Tuesday, July 29, 2008

5.6 Earthquake hits Southern California

Hello Everyone,

Just in case you're curious, everyone is ok and we survived a 5.6 earthquake today. The epi-center was in Chino Hills. It was a little scary because I was on the 9th floor in my building and we swayed back and forth for about a minute and a half. 90 seconds may not seem like much but it's like an eternity when it comes to earthquake.

I quickly drove back home to check if everything was ok. I then realized that my house is so messy that it looks exactly the same. In fact, I think the earthquake sorta move my stuff in a more orderly fashion. :-) That's bachelor living in socal and working 2 jobs.

Peace. Talk to you soon.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stephanie Makino and Kai Nagata E-Session

Today I had the pleasure of photographing Stephanie and Kai's engagement photos. They were so funny and photogenic which made it easy to capture great photos of this lovely couple. Unfortunately, we tried to capture a mixture of urban and beach front photos, but we ran out of time because we lost the light when the sun sets. No worries, I offered to do a 2nd part of their engagement session at another place and time. Keep your eyes peeled for the 2nd part of their engagement session. In the mean time, here's a sneak peek of their images today in a slideshow.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bose Companion 3 Speakers Follow-Up Review

A week ago on July 4th, I purchased a Bose Companion 3 computer speaker system (comes with a wired remote and subwoofer). I finally hooked it up to my Mac Pro tonight, and it is phenomenal. It sounded even better than the ones in the Bose Showroom. As with previous experience in trying out speakers in the showroom, it always sounds better there because the showroom is acoustically controlled and design to accentuate the quality of the speakers. However, this speaker system delivered sweet melodic mid-tones, non-ear chilling highs, and a heartful deep bass. It's by far the best computer speakers I've heard. Considering, I almost bought the Companion 5 system. Now, I'm convinced I made the right choice because Companion 5 would be too much speaker for my purpose and the Companion 3 delivered the perfect blend for the money. Bravo to Bose Sound System!!!

Finally, the iPhone 3G in my hand!

Well, after trying 4 times since Friday morning including twice on Friday, and 4.5 hours yesterday morning at the Apples Store Pasadena, I finally got the iPhone 3G in my hands. Yay!

I have to say one of the nice new feature of the new iPhone 3G is that it comes fully charged right out of the box so that you're up and running as soon as the plastice wrapper is removed and the acitivation process is completed. It also comes with a soft cleaning cloth to dust off grit, dirt and grimes on the phone as well as the screen. However, I have not need for that because i promptly purchased the antiglare shield an a see-thru plastic case to encapsulate the phone to avoid damages scratches and keep it in as mint condition as possible. Can we say "nut-job"? :-) Actually, it's a good thing as I already dropped my iPhone 3G twice already. I have this theory, the newer the phone and the more pristine condition of the phone, the slipperier or my inability to hand on to the phone gets. At least, that's my theory. :-)

I have to say the new iPhone 3G seems and feel thinner than the first generation iPhone. I made a side by side comparison. It's the same length as the previous phone but it's about 2 mm wider than the older phone. That's why the crystal protection screen shield will not work for both phones. You have to purchase the correct crystal film for the phone.

I also noticed that the screen seems to be sharper and crisper in displaying images. However, it's slight warmer and it has a yellow tint to all screens, not just images.

The virtual keyboard seems to be more accurate as I am mistyping less often. Yes, after a whole year, I'm still struggling with the virtual keyboard.

The battery life which Steve Job boasts is a lie. It can't possibly last more than 24 hours without charge, unless the phone is in non-use mode. Currently, I have 3G and bluetooth turned on, and it's sucking up battery like there's no tomorrow. I might have to bring it back to exchange it if it's defective. The battery went out on me 3 times today. Fortunately, I had my old iPhone portable charger with me. I was surfing on 3G, watch a quick movie clip of the "Shooter", and the bluetooth was turned on to connect my wireless headset. Literally, I can see a quarter of the power status bar went down. That's within 10 minutes of time!

I also noticed my cell phone coverage under 3G is not as good as EDGE. I usually have 4-5 bars of signal in the San Gabriel Valley area, but now it's only 2-3 bars. I also noticed that I had a couple of dropped calls for the first time in the SGV area.

Although, I still can't copy and paste, but I with the new 2.0 software (older iPhone can download for free upgrade), it's nice to at least delete multiple emails at once. And also a complete delete all emails within trash, sent items, junk, outbox, etc. It saves alot of time maintaining storage capacity and not get cluttered up with unwanted emails.

Incidentally, just a side note, a year ago today I almost returned my first iPhone due to a number of issues. Click here to read that post.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The New Apple iPhone 3G is here today!

