New gadget update (Nov 2014, before I leave)

Ok, so now that I’m going to Korea, and also learned not to be as materialistic, I’m getting rid of alot of my crap. So here’s the stuff that I’m keeping and bringing to Korea.

Here’s my tech gadgets as of present (Jul 2014):

Computers
Lenovo Thinkpad X240

Lenovo Thinkpad X240
Lenovo Thinkpad X240

What can I say? I used to think Thinkpads were very boring looking, but now I realized how useful they are. This has become my main laptop for doing anything, work or study. At 12″ and 3.4lbs, very portable, with the latest Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, fingerprint reader, smartcard reader, amazing keyboard, LTE capabilities and TWO batteries that last for 14+ hours, this is an amazingly well constructed and reliable laptop. I will probably be using it for years to come, or at least as long as my Dell Latitude (6 years so far).

Tablets/Phones/etc
iPad Air

iPad Air
2013 iPad Air

For a long time I didn’t want an iPad as I thought it was just an oversized iPhone. But now I realized after using it more, that it fits a different need. Large games, ebook reader, a portable music recording station, a video editor, and guitar amplifier are some of the things I use it for. I used it so much that I actually sold my Macbook Retina in favor of the iPad. With a bluetooth keyboard, it becomes almost a laptop replacement. And with LTE, much more useful.

iPhone 5S

iPhone5S Gold
2013 iPhone5S Gold

Call me an Apple fanboy, but I don’t like big screens. Screens that are too big are easier to scratch, and suck more battery. The iPhone’s 4″ screen is great. Plus the camera is still the best on any smartphone. I keep this phone now mainly for taking pics and video, as its still the best for those things.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony Xperia Z3C
Sony Xperia Z3C

As mentioned before: 1) its got the same footprint as my iPhone5S, 2) 20.7MP camera, 3) waterproof and dustproof, 4) HD audio decoding, 5) microSD slot, 6) 2 day battery life, 7) PS4 remote play
I mean need I say more? This is hands down the best compact Android phone out there right now, better than the Galaxy, LG, HTC One, Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo, ZTE, Archos, what have you.
Sony needs to advertise this more. 2+ days of battery life!

Meta M1

Meta M1
Meta M1

After looking at the Moto 360 and Apple Watch and Pebble watch for a while, I decided to get the Meta M1. Why?
1) It’s very stylish, 2) I like gold and blue (no other smart watch offers this combination), 3) long battery life, 5-7 days, 4) decent water resistance (not as much as Pebble but good enough and 5) it doesn’t distract me from talking to my friends. I agree with this watch’s philosophy that notifications are just for glancing at, and I noticed that my usage behavior changed when I am wearing it. Now, I just glance at my watch and keep talking to my friends instead of pulling my phone out and typing back a message. This is a good change to me. I just wished it supported Asian characters.

Music
Sennheiser Momentum

Sennheiser Momentum
Sennheiser Momentum

The best headphones I’ve ever listened to. Wow. Better than the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pros and the Audio Technica A900s, even without a headphone amp! It gets pretty loud by itself, and is very comfortable to wear as well, on par with the Beyerdynamics in my opinion. But wow, I’ll probably just carry this one instead of the BD and ATs as this one is closed back and has decent passive noise cancellation, as well as being more portable than the BDs. Yet it sounds much better despite being smaller. Sennheiser, you have a winner here.

Bose Soundlink Mini

Bose SoundLink Mini
Bose SoundLink Mini

Bose really surprised me with these speakers. Great full range sound, great bass, a lot of volume from such a small speaker. Anyways these are my portable speakers, for use with parties and BBQs and the like.

Cameras
Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100
Nikon D5100

My DSLR camera. Works great with many lenses.

Sony Music Video Recorder

Sony music video recorder
Sony music video recorder

My replacement for my Canon HFM400. It’s basically a more compact, portable, wide angle version of the Canon with better sound. A worthy upgrade for traveling.

