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Category: General (page 2 of 2)

Would you buy the iPhone 5? I would.

On the local HardwareZone forums, people are debating if the new iPhone 5 is worth buying. Main complain is the “small” 4″ screen size.  Some background information; the general public in Singapore takes public transport are drama/variety shows lovers. During transit on public transport, a large number of users watch videos on their phone, hence screen size one of the top factors when it comes to choosing a new smartphone. I would hazard a guess that it’s the same trend in Asian countries like Japan and Korea as well.

To me, it boils down to two camps:

1) If you want a capable phone that does almost everything a phone should do well, backed by an impressive Appstore and robust operating system, allows you to type and navigate with one hand — get the iPhone 5.

2) If you want a phone to mainly to watch movies, get something else with a big screen.

I have had experience with quite a number of smartphones, from iPhone 3G, 3GS (current), Samsung SGS2, iPhone 4, Nokia Lumia 800(current) and HTC One X (current).

I have 2 local and 1 oversea mobile lines, so i kept 3 phones. You would have realized i kept one of each mobile OS: iOS 5 on 3GS, Windows Phone 7.5 on Lumia 800 and Android ICS on the One X.

I sold my 2 year old iPhone 4 in preparation for the iPhone 5. I skipped 4S because i didn’t think my iPhone 4 was slow and it didn’t warranty an upgrade.

The Lumia interface is extremely minimalistic, sleek and face. But it’s plagued by a non-existent Marketplace, and apps are probably a few generations back. I guess the lack of Windows Phone users doesn’t make application development team at Facebook and others make a priority on improving or even making an app for WP (for now). FYI, there is no Instagram, Flipboard on WP. The WhatsApp messenger hangs half the time.

The HTC One X is a brilliant phone. The 4.7″ screen is awesome, build quality is fantastic and it’s great for web browsing and videos. But when im trying to type with one hand, it’s quite uncomfortable, and you don’t get the secure grip that you would like to have. Android apps have come a long way, slowly matching up iOS apps. But, it’s not quite there yet. Just take Facebook and Instagram for example, the iOS application always gets first dips on the updated version.

Would i get an iPhone 5? Yes. Because i think the whole iOS + Appstore + iPhone combo works. Yes, the design didn’t really change much, and you hope for that bigger 4.5″ or 5″ screen. To me, if you are going to do heaps of web-surfing for information etc, even on a 7″ tablet it’s not exactly the most comfortable, less say a 5+” “phablet“. The phone does what it is supposed to do, and the advancement in iOS 6 + evolutionary improvements in iPhone 5 is enough to warrant a change. And let’s be fair, the build quality of iPhone 4 and 4s are excellent, and i expect even better in iPhone 5.

Apple always upgrades their OS to take full advantage of the phone’s new capabilities. I love my One X, and i will probably keep it for a long time, but Jellybean has been out for a couple of months, and i’m still stuck on ARHD custom 4.0.4 ICS ROM to get that “project butter” feel. Hardware is nothing if the software isn’t keeping up, and for now, the Android phone manufacturers really needs to buck up.

iPhone 5 pricing & release date – Singapore

Apple followed their previous pricing on the iPhone 4S for the new iPhone 5. It is expected to arrive in Singapore on September 21st.

  • 16GB – S$948
  • 32GB – S$1088
  • 64GB – S$1288


Apple iPhone 5 new features summary (updated)



Apple’s newly unveiled iPhone 5 is the thinnest smartphone on the market and the lightest iPhone yet, all while packing in a taller 4-inch Retina display and high-speed 4G LTE connectivity. It launches first on Sept. 21.

Pricing will be identical to previous years, with the 16-gigabyte model available for $199 with a new two-year contract, a 32-gigabyte model for $299, and 64-gigabyte for $399 in the US. For Singapore, the prices replicates the previous iPhone 4S pricing: 16GB for S$948, 32GB for S$1,088 and 64GB for $1,288. Preorders will begin this Friday, Sept. 14, and it will launch in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore on Sept. 21. An additional 22 more countries will get their iPhone 5 on September 28, including: Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. A further 20 more countries will get it in October. (updated)

All of the native applications in iOS have been updated to take advantage of the new, larger display. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller showed off how Calendar shows off a full five-day workweek, and how the iWork suite has been updated to use the expanded real estate.

Old applications will run letterboxed on the larger screen, with black borders on either side centering the application, allowing for what Schiller called “pixel-perfect” rendering. He said that developers will be able to quickly and easily updated their applications to take advantage of the new display.

The touch panel has also been integrated into the Retina display, allowing the screen to be even thinner and sharper, and produce less glare in sunlight. Schiller said the new screen has 44 percent better color saturation, with full sRGB rendering.

