Apple Begins Taking Pre-Order Purchases Of iPhone 5 Today

English: The logo for Apple Computer, now Appl...

English: The logo for Apple Computer, now Apple Inc.. The design of the logo started in 1977 designed by Rob Janoff with the rainbow color theme used until 1999 when Apple stopped using the rainbow color theme and used a few different color themes for the same design. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apple begins to take pre-orders for iPhone 5 today.  At Apple website, Apple only allows 2 iPhone 5 pre-orders per person.  As usual, you can totally do a finance deal with Apple through Barclaycard credit card service.  At the purchase time, before you even add your iPhone 5 pre-order into a checkout cart, Apple would post a link to Barclaycard credit card service to allow you to sign up for a finance deal.  The deals are, at checkout, if everything you purchase on Apple at the time which is under $999, you don’t have to pay interest on the debt for 6 months.  Anything you purchase at the time is over $999, you don’t have to pay interest on the debt for 12 months.  If you’re already a Barclaycard credit card member who has an active Barclay credit card, you can totally use the promotional finance deals for iPhone 5 as long you purchase iPhone 5 with Apple (with Apple only) before October 18th.  The promotional finance deals for current Barclaycard member are the same as the new applicants for Apple/Barclaycard promotional deals (i.e., under $999 – no interest for 6 months, over $999 – no interest for 12 months).  Prices for iPhone 5 models are, $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB.  iPhone 5 only comes in black or white color, not much choice eh?  You still have to pay shipping fee, sale tax and so on at the checkout.  So, it won’t just be the listed prices of the iPhone 5 models that you have to worry about paying.  I almost forget to mention that you have to also weigh the prices of the 2 year contract that you want to sign up with which wireless provider.

The big differences I see when comparing iPhone 5 against iPhone 4S, one iteration back, are few.  The first big difference is that iPhone 5 has the latest processing chip known as A6, because the iPhone 4S uses A5 chip.  According to others, A6 chip has better performance and yet more energy efficience than A5 chip.  Perhaps, according to Engadget’s “Apple: A6 chip in iPhone 5 has 2x CPU power, 2x graphics performance, yet consumes less energy” article, A6 chip is a lot smaller in size, consequently allowing A6 chip to be more energy efficient.  The second big difference is that iPhone 5 is 0.37 inch taller, .07 inch thinner, and 0.95 ounces lighter than iPhone 4S.  The third big difference is that iPhone 5’s display resolution is higher than previous iPhone 4S and older models (i.e., iPhone 5 has 1136×640 resolution).  The fourth big difference can be an iffy, because I’m not exactly sure if this is the case — iPhone 5 supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard (the newer wireless standard which allows faster wireless data transfer/bandwidth speed across Wi-Fi network).  iPhone 4S and older models definitely do not support 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.  On the same note, iPhone 5 supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless bands, and older iPhone models only supports 2.4 GHz wireless band.  The fifth big difference is that iPhone 5 does not support existing Micro-SIM cards, therefore it only works with the new Nano-SIM card.  The sixth big difference is that iPhone 5 has better FaceTime camera which enables 1.2MP photos and 720p HD video; other previous iPhone models only support VGA-resolution photos and video.  The seventh big difference is that iPhone 5 won’t support 30-pin connector, because the new connector is much much smaller.  The eighth big difference is that iPhone 5’s battery lifespan of a single charge lasts longer in terms of browsing and standby time.

