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plays movies without a hitch, and recording PS3 gameplay, it still holds up to the tablets of today despite having an outdated TFT resistive touch screen.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.

Categories
Business Music

Thoughts on Bitcoin and making money

I’ve been reading about Bitcoin a lot lately. It’s a very interesting concept… its a crypto-currency, its value is only worth as much as how much people are willing to accept it. The more Bitcoin is used, the more value it has and the more accepted it becomes. There are two ways to get Bitcoin: Mine them, or buy it at an exchange. Online Bitcoin exchanges post the currency value which fluctuates day to day, but Mt.Gox seems to be the biggest. Mining them is very interesting.

When you mine Bitcoins, you need a powerful computer that can compute the answer using the bitcoin algorithm to a computer problem. Once you get the answer, a block of bitcoins, depending on difficulty and time, is awarded to you. The more bitcoins that are out there, the higher the difficulty, the higher the difficulty, the less bitcoins you will receive relative to the time the computer spends on the problem.

So in 2011, Bitcoins were dirt cheap because not many people knew about them, and people were using their home computers and GPUs to mine them. Now though, more people know about Bitcoins, and the value of a Bitcoin currently is around $135. And specialized computers called ASICs are being developed to mine them. These manufacturers like Butterfly Labs and Cointerra are building computers designed specifically for Bitcoin mining, with up to 2 Terahashes per second.

So how much money would you make buying one of these machines, and start using them Jan 2014 (since they ship in fall 2013)? Well, the thing is with Bitcoin, its very volatile. How much its worth depends on how much people trust it. And the advantage of time. If someone had started investing in Bitcoin last year for example, when it was around $20, they would have made a lot of return, since now its $135 and it was even as high as $260 at one point. Therefore people who started mining earlier, even at the beginning of this year, would have alot of advantage and would have made alot of money. But now though, its kind of late to start. There’s comparison charts all over the web like this one.

The thing is, once these 500+ GH/s ASICs start shipping, the difficulty is going to increase massively, and its going to be much harder to get a return on investment. So, I would not invest in a miner now for that reason. At the beginning of this year, probably. But not now. But it might be worthwhile to purchase bitcoin currency now. If you think people will continue to accept Bitcoin at the rate it is now, then its worthwhile to purchase some, even at $135 a piece. The reason is because once more and more people start mining, each individual Bitcoin is going to be harder to get, making the supply of Bitcoin ever lower (actually the total circulation is capped at 21 million). Thus, because of lower supply and holding demand constant or higher, you can expect the value of Bitcoin to be higher in the future.

This brings me to a talk about money. I’m not the kind of person to care too much about money. Last year, I had $200,000 cash in the bank from my parents to help me finance my house, and in addition to my Intrade earnings, I could’ve used that money on various investments, but I chose to be a good son and not risk that money anywhere. If I had heard about Bitcoin back then and invested in it, at $20/bitcoin in Dec 2012, and $200k, that would be worth over $1.3m today. Or I could’ve invested in stocks/options like TSLA/PCLN/LNKD/NFLX/QIHU which have had monstrous returns this year. Anyways, the point is there’s always opportunities to make money, and I’m not really concerned about it too much. As long as I keep steady on my current job and do reasonable investments on properties and stocks, then I have a reasonably good chance of becoming a millionaire in the near future (take a look at this page).

In fact I have two stock option strategies to share: the first is called Straddle. Straddling a stock basically means you are betting that the stock will move in either direction. So you buy both a put and a call option on the same stock. If the stock moves in either direction, you hope that the return is higher than the premium you paid for both the put and the call. And that’s it.. pretty low risk option strategy.

The second is called Naked Put. Some people may say this is a high risk option strategy because you are uncovered, but the payoff graph is the exact same as a Covered Call, and its even better than that: With a naked put, you can be in a win-win. If you see a stock you really like, but the price is too high, sell a put contract on it, at the strike price you would like to buy it at. You get the premium for the put no matter what; and if the stock does go down to that price, you are obligated to purchase it; but that’s what you would have wanted anyway!! So I see naked puts as a win-win strategy.

Anyways, there always opportunities to make money, and so I’m not too worried if I miss out on some of them; I realize there is always more in the future. Did you bet on Obama winning the election on Intrade last year? Did you invest in Bitcoin in 2011? Did you invest in any stock in 2009? Did you invest in Shanghai/Seoul properties in the 1990s? Did you invest in the US housing market in 2010? Did you buy AAPL stock in 1990s? Did you buy call options on TSLA at the beginning of this year? Working part time on IT consulting? Buying iPhones in US and selling them in China for a markup? Stocking up on gold in 2008? How about writing a book about how to make money? How about selling an app in the App Store that links you to your book about how to make money? All of these could’ve net you a massive profit. But point is, its always about timing, and available capital. Its hard to estimate timing, but as long as you take the risk, there is always opportunity to make money and get rich. And the more money you have, the more money you can afford to risk, and thus the more you can make. That’s what I’ve learned through all my financial knowledge.

Videos:
I uploaded some videos recently, including reviews of the Ouya and Wikipad and cover of Bruno Mars:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcGnw03UZaw

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjDkSEL4Zwg

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrXoTleC344