June 2018 (Final SF) gadget update!

Every 6 months I do an update on the state of my gadgets and what I use

Computers

Lenovo Thinkpad TP25

The 25th anniversary edition of the ThinkPad is almost a perfect balance a laptop as you can get. It doesn’t have the OLED display or convertibility of the X1 Yoga, and its not meant for heavy gaming or workloads (which is what I use my Alienware for), but it is still one of the most balanced laptops. Let’s see the comparisons here.

-compared to Razer Blade / MSI Stealth / Gigabyte Aero / other slim gaming laptops – the TP25 obviously does not match the power aspect but makes up for it by being lighter and having better thermals as well as business features like WWAN and removable battery.
-compared to Porsche Design Book One and Microsoft SurfaceBook 2 – the TP25 is not a hybrid and you cannot detach it and use it as a tablet – but it does have way more ports and business friendly features. Also it is about $500 cheaper than either of those laptops.
-compared to XPS 13 / Asus Zenbook / HP Spectre / X1 Carbon / other premium ultrabooks – the TP25 is not as thin and light as some of those but makes up for it with its array of ports, business features and dedicated graphics.

The TP25 is almost the perfect laptop:
-3.5lb weight – perfectly portable
-three input options (touchpad, trackpoint and touchscreen)
-fingerprint reader, removable battery and WWAN – crucial business features
-retro 7 row keyboard and trackpoint – a feature not found in virtually any other modern laptop. The keyboard is the best in the business.
-16GB RAM and 512GB SSD – this is top end features
-i7 7th gen CPU and Nvidia 940MX graphics – sure its not the latest 8th gen processors or MX150 – but its still way better than integrated graphics and beats most business laptops in its size
-14″ 1080p IPS – yeah its not the 1440p OLED like the X1 Yoga but it is still a touchscreen. 4:3 aspect ratio would be nice but thats a pipe dream (that itch is scratched by my iPad Pro anyways).
-a perfect array of ports. 3.5mm combo jack, full size SD, T3, HDMI, 3 USBA ports, full size Ethernet. The only thing arguably missing is miniDP and VGA but thats handled by the T3 port anyways. Plus a mechanical docking port as well.

Microsoft Surface Book

This has replaced my Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga as my main convertible / multimedia laptop. Why? Well it weighs only slightly more (3.6lbs vs 3.1lbs for X1 Yoga), and loses the OLED screen, but makes up for it by being way more powerful (CPU is about the same, but GPU is way faster with the 965M, RAM is double with 16GB and storage space is triple with 512GB SSD), and better battery life due to not using an OLED screen, and a slightly higher resolution (3000×2000 vs 2560×1400), and the tablet detaches in addition to having the same modes the Yoga did. The OLED screen sucked the battery life big time, which gave the X1 Yoga I had very limited use, as the main point of having that screen was to watch movies on the go but if it can’t handle 2 full length movies then what’s the point? It also loses some ports (one USB, HDMI is missing) in exchange for full size SD. That’s ok, because the TP25 is the laptop I do most of my business on, which has all the ports I need, and I have USB3/C docks anyway. Oh, and the 3:2 display is a nice plus (much better than 16:9 for reading text)

Alienware 15 R3

This is my main gaming and VR computer now, replacing my aging HP Envy Beats 14 and hefty Asus G751. I decided I wanted a 15 inch because of its lightness and portability, yet its still powerful enough to have a GTX 1070, power my Oculus Rift (VR ready), hooks up to my external monitor, plays all the latest games, and looks great at home on a laptop stand. Also I can connect the Alienware graphics amp to pump up the graphics even more in the future.

Macbook Pro 13 (2016)
My replacement for my Mac Mini as a programming/portable computer. It’s light (3lbs) and runs macOS making it great for development and the lack of ports is made up by a USBC hub.

Thinkpad P70
The Thinkpad P70 is the replacement for my dying Asus G751 as my secondary gaming laptop and workstation. It has an astounding 12 ports (almost as much as the most port heavy laptop I ever owned the Dell M4800), and is currently my main computer as the 17 inch screen gives me great real estate for doing crypto trading and watching videos. It’s also perhaps the most traditional Thinkpad out of the P, X and T series. It’s also lighter than the Asus I had, weighing only 7lbs compared to the 9.5lbs my Asus weighed – and is even lighter than my 7.5lb Alienware!

Tablets/Phones
10.5 iPad Pro

The iPad Pro has replaced my aging iPad Air (which easily is the oldest device I use frequently). Part of the reason why I got it is because it has the capability to be a light portable travel companion. Yes I have the Macbook Pro too – but the iPad Pro is basically a hybrid computer that is both a tablet and a laptop – while it has a mobile OS – multitasking has improved a lot in iOS 11. Its not going to be my main device but as a travel device its great. It has a splendid 4:3 aspect ratio which is better for reading documents and webpages and has LTE (which is WWAN) so don’t need to use my phone hotspot, plus paired with the Brydge keyboard I have it does a neat looking Macbook Pro impression. Plus its way cheaper (I got it for $700 total with the keyboard) compared to Surface Pro or Eve V.

Google Pixel 2
Making an already great phone even better. It looks almost the same – except the internals got huge upgrades. It has the best smartphone camera in the business and it got water resistant as well. Shame about the headphone jack but thats why I use the Xperia as well.