What do I think about iPhone 5?  According to other people, iPhone 5 isn’t that different than iPhone 4S and 4 in term of fashion, because iPhone 5 looks very similar to iPhone 4s and 4.  I can’t say I’m excited about having to see iPhone 5 keeps the same look of iPhone 4S and 4.  Nonetheless, iPhone 4S and 4 look really good from the beginning, therefore nothing can go wrong when iPhone 5 adopts the same polish look of iPhone 4S and 4.  So, I’m not terribly exciting, but I’m not disappointed either in term of iPhone 5 fashion.  There is one thing I must point out though, I don’t know how much I would like iPhone 5 for being taller than iPhone 4.  I guess, until Apple actually begins to ship iPhone 5 to pre-order customers, then I will know how much I would like iPhone 5 in term of being taller than iPhone 4.  Gotta feel it in your hand to know exactly how you feel about it, you know?  On other specs, I actually glad to see that iPhone 5 has better chip and is support 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.  Other than what I had said I like about iPhone 5, I can hardly say iPhone 5 is any more exciting than the first iPhone or iPhone 4.  How come?  If you have iPhone 4S, you know your iPhone 4S is just as capable as iPhone 5.  If you have the first iPhone, wasn’t it that excited to be one of the first iPhone generation users?  You get the gist!


As Time Goes By, I Feel As If Customers Are Being Criminalized

Smartphone Evolution

Smartphone Evolution (Photo credit: Phil Roeder)

So, which smart phone are you going to buy next?  I can totally see that this is like a hello kind of greeting for people nowadays, but of course don’t take it literally OK?  Anyhow, iPhone 5 is about to come out, and I mean really about to as it seems that Apple will release iPhone 5 late this month.  Today, Apple reveals iPhone 5 to the world.  In a way, iPhone 5 event is a big thing for Apple fans.  Very big indeed!  Nonetheless, smart phone competition is already in the overdrive mode, therefore haters also come out in droves to point out that iPhone 5 isn’t that impressive.  Personally, I care little for a specific smart phone!  This means iPhone, Android, or whatever smart phone will only be on my radar if it appeals to me at a specific point in time.

Some of you may not be able to think like I do in regarding to worship a God of a specific smart phone according to one’s mood.  How come?  Some of you’re buying into an electronic ecosystem and platform when buying, upgrading, or switching (i.e., to a different brand) a smart phone.  For an example, let say Mr. Eat Donuts On Mars bought a smart phone from a well known smart phone brand Blah (fake company I made up so to not be bias or against a specific brand of smart phone) few years back, and now he wants to upgrade to a new smart phone.  Unfortunately for Mr. Eat Donuts On Mars, he feels ill about upgrading his smart phone with the same brand as before.  Still, Mr. Eat Donuts On Mars has no choice but to upgrade to a new smart phone with the same brand as before, because he had bought too many digital contents such as 2000 MP3 tracks (with DRM protection) with the brand of the smart phone he wants to do away with.  The moral of the example of Mr. Eat Donuts On Mars is that if you’re heavily invested in digital contents of a particular electronic brand, it’s very hard to move away from such a brand when digital contents are being protected by DRM (Digital Right Management) and anti-customer practices/regulations.

I’m totally for buying digital contents legally, because I believe that the artists and whoever else in the digital media business need to make their living just like you and I do.  Nonetheless, I’m against digital contents to be treated like digital contents of today.  I think there must be a way to allow the owner (i.e., the customers) of the digital contents to be able to transfer the digital contents from one electronic ecosystem/platform to another.  Also, the owner of whatever digital contents should be able to share their digital contents with whoever he or she wants once the purchases had been completed.  Of course, there must be temperament in everything.  This is why I think there should also be a regulation(s) to make a set up of massive scale of distributing digital media/contents — in the purpose of destroying the digital business of a company — illegal.  This way, common sense can use a specific regulation to punish whoever tries to massively distributing digital media/contents for malicious purposes such as to steal business profits from the true business source (i.e., content creators and legitimate distributors).  I guess, I’m trying to promote the idea that once you buy something, whether it’s digital or not, such something must be owned outright.  With that being said, I know digital media/contents — all — is a very different beast from other types of products.  After all, anyone can totally redistribute and remarket the same digital media/contents without any overheading cost, to a point as if outright stealing the sweats of the content creators and legitimate distributors.

