Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cherry Mobile to update the Flare to JellyBean

The Cherry Mobile Flare wii be getting an update to JellyBean. I am impressed. Given with how "premium" brands  handle updates, I never expected a low cost phone like this would receive a software update.

The announcement was posted on Cherry Mobiles Facebook Page:

Yes, the JB Update of FLARE is available starting June 1 via Cherry Mobile Centers NATIONWIDE! Present your warranty card and official receipt to validate your purchase. 
Just remember to BACK UP all of your data before having the update. Cherry Mobile is not responsible for the loss of data of the owner.

A big thumbs up to CM.
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Friday, November 29, 2013

Three Low Cost Ultrabooks to Consider

An Ultrabook is slim Intel powered laptop with either SSD storage or an SSD cache drive to allow for instant wake from sleep. When the first models came out in the Philippine in October 2011, they cheaper Ultrabooks were priced at about Php45,000. Now, sixteen months later, Ultrabook prices have gone down by 30%, low enough to make them choices for the mainstream consumer.

Acer Aspire S3-391-33214G52add - Php32,900

A good place to start is Acers entry level Aspire S3. This 13.3-inch Ultrabook is just 0.68-inches at its thickest point and weighs in a just 3.1 pounds. An Intel Core i3-3217U processor and 4 GB of RAM should provide sufficient power for most users. The laptop also comes with Windows 8, a 500 GB hard drive, 20 GB SSD cache drive, an 2-in-1 card reader, USB 3.0, HDMI out and all the bells and whistles you expect from a current laptop. The battery is a 3280 mAh unit.

Samsung Series 5 NP530U3C-A09PH - Php34,990

An alternative option is the Samsung Series 5 NP530U3C-A09PH. This Ultrabook has specifications almost identical to the Acer Aspire S3-391. It comes with a large 24 GB SSD cache drive, and a 4-in-1 card reader and a full sized Gigabit LAN port. The battery is slightly a smaller 3060 mAh unit.

Between this and the Acer Aspire S3-391, I would think look and feel would be the deciding factor.

Asus Vivobook S400CA-CA006H - Php35,990

Asus has something decidedly different to offer. Asus does not call it an Ultrabook, but with an Intel Core i3-3327U processor, a 500 GB hard drive with a 24 GB SSD cache drive, being just a tad over 0.8-inches in weight and weighing in at about 4-pounds I think we can classify this 14-inch laptop as a Ultrabook. The additional weight and thickness can be understood when you take into consideration the larger screen size, and the edge to edge glass used to protect the touchscreen.

The touchscreen is probably what will decide if this is the one for you.

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cherry Mobile Titan Titanic Indeed

Cherry Mobile already wowed us with their 4-inch Snapdragon phone for under Php4K, the Cherry Mobile Flare. But that is not all they are preparing for this month. Meet the Cherry Mobile Titan:

OS: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Type: Dual-SIM, Dual-Standby
Display: 5-inch capacitive display, WVGA (480 x 800) resolution
Memory: 512MB RAM
Storage: 4GB internal
 expandable via via microSD (up to 32 GB supported)
Processor: 1GHz dual-core processor MediaTek MT6577

GPU: PowerVR SGX531

Primary Camera: 5 megapixel camera with flash
Camera: VGA

Connectivity: HSPA, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 2.1

Features: GPS w/ aGPS support

Battery: 2350mAh

Looking at the specs many will frown at the low 480 x 800 resolution paired with a 5-inch display... but this thing is priced at just Php6,499. For those who want a larger display to display larger texts, this is just fine. At the price, who can complain?

This phone is massive, weighing in at a tad over 200 grams, and we would have like a bit more RAM... buy hey, its Php6,499.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Apple i Pods

Dear freinds you know about i pods ?I pods had been since their beginning in 2001, Apple iPods have been the product of choice for individuals who listen to digital music. Recently, Apple has branched out & allowed their iPods to display pics & play videos, but the music aspect of this digital media player is what lures hoards of people in to the Apple stores to buy an iPod.

Its simple design and large memory capacity have been defining features since the first generation. Apple iPods have come a long way since their creation, but despite all of the technological advancement, the basic form and structure has remained very similar. The iPod motif has now been emblazoned on separate pieces of hardware, including the video iPod, the incredibly little iPod Nano and the entry level iPod Shuffle. Each version is a separate entity, but each fills a niche wanted by consumers.

Starting with the iPod Shuffle, you have the lowest priced of all Apple iPods. It lacks an LCD screen and the famous touch wheel that gives you control over all of the other iPod products. In lieu you upload your play lists to the Shuffle and are given the choice to either listen to them in regular play mode or shuffle mode. The iPod Shuffle is available in sizes, gigabyte and half a gigabyte, meaning you can have up to hundred and fifty songs.

The next step up is the iPod Nano. This is the smallest of the actual Apple iPods. It contains a full color LCD screen which can be used to navigate through songs or display photographs. It is available in black or white and comes in a variety of memory sizes all above gigabyte. As an added bonus, it contains the new version of the iPod operating technique, giving you powers historicall the past bestowed only to Mac computers. At around a quarter of an inch thick and an ounce and a half in weight it is ideal for taking to the gym.

