Categories
Tech

What’s the most underrated tech brand?

The most underrated tech brand is Sony.

Many people have this image of Sony as being a company that was once innovative, but has since fallen from grace and is now mostly known for gaming (Playstation), Music (Sony Music) and Movies (Columbia Pictures), the latter two not particularly related to tech.

Let me explain why Sony is still innovative in fact, at a higher level than Apple or Samsung or most other tech companies right now.

Firstly, Sony has been one of the most innovative tech companies of all time. The list of their accomplishments cannot be understated:

Trinitron – Wikipedia televisions, whose superior design ( the single-gun three-cathode picture tube, and the vertically aligned aperture grill) made it reign supreme as one of the best color televisions on the market for over 20 years

-the Betamax – Wikipedia video format in the 1970s

-the first portable music player, the Walkman – Wikipedia in the late 70s

-SDDS format, a competitor to the Dolby surround sound format

S/PDIF – Wikipedia interface (the S stands for Sony)

-Sony and Philips also jointly developed the Compact disc – Wikipedia
and the Super Audio CD – Wikipedia (Super Audio CD), still used today in some high end audiophile systems

-Sony introduced the 3.5″ floppy disk, which lasted for a good 2 decades after their introduction

-the Blu-ray – Wikipedia format, was primarily spearheaded by Sony and still used today

-Other more forgotten physical media formats (all proprietary to Sony): UMD, Memory stick, PS Vita memory etc

-the first popular CD based video game console, the Playstation (yes the Sega CD and Turbographx CD came before, but it was the PSOne that popularized the format for video games)

-the best selling video game console of all time (and most people’s first DVD player), the PlayStation 2 – Wikipedia

-the Vaio – Wikipedia line of laptops which amongst other innovations introduced the first LED backlit displays (became standard on all laptops after that), chiclet style keyboards (way before Apple and others did), thin and light designs (years before the MacBook Air), and switchable graphics (now standard on entry level gaming laptops)

-the first consumer OLED TV (the Sony XEL-1 – Wikipedia)

-the first popular robotic companions (AIBO – Wikipedia) and oddities such as the Sony Rolly – Wikipedia

-the first truly immersive head mounted displays (Sony Glasstron, HMZ-T1 – Wikipedia, T2, and T3) – its designs are still being used today by smaller companies in the HMD niche

-The first handheld gaming console to use exclusively digital games and no physical releases (PSP Go – way ahead of its time)

-The first handheld gaming console with an OLED display (PlayStation Vita – Wikipedia)

-The Sony Tablet P – Sony Tablet – Wikipedia – was the first android device to use dual displays – this was 9 years before the Microsoft Surface Duo would bring back this design! Again, Sony was way ahead of their time.

-the LDAC (codec) – Wikipedia high res wireless audio codec

That’s a heck of a lot of innovations for any tech company. But most people think Sony’s innovations have come and gone, and just like post Steve Jobs Apple, their products have languished since – and they couldn’t be more wrong! Sony is still innovating, they just have been very low key in marketing their more cooler products.

Let’s take a look at Sony’s current tech portfolio now, shall we? Some things may surprise you

-Sony’s most well known product right now is the PlayStation 4 – Wikipedia, and its the best selling console of its generation

-Sony’s Mirrorless Sony α – Wikipedia Cameras have completely upended the DSLR market and as a result forced Canon and Nikon and other camera makers to move to mirrorless as well

-Sony’s OLED TVs (like the A9F and A9G) have the speaker built into the display itself; no other television maker has done this

-Sony’s Quantum Dot TVs using Triluminous technology – came out WAY before Samsung’s QLED TVs did. Samsung would have you believe they invented it – but it was Sony.

-Sony’s Sony Xperia – Wikipedia phones are perennially underrated; they were one of the first smartphones to have water resistance (IP67+) and support high res audio and currently are the only smartphones on the market with a 21:9 cinema aspect ratio display.

-Sony’s high end Walkmans and Headphones (like the WM1Z and Z1R) compete with the best of the best from other high end audio, each costing over $2k+ – as a high end audio brand, Sony is as respected as any other company which is impressive for a company who dabbles in basically every price range. Sony SA-Z1 Hi-Res Near Field Powered Speaker System Signature Series their latest speaker, an unheard of design that projects near-field sound to the listener, retails for over $6k.