Essential Phone
This phone has probably the best design and build quality out of any phone I’ve touched. I got this mainly because I was paranoid about losing the Google Auth keys on my Pixel 2. However, it turns out that the Pixel 2 camera is really the only thing I miss about it! I like this phone better in almost every other way.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
My replacement for my iPhone SE and Xperia Z3C as a small (4.6″), compact water-resistant phone. I’ve been waiting for a good replacement for a small powerful phone for a while now and Sony has finally delivered! This has also replaced my Sony Walkman NWZA17 as my primary music player because – why not? It has all the features built in already only its running Android, its bigger and the battery life isn’t quite as good – but its fine enough. So I went from Xperia Z3C to Pioneer XDP to Walkman back to Xperia again…

Music

Monster Gratitude Earphones
My main pair of earphones for listening on the way to work / at work – tuned by one my favorite bands, Earth Wind and Fire!

Audeze EL-8O

These are my main headphones.. open back planar magnetic headphones, replacing my old Audio Technia ATH-M50X for studio recordings (using the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 as a recording interface, Shure MV51 as my mic and FL Studio as my DAW) and hooking it up to a Brave Audio Ocean tube amp for listening to those sweet sweet high res files 🙂

Sony MDR-1000X
These are my main closed back wireless/noise cancelling headphones which replaces my Denon MM400 (which were stolen at work) and my Bose Quietcomfort 25s (which broke). Compared to the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless and Bose Quietcomfort 35s, The sound quality is comparable to the Sennheisers but the noise cancellation is better. The noise cancellation is on par with the Bose and the sound quality is better, but its slightly less comfortable. Plus I got the Sonys for much cheaper so its win-win all around! Plus it works well with my Sony Walkman + Xperia devices!

Bose Soundlink Revolve
This is my portable bluetooth speaker, replacing my Creative Soundblaster Roar 2. It is smaller than the Roar 2, although it lacks alot of the Soundblaster features it makes up for it by looking and being very simple.

Creative SoundBlasterX Katana

Now used as my computer speakers for my Alienware. It’s the first soundbar designed specifically for computer use. RGB lighting, bluetooth, 7.1 virtual surround and a bunch of other options – what’s not to love?

Sony Dolby Atmos HT-ST5000 Soundbar

These have replaced my Klipsch Promedia 2.1 speakers as this is a 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar that recreates full range sound with classic Sony styling. The Subwoofer is a beast, the soundbar is a beast, and it has built in Chromecast and Spotify streaming too! I like soundbars because they are compact and easy to setup and overall better for an apartment/condo. I don’t like to live in a big house (where I would probably need to have a full 5.1 surround sound setup + receivers).

Klipsch the Three

This speaker is really cool and retro looking especially with the Ebony wood finish, and pairs well with my Google Home (using Chromecast audio) and my Fluance record player to play some nice vintage tunes!

Yamaha TSX-B72

Yamaha TSX-B72 Yamaha TSX-B72

This is my alarm clock radio that I use by my bedside to wake me up each morning 🙂 and yes it has bluetooth and can charge my phone too.

Cameras

Sony A6000
My DSLR camera for serious video making which has replaced my Nikon D5100.. it is much lighter easier to carry, and better video quality. I also replaced my Samyang 24mm T/1.5 cine lens (which was bulky) with a great quality and lighter Sony Zeiss 24mm F/1.8 lens. works great.

Sony Action Camera AS300
Replaces my Sony Music Video recorder and GoPro Hero 3 as both my action camera and my wide angle camera that I can use for blogging, travel videos, action videos, etc and has optical image stabilization which no other action camera has! Also waterproof/dustproof as well and quite small, making it great for situations where my Osmo+ would be too heavy.

DJI OSMO+
My go to camera for taking cinematic walking shots, travel video, and completely replaces any camcorder. The Plus model now has optical zoom capabilities with it too.

DJI Mavic Air
My replacement for my DJI Phantom 4 Advanced – sure its not as stable and the camera isn’t as good but the portability was really necessary as I was moving out of the US and the Phantom 4 took up an entire backpack whereas the Mavic Air folds up neatly and can fit into a small purse.

Main Computer collection
10.5″ 2228×1668 – iPad Pro – Apple A10X, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash, 7MP f/2.0 camera, 2lbs, iOS 11, 2 ports: headphone, lightning – main tablet
13.3″ 2560×1600 – Apple Macbook Pro 13 – 6th gen Core i5, Iris Pro 540, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 3lbs, macOS, 3 ports: 2 USBC, headphone, 3lbs – secondary portable laptop / main programming laptop
13.5″ 3000×2000 Microsoft Surfacebook – 6th gen Core i7, GTX 965M, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3.6lbs, Win 10, 5 ports: 2 USB3, miniDP, SD, headphone – main multimedia / portable laptop
14.1″ 1920×1080 – Lenovo Thinkpad TP25 – 7th gen Core i7, GTX 940MX, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 4lbs, Win 10, 8 ports: 3 USB3, HDMI, T3, SD, headphone, Ethernet, 3.5lbs – main business laptop
15.6″ 1920×1080 – Alienware 15 – 6th gen Core i7 quad, GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD, 7lbs, Win 10, 8 ports: 2 USB3, 2 USBC, HDMI, miniDP, Ethernet, headphone, 7.3lbs – primary gaming laptop
17″ 1920×1080 – Lenovo Thinkpad P70 – 6th gen Core i7, Quadro M3000M, 32GB RAM, 2TB HDD, 7lbs, Win 10, 12 ports: 4 USB3, 2 T3, HDMI, miniDP, Ethernet, headphone, SD, Expresscard – secondary gaming laptop & workstation