Finally, they have the granddaddy of all of the Apple iPods  the fifth generation video iPod. This iPod has a giant full color screen to show songs, pics, tv shows, movies and video podcasts. Clocking in between thirty and sixty gigabytes, you can store songs and videos on this iPod to last you through a flight around the globe.
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Samsung Series 9 NP900X3D A03PH 13 inch Macbook Air Zenbook Killer

When talk comes around to reasonable priced low cost 13-inch Ultrabooks these days, the discussion often centers around the Apples MacBook Air and Asus Zenbook. Samsung wants to break into that party, with its Samsung Series 9 NP900X3D. 

The Samsung Series 9 NP900X3D comes in a sleek all metal body which is just 2.49 pounds in weight and 0.52 mm thin. This makes it 0.5 pounds lighter and 0.15 mm thinner than its Apple and Asus competitors. Priced at Php52,900 with a 128 GB SSD, it also shaves a bit off the price, being priced Php3,000 lower than the comparably speced MacBook Air. The price includes a Windows 8 license.

The display is a 13.3-inch, 400nit display with a high resolution 1600 x 900 resolution making it a bit sharper than Apples 13-inch MacBook Air. The display is also Anti-Reflective which provides better legibility outdoors. The display is not a touchscreen display though.

Inside, you have a sufficiently powerful Intel Core i5 3317U processor with 4 GB of RAM. The package has everything you expect with a Micro-HDMI port, a 3-in-1 card reader and USB 3.0. I do not have any information on battery life yet. 

The thinner aspect of this laptop does not appeal to me too much. But the 2.49 pound weight does. It tips the scales at the same weight as an 11.6-inch MacBook Air. This certainly makes the Samsung Series 9 NP900X3D worthy of a long look if you are looking to buy a 13-inch ultraportable.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Watering Plant with Arduino

Plants liven up any space by adding a sense of airiness and life. That is – of course – when you don’t forget to water them, and they shrivel up and die. I am very bad at remembering to water plants. That is why I built this self-watering plant to do it for me. Using a soil sensor, and an Arduino-controlled water pump, I have created a system that will never forget to do it.

Making A Self-Watering Plant with Arduino
Instead of remembering to water my plants when the soil goes dry, I only have to remember to once and a while refill the water reservoir. In this way, I have decreased my obligation to these plants and put it off to a much later date. Perhaps further iterations of this device can be connected to a rain barrel so that I won’t even have to worry about refilling my reservoir, and the entire system can be fully automated.
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 Group Play

Let me explain how this feature simply works and was updated: device group leader acts as a Wi-Fi access point that connects all the other devices. The most improvements made to the Galaxy S3 are the following: at previous version from Galaxy S Series all devices had to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. This improvement comes in the context in which for all big companies the main concern is to making the device more easy to use.

Friendly interface of the smartphones can be seen even in the way in which this group play is activated, with a single click on the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Group Play
All connected devices will recognize this access point in a similar way as any other wireless network, starting the group play, this new amazing smartphone automatically scan all other smartphones that it can establish network connection with for inclusion in a group play.

After having been added in such a group play, you have at hand a list of diversified information about materials that you can share. Also, the group has options for sorting by categories such materials that are shared so easily through this feature, making it easier and more useful to use.
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lenovo S880 Dual SIM Galaxy Note Challenger

Samsungs Galaxy Note, the phone that straddles the line of being a tablet, is a smashing success. With more than 10 million units sold, other manufacturers are entering into the "Phablet" arena.  Lenovo is fielding a low end entry into this arena, the 5-inch Lenovo S880.

The Lenovo S880 has a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen with a WVGA (800 x 480) resolution. If you like sharp displays, this is not the one for you. A WVGA resolution is still decent at 5-inches. This is a larger device, measuring 142.0 x 78.0 x 9.9 milimeters.

Inside is the 1GHz MediaTek MT6575 processor we see in most dual SIM phones these days. And, yes this Phablet is a dual SIM device. Supporting the 1 GHz processor is 512MB RAM. Not exactly a powerhouse device, but it will get you by. Internal storage 4 GB of which 1.85 GB is user available.  A MicroSD card slot is provided so you can expand memory.  The 2250 mAh battery will be sufficient to get you for a day.

The other specifications are as expected. Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, as an operating system. HSPA connectivity, with WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS. The cameras are nothing spectacular, a 5-megapixel autofocus camera with no flash, and a VGA front camera.

Suggested retail price of all this isPhp14,999, and it is available in the market for a low as Php14,000 with an official warranty. I think the price come a bit close to a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0 P3100  a 7-inch tablet with full voice, SMS and HSPA functionality which can now be had for as low as Php15,990. It has 1024 x 600 display, a dual core processor, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage.

Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. There is a big difference in size between a 5-inch device and a 7-inch device. The comparison illustrates that the Lenovo S880 is not a great value for money option, on the other hand it really has no direct competition.    

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Asus Memo Pad US 149 tablet

Following the US$150 Acer Iconia B1 tablet which is priced to penetrate a new segments of the market, Asus has also announced its own low cost tablet which will sell for US$149.

The Asus MeMo Pad will come with a 7-inch, 1024 x 600 resolution display, 1GHz Cortex A9 processor  on a VIA WM8950 chipset (now that a blast from the past). The tablet features a Mali-400 graphics chip, 1GB of RAM and 8 GB internal storage with microSD card slot and WiFi connectivity. The operating system is Android 4.1, Jelly Bean. 

