Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bang and Olufsen Beosound 8 iPad dock

The best-looking iPad dock yet to hit the shelves

The Bang and Olufsen Beosound 8 is one of the sexiest speaker docks we’ve seen in a long time, and considering it fits the iPad too, it looks like the best thing to happen to your Apple device since Angry Birds.

The cone shaped speakers of the Bang and Olufsen Beousound 8 make it appear to float above the table, though you can place it on a wall bracket if you prefer. And it comes in black and white, with a choice of different coloured speaker covers.

A manual room adaption switch lets you tweak the settings to suit where you’ve placed it, so you don’t have to worry if you want to fill a large lounge or a titchy kitchen. If you don’t own an iPad or iPhone you can hook up a different MP3 player or your PC or Mac, and it’s set up for networking using Apple Airport Express, so you can stream straight to it from your computer.

The only downside looks to be the price – a cool £895, when it goes on sale later this month. Ouch.

Leica M9 Titanium Special Edition

Somewhere, Henri Cartier-Bresson, legendary photographer and Leica loyalist, is rolling in his grave at the extravagance or whispering, “I want one.”
I’m talking about the Leica M9 Titanium Special Edition, a collaborative effort between Leica and Walter de’Silva, chief designer of the Audi Design Team.
Priced at the princely sum of US$29,000 and limited to just 500 pieces worldwide, the Leica M9 Titanium is based on the traditional Leica M9 model except for the paltry difference that its camera body is rendered in solid titanium.

That also extends to its included 35mm f/1.4 SUMMILUX-M lens which is also crafted out of the same luxurious metal. Scratch-resistant, sapphire-crystal glass is used for the camera monitor and the camera’s trim is fitted with leather that lines the interiors of Audi’s premium automobiles.

Sleeker and more streamlined than the classic M9, a key difference is that the illumination window that lets light illuminate the famous bright-line viewfinder has been replaced by an LED-lit frame in the viewfinder.
In short, it’s a camera fetishist’s wet dream.
The LEICA M9 "Titanium" special-edition set includes a distinctive shoulder holster, a carrying strap and finger loops in two different sizes.
The price alone offers the irony that any fortunate collector who gets his hands on one will keep it in a display case or bank vault or than actually use it, but we’d be envious all the same.

10 Questions to Ask at Your Performance Review

“I think the biggest mistake people make with performance reviews is going into it as a passive participant. With a performance review, your boss is running the show but that doesn’t mean that you have to sit there and listen to whatever your boss may have to say and then go ‘OK, whatever,’ That’s the one time that’s structured for you to sit down with your manager and talk about your job — You want to take advantage of that”.

Some bosses are good at performance reviews but more often than not, they hate them as much as you do and you won’t get as much out of it as you should. In general we breaks these “problem bosses” into three main categories: There are the cowards, who hate reviews and just want to shuffle you out of there with a “Good job, here’s your 3-percent raise.” Then there are the critics, who only focus on the negative, and the peacekeepers, who are so worried about everyone being happy that even when they’re offering a criticism, it sounds like a positive.

So your job is to do your homework — go in there with your own assessment of how the year went, what your goals are for the coming year and any questions you have for the boss. If you’re prepared, you won’t have to dread your annual performance review – you’ll welcome the opportunity!
No matter what type of boss you have — a coward, critic, peacekeeper or one who gets it — here are 10 questions you should ask at your performance review.

1.  What do you think went well this year?A good boss will not only offer criticism of areas she thinks you could improve in but also praise for the things you’ve done right. If that doesn’t happen, Don’t sit there like a moody teenager with your arms crossed and lips pursed and then run to your co-workers to complain afterward. Instead, try this simple tip — Just ask her what she thought went well last year.

Rob McGovern, founder of and, cautions not to spend too much time focusing on the praise — focus on what you’re going to do next. “Too many people go into those meetings trying to hear the good stuff,” he said. “I would say only spend about 10 minutes on that and then move on. Unless you’re dumb, you already know what you’re good at,” he said. “Look at performance reviews as action plans — find out what you can do better.”

2. What do you think I should do differently next year?“It’s important that you think of it this way — what should I do differently next year — instead of asking what did I screw up last year?” McIntyre says. “Even though the review is about your past performance, you want to focus on the future … that’s much more constructive than what went wrong last year.”

3. What can I do to improve my rating in this area next year?If you work for a company that uses a ratings system, it’s easy to get hung up on the number or grade you received. In reality, McIntyre explains, there are a lot of factors that go into those ratings. Maybe they’re on a quota system and they only give out a certain number of the top ratings. Maybe they have a system for how they give out the top ratings — maybe to people who’ve been there the longest, etc. And arguing that you deserve a better rating is pretty much futile. It just makes you look juvenile and often results in passive-aggressive behavior like calling in sick when you’re not. When a boss gives you a criticism, McIntyre says, one of the most important things is to let your boss know that you’ve gotten the message and that you’re working on whatever it is they said you need to improve. A good way to get your game plan going is to ask simply, “What can I do to improve my rating in this area next year?”

4. What can I do to be more helpful to people on the team? There are very, very few jobs where you’re completely independent, and team dynamics are often dynamic — and not in a good way! Your boss gets it all dumped on him. Sally doesn’t listen to me when I ask her to do something! Seriously, how clueless is Joe? Instead of being part of this charming complaint chorus, take the opportunity to ask your boss if he has any suggestions for how you can be a better team player. Maybe there’s something people are saying about you that you’re unaware of or maybe there’s just something he’d like someone to do to help the team — and by asking, you’ve now just stepped up to the plate.

5. What are your most important goals for next year?You may be patting yourself on the back for simply setting goals for the coming year, but if you’re really taking this seriously, you’ll go one better and ask your boss what her goals are for next year. McIntyre said in all the employee surveys she’s done, people tend to score high on understanding their own goals, and even the goals of the organization but many score low in understanding the boss’s goals. “Talk to your boss. If you know what your boss’s priorities are, you may be able to think of ways your boss hasn’t thought of to make things better. Or, you may come across information that you can pass on to your boss,” McIntyre said.

Matthew Rothenberg, the editor-in-chief at and co-author of  “You’re Better Than Your Job Search,” adds that you should also ask about what your boss wants the team to do to achieve those goals.

Ask, “What are the two most important factors that you want to improve in our organization over the next six to ten months?” and “What are the most important things we need to do to improve those two factors?”

6. How can I make your job easier?Go one better and ask your boss, “How can I make your job easier?” Most of us have no idea how many things, both big or small, that our bosses have to manage, from why we lost that multi-million-dollar account to why the order for paper clips never got filled. And bosses often have thoughts about things their employees do that are irritating or inefficient but for one reason or another, they don’t share those thoughts. Stop being part of the problem — and start being part of the solution. A question like this can go a long way. “Your boss might say, ‘If you could get those expense reports in a few days earlier that would help me,’ or ‘If you used the same format Fred uses for your monthly report, that would really help,’” McIntyre explained. “The question will really impress your boss because people don’t think of that,” she said. “No one ever asks that question!”

7. How do you think our business is going to change in the future? What challenges is our company facing?This type of question has two main benefits: It will help you understand why your boss and other executives make some of the decisions that they do plus, it sends a message to your boss that you are not only thinking of your job — but also the big picture. And, if you understand the big picture, that can help you make some smart choices for the team and even recommendations to the boss.

8. What knowledge or skills do you think I may need to develop to meet my goals in this job?This type of question is crucial to your advancement in the company. You can’t just wait until a promotion is announced, fume over why you didn’t get it and then go to the boss arguing “What does he have that I don’t?” If you’d stopped rolling your eyes in your review long enough to ask what skills your boss thought you needed to advance in your job, you would now be heading out to celebratory drinks over your new promotion — and not choking on your own rage. 

