Categories
Tech

Interior design for retro/modern styled electronics/speakers

When it comes to furniture and electronics I’m actually quite interested in how things look and are placed. That’s why I like playing The Sims a lot just for the ability to design your own home and place all the furniture and stuff. When I first got my SF apartment I carefully selected the right furniture from IKEA. I wanted to have to a sofa with the one section being a section you could lie down on and convert into a bed. I think I’ll get a massage recliner in the future so that I can pair it with my various HMD headsets for the ultimate relaxing experience.

Since I’m a gadget geek I like to imagine the style and placement of my electronics too. At the moment, the style of my electronics are ‘retro’ styled. What this means is most of my electronics look like something that could be from the 1970s or 1980s. Retro designs, black or woodgrain finishes, etc. There’s also another design aesthetic I like which is modern-futuristic design. I’ll show a few examples of what I’m talking about.

Klipsch The Three – current (retro) wireless speaker (matches well with a record player)

The Klipsch Three Wireless Stereo System - Home Audio That ...

turns into..

BeoSound 1 - Wireless music system « B&O | LuxusSound.com

Bang and Olufsen Beosound 1 – (modern/futuristic) wireless speaker

Polk Audio Hampden – current (retro) computer speakers

Polk Audio Hampden Desktop Speakers - Hey Gents

turns into…

Creative T4W – (modern/futuristic) computer speakers

移动端接入 Creative T4W无线2.1蓝牙音箱_天极网

Denon MM400 – current (retro) headphones

Denon AH-MM400 Test: Over-Ear-Kopfhörer | MODERNHIFI

turns into…

Porsche Design Space One – (modern/futuristic) headphones

KEF x Porsche Design Space One | werd.com

Yamaha B72 – current (retro) alarm clock

turns into…

JBL Horizon – (modern/futuristic) alarm clock

JBL Horizon Alarm Clock » Gadget Flow

AudioEngine B2 – (retro) wireless speaker

Audioengine B2 Walnut Wireless Bluetooth Speaker ...

turns into…

Naim Audio Mu-so – (modern/futuristic) wireless speaker

16 Best High-End Bluetooth Speakers for Unchained Troubadours

Even for smart speakers, you can get retro styled or modern styled ones

Sony S50G – current (retro) smart speaker – good for kitchen use

Sony's smart speaker gives Google Assistant a more capable ...

turns into…

Panasonic GA-10 – (modern/futuristic) smart speaker

JMtech: Así es el Panasonic SC-GA10, el nuevo altavoz ...

LG WK9 – current (retro) smart display

LG Smart Display ThinQ WK9 Review: Hand-on with the Echo ...

turns into…

JBL Link View – (modern/futuristic) smart display

Best Android announcements at CES 2018

Lenovo Thinkpad 25 – current (retro) laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad 25 review: An anniversary gift for ...

turns into…

Microsoft SurfaceBook – (modern/futuristic) laptop

Microsoft Surface Book Unveiled | Gadget Review

There’s lots of cool and interesting designs for other speakers as well like

Harmon Kardon Allure (modern/futuristic) smart speaker

Harman Kardon Allure smart speaker Review

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless (modern/futuristic) wireless speakers

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Review - Reviewed.com ...

Porsche Design Gravity One (modern/futuristic) portable speaker

KEF Porsche Design Gravity One Speaker Price in Pakistan

Definitive Tech W9 (modern/futuristic) wireless speakers

Definitive Technology W9 Enceintes sans fil - Son-Vidéo.com

Devialet Phantom (modern/futuristic) wireless speakers

Test Devialet Phantom : présentation : notre avis - CNET ...

Sony LSPX-S1 (modern/futuristic) speakers

Image result for SONY LSPX-S1

Jamo by Klipsch (modern/futuristic) speakers

Image result for jamo DS6

Master & Dynamic MW60 (modern/futuristic) headphones

Master & Dynamic Unveils MW60 Bluetooth Headphones

I think we live in a time where the choices for speakers and headphones and design is endless so we can model our furniture and electronics setup however we like, and that’s great. These are just a few ideas I have. Right now my home is more ‘retro’ styled than modern but that may change in the future.

Categories
Tech

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 (2017) – replaced my 2015 ThinkPad Yoga 14

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 (2016) – replaced my 2016 Vaio S

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 (2016) – replaced my 2011 HP Envy Beats, 2015 Asus ROG G751

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)replaced my 2012 Mac Mini
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 (2013)

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtpXyh542L4

iPhone SE (2016) – replaced my 2013 iPhone 5S

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 (2016) – replaced my 2014 Sony Xperia Z3C
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 (2017) – replaced my 2015 Blackberry Priv

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 (2017) – replaced my 2015 Pioneer XDP

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 (2016) – replaced my 2012 Seiko Kinetic, 2016 Orient Sun&Moon
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 (2017)

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 (2016) – replaces 2014 Master&Dynamic ME03

Fender FXA3 Fender FXA3

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

Denon Music Master MM400 (2016) – replaces 2014 Sennheiser Momentum

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 (2017) – replaces 2015 Creative T4W

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 (2016) – replaces 2015 Klipsch R-4B Soundbar

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 (2017)

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 (2017) – replaces 2015 Creative Soundblaster Roar 2

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 (2017)

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 (2013)
My DSLR camera for serious video making. I usually pair it with my Samyang T1.5 24mm cinema prime lens.