-Sony’s action cameras (AS300, X3000 etc) were the first on the market with optical image stabilization (OIS) – its competitors like GoPro were still using EIS (Electronic image stabilization)

-They have a line of very successful noise cancelling wireless headphones (WH-1000XM3) as well as the first ever noise cancelling wireless earbuds (WF-1000X) as well. The fact that they caught up to Bose in noise cancellation technology is astonishing considering that Bose specialized in that technology for years while Sony has their hands in every industry.

-Just other generally cool stuff that other companies do not care to try; Sony Glass Sound Speaker a glass speaker that doubles as a lamp? Sure.
A projector that can project touch surfaces onto any area? Xperia Touch Official Website – Sony Mobile (Global English) this is astonishing technology, and I can just imagine if Apple made something like this it would grab headlines everywhere. But Sony as usual, keeps their cool stuff low key.

-And lets not forget, they are still making aibo robots as well (again, which other company is doing this???).

Sony should be getting much more appreciation for their innovation. They are still one of the most innovative companies on the market yet people always forget about them. It’s very rare that a company does so many things so well, and for so long. That’s why Sony tends to charge a premium for their devices.

Categories
Tech

I’m a gadget freak (May 2013)

As people who know me may find out, I really love gadgets. An example is my purchase of the Sony HMZ-T1, which I reviewed Here. I love the quirky, niche gadgets and here’s a chronicle of my gadget obsession since I was young. In case you’re wondering btw, these recollections are all from memory, so don’t expect in depth reviews of something I had when I was 15.

2002-2006 Gadget collection
Sharp Yo-190

Sharp Yo-190
Sharp Yo-190

This is a mini computer PDA/Organizer that I had back in middle school and was probably my first gadget. It had a calendar, memo, email, web browser, converter, clock, and calculator. With computer linking capability, a backlight, and 256k of RAM, it was amazing for a small kid like me. I took it to class and used it to store all my friends phone numbers and stuff. I probably didn’t use it to its full extent as it was designed for adults, but it was my first taste of gadget goodness.

Cybiko

Cybiko
Cybiko

This is such a niche device. But I had one of these things. It was kind of like a PDA or a game boy, but not. It had a bunch of downloadable games, and this chat thing, which I guess the makers expected this to be really popular, because that chat was only to other Cybiko users. I used it to play alot of cool games, it even had two players games in it, but eventually it got bricked when I reset it while playing a game and it didn’t turn back on after that. Eventually Cybiko realized it was a niche product and so the number of actual applications were really low. It was a cool device for the time though. ‘

Casio Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia BE300
Cassiopeia BE300

Yay, the $300 PDA I had when I was a kid. You know, back before smartphones, people had these devices called Pocket PCs, which are like the precursor to today’s smartphones. And I had the Casio Cassiopeia, cause I was the nerdy kid on the block. It was a good device – it had a number of cool apps and games for it, and no other 15 year old kid had something like that. Unfortunately, it got bricked when I tried to root it and install another OS on it, lol.

Dell Inspiron 7500

Dell Inspiron 7500
Dell Inspiron 7500

The Dell Inspiron 7500 was my first laptop, which I got in 2003. It was quite powerful for the time, having a dedicated graphics card (ATI Radeon 7500), and cost over $2000 I think. Ah yes I remember the days when 256MB RAM was alot, and everyone had a sound blaster card. And these days we take built-in Wifi for granted, but back then laptops didn’t have it built in! I needed to use a pcmcia wifi card to have it! (remember pcmcia/express cards?) and it also had legacy modem & s-video ports which are not found anymore… I had good memories with this laptop, and especially the overheating issues, due to Intel having not invented mobile processors yet. The Pentium M hadn’t arrived yet, so it had a full Pentium 4 processor in it, which isn’t efficient, and often overheated the laptop. My dad and I had to put it on some homemade pieces of wood as a cooling solution, lol.