Dont expect to see this soon though. The MeMo Pad is expected to ship in the second quarter of this year.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Enable Smart Rotate and Smart Stay on any Android

When Samsung launched its Galaxy S3 last summer it included a lot of new features to the Android operating system on its new flagship. The two most impressive feature, in my opinion was Smart Stay. 

Android phones turn off the screen after a period of inactivity, usually a period of 30 to 2 minutes, which can be set in the settings. The shorter the period you set, the more you conserve battery life. When you are reading a web page or ebook, the screen turn off because you do not interact with the phone often enough.

Smart Stay improves on this system by using the front camera to detect whether you are looking at the phone or not. For so long as it detects that your eyes are still looking at the display, it keeps the display lit. Once it detects that you are no longer looking at the screen, it turns the display off. 

When Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 2, it added a new Smart feature, Smart Rotate. Smart Rotate uses the front camera instead of the accelerometer to rotate the screen. This is useful when using your smartphone while laying down on a bed or sofa. Turn sideways, and the screen rotates putting whatever you were reading is at 90 degrees from where it needs to be. 

Smart Rotate uses the front camera to decide when to rotate by looking at the orientation your face and than and then match the orientation of the screen accordingly, instead of relying on gravity.

Good Mood Droid brings these two features to less fortunate smartphones. The GMD Smart Rotate app is available free on Google Play and will bring Samsung Smart Rotate functionality to any Android phone with a front facing camera. A paid version unlocks the ability to use Smart Stay for just US$1.99.

GMD Smart Rotate adds some cool functionality too, allowing you force apps that normally do not rotate to do so, and set per app rotation preferences. 

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lenovo P700i Dual SIM Dual Core

Lenovo phones have slowly been getting the attention of Filipino consumers. The low cost, but decently speced Lenovo A60 comes to mind. But the breakthrough phone for Lenovo is the P700. Priced at around 10K with a 4-inch high resolution display (800 x 480), dual SIM capability and long battery life thanks to a larger 2500 mAh battery was enough to convince the buyer to make a buy decision.

Lenovo just released an updated version of their P700, the Lenovo P700i. Basically, it has everything you liked in the P700, but replaces the old 1 GHz single core processor, with a 1 GHz dual core processor. 

Suggested retail price remains the same, at Php10,990

Lenovo P700i Quick specs:

Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich
Dual SIM, Dual Standby

  • SIM 1 - 3G/HSDPA 
  • SIM 2 = 2G

4-inch (800x480) IPS display
125.6 x 64. 8x 12.8mm (size)
4GB of internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD card
512MB of RAM
1GHz dual-core MT6577 processor
PowerVR SGX531 GPU
5.0 Megapixel with Auto Focus
Secondary (front) VGA Camera
WiFi with Hot Spot function
GPS with AGPS support, Gravity Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Light Sensor
FM Radio
2500 mAh Battery Capacity

162g (weight)

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Still Camera Comparison Google Nexus 4 HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4

Smartphones these days are getting to the point where everything is fast and capable enough. While buying a more expensive smartphone brings improvement in speed and display quality, these things are getting to the point that the average user cannot tell the difference all that much.

The average used wont notice the difference between the Qualcomm S4 Pro on a Google Nexus 7 and the fast Qualcomm S600 on the HTC One. The HTC has the sharpest resolution of any phone with a 4.7-inch display with a staggering 1080 x 1920 resolution. In every day use,many users may not notice the difference between the HTC One and its Full HD display and the 4.7-inch HD display (768 x 1280) display of the Nexus 4.

So while we pony up more cash for the fastest phones and the sharpest displays, more and more, the phones other features are becoming more important. Personally, the one thing I appreciate most about newer phones is better and better cameras. I no longer buy a compact digital camera, as a secondary camera to a DSLR (or DSLT).

GSM Arena has an excellent tool to compare phone camera image quality and looking for a replacement for my current phone it is a useful tool for making a buy option. The tool can compare up to three phones at a time. 

Using the tool I compared the average 8 MP shooter on the Nexus 4, with the improved 13 MP camera on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the 4 MP Ultra Pixel camera on the HTC One.

Scaling the pictures down to match the test resolution of the HTC One as 3 MP, which is something you are likely to do when uploading images to the Internet or sending them by mail, the 4 MP camera on the HTC One looks disappointing, while 13 MP camera on the Galaxy S4 produced the best result.

The results are the same on the ISO 122333 Chart. The 13 MP camera on the Samsung Galaxy S4 seems to have the best low light capabilities, in addition to providing the sharpest images.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

HPs Sleekbooks

Thin and light is not what is used to be. A year after the first Ultrabooks launched, thin and light is now mainstream. This is best demonstrated by HP Sleekbook line. A Sleekbook is a name HP coined for laptops which are Ultrabook like, but do not meet Ultrabook specifications. Meaning it does not have an SSD or hybrid drive, or it is not power by an Intel processor. HP has launched a whole gaggle of 14-inch Sleekbooks in the Philippines. 

These Sleekbooks are powered by a series of processors ranging from a lowly AMD E2-1800 priced at Php22,990 to a fairly powerful Core i5-3317U at Php37,990, with several other offerings between these two price points. These price ranges represent the bulk of laptop sales in this country.

