the iPhone 10th anniversary & legacy..

On the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, people have been celebrating how revolutionary it was.. and yes, it does deserve all that praise. Steve Jobs was a brilliant marketing genius and visionary. Apple products haven’t been the same since he passed away. The Apple Watch (whats the use case?), the iPad Pro (stylus?), the new iPhones (no headphone jack?) and the new MacBook lineup (all USBC?) have all been criticized a lot since they came out and some design flaws like the camera bump in the new iPhones, no headphone jack, the elimination of magsafe and switch to all USBC etc have caused to people to wonder if Steve Jobs was alive if those things would have been approved.
Well, I’m not sure, but definitely I can say the presentations haven’t been as awe-inspiring with Tim Cook in charge. He’s more of a quiet delegator whereas Steve could light up the room and take charge with everything.

The iPhone brought *capacitative* touch computing to the massive. Previously, touch screens have been mostly resistive touch which made those devices very hard to use and required a stylus to use them. Back in the mid 2000s I did use some Palm devices, Pocket PCs and carried around a hefty Windows Convertible PC (yes they had those back then!) all which required styluses to use. It was a pain.
After the iPhone and iPad came out, every device got much easier to use, and just using the fingers was so simple and easy.

There are some things I miss about the pre-iphone phones though. I think people unfairly look at the old Blackberrys and Windows Mobile devices as crap compared to the iPhone but thats not exactly true. People forget that the original iPhone had no 3G, no copy+paste, you couldn’t attach images in emails, there was no selfie cam, there was no video capability or flash, no third party app store, etc. A lot of smartphones back then had all those features. No it wasn’t as easy to install a third party app onto a Pocket PC or Palm OS device as an iPhone’s App Store, but there definitely was a thriving marketplace for those old devices. It wasn’t as bad as people thought it was.

Moreover, I liked how every device looked so unique. You had flip phones, slider phones, swivel phones, dual slider phones, transforming phones, etc. These days everyone has the same phone.. iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy, etc the same black slabs everywhere. Back then there was very slim chances you and your friend had the exact same phone model. Here are some standouts (I own alot of these):

Nokia XpressMusic 5700
Nokia XpressMusic 5700
Blackberry Porsche P9981
Blackberry Porsche P9981
Samsung Alias 2
Samsung Alias 2
Pantech Matrix Pro
Pantech Matrix Pro
Nokia N95
Nokia N95
Nokia N93
Nokia N93
Nokia E90
Nokia E90
Nokia E70
Nokia E70
Motorola Aura
Motorola Aura
Motorola Flipout
Motorola Flipout

Yeah especially Nokia had a lot of really cool designs… we won’t be seeing these kind of designs anymore unfortunately.

And another thing is cellphone charms! remember those?

cellphone charm
cellphone charm

Young people might not even know that back then, phones had a hole where you could attach a charm to it.. that hole is not longer on modern smartphones so cellphone charms (the way people could customize their phones) have now been replaced by smartphone cases, which IMO isn’t quite as great. Yeah you can still customize your phone with a case, but its not the same as having a good old fashioned charm.

So yeah just pointing out some of the negative side effects of iPhone’s legacy..

In other news, I’m going to Korea next month and not a moment too soon.. been dying here of boredom having nothing to really do. my plan right now is to just save up money for next year. After the hassle of getting yet another work visa at the border, I don’t really plan on doing that again. I’m planning to leave in another year or so, and go back to either Korea or Canada. Yes, that means I’ll have to leave my current job, but unless I can work remotely it just won’t work out. I don’t get enough vacation time with my current job to get the freedom that I want.

Also, planning on selling my home too. There are a few reasons for this. Yes having a place in San Francisco is nice and all, but the housing market in SF is beginning to cool off, and for the price I could sell my apartment for, I could easily buy another place in the US (I’m thinking San Diego because of the weather and West coast location), AND have enough spare money to help me get another place in Vancouver Canada (with the help of a mortgage) as well. I’ll just rent out a storage locker while the unit is on sale and then just move things out when I get my new places. But yeah that’s my longer term plan. My best friend in San Francisco is in the same situation as me except he is 5 years older so its probably even more urgent for him, but he doesn’t want to stay here either. And besides him I have very few friends and very little reason to stay in SF. 90% of my friends are in Korea or Canada so it makes more sense to move to those places instead. I’m in the USA just for saving up money that’s it, but hopefully the US/CAD exchange rate remains the same next year else I’m losing a lot of money if I don’t exchange now…

June 2017 Gadget update

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

Computers

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga

This is my main laptop now and 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.

