Categories
Tech

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.

Categories
Programming School/Work Tech

Backbone Apps, Express Apps, Client side unit tests, Korean, Gadgets, Videos

Thanksgiving is coming soon, and these days it does seem like I need a break.

What an interesting year it’s been for me. Multiple broken friendships/relationships, lost over $5k in parking fines, lost over $10k in stock options, multiple missed opportunities, a broken wrist, failed drivers test, I could go on. This year has not been one of my better years.

Just two months ago, I posted about how Bitcoin was a good investment, but never took the time to actually invest in it (due to confusion about how to actually buy them). Well now, Bitcoin is over $1200 (it was $135 at the time I posted that). So a potential windfall opportunity has gone past me.

These days, what do I have to look forward to? Just work, and study. Pretty much my life these days.

Client side unit tests
On the work side, I’ve been writing a lot of client side javascript tests recently, and its really made me more interested in them. Originally, I was not too fond of writing unit tests, as I felt them tedious, but now I find them kind of challenging. Jasmine is a popular client side testing framework, and getting it to work well with Backbone models, routers and views, is a good challenge. I’ve also been using libraries like SinonJS to mock/stub/spy out functions/objects, ChaiJS to unify the TDD/BDD style assertions, Karma as a test-runner, and Jasmine-jquery to test out dom events. Now I’m trying to mock out RequireJS dependencies (Squire.js/). It’s been a frustrating but enlightening few weeks trying to get my head around client unit tests.

BackboneJS extensions
Also, been trying to move from using string based templates like handlebarsJS into using dom-based templates. I really really want to get RivetsJS to integrate with BackboneJS so we have computed properties and data bindings (thanks to dom templating) but it’ll have to wait until we refactor all our handlebars templates to use Rivets Views instead. What other things do I recommend for a large Backbone app? Controllers and Container Views. MarionetteJS provides those. Also, use lodash instead of underscoreJS (It has more features).

NodeJS / express
I’ve really gotten around to liking NodeJS / ExpressJS so far. Using the ExpressJS API is easier than having to learn Apache modules and servlet containers and all that stuff. To be sure though, its quite different than the usual JavaScript you’d expect.

Korean
On the studying side, is my Korean getting any better? I’ve been taking classes now, and it feels like they focus more on writing and reading, which are traditionally the pillars of language education. Recently though, I’ve been subscribing to the Pimsleur approach of focusing more on speaking and listening instead. In fact, speaking and listening are the hardest things for me right now, and I constantly struggle when I listen to Koreans and figure out what to say. These days, I’ve been using korean dramas (a la drama fever) to study by listening, and repeating what the actors are saying and watching multiple times with and without subtitles. It’s an exhausting job trying to learn Korean when everyone around you speaks English and the opportunities to meet Koreans are few and far between, seriously. And it also doesn’t help that what Koreans speak and what textbooks teach you are different. For example, my Korean friends told me that 당신 and 실례합니다 are not often used in real life, despite being in the book as ‘you’ and ‘excuse me’.

Gadgets
I bought an iPhone5S, an iPad Air, and also have the chance to get Google Glass (as a BitTorrent developer) as well. What do I think? I really like the iPhone of course, as I tend to prefer smaller screens and the iPhone5S probably has the best camera in the business. The TouchID thing is pretty cool too. The iPad Air also surprised me. I didn’t think an iPad could replace my MacBook, but after using the iPad a few days with a bluetooth keyboard, I can honestly say that 90% of the things I can do with the MacBook (except programming), I can do with the iPad, and the iPad has LTE on top of that and only weighs 1lb so I can use it anywhere. Surprising, I might have to sell my MacBook.

Anyways, I haven’t updated recently because my life is fairly mundane so far. I did upload several videos though, so take a look:

San Francisco’s Hidden Gems (my friend helped me with this one):
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2lw-yKA0CA

iPad Air vs Kindle Fire HDX
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtpXyh542L4

Sony HMZ-T3
httpv://youtu.be/avIEWVmFEZQ