I got up bright and early and head over to the Apple store at the Grove arriving just after 8AM, which was the scheduled store hours for today. The parking lot was relatively empty and I thought I beat everyone there. To my surprise there were at least 250 people already on line. I guess, I'll have to come back as the line is not moving at all. They are only letting a handful of people in at a time.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Upgraded My Macbook Pro with a 250GB Hard Drive

I upgraded my Macbook Pro from 160GB to 250GB hard drive tonight... actually it's early in the morning. It was no easy task because I needed to remove over 24 screws and 4 of those are torq screws which required a special tool. After 45 minutes of surgery, I was up and running with my new hard drive. I now have 90GB free space.

The whole process begins with getting a SATA 2.5" hard drive enclosure. I searched all over including the Internet. Most of these enclosures costs approximately $100 or more. I found one surprisingly of all places at Fry's Electronics for $19.99. Yes, $20!!! It's made by Coolmax. It comes with a carrying case and it's own little screw driver to tighten those tiny screws. You don't even have to buy a whole precision screw driver set. You can even use your tool for future use. My favorite part of this external enclosure is that it comes with it's own USB cable. When connected to a computer, it draws power from the computer via the USB. No additional AC adapter required! This really streamline the use of this hard drive enclosure without hunting for an electrical outlet.

I then connected my new 250GB hard drive to my Macbook Pro by installing it into the Coolmax hard drive enclosure. I then downloaded a freeware called SuperDuper and duplicate my hard drive to the external 250GB hard drive This freeware worked flawlessly. Copying 145GB worth of data took several hours. I basically click the start copying button and went out for dinner. When I came home, it was all done. I then followed the long process of removing the screws to open the case to get into the internal guts of my Macbook Pro. It was a delicate procedure. The hardest part is keeping track of all the screws that were removed. I removed the 250GB HD from the CoolMax enclosure and replaced the 160GB HD. I then took on the arduous task of replacing all the screws and secure the Macbook Pro.

When I turned on my Macbook Pro, it just kept on blipping and a quick constant LED flash. I was nervous that I might have screwed up my Macbook Pro. Most of all, I told myself "Crap! I have to remove all those screws again to get to the hard drive!!! Argh!!!" Fortunately, I stayed calm and researched on the Web with Lan's Sony VAIO laptop and Googled the symptom. It turns out that all posts on the Web points to a loose memory module. I guess I didn't seat the memory module tightly enough when I had to remove it to get to the internal hard drive. I reseated it and Voila! The computer booted right away and I heard the familiar chime. :-) My Macbook Pro now has an additional 90+GB of freespace!

By the way, the Fujitsu hard drive is only running at 5400 rpm . It's not the fastest but it's only $99.99 at Fry's Electronics this weekend. I needed more storage space and if I needed more speed, I'll just move projects to my Mac Pro.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Bose Companion 3 Desktop Speakers

Today I purchased the Bose Companion 3 Speakers at the Bose Outlet at Cabezon, CA. I've been checking out this speaker for months. I couldn't decide between the lower model Companion 2 system (no subwoofer) @ $99 and the Companion 5 system @ $349.99. The good thing about the Bose Outlet store aside from the discounted price is that their demo station is side by side with the same music. I liked the Companion 2 speakers @ $99 but it's definitely sub-par to the 3 and 5 series. I found the Companion 5 is superb but maybe too much speakers for my need because if I really want superb quality sound to listen music and watch movies, I'll just turn on my home stereo system. The 5 series is perfect for those consumers who do no have a high quality home stereo system. That leaves the Companion 3 system which has low profile and footprint satellite speakers with a fantastic subwoofer for the low bass. It's like no other computer speakers I've ever heard. Just think the Companion 5 is even far better than the Companion 3 speakers. So, for those of you who do not have a home stereo system and want to listen to music or watch movies with your desktop computer, the Companion 5 system is the way to go. The Companion 3 and 5 system also features a remote volume control which also has a headphone jack and audio input jack for plugging in your mp3 player.

I've been lurking like a vulture for a sale for months. The retail price which never goes on sale is $249.99. It's finally the 4th of July weekend sale with an additional 10% off of the outlet price of $219. It's $197.10 before tax. It's such a good deal, I just couldn't pass up this offer even though these are considered refurbished models. It still carries the 5 year Bose warranty. Go check it out this weekend before the sale is over.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy 75th Anniversary SAG!

Seventy-five years ago today marks the birth of the Screen Actors Guild. We were watching a documentary at the AMPTP and it says the official date when the Guild was registered is June 30, 1933.

Who would have thought that exactly 75 years later that the Guild would be on its last day in Theatrical / Television negotiations with the studios at the AMPTP. The picture above was taken this morning while SAG was waiting for AMPTP’s counter (final) offer. This is a historic event as this contract agreement will not only affect the next 3 years’ 4+ billion dollar contract, but it will set precedence and impact the Entertainment Industry for decades to come. If SAG negotiation team gives in too much it will affect the lives of many working class actors.