Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The MeFOTO SideKick360 Review

I love the color orange. And I love my iPhone. So when the chance to combine the two comes up, I almost always jump on it...

Enter the orange MeFOTO SideKick360...

This nifty device is a phone stand/tripod adapter. With this clamp you will be able to do  a lot of things with your phone, like shooting time lapse, long exposure photos, and group photos, of course. And with a reversible tripod and a proper lens attachment, you will be able to make macro photos with your iPhone!

The SideKick360 can be used with any tripod or monopod. You can either use the quarter-inch screw to tie the clamp down, or you can just use the arca-swiss plate-compatible foot of the accessory.

But the SideKick360 is not limited to photography. This clamp can also serve as a stand for your iPhone - you will be able to watch movies, have a FaceTime video call, or just a regular hands-free call.

And yes, this accessory is not limited to the iPhone. If your phone has a maximum width of 2.8 inches, then it will fit.

Though I feel that the so-called phablets are a no-go... And yes, it's not for the iPhone 6+...

On the construction aspect, this MeFOTO product is well-made and is composed of high-quality materials. The screws tighten and loosen smoothly and the screw holes are precisely made. Also, the metal used for this clamp is the same as that of a MacBook Pro! How nifty is that?!?

And it is orange!

This beautifully-oranged thing is very useful both for the iPhone's everyday use and for iPhoneography.

Here's hoping it will be available in the Philippines!

It is Highly Recommended!

Photos shot with an iPhone 5s using the iOS app Hipstamatic:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Musings on the Apple Watch

Since the Apple Watch announcement, I've been mulling about what possible use it will have for me personally. No, I don't have plans to get one yet, but, hypothetically, if I have one, I don't know what I will use it for...

But then the Apple embargo for reviews was lifted and I was able to read reviews from some prominent people in the tech world. And it became clear what will be its possible use for me and how I can include the Apple Watch to my day-to-day activities.

The bane of modern living has been the barrage of information that is now readily available, thanks to our smartphones and the persistence of cellular data (most of the time anyway). And these deluge of data come to us in the form of Notifications. And this was how I figured how the Apple Watch will fit with me.

My epiphany happened one Sunday while the wife and I were having lunch with my in-laws (the wife's parents, sister and a family friend). My phone was in my pocket and it vibrates every once in a while. I didn't want to be rude, so I didn't, not once, pull out my phone to check out what the heck was going on. After lunch, while walking, I snuck out for a moment to check out what the Notifications were about. It turned out that they were just meaningless tweets and some Facebook notifications that really can wait.

The thing was, I was getting anxious about the vibrations my iPhone made while we were dining. The inability to check what the notifications were kept gnawing at me and made the food taste a little bland. (Well, not really; the food was really good!)

It was a good thing that those were meaningless messages but what if it was an important call, a message from my sister, etc? A deal that has closed? A potential client?

The Yankees winning a 28th World Series?

For me, I think, that is where the Apple Watch will shine. It's still considered rude to check your watch while you have company but it is infinitely easier to be discrete checking your notifications with a less-than-two-inch Watch than a 5.5-inch iPhone. And if it's true that personalization of the Notifications on Apple Watch has far more options than on an iPhone, then one can set the Apple Watch to notify only when, say, there's a Twitter DM or a Facebook personal message instead of vibrating for every Likes and retweets.

Using the iPhone 6+ during cardio activities  has been a very difficult thing for me. Because of its size, I cannot imagine putting the phone on an arm band and exercising with it. So, when I'm in the gym, the phone just stays in a small bag on the floor. This actually prevents my iPhone from measuring my activity. Then, the phone will nag me that I have been sedentary even if I already had a moderate run for an hour or so. Quite ironic, I believe... With the Apple Watch, since it will stay on my wrist, my exercise will be recorded and the phone will glow with glee because I did the minimum requirement to keep my self, well, a little fit.

And so, to end this, I find a little irony in what Apple is trying to do with the Apple Watch.

Apple made the iPhone so big that we cannot comfortable exercise with it; so they made an Apple Watch!