2006-2011 Gadget collection
I had several gadgets when I was in university, including several laptops. Among the ones I had was:

Gateway CX2724

Gateway CX2724
Gateway CX2724

You know how all these Windows 8 convertible ultrabooks are coming out?? Well back in 2006, Gateway had a convertible notebook, the same kind!! 4 years before the iPad came out. And I was carrying this 7lb behemoth to classes. Despite the heavy weight, I loved using it. A screen that can rotate?? A Wacom digitizer?? That was cool stuff back then, and although it wasn’t particularly powerful on specs (an original Core Duo and GMA 950), it was a unique laptop.

Asus EEEPC S101

Asus EEE PC S101
Asus EEE PC S101

My next laptop was when netbooks were all the rage… and this one really catches my eye. It only had 16GB of storage, sure. And had an underpowered Atom processor. But, the brushed aluminum lid and Swarovski crystals… they were a good touch. Ok, so I bought it based more on looks, but it was decent for what netbooks do – browse the internet. Netbooks have been replaced by Tablets and Chromebooks now, but they all serve the same purpose, to be mobile and browse internet.

Dell Latitude E4200

Dell Latitude E4200
Dell Latitude E4200

My last laptop in college is still one of my favorites. This was in 2008, before ultrabooks came out. But this essentially is an ultrabook. A powerful laptop that is thin and light. It was only 2.6lbs!! and had a Core 2 Duo ultra low voltage CPU, which was good for its time, and I had a port replicator as well, so I could connect it with 3 externals and a 22″ Samsung display at home. It was very durable, I think I dropped it a few times and even spilled drinks on it before and it kept working. It served me well – I gave it to my parents after I retired it, and I will always remember playing Starcraft 2 lagging the hell out of games with it on that integrated GMA 4500.

Archos 7

Archos 7
Archos 7

Yes, the same one I reviewed, and as I mentioned – 320GB of storage space, plays movies without a hitch, and recording PS3 gameplay, it still holds up to the tablets of today despite having an outdated TFT resistive touch screen.

Myvu Crystal

Myvu Crystal
Myvu Crystal

Yes – I’ve had several HMDs before. The Myvu is actually quite good, when I hooked it up to my Xbox 360/PS3, I was able to play many games quite smoothly on it. Of course, my current Sony HMZ-T1 beats it hands down, but the Myvu was pretty decent for its time, plus the company is out of business, so they might be hard to find.

Samsung D900

Samsung D900
Samsung D900

My cellphone of choice during university. Remember flip phones and slider phones? This was the slimmest slider phone when it came out, and its one of the best non smartphones out there. 3.2MP camera with an autofocus and flash was good for its time, and sending text messages isn’t great as the iPhone of course, but it does its job well. And remember when batteries lasted weeks instead of days?? yeah…

Creative Zen Vision M

Creative Zen Vision M
Creative Zen Vision M

This was my mp3 player of choice during university, and it stills holds up pretty well to the iPod Classic, even now. It stored 30GBs, which is actually more than most phones these days can store. Remember when people carried a dedicated mp3 player back before smartphones? Not to mention, it played alot of photo and video formats, could record radio and voice, and had some pretty good sound quality as well.

Canon Powershot 300

Canon Powershot 300
Canon Powershot 300

I recorded all of my old videos, and took all of my old pictures on this baby. Before I got my new Canon and iPhone. It was – and remains – decent at what it does.

Flip Video Mino

Flip Video Mino
Flip Video Mino

The Flip Video Mino was the GoPro before GoPros. A pocket camcorder that can be taken anywhere easily and record from your pocket. It was innovative for its time, before smartphones had good cameras, and unfortunately, I didn’t use it as much as I should have.

2011-2013 Gadget collection

iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S

What can I say? I went through 22 years of my life without needing this phone. And yet now I can’t live without it. It’s the perfect phone. I’ve never wanted an iPhone 5, or a Galaxy SIII or a Nokia Lumia, or a Blackberry, simply because the iPhone 4S has everything I need. It has a ton of apps, it has a small enough screen to be portable (I don’t like the big screens on the iphone 5 or samsung galaxy), its replaced my main camera, and its great at texting. I’ve never wanted anything more.

