note.

If you've bought the S6 or the S6 Edge and are experiencing buyer's remorse already because of storage and battery woes, my condolences. But I admit I'm trying to contain my laughter at the same time, though. Cubicle warriors, you can continue to enjoy this fiasco and your popcorn right next to your wall charger. Lucky you. But try not to stay outdoors for too long when you go out with a dimunitive battery, unless you enjoy playing some mobile tie-me-up BDSM with your power bank and its cable and your phone at the receiving end of all that tethered sadomasochism.


Saving Grace: Enter the S7 series

So it's good to see that Samsung finally wised up by putting a decent capacity sized battery in the S7 Edge, albeit a non-removable one. We are looking at 3600mAh here. A decent compensation. My Note 4's 3220 mAH battery gets me just past 6 hours of screen on time on a typical day (unless I happen to game heavily) and I'm using that as a yardstick here, which I think is decent enough.

All in all, I guess I'll be able to accomodate myself with an inbuilt non-removable battery if it comes with at least a 3500 mAH battery to be on the safer and reassuring side; which is a condition that the S7 Edge meets, and which is the reason why I don't care about the normal S7 because it doesn't. That being said, I'd certainly need to get over the best conveniences that removable batteries (which are going the way of the Dodo) provide me if I should make the switch over to an inbuilt one. All that wireless and fast-charging, while good, can't compare to getting back to 100% capacity in just a minute or two.

Inbuilt batteries are actually not that bad if they can last the distance throughout the day and you babysit and time your charging rituals properly before heading out.. until they start to deteriorate in stamina over time, that is. However, if you change your phone every 2 years or earlier, then chances are, you might escape bad battery deterioration before it starts to happen, or just when it has just started happening and you don't have to put up with it for too long before you start going over the edge over it. Seriously, being stuck with a croaking battery is a major pain in the butt.

For the smaller vanilla S7, another reason why I don't care about it is because its 5.2 inches screen is not big enough for my taste when it comes to smartphones. I'm a phablet guy, so my minimum requirement for mobile multimedia enjoyment is a screen display that's at least 5.5 inches. You see, my previous Galaxy Note 2, which was my first 5.5 incher, spoiled me and I absolutely love the 5.7 inches screen of my Note 4. It also helps that the 2K screen display resolution on my Note 4 is still stunning and gorgeous. The eye candy is still very much kicking butt in 2016.

Now that expandable storage is back on the Galaxy phones, which I think will make the S7 series well-received by the market, I can hear my gigabytes worth of on-the-go movies and videos (including the space-hungry self-taken 4K ones), eBooks, photos, APK files collection, my Playstation and PSP games BIOs (long live emulators), music collection, etc, all saying in unison: "Welcome back, SD card. It's finally getting roomy and capacious again." You can have your breathing space again, beloved data.

And Samsung can go suck on the nerfed Galaxy Note 5, which for all intent and purposes as far as I'm concerned, is on the same level as the S6 series in terms of the degree of getting nerfed. Pulling a closed garden Apple stunt on the Note series renders not a Note a true Note. Oops, I forgot for a moment there that this blog post is about the S7 series rather than the Note. #AttackOfOpportunity

On the surface of things, the S7 Edge is looking really really good, very handsome and very promising; and I don't mean just its physical looks but also, its capacious enough battery and the expandable storage making a comeback on it. We shall see how it performs in real life usage once it gets released for sale in the market, shall we? I'm looking forward to the reviews as well as having a first-hand hands-on with it in the store. I think the S7 Edge especially ought to do well in the market.

As it should always be the case, continue to speak with your wallet as a discerning consumer and reward the manufacturer that gives you more, instead of the manufacturer that takes away from you. Manufacturers should pay attention to what their customers demand, not the other way around.

It looks like you and me are back on talking terms again, Uncle Sammy. I'm relieved this time around and can once again, look forward to the next Galaxy Note - given how the S7 series indicate your corrected course in direction for the Galaxy flagships. Gosh, this is like the palpable relief you feel after getting rid of a bad taste in the mouth.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tim Cook's 'Shot On iPhone' Photo

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, posted on Twitter an awfully shot photo taken on his iPhone that you can see and read about here. Man, what an eyesore in 2016 that makes you question if what you are seeing was actually produced from a cheapo handheld shooter from the early 80's that's about to croak.

Yup, Tim got ridiculed for it in a parallel vein as how certain ridiculous things ought to be ridiculed; things like, say, trying to patent the mobile tech industry's standard norms like 'rectangles with rounded corners' while keeping it under the dirty carpet the plain and simple fact that that's actually a petty attempt at monopoly in order to slow down, or stop competitors altogether who innovate at a faster surpassing rate. It's like: if you are starting to lag behind and are having trouble keeping pace with them, stretch your leg out and trip them over.