…And thats it! That’s a noticeable reduction from the 18 gadgets in my previous gadget posting. I’ve literally reduced the number of gadgets I carry by half. All my laptops, tablets, phones, cameras, headphones, etc only comprise 9 devices now.

Finally moving to Korea

It’s been a long time coming – but I’m finally moving to Korea. Yes, this is the moment I’ve planned for for over a year. It took me a while to get here, but from stubborn determination I was able to do it.

I’ve had a lot of good memories in SF, especially in 2012, and I’ll never forget that. But it’s time for me to move on to the next step in my life. I’ve been preparing for over a year for this moment.
After I came back from Korea in Sept 2013, a place that fit me to a T, I promised myself that no matter the cost, I would find a way to be there. I would learn another language, I would give up my job, I would give up living in SF, I would give up making lots of money.. for a chance to be in the place that I love, for a chance to find a girl I love. That’s not a crazy thought – it’s who I am, and what my destiny is.

This year was a year of enlightenment – I didn’t have any crazy trips like in 2012, or go to crazy parties like in 2013, this year I focused on one thing only – getting to Korea. I continued working at BitTorrent for over a year to get experience, I lobbied hard at Walmart to get a remote position, and I re-dedicated myself to Korean, attending two semesters at Sejong Academy and 3 months of Korean tutoring.

I learned that experience is more valuable than anything. I was spending crazy amounts of money over the past year and a half – $30k in shopping expenses – about 30% of my total income was being spent on unnecessary things, and this year I’ve learned more than ever that money was not the key to happiness nor was owning a lot of things. I’ve sought this year to keep my spending to a minimum – and I’m happy to say that last month I’ve reduced my shopping expenditures to a mere 9% from 25% a year before. Experience is what counts – not owning things.

I’m doing all this because I was tired of living in America, in Canada, in western culture. The so called “American Dream” is really just making a lot of money, and owning a lot of things. In SF, all the politically correct nonsense that people have to put up with (Gamergate being the latest example of nonsense caused by feminists and the media). All the tech companies here are filled with 70% tech-obsessed males who live and breathe code like some kind of zombies. When I look at Korea, I see a country where they value being together. Being with others. Drinking fun with your friends. Eating with your co-workers. Taking cute pics with your boyfriend/girlfriend. That’s what life is about. Not about owning the latest 4K TV or smartwatch. But being with people.

Everything I have to do myself. Just last month, I had to call up Blue Advantage Arkansas to manually send me my health insurance card (Shouldn’t Walmart have done that?), I had to pay $200 to see the doctor (because Walmart didn’t mail me the insurance card on time), I had to pay $2500 to get rid of bedbugs from my apartment (left me with tons of scars and got in trouble with the condo management), pay $50 for someone to unlock my iPhone and they never called me back, pay $260 to mail back my passport in time (passport renewal failed because my passport photos weren’t correct which also wasn’t my fault), pay $200 for a background check for my soon to be tenant (my old high school friend), help set him up with an interview, do the paperwork, unit inspection, etc. I had to pay $600 in towing/parking fees to the SFMTA even though they wrongfully towed me (I mailed a towing dispute 3 months ago with no response), I have to call up everyone to confirm things that were supposed to be done weeks ago. I have to find an apartment in Korea, pay a massive deposit (Korea’s deposit is a year of rent), somehow find health insurance there, live like a vampire (work SF work hours), transfer my money over, buy furniture, etc.

As you can see I’ve been quite stressed last month. I’m sick of it, frankly. I need a fresh change. I realize the life in Korea is not perfect. They have to study from a young age all the time, be competitive all the time, study hard, get into a good school, find a good job, work long hours, live with their parents, marry the right person, etc. Conversely, I’ve been living by myself since I was 18, paid for my own tuition working part time and the PEY internship, paid off my student debt within a few months of graduation, found my own full time job in California right after I graduated making more than my parents, and have never been unemployed since. I did this all with very little help from my parents. They helped me look for a place initially, and helped finance my current home, but everything else was mostly my own doing.