HP is hoping that it can lure you to buy one of its Sleekbooks with their low prices, slim 0.8-inch profiles and light 4-pounds in weight. 

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Baldurs Gate for the iPad now available

It has been a long time since I played computer games. After almost a decade of  I did some gaming again when I got my first Android Phone. Still in two years, I have downloaded all of 11 games, 7 of which were purchases. Of these 11, I only played one this year. 

 Most games I have installed have seen less than five hours of use. Only Angry Birds, Robo Defense and Symphony of Eternity have seen countless hours of use. Symphony of Eternity was the last game I bought, and I have been contemplating buying another title from KEMCO GAMES.

But there is one game, even a long time retired gamer like me is looking forward too: Baldurs Gate: Enhanced Edition. I played Baldurs Gate, Icewind and Neverwinters Nights a decade ago. Neverwinter Nights, and its expansion packs, being the last PC Game I played. 

Baldurs Gate was awesome. It is the best Dungeons & Dragons franchise translation to the PC, and if I could have one PC Game brought back today, it would be the one. Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition contains the original Baldurs Gate campaign and the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion. 

The game now available for iPad now, with an Android version promised but no updated ETA announced. The game costs a reasonable US$9.99 and is a 1.7 GB download.

It does not look like the it will ported to phones. Given the UI design on the iPad, it would seem to be a tablet only game. Might make the purchase of an iPad mini really worthwhile.

You can buy Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition at iTunes. 
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Once upon a time there was only Windows and Office

Once upon a time, if you wanted a low cost laptop there was only Windows. A few laptops with a Linux based operating system would also be sold, or the more techie buyers could buy a laptop with DOS on board, and install their favorite Linux distribution. But for the most part, if you wanted a low cost laptop, you had only Windows. 

Things have changed a lot in the past four years.

iOS. Most laptop buyers really did not need a laptop. Roughly half of a laptops bulk is due to the keyboard. So Apple yanked out the keyboard, used the smartphone operating system and came out with the iPad. Those in the past who would buy a netbook, which were decidedly poor in terms of build quality can get a very nice Apple iPad with a premium aluminum and glass finish starting at Php15,990.

Some would argue that a netbook is better, since it has a keyboard and can run Windows apps.

Anyone who used the keyboard a lot would eventually buy a real laptop. Typing on those small low quality keyboards netbooks came with was never very comfortable. I know. I owned two, replacing the first with a second model which promised a better keyboard, than I junked the netbook altogether realizing that that frame was simply to small to create a great keyboard. In addition, Apple iPads, can also be equipped with keyboards. 

As for Windows software. Most people wont miss it with over 300,000 iPad apps... which cost less than Windows apps.

Android. Google has followed Apple into the tablet arena, and these days you can find fast tablets with HD displays starting at Php3,990. 

Mac OS X. Many of us still need a laptop. While all Macbooks are premium products, Macbooks are cheaper than ever. The 11.6-inch Macbook Air starts at Php46,990. That is the lowest price for a Macbook ever. However instead of a white plastic MacBook that screams entry level, the cheapest MacBook today is a the most portable MacBook Air, which many would select even if they had a larger budget.

While looking at making the transition from Windows to Mac OS X, you may want to take a look at iWorks too. It is a lot cheaper than MS Office.

Chrome OS. Chrome OS devices have yet to land in the Philippines, so it is not a good choice for the consumer. But if you are one of the growing number of companies or entities migrating to Google Apps, importing a large number of these low cost laptops, starting at US$199 might be worth the effort.

Microsoft, and its Windows and Office products, are still a force to be reckoned with, but it is no longer the near monopoly it used to be. What is nice is that the new order was not created by EU restrictions or anti-monopoly laws, but by innovation, smart supply chain management (here is one to you, Tim Cook) and the free market.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

HTC Windows Phone 8S

In addition to the new HTC Windows Phone flagship, the 8X, HTC has announced a new mid-level offering, the HTC Windows Phone 8S. Before going into the specifications, I would like to talk about the design. Like the HTC Windows Phone 8X, the 8S does not look like a HTC. It also look like it is designed with younger users in mind coming in a variety of bright colors. Well, I will say it. It looks like a Nokia.

The phone has a 4-inch display, a decent size. Three years ago, 4-inch was considered big. Today is is decidedly mid-sized and I do expect that the 4-inch display will be the new standard size from mid-level smartphones, a slight move up from the older 3.7 to 4-inch displays. The 4-inch display has a 480 x 800 resolution, 4 GB of storage expandable via a MicroSD card, a 5 MP camera, a 1 GHz dual core 28 nm Qualcom krait processor and 512 MB of RAM, HSDPA connectivity and of course, Beats Audio.

Nothing exciting for the enthusiast, although this phone is not targeted at them. I expect this phone to come out at the Php15,000 or so price range, which basically means it will have no direct competitor in the Windows Phone 8 line-up, and looks like it will be the cheapest Windows Phone 8 handset, for now at least.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Another HTC One a k a the M7 Image Leaks

The Unwired View has another leaked image of HTC M7, which will be reportedly called the HTC One. The new shows the same design as the one posted a few days ago by evileaks on Twitter. 