Main Phone collection
4″ 1136×640 – Apple iPhone SE – Apple A9, 2GB RAM, 64GB Flash, iOS 11, 12MP f/2.2 camera, headphone, lightning – secondary camera phone
4.5″ 1080×1620 – Blackberry Key2 – Snapdragon 660, 6GB RAM, 64GB Flash, Android 8, 12MP f/1.8 camera, headphone, microSD, USBC – secondary phone
4.6″ 1280×720 – Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact – Snapdragon 801, 2GB RAM, 16GB Flash, Android 8, 20.7MP f/2.0 camera, headphone, microSD, microUSB, IP68 – main music player / secondary phone
5″ 1920×1080 – Google Pixel 2 – Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64 GB Flash, Android 8, Dual 13MP f/1.9 camera, USBC – main phone
5.7″ 2560×1310 – Essential Phone – Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 128B Flash, Android 7, Dual 13MP f/1.8 camera, USBC – main phone

Other devices

Video game systems: PS3, PS4, PSTV, Nvidia Shield Pro, Cybiko Xtreme, Nokia Ngage, PS Vita, New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, GPD Win 2, Nvidia Shield Portable, PSP Go, Xperia Play, GPD XD+

UMPCs: GPD Pocket, Toshiba Libretto W100, Vulcan Flipstart, Sony Vaio UX280, Sharp Netwalker, OpenPandora, Fujitsu UH900, Fujitsu U820, OQO Model 2, Samsung Q1

Backup Laptops: Onkyo DX (duals screen netbook), ThinkPad X240 (Win 7), Thinkpad X61 (Win XP), Dell Latitude D600 (Win 98), Asus G751 (spare gaming laptop)

Watches: Orient Sun and Moon, Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase, Oris GMT, Huawei Watch, Pebble Time Steel, Fossil Abacus, Neptune Pine, Casio DBC32 DataBank, Vector Luna

Tablets: Sony Tablet P, iPad Air, Lenovo Flex 20

PMPs: Philips PMC, iPod Nano, MS Zune, Creative Zen vision m, Pioneer XDP100, Archos 7, FiiO M7, Shanling M0

Flip Phones: Lenovo A588, Motorola Razer, Samsung Alias 2

Vertical Sliders: Sony Ericsson W995, Nokia N95

Horizontal Sliders: HTC Dream, HTC Touch Pro 2, MS Kin 2, Sony Mylo 2

Unique form factor: HTC Universal, Motorola Flipout, Nokia E70, HTC Advantage 7500, Sharp Sidekick, Nokia E90, Jelly Phone

PDAs: Palm TX, Sharp Zaurus, Sony UX50, Zipit Z2, Casio BE300, Sharp YO180P, HP iPAQ 210, Psion 5MX, Gemini PDA

Unique OS: Amazon Fire Phone, ZTE Open C, Samsung Z1, HP Pre 3, Blackberry Porsche 9981, Blackberry Passport, Nokia Lumia 1020, Intex Aquafish, Nokia N810, Nokia N900, Nokia E7, HP Elite X3

Displays: Mobile Monitor 2 Go, Avegant Glyph, Royole Moon, DJI Goggles, Oculus Rift, Cinera HMD

Cameras: Sony HDR-AS300 Action Cam, DJI Osmo+, Sony A6000, DJI Mavic Air

Headphones: Master and Dynamic ME03 (earphone), Monster Gratitude (earphone), Fender FXA5 (IEM), Sony WF-1000X (wireless earbuds), Sony MDR1000X (wireless/NC/closed), Master and Dynamic MW60 (wireless/closed), Audeze EL8 (planar dynamic/open air)

Speakers: Yamaha TSXB72 (alarm), Sony LFS50G Google Speaker (clock/smart speaker), Creative SoundBlasterX Katana (gaming), Klipsch The Three (turntable/google mini), Polk Audio Hampden (computer), Bose Soundlink Revolve (portable), Sony Smart Bluetooth Speaker SP60 (alarm), Google Home Mini, Sony HTST5000 Dolby Atmos Soundbar (TV), LG WK9 (smart display), LG PK9 (living room)

Misc Audio Electronics: Brave Audio tube headphone amplifier, Creative E5 Soundblaster DAC/amplifier, Behringer Xenyx Q502 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB recording interface

Microphones: Shure MV88, Shure MV51, Shure SM58, MXL50

Storage: 1 Synology DS412+, 2x Synology DS416j, 1 Synology 416slim (48TB all in RAID 1), 2x Patriot Memory USB sticks, 1 Porsche Design LaCIE external HDD

Keyboards: Logitech Orion G610 (cherry MX brown), Aorus Thunder K3 (cherry MX red), Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard (wireless), Lenovo Wireless Keyboard

Mice: Logitech Proteus Core G502, Asus Gladius, Microsoft Sculpt Mouse (wireless), Lenovo Wireless Mouse, Razer Deathadder, Microsoft Surface Mouse

Gaming setup: Alienware 15 laptop with Alienware graphics amp, Asus Ultrawide 34″ Gsync 144hz monitor, Creative KatanaX Soundbar + subwoofer, Aorus Thunder K3 mechanical keyboard, Asus Gladius Mouse

Production setup: Lenovo P70 laptop, Polk Audio Hampden speakers, Creative E5 Soundblaster amp + Audeze EL8 headphones, X-rite ColorMunki colorimeter, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2o (connected to Shure SM58 + MXL Mic), Logitech Orion mechanical keyboard, Logitech Proteus Core mouse