And now once again I’m on my own to move to Korea. And I will do it. Because unlike many people, I have the ability to focus when I need to. I have my mother’s stubbornness and my father’s talent to thank for that. This is why I can’t play games or watch TV for long, because I can’t do anything unproductive for sustained periods. I have to be productive. So I make videos. So I study Korean. So I play guitar. So I read Wikipedia. So I blog. So I do programming. And so on. I have to do something with my time that’s worthwhile. And I believe when you really really want something badly enough, you will find a way to do it. No matter what obstacles are ahead. I’ve always believed this. Human willpower is a very strong thing. As long as you have something to motivate you, a passion for it, an absolute desire for it, then it’s like Michael Jordan going in for a dunk; nobody can stop you.

난 비생산적인 하는걸 싫어서 오래동안 티비랑 게임하는거 할 수 없다.
매일매초 생산적으로 해야된다. 그러니까 동영상를 만든다, 한국어를 공부한다, 기타를 친다, 위키피디아를 읽는다, 블로그를 쓴다, 프로그램을 한다 기타 등등. 어떤 뜻있는 일을 해야된다.
만약에 어떤 걸 진짜 진짜 원하면은, 어떤 방법을 찾아낼 것이라고 확신해요. 아무렇든지 방법을 강구할거예요.
내가 인간의 의지력을 항상 믿는데 동기를 주는게 있고 열정 있고 의욕 가지고 하면은, 아무도 못 말려요.

Edit:
I can’t help myself but complain about this issue: Mark Zuckerberg speaks Chinese and all the Chinese girls on the internet praise him. How come no one ever praises me for speaking three languages? So Zuck speaks one other language (and not that fluently FYI) and gets praised for it, while I can speak 2 languages fluently and one at an intermediate level and I get nothing. Is this because Asians are expected to know more languages and Westerners are not? Why the double standard? Ok I’m done ranting with that.

I collect small gadgets

If you have read my previous posts, like this one, or my other gadget collection posts, you would know that I love collecting gadgets. In fact I should probably be a full time reviewer from the number of gadgets I collect.

I love collecting small electronic devices, with these criteria:
-If the device is not a portable media player, then it should have some sort of 802.11 Wifi. b,g,n,ac,etc.
-It should be really portable, and the screen size <= 7 inches. 7 inches is probably the maximum.
-weighs under 2lbs
-It should have something special or unique about it. For example, if the tablet looks just like any other tablet out there, then its not going to be as desirable as say, a tablet that can turn into a laptop or has a slide out keyboard.
-Unique software is always a plus. For example, MeeGo devices or Maemo devices which are kind of rare.
-Reasonably obscure and rare. So, an iPhone wouldn’t really score as high as a Nokia N9 for example.

With that in mind, let’s look at the some of these devices:

Sony Clie NZ90 (2003)

Sony NZ90
Sony NZ90

Price: $280 used on Amazon
Special features: clamshell design, touch screen, camera, keyboard, screen rotates
OS: Palm OS 5.0
Wifi: 802.11b via card slot

Sony Clie UX50 (2003)

Sony UX50
Sony UX50

Price: $150 used on Amazon
Special features: mini notebook form factor, touch screen, camera, keyboard, screen rotates, among the greatest Palm sized PCs ever
OS: Palm OS 5.0
Wifi: 802.11b

HP iPAQ 210 (2008)

HP iPAQ 210
HP iPAQ 210

Price: $150 used on Amazon
Special features: touchscreen, one of the last and best Pocket PCs, beats the Dell Axim easily
OS: Windows Mobile 6
Wifi: 802.11g

HTC 7 Pro (2011)

HTC 7 Pro
HTC 7 Pro

Price: $90 used on Amazon
Special features: multitouch screen, slide out keyboard, the only Win 7 phone to have a keyboard
OS: Windows 7 Phone
Wifi: 802.11n