It’s truly very hard to have your cake and eat it too if we try to come up a perfect solution for dealing with digital media/contents, in regarding to piracy matter.  Nonetheless, I think customers should be treated like customers and not like criminals.  This is why we need to be both soft and hard toward the idea of sharing digital media/contents.  This is why DRM is too rigid for actually making sense in term of treating customers as customers.  Customers can only truly feel that they’re not criminals when they can share their digital contents in common sense way.  I propose that the customers should be able to share their digital contents without being criminalized.  Nonetheless, as I had said earlier, customers or not, when trying to distribute their purchased digital media/contents in malicious methodologies — massively distributing digital media/contents through a server or P2P software or whatever for the purpose of monetizing, destroying the business of the content creators, or whatever other malicious purpose — cannot go unpunished.  I truly think common sense has to be the way when we’re dealing with digital media/contents.

With all sorts of DRM protection(s) in place and criminalized dictations of the usage of whatever digital media/contents, I often avoid the purchasing of digital media/contents (such as MP3 tracks) outright.  This is why I have been a loyal customer to Spotify.  I only subscribe to Spotify and not really buy any music, because a premium service from Spotify allows me to play all songs within Spotify’s music archives at anytime.  Of course, if I ever decide to not pay Spotify a relatively cheap monthly fee, all of my playlists and music access will go poof (i.e., disappearing).  With that in mind, I still prefer Spotify or similar service(s) for digital media/contents over purchasing digital media/contents outright.  In the end, I think I prefer to feel like I actually own something when I purchase something; if this isn’t the case, I should not be bothered with buying something outright and just go for a subscription service(s).

So, you see, when you’re purchasing a new smart phone, it does mean a lot in term of what to do.  Most often, you might have to ask yourself, can I really upgrade to a different brand of smart phone?  If a smart phone user is heavily invested in digital media contents, the case is usually a very sad one.  He or she must have feel frustrating as he or she may not be able to actually, fully transfer all of their digital media/contents from one smart phone to another since both old and new smart phones are not of the same brand.  Obviously, this isn’t always the case.  How come?  If two different brands of smart phones are using the same software ecosystem (i.e., same operating system), the chance of being able to transfer digital contents from one smart phone brand to another is very high (i.e., almost 100% or 100% chance to be able to transfer the digital media/contents). Still, there might be an outlier even in this very case.

In a nutshell, it’s not simple for customers to switch their phones like they switch their shirts.  I think the smart phone business and other electronic types of business can totally be more profitable and highly regard if they simplify the process of switching electronic devices/platforms.  Of course, you can argue that — this is insane — as it’s most likely that an electronic brand should do everything to keep their customers’ brand loyalty, even it has to come down to locking their customers in an electronic ecosystem.  I beg otherwise.  I think customers should not be taken hostage to any electronic ecosystem or platform.  DRM and similar methodologies can totally be used to lock the customers into a specific electronic ecosystems/platforms.

Lightroom 4 Photo Fun – Beautiful Golf Course Pond

Check out the original iPhone 4 and Lightroom 4 retouched photos of a beautiful pond of a nice golf course right after the break.

Lightroom 4 Photo Fun – Colorful, Small But Humble, Flower Bed

A trip to Starbucks, saw some beautiful colorful flowers and so my iPhone 4 camera was so ready.  Anyhow, check out the original and the retouched images of the colorful, small but humble, flower bed right after the break.

The images above were taken and created by Vinh Nguyen.  You can reuse the images for all purposes, but you have to credit Vinh Nguyen for the images.  The images above contain the traditional copyright license which credits to Vinh Nguyen only, therefore you cannot redistribute the images above under creative common licenses.

Lightroom 4 Photo Fun – Horse Grazing

While driving, I saw a horse was grazing, and so I took couple snapshots with iPhone 4.  For your information, I did not trespass the owner’s property at all, because I stood outside the fence.  Anyhow, I had witnessed a great opportune in which the sky and the air were misty, allowing the day to retain its early morning wake even though time had passed 10 AM, and so I thought it would be so nice to take couple snapshots of a horse, without a care in the world, grazed away in the misty air.  With the snapshots in hand, I was able to retouch them with Lightroom 4.  Check out the original and the retouched photos of a beautiful horse that grazed peacefully, quietly, and gracefully.