As with previous iPhones, the iPhone 5 will be available in two colors: black and white. The white model has a raw aluminum back, while the black version has a black anodized metal back.

The addition of 4G LTE and the A6 CPU will not have a negative effect on battery life, according to Apple. Schiller said that the new iPhone 5 will not only match, but will exceed the battery life of the iPhone 4S, offering 8 hours of 3G or LTE talk time or Web browsing.

A new microphone has also been added to the back that will allow for improved audio recording and voice cancelation.

Another major feature of the new iPhone is 4G LTE connectivity, which allows for the fastest mobile connections available. The iPhone 5 also sports a dynamic antenna that switches between connections seamlessly.

The iPhone 5 will offer 4G LTE support on carriers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint in the U.S. In Canada, Rogers, Telus, Bell, Virgin and Fido are compatible. More carriers were also listed for Europe, Australia and Asia.

Wi-Fi connectivity is 802.11a/b/g/n, and is dual-channel for up to 150Mbps downloads.

The all-new A6 processor also promises up to twice as fast graphics and CPU performance. Schiller said the A6 will launch Pages more than twice as fast, save an image from iPhoto 1.7 times as fast, load the Music app with songs 1.9 times as fast, and view a Keynote attachment 1.7 times as fast.

The iSight camera has been upgraded to an 8-megapixel sensor that captures 3,265 by 2,448 pixels. It’s a five-element lens and f/2.4 aperture, while being thinner than the iPhone 4S.

Image capture is said to be 40 percent faster, while a new image processor in the A6 promises to reduce noise and accomplish better color matching.

Also built in to the iOS 6 camera application is support for panoramic photos.Users simply sweep the scene vertically to maximize resolution, which can result in a 28-megapixel image.

The rear camera will record 1080p high-definition video and has improved video stabilization.  Sapphire crystal lens prevents scratches that distorts photo and video taking. The forward-facing FaceTime HD camera also records 720p video, and has backside illumination.

The thinner iPhone is made possible in part by a new, smaller 9-pin dock connector dubbed “Lightning“. Adapters will also be available to ensure compatibility with legacy accessories.

Credit: Images are from respective sites like Engadget/Anandtech. Notes from AI.

Love – how it maps our brain




Read this article on NY Times. It reminded me of the book a book i read, “Why We Love” by Helen Fisher, who is a biological anthropologist that conducted extensive research and written five books on the evolution and future of human sex, love, marriage, gender differences in the brain and how your personality type shapes who you are and who you love.

The power of love, a non-tangible yet powerful force that affects us all, consciously and subconsciously.

—-

The Brain on Love
By DIANE ACKERMAN

A RELATIVELY new field, called interpersonal neurobiology, draws its vigor from one of the great discoveries of our era: that the brain is constantly rewiring itself based on daily life. In the end, what we pay the most attention to defines us. How you choose to spend the irreplaceable hours of your life literally transforms you.

All relationships change the brain — but most important are the intimate bonds that foster or fail us, altering the delicate circuits that shape memories, emotions and that ultimate souvenir, the self.

Every great love affair begins with a scream. At birth, the brain starts blazing new neural pathways based on its odyssey in an alien world. An infant is steeped in bright, buzzing, bristling sensations, raw emotions and the curious feelings they unleash, weird objects, a flux of faces, shadowy images and dreams — but most of all a powerfully magnetic primary caregiver whose wizardry astounds.

Brain scans show synchrony between the brains of mother and child; but what they can’t show is the internal bond that belongs to neither alone, a fusion in which the self feels so permeable it doesn’t matter whose body is whose. Wordlessly, relying on the heart’s semaphores, the mother says all an infant needs to hear, communicating through eyes, face and voice. Thanks to advances in neuroimaging, we now have evidence that a baby’s first attachments imprint its brain. The patterns of a lifetime’s behaviors, thoughts, self-regard and choice of sweethearts all begin in this crucible.

We used to think this was the end of the story: first heredity, then the brain’s engraving mental maps in childhood, after which you’re pretty much stuck with the final blueprint.

But as a wealth of imaging studies highlight, the neural alchemy continues throughout life as we mature and forge friendships, dabble in affairs, succumb to romantic love, choose a soul mate. The body remembers how that oneness with Mother felt, and longs for its adult equivalent.

As the most social apes, we inhabit a mirror-world in which every important relationship, whether with spouse, friend or child, shapes the brain, which in turn shapes our relationships. Daniel J. Siegel and Allan N. Schore, colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, recently discussed groundbreaking work in the field at a conference on the school’s campus. It’s not that caregiving changes genes; it influences how the genes express themselves as the child grows. Dr. Siegel, a neuropsychiatrist, refers to the indelible sense of “feeling felt” that we learn as infants and seek in romantic love, a reciprocity that remodels the brain’s architecture and functions.