9. What career opportunities do you think there are here for a person with my background?This type of question sends a great message to your boss that you are committed to this company and building your career here. In some cases you know what you want to do, but you may not know what all the paths are for someone with your skills or what changes might be afoot that could offer you opportunities for advancement. By asking this question in your review, you’ve tossed your hat in the ring and put yourself on the boss’s radar, before the first email even went out about changes or promotions!

10. What do you find to be the most difficult thing about doing performance reviews?!OK, only ask this one if you have a good relationship with your boss and she has a sense of humor. You may only have to do one of these exhausting reviews but remember, your boss has to go through this for every employee! She hears all the bragging, all the complaints, all the questions. So, once you’ve finished with all the you-you-you, just take a quick minute to ask her something about how she feels — what she’s frustrated about. It’s a little burst of relief amid all the intensity of reviews — and almost a guaranteed that your review will end on a smile!

Remember: This performance review isn’t your boss’s way of torturing you. It’s a way for your boss to go over your accomplishments and set goals for next year. 

Don’t just think of yourself, think of the company. Remember, a lot of companies are struggling financially right now, so go in there prepared to list examples of why you’re worth your salary.
“You want to reaffirm your commitment to adding value to the company by generating more money or creating greater efficiencies,” Rothenberg said. “And specifically, you want to demonstrate an interest in what it will take to make the person reviewing you (your boss) more valuable to the company.” 

If you generate revenue for the company, be prepared to list specific gains to which you’ve contributed, he said. And, if you aren’t part of the revenue-generating part of the business, be prepared to at least list a few ways that you’ve saved the company money — and how you plan to save more next year.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's the difference between an automatic and a quartz watch? Which is better?

Automatic/Manual Wind:
An automatic is a testament to the ability of watchmakers to put hundreds of little parts into a watch case and get them to work all together with close tolerances just to tell time. An automatic watch depends upon movement to power it while a quartz watch uses electricity for its power, typically a battery. It's a matter of opinion as to which is better... But all of those little parts mean that there are more things to break. Manual watches do not have a rotor to wind the mechanism, and rely upon the user to wind them.

An automatic/manual is usually more expensive to repair than quartz, but if you take care of the watch, you shouldn't have to worry about this. The nice thing about an automatic/manuals is that should water get into your watch, it won't kill it unless you don't have it serviced after the leakage occurs. An automatic/manual watch does not typically keep as accurate time as quartz would, and if you're an accuracy nut, this could get annoying. Another drawback is that you will likely have to reset your watch every now and then, which causes wear on the gaskets and increases the chance of water getting into your watch. Also keep in mind that every time you let the watch run out of power, you will have to reset the time.

An automatic can take some beating, but not as much as a quartz. Manual wind watches are usually somewhat tougher than automatics as they don't have the rotor spinning in the case. If you drop an automatic, there is a greater chance that something will be damaged. However, if you take care of an automatic/manual, it will last you a lifetime and you can pass it on to your family. Also, should you decide to sell your watch, an automatic/manual is more likely to fetch more money than quartz will. Also, an automatic's second hand sweeps nicely around the dial in a continuous motion. Some people think that an automatic has more of a "soul" than a quartz watch, as it depends on the motion of your arm to power it.

A quartz watch is a testament to humankind's technological know-how. A quartz watch requires less maintenance than an automatic. The only maintenance that the watch will typically need is a battery change and to have its gaskets changed annually if it's around water. It is very accurate, so this will stop you from having to unscrew the crown and cause wear on the gaskets. The down part to quartz is that if water gets into your watch, it usually means death to the movement. But the plus side to this is that it will be relatively inexpensive to replace a quartz movement than an automatic. The battery inside a quartz watch can leak acid and corrode the movement. This will usually happen if you let an expired battery to sit too long inside a watch after it dies. Thus it is a very good idea to have a quartz watch serviced immediately after its battery goes flat.

The great thing about a quartz watch is that it can sustain one heck of a beating and keep on ticking. So if you're rough on your watches, this is a major point that you should take into consideration when choosing which movement is best for you. Another great thing about a quartz watch is that you can take it off and let it sit on your desk for long periods of time and it will still be ticking when you decide to wear it again. Unless the battery dies, that is.

A quartz watch should last you all of your life if you take care of it,. Some people argue: why buy an expensive watch and take the risk of your battery no longer being available? This is a valid point, but if the past is any indication of the future, Omega will continue to support your watch for quite some time. The second hand on a quartz watch moves in one-second increments.

There is no "one better watch". One type of watch may better for you than the other. The best person to make that decision is you .

OMEGA Watches Co Axial Technology

Introducing the new CX5

Offering High-speed Focus with a Hybrid AF System Compact digital camera with 10.7x optical zoom (28-300 mm)

January 26, 2011 RICOH COMPANY, LTD: (helmed by president and CEO Shiro Kondo) will be releasing its newly developed CX5 digital camera model with its wide-angle, high magnification 10.7x optical zoom (28–300 mm) lens, which has a higher autofocus speed due to the use of Ricoh's new hybrid AF system.

With the new CX5 model, AF focusing times are decreased to as low as 0.2 sec. for both wide-angle 28 mm and telephoto 300 mm, up to half as short compared to the CX4, using Ricoh's unique new hybrid AF system.

This ensures that you reliably capture the image you were waiting for, never to miss another good shot again.

Using super-resolution technology, the CX5 also allows (1) recording of images with improved resolution using the "Super-resolution" setting and (2) telephoto shooting at up to 600 mm equivalent with minimal degradation in image quality using "Super-resolution Zoom."

Furthermore, in addition to the new Cooking, Fireworks, and Continuous Golf Swing scene modes, the CX5 has improved features that make shooting photographs even more fun through the use of super-resolution zoom during Zoom Macro mode shooting and other functions.

The CX5 is an even more enhanced compact digital camera that was designed based on the concept of it being "a tool that you will find yourself wanting to use every day."

Available in three colors: Black, Silver, and Pink.