Travel setup: MacBook Pro 13, Bose Soundlink Revolve, Microsoft Surface Mouse

Secondary gaming setup: Microsoft SurfaceBook, Razer Deathadder/MS Surface Mouse

Turntable setup: Klipsch the Three, Fluance Audio turntable, Google Mini, Chromecast audio

TV setup: Sony A9F 55″ OLED TV, Sony HTST5000 7.1.2 Soundbar + Subwoofer, PS3, PS4, PSTV, Nintendo Switch Dock, Nvidia Shield Pro

Relaxing Home Theater setup: Osaki Massage Chair, Cinera HMD, Sony M1000X Wireless NC Headphones

Guitar setup: Fender Strat, Custom Tele, Martin OMJM, pedalboard with Boss Waza Tuner -> BBE Wah -> Dunlop EP101 Preamp -> Keeley Oxblood Germanium -> Wampler Euphoria -> RambleFX Marvel Drive -> Boss Waza Delay -> Xotic Compressor -> Keeley Omni Reverb -> Boss RC30 -> Milkman 1W+

Bedroom toys: Lenovo TP25, iPad Pro, PS Vita, N3DS, Nintendo Switch, Google Pixel 2, Essential Phone, Yamaha Clock/Alarm/Radio, FiiO M7

thoughts on Technology and Movie updates

I just realized I haven’t ranted about what I’ve been ranting to people in real life about for months so.. here goes

2016 Macbook Pro:
if its anything that proves that Apple has turned from a formerly innovative company to a company that just cares about making money here it is.
-$300 more than previous generation
-only 2 USBC ports on 13 inch, and 4 USBC ports on 15 inch. No HDMI, No SD, No USBA. I realize that USBC is way of the future but cmon.. at least be like other manufacturers and have a mix of both USBA and USBC! nope now we have to carry dongles for everything…
-no extension cable for adapter anymore
-no bootup sound anymore
-no glowing mac logo anymore
-no MagSafe anymore
-touchbar is a gimmick
-new butterfly keyboard still doesn’t feel good to type on

.. all this to make the Macbook Pro thinner. WHY? thats the goal of the consumer Macbook or Macbook AIR, not the Pro model! The Pro model is supposedly to have more ports and features and be for professionals.. as it is the new Macbook Pro is simply an upgraded Macbook Air Retina. The defense for the removal of the ports was that Apple has always been future forward “but they removed optical, floppy drive, etc’ here’s my rebuttal to that: In the case of floppy drives, it was replaced by optical media. Optical media in turn, was replaced by thumb drives + downloadable content. What is HDMI and SD replaced with? Well? Does your 4K TV come with a thunderbolt port? Does your DSLR come with a thunderbolt port? until then, there is no replacement for HDMI and SD. Which makes this move kind of baffling and definitely not something Steve would have done. I get that he had obscure connectors like mini-DVI or mini-VGA but never would he suddenly ditch all data transfer ports and video ports and combine them into a single port while *reducing* the number of total ports as well. This is all based on greed of course. Apple increased the prices of MacBook Pros by $300, took away things like the glowing logo, startup chime, and extra extension cables that you used to get in the box, and does not even provide a cable to connect your iPhone (nor does the iPhone provide any cables to connect to your MacBook Pro).

Let’s not mention that USBC is also a very confusing port, because not all USBC ports are created equal: There’s USBC ports for data only, USBC ports that support power delivery, USBC ports that support DisplayPort and USBC ports that are Thunderbolt 3. The latter is the most powerful and Apple has chosen to implement the latter on all their laptops which is great, but not all computer makers are like that. PC makers have generally mixed these up. My Alienware 15 for example, has a USBC port that is data only and another USBC port that is T3, on the same laptop. They look the exact same. Now that is confusing isn’t it?

Apple watch / Air Pods:
-Yeah Apple Watch and smartwatches in general still look stupid. But hey I’m a traditional watch geek so I’m conservative like that.. I don’t want to have more things to charge
-Air Pods look like Qtips and you couldn’t pay me enough to wear them

2017 iPhone X:
-first off, I still hate that Apple enlarged their phones with the iPhone 6 and got rid of the headphone jack in iPhone 7. So many things still require a 3.5mm connection for example DACs, audiophile headphones and old cars only have aux jack. You could lose the dongle when carrying it around, and bluetooth is still something else you have to pair and charge all the time. A hassle. And you can’t listen to music and charge at same time with the dongle.
-its $1k. I mean cmon.. Essential Phone, Razer Phone, Oneplus 5T, Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel 2 / XL, those are all great options for way less
-Wireless charging is a gimmick. Its not really wireless. You just put it on a pad, which actually decreases the usability since you can’t use it while it’s charging.
-no TouchID. There’s no doubt that TouchID is faster and more convenient than Face unlock + swipe. One is one action the other is two.

New ThinkPads
I’m a huge ThinkPad fan so this one gets me as well. Lenovo announced in their 2018 CES the new X280 would be thinner, lighter, but also remove the PowerBridge feature, full size Ethernet port, and have soldered RAM. Basically its become a budget X1 Carbon now.