Sony HMZ-T1 / HMZ-T3

Sony HMZ-T1
Sony HMZ-T1

Sony HMZ-T3
Sony HMZ-T3

I reviewed this before and my thoughts haven’t changed. It’s a simulated 100″ screen with the best 3D you can get, and virtual surround sound. The only downside being the comfort and lack of two-player convenience. I’ve also upgraded to an HMZ-T3, which is much lighter than the T1 and has wireless HD transmission, but still requires you to carry around an HD receiver.

Canon M400

Canon M400
Canon M400

I recorded all my videos and trips with this thing, and its pretty decent at that. Full HD res, multiple recording modes, and a better low light performance than many other video cameras out there. It continues to be my main video camera.

HP Envy Beats edition

HP Envy Beats
HP Envy Beats

My current main laptop. The one I use for everyday computing. Its my first laptop with a quad core processor and a dedicated video card (Radeon 6630) since my Inspiron 7500, and I loved being able to play games at high framerates again. Also, the beats audio is quite good when using external speakers or headphones. Its also got a hybrid SSD-HDD drive system which is great for fast bootup of applications, and I still get alot of storage space. I don’t really appreciate the low resolution 768p screen though, but it is still a very functional laptop with 3 USB ports, an optical disk drive and full HDMI port. Eventually the display broke when it slipped off my desk and fell on the floor, but the HDMI output still works so I can still hook it up to a display and it functions.

Macbook Pro Retina 13

Macbook Pro Retina 13
Macbook Pro Retina 13

This is my first macbook – and its mainly used for work purposes. For many years I never got a Mac – but I realize its faster for development, and less riskier for viruses, so I’ve been using it as my main work laptop now. Its fast, the screen is gorgeous, and its a Mac – I wouldn’t say its better than windows, just different. I also use it as my main recording tool after installing Pro Tools on it – for some reason Windows just isn’t as good for audio recording and video editing as a Mac. I’ve since sold this laptop due to using my iPad Air a lot more.

Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100
Nikon D5100

The Nikon D5100 is my DSLR. I don’t use it too much for general photography use, as I use my iPhone for taking most pictures due to the wider lens. The DSLR lens I use is more for taking close up pictures, portraits, and video recording, of which the quality is much better than my Canon but requires another cameraman to hold. It is a pretty decent value too; I acquired it at only $400.

Audio Technica A900

Audio Technica A900
Audio Technica A900

These are my go-to headphones for recording, studio monitoring and anything else requiring little to no noise interference. They are excellent closed back headphones, and for the price of $150, very good value for what you get. They are one of the best sounding headphones I’ve owned (and I’ve owned many), so I’ll probably keep these for many years 🙂

Audyssey Wireless Speakers

Audyssey Wireless Speakers
Audyssey Wireless Speakers

These are my computer speakers, and they are pretty decent at all around performance. I am impressed at the level of bass they offer despite not having any subwoofer. They are bluetooth enabled, so other than my computer, they also double as speakers for my iPhone and tablet as well.

Panasonic ST50

Panasonic ST50
Panasonic ST50

Sorry Samsung, but Panasonic makes better Plasma TVs at the medium range segment, and hence I opted for them. This is a 3D Plasma TV, which means uniform viewing angles, deeper blacks, and pretty thin too… all in all, one of the better TVs I’ve used, though I wish the interface for youtube and video browsing was done better.

Samsung E450 Sound Bar

Samsung E450 Sound Bar
Samsung E450 Sound Bar

This is the soundbar for my TV, and its a pretty good value as well, being only $150. It takes in the regular HDMI and optical connections, but also comes with Bluetooth and AUX and a wireless subwoofer. Many soundbars at this price doesn’t have bluetooth, hence I went for this one.

Monitor2Go HD+

Monitor2Go HD+
Monitor2Go HD+

This thing is pretty cool, its a portable second monitor that displays a nice HD+ resolution, and can be used in various configurations, standing up, swiveling, etc. It also supports being used as a secondary display for an iPad, iPhone, or anything with an HDMI connection. I’m currently using it paired with my Mac for work, and the DisplayLink technology works flawlessly.

That’s alot of gadgets eh??? Probably not the end of it either… once Google Glasses comes out, as well as the Occulus Rift (A VR HMD) and This awesome quadcopter (which I plan to use for recording) comes out, you know I will be getting them :).

Categories
Programming Tech

Interesting gadgets, JS Frameworks, Libraries, Tech Links, Tech Articles

Cool past gadgets
Sony Rolly
Sony P series
Golden-i headsets
Ultra Mobile PC
Samsung Q1
Sony CLIE PEG-UX50
HP IPAQ
HP Touchsmart TX2
Dell XPS M2010
Sony P Tablet
Oakley THUMP 2
Sony Mylo
Nokia N810
HTC Shift
Handheld PCs
HP Jornada
MM2Go
Sony Vaio Duo
Danger Hiptop/T-mobile Sidekick
Palm Treo (the first smartphone)
PDas and Pocket PCs
Sony Vaio Duo
Sony UX Micro PC
OQO Model 02
Slingbox
Roku
Archos Gen 6
Dell Adamo
Asus Taichi
Voodoo Envy 133
Asus EEE PC
Pleo RB
Alienware m11x
Dell XPS M2010
Nokia N93
Eon 13S
Soundmatters foXLv2
Dell XPS 12
Myvu Crystal
AR figure Alice
Drobo
Creative Recon3D THX sound processor
Turtle Beach Dolby processor
Astel & Kern MQS player
Custom Relics
Chromebook Pixel
Ultra sabers
Swart Amps

I read alot. Except I don’t read books, I read Wikipedia articles and nerdy articles. Lots of them.. here are few I came across:

Interesting Links/News
Someone was paid to hack Facebook exploiting Oath2?
Tells you some of the myths about guitar pickup tone
Someone actually made stacksort!! (based on an xkcd comic)
So this is the guy who started phreaking?
Chinese immigrants had it hard…
I wonder who still uses Telnet… if its always more insecure than SSH
Loved this game when I was young… didnt realize it was only released in Japan!
Super Audio CD?? I never knew this existed, I wonder if its actually audibly better than CD.
CGA is the PC’s first color standard – I remember the days of 16 colors.
Building a naive Bayes classifier, which has lots of uses in making complicated problems less complicated as it seems 😛
10,000 year old clock
Did you know MS made a JS replacement language, that adds modules, classes, interfaces and type checking?
Chinese sites look so awful and cluttered and looking at the minified JS, they even have chinese characters in JSON… omg must be a nice time parsing that
This guy ruled South Korea for 16 years until he was assassinated!! O_O
Email loops…
Vestal Virgins!
Let’s save IE6!!! hehe
The woman who had immortal cells
extreme pogo sports…
This is the first FPS game, not Wolf3D, not Doom. This game, and I played it when I was young.. pretty decent 🙂
Did you know? The first Chinese dynasty was started by this guy
The first Firefox phone?? omg
The Japanese have urinal games… wow
Prions are viral infection agents caused by eating brains o_O
This is a cool name for a Apache Ruby module
The game boy printer was really ahead of its time… people barely had dot matrix printers back then
There’s a programming language based on Lolcats
The Apple Newton had a programming language…
There’s a programming language that is multi-lingual keyworded
Woody Allen’s first movie was a 1960s Japanese dubbed spy thriller (it was a good movie, I watched it)
This was the most popular bike in the world thanks to China
Did you know? in WWI, people used pigeons to take aerial photos
Did you know? This is the worst pc game of all time, mainly cause it doesn’t work. At all.
Pig toilets… yes people used to use these
This is the crater that caused the extinction of the dinos
This is the biggest extinction event in Earth’s history
The original AI program Eliza, as a Java applet
Dunning-Kruger effecta cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average.
Apparently this guy lived for 152 years
A PS Emulator that was sold IN STORES
Oh yeah NeXT computers used these…
Someone sued a guy named Mike Rowe for having this domain name…
Charismatic megafauna – I suppose they are “charming” to scientists? hehe
Chinese magic mirror..
Werecats exist?
Black swan theory – this actually makes sense to me. Lots of everyday things have very small probabilities of occurring, but because there’s so many probabilities in general, the chance of any individual small probability happening is actually quite big.
RDRAM.. 😀
Wow this is a rare add-on for Sega saturn..
I used to own one of these guys before Pocket PCs were there…
This chinese woman worked on the manhatten project… at a time when Chinese people couldn’t immigrate to America.
A game console that downloads games for free? – awesome. The future of gaming is streaming from the cloud – and this is the first step.
4004 was the first available microprocessor