Main Features of the New CX5
High-speed autofocus using the unique hybrid AF system developed by Ricoh
  • Equipped with Ricoh's unique new hybrid AF system in combination with a passive AF sensor that continuously measures the distance between the camera and subject using an area sensor together with Contrast AF (a system in which the imaging elements search for the peak location for contrast on the subject and focus on that location).
  • Enables AF focusing times to be shortened to as low as 0.2 sec. for both wide-angle 28 mm and telephoto 300 mm, up to half as short compared to the CX4 model. Ensures that you capture the image you were waiting for over the entire zoom range so that you never miss another good shot again.
Improved image resolution through use of super-resolution technology
  • Enables amazing photographs with high resolution to be produced using the CX5's new super-resolution technology, which discerns outlines, details, and gradations in the image automatically and processes the image based on the optimal settings for each. The level of super-resolution can be set to OFF, Weak, or Strong.
Super-resolution zoom equivalent to up to 600 mm in addition to the 10.7x 28–300 mm optical zoom
  • Allows a wide-angle, high-magnification 10.7x optical zoom lens to fit into a compact body with a thickness of 29.4 mm using Ricoh's unique retracting lens system.
  • Equipped with super-resolution zoom that enables magnification of up to 2.0x. Enables telephoto shooting at up to 600 mm equivalent with minimal degradation in image quality.
  • Enables even greater magnification of the subject from super-resolution zoom with use of digital zoom. Allows photographs to be taken with ultra-telephoto zoom at up to 2880 mm.
High-quality photography that widens the range of image expression
  • Offering reduced loss of detail in highlights using an output pixel interpolation algorithm residing in dedicated logic circuits in the Smooth Imaging Engine IV imaging engine to allow high-contrast scenes to be reproduced more faithfully, exactly as they appear to the naked eye.
  • Reduces noise without affecting resolution, tone characteristics, or color using a noise reduction algorithm to process the image signal as it is output from the CMOS image sensor. Enables sophisticated variance-estimation type noise reduction processing in which the sensor image data's noise variance is analyzed and the optimum processing is done for each region when the noise reduction level is set to MAX.
  • Equipped with a back-illuminated 10.00 million-pixel CMOS sensor. Ensures that beautiful images can be captured even in dark scenes.
14 different types of Scene Modes providing easy access to whole suites of photographic techniques specifically adapted to the subject
  • Comes with a new Cooking mode that is perfect for shooting photographs of food. The new Cooking mode setting enables the brightness and color tone of the scene to be adjusted while the subject is checked.
  • Includes a new Fireworks mode that works great for taking shots of fireworks as they flash across the sky.
  • Comes with a new Golf Swing Continuous mode that displays grid lines during shooting and playback. Perfect to use for checking your golf swing.
  • Enables super-resolution zoom to be used in Zoom Macro mode, which optimizes the zoom position automatically to allow the subject to be shot even larger than with normal macro shooting. Allows the subject to be shot even larger without any degradation of image quality as with normal zoom.
Creative shooting modes that allow you to enjoy shooting creative images
  • Comes with six different types including Soft Focus, Cross Process, Toy Camera, and Miniaturize that can be selected to fit the subject and type of scene. Allows you to enjoy shooting images with a variety of effects.
High-definition 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitor
  • Equipped with a large, high-definition LCD monitor that has a wide viewing angle and high contrast. With a fluorine coat to prevent soiling, a hard coat to prevent scratches, and an anti-reflection (AR) coat designed to protect the screen against dirt and damage and guarantee excellent visibility even outdoors in direct sunlight.
  • Reproduces image colors vividly with sRGB comparison of 100% for the color reproduction range.
A wide variety of functions based on the concept of the CX5 being "a tool that you will find yourself wanting to use every day"
  • Equipped with new HDMI terminals. Allows high-definition (HD) movies with a frame size of 1280 x 720 pixels to be viewed on an HD TV using an HDMI cable (sold separately).
  • Comes equipped with macro shooting functions that allow you to get as close to the subject as 1 cm for wide-angle and 28 cm for telephoto. Equivalent to 31 mm for 35-mm film equivalents.
  • Enables high-speed continuous shooting at speeds of up to approx. 5 frames/sec. 
  • Equipped with Scene Auto Mode, which automatically switches to the optimal shooting settings for the scene when the camera is merely pointed at a scene.
  • Comes with Subject-tracking AF, which continuously tracks and focuses on the subject automatically.
  • The CX5 is compatible with Eye-Fi cards (X2 Series), SD memory cards with built-in wireless LAN functionality, which enables captured images to be transferred wirelessly to a computer or online image sharing service automatically.  An icon will appear while an Eye-Fi card is being used to display the communications status.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bad Review on Bata Store at Tiong Bahru Plaza

This Bata Store is located at Tiong Bahru Plaza #02-26/30.   It seriously need to learn about customer service.  Not only did we waited very long to be served, the salesgirl doesn't know much to help at all.  It took awhile for her to locate the pair of shoes that we wanted for our son.

The cashier was equally incompetent.  What really made us angry was the supervisor/boss/whoever!

We were going to pay when my son cried and said he doesn't want that pair of shoes anymore.  So my wife told the cashier that we don't want it anymore, but he said 'Cannot! Already scanned into the system'.  We were asked to pay.  [I really regretted for not asking my wife to just walk away... at this juncture]  My wife asked for an exchange, and he say he would consult his supervisor.
The supervisor/boss/whoever! said that the shoes cannot be refunded but we were allowed to buy any other items and top up the remainder.

2 kind customers behind us overheard our conversation and offered to let us use the shoes to pay for their items, and they give us cash back.  We were so thankful for their offer, and readily accepted it.  The 1st kind customer got 2 pair of shoes for their kids as well.  The supervisor said 'NO', as that pair of shoes got 20% discount!  The second pair also cannot, as it is different.  WTH?  What happened to buy any other items and top up the remainder?

The supervisor/boss/whoever! also said that we cannot use the 2nd kind customer's item to top up.  Not wanting to state any reasons.  This is the typical superb customer service that Singapore has at a heartland mall.  Not only were we angry, the 2 kind customers were equally baffled.

We are sure not going to patronize or go into the store again.

The same goes to the shop that is selling bags on the same floor.  I always remember what the sales said loudly to himself: "See See Look Look also never buy".  We head straight for the door, and never set a step into that shop too!

Good luck to those who shop there, hope you have a better encounter that we had today!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cracking the Credit Card Code

I always wondered how credit card companies came up with the digits on my Visa and Amex. Random chance? Geographical location? Spending habits? Turns out all credit card companies follow the same set of rules. Here's what the numbers mean: I also didn't know that there was a simple method to see if a credit card was fake or not. Smart, those credit card companies are.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm 1:4G ED VR review

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm 1:4G ED VR, announced in February 2010, has the distinction of being the world's first ultra-wideangle lens to feature optical image stabilization. It's designed primarily for use on full-frame DSLRs, as a less-expensive alternative to the likes of the 17-35mm 1:2.8D or the 14-24mm 1:2.8G, but is also fully compatible with DX bodies on which it offers a 24-50mm equivalent range. It can be seen as an answer to Canon's EF 17-40mm F4 L USM, which has long been popular as a (relatively) inexpensive, compact, lightweight yet high quality wide zoom; indeed we suspect many Nikon fans will be hoping it's the first in a series of F4 premium zooms. However a quick glance at the spec sheet shows that the addition of optical stabilization has resulted in a lens that's distinctly larger than the Canon, at the best part of five inches in length and a pound and a half in weight.

The addition of stabilization also means a more complex optical formula than is usual for a relatively slow wide zoom. The 16-35mm makes use of 17 elements on 12 groups including a liberal sprinkling of exotic elements to address aberrations, of which three are aspherical and two made from Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass. Nano Crystal coating is also employed to combat flare. The stabilization system meets Nikon's 'VR II' specification, promising sharp images hand-held at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than would usually be possible. Focusing uses a ring-type AF-S motor for speed and silence, and full-time override of the focus distance is available.

These goodies are rounded off with high standard of build quality, including protection against dust and water. A nine-bladed circular aperture is also employed for the attractive rendition of background blur. All of this adds up to one of the most attractively-specified wideangle zooms available; the question is, does the reality live up to the specs?

Headline features

  • 16-35mm focal length range; F4 constant maximum aperture
  • Optical image stabilization – 4 stops claimed
  • Ring-type ultrasonic focusing with full-time manual override
  • F mount for Nikon and Fuji DX and FX format DSLRS

Zurab Kiknadze, Product Manager Lenses, Accessories & Software, Nikon Europe says: “The AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR covers all bases for wide angle shooting and addresses market feedback for a more affordable alternative to the professional AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED or more recent AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED ultra-wide-angle lens”.

Sharper handheld images at slow shutter speeds

The AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR is the world’s first ultra-wide angle zoom lens to feature Vibration Reduction technology, providing the ability to shoot at shutter speeds up to four stops slower. The application of VR complements the f/4 maximum aperture when shooting in low light.

Class leading image quality

The new lens’ complex optical design features Nikon’s exclusive anti-reflection Nano Crystal coat, two ED glass elements and no less than three aspherical glass elements to minimize distortion and aberration, even at maximum aperture. The VR II system and Silent Wave Motor deliver extremely quiet, discrete operation and the nine bladed rounded diaphragm renders delightful bokeh.

