The Cursed Child

 

Kindle Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildI finally got my hands on a Kindle copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and just like all other titles in the series, this book is really difficult to put down even when it’s written in a different format, a stage play.

The story happens 19 years after the defeat of Voldemort. Harry is now working for the Ministry of Magic and raising three children. Meanwhile, his eldest son, Albus, has been accepted at Hogwarts, but finds himself getting sorted into an unexpected house and surprisingly befriends the last student people expect him to get along with: Scorpius, the son of Harry’s school nemesis, Draco Malfoy.  Continue reading “The Cursed Child”

A Sony Experia Z2 review of sorts

sonyz2I have been very lucky to be working for an organisation that provides everything that an employee could ask for. In the connected age, there is just no excuse to be unreachable through any electronic means, and so even small fries like myself enjoy the benefits of “sponsored” connectivity and best of all–gadgets!

After ending my two-year love affair with work BlackBerry, I opted to get an Android phone to supplement my semi-personal iPhone 5s, and asked for the best yet most reasonable item on the list of gadgets I could choose from.  Having been let down by Samsung in the past, I chose Sony Xperia Z2, the purple one. Life in full colour, shall we say?

A few things attracted me to Z2–screen size, battery life, and powerful camera that packs a 20.7 MP that can capture 4K video. And have I mentioned that the Z2 is also waterproof?

With a 5.2-inch screen, it gives enough real estate for reading or editing documents, spreadshhets or slides that I need to access on the go. For an occasional road warrior, this is valuable, next only to carrying around a tablet. For personal use, using social media apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram is much better, granted they do not have bugs that typically plague Android versions.

Sony knows a good deal about cameras, and it shows with the Z2 that also comes with a variety of apps to make taking and editing photos easier. My favourite is the background defocus, which allows for taking photos with blurred backgrounds as if with a DSLR.

Speaking of display, the Z2’s IPD LCD screen makes viewing better no matter the angle, whilst the  Live Colour LED technology makes colours come alive on screen. Suffice it to say that I have also been enjoying watching movies and series on this phone.

Where it works best for me is that should I wish to view media files on a bigger screen, the Throw features of both its native video player and Walkman music app makes sharing files on smart TV or wifi-enabled speakers very easy. In this, I am just happy to have subscribed to PLDT Home broadband, landline, and internet TV bundle which runs on Android too.

System-wise, the Z2 still runs on Android 4.2.2 Kitkat and boasts of 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor. This translates to almost fluid multitasking and fuss-free navigation between apps. Speaking of which, the phone allows you to sort app display alphabetically, by use, or whether they were installed or native to Xperia.

Lastly, waking up the phone is as easy as double-tapping the screen, which is rather convenient for checking any notifications or just the time on your still-locked phone. Unfortunately, double-tapping only works to wake up the phone and not to put it on sleep mode.

Overall, this phone is no slouch across performance, display, entertainment, media capture, and conectivity departments.

Gadget Review: Asus Transformer T100 Notebook

I recently joined Joeyboy and company as contributor on Pinoytechblog. It had been a while since I last had a similar gig, so reviewing a gadget felt like having to discover my footing in the tech review space once again. I am looking forward to more  assignments, as it is indeed quite fun working with new tech toys and writing about them from typical consumer’s (read: your grandparents) perspective. There are technical benchmarks to mention (e.g., battery life, processing power, etc.), but at the end of the day, what’s most important is how a gadget will benefit the end-user (or not).

To road warriors who are keen to find a good balance between a truly useful laptop and a tablet, the hybrid ASUS Transformer Book T100 should be an option. With its lightweight build and detachable screen that doubles as a tablet, it gives end-users easy choices for switching between a laptop and a mobile device in one little package.

System

This entry level machine comes in compact 10.1-inch unit that can be easily carried in a purse or a satchel. The 2-in-1 laptop/tablet device runs on Windows 8.1 and is installed with Windows Office 2013. Note, however, that users must activate the Office package with the serial provided.

Read more…

The Perfect Thing for Holy Week

Aside from the Bible for Christians, that is.

“It’s the symbol of media’s future, where the gates of access are thrown open, the reach of artists goes deeper, and consumers don’t just consume — they choose songs, videos, and even news their way. Digital technology gathers, shreds, and empowers, all at once. Mix, mash, rip, burn, plunder, and discover: these are the things that the digital world can do much more easily than before — or for the first time. The iPod, and the download dollar-store that accompanies it, makes sense of those things without making our brains hurt.

“It’s a six- ounce entanglement of cultural signifiers, evoking many things to many people. Headline writers and cultural critics talk of an “iPod Generation.” This can mean a number of things — sometimes it’s just a shorthand way of saying “young people” — but generally it’s used to depict a mind- set that demands choice and the means to scroll through ideas and ideologies as easily as a finger circles the wheel on the iconic front panel of an iPod. “It seems to me that a lot of younger listeners think the way the iPod thinks,” wrote Alex Ross in The New Yorker. “They are no longer so invested in a single way of seeing the world.” Sometimes the object’s name is used simply as a synonym for anything that plays music; when Dartmouth neuroscientists isolated a cranial source of music memories that fills in the gaps when you’re listening to familiar music and the song temporarily cuts out, headline writers knew just what to call that function of the auditory cortex: the “iPod of the brain.

“It’s a journalistic obsession. Sometimes the iPod gets media coverage not because there’s any particular news but just because it’s, well, there, and it reeks trendiness, and media types feel good when they write about it. “Nothing fits better in the ‘timely features’ slot than a headline that includes the word ‘iPod,’ ” wrote William Powers in The National Journal. Powers later elaborated in an e-mail: “Journalists tend to be liberal- arts types, fairly techno- illiterate. When we encounter a machine that is easy to operate, we like it. When we encounter one that is easy and fun to operate, we are besotted. We ‘get’ the iPod, and getting it makes us feel tech- ish. 

“It’s also a near- universal object of desire. Some people complained about the cost of the iPod, which was originally $399. (The price tag eventually came down to about half of that for a model — the nano — with equal storage, a color screen, and a slim profile one-third the size of the classic iPod.) But the allure of the iPod is such that even a princely sum is considered a bargain compared to its value. Take the dilemma of the burgeoning dot- com called Judy’s Book, whose goal was collecting local knowledge on neighborhood businesses. How could they get a lot of reviewers, really cheap? By offering an iPod to anyone submitting fifty reviews. Figuring the $249 cost of an iPod mini, that’s five bucks a review — and, if a sweatshop critic drops out before reaching fifty, Judy’s Book pays nada! Laid out in cash terms, it’s a lousy deal. But it’s not cash — it’s an iPod!”

Three years after the book’s publication, I chanced upon an old copy of The Perfect Thing on the “Below P300” sale section of NBS-MOA. Guess it’s never too late to read what Newsweek technology editor Steven Levy had to say about the perfection and success of iPod, pre-iPhone era, or maybe what makes something perfect.