Nice JS articles and tech sites
http://www.json.org/JSONRequest.html
http://eviltrout.com/2013/02/10/why-discourse-uses-emberjs.html
http://www.adequatelygood.com/JavaScript-Scoping-and-Hoisting.html
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4869609/how-can-jquery-deferred-be-used
http://perfectionkills.com/extending-built-in-native-objects-evil-or-not/
http://perfectionkills.com/whats-wrong-with-extending-the-dom/
http://coding.smashingmagazine.com/2012/11/05/writing-fast-memory-efficient-javascript/
http://www.nczonline.net/blog/2009/12/29/feature-detection-is-not-browser-detection/
http://dailyjs.com/2012/06/25/this-binding/
http://markdotto.com/2012/03/02/stop-the-cascade/
http://www.igvita.com/slides/2012/devtools-tips-and-tricks/#1
http://www.webdesignshock.com/responsive-design-problems/
http://learn.jquery.com/javascript-101/
http://www.igvita.com/slides/2012/devtools-tips-and-tricks/
http://markdotto.com/2012/02/16/scope-css-classes-with-prefixes/
Java 8 looks pretty neat.. Joda time and Lambdas
http://coding.smashingmagazine.com/2012/12/05/client-side-templating/
http://www.codethinked.com/preparing-yourself-for-modern-javascript-development
Overapi kinda sucks as a Java reference (HashTables? really?) but the jQuery reference is decent. This site also compiles a nice list of Web dev articles. Here’s another checklist for web devs.
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/
http://alistapart.com/
Good front end dev interview questions
http://52weeksofux.com/
http://www.altdevblogaday.com/2011/12/24/static-code-analysis/
http://nicolasgallagher.com/pure-css-gui-icons/demo/
http://dev.opera.com/articles/view/graceful-degradation-progressive-enhancement/
http://www.mkyong.com/
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8659390/context-to-use-call-and-apply-in-javascript
http://net.tutsplus.com/
http://calendar.perfplanet.com/2012/deciphering-the-critical-rendering-path/
http://alexsexton.com/blog/2013/03/deploying-javascript-applications/
jQuery 2.0 beta is out!
Comparing front end frameworks
http://shichuan.github.com/javascript-patterns/
http://alexmaccaw.com/posts/async_ui
http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/yuiloader/
http://kangax.github.io/nfe/
http://webaim.org/blog/user-agent-string-history/
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/html5/articles/css-shaders.html
http://accidentaltechnologist.com/javascript/7-resources-every-javascript-developer-should-know/
http://backbonetutorials.com/organizing-backbone-using-modules/
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1906344/should-you-only-mock-types-you-own
https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/
http://hackerboss.com/the-golden-rule-of-unit-testing/
http://www.programmableweb.com/apis
http://www.chromeexperiments.com/
http://chrome.blogspot.com/
http://codebrief.com/2012/01/the-top-10-javascript-mvc-frameworks-reviewed/
http://zacstewart.com/2012/04/14/http-options-method.html
http://jtaby.com/3/modern-web-development-part-1.html
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2013/03/why-ruby.html
http://blog.apps.npr.org/2013/02/14/app-template-redux.html
http://marakana.com/s
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8659390/context-to-use-call-and-apply-in-javascript
http://www.javascriptturnsmeon.com/the-tilde-operator-in-javascript/
http://www.adequatelygood.com/JavaScript-Module-Pattern-In-Depth.html

Nice tech:

http://plumbr.eu/
http://c9.io/
http://www.plug.dj/
http://lolcode.com/
Interesting startup job repo
http://plumbr.eu/
http://www.onyxbits.de/
http://www.trypair.com/
http://newrelic.com/BFF
http://jsfiddle.net/
This is a really cool graphical tessellation generator…
http://www.hipmunk.com
http://cleverbot.com/
Combine your Chrome tabs!
http://q42.com
Firesheep

Frameworks/Libraries
(JS Library Reference can be found here)