Built for everyday use

The AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR balances well with more compact FX format cameras such as the D700 and is consequently built to withstand the demands of everyday shooting. The robust magnesium construction and weather sealing will make it an ideal choice for the adventurous enthusiast and professional photographer. It comes complete with durable hood HB-23, and soft pouch.

AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Specifications

Focal length:
Max/min aperture:
f4 / f22
Lens construction:
17 elements in 12 groups (with two ED glass and three aspherical lens elements, and Nano Crystal Coat)
Picture angle:
107° - 63° (83° - 44° for Nikon DX format)
No. diaphragm blades:
9 pcs. (rounded)
Closest focusing distance:
0.29m at a focal length of 16mm or 35mm, 0.28m at a focal length between 20mm and 28mm
Filter/attachment size:
Diameter x length:
Approximately 82.5 x 125 mm
Approximately 680 g/24.0 oz

Conclusion - Pros

  • Very high image quality on both DX and FX formats
  • Excellent build quality with dust and moisture sealing
  • Highly effective optical image stabilization
  • Fast, silent autofocus with manual override

Conclusion - Cons

  • Huge barrel distortion at 16mm on FX cameras
  • Relatively big and heavy for its class (larger than many F2.8 wideangle zooms)
  • Slightly inelegant flare handling

Overall conclusion

The AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4 VR may be the first true wideangle zoom to incorporate optical image stabilization, but while many headline-grabbing firsts end up being slightly disappointing products, it's anything but. The 16-35mm is simply a very good wideangle lens that happens to have VR thrown in as a bonus. 
Overall, image quality is pretty impressive. The lens is very sharp in the center of the frame at almost all settings, and while the extreme corners are a little soft wide open on full frame (especially at 16mm), they sharpen up well on stopping down to normal working apertures. Chromatic aberration is also strikingly low, which contributes greatly to producing clean-looking images. At its very best - stopped down to F8 or F11, and especially around the 24mm mark - the lens's rendition of fine detail right across the frame is simply breathtaking. Throw in excellent build quality, fast and silent focusing, plus efficient VR, and this all adds up to a very desirable package.
The one outstanding flaw, though, is the barrel distortion at 16mm on full frame, which is frankly huge. It's by some margin the highest we've measured amongst conventionally-corrected SLR lenses, and indeed higher than that of many Micro Four Thirds lenses, which rely on automated software correction to produce acceptable images. This distortion will be visible in many images, especially if you shoot subjects which naturally include lots of straight lines such as interiors and architecture. It can be corrected easily enough in post-processing, although unfortunately Nikon provides no automated way of doing this in the ViewNX software supplied with its cameras; you'll have to pay extra for Capture NX2 (which at the time of writing appeared not to understand the 16-35mm correctly either).
Aside from that, flaws are minor. The 16-35mm isn't the best in the world at dealing with flare when shooting into the sun, but to be fair we've seen much worse. It's also a relatively large, bulky lens, with the addition of VR clearly changing the equation somewhat compared to Canon's analogous EF 17-40mm F4 L USM. Indeed it's larger in size than many F2.8 wide zooms (including Nikon's own AF-S 17-35mm F2.8D), and it's not a lightweight either. So it doesn't quite offer the portability advantage that you might expect from its F4 maximum aperture.
On launch, Nikon seemed intent on characterizing the 16-35mm as 'the wide zoom for D700 users', designed to complement the smaller full frame body design. But to see it as some kind of poor relation to the D3(X) user's 14-24mm F2.8 is decidedly to miss the point, as in many ways the 16-35mm is a far more practical lens. For landscape photographers it's easier to carry around all day (due to its significantly lighter weight), and it additionally allows you to use filters such as neutral density gradients and polarizers much more easily. It obviously doesn't provide such a wide field of view, but most of the time it's wide enough, and the significantly extended long end means that you can plausibly leave it on the camera much more of the time, minimizing the need for lens swapping. The efficient VR also enables hand-held shooting in lower light than the faster lens, just as long as you don't need to freeze subject motion.
Speaking of VR, it's possible that some potential buyers will be questioning its utility on a wideangle lens. While it's true that stabilization is nowhere near as essential as it is on a long telephoto, this doesn't make it superfluous. It simply gives you more scope for trading shutter speed against aperture or ISO when shooting hand-held, allowing you to use smaller apertures for increased depth of field (or simply stay within the sweet spot of sharpness), longer shutter speeds for creative use of motion blur, or just to continue working in extremely low light.
The 16-35mm F4 VR is, then, an excellent alternative to the 14-24mm F2.8 as a lighter, more affordable ultra-wide angle zoom for Nikon's full frame DSLRs. The addition of VR, and the ability to accept filters, also adds up to a slightly different set of capabilities, making the 16-35mm in many respects a more practical lens to carry around and use. We're not so convinced about its utility on DX; it's large, heavy and expensive for such a limited zoom range (24-50mm equivalent), so despite its excellent optics a purpose-designed DX zoom probably makes more sense for most users. Overall, only the huge barrel distortion at 16mm on FX makes it fall just short of our top award.



CENTER VALLEY, Pa., January 5, 2011 – On the heels of the PEN® interchangeable lens digital camera revolution, Olympus takes their compact digital cameras to the X-treme with the introduction of an ultra-compact flagship camera and first of a new series, the XZ-1. Developed for the photographer or enthusiast who is looking for the ultimate high-quality, high-performance premium compact camera, the XZ-1 offers all of this, and more without sacrificing image quality.
Never fear the darkness with the XZ-1's super-bright built-in Olympus iZUIKO lens – the first built-in Zuiko® lens on a compact digital camera. The X-factor that achieves this category-defying quality: A combination of three state-of-the-art features: the X-tremely large, super-sensitive CCD sensor, the X-tremely fast TruePic™ V image processor and the X-tremely bright, fast f1.8-2.5 iZUIKO digital lens. Further proof that Olympus lets you capture it all.

"The XZ-1 features one of the world's brightest built-in lenses on a digital compact camera to enable you to shoot high-quality still images and HD videos in any shooting environment, including difficult low-light conditions," said Katie Roseman, product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "This camera will give you the versatility needed to take on any challenge without weighing you down."

Outstanding features: X-factor Style - full manual controls in a slim, stylish pocket-sized camera; X-ceptional Image Quality - a range of new features offer superior image quality, together with 10 megapixel CCD sensor with the TruePic™ V Image Processor to produce sharp photos; X-cellent Low-Light Performance - iZUIKO f1.8-2.5 6.0-24mm lens for improved shooting in low-light scenarios, enhancing image clarity and drastically reducing grain.

Also featuring Dual Image Stabilization and an AF Illuminator to maximize performance in low-light settings; and X-treme Creativity -The XZ-1 offers six Art Filters, each of which uses different settings to create incredible photographic effects that would otherwise require additional lenses, filters or complex editing.

Additionally, the Live Guide on-screen setting offers quick tips for shooting different subjects (kids, pets and flowers, for example) assists the photographer with some of the more complex in-camera settings (aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation, for instance).

X-factor Style
Whether you're an experienced Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) or PEN shooter who wants a second smaller camera for trips and nights out, without sacrificing image quality or performance, or the aspiring enthusiast who is ready for a higher-powered camera, the new trendy XZ-1 has the features you need for high-quality images. With its thin, attractive matte black body, you'll be inconspicuous while you use the XZ-1 to take candid photos and videos in the shadows at a wedding reception. The XZ-1's body is small enough to easily fit in your pocket, yet feels solid in your hands and you can easily take it with you everywhere.