The ThinkPad line to most hardcore ThinkPad users, has been slowly dying off, in favor of becoming more and more like consumer laptops. The X220 is a great example. The pinnacle of old school robustness and design. Old school 7 row keyboard, tons of ports, etc. The X1 Carbon on the other hand (introduced in 2011) is a computer that seems like its meant for mainstream users than for business users, then ever since Lenovo has been slowly transitioning ThinkPads to be more and more mainstream. Gone is the old keyboard replaced by a new chiclet style with less travel. Gone is the ThinkLight. Gone is the VGA port. All to make the chassis thinner. Now with the X280 they removed the PowerBridge feature, made the RAM soldered instead of slotted, removed the 2.5″ slot for M.2 slot, removed full size Ethernet port for a dongle. I can’t see how many business users would actually be pleased by this, just to get a thinner and lighter laptop.

Ok so thats my tech gripes now onto the movies…

Star Wars The Last Jedi:
The one movie I really have to complain about this year is Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi. This much anticipated movie got GREAT reviews from critics but polarizing reviews amongst fans. For me, I really didn’t like this movie. I liked the action and visuals and sounds those were all great, but the actual storyline and the way they treated the characters especially the ones from the original trilogy, really made me angry.

So first off, I don’t like Force Awakens either. I thought it was a poor rehash of a New Hope and I thought that Rey is a Mary Sue character who became too powerful too fast. I thought that Rogue One was a pretty decent movie in comparison.. very original plot and well executed.
Now Last Jedi is even worse than Force Awakens. It basically took a lot of pre-established points from the Force Awakens and threw them away. Also, the storyline is messy and incoherent. A lot of new characters introduced were just thrown away. Here are just a few grievances:

-Luke Skywalker fundamentally changes his character. The Luke that thought that Vader was redeemable somehow thought that his nephew Ben Solo was worth killing, if only for a moment.
-Luke dies a hermit instead of going out in a blaze of glory. I felt this was in poor taste and disrespectful to Luke.
-There’s no one on one lightsaber battles at all.
-Snoke and Rey are random beings who are randomly powerful without explanation. Snoke dies quite easily and quickly. This makes even less sense when we consider how Rey was built up in the Force Awakens. Like how did Maz find Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber? Why did Rey get visions? Where’s the Knights of Ren? What about that vision of Rey’s parents flying away? makes no sense.
-How does Rey an untrained force sensitive beat Luke freaking Skywalker in combat?
-How does the First Order have so many more resources and able to construct things like Starkiller Base? At the end of ROTJ the Galactic Empire had been defeated.
-Finn doesn’t know how to pilot in TFA but knows how to pilot just fine in TLJ.
-Leia floats back to the ship and no one says a thing. (this makes even less sense when you consider Ebony Maw from Avengers Infinity War dies from the space vacuum despite being 100x more powerful than Leia)
-Prank call at the beginning went on for too long.
-Rose falls in love with Finn in less than 12 hours. They both should have died when their speeders crashed. And the walkers should have killed them while they were making out.
-The codebreaker they were supposed to get is in a brief scene but never mentioned again.
-The replacement codebreaker is never seen or heard from again either.
-Why did Admiral Holdo not tell Poe her plans causing a mutiny? just.. why?
-Captain phasma is useless (actually she had some badass moments but this was in a deleted scene).
-They went to canto bight to free some animals basically.
-Apparently gravity exists in space.
-Luke milks some space aliens for some reason.
-Luke throws away his dads lightsaber without even blinking.
-Luke never reacts to Hans death (actually he does, but this is in a deleted scene).
-Porgs are completely useless.
-Rey went down a dark hole and.. nothing happens.
-Why don’t all spaceships just use a droid to pilot it and use lightspeed to ram it through capital ships?
-Rose tells Finn he is selfish for trying to abandon the Resistance at the beginning but selfishly crashes into Finn’s speeder later on because she has a crush on him, endangering the Resistance survivors
-Kylo ren has a brief moment where he could become good but then goes back to bad again.
-Leia is never killed off even tho Carrie is dead.
-Admiral Ackbar dies off screen while a new character we see for 10 min gets sacrificed instead.

Those are just few grievances. This movie has all the action and cast but it doesn’t do the right things with them… thankfully I did watch a much better sci-fi sequel a month before (Blade Runner 2049) so not all my childhood scifi franchises were destroyed

Dragonball Super
DBS has so far proved to be underwhelming to me as a DBZ Fan. The animations are very childish and simple, it focuses too much on Goku and Vegeta, the power scaling is messed up, the transformations are lackluster (SSJ4 in GT > any DB Super transformation), and a lot of things don’t make sense (Trunks x Mai? Goku is reduced to an idiot outside of battles, Future Trunks hair is blue while kid trunks remains purple, etc). SSJ Rage is completely unexplained, as is Super Blue Vegeta / SSJB2 Vegeta and how Goku/Vegeta got SSJ Blue. Frieza becomes super powerful in just 4 months, as does Android 17 in 6 months. Stamina is apparently not an issue in the ToP for Goku/Vegeta since they keep regaining it back. Caulifla & co get super saiyan transformations like they’re nothing. Future Trunks pulls a spirit sword out of his ass. SSJ3 Gotenks was beaten by a copy of Base Vegeta, at one point.

I think its odd that Future Trunks got rage boosted in Super and Gohan never did. But lets face it – Z is a better anime than Super.
I dont think anyone is going to disagree with this. Out of DB, Z, Super and GT, the gold standard and what makes the Dragonball franchise so popular and helped make anime popular worldwide is DragonBall Z. And part of that reason is that Z was so good at focusing on various characters, not just Goku and Vegeta which is what Super was up until the ToP… until all the other universes dropped out, then its back to the Goku + Vegeta show again (at least Frieza keeps things interesting). In DBGT, At least Trunks and Pan got their moment.