The images above were taken and created by Vinh Nguyen.  You can reuse the images for all purposes, but you have to credit Vinh Nguyen for the images.  The images above contain the traditional copyright license which credits to Vinh Nguyen only, therefore you cannot redistribute the images above under creative common licenses.

Video Gaming On Smartphones About To Be Changed In A Very Big Way, But With Button Smashing And Joystick Pushing Old Fashion Kind Of Experience

Video gaming is something I’m familiar with, because I play many games.  Nonetheless, whenever it comes down to playing games on a smartphone such as on an iPhone, I cringe every time.  Reluctantly as I am for playing video games on a smartphone, but I do this anyway to kill some time.  I don’t think I have ever expected myself to be too serious in playing any game on a smartphone, really.

Playing games on a smartphone isn’t as great as playing games on a console or a computer, because most smartphones nowadays rely solely on touchscreen functionalities (i.e., without buttons and joystick).  It’s much harder to be precise in executing commands for a game when I have to actually make sure I had touched the right area on the touchscreen display of a smartphone.  There isn’t much texture feedback for the fingers of a gamer, therefore it’s harder for a gamer like me to appreciate the playing of video games on a smartphone.  I think only few games can be done well without relying on the constant input of the fingers.

Luckily, a KickStarter Coco Controller project is here to rescue the horrible on the go gaming experience (i.e., playing games on smartphones).  When there is enough funding, the people behind KickStarter Coco Controller project will be able to produce a controller case for various smartphones, allowing people to play video games on a smartphone as if they play video games on a handheld gaming device.  So far from what I had read on Coco Controller, the case is so simple to use as one has only to slide the smartphone into the case effortlessly.  From what I had read, the Coco Controller case utilizes a smartphone’s audio jack, therefore it does not need any battery power of its own to power the case.  At the bottom of the Coco Controller case, there will be an audio out jack for headphones or speakers.

As the Coco Controller case fits effortlessly over a smartphone, a gamer like me can just bash and throttle away the buttons and the joystick of the Coco Controller.  I think the texture feedback of the Coco Controller case will definitely enhance the video gaming experience on a smartphone (i.e., smartphone utilizes touchscreen display for everything).  I can already imagine with Coco Controller, I don’t have to second guess myself when I execute the commands for a video game as I can rely on the texture feedback of the buttons and the joystick.

So far, Coco Controller promises to come in four sizes.  These sizes will cover Samsung Galaxy SIII, iPhone 4/4S, latest iPod Touch, and the soon to arrive on the smartphone market iPhone 5.  Nonetheless, I think as Coco Controller gets more popular, I can only see more smartphone models will want to be supported by Coco Controller.  After all, I think Coco Controller will greatly enhance video gaming on the go (i.e., with a smartphone).

Another great inclusive aspect of Coco Controller which is a bonus in my opinion is that smartphone users can totally use Coco Controller to play their smartphone video games on big screen TV.  Nonetheless, this only works if a smartphone does have the capability of mirroring the graphics on the smartphone to the big screen TV.  A good example of this would be the latest iPhone 4S.  iPhone 4S allows users to just mirroring the graphics on iPhone to Apple TV, and Apple TV will project the graphics onto the big screen TV.  Coco Controller takes the advantage of smartphone graphic mirroring and allows users to play smartphone video games with precision on big screen TV.  Not a bad idea in my opinion.  Honestly, I don’t think video games, whether on a smartphone or on a big screen TV, should ever be controlled by a touchscreen display at any cost, because the touchscreen display is so imprecise (and textureless) in allowing a gamer to control the motions within a video game.

Before a Coco Controller can be in a customer’s hand, the KickStarter Coco Controller project needs to be funded with at least $175,000.  As I’m writing this, 65 people had already backed the project, providing the project with a sum of $3,597 .  It’s only 29 more days to go before the fund drive for this very project ends.  You can totally visit KickStarter here to know more of KickStarter Coco Controller project.  By the way, just for your information, it’s not like Coco Controller will suddenly work with all smartphone games.  The game developers for any specific smartphone game must first develop their game with Coco Controller in mind, therefore they need to program their game to work with Coco Controller case.