Does it also promote physical well-being? “Scientific studies of longevity, medical and mental health, happiness and even wisdom,” Dr. Siegel says, “point to supportive relationships as the most robust predictor of these positive attributes in our lives across the life span.”

The supportive part is crucial. Loving relationships alter the brain the most significantly.

Just consider how much learning happens when you choose a mate. Along with thrilling dependency comes glimpsing the world through another’s eyes; forsaking some habits and adopting others (good or bad); tasting new ideas, rituals, foods or landscapes; a slew of added friends and family; a tapestry of physical intimacy and affection; and many other catalysts, including a tornadic blast of attraction and attachment hormones — all of which revamp the brain.

When two people become a couple, the brain extends its idea of self to include the other; instead of the slender pronoun “I,” a plural self emerges who can borrow some of the other’s assets and strengths. The brain knows who we are. The immune system knows who we’re not, and it stores pieces of invaders as memory aids. Through lovemaking, or when we pass along a flu or a cold sore, we trade bits of identity with loved ones, and in time we become a sort of chimera. We don’t just get under a mate’s skin, we absorb him or her.

Love is the best school, but the tuition is high and the homework can be painful. As imaging studies by the U.C.L.A. neuroscientist Naomi Eisenberger show, the same areas of the brain that register physical pain are active when someone feels socially rejected. That’s why being spurned by a lover hurts all over the body, but in no place you can point to. Or rather, you’d need to point to the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex in the brain, the front of a collar wrapped around the corpus callosum, the bundle of nerve fibers zinging messages between the hemispheres that register both rejection and physical assault.

Whether they speak Armenian or Mandarin, people around the world use the same images of physical pain to describe a broken heart, which they perceive as crushing and crippling. It’s not just a metaphor for an emotional punch. Social pain can trigger the same sort of distress as a stomachache or a broken bone.

But a loving touch is enough to change everything. James Coan, a neuroscientist at the University of Virginia, conducted experiments in 2006 in which he gave an electric shock to the ankles of women in happy, committed relationships. Tests registered their anxiety before, and pain level during, the shocks.

Then they were shocked again, this time holding their loving partner’s hand. The same level of electricity produced a significantly lower neural response throughout the brain. In troubled relationships, this protective effect didn’t occur. If you’re in a healthy relationship, holding your partner’s hand is enough to subdue your blood pressure, ease your response to stress, improve your health and soften physical pain. We alter one another’s physiology and neural functions.

However, it’s not all sub rosa. One can decide to be a more attentive and compassionate partner, mindful of the other’s motives, hurts and longings. Breaking old habits isn’t easy, since habits are deeply ingrained neural shortcuts, a way of slurring over details without having to dwell on them. Couples often choose to rewire their brains on purpose, sometimes with a therapist’s help, to ease conflicts and strengthen their at-one-ness.

While they were both in the psychology department of Stony Brook University, Bianca Acevedo and Arthur Aron scanned the brains of long-married couples who described themselves as still “madly in love.” Staring at a picture of a spouse lit up their reward centers as expected; the same happened with those newly in love (and also with cocaine users). But, in contrast to new sweethearts and cocaine addicts, long-married couples displayed calm in sites associated with fear and anxiety. Also, in the opiate-rich sites linked to pleasure and pain relief, and those affiliated with maternal love, the home fires glowed brightly.

A happy marriage relieves stress and makes one feel as safe as an adored baby. Small wonder “Baby” is a favorite adult endearment. Not that romantic love is an exact copy of the infant bond. One needn’t consciously regard a lover as momlike to profit from the parallels. The body remembers, the brain recycles and restages.

So how does this play out beyond the lab? I saw the healing process up close after my 74-year-old husband, who is also a writer, suffered a left-hemisphere stroke that wiped out a lifetime of language. All he could utter was “mem.” Mourning the loss of our duet of decades, I began exploring new ways to communicate, through caring gestures, pantomime, facial expressions, humor, play, empathy and tons of affection — the brain’s epitome of a safe attachment. That, plus the admittedly eccentric home schooling I provided, and his diligent practice, helped rewire his brain to a startling degree, and in time we were able to talk again, he returned to writing books, and even his vision improved. The brain changes with experience throughout our lives; it’s in loving relationships of all sorts — partners, children, close friends — that brain and body really thrive.

