Archive for June 2010

First Look: Philips Streamium Hi-Fi System with SoundSphere MCi900

Had a first look at the Philips Streamium Hi-Fi System with SoundSphere MCi900 recently.

The thing that stands out the most is the speakers. The Philips SoundSphere speakers feature unique free-floating tweeters. Traditional speakers have their tweeters on the box itself. But the SoundSphere speaker’s tweeters is on top of the box to deliver sound in all directions, the same way an actual instrument emits sound when played. This produces a deeper and wider sound impression, just like a live performance.

Streamium comes with a built in 160GB harddisk to store your music. Or you can stream music wirelessly from your PC using UPnP. Or listen to internet radio. This thing got Ethernet and WIFI lor. And it’s 802.11n.

The output power is 2x50W RMS music output power and Class “D” Digital Amplifier.. Not sure if that number means anything to you. Honestly, it means nothing to me. All I know is that I like what I’m hearing from the Philips SoundSphere speakers.

Seriously, I don’t know how to do a first look on this product. This shouldn’t be a “First Look”. Instead, it should be a “First hear”. But then, I can’t reproduce the amazing sound even if I record it on video. So you just have to trust me on this one. The sound quality is amazing. Really amazing. The Philips Streamium Hi-Fi System with SoundSphere MCi900 retails at S$1299. And I want it! (PS: My birthday is on 3rd Oct)

Review: Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini

The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini is perhaps the smallest smartphone that landed on my hands for review.

Yes, this is a mobile phone. In fact, its a smartphone running Android 1.6. This thing is just 8.3 x 5.0 x 1.6 cm and weighs 88 grams. It has a 2.55 inch touchscreen that gives you 240 x 320 pixels (QVGA). The form factor is very interesting. But do not be fooled by the small form factor. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini comes with almost everything that your usual smartphone has. 3.5mm Audio Jack, MicroUSB port for charging and data transfer. WIFI, Bluetooth, AGPS, Digital Compass and a 5 megapixel autofocus camera. Pretty good for a phone this small.

Oh, the battery is non-removable. I guess it’s hard to make a removable battery when you have such a small form factor. Not much an issue here since there is another popular smartphone out there that doesn’t have removable battery too.

And since the X10 mini only has a 2.55 inch screen, the user interface need to be well designed or it will be difficult to use. And I must say that Sony Ericsson did a very good job with the user interface. The 4 corners on the main screen is used for shortcuts. You also have the usual Android widgets. The only thing is, there can only be 1 widget on 1 screen. I’m perfectly fine with that. To access your applications, just slide upwards on the screen to pull out the application menu. The interface is pretty simple and easy to use. And it’s pretty responsive too. Credits to the Sony Ericsson team doing the user interface. Before trying out the Xperia X10 mini, I didn’t know that you can have a good user interface on such a small screen.

There is no full size virtual Qwerty keyboard on the Xperia X10 mini. It can’t fit in. So you are stuck with the virtual number pad for text entry. Since I have been a candy bar phone user for 10 years before switching to a smartphone, I have no problem using the virtual number pad to type SMS. But it is certainly not something you might want to use to type a long email or blog entry. You can try, but I’m sure you will not do that for long. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini is more suitable for content consumption rather than content creation. For those who wants to type more, Sony Ericsson will be releasing the Xperia X10 mini Pro in July 2010 which comes with a slide out physical Qwerty keyboard.

As I was trying out this phone during my review, I can’t help but fall in love with it. The phone is elegant, simple yet power packed. All thanks to the Android operating system. If Sony Ericsson were to put another operating system on this form factor, it would be a completely different story. The user interface also played a huge part. The phone’s form factor is very interesting. I can basically visualize myself hanging this phone on my neck with a lanyard. Imagine finding places with Wikitude, searching for something I see using Google Goggles, finding cheaper store using SavvyShopper or Star gazing using Google Sky Map. The small form factor makes this the perfect phone for all these. It’s a pity that the X10 mini isn’t running on Android 2.2. The WIFI hotspot would be a good feature for this a phone in this form factor.

But the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini isn’t a phone for everybody. I think Sony Ericsson is trying to target a niche market here. The girls will like this phone a lot. Those who consume content more than they create will find this phone good. But for me, although I love it, it just don’t fit into my lifestyle since I’m a content creator. Maybe it would be a good secondary phone for me. Hang it on a lanyard and run applications like Latitude, Twitter, Google Goggles, SavvyShopper, Wikitude, Sky map etc etc.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 comes with 2 covers. You can choose between Black cover and Red cover OR White cover and Lime cover. I think I saw a pink cover somewhere. I guess it is sold separately. Think the pink cover will be a hit among the girls. As for me, you know lah, I hate pink gadgets.

In short:
A small yet powerful phone.

Likes:
Small form factor
Simple and responsive user interface

Dislikes:
Android 1.6 (will be upgraded to 2.1 in Q3 2010)
Virtual Number Pad for text entry

ICANN approves dot-XXX Top Level Domain

ICANN recently approved dot-XXX Top Level Domain (TLD) for, you guessed it, porn. Yeap, the dot-XXX TLD falls under the sponsored top-level domain category. Sponsored TLD is a specialized top-level domain that has a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain. Domains like dot-Asia, dot-Mobi and dot-museum are all sponsored TLD.

This means that url like playboy.xxx or sex.xxx will soon be possible. But it will take some time before we seeing these .xxx domains. This is because ICANN still need to review the contract proposed for the operation of the domain. We might need to wait till next year before we start seeing these .xxx domains.

But here’s the thing. Having .xxx domain makes the government’s job easier. Agencies like MDA can just block all dot-XXX Top Level Domain. This might means that less porn operators are willing to register a .xxx domain. But there might be some porn companies that are ok with it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see a huge take up for .Asia, .Mobi or even .Aero. So will the dot-XXX TLD make any difference? I guess some porn companies might take up a .xxx domain just for vanity sake. Personally, I don’t see a huge take up for dot-XXX TLD. But maybe I might be wrong about this. The porn industry is a very interesting industry. They don’t really follow trend from other industries. So what is happening elsewhere might not be applicable to them.

Whatever it is, it doesn’t affect us in Singapore since pornography is illegal here. Right?

But I can’t help but think of this song from Avenue Q when I saw the news.

The Internet is for Porn

Footballer outrun circle line train

Here is an interesting video. It is possible for someone to outrun a circle line train?

Amazing huh? As much as I wished it is real, I don’t think that is possible. The distance from Stadium Station to Nicoll Highway MRT Station is 2.5 KM. Even if he swim across Kallang River also cannot be so fast.

And if you look closely at the video, at 0:54 mark, you notice that the corner 2 seater is taken up by 2 ladies. Then at 1:26, the 2 seater is taken up by 2 young guys. From my many many years of taking MRT, I’ve never seen a 2 young ladies giving up their seats to 2 young guys. Never. I guess they cut the video at the point where the camera is pointing at the floor.

And judging from the amount of adidas product seen in the video, I guess it’s a viral video by adidas.

Good job adidas! Nicely done.

iPhone 4 – Yes, it Blends

The iPhone 4 begin officially selling in US, UK, Germany, France and Japan on 24 June 2010. And I have one burning question about the iPhone 4. Will it blend?

OK, now that we know it does, I can’t wait for iPhone 4 to come to Singapore. My iPhone 3G is too slow already.