Categories
Tech

June 2020 gadget update

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

Computers

Google Pixelbook (2017) – replaces 2017 iPad Pro 10.5, 2017 Porsche Design Book One

I needed a light, portable machine for watching movies and doing media consumption to replace my aging iPad Pro, and yeah surprisingly went for a device made in the same year (2017). Why? because ChromeOS does do more than iPadOS still in terms of behaving as a desktop OS – even though iPads now added trackpad support – and the three main reasons why I bought it was 1) cheap ($500) 2) lightweight (2.4lbs) and 3) 3:2 aspect ratio display. There are many great options for 2 in 1s these days – Dell XPS 2 in 1 (heavier, more expensive), HP Spectre X360 (no 3:2 display, more expensive, heavier), Samsung Galaxy Chromebook (more expensive, no 3:2 display, terrible battery life), Samsung Galaxy Book Flex (more expensive, no 3:2 display), Microsoft SurfaceBook 3 (WAY more expensive, heavier), HP Dragonfly Elite (more expensive, no 3:2 display) and none of them actually matched the Pixelbook surprisingly – and if I found a 2in1 convertible which matched the Pixelbook’s 3:2 display and had similar weight but more expensive, that would be fine too, but everything is more expensive + lacking either the 3:2 display or it’s heavier.

Alienware m15 R2 (2020) – replaces 2018 Alienware m15, 2016 Alienware 15 R3

I got this for a pretty decent price off of the Dell outlet store, so I thought yeah why not, my brother needed a decent gaming laptop so I sold him my Alienware m5 R1 and the R2 while not as expandable as the R1 and missing the extra numpad, does look substantially cooler with the white design, I must admit. Plus, yeah the usual specs: RTX 2060, Core i7 hexa core CPU, 1.25TB SSD, 16GB RAM. A decent secondary gaming computer and main portable gaming computer.

CyberpowerPC Syber C Xtreme (2019) – replaces 2015 Asus ROG G751, 2016 ThinkPad P70

The CyberPowerPC Syber C Xtreme is my main desktop gaming computer and the most powerful computer I have. It is essentially a built computer, with an AsRock motherboard, Intel Core i5 9600k CPU, 32gB Corsair RAM, 1TB Intel SSD, 3TB Seagate HDD, Corsair power supply, Zalmann cooler and Nvidia RTX 2070 GPU. This computer connects with my Asus ROG PG27UQ gaming monitor and Logitech G610 mechanical keyboard / Logitech G502 mouse for the ultimate home gaming experience.

Tablets/Phones

Apple iPhone 11 Pro (2019) – replaces 2017 Google Pixel 2, Sony a6000 DSLR, DJI Osmo+

Back to an iPhone again you say? Well the main reason I went back to it is because of the camera system. I wanted something to replace my bulky Sony A6000 camera + lens + DJI Osmo and this is one of the two best camera phones on the market along with the Google Pixel 4. But unlike the Pixel 4, this has an ultra wide lens in addition to the standard wide lens and the telephoto lens so the iPhone 11 Pro is the best camera phone on the market with 3 lenses (I’m aware there’s the Huawei P30 Pro as well but its quite a big bigger). So this has become my main phone to replace my aging Pixel 2 as well as my main camera as well.

Motorola Razr Fold (2020) – replaces 2017 Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, 2018 Astell&Kern A&Norma SR15

The Google Pixel 2 is actually my main secondary phone due to the Project Fi compatibility mostly, but the Motorola Razr has become my main music player device – I know, it’s an extremely expensive music player since it cost me even more than the iPhone 11 Pro – but its a really cool device, being the first vertically folding phone. I know many people will prefer the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip instead as its much more capable and spec wise much better, but Motorola has the better design for me, it’s a retro-futuristic implementation of an iconic device, and has a much bigger front touch screen than the Z Flip, which is important when using as a music player device. Since I mostly use my bluetooth Sony WF-1000XM3s now, not having a headphone jack is fine – and also makes my AK A&norma SR15 not that great of a device to use just for the bluetooth. I was using my Sony Xperia XZ1 compact as my main music player phone (which it was very capable at doing) until I got the Razr Fold.

Music

Sony WF-1000XM3 (2019) – Replaces 2018 Astell&Kern Michelle

Believe it or not I have begun to embrace Bluetooth finally – and these wireless noise cancelling earbuds have replaced my A&K Michelles. Now do they sound as good? Of course not. But they are more convenient than having to unravel a messy amount of tangled wires every time to listen to something. And they are noise cancelling to boot. But it still has issues. Instead of having skipping sound issues with wires, now I have skipping sound issues with BT connection. Meh.. there’s nothing perfect out there I guess.

Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018) – Replaces 2017 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) and Sony MDR-1000X (my previous NC cans). 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, and its a lot more comfortable than the 1st gen MDR-1000X. It’s simply put one of the best wireless NC cans on the market right now.

Bose Soundlink Revolve (2017) – Replaces 2015 Creative Soundblaster Roar 2
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, playing 360 degree audio and being quite loud for its size.

Creative SoundBlasterX Katana (2017) – Replaces 2015 Creative T4W

Now used as my main computer speakers replacing my Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 and Creative T4W speakers. It’s the first soundbar designed specifically for computer use. RGB lighting, bluetooth, 7.1 virtual surround and a bunch of other options, has a lot of inputs etc – what’s not to love? And it gets REALLY loud.

Klipsch the Three (2017)

These stereo speakers are really cool and retro looking especially with the Ebony wood finish. Not only does it support DTS Play-Fi, Bluetooth, phono and AUX inputs but I usually hook it up to my turntable as it has a built in phono preamp! I’ve compared the Klipsches with the Polk Audio, KEF, AudioEngine, Fluance, Focal and other speakers but the Klipsches are definitely the best value for the performance and looks

LG SL10YG + SPK8 (2019) – replaces 2018 Sony HT-ST5000 Soundbar

Focal Elear (2016) – replaces 2015 Audeze EL8

These are simply put, better than the Audeze EL8s in every way, so.. yeah, it’s replacing them.

Google Home Hub (2018) – replaces 2017 Yamaha Clock Radio

The Google Home Hub replaces my Yamaha Clock Radio as a smart alarm clock + digital photo frame.

Cameras

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.

Main Computer collection
12.3″ 2400×1600 – Google Pixelbook (2017) – 7th gen Core i5, 8GB, 256GB SSD, 2.4lbs – light tablet/convertible
15.6″ 1920×1080 – Alienware m15 R2 (2020) – 9th gen Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1.25TB SSD,  4.7lbs – main gaming laptop
CyberpowerPC Syber C (2019) – 9th gen Core i5, 32GB RAM, 4TB SSD+HDD, 20lbs – living room gaming pc

Main Phone collection
5.8″ 1125×2436 OLED – iPhone 11 Pro (2019) – A13 Bionic, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash, iOS 13, triple 12MP F/1.8-2.4 13mm-52mm cameras, Lightning – main phone/camera
5.0″ 1080×1920 OLED – Google Pixel 2 (2017) – Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash, Android 10, 8MP F/2.4, USBC – secondary phone
6.2″ 876×2142 OLED – Motorola Razr Fold (2020) – Snapdragon 710, 6GB RAM, 128GB Flash, Android 9, 16MP F/1.7, USBC – music player

Other devices

Backup phones: LG G8X (dual screen / rugged / media), iPhone SE (small compact), Blackberry Key2 (physical keyboard)

Video game systems: PS3, PS4 Pro, PSTV, Nvidia Shield Pro, Cybiko Xtreme, Nokia Ngage, PS Vita, New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, GPD Win 2, Nvidia Shield Portable, PSP Go, Atari VCS, Razer Phone 2

UMPCs: Onemix Yoga 3, GPD Micro, Toshiba Libretto W100, Vulcan Flipstart, Sony Vaio UX280, Sharp Netwalker, OpenPandora, Fujitsu UH900, Sony Vaio P, Fujitsu U820, OQO Model 2, Samsung Q1, King Jim Portabook

Backup Laptops:  iPad Pro 10.5 (tablet), Porsche Design Book One (convertible), MacBook Pro 13 (macOS), ThinkPad TP25 (business laptop), Onkyo DX (dual screen netbook), ThinkPad X240 (Win 7), Thinkpad X61 (Win XP), Dell Latitude D600 (Win 98)

Watches: Seiko Kinetic, Bulova Joseph Bulova, Seiko Cocktail Time Honeycomb, Orient Sun&Moon LE, Junghans Meister Calendar, Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase, Oris GMT, Pebble Time Steel, Fossil Abacus, Casio DBC32 DataBank, Motorola Moto 360 3rd gen, Apple Watch Series 3, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

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

PMPs: Philips PMC, iPod Nano, MS Zune, Creative Zen vision m, Astell&Kern A&Norma SR15, Archos 7, FiiO M5, Cowon V5W

Flip Phones: Samsung Galaxy Folder 2, Samsung Alias 2

Vertical Sliders: Sony Ericsson W995, Nokia N95, Samsung Exclaim, Samsung U900, Blackberry Torch 2

Horizontal Sliders: HTC Dream (Tmobile G1), HTC Touch Pro2, Nokia N900, Sony Xperia Play, Samsung Exclaim, Motorola Sidekick, Samsung Sidekick, Sharp Sidekick

Unique form factor: HTC Universal, Motorola Flipout, Nokia E70, HTC Advantage X7500, Nokia E90, LG EnvTouch, Jelly Phone, Palm phone, Nokia XpressMusic 3250, Nokia E72, Motorola V70, Sony Ericsson P990, Toshiba G910, Nokia N93i, Yotaphone 3, Neptune Pine

PDAs: Palm TX, Sharp Zaurus, Sony UX50, Zipit Z2, Casio BE300, Sharp YO180P, HP iPAQ 210, Psion 5MX, HP Jornada 720, MS Kin 2, Sony Mylo 2

Unique OS: Amazon Fire Phone, ZTE Open C, Samsung Z1, HP Pre 3, Blackberry Porsche 9981, Blackberry Passport, Nokia N810, Nokia Lumia 1020, Nokia E7, HP Elite X3, Palm Treo 700p, Sony Xperia XA2 (Sailfish), LG Nexus 5 (Ubuntu Touch), Essential Phone (Lineage)

Displays: LG C9 OLED TV (main TV), Asus ROG PG258Q (gaming monitor), LG 29WK600 (ultrawide work monitor), MMT FHD Monitor2Go (portable monitor), Royole Moon (HMD), Oculus Rift (VR)

Cameras: Sony HDR-AS300 Action Cam

Headphones: Master and Dynamic ME03 (earphone), Monster Gratitude (earphone), A&K/JH Audio Michelle (IEM), Fender FXA5 (IEM), Sony WF-1000XM3 (wireless earbuds), Sony WH-1000XM3 (wireless/NC/closed), Focal Elear (studio/home/open)

Speakers: LG/Meridian SL10YG + LG SPK8 (home theater soundbar), Yamaha TSXB72 (alarm), Google Home Hub (picture frame/assistant), Creative SoundBlasterX Katana (Alienware), Klipsch the Three (turntable), PreSonus Eris (monitors), Bose Soundlink Revolve (portable), Sony LFS50G smart speaker (Kitchen), Sony Smart Bluetooth Speaker SP60 (alarm), Google Home Mini

Misc Audio Electronics: Creative X3 (PC amp/dac), Behringer Xenyx Q502 (Mixer), Fluance RT85 w/Ortofon Blue cartridge (turntable), Cambridge Audio Solo (phono preamp), Schiit Vali 2 (headphone amp)

Microphones: Shure MV51 (PC), Shure SM58 (dynamic), MXL50 (condenser), Shure MV88 (iPhone)

Storage: 1x Synology DS412+, 2x Synology DS416j, 1x Synology DS418j, 2x Synology DS416slim, 1x Synology DS419slim, 3x Patriot Memory USB sticks, 1x Porsche Design LaCIE external HDD

Keyboards: Corsair K63 wireless (Syber C), Syber Keyboard (extra), Logitech G610 (Alienware), Lenovo Wireless Keyboard (Lenovo Flex), Mini Keyboard (Nvidia Shield)

Mice: Corsair Dark Core (Syber C), Syber Mouse (extra), Logitech G502 (Alienware), Logitech MX Anywhere 2S (travel), Microsoft Surface Mouse (Porsche Design/Macbook), Lenovo Wireless Mouse (Lenovo Flex)

Guitar Amps: Milkman 1W+ (main), Boss Katana Mini (mini), Vox Mini5 (travel/busking)

Guitars: Fender Stratocaster w/Rumpelstiltskin pickups (secondary electric), Martin OMJM (main acoustic), Gretsch G502 (travel acoustic), Duesenberg Alliance Joe Walsh (main electric), Bohemian TNT w/Lollar Gold Foil pickups (travel electric), Yamaha P121 (digital piano)

Pedals: Boss TU3W (tuner), Boss DM2W (delay), BBE Wah (Wah), Dunlop EP101 (Booster/Preamp), Maxon TOD9 (TS type OD), Wampler Euphoria (D type OD), Xotic Compressor (Compressor), Keeley Omni Reverb (Reverb), Wampler Tumnus (K type OD), Boss RC3 (Looper)

Categories
General Magic

Minor update on life, decklist for Hearthstone/Magic, DOS game reviews

Wow, I can’t believe its June already. I feel like I havent done that much this year, compared to previous years. I think thats because I traveled alot and hung out alot with my friends in 2012 (lots of trips and events) and 2013 (lots of house parties and clubbing) and to a lesser degree 2014 as well, but this year I’m more or less alone in Korea. Even though I have friends here, they are usually too busy to hang out, and I haven’t traveled outside of Seoul yet. Some tourist I am, and I’ve been here 6 months already. I should definitely travel soon, else I feel like I’m not doing much with my time constantly staying at home and working.

I went back to San Francisco and Toronto in April and last month, so I got to see all my good friends again. One of my good friends has a baby already and it made me feel so old when I visited him. Am I that much closer to getting married and being a father? Well first I have to find a girlfriend, which is a neverending source of grief for me, so maybe I don’t have to worry about it, but then again maybe I should since I just turned 27 years old a few days ago. Dang. I miss my 24 and 25 year old life, traveling and house parties and clubbing and stuff (see previous post about regrets on not preserving that time better). Oh well, life has to move on I guess.

So yeah these days I’ve been staying at home and playing games. I modded Fallout New Vegas (http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/) and I definitely recommend the Weapon mods, High res texture mods, Nevada skies weather mod, EVE lighting mod, Project Nevada, more Perks and Mission Mojave rebalance mod. It brings FNV to 2015 standards.

On another note I’ve been uploading ALOT of youtube videos for dos games and playing Hearthstone a lot more, and conversely Magic the Gathering a lot less. I’ve made a page for it because the Magic list is more or less set, since I don’t play it as much anymore. And I plan to move some of my korean teaching articles over to this site to unify it, since I don’t write any more articles for that site. Sounds good? I want this blog to be the hub for all my projects.

Hearthstone decklist: http://www.blueisme.com/media/hearthstone-decklist/

Magic decklist: http://www.blueisme.com/media/magic-the-gathering-decklist/

And here are some of the old game playthroughs I’ve uploaded, some of them I haven’t played in as much as 12 years. I also hope to do a video on Diablo 3 Reaper of souls, Starcraft 2 Legacy of void, and Dungeon defenders 2 soon as I played alot of those with my friends.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvq9ZHXksf4

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sdbzhb15s3Q

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFbvlhk9LGQ

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fzO6MJJ8Vg

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUgbNR7DiFk

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoxidOXQq20

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-ncXyQQPM8

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1IJdVOU_O4

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcR0ggNqBcY

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8atvUoXVV2s

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaLs5lbGjrA

Categories
Tech

NEW Jul 2014 gadget update

Ok, so its been over a year since my last gadget update.

Here’s my tech gadgets as of present (Jul 2014):

Computers
Dell Latitude E4200

2008 Dell Latitude E4200
2008 Dell Latitude E4200

I still have it. Great 12″ laptop from 2008. With 3GB RAM, Core 2 Duo processor, 64GB SSD, an external DVD drive, and port replicator, it still works pretty well. Dell’s Latitude line is very reliable.

HP Envy 14 Beats edition

HP Beats edition
HP Beats edition

My 3 year old workhorse laptop has been upgraded. I upgraded the RAM to 8GB of Corsair Vengeance and the hard drive to a 240GB Samsung SSD. Now its my de facto desktop, as I only use it with my monitor and speakers now. Still pretty darn fast, even with a 3 year old Sandy Bridge CPU.

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).

Fujitsu P1630

Fujitsu P1630
2008 Fujitsu P1630

This ultra light convertible from 2008 still does the job pretty well as my Windows test machine. It’s a 2lb convertible that runs an Intel Core 2 Duo, 64GB SSD, and 2GB RAM. It still handles most tasks pretty well, and is my most portable laptop.

Sony Vaio UX280 007 Edition

Sony Vaio UX280 007
2006 Sony Vaio UX280 007

My smallest computer is not really a laptop but rather a UMPC. It runs an Intel Core Solo processor with 1GB RAM and 32GB SSD, but I use it mainly to play DOS games on the go. I have one of just 500 007-edition ones.

Tablets/Phones

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.

Wikipad

Wikipad
2013 Wikipad

Yes, the Wikipad is relatively obsolete now, still running on 2012 hardware. But still, as long as it runs I’ll use it as my go-to android tablet. A micro-HDMI port and microSD slot, along with a detachable controller is great for playing emulator games, which is mainly what I do with this tablet, and if I need to use Android apps.

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, 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.

HTC Touch Pro 2

HTC Touch pro 2
HTC Touch pro 2

I just wanted a Windows Mobile device for legacy apps, and this was one of the latest and cheapest. The fact that it has an amazing phone keyboard is just icing on the cheap cake.

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.

Music

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 🙂

Beyerdynamic DT770

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

These are great headphones that I use at work. I use it with a Fiio Andes E07K, and man the music really lights up with these headphone amps driving the 250Ohm headphones.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint

These are my travel headphones, the ones I use on trains, buses and planes. The sound quality overall is not quite as good as the A900s, but it is noise cancelling and portable, which is why I have them.

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.

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.

Monitor2go HD+ 15.6″

Monitor 2 go HD+
Monitor 2 go HD+

Great portable display, works with any HDMI input so it works with anything from my tablet to my consoles to my laptops to my Mac Mini.

Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100
Nikon D5100

My DSLR camera. Works great with many lenses.

Canon M400

Canon M400
Canon M400

My camcorder since 2011. Been using it for most videos since. Only thing is I realized the AUTO mode which is the default mode doesn’t have OIS which I regret.