X-ceptional Image Quality
Whether composing still images or HD videos, photographers will appreciate the XZ-1's sharp 3.0-inch OLED monitor to frame and show off still images and High Definition (HD) movies in detailed 720p. The LCD displays 610,000 dots in vivid color, reproduces colors and shades more accurately with deeper black tones and consumes less power. The monitor also provides a wide-viewing angle ensuring that images can be composed from even the most obscure angles. A new graphic interface makes it easier to read text and find the settings you need on the fly, and Live Control enables intuitive operation allowing you to shoot photos while viewing the effects on the camera's LCD.

Shooting video is as easy as ever with the new Olympus XZ-1 camera. The camera captures all the action in crisp 720p HD video at 30 frames-per-second. The XZ-1's easy-to-reach record button on the back of the camera body makes recording videos a breeze. If you're about to snap a photo and you realize a video would capture the spirit of the scene even better, simply press the record button and instantly you're capturing videos! Easily toggle back and forth between capturing stills and videos by using your index finger to press the shutter button or your thumb to press the record button. Having the ability to shoot still images and videos opens up a world of imaging possibilities.

The XZ-1 pairs a high sensitivity 10 megapixel CCD sensor with the TruePic™ V Image Processor to produce clear and colorful photos using all the pixel information from each image to provide the best digital images possible. The image processor is noted for accurate natural color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal expression; it also lowers image noise in photos shot at higher ISO settings (ISO 100 to ISO 3200), enabling great results in low-light situations.

The XZ-1 also offers the advanced manual controls that experienced photographers expect from digital SLR cameras. Shoot full manual, and also with a control ring around the front of the lens and the wheel controller on the back, the XZ-1 gives immediate access to the most important manual settings like ISO, aperture and shutter speed to make it easy to adjust the camera on the move. Three levels of exposure control using a neutral density (ND) filter distributes light offering greater flexibility to change the aperture and exposure time in different situations while allowing the photographer to take the best picture in any condition.

X-cellent Low-Light Performance
The iZUIKO f1.8-2.5 6.0-24mm (28-112mm equivalent angle of view in 35mm cameras) digital lens is a newly-developed 4x compact version of the legendary, high-quality ZUIKO digital lenses featured with Olympus DSLRs. With a minimum aperture of f1.8 at wide-angle and a maximum aperture of f2.5 at telephoto, this lens boasts super-fast shutter speeds for sharp, low-light images.

This aperture range also allows photographers to take portraits that highlight the subject by defocusing the background, a capability that is not normally possible in compact cameras. The lens is specifically designed for clear, high-quality photographic performance.
Apart from the speed of the f1.8 lens, the camera's low-light mode automatically adjusts the ISO sensitivity up to ISO 3200 to take sharp, full-resolution photos in dark places. The camera's iAuto mode automatically detects low-light scenes and adjusts the ISO accordingly for the best image quality. The camera also features an AF illuminator to make it simple to focus in low-light locations. The XZ-1 also features a low-light mode for even quicker access to maximize low-light situations.

If you're going to an evening at the theatre, the XZ-1 also offers Dual Image Stabilization to further assure you'll get the shot you want while holding the camera. Mechanical Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization compensates for camera movement in low-light conditions when shutter speeds are slower while Digital Image Stabilization freezes the action with high ISO sensitivity and fast shutter speeds that prevent blurry images often caused by a moving subject.

The XZ-1 has an easily accessible built-in pop-up flash to illuminate low-light subjects, reduce red-eye and fill in dark areas. The camera also is compatible with a range of optional external flashes, including the Olympus FL-14, FL-36R and FL-50R, so you can dynamically control lighting as your photography skills grow.

X-treme Creativity
Olympus pioneered easy-to-use in-camera Art Filters for still images captured inside its E-System DSLRs and was the first company to offer the ability to apply Art Filters to HD video recordings captured with the PEN cameras. The XZ-1 features six Art Filters that photographers can apply to still images and HD video: Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama and Dramatic Tone.

You even can create an in-camera slideshow that mixes still images, movies and sound. The camera incorporates five kinds of background music as well as slideshow control functions, including still image fade-in/out, sound recording volume and background music volume adjustment.

The XZ-1's Live Guide interface simplifies great photography and provides the results you desire at the touch of a button. Want more vivid or muted color in your shot? Want warmer or cooler color? Want a brighter or darker subject, or a sharper or softer background? Or maybe you want to capture the fast-moving action of your subject with a little artistic blur? Simply select Live Guide and press the up and down arrows on the back of the camera to slide through numerous photographic effects. Make adjustments and watch the LCD as the effects are made live – before the image is captured!

To expand the camera's versatility, the XZ-1 includes an accessory port so photographers can attach optional accessories like the SEMA-1 external microphone adapter, the VF-2 electronic viewfinder or the newly introduced MAL-1 Macro Light. These optional accessories easily slide into the camera's accessory port and hot shoe.

The new camera's compact design makes it the perfect companion for all of your dive trips. The PT-050 underwater case has been customized for the Olympus XZ-1 and is waterproof to a depth of 40 meters (approximately 130 feet). With its durable, high-quality polycarbonate construction, this Olympus housing protects the camera from water while also cushioning it from knocks and bumps on land.

The XZ-1 makes sharing your content easier than ever. Just connect it to your HDTV with an optional HDMI cable and use your HDTV's remote to control playback functions and navigate the camera's menus from the comfort of your couch.

Colors and Availability
The Olympus XZ-1 comes in black and white and will be available in January 2011. It includes the XZ-1, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack, Li-Ion Battery Charger, Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS [ib] software CD-ROM, Manuals and Registration card.

U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
XZ-1 Street Price: $499.99


CENTER VALLEY, Pa., January 5, 2011 – Today Olympus announces the new powerfully simple PEN E-PL2, the fourth generation of the award-winning and pioneering Olympus PEN family of compact interchangeable lens digital cameras. Known for pro quality, point-and-shoot simplicity and high-definition video, the PEN E-PL2 continues the PEN family's legacy of simple design, intuitive interface and Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) image quality. The new camera also expands your creative potential with Live Guide II, new in-camera creative features, new auxiliary lenses, a new Close-Up Spotlight accessory (MAL-1) and the new Olympus PENPal™ Bluetooth accessory. Capturing amazing still images and HD video just got a lot more fun. Further proof that Olympus lets you capture it all.

Outstanding Features:
  • MSC Lens - the new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens (28mm-84mm equivalent) features a high-speed, silent autofocus during still shooting and high definition (HD) video capture;
  • New 3" 460,000 dot LCD - for bright and easy image composition;
  • Live Guide II - preview HD video and still image effects on the E-PL2's high-resolution LCD screen to achieve the perfect result effortlessly;
  • Art Filter Variations and Enhancements -- choose from different art filter looks to expand your creative horizons or overlay different art filters to create something new, now with full manual control;
  • ISO 6400 - take great low-light photos with the camera's increased ISO sensitivity;
  • New Ergonomic Body Design - shoot stills and videos comfortably with a more ergonomic grip and updated button placement and functionality for ease of use; and
  • Face Detection with iDetect - an amazing new function makes it easier to capture the spirit of your subject, automatically making a person's eye the focus point of the image. The E-PL2 further reduces the chance of blurred subjects in images by recognizing up to eight faces, tracking them within the image area, and automatically focusing and optimizing exposure for sharp portraits.
At an affordable $599.99 with the new MSC ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens (28mm-84mm equiv.), the 12.3 megapixel ergonomically-designed E-PL2 is perfect for everyone from beginners, who want to expand their creative horizons, to experienced photographers who desire high-quality results without the size and weight of a traditional DSLR.

"The innovative PEN E-PL2 is designed to go with you and grow with you – it's the total compact multimedia package," said Katie Roseman, product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "We've expanded everything but the size of the camera. Live Guide II, new art filter variations and enhancements for instant gratification, three converter lenses and MAL-1 close-up spotlight will all help grow your creative potential, while the Olympus PENPal lets you send images straight from the camera to your smart phone for social sharing."