Sony Action Camera AS300 (2016) – replaces 2014 GoPro Hero3+
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+ (2016) – replaces 2015 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 (2017) – replaces 2015 DJI Phantom 3
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

Categories
General

Why appearance matters in Korea, NBA HOF, removing the headphone jack

I want to talk about several recent topics that have occured recently. In my video blogs I’ve already talked about stuff like why I think Hollywood discriminates against Asians, why I don’t like present day feminism, why I like Korean girls more than Chinese girls, why I support banning guns, why the media is biased towards Westerners, etc
Today I have a few topics I want to talk about…

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Why Appearance matters in Korea

Firstly, I’ve lived in Korea almost 2 years now, and I will leave Korea end of this year. At that time I will talk about my experiences here and why I decided to leave, but I want to talk about something I hinted at in my video of what makes Korea so special and unique. Its not just Korea seems to have a lot more couples on the street than other countries, probably the first thing a foreigner notices when they visit Korea is how everyone is always dressed up. The girls more so than the guys usually, but Koreans are known for caring a lot about appearance much more than any other Asian or other nationality in general. How did it come to be this way? Why don’t Americans or Chinese care about appearance as much?

This is more speculation than actual research because I’m not writing a thesis here, but I think the reason is because Korea is a really small and competitive country. When everyone graduates university at a high level, and everyone is Korean, one of the only ways to differentiate yourself is appearance. And that has lead to present day Korea where Korean girls get pressure to get plastic surgery, just to find a boyfriend or get a job, or anything. Because Korea doesn’t have any laws against a company discriminating based on appearance, this has led to competition to become prettier and prettier. And when everyone else is pretty, its a peer pressure affect that causes other people to feel that they should become pretty as well.

China has not gone through the same thing because its a bigger country, more diverse, and was totally communist at one point. Because of those reasons, Chinese people have become more accepting of different appearances, and its not as important because one of the good things that came out of communism is that old Confucian society where women were treated far below men, was erased and replaced by a society where the women worked, dressed the same as men, and treated exactly the same as men. This is the gender equality that all the progressives talk about these days, its essentially done by communism.

As for America, appearance used to be important back in the 1940s and 1950s when men were definitely higher than women and everyone wore suits, dresses, hats, etc for going outside. In those days everyone was dressed up outside. The counter culture revolution of the 1960s basically changed the US into a society where everyone dresses differently and people became more accepting of different appearances. That’s why you hardly ever see people dress up when they go outside in the USA anymore.

In Korea now, its still a patriarchal society, the men still have power (despite the fact that the Korean president is a woman it doesn’t mean sexism is gone), they have the highest gender wage gap out of all OECD countries, and its not uncommon to see the average Korean girl holding onto her boyfriends arms wearing a nice dress or skirt, high heels and fully dressed up while the guy is only wearing casual jeans or shorts. There’s a huge gender disparity here.

Now I actually think caring about appearance is important. I’m not saying people should go out and get plastic surgery, but when people care about the aesthetics of everything in their world from their phones (oh its slimmer!), their computers (wow rose gold!), architecture (eiffel tower, chrysler building, golden gate bridge), paintings (Mona Lisa), etc how can everyone care about aesthetics of everything in the world BUT when people care about other people’s appearance in the Western world, it is considered “shallow”?? In Korea, its totally normal to say oh you should put on more makeup, or you should dress a little better, which in our Western world would be considered sexist comments. But its the total opposite in our world, where even calling someone pretty can be considered offensive, and people are told not to care about others appearance because it is “shallow”? But why? I realize that personality is important, it definitely is, but humans have eyes, and we care about how everything else looks, why is it so bad to care about how other humans look as well? I think that caring about your own looks or other people’s looks is totally normal, as long as its not the ONLY thing you care about. If it is, then that can be considered shallow or superficial but like me, I care about both appearance and personality and I think both are really important in our daily lives. This is one of the things I like about Korea, is that they care about appearance, and I feel that every other country doesn’t care about appearance enough because they want to pretend that somehow we have eyes for everything else but not for other humans. Makes no sense.

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Yao Ming, Shaq and Iverson get into the Hall of Fame

This years NBA hall of fame class is headlined by Yao Ming, Shaq and Iverson. A lot of people have expressed that Yao Ming, didn’t belong in the Hall of fame, but they don’t realize that Yao Ming caused 1.3b people to get involved in basketball, that its the BASKETBALL hall of fame not the NBA hall of fame (the same reason why Arvydas Sabonis got in), and that he was actually a decent player that was All NBA 2nd team a bunch of times. He averaged 19/9/1.5/2 over his career, and if you compare to Alonzo Mourning who people agree is a HOFer, he averaged 17/8.5/1/3 over his career, so Yao’s stats are comparable to Mournings.