During idylls of safety, when your brain knows you’re with someone you can trust, it needn’t waste precious resources coping with stressors or menace. Instead it may spend its lifeblood learning new things or fine-tuning the process of healing. Its doors of perception swing wide open. The flip side is that, given how vulnerable one then is, love lessons — sweet or villainous — can make a deep impression. Wedded hearts change everything, even the brain.

Source:
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/the-brain-on-love/

iPad 3 pricing compared – Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, US. [Updated with Thailand]

The new iPad launched in Malaysia on 20th April 2012. According to my analysis on historical pricing, Malaysia’s iPad pricing is usually the cheapest, even cheaper than US itself. With the launch of the new iPad, i investigate the comparative pricing from four five countries – Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and US.

We are using the lowest (16GB) and the highest (64GB) capacity for the Wifi-only and the Wifi + 4G models. All pricing used are from the black models since there is no price difference for color choice on the Apple online store, and USD conversion are done using prevailing exchange rate (as of April 23rd 2012) from XE.com.

CountryDescriptionPrice (native)Price (USD)
MalaysiaiPad 3 Wi-Fi only 16GB (MC705ZP/A)RM 1,499.00$489.86
SingaporeiPad 3 Wi-Fi only 16GB (MC705ZP/A)S$658.00$526.40
AustraliaiPad 3 Wi-Fi only 16GB (MC705X/A)A$528.00$512.16
USAiPad 3 Wi-Fi only 16GB (MC705LL/A)US$499.00$499.00
ThailandiPad 3 Wi-Fi only 16GB (MC705TH/A)฿16,500$523.05
MalaysiaiPad 3 Wi-Fi only 64GB (MC707ZP/A)RM 2,099.00$685.95
SingaporeiPad 3 Wi-Fi only 64GB (MC707ZP/A)S$918.00$734.40
AustraliaiPad 3 Wi-Fi only 64GB (MC707X/A)A$759.00$736.23
USAiPad 3 Wi-Fi only 64GB (MC707LL/A)US$699.00$699.00
ThailandiPad 3 Wi-Fi only 64GB (MC707TH/A)฿22,500$713.26
MalaysiaiPad 3 Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD366ZP/A)RM 1899.00$620.59
SingaporeiPad 3 Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD366ZP/A)S$828.00$662.40
AustraliaiPad 3 Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD366X/A)A$679.00$658.63
USAiPad 3 Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD366LL/A)US$629.00$629.00
ThailandiPad 3 Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD366TH/A)฿20,500$649.86
MalaysiaiPad 3 Wifi + 4G 64GB (MD368ZP/A)RM 2,499.00$816.67
SingaporeiPad 3 Wifi + 4G 64GB (MD368ZP/A)S$1088.00$870.40
AustraliaiPad 3 Wifi + 4G 64GB (MD368X/A)A$899.00$872.03
USAiPad 3 Wifi + 4G 64GB (MD368LL/A)US$829.00$829.00
ThailandiPad 3 Wifi + 4G 64GB (MD368TH/A)฿26,500$840.07



From the table above, we can establish that if you are looking for a good deal on iPad 3, Malaysia is the currently one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) place to get your hands on a new iPad 3. The US is a close 2nd, averaging a US$10 gap. Australia just edges out Singapore to claim the 3rd spot, but not by much, with the highest end 64GB Wifi + 4G model being the only model that is more expensive than Singapore.

iPhone 5 Rumours

French site nowhereelse.fr consolidates all the rumours floating around Apple’s new iPhone 5 in a graphical presentation. Looks like a bigger screen, iPad 2’s A5 processor and iOS 5 are quite possible. Personally, if 3 of these were true, it’s good enough a reason for me to upgrade. Let’s just hope iOS5 will bring us a much more intuitive and less obtrusive notification system, like Andriod’s.

Click on image below to see the full sized version.

iPhone-5-Rumor-RoundUp

December 2010 – Budget PC (below S$700)

We primarily use our computer for web media that includes flash games, video streaming and various social networking sites. The system we build should be a low-cost box that would excel in all areas, and still allows for some casual gaming.

Below is a budget PC that would be relatively quick for everything that you would do, without breaking the bank.

CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 445 Triple-Core Processor 3.0GHz – $100

Mainboard: Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H – $159

Memory: Kingston PC3-10600 2GB DDR3-1333 x 2 pc – $62

GPU: Power Color Radeon HD5750 1GB DDR5 – $155

Hard drive: Hitachi SATA-II 500GB 7200RPM 16MB – $48

Casing: Cooler Master RC-360 Elite 360 – $54

PSU: Cooler Master RP-550 550W Extreme Power – $79

Optical:  Samsung SH-S223F 22X SATA DVD Burner – $27

Total: $684

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