Mostly Everything

RIM BlackBerry Playbook Video Review (25 minutes)

Official BlackBerry Playbook PH pricing:
16GB at P23,990
32GB at P28,990
64GB at P33,990

The Playbook will be available August 6 2011 via retail and telcos.

I host a weekly tech show called ‘The Geeks’ every Wednesday from 2-4PM, live over the Internet. We archive copies for future viewing. If you’re interested, catch us at this url: at that time.

In this segment I show my co-host Sheena Dian the BlackBerry Playbook. We spend a half hour talking about this outlier tablet. If you want to see more photos and commentary, I featured the Playbook back in its infancy at Mobile World Congress ’11 with Andi Manzano.

Best form factor among the 7 inch tablets
Comes with neoprene case
Amazing multitask functions
Imaginative touch sensitive frame

Very limited number of apps
Noticeable UI lag (which we have to bring up given the new standards of dual core Android tablets)
We have to wait for Android Marketplace support
Very hard to do PIM and email if you don’t own a BlackBerry
No 3G version (rely on a BlackBerry phone to tether unless you connect via mobile WiFi hotspot)
Although not available here yet, the rumored price is at PHP 30,xxx.xx

The BlackBerry Playbook has always seemed like a work in progress to me. If you track the progress of this tablet for the past 12 months you will see how RIM has brought it to life by supporting Android apps. That’s the whole irony — the Playbook (will) support Android apps but PIM only works well if you own a BlackBerry smartphone.

I honestly cannot give a real verdict. We will have to wait for the time when the Playbook truly supports Android apps. If you already own a BlackBerry smartphone, the Playbook makes sense … but so does an iPad or Android tablet. There’s the rub.

One comment to note from my high school barkada who now lives in Canada:

Since RIM is a Canadian company, the Playbook has been all over the place here in Vancouver. And yet, it is not doing so well. At all.

I’ve gotten some serious hands on time with the thing and spoken with a few Blackberry reps, Blackberry App developers, as well as some local tech bloggers, and it looks like Blackberry keeps making promises it can’t keep. They told us that the Android support and the native email client would come in June. Well, June came and went and it’s not here.

App development for the thing is apparently pretty difficult, definitely not as easy as developing for the iPad and Android OS, so Apps have been very slow to the marketplace.

For the apps that are there, most of them work fine, but there are random performance issues that keep cropping up with the Playbook… apps will hang for no reason, crash for no reason, and even sometimes refuse to load. Even Blackberry’s own browser is one of the most unreliable when it comes to performance.

It’s sad because the hardware sure looks pretty and it does promise great things. But for now, promise is all it has, it seems. There are rumblings around the country that RIM is dying fast, and the Playbook is one of the big reasons for that.

Mostly Everything

Jewelmer: A Short Primer on the South Sea Golden Pearl

On the geeky side: I’m using the new Samson Go Mic to record the voice over for this short amateur documentary. It’s an amazing device for PHP 2,300.00. It’s small, lighr and super affordable and can very well replace your professional USB studio mic if you aren’t too meticulous.

Transcript and photos follow.

Mostly Everything

Hands on with the Canon Powershot S95 Underwater

The stable of cameras at Casa Fernandez include a Nikon D40 with over 10 legacy lenses, a Canon 350D used exclusively for underwater shoots and a Panasonic Lumix LX3. So as you can see it’s really impractical for this geek to go out buying more cameras. When I saw Canon’s S90 release several months ago I snickered — not because this was a bad camera — in fact it was pretty good. But this was Canon playing catch up with Panasonic’s purely “viral” DMC-LX3. Many months later, Canon releases the Powershot S95 and I must say I’m floored with the results.

I took two cameras to Mobile World Congress but ended up using the S95 for everything because it was light and it fit into my pocket. It produced stunning images on Aperture priority (the default I use for attending conventions since I don’t have time to really care about settings) and like most cameras does really well in natural light. With the flash turned on, it seemed a bit sub-par compared to my Lumix flash, but hands down, this camera is a natural winner. If you want a compact camera that takes good photos and video, look no further. Just ask Winston.

All the photos taken at the Mobile World Congress were shot using the S95. All videos too.

If you’re choosing between a Canon G12 and the S95, you need only to consider two things: if you already own an external Canon flash and would like to use it with your point and shoot too, then you should settle for a G12. If not, get the S95.

So many blogs have reviewed the Canon S95 but it is rare to find a review of how the camera fares underwater. So here it is. The video above consists of snippets from depths between 15-40 feet (the more vivid videos) and 60-80 ft (the more “blue-ish” ones) because the deeper you go, color vanishes. Red is the first to vanish. I shot this using an Ikelite S95 casing which I borrowed from my instructor. Compared to my JVC Ikelite setup, I have nothing but envy for the S95 rig because it takes so much better video and excellent battery.

The only problem with the underwater setup is the casing: Ikelite has a design flaw with the knob used to rotate the dial to change settings. That’s why I don’t have photos: I couldn’t move the dial to enter photo mode!

I have to reiterate that this is one good camera. You won’t go wrong with this purchase. But please research price as you will find these to be much cheaper in Hidalgo than in your commercial establishments.

Mostly Everything

Eraserheads Reunion Opens with Alapaap

Eraserheads Reunion Concert Opening from jayvee Fernandez on Vimeo.

Before the second set began, Ely Buendia was rushed to the hospital. I had left the venue with Phoebe minutes before this happened because we were both suffering from a relapse of a cough and colds epidemic that’s been going on for days. Hence, the early post. Today, Saturday, was particularly humid. Hope he’s OK.

This was what was supposed to happen during the second set, according to Jen’s blog:

When Magasin was to be played, the screen behind them would have montages of various news and magazine clippings of them. It would flash alternately with shots of the band and audience until the song reached the coda where Ely sings “…ay centerfold ka naaaa…woo hoo-hoo, haaa-haaa” part of the song. Then there would be fire works and a fountain of sparks, going on til the last note of the song. Then the hydraulic stage would be lowered and the band would make a “fake ending”. [read more here]

We were standing at the Patrons area and waited for the 10 minute countdown to begin. The video I have is of the last few seconds of the countdown and the first song, Alapaap (with fireworks!).

Despite the bad volume leveling with the instruments and vocals, the feedback, the out of tune singing (you could really tell that during their latter 2 songs, Huwag Mo Nang Itanong and Fruitcake – Ely was having a hard time as he was somewhat already out of tune and out of sync at guitar), the crowd had no qualms. These are the Eraserheads. They were never known for stellar showmanship or awesome guitar riffs. But they will always be known as probably the best Pinoy band in this generation because they brought together a mixed social strata of Filipinos who were able to survive high school because of their music. That same generation is here tonight, ten years older, a bit wiser, a bit less frivolous, but wanting to celebrate a piece of pubescent nostalgia.

The Eraserheads reunion was at its best, nostalgic. It wasn’t trying to be something more than this, and this is what made them remarkable.

P.S. The guy screaming in the video is Markku 🙂

Mostly Everything

How does uMobile work? Here’s a video I made :)

Hi folks, looks like umobile is catching the interest of the general public, and why shouldn’t it? I have an account with them (but no SIM yet) and for those who are curious to know what’s in their dashboard, here’s a virtual tour I made last night. Some points of interest:

a. the unlimited ability to change your mobile phone number for P50.00 anytime (stalker fodder?)
b. invite-only scheme to apply
c. the ads

Anyway, pardon the coughing in the video. It’s that season for the colds.