In the Saiyan Saga, we got showings from Piccolo, Gohan, Krillin and even Yajirobe got his moment. In the Namek saga, Piccolo, Gohan, Krillin, Vegeta and Finally Goku again all had a turn against Frieza. The Cell arc is what really got interesting because probably for the first and last time ever, a character that was not Goku, was the most powerful character in the show. That was Gohan. To this day, I think SSJ2 Teen Gohan in the Cell Arc + Bojack Movie was the most badass character in all of Dragonball. He just didn’t give a F about anyone. He toyed around with Cell, kicked Cell Jrs in half, and punched his fist through Bojack. That was Gohan’s peak. I don’t think that Gohan is ever coming back.

In the Buu Saga, Goten + Trunks got their moment to shine with Gotenks, and of course Vegeta redeemed himself, all while saving the galaxy from Majin Buu. Gohan had his part in there too briefly until he got absorbed.

Super doesn’t come close to any of this. Except for Ultra Instinct I don’t think any of the other transformations really had the same impact as in Z. The focus is mainly on Vegeta and Goku. Gohan and the others get left behind. Goten+Trunks are completely forgotten about. I feel the same way about this anime as I do about Star Wars the Last Jedi: the visuals are exciting and the nostalgia kick is great, but it ruins my childhood in a lot of ways. I feel like they disrespected some of the characters that we grew up on. TLJ disrespected Luke Skywalker in the same way that Super disrespected Gohan. What I’m saying I guess is that I want more fan service. I don’t want my character kicked to the curb like a weakling.. but I guess childhood nostalgia can only last for so long…

Video Games
Video games have just gotten worse and worse over the years. Back in the day, we just had to pay for one game, ONE time and that was it. We could play with a friend using LAN, local multiplayer, just set up an ad-hoc network and go. Or we can play hotseat or split screen. Expansions only came when they were necessary, like in Doom II or Diablo II or Starcraft. And they were great expansions. And there was always a great single player mode in there too. Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Goldeneye 007, Rise of the Triad, Quake III, Unreal Tournament, Halo 2, these are all great games I played with my friends.

Now these days, all video game companies can think about, is profit. They sell you a half baked game, sometimes with no single player at all (see: Star Wars Battlefront), and sell you season passes because they already planned out the DLC. There’s usually no co-op or LAN support at all, and you have to get your friend to buy the same game (or if they are on console, buy the same game, same console + sign up for Xbox live or PS Plus), and then connect over the laggy network and jump through a lot of hoops to play with them. And even then, the gameplay is still limited by the fact that they try to sell you DLC and Microtransactions else you are at a disadvantage. No better example than the new Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Destiny 2 games. Even The Sims 4, which was a great video game franchise, has gone all downhill selling you ‘stuff’ packs every chance they get. Its ridiculous, and unfortunately the days of good old video games you can just play on a couch with your friend over is gone.

Dec 2017 gadget update

Every 6 months I do an update on the state of my gadgets and what I use

Computers

Lenovo Thinkpad TP25

The 25th anniversary edition of the ThinkPad is almost a perfect balance a laptop as you can get. It doesn’t have the OLED display or convertibility of the X1 Yoga (which is why I still keep that one), and its not meant for heavy gaming or workloads (which is what I use my Alienware for), but it is still one of the most balanced laptops. Let’s see the comparisons here.

-compared to Razer Blade / MSI Stealth / Gigabyte Aero / other slim gaming laptops – the TP25 obviously does not match the power aspect but makes up for it by being lighter and having better thermals as well as business features like WWAN and removable battery.
-compared to Porsche Design Book One and Microsoft SurfaceBook 2 – the TP25 is not a hybrid and you cannot detach it and use it as a tablet – but it does have way more ports and business friendly features. Also it is about $500 cheaper than either of those laptops.
-compared to XPS 13 / Asus Zenbook / HP Spectre / X1 Carbon / Vaio S / other premium ultrabooks – the TP25 is not as thin and light as some of those but makes up for it with its array of ports, business features and dedicated graphics.

The TP25 is almost the perfect laptop:
-3.5lb weight – perfectly portable
-fingerprint reader, removable battery and WWAN – crucial business features
-retro 7 row keyboard and trackpoint – a feature not found in virtually any other modern laptop. The keyboard is the best in the business.
-16GB RAM and 512GB SSD – this is basically on par with my Alienware
-i7 7th gen CPU and Nvidia 940MX graphics – sure its not the latest 8th gen processors or MX150 – but its still way better than integrated graphics and beats most business laptops in its size
-14″ 1080p IPS – yeah its not the 1440p OLED like the X1 Yoga but it is still a touchscreen. 4:3 aspect ratio would be nice but thats a pipe dream (that itch is scratched by my iPad Pro anyways).
-a perfect array of ports. 3.5mm combo jack, full size SD, T3, HDMI, 3 USBA ports, full size Ethernet. The only thing arguably missing is miniDP and VGA but thats handled by the T3 port anyways. Plus a mechanical docking port as well.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga

This replaces my Thinkpad X240, and Thinkpad Yoga 14. A light, convertible laptop, weighs only 2.8lbs (substantially lighter than the Yoga 14 which I previously had), docks with a one link dock connector and wireless dock, has that traditional Thinkpad robust build quality and great trackpoint keyboard, and is convertible which means I can watch movies in 4 different modes, and comes with a gorgeous 1440p OLED screen to boot. It loses the dedicated graphics (Nvidia 840M) of the Yoga 14 but improves on it everywhere else including ports, display and weight. Compared to the X240, it loses the VGA, full size SD and Ethernet ports but is much lighter, has a much better display, and is convertible.