I think Shaq is definitely a top 5 center of all time, but people overrate his dominance. The thing is Shaq never had an equal during his time. His prime is around 2000-2005 and around that time, the best centers, Ewing, Hakeem and Robinson were all retiring or past their primes. The second best center of the 2000s, Dwight Howard and maybe Yao Ming, weren’t even in their primes yet. I would say Shaq got lucky that his era wasn’t that competitive at the center position. Kareem for example, had to deal with Wilt, Moses, Willis, Cowens, Unseld, Thurmond, Gilmore, Lanier, Walton, Parish, and later in his career Hakeem and Ewing as well. If people want to ding Wilt’s career for weak competition, they should ding Shaq’s career for weak competition.

As for Iverson, yeah I think he’s overrated, but I can understand why he’s so popular. He’s definitely one of them most inefficient shooting guards, only 42% FG which is worse than Kobe’s at 45% or John Havlicek at 44% and both of those guys shot a lot as well. So by stats you can say wow Iverson was terrible and missed a lot. But because people related to his style, his swagger, his attitude, his height, and his heart they really supported him because he was a small dude and that always makes him an underdog. That’s why even though ESPN rated him #48 best player of all time, I put him a bit higher at #30, because I can understand why he missed a lot of his shots, but that doesn’t make him necessarily a terrible player, it just means he’s not the greatest shooter.

——————————————————————————————
I don’t like 4K and high resolution displays

Why are people obsessed with the ppi of a display when 20 years ago they had a 640×480 screen on a CRT monitor and nobody was complaining back then? Wasn’t DVD considered good picture quality back then? Its only 480p now. People’s eyes didn’t get any better as time goes on.
Now because of Apple introducing the iPhone 4 with Retina display, (and Macbook with Retina) everything has super high resolution now. And now I have to read reviews where they give laptops a “minus” because they “only” have a 1080p display, a display that was basically high definition TV before is now “low resolution”. Incredible.
The larger the display the more battery it sucks up. now you might think this is offset by the bigger battery but that is in reality not the case. Thats why smaller phones get better battery life. try comparing the iPhone SE to iPhone 6 for example.
Most of the media that we have, Facebook pictures, and YouTube video, are always compressed. on a 4K screen on high res screen you would have to either get 4K stream or get the original pictures from a friend somehow, else the resulting quality on a high res screen is going to look like crap.
Why don’t people care about audio as much? so everyone is a videophile but being an audiophile is a small part of the audience? why? if people can tell the difference between a Full HD TV and a 4K TV why can’t they tell the difference between mp3s and flacs? Why give your eyes such good treatment but not your ears? thats why I care so much about my headphones, speakers, portable amps, DACs, high res audio files and stuff, but not many people seem to care about it.

This leads to my next topic….
——————————————————————————————
Apple got rid of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7. All chaos ensues.

There are two camps divided on this issue, one side supports Apple’s decision and says that wireless is the future and the 3.5mm is an old legacy standard,and the other side says 3.5mm can never be replaced.
What do you think my decision would be, knowing that I’m an audiophile and musician? Well of course I’m gonna say the 3.5mm headphone or AUX jack should not go away, at least not right now.

There are several reasons why wireless cannot replace the headphone jack:

1. Wireless has inherent latency issues, and anyone who’s used Ethernet over Wifi knows that wired is always faster and transmits data much faster than wireless. Because of this inherent advantage and the fact that we listen to digital music, wireless can never sound as good as wired. So wired headphones will always sound better than a wireless headphone at the same price point.

2. Wireless headphones have to be recharged. The Apple Airpods last 5 hours. That’s actually not a lot of you go on a lot of trips and travel a lot. That might be the time it takes on a train from one city to another. I actually spend 11 hours in a bus going from Bosnia to Serbia so I know thats not enough. Having to always charge something is a hassle. And wired has infinite battery life obviously.

3. Because its wireless, they cannot add any external headphone amplifier or DAC or noise cancellation to the audio chain unless they build it onto the headphone itself, which will decrease the battery life. I know lightning headphones or USB-C headphones can have these things built in as well, but those don’t have the same wide compatibility as a traditional headphone with a 3.5mm connection. Also, I still have not seen a wireless planar magnetic headphones or high impedance headphone, if that is possible to make one wireless at all.

4. Musicians, Engineers, Audiophiles etc we have too many legacy audio or musical equipment like a hifi stereo system, mixers, record players etc that just don’t work with wireless or even old laptops and devices. Because of this huge incompatibility issue, Bluetooth will never be as widespread as wired. Furthermore, people in 3rd world countries are not going to give up their cheap wired headphones for wireless ones anytime soon.

You cannot compare the removal of the headphone jack to the floppy disk drive or cassette drive and optical drive because those are storage formats and newer formats can always replace old formats and the newer formats were always strictly better than the older ones its replacing. The headphone jack is a way of enjoying audio, so removing that jack and saying you have to go wireless, is akin to removing the speakers from a phone, and saying, hey you have to use Bluetooth speakers now because having mono or stereo speakers is old and legacy.
And Yes I realize you can use a dongle with the new iPhone 7, but you can’t charge your phone at the same time, and you have to make sure not to lose the dongle on a trip else you’re screwed.