With the iPhone, Apple made it easier for people to get connected. With the Apple Watch, Apple is trying to curb our love for the iPhone and instead focus on the people that's in front of us.

These small things are what make Apple a great company.

(NB: I just included a screen shot of the Apple Watch from the Apple website since the Watch is not yet available in the Philippines and I don't have one to photograph yet.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Small Review for the Big iPhone 6+

I've had the iPhone 6+ for several weeks now. And so far, it has been glorious!

With this iPhone, I am able to read e-books more than when I was using the iPhone 5s. I just could not read on that phone. So, then, if I wanted to do some reading, I brought out my iPad and read with that. I wanted to see more and the 5s was not able to satisfy my needs. (Now I know why I was really bored with reading on the 3.5-inch iPod Touch, and that was the reason why we bought a Kindle; reading on such a small screen was very tedious...)

And since the 6+ enables me to read more, I don't bring my iPad as often anymore. This makes The Wife really happy since she wants me to lighten my daily load. She gives me a maximum load limit to the things I carry on a daily level...

With the 6+, I can now watch animé without squinting my eyes. I like to watch animés in Japanese and just read the subtitles, and, with the 5.5-inch screen, the subtitles are big enough for reading.

With this phone, I can also play Clash of Clans, my favorite online game! The screen is big enough so I can see more of my enemy's village! (Although, still, nothing beats, ah, beating the hell out of someone's village with the bigger iPad!)

And of course, everyone benefits with the larger screen when they are using their phone for navigation. (Yeah, traffic in Metro Manila is horrible...)

However, having a large phone also has its set backs. One is, there are some things I can do one-handed on the iPhone 5s that I can't do with the 6+ anymore. When I put the phone on my front jeans pocket, the 6+ sticks out. And of course, there is the possibility of the phone bending... I don't want that, so I rarely put my phone on any of my pants pockets.

Oh, and I still feel (a little) ridiculous whenever I use the phone for calling... So, as much as possible, I use a pair of earbuds for calling.

The new camera of the 6+ is much better than the one on the 5s. However, I have yet to try the slo-mo and burst capture of the phone.

I love, absolutely love my iPhone 6+. If there's one thing I don't like, it's that I just wish the rotation of the display would be patterned after the one on the iPad - that is, it can rotate in any orientation, for all apps. You have to be lucky if you want to guess correctly how an app will orient itself when you flip or twist the phone...

Another thing, I still have to get used to the iPhone 6+'s new keypad when it's in landscape orientation. 

And lastly, I hope all my apps will have a native resolution for the 6+ instead of the apps just being magnified, zoomed in, to fill the entire screen. Having a native resolution for the iPhone 6+ is a magical experience. 😊

Yes, the iPhone 6+ is Highly Recommended but it is not for the faint-of-heart!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Digital Photographer Philippines 9

My nephew, the wife and I went to Digital Photographer Philippines last March 21, 2015. It was a free event though you have to register for it. You can do so online or you can register on site. There were a lot of participants, photo gears and, of course, photographers.

The participants were treated to product demos, photography lectures, and some were even allowed to use their own cameras to photograph a lady dressed as an animé character. 

It was a fun, day-long event, though I wish they had a different set up regarding the lecture/demos. For some of the demos, the speakers stood on stage, gave a short lecture, then asked the people to move towards the boxing ring. This was utter chaos; the people have already settled in their seats but then were asked to transfer towards the ring. And also, since the sound system was set on stage, we really couldn't hear what the speaker was saying when he was on the boxing ring... That made no sense to me.

Also, using the boxing ring for the demo "stage", for me, didn't really work. The ropes kept getting in the way of the viewers.

However, we were also treated to some amazing bike stunts! I just wished that the area was cordoned off - the event bordered on the dangerous because any of the participants could have been hit by a flying bike...

There were also some flash mob dancers!

Being a photography event, a lot of people came armed with their cameras...

The last lecture was done the way I would have set it up: both the lecture and the demos were done on stage - well, it was supposed to be that way, except the light triggers failed to work...

But then, we were treated to some beautiful belly dancing so we really couldn't complain.

But, all-in-all, it was a really fun and exciting event. Here's looking forward to next year's DPP!


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