New Lens Optimized for Video and Image Stabilization for Every Lens

The E-PL2 comes with the new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens. This new kit lens has a smooth, silent and uses a quick inner focus mechanism to make it exceptionally fast and nearly silent when recording high-definition movie. The M.Zuiko Digital MICRO Four Thirds® lenses are designed to be more compact and portable, just like the E-PL2 itself. In addition to the kit lens, choose from the ED m17mm f2.8 lens (34mm equivalent), the super wide-angle zoom ED m9-18mm f4.0-5.6 lens (18-36mm equivalent), the high-power wide to telephoto zoom ED m14-150mm f4.0-5.6 lens (28-300mm equivalent), the wide zoom ED m40-150mm F4.0-5.6, or the super telephoto ED m75-300mm f4.8-5.6 (35mm equivalent 150–600mm).

If you're looking for even more options, the MMF-2 Four Thirds™ System Lens Adapter makes the E-PL2 compatible with all Olympus Zuiko® Digital Specific lenses and other Four Thirds System lenses from Sigma, Panasonic and Leica. Olympus OM film-based lenses can be attached to the E-PL2 with the MF-2 OM Lens Adapter, and third-party adapters have been developed for lenses from most other manufacturers.

New Live Guide II for Stills and Movies
The PEN E-PL2's Live Guide II takes the E-PL1's popular Live Guide interface for stills and expands it to preview effects for HD videos. Live Guide takes the guesswork out of great photography and videography by previewing effects at the touch of a button. Want more vivid or muted color in your shot? Want warmer or cooler color? Want a brighter or darker subject, or a sharper or softer background? Or maybe you want to capture the fast-moving action of your subject with a little artistic blur, or perhaps freeze the action? Simply select Live Guide and turn the wheel on the back of the camera to slide through numerous photographic and videographic effects. Make adjustments and watch the LCD as the effects are made live – before the image is captured! Don't worry about learning technical things like f-stops, shutter speed and white balance; jump right in by composing, adjusting exposure and more before the shot is taken.

Seeing the results before snapping the image or shooting a video ensures you are getting the results you want, and it will change the way you use your camera. Shooting Tips are also available with Live Guide, so you can leave the manual at home.

Limitless Creativity with New Art Filter Variations and Enhancements
Olympus pioneered easy-to-use in-camera art filters for still images captured inside its E-System DSLRs and was the first company to offer the ability to apply art filters to HD video recordings captured with the PEN E-P1 camera. The E-PL2 features six art filters: Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, and Dramatic Tone. For the first time, the E-PL2 also features art filter variations and enhancements to maximize your creativity and expand the potential results. Give your images a different look by choosing from six art filters. Overlay an art effect over an original image with or without an art filter. Shoot a sunset with Pop Art and then add the Pin Hole Effect. Take a portrait in Grainy Film and then add a funky art frame. The possibilities are limitless.

Whatever you create, it will be easy to display on the big screen. When you're ready to share your work, just plug the E-PL2's camera into any high definition television (HDTV) using the camera's HDMI output with an optional HDMI cable (sold separately) and show it off from the comfort of your living room.

HD Videos and HDMI Control for a Home Theater Experience
The E-PL2 shoots gorgeous 720p HD video, so you'll always capture the moments you cherish in clear, crisp high-definition at the touch of a button. With HDMI Control, playback is also a breeze. You'll be the hit of the party or any family event when you proudly display your brilliant images and movies on HDTVs. Simply connect the camera to an HDTV with an optional HDMI cable. With HDMI Control, you can use your HDTV's remote to control playback functions and navigate the camera's menus from the comfort of your couch.

New Optional Accessories for Every Shooting Challenge
Along with the E-PL2, Olympus unveils five new accessories to further expand what you can do with PEN cameras.
  • Add-on Conversion Lenses - Olympus has three new affordable and compact conversion lenses that mount on the new MSC ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens to further expand what you can do with the E-PL2:
    Fish-eye Lens Converter (FCON-37): captures a distorted hemispherical image covering 120° - to generate dramatic shots and edges that wrap around the frame of your image;
    Wide-angle Lens Converter (WCON-37): enables the user to capture a broader shot, for example, to include more people in a photograph. It dramatically alters the proportions of close and distant subjects. Subjects close to the lens appear much larger, while subjects in the background appear smaller – creating a dynamic sense of depth; and
    Macro Lens Converter (MCON-58): Enables the user to capture fascinating close-ups from as little as 24cm. away from the subject (depending upon the lens in use). The MCON-58 is also compatible with the ED m14-150mm f4.0-5.6 lens (28-300mm equivalent), ED m40-150mm F4.0-5.6, and ED m75-300mm f4.8-5.6 (35mm equivalent 150–600mm) for close focusing shots.
  • Macro Arm Light (MAL-1) - Not one, but two bright LED lights – each on the end of its own fully flexible metal arm and powered by the camera. Both arms extend up to 17cm. from a sleek and slender unit mounted on the camera's Accessory Port. For macro shots or attractive close-ups of small items or for online auctions, the MAL-1 is ideal for getting the lighting just right.
  • PENPal - A sleek communication unit for storing up to 2600 images and transferring them via wireless Bluetooth to other Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as a mobile phone, PC or even another PENPal-equipped camera. From there it's easy to share them with friends in online communities or via e-mail.
In addition to these accessories, the E-PL2 is compatible with the optional VF-2 detachable electronic viewfinder, which provides 1.15x magnification and a 100 percent field of view with sharp resolution, brightness and contrast, and the optional SEMA-1 external microphone adapter set for those who want to capture enhanced audio with any microphone that has a 3.5mm plug. These optional accessories easily slide into the camera's accessory port and hot shoe.98

In-camera Image Stabilization that Supports a Wide Range of Lenses
Olympus has Image Stabilization built right into the body of the E-PL2. This means that any lens (MICRO Four Thirds, Four Thirds and any third-party lens) attached to the E-PL2 will deliver blur-free images thanks to three modes of in-body Image Stabilization that automatically compensate for camera shake, including in low-light situations or when shooting without a tripod.

Achieve More with Automatic Features Including New iDetect
The E-PL2 features Face Detection with a new Eye Detection function called iDetect to make it easier to capture the spirit of your subject. This feature automatically makes a person's eye the focus point of the image. The E-PL2 further reduces the chance of blurred subjects in images by recognizing up to eight faces, tracking them within the image area, and automatically focusing and optimizing exposure for sharp portraits. In addition, the E-PL2 has a variety of automated technologies to free you up to focus on your subject instead of the camera settings.
  • 22 Scene-Select Modes -- from portraits to sunset shots, the E-PL2 is equipped with 22 Scene-Select modes for effortless picture taking, including Fireworks, Sunset, Children, Macro and Panorama, to name a few. Capturing beautiful portraits is easy with the ePortrait mode that enables you to smooth your subject's complexion. There are even three scene modes that are specific to shooting with the new conversion lenses to optimize the performance of those lenses;
  • Intelligent Auto (iAuto) Mode -- when you don't want to use the scene-select modes, the iAuto mode automatically identifies what you're shooting and adjusts settings to ensure you capture the best result for each situation you encounter;
  • In-Camera Panorama -- capture three images and stitch them together to create one amazing, seamless panoramic picture. Or use the included OLYMPUS [ib] software to stitch up to 10 images together for the ultimate panorama; and
  • iEnhance -- with this mode the warm yellow and orange colors of a sunset are heightened to a dramatically lifelike color that's truer to what you see with the naked eye. iEnhance is available in any mode, and automatically engages when using iAuto to enrich color in any subject.
Large Sensor for Excellent Image Quality
The E-PL2 features a large image sensor similar to the one inside the top of the line Olympus E-System cameras. The only difference between this sensor and what the pros use is that this big sensor is inside the much smaller body of the E-PL2. This high-performance 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Sensor (eight times larger than the average point-and-shoot camera sensor) delivers excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity, and a state-of-the-art amplifier circuit to reduce noise and capture fine image details in both highlight and shadow areas.