HTC has confirmed that the phone will come with a new minimalistic Sense 5 interface. The image shows edge to edge glass. The large grills at the top and bottom indicate front facing speakers. The phone also has a odd two button layout, making me guess the HTC logo is also a button.

We do know for sure that the phone will have a 4.7-inch Full HD display, which will give it the sharpest display of any smartphone in the world. The new phone will quad core Qualcomm Krait processor inside and have new Ultrapixel camera technology,

HTC will be announcing its new for 2013 flagship in just three days so we will find out for sure shortly if this is the real thing. HTC has a lot riding on this phone. Samsung is expected to launch the Samsung Galaxy S IV on April 15, 2013. The 60 million Samsung Galaxy S IIIs has reportedly been shipped, and Samsung is preparing to manufacture 100 million Samsung Galaxy S IVs. HTC hopes to throw a monkey wrench an scuttle Samsungs Galaxy S IV ambitions. More importantly, the HTC One could be the phone to bring HTC back to the heady days on 2011, or could break the company. 

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New The Circles A Gorgeous Round Icon Theme for iPhone iPad

There is a whole lot of themes available for the iPhone and iPad on the Cydia repository. Unfortunately most of them are actually darn ugly – like really ugly. I don’t know what people are thinking when they pay for these awful themes. As always though, there is one or two which deserve a lot of attention due to the amount of time, effort and craftsmanship put into them. One of my all time favourite Cydia themes is TheCircles.


However if you’re looking for a free theme which has pixel perfect icon designs, Circles is for you. Jackie Tran (only if his surname was Chan) from Prague, Czech Republic, has released what I personally think is the best free theme available for the iPhone and iPad.

It’s perfectly made for both the iPhone and iPad retina displays with the iPhone icons in the size of 114×114 and the iPad icons in the size of 144×144. The amount of detail put into each icon is really incredible – even the shadows behind the icons are adjusted to make it look like they’re floating on the screen.

I’ve never been a fan of iOS’ default over-glossy icon design and have always favored matt-like icons – Circles provides this matt look. All default iOS app icons have been changed, including some major apps from the App Store, such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and many more. Icons for apps which haven’t been customized still get the circles look by cutting all icons literally into circles.

It’s very hit and miss though because obviously not all app icons will look great cut into circles. If you want to be creative, Jackie even provides the PSD for you to create your own icons so you can get them pixel perfect. Seriously, if you’re looking for the perfect free icon theme for your retina iPhone or iPad – this is it.

Download  TheCircles iPhone & iPad Theme
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Storage Battery Solutions for Energy Harvesting Applications

Ambient light, thermal gradients, vibration/motion, or electromagnetic radiation can be harvested to power electronic devices. At the same time, all energy-harvesting-based systems need energy storage for times when the energy cannot be harvested (e.g., at night for solar-powered systems). Rechargeable batteries ‒ known as “secondary” cells to differentiate them from “primary” or single-use cells ‒ are usually specified for this task. This article will examine the various secondary cell technologies available to energy harvesting system designers looking for a cost-effective and powerful battery solution.
Storage Battery Solutions for Energy Harvesting Applications
Primary and secondary batteries contain the same basic structure of a cathode, an anode, an electrolyte for moving charge between the terminals, and a means to separate them. Secondary cells are distinguished by the type of rechargeable chemistry employed, such as nickel-cadmium or lithium-polymer, or solid-state thin film.
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Galaxy S4 Surpasses iPhone 5 Retina Display

 For a long time many companies including Samsung have played catch-up with Apple. When the first Android phones were presented I though that they would never even get close to taking a bite of the big market share that Apple had, especially on American soil. But here we are today - Samsung is no longer playing catch-up in any regard. Many critics, tech enthusiasts and respected reviewers are saying that the Galaxy S4 full HD display is much better than the retina display of the iPhone 5. What I am wondering however is, does an average consumer notice and/or care about this?

Galaxy S4 Surpases iPhone 5 Retina Display
Forbes recently published an article on their website which tried to stay as objective as possible without offending either of the parties. However, in spite of the article title being "Samsungs Galaxy S4 Display Catches Up With iPhone Retina" the author was clearly trying to say - it didnt just catch up, it is better by a mile.

 Of course, the average consumer will not notice this. In fact, I am quite sure I wouldnt really notice either. I wouldnt really even like to discus this over as it is a bit useless. Who wants to read an article explaining which device has a better representation of the shades of green? Well, if you do want to read on that, go to Forbes and see their opinion.

 What I would like to talk about, however, is innovation. Lately, Apple hasnt been doing much of it and on this you all have to agree. It is not like Samsung is pushing things beyond our expectations but they are working a lot harder than the folks at Apple. You see, unlike Samsung, Apple contracts other companies to create their parts for them. Thus, Apples innovation is limited to the combined innovation of their suppliers, which hasnt been very impressive in the past several years.

 A Sammy/ Galaxy S4 fan might be happy to hear this, but honestly this is not something to be overjoyed by as this affects us all. Until Apple starts doing things the right way, the competition will not be as difficult as it should be in terms of innovation and we will take a lot of time to move forward.