Alienware 15 R3

This is my main gaming and VR computer now, replacing my aging HP Envy Beats 14 and hefty Asus G751. I decided I wanted a 15 inch because of its lightness and portability, yet its still powerful enough to have a GTX 1070, power my Oculus Rift (VR ready), hooks up to my external monitor, plays all the latest games, and looks great at home on a laptop stand.

Macbook Pro 13 (2016)
My replacement for my Mac Mini as a programming/entertainment/workstation computer. It’s light (3lbs) and runs macOS making it great for development and the lack of ports is made up by my Dell USB-C Dock at home.

Tablets/Phones
10.5 iPad Pro

The iPad Pro has replaced my aging iPad Air (which easily is the oldest device I use frequently). Part of the reason why I got it is because it has the capability to be a light portable travel companion. Yes I have the Macbook Pro, Dell Latitude and X1 Yoga too – but the iPad Pro is basically a hybrid computer that is both a tablet and a laptop – while it has a mobile OS – multitasking has improved a lot in iOS 11. Its not going to be my main device but as a travel device its great. It has a splendid 4:3 aspect ratio which is better for reading documents and webpages and has LTE (which is WWAN) so don’t need to use my phone hotspot, plus paired with the Brydge keyboard I have it does a neat looking Macbook Pro impression. Plus its way cheaper (I got it for $700 total with the keyboard) compared to Surface Pro or Eve V.

Google Pixel 2
Making an already great phone even better. It looks almost the same – except the internals got huge upgrades. It has the best smartphone camera in the business and it got water resistant as well. Shame about the headphone jack but thats why I use the Xperia as well.

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
My replacement for my iPhone SE and Xperia Z3C as a small (4.6″), compact water-resistant phone. I’ve been waiting for a good replacement for a small powerful phone for a while now and Sony has finally delivered! This has also replaced my Sony Walkman NWZA17 as my primary music player because – why not? It has all the features built in already only its running Android, its bigger and the battery life isn’t quite as good – but its fine enough. So I went from Xperia Z3C to Pioneer XDP to Walkman back to Xperia again…

Music

Fender FXA-5 in ear monitors
My main pair of in ear headphones – really nice sound out of these guys! and from my favorite guitar company as well 😉

Monster Gratitude Earphones
My secondary pair of earphones for listening on the way to work / at work – tuned by one my favorite bands, Earth Wind and Fire!

Audeze EL-8O

These open back planar magnetic headphones are my at home studio monitors, replacing my old Audio Technia ATH-M50X for studio recordings (using the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 as a recording interface, Shure MV51 as my mic and FL Studio as my DAW) and hooking it up to a Brave Audio Ocean tube amp for listening to those sweet sweet high res files 🙂

Sony MDR-1000X
These are my main closed back wireless/noise cancelling headphones which replaces my Denon MM400 (which were stolen at work) and my Bose Quietcomfort 25s (which broke). Compared to the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless and Bose Quietcomfort 35s, The sound quality is comparable to the Sennheisers but the noise cancellation is better. The noise cancellation is on par with the Bose and the sound quality is better, but its slightly less comfortable. Plus I got the Sonys for much cheaper so its win-win all around! Plus it works well with my Sony Walkman + Xperia devices!

Bose Soundlink Revolve
This is my portable bluetooth speaker, replacing my Creative Soundblaster Roar 2. It is smaller than the Roar 2, although it lacks alot of the Soundblaster features it makes up for it by looking and being very simple.

Creative SoundBlasterX Katana

Now used as my computer speakers for my Alienware. It’s the first soundbar designed specifically for computer use. RGB lighting, bluetooth, 7.1 virtual surround and a bunch of other options – what’s not to love?

Klipsch Promedia 2.1

Klipsch Pro Media 2.1
Klipsch Pro Media 2.1

Absolutely fantastic computer speakers. Now using it for my TV and gaming systems since I found it has better bass than my Klipsch R-4B. The bass and overall sound quality is fantastic. Replaces my non-functioning Creative T4Ws which shorted out :(, and the Samsung and Klipsch soundbars that I used before.

Klipsch the Three

This speaker is really cool and retro looking especially with the Ebony wood finish, and pairs well with my Google Home (using Chromecast audio) and my Fluance record player to play some nice vintage tunes!

Yamaha TSX-B72

Yamaha TSX-B72
Yamaha TSX-B72

This is my alarm clock radio that I use by my bedside to wake me up each morning 🙂 and yes it has bluetooth and can charge my phone too.

Cameras

Sony A6000
My DSLR camera for serious video making which has replaced my Nikon D5100.. it is much lighter easier to carry, and better video quality. I also replaced my Samyang 24mm T/1.5 cine lens (which was bulky) with a great quality and lighter Sony Zeiss 24mm F/1.8 lens. works great.

Sony Action Camera AS300
Replaces my Sony Music Video recorder and GoPro Hero 3 as both my action camera and my wide angle camera that I can use for blogging, travel videos, action videos, etc and has optical image stabilization which no other action camera has! Also waterproof/dustproof as well and quite small, making it great for situations where my Osmo+ would be too heavy.

DJI OSMO+
My go to camera for taking cinematic walking shots, travel video, and completely replaces any camcorder. The Plus model now has optical zoom capabilities with it too.