True-to-Life Color

The E-PL2's Live MOS image sensor is complemented by Olympus' TruePic™ V Image Processor, which produces clear and colorful photos using all the pixel information for each image to provide the best digital images possible. The image processor is noted for accurate natural color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal expression; it also offers a maximum ISO sensitivity of 6400, to reduce image noise in photos shot at higher ISO settings, enabling great results in low-light situations.

World-renowned Dust Reduction System
The Olympus dust reduction system is an industry first and a proven technology. You don't have to worry about dust spots on your sensor ruining the perfect image every time you change lenses. Spend more time shooting with the E-PL2 and less time worrying about dust with the superior dust reduction system producing spot-free photos with the exclusive Supersonic Wave Filter, a patented ultrasonic technology that silently vibrates to remove dust and other particles from the front of the image sensor. Dust will no longer get between you and a great shot.

Flash Alternatives for Everyone

For low-light shooting situations photographers can select the built-in flash or choose an optional external unit. Wireless flash control is also possible with the E-PL2, making customized lighting set-ups an easy reality.

Underwater Housing for Aquatic Adventures
The new camera's compact design makes it the perfect companion for all of your dive trips. Olympus has designed a custom underwater case for the PEN E-PL2, the PT-EP03, which is waterproof to a depth of 40 meters (approximately 130 feet). With its durable, high-quality polycarbonate construction, this Olympus housing protects the camera from water while also cushioning it from knocks and bumps on land. The housing enables viewing from either the camera's LCD screen or an optional electronic viewfinder. Use up to two UFL-2 underwater flash units via fiber optic cable with the case's flash connectors. A non-removable front lens port accommodates multiple MICRO Four Thirds lenses.

The Olympus E-PL2 Kit will be available in January 2011. It includes the E-PL2 Body, M. ZUIKO MSC DIGITAL ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zoom, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack (BLS-5), Li-Ion Battery Charger (BCS-1), Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS [ib] software CD-ROM, Manuals and Registration card.

U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
E-PL2 Body with MSC M. ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
Estimated Street Price: $599.99

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Razer Switchblade

Just when we though Razer had reached the limit of complexity for peripherals, and they would outdo their latest keyboard, which had 139 gaming specific buttons, give or take, here they are making a move into the gaming PC market.

And it’s phenomenal. The Razer Switchblade is a small laptop with a touchscreen and a dynamic flash keyboard, which as far as we know is completely innovative, at least in the PC realm. The keyboard reconfigures not only its functionality, but also its look based on game concent. Keys are different depending on what you’re playing, with the in-game icons for various actions actually making an appearance on your keyboard, lighting up individual keys.

Watch the trailer below

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Beginner's Guide to Vibram Five Fingers

 This is one pair of shoes that I am going to get for myself really soon.  Check out the review and the beginner's guide.  Cool!  The one shoes that do it all.

Here is the review of the shoes from Justin Owings

the [beginners guide] to Vibram Five Fingers shoes!

Your BlackBerry or Your Wife?

When you're out to dinner, does your BlackBerry occupy a seat at the table? Does your spouse ever check email before saying "good morning" to the kids? Does your son sleep with his laptop?
It may be time for a technology cleanse.

Like an extreme diet that cuts out all processed foods for a short period of time with the promise of lasting good health, a technology cleanse means you unplug for a short time with longer-term benefits for your relationships.

But be warned: As with any other diet, it isn't easy.

I like the cartoon above very much, and I find this very true too.

To read the entire article, please visit:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dell Streak 7 Hands On (Video)

We’re live at the T-Mobile demo event, and we’ve just spent a few minutes with the just announced Dell Streak 7 seven-inch tablet.

The most immediate thing you notice is the heft of the device.  It doesn’t exactly feel “sturdy” in the hand so much as like something you could potentially injure someone with if you hit them in the head with it.  Yet, you oddly like holding it.  It was a very odd experience.

The one unfortunate thing I noticed was when I tried to put back in the dock in landscape mode I had a heck of a time getting the connector to line up with the hole.  Admittedly the room is somewhat darkened room, but you would think reconnection should be a tad simpler.

The new device is running Android 2.2 (like everything else on the planet seems to be right now), powered by a dual core 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor which seems to be the process du jour this weekend in Las Vegas.  It has a rear facing 5 megapixel camera as well as a 1.3 megapixel version on the front for video conferencing.  It’s got 16GBs of built-in memory expandable by an SD card slot, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi video calls powered by Qik (err … Skype, technically) over T-Mobile’s network.

The Dell Streak 7 will be available over the coming weeks, but no word on pricing as of yet.

Handhelds, E-readers ASUS Eee Note EA-800 priced at $230, launched in Taiwan

Woah, it was only last week that we finalized the naming scheme for ASUS's LCD-equipped note taker, yet today the company's announcing that it'll be available to buy this week in its native Taiwan. Even better news is the $230 price tag (NT$6,999), which makes the Eee Note quite the affordable little device. It's versatile too, thanks to a built-in camera and microphone for recording of notes and a 3.5mm headphone jack for playback.

Running on Linux, the 8-inch tablet (1024 x 768 res) is said to be capable of 13.5 hours of uninterrupted use, which doesn't match the similarly monochromatic e-readers out there but is a decent compromise for the functionality on offer. Hong Kong should be the next market on its global tour, to be followed by Germany, Italy and Russia around the turn of the year and China and the US in Q1 of 2011.

source: Computerworld

Asus Eee reader: The world's first 9-inch touch-screen ebook reader

Those who love to read on the go will rejoice at the arrival of the new ASUS Eee Reader DR900. With a 9-inch screen that offers 2.25 times the reading area compared to 6-inch ebook readers, this sleek device is ideal for reading material ranging from novels to comic books — and everything else in between.

Less than 10mm thick and weighing just 440g, the Eee Reader is a highly portable travelling companion that can be taken on any journey, whether it’s the daily commute or a long-haul flight. Its 2GB of internal storage (expandable via SD Card) can store up to 5,000 ebooks and the two-week battery life is long enough to read 20 novels back-to-back between recharges.

This ultra-low power consumption is possible because the Eee Reader’s SiPix electrophoretic display only uses power to change its image, not to maintain it. Page turns are virtually instant and the monochrome image is as crisp as ink printed on paper. Better still, the screen stays clear even in broad daylight, making so it’s as easy to read on the beach as it is under a bedside light.

The Eee Reader’s 9-inch capacitive touch-screen also removes the need for a physical keyboard and delivers a simple and intuitive user interface. Readers both young and old can master the Eee Reader in minutes, and with built-in Wi-Fi and optional 3G, it puts a world of reading material at everyone’s fingertips.

Product Highlights:
-- 9-inch SiPix electrophoretic display reflects light like paper to mimic a printed page, giving a more natural and more comfortable reading experience than backlit LCD displays.
-- Capacitive touch-screen with a virtual keyboard can be used to annotate reading material, make handwritten notes and even draw sketches.
-- Buy ebooks no matter where you are, thanks to the WebKit-based browser and built-in Wi-Fi, plus optional 3G.
-- Read non-stop for up to four days on battery power with Wi-Fi enabled, and up to two weeks with Wi-Fi disabled.