Or is a slow pacing something that you all prefer? Leave us a comment down bellow!
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Root Certificate Update

In most enterprise-level public keyinfrastructure systems, there is a dependence upon certificate chains to verify the identity of a party. When a Certificate Authority (CA) issues a certificate for any party, the legitimacy of that certificateauthority must be verified. This is usually done by a higher certificate authority. This higher authority is part of a unique certification hierarchy which is eventually overseen by a root certificate. It is so called because it is the root of the certificate tree or the monarch of the certificate domain.

If we visualize each certificate domain as a tree, the Certification Authorities make up the branches of the tree. Each branch is capable of extending (or issuing) multiple certificates.

While using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) it is important that the user not restrict his/her understanding to how a root certificate is issued by certificate authorities. Instead, he/she should also try to learn how certificates are cancelled and how the details about such certificate terminations are made available to clients responsible for managing the certificates. Because the entire system works on a security concept, it is only natural that various applications may check for the authenticity of certificates. Each client expects a current, trusted certificate rather than one that has expired, been revoked, or cannot be verified.

The certificate termination information is usually stored in a certification revocation list. However, this is not the only form of notification possible. The applications that have been presented with a certificate will validate a certificates current status by contacting any of the concerned websites for an updated certification revocation list.

For example, in a Microsoft Windows server application, if the application demands the verification status of a certificate, the update root certificate component of the operating system will automatically check the list of trusted certificate authorities in the Windows Update website to see if the corresponding certificate or Certificate Authority is a part of the list. Such cross checking becomes necessary when the application has been presented with a certificate whose CA is not directly trusted or may not be known. Keep in mind, the function of the update root certificate component is optional and can be disabled or removed at the time of installation by the user.

Now, if the user opts to refuse installation of the update root certificate component, it’s possible that technical problems may develop, especially in the event of an application coming across a root certificate that needs an authentication check before it can continue. In such a case, when the application finds that the update root certificate component is absent in the PC, it may stop itself from performing the originally intended action such as software installation, viewing a digitally signed or an encrypted email, or using a browser to engage in an SSL session.

In such instances, it is advisable to provide relevant instructions to the system administrators on what to do if it stumbles across suspicious certificates.
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Apple iPad mini the Google Nexus 7 Compared

Pricing. The Apple iPad mini is finally officially here, so it can be purchased at much more reasonable prices. Compared to the Google Nexus 7, pricing still favors the Nexus 7. 

The Nexus 7 is offered in only two models, a 32 GB WiFi only model and a 32 GB 3G model. 

The 32 GB WiFi only Nexus 7 is priced at Php14,490, or 1.5K below the price of the Apple iPad mini 16 GB. If you compare the 32 GB model of the iPad mini priced at Php20,990 with the Nexus 7, the price difference grows to 6.5K.

The 3G model of the Nexus 7 is priced at Php17,350. The entry level Cellular model of the the Apple iPad mini starts at 21,990. This makes it 4.6K more expensive. If you compare the 32 GB model of the iPad mini Cellular priced priced at Php26,990with the Nexus 7, the price difference grows to 9.5K.

Nexus 7 has the advantage in screen resolution and power. The Nexus 7 has a higher resolution display, with a 7-inch HD (1280 x 800) display which has a 216 ppi pixel density. The iPad mini has a 1024 x 768 display with a lower 162 ppi pixel density. 

The Nexus 7 also has a quad core Tegra 3 and 1 GB of RAM, which is still cutting edge technology. The Apple iPad mini has 2011 tech, with the same A5 chip and PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU from the iPad 2. The model on the iPad mini is probably the more power efficient 32 nm model.

The iPad Mini provides more screen real estate in a lighter package. The iPad mini has a  larger 7.9-inch display compare to the Nexus 7. This does mean it is a bigger, and it all of 1.5 mm taller and 14.7 mm wider. But the iPad mini is 3.3 mm thinner and 10% lighter than the Nexus 7. Overall, I would say it provides more screen real estate and is just as handy as the Nexus 7.

The Nexus 7 has multiuser support. With Android 4.2 installed the Nexus 7 has multiuser support. Meaning it can have several different user accounts which different users can log into. Network settings and app permissions are shared among all users on the tablet. Wallpapers, home screen and lock screen layouts, PINs, screen brightness, and individual app settings are unique to each user. This makes the Nexus 7 better if you plan to share the device among several users.

The iPad mini has better cameras. The iPad mini has a 5MP primary camera, which can capture 1080p video, and a 1.2 MP front camera which can shoot 720p video. The Nexus 7 only comes with one camera, a 1.2 MP front camera which is primarily for video calls, but can capture 720p video. 

The Nexus 7 is better for HD playback. When playing HD video, the Nexus 7 uses almost the entire display and plays 720 videos at its native resolution. The iPad mini has a SD ratio display (4:3) which means it does not play HD video (16:9) optimally and has to scale down 720 video from 1280 x 720 to 1024 x 624,

Only the iPad mini has a 64 GB model. The iPad mini has a 64  GB model. The Nexus 7 does not, and does not come with a MicroSD card slot. 

The iPad mini will eventually have LTE. The iPad mini is not sold as an LTE device, but it does have an LTE radio. When that happens depends on when the local carriers LTE networks are accredited by Apple, at which time Apple will enable LTE in its devices in the Philippines. I have no idea of when this might happen.