Nokia N95 (2006)

Nokia N95
Nokia N95

Price: $100 used on Amazon
Special features: dual slider, camera, one of the greatest & critically acclaimed non touch screen smartphones ever
OS: Symbian
Wifi: 802.11g

HP Pre 3 (2011)

HP Pre 3
HP Pre 3

Price: $80 used on Amazon
Special features: slider, camera, keyboard, the last phone to use WebOS
OS: WebOS
Wifi: 802.11n

Blackberry Bold 9900 (2011)

Blackberry Bold 9900
Blackberry Bold 9900

Price: $100 used on Amazon
Special features: camera, keyboard, the last phone to use Blackberry OS 7
OS: Blackberry OS 7
Wifi: 802.11n

Nokia N9 (2011)

Nokia N9
Nokia N9

Price: $180 used on Amazon
Special features: multi touch screen, camera, only phone to run MeeGo
OS: MeeGo
Wifi: 802.11n

Amazon Fire Phone (2014)

Amazon Fire Phone
Amazon Fire Phone

Price: $449 new on Amazon
Special features: multi touch screen, dynamic 3D perspective, Firefly, Mayday
OS: Fire OS
Wifi: 802.11ac

Creative Zen Vision M (2006)

Creative Zen Vision M
Creative Zen Vision M

Price: $60 used on Amazon
Special features: The last hard drive based mp3 player from Creative, beats the iPod and iRiver in features, one of the most critically acclaimed mp3 players ever, touch strip, plays many video/audio formats, FM radio recording
OS: Creative OS
Wifi: None because its a portable media player

Archos 5 (2008)

Archos 5
Archos 5

Price: $200 used on eBay
Special features: has DVR recording, plays many video/audio formats, touchscreen, beats the Creative Zen Vision W, can go on internet, can be GPS and FM radio
OS: Archos OS
Wifi: 802.11g

Microsoft Zune HD (2009)

MS Zune HD
MS Zune HD

Price: $100 used on Amazon
Special features: Last Zune model, multi touch screen, can go on internet, inspired Windows 7 Phone OS
OS: Zune OS
Wifi: 802.11g

Sony Tablet P (2011)

Sony Tablet P
Sony Tablet P

Price: $130 used on Amazon
Special features: the only tablet that can be folded, dual screens, multi touch screen
OS: Android 3.1
Wifi: 802.11n

Nvidia Shield Portable (2013)

Nvidia Shield Portable
Nvidia Shield Portable

Price: $130 used on Amazon
Special Features: built in controller, multi touch screen, game streaming from PC, better performance than Wikipad
OS: Android 4.2
Wifi: 802.11n

Nokia N810 (2008)

Nokia N810
Nokia N810

Price: $50 used on Amazon
Special features: slide out keyboard, runs Maemo, pre-Android tablet, better performance than Sony Mylo 2
OS: Maemo
Wifi: 802.11g

Fujitsu U820 (2008)

Fujitsu U820
Fujitsu U820

Price: $350 used on Amazon
Special features: smallest convertible pc ever, touch screen, runs full Windows, 10 hour battery life, along with UH900, Viliv S7 and Sony Vaio P series, the smallest netbooks ever
OS: Windows XP
Wifi: 802.11g

Sony Vaio UX (2006)

Sony Vaio UX
Sony Vaio UX

Price: $500 used on Amazon
Special features: most powerful UMPC ever, slide out keyboard, touch screen, runs full Windows, beats the Samsung Q1, Viliv S5, OQO model 2 in performance.
OS: Windows XP
Wifi: 802.11g

I’ll have pictures and video up soon for these gadgets, as I own most of them. The few exceptions are Fujitsu U820 (impossible to find on Amazon or eBay), Sony Vaio P series (too expensive, and my UH900 is more portable anyways), Creative Zen Vision W (the Vision M is the same but more portable, and gets beaten by the Archos), Nokia N9 (too expensive right now). Stay tuned!

Edit: review is up!

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