Dell Latitude 7370

This is my main portable laptop (yes the X1 Yoga is portable too but it has a lot of sensitive data that I would rather not take on travels). It replaces my Vaio S, and is basically the fanless, futureproof version of the Vaio. Compared to the Vaio, it has thinner bezels on the display, loses two USB3 ports, VGA, full size SD and Ethernet (legacy ports), but gains microSD and 2 USB-C (more futureproof ports).

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 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
iPad Air

The iPad Air is my go to tablet for surfing, gaming, music or reading. Has been since 2013.

iPhone SE

The iPhone SE is my main video recorder, which I use on occasion to record videos, mainly because my model is a 64GB one that can store more videos. Plus love the small size which is what cameraphones should be! light and small. It replaces my aging iPhone 5S.

Google Pixel
The Google Pixel is my main phone now. It has a great camera as well, and is generally just a fast and capable phone all around. It replaces my Kyocera Duraforce Pro and Sony Xperia Z3C as my main Android device.

BlackBerry KeyOne

The BlackBerry KeyOne replaces my Blackberry Priv as my secondary phone and video call device, has a way better keyboard and gets wayyyy better battery life to boot.

Sony Walkman A17

Sony Walkman A17
Sony Walkman A17

The Sony Walkman has replaced my Pioneer XDP, since its much lighter and more portable. It doesn’t sound *quite* as good as the Pioneer, but it’s 80% as good and still much better sounding than most smartphones (with the exception of a few like the HTC 10). The Pioneer is more like the old HDD players like the iPod Classic and Creative Zen Vision – stores more music and plays videos, but big and bulky. The Sony Walkman is a small flash based player like the iPod Nano and Zune HD. They both have their uses.

Huawei Watch
Now with the Android Wear 2 update, Huawei watch is awesome and is definitely my main watch now. It replaces my Seiko Kinetic (quartz) and Orient Sun & Moon (mechanical) which I used before.

Music

Generally I prefer using speakers at home and headphones on the go. I rarely use headphones at home. The advantages of speakers – everyone can hear it, higher fidelity and larger drivers, but usually also more expensive and not as portable.

Razer Hammerhead BT

Razer Hammerhead BT
Razer Hammerhead BT

These are very convenient bluetooth earphones for mostly working out where the wires getting in the way would be troublesome.

Fender FXA3

Fender FXA3
Fender FXA3

The Fender FXA3s are my main earphones for traveling and studying.

Denon Music Master MM400

This is my main headphone that I use at work to listen to music and for conference calls.

Absolutely the best over ear headphones I’ve ever had, these now have replaced my Sennheiser Momentums which were falling apart as well. I use it with my Creative SoundBlaster E5s at work for the extra oomph!

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!

Bose SoundLink Revolve

Bose SoundLink Revolve
Bose SoundLink Revolve

This speaker replaces my Creative Soundblaster Roar 2 as a portable outdoor (splash proof!) speaker, also pairs very well with my Macbook.

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. It replaces my Sony BSP60 bluetooth alarm speakers those ones are a little complicated to operate and I just wanted a simple vintage looking alarm clock radio.

Cameras

Nikon D5100
My DSLR camera for serious video making. I usually pair it with my Samyang T1.5 24mm cinema prime lens.

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

Other
Other laptops: Asus G751 (secondary gaming laptop and workstation), HP Revolve 810 G2 (secondary Win7 laptop and secondary convertible), Thinkpad X240 (still only laptop I have with hot swappable battery and mobile broadband), GPD Pocket (mini netbook)
Video game systems: New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PSTV, Nvidia Shield Pro, GPD Win
Displays: Mobile Monitor 2 Go, Dell 24″ Gsync 1ms 144hz infinityedge monitor, Royole Moon, Avegant Glyph, DJI Goggles
Storage: 1 Synology DS412+, 2 Synology DS416j, 1 Synology 416slim (20TB all in RAID 1)