Its a though choice between the two. The Nexus 7 is the value money option. The iPad mini has its own set of advantages with the biggest one being a larger display and future LTE support.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Windows Phone users must update to 7 5 or else

If users dont update their Windows Phones to 7.5, they wont be able to access Marketplace.
(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET) 
Anyone with a Windows Phone that hasnt been upgraded to version 7.5 wont be able to use Microsofts Marketplace app store as of today.

Microsoft announced today that in order to download, buy, update, or review apps in Marketplace, users have to be running Windows Phone 7.5. This change is required for both the phone and web Marketplace storefronts.

"Most phones are already running Windows Phone 7.5, which was released last fall, and so most of you wont notice anything different about how the Marketplace works," Microsofts director of program management, Mazhar Mohammed, said in a blog post today. "However, if your phone has an earlier version of our software installed, youll soon start seeing an error message when you try to download a new app, or update one you already own."
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

SMS Security Flaw Affects only Apples iPhone and iOS Devices

A week ago,  I wrote about the SMS security flaw discovered on Apples iPhone which could be used be used to make it appear that the SMS one sender, and when you reply send the SMS to a mobile number different from the one that is displayed on phones screen. 

Apple responded by suggesting the SMS is not a secure form or communication and the flaw was with SMS itself, and suggested using iMessage instead. iMessage is basically an instant messaging application which can be used to communicate with other Apple devices.

"Apple takes security very seriously. When using iMessage instead of SMS, addresses are verified which protects against these kinds of spoofing attacks. One of the limitations of SMS is that it allows messages to be sent with spoofed addresses to any phone, so we urge customers to be extremely careful if theyre directed to an unknown website or address over SMS." (Source: Engadget).

Tech Radar, citing a study conducted by security firm AdaptiveMobile found that the flaw is not with SMS in general but limited only to iOS devices. 

"We have tested this issue on Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and Symbian phones," said Cathal McDaid, security consultant at AdaptiveMobile, in a statement to CNET, "and most of them simply ignore the reply address field or display both the real originating address and the reply address as per the specification recommendations. 
"The iPhone, so far," he continued, "is the only device which does not comply with these security recommendations."

Instead of suggesting users use iMessage, Apple should simple fix this flaw. Apparently, everyone else has.
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Speculating on the Google Galaxy Nexus II Part 1

Rumor is Google will be building three Nexus phones this year, which should be on sale be the end of the year. One Nexus, to be built by Sony, is rumored to be focus on the camera. A second Nexus, to be built by LG is said to be a waterproof and dust proof Nexus phone. The the third, well it would be the successor of the Google Galaxy Nexus, and is rumored to be built by Samsung.

Windows Phone 8 devices now match the specifications of high end Android phones. The new 4-inch Apple iPhone 5 basically matches the specifications of what a high end 4-inch Android would be like (if high end 4-inch Android phones were still constructed, the smallest high end Android phones these days are 4.3-inches). What should Google do with its next Galaxy Nexus S?

Where Google should maintain the status quo.

4.65-inch display. The 4.65 inch display of the Google Galaxy Nexus, with the onscreen keys is about the equivalent of a 4.4-inch display with dedicated hardware buttons. It is not a monster phone anymore by current Android standards These days, 4.7 to 4.8 inch displays with dedicated hardware buttons are the new Android monster phones. Google could come out with a 5-inch phone with dedicates software keys. This would essentially be a Samsung Galaxy S III with on-screen keys. But I think Google should leave the monster smartphone clash to its OEMs. The large a phone gets, the more it serves a niche market. 

Instead Google should focus on building a slightly smaller frame around its current 4.65-inch display. Cut 1-2 mm from the width, and 2-4 mm from the height, and give the same sized display in a smaller package. 

1GB of RAM. The Google Galaxy Nexus already has 1 GB of RAM. It could go to 2 GBs just to upstage the Apple iPhone 5 and it Windows Phone rivals. To me this would make little sense. A Nexus phone runs vanilla Android. Much lighter than the OEM versions with TouchWiz, Sense or other interface which eat more RAM. 

The Android OS should not evolve to something that needs more than 512 GB of RAM for at least the next version (Key Lime Pie) and not more than 1 GB of RAM for the 2014 version of Android. Google should keep its next Nexus to just 1 GB of RAM. Google should leave the 2 GB frontier to its OEM partners.

The processor. While you now have quad core Kraits and ARM Cortex-A15s being available, for the same reason that Googles Galaxy Nexus need not have 2 GB of RAM, it also does not have to come with the most spectacular processor. The Qualcomms S4 with its dual core Kraits in would be a fine option. If Samsung or Nvidia can get an on-chip LTE solution in their chipsets on time, a Exynos quad or quad core Tegra 3, a quad core chip would be a strong marketing point, though not necessarily better than an Qualcomm S4.

The cheap feeling case. Whether you make a case from aluminum or plastic or some other premium quality material, if you want to remove the last trace of creak in a case, it is easy remove the battery cover. But Android owners expect a user replaceable battery, and a bit of creak is worth having the option to replace batteries or replace it with an extended battery.

So basically, what I am describing here so far is a Google Galaxy Nexus with an updated processor in a trimmed down package. But there are some area where Google should make substantial changes, to one up the competition.