For those of you who claim that you love tech, what do you think will happen to the industry as a whole in the long run if Apple succeeds in their petty litigations? The patent war may be contained mostly in a certain specific territory but the victor can experience spurred bloodlust that can come with victory to conquer even more territories - akin to a spreading disease, especially if the victor is unapologetically arrogant, feels entitled and happens to have enough moolah ammo because they also happen to be one of the world's most valuable companies. I think that's something those who care about the mobile tech industry ought to give a thought about.

To be fair though, even a really great mobile camera like the one you find on the Galaxy S6 and Note 5, can generate blurry photos too with the wrong photo-taking technique (like moving your arms and hands around too much under low light conditions when taking shots). But this eyesore from Apple's High Priest CEO, even though he's human too and can sometimes take lousy photos like anybody else, but who has the option not to upload a poorly taken shot on the Internet for the whole world to see and cause everybody's eyes to get tortured?

Perhaps Tim Cook got carried away with adrenaline rushes in the heat of the moment and couldn't keep his hands steady, but those of us who are prudent enough know enough to preview and QC-check our photos first before posting them online, right? This ought to be especially so for the head honcho of a company that keeps boasting about how industry-leading the cameras of their products can perform and even has a dedicated 'Shot On iPhone' photos category on their official website that showcases such.

A Tweeter user responded straight to Tim Cook by suggesting that Tim use a Samsung phone instead to nail down a good photo. Ouch. If I happened to be in the process of drinking something during the moment I was reading that, my phone's screen would end up soaking wet before I realized it. This Tweeter user deserves the 'most in-your-face sound advice that punches hard right in the gut' crowning award. It would be funnier if he or she happens to be a lawyer.

It's just another blurry photo and it doesn't affect me except tickle my funny bone unapologetically, honestly. You see, Apple no longer gets my money ever since they started their litigation spree and the iPhone's camera is no longer at the apex's most sharpest top end spot of the food chain anyway. Shrugs.

"It just works."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The X-Files: The Hunt For The Bogeyman Continues In 2016


The real truth is like a diamond - buried beneath a mountain pile of dirt you have to dig through just to get at it. Sturgeon's Law applies. And since 90% of everything is supposedly crap, it's hard to trust any supposedly full-of-crap person given the circumstances, right?

I love the poster on the left there.

Oh uh, where was I? Yeah, the new season 10 of the new X-Files has rolled out, picking up after season 9 from way back in 2002. Darn, it's been 14 years and Gillian Anderson, the woman playing the sceptic FBI agent Dana Scully, is still looking good (better from most angles, actually, now that she has shed her facial baby fats and that's a compliment).

And whaddya know, it looks like Mulder and Scully are probably into custom ROMs. I'm sure glad they are using Nexus Android phones - when you need serious work done like hunting down ghosts and aliens, you won't go far by using iPhones running restrictive iOS. Not only that, but hunting down the Bogeyman requires a very open mind and creative thinking processes, so using an open source OS is so very conducive for that, as opposed to an OS that tries to unapologetically box you in instead.

Actually, I wouldn't blame them at all if Scully ended up with an iPhone instead, considering that she's playing the role of the sceptic. Ha. So I'm finding it odd that she's rocking with a Nexus 6 while Mulder has an older Nexus 5. Maybe he's waiting for his mobile contract to run out before getting the new Nexus 6P, shrugs. They should do one spooky mini spinoff along the lines of 'What's on my Nexus' so that we can catch a glimpse of what ghosts and aliens-hunting apps our 2 endearing agents are rocking with.

But seriously, be it Android or iOS, it's great seeing Mulder and Scully now using modern mobile tech. Even though the latest iteration of iOS is still rather limiting and it's not enough to make me switch back to using an iPhone as a daily, it has become more fun to use as compared to the past and that's a good thing. Besides, since smartphones have also evolved into multimedia consumption devices and the modern phone is no longer used solely for just making phone calls and messaging, it's nice to see the iPhone 6 Plus with a big enough screen (finally, though Apple needs to catch up with Android's yummylicious higher screen resolutions), nevermind what the late Steve Jobs said about big screens. He might have been right during his time but that no longer applies across the entire industry's board today.

There were a few incidents in the older X-Files series where I thought to myself just how Mulder and Scully's work would have been made easier if they had smartphones and the right apps installed. Yup, I've been watching the older mini series recently to 'get back in the mood'. I certainly hope I won't ever see our 2 agents taking photos of their food to post on their Facebook pages as if anyone will truly care in the new mini series though, or I'll have to look away from the screen in utter disgust. I have faith that they won't do that in the series though, since they've always been occupying their time with much better things to do and mysteries to solve.

It's good to see our 2 favourite FBI agents back on the screen after all these long years to continue living with the bumps in the night and chasing the mysteries.