Laptop collection (one for each size)
11.6″ 1366×768 – HP Elitebook Revolve 810 – 4th gen Core i5, 8GB RAM, 180GB SSD, 3lbs, Win 7, 6 ports: 2 USB3, DP, Ethernet, microSD, headphone
12.5″ 1366×768 – Lenovo Thinkpad X240 – 4th gen Core i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 3.5lbs, Win 7, 7 ports: 2 USB3, miniDP, VGA, Ethernet, SD, headphone
13.3″ 3200×1800 – Dell Latitude 7370 – 6th gen Core m7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2.5lbs, Win 10, 6 ports: 1 USB3, 2 USBC, microHDMI, microSD, headphone
13.3″ 2560×1600 – Apple Macbook Pro 13 – 6th gen Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 3lbs, macOS, 3 ports: 2 USBC, headphone
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
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
17″ 1920×1080 – Asus G751 – 4th gen Core i7 quad, Nvidia GTX 970M, 16GB RAM, 2TB HDD, 9lbs, Win 10, 10 ports: 4 USB3, SD, VGA, miniDP, HDMI, Ethernet, headphone/mic

Gadget update (Dec 2016)

End of the year tech update, these are the tech I have when I finally get back to SF from Korea.

Computers

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga

This is my main laptop now. 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. Just perfect. It replaces my Thinkpad Yoga 14.

Alienware 15 R3

This is my main gaming and entertainment computer now, replacing my aging HP Envy Beats 14. 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 Mini
My main multimedia / programming computer.

Asus G751
My Asus stays as my main workstation computer, mostly for editing videos.

Dell Latitude 7370
My replacement for my Vaio S and Thinkpad X240 as a travel laptop. Amazingly, even though its 13″ and my X240 was 12″, its over a pound lighter!! Of course the battery life isn’t as good, but it is lighter and slimmer, and just as good for travel. The Vaio S is slightly lighter and has a more powerful processor, but the display isn’t as good, and the footprint is bigger due to the 13″ screen (the Dell has an InfinityEdge display which only takes up space equivalent of a 12″ laptop).

Tablets/Phones
iPad Air

The iPad Air is my go to tablet for surfing, gaming, music or reading. Has been since 2013.

iPhone SE

The iPhone SE is my main camera and video recorder, which I use on occasion to record videos, mainly because my model is a 64GB one that can store more videos. Plus love the small size which is what cameraphones should be! light and small. It replaces my aging iPhone 5S. Its also my secondary phone.

Google Pixel
The Google Pixel is my main phone now. It has a great camera as well, and is generally just a fast and capable phone all around. It replaces my Kyocera Duraforce Pro and Sony Xperia Z3C as my main Android device.

Pioneer XDP-1000

Since I don’t need a Korea phone anymore, the Pioneer acts as my main music/video player, with hi-res capabilities and a whopping 2 expandable slots for a lot of storage.

Huawei Watch
Now with the Android Wear 2 update, Huawei watch is awesome and is definitely my main watch now. It replaces my Seiko Kinetic (quartz) and Orient Sun & Moon (mechanical) which I used before.

Music

Fender FXA3

These have replaced my Master&Dynamic ME03s as my travel/in ear headphones.

Denon Music Master MM400

Denon MM400
Denon MM400

Absolutely the best over ear headphones I’ve ever had, these now have replaced my Sennheiser Momentums which were falling apart as well.

Creative Soundblaster Roar 2

These have replaced my Bose Soundlink Mini as my new portable speaker, sounds great and comes with a variety of features like mp3 player, voice recorder, USB DAC etc

Klipsch Promedia 2.1

Absolutely fantastic computer speakers. The bass and overall sound quality is fantastic. Replaces my non-functioning Creative T4Ws which shorted out :(.

Cameras

Nikon D5100
My DSLR camera for serious video making. I usually pair it with my Samyang T1.5 24mm cinema prime lens.

Sony Music Video Recorder
This camera is mainly used for casual recording video blogs, music videos and video reviews. Basically my youtube camera now.

Sony HDRAS300
My camera for action shots like biking, scooter, hiking, swimming, etc replaces my old GoPro 3+ Silver; this one has optical image stabilization which is a big help for recording action videos.

DJI OSMO Plus
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 Pro
My new DJI Drone has slightly less wider field of view than my old Phantom 3, but makes up for it by being more portable and having similar image quality

Btw.. I recorded a tour of my apartment finally.. here it is