High-quality text-to-speech supports for 23 languages, giving instant conversion of ebooks into audio books. No thicker than a pencil (221 x 191 x 9.7mm) and weighs just 440g (Wi-Fi model).
Source: Asus

Sunday, January 9, 2011

After Dump, What Happens To Electronic Waste?

Recycling may not be enough.  Please listen to the podcast!
But there are ways to ensure that your electronics are handled correctly!

Click here to listen:

From Simplicity to the Extreme - a video of the Fuji X100

CES 2011: Fujifilm X100 steps out, goes to market in March

Leica Style, but definitely much cheaper!!!

This is really one camera that I am so lusting after.  lol.  It's nice, and retro looking.  I'm glad that I did not the Olympus EP-1 or EP-2.  This is just great.  I hope it comes to Singapore really soon.  Here's a preview article written by Allison Johnson, Editor | 1/6/2011

The advanced, fixed-lens compact beauty we saw at Photokina is back at CES, and this time it's out from behind glass. Fujifilm is getting ready to launch the X100 in early 2011.
Fujifilm X100
Fujifilm X100
The X100, as revealed when it was first announced, will sport a 12.3 megapixel APS-C sized sensor housed in a retro-style, fixed lens camera body. Behind the fixed focal length 23mm f/2 Fujinon lens is a leaf shutter, an EXR processor and a built-in ND filter.

The look and styling of the camera sample on the show floor of the LVCC is final, according to Fuji representatives. An array of controls borders the LCD to the left, and a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder occupies the top of the camera.

It's expectedly solid and weighty. Dials on the top include control for shutter speed and EV compensation. There's a dedicated RAW button on the back panel, and a control wheel paired with a sub-dial above it.
Fujifilm X100
Fujifilm pitches this camera squarely at the enthusiast and advanced crowd. Rather than make an attractive camera loaded with automatic modes and features for mass appeal, Fuji hopes to equip the X100 with a sharp feature set for advanced users.
Fujifilm FinePix X100
The camera has a hot shoe on the top deck and Fuji had the X100 on display with some nice leather cases and external flash units.
Fujifilm X100
Fujifilm hopes to make a full announcement of the camera this February with a release to the market in March. The price tag hasn't changed since Photokina - expect to shell out around $1000 for the X100.

A first look at the Toshiba Tablet

Microsoft Surface CES 2011 Demo

Monday, January 3, 2011

Klipsch Image S4 Review

As you would expect from a pair of earbuds in this price range, Klipsch has gone a bit beyond your basic bubble packaging for the Image S4 and its accessories. The headphones come in a Altoid-sized tin with a layer of punched-out foam inside, creating pockets for the buds, three spare gel tips, and a tiny pick for cleaning the tiny hole in the gel tips. Besides making a nice impression when you first unbox them, the aluminum tin makes a handy way to carry them around without constantly having to unravel them from the nest of cables that builds in a backpack.
Klipsch Image S4 HeadphonesEach earbud has a tiny driver seated into a knob-shaped black housing accented with chrome, while the nozzle portion that slides into the ear canal comes off at an angle, with one of three ear tips seated on top. It may not be metal, but the plastic used in the S4 feels smooth and high quality, with none of the usual hallmarks of cheap plastic such as mold release lines. Tapered rubber portions leading into the slender cables also seem to ease tension on both ends, preventing the constant stress from working the wire into a fray.

The slight kink between driver and silicon tip makes it a little unclear just how they should slide into your ear, but when you hit the right angle, the firm fit might as well be a “click” into place – they feel just right. After a dozen times putting them in, we didn’t even think twice about the process, but lending them out may produce some confused friends until you explain the proper way to fit them in.

And when they’re in, they’re not going anywhere. Though the bounce and jostle of the cable during runs sometimes necessitated reseating them during a long run, they never completely worked themselves free, needing only to be pressed back in a little tighter. Seated at a desk, not even that problem cropped up.

Klipsch Image S4 HeadphonesSound quality is among the best we’ve heard in this price category. The perfect seal between ear and driver seals out nearly all outside noise, helps create bass that’s bold without getting artificially boomy, and the tiny microdrivers manage to drive out sizzling percussion and slippery smooth vocals. These are earbuds good enough to get your blood racing with Rammstein during a run, or discover new nuances in your favorite Radiohead song with at home.

The road to audiophilia gets a little less steep, treacherous and hazardous to the wallet with Klipsch’s Image S4 headphones. For casual music listeners who can’t quite justify a pair of cans that cost five times as much as the player they’ll be wired into, Klipsch strikes a winning balance with the Image S4.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 10 Green Resolutions for New Year

Every year you make New Year resolutions, but despite your good intentions, your list is too big and never fully actualized. This year, make the resolutions for the environment that actually make a difference in your life and along the way you save money. These top 10 green resolutions help to simplify your homes, and your lives, to be greener, healthier, and happier this coming year.

Recycled logo
1. I resolve to start recycling. Recycled as much as you can. You can start by recycling the plastic bags, paper and cans. About 50 percent of your trash can be recycled. Buy products in a recyclable bag or can. Once you make a habit of recycling, your family and friends will follow you to make this planet greener.

2. I resolve to use energy efficient appliances. Appliances around the house need electricity. It cost you to operate these appliances. Energy efficient appliances help you save money on your electricity bill and less green house gas emission. If you are planning on buying new appliance, give the old one to the needy people or donate it. Do not throw it in the garbage. During the year, do not limit yourself to only these changes, but will continue to evolve as you try to lesson your CO2 impact on this planet.

Ecos Liquid detergent

3. I resolve to use eco-friendly cleaners. Start using eco-friendly detergent, laundry products and other cleaners. Many eco-friendly cleaning products are plant based, concentrated and biodegradable. They are as effective as other cleaning products.

Denim recycled purse
4. I resolve to use recycled bag. Plastic is the worst enemy of environment. You can start your new year by using recycled bag as often as possible. The recycled bags are made from candy wrapper, denim jeans or other recycled materials.

5. I resolve to start composting. Composting takes more time and energy. But it is not hard, once you get the habit of doing it, you will make a difference. Besides, composting helps the plants grow. You can compost leftover food, fruit and vegetable skin, dry leaves and yard clippings.

6. I resolve to use less electricity. Using less electricity makes a difference. Your house will produce less green house gas and you will save money. To reduce your electricity usage, you can turn down the heat by 2 degrees during winter season. Put an extra layer of cloth to keep you warm. Change the light bulbs with LED bulbs, this way you save energy and produce less green house gases. Use less hot water by washing clothes with cold or warm water.

7. I resolve to give up paper towels. Paper towels create waste, which is not good for the environment. You can save trees being cut by using reusable towels. The microfiber towels grip dirt and dust just like paper towels. Once you are done with them, wash them and reuse again. If you must use the paper towels, buy the recycled paper towels.

8. I resolve to avoid wasting gas. Gas makes our environment more polluted than plastic. You can walk, use bike or public transportation. It is good for your health and the environment. Another thing you can do is check your tire pressure. If you keep your tires properly inflated, you could save gas and increase your gas mileage.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle

9. I resolve to start using stainless steel water bottle. Water bottles are widely used around the world. The plastic bottles takes long period of time to compost. They create more pollution in the environment. Start using the stainless steel water bottle. If you have to buy plastic bottle water, then use the same bottle by refilling it.

10. I resolve to plant trees. This New Year resolution is easy and everybody can do it. Try to plant a tree every month. Planting tree with your children is a great activity to spend quality time with them. You can teach them about how plants help the environment. If everyone on this planet tries to plant a tree, half of our environment problems will be solved.

During the year, you do not limit yourself to only these top 10 green resolutions, but continue to evolve as you try to lesson your CO2 impact on this planet.