Part 2 of this article is here.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Google Nexus 4 Priced

Unlike the Samsung built Galaxy Nexus which was available exclusively from Smart Communications,   the LG built Nexus 4 will be available from retail stores at a price of Php22,240 (Php24,990 at 12-months deferred payment) for the 16 GB variant. The 8 GB version will not be sold in the Philippines. 

Unlike the Galaxy Nexus, which was designed to be a flagship phone, the Google Nexus 4 was designed to be a mid-level offering, sold at a Google subsidized price of US$299 to US$349 online from Google Play store. The locally sold units are not Google subsidized, hence the higher price.

The Google Nexus 4 is also available from Smart Communications free at Data Plan 1500 with a 30 month lock-in or free at Data Plan 2000 with a 24 month contract.
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Monday, November 4, 2013

Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra Vibrant and razor thin

Alcatel is using the movie Iron Man 3 to promote its new One Touch Idol Ultra, and Alcatel has reason to put some serious marketing muscle behind this phone. Alcatel has a winner with the One Touch Idol  Ultra. This phone is not about outclassing the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One or Sony Xperia Z. It is about combining a sufficient amount of power, with tons of class at an affordable price. 

How much is this affordable price? The Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra has a suggested retail price of Php14,990, which puts it squarely at the mid-level price range. For this price, it offers a vibrant 4.65-inch HD (720 x 1280) AMOLED display, protected by Dragon Trail Glass. Angle the phone to its side, and you will note the fairly impressive display is housed in a case less than 6.5 mm thick. That is 1.1 mm thinner than a Apple iPhone 5 and 1.4 mm thinner than a Samsung Galaxy S4. Style is what the  Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra is all about.

Quick specs:
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • 4.65-inch HD display (720 x 1280) 
  • 16 GB internal storage, not expandable
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1.2 GHz dual core Mediatek processor 
  • PowerVR SGX531 GPU
  • 8 MP primary camera, autofocus with LED flash
  • 1.3 MP front camera
  • HSPA
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 1800 mAh battery

Inside, you have a 1 GB of RAM and a 1.2 GHz dual core Mediatek processor, which will provide sufficient power to run Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and apps, for the typical user. However, the aging PowerVR SGX531 graphics combines with the 720p display limit its 3D performance somewhat. You can play a who bunch of games with this device, it is just not the best choice for the hardcore gamer.

This is the best device I have seen from Alcatel. It razor thin profile and vibrant display should be enough to sell this phone. 

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Syser Kernel Debugger

Syser Kernel Debugger is designed for Windows NT Family based on X86 platform. It is a kernel debugger with full-graphical interfaces and supports assembly debugging and source code debugging.

Softice is left. Syser will continue...

Supports multi-CPU and Intel Hyper-Threaded processors
Supports Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows xp,Windows 2003 or Windows Vista operation system
Supports VMWare and Virtual PC
Source code debugging supports syntax coloring.
Supports color disassembly
Commands are Softice-compatible

KeyGen / Serial Syser Kernel Debugger v1.99.1900.1220
Password : exo-syserdbg199
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Saturday, November 2, 2013

iPhone 6 concept shows thinner handset with touch sensitive home button and 12MP camera

Created by Arthur Reis, a budding designer who aspires to join the ranks of Jony Ive and Shin Nishibori someday, 3D renderings of the iPhone 6 imagine a handset that looks largely identical to iPhone 5 (think: anodised aluminium casing with chamfered edges), but an impressive 20 per cent slimmer at just 6.1mm thick.

iPhone 6 concept shows thinner handset with touch-sensitive home button and 12MP camera

The handset also features a 12-megapixel camera with an ‘iSight Pro’ sensor boasting an f/1.8 aperture and a ‘Magic TrackPad’ that replaces the physical home button with a touch-sensitive equivalent.

As far as we’re concerned, this is one of the best iPhone concepts we’ve seen, principally because it doesn’t go crazy on novel or unrealistic features as most concepts do.

Apple is always trying to make its handsets slimmer, so a more slender iPhone is within the realms of possibility. And with Samsung upping the ante with a 13-megapixel camera on the freshly launched Galaxy S4, we can certainly expect the iPhone 6 to match its competition in the imaging stakes.

The iPhone 6 is hotly tipped to land this summer, possibly sometime in July. Although there’s still a chance that Apple might stick to an autumn release cycle for new iPhone launches.

What do you think of Reis’s iPhone 6 concept? Let us know in the comments section below.[via]

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Friday, November 1, 2013

New Smart LTE Plans

Smarts LTE plan was originally Php3,500 a month for 10 GB of data with a speed of 42 Mbps. 

Globe Telecom launched it LTE services a month later with the following packages:

  • Tattoo Black Plan 1799 - Plan 1799 comes with free USB dongle and runs at speeds of up to 28 Mbps with a 12 GB cap.
  • Tattoo Black Elite 2499 - Plan 2499 comes with free USB dongle and runs at speeds of up to 42 Mbps with a 15 GB cap.

In response Smart has revised its LTE offerings as follows:

  • Smart LTE Plan 1749 - Plan 1749 gives you 42 Mbps with a 10 GB cap. 
  • Smart LTE Plan 3500 - Plan 3500 comes with free USB dongle and runs at speeds of up to 42 Mbps with a 21 GB cap.

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