DJI Phantom 4 Advanced
Replaces my DJI Phantom 3, better sensors, obstacle avoiding, takes better night shots etc

Main Computer collection
10.5″ 2228×1668 – iPad Pro – Apple A10X, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash, iOS 11, 7MP f/2.0 camera, headphone, lightning, LTE – main tablet / travel computer
13.3″ 2560×1600 – Apple Macbook Pro 13 – 6th gen Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 3lbs, macOS, 3 ports: 2 USBC, headphone, 3lbs – secondary portable laptop / main programming laptop
14.1″ 2560×1440 – Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga – 6th gen Core i7, 8GB RAM, 180GB SSD, 2.8lbs, Win 10, 7 ports: 3 USB3, miniDP, HDMI, microSD, headphone, 3.1lbs – main travel / multimedia / entertainment laptop
14.1″ 1920×1080 – Lenovo Thinkpad TP25 – 7th gen Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3.5lbs, Win 10, 8 ports: 3 USB3, HDMI, T3, SD, headphone, Ethernet, 3.5lbs – main business / portable laptop
15.6″ 1920×1080 – Alienware 15 – 6th gen Core i7 quad, Nvidia GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD, 7lbs, Win 10, 8 ports: 2 USB3, 2 USBC, HDMI, miniDP, Ethernet, headphone, 7.3lbs – primary gaming laptop
17″ 1920×1080 – Asus G751 – 4th gen Core i7 quad, Nvidia GTX 970M, 16GB RAM, 2TB HDD, 9lns, Win 10, 10 ports: 4 USB, HDMI, miniDP, VGA, SD, Ethernet, headphone, 9.5lbs – secondary gaming laptop & workstation

Main Phone collection
4″ 1136×640 – Apple iPhone SE – Apple A9, 2GB RAM, 64GB Flash, iOS 11, 12MP f/2.2 camera, headphone, lightning – secondary camera phone
4.6″ 1280×720 – Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact – Snapdragon 801, 2GB RAM, 16GB Flash, Android 8, 20.7MP f/2.0 camera, headphone, microSD, microUSB, IP68 – main music player / secondary phone
4.5″ 1620×1080 – Blackberry KeyOne – Snapdragon 625, 3GB RAM, 32GB Flash, Android 7.1, 12MP f/2.0 camera, headphone, microSD, USBC – backup
5″ 1920×1080 – Kyocera Duraforce Pro – Snapdragon 617, 3GB RAM, 32GB Flash, Android 6, Dual 13MP camera, headphone, microSD, microUSB, IP68 – backup
5″ 1920×0180 – Google Pixel 2 – Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 128 GB Flash, Android 8, Dual 13MP f/1.9 camera, USBC – main phone

Other devices

Video game systems: PS3, PS4, PSTV, Nvidia Shield Pro

Handheld game systems: Cybiko Xtreme, Nokia Ngage, PS Vita, New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, GPD Win, Nvidia Shield Portable, PSP Go, Xperia Play

UMPCs: GPD Pocket, Toshiba Libretto W100, Vulcan Flipstart, Sony Vaio UX280, Sharp Netwalker, OpenPandora, Fujitsu UH900, Fujitsu U820

Backup Laptops: Onkyo DX (duals screen netbook), HP Elitebook Revolve 820 (convertible), ThinkPad X240, Dell Latitude 7370 (Linux), Thinkpad X61 (Win XP), Dell Latitude D600 (Win 98), Dell Precision M4800

Smartwatches: Huawei Watch, Pebble Time Steel, Fossil Abacus, Neptune Pine

Tablets: Sony Tablet P, Nvidia Shield Portable, iPad Air, Lenovo Flex 20

PMPs: Philips PMC, iPod Nano, MS Zune, Sony Walkman A17, Creative Zen vision m, Pioneer XDP100, Archos 7

Flip Phones: Lenovo A588, Motorola Razer, Samsung Alias 2

Vertical Sliders: Sony Ericsson W995, Nokia N95, Dell Venue Pro

Horizontal Sliders: HTC Dream, HTC Touch Pro 2, MS Kin 2, Sony Mylo 2

Unique form factor: HTC Universal, Motorola Flipout, Nokia E70, HTC Advantage 7500, Sharp Sidekick, Nokia E90, Jelly Phone

PDAs: Palm TX, Sharp Zaurus, Sony UX50, Zipit Z2, Casio BE300, Sharp YO180P, HP iPAQ 210, Psion 5MX

Unique OS: Amazon Fire Phone, Nokia N9, ZTE Open C, Samsung Z1, HP Pre 3, Blackberry Porsche 9981, Blackberry Passport, Nokia Lumia 1020, Intex Aquafish, Nokia N810, Nokia N900, MS Lumia 650, Nokia E7

Displays: Mobile Monitor 2 Go, Royole Moon, Avegant Glyph, DJI Goggles, Oculus Rift

Cameras: Sony HDR-AS300 Action Cam, DJI Osmo+, Sony A6000, DJI Phantom 4 Advanced

Headphones: Master and Dynamic ME03, Monster Gratitude, Fender FXA5, Sony MDR1000X (wireless/NC), Audeze EL8

Speakers: Yamaha TSXB72, Creative SoundBlasterX Katana, Klipsch The Three, Bose Soundlink Revolve, Sony Smart Bluetooth Speaker SP60, Google Home Mini, SoundMatters Moment

Microphones: Sony wireless bluetooth mics, Shure MV88, Shure MV51, Shure SM58, MXL50

Storage: 1 Synology DS412+, 2 Synology DS416j, 1 Synology 416slim (48TB all in RAID 1)