Saturday, June 26

Phonewhore Post of the Week

It's been more than a week since I got my Nokia 7610, and so I've gotten to know it better.

The phone's really a fashion phone, which means it really looks great. I remember when I got my T610 and 6600, my immediate reaction was to replace the original covers with more colorful shells. Not so with my 7610... the sleek, black cover is just oh, so cool. The only problem is, it's prone to fingerprints, so I'm always wiping it on my shirt. Heh.
The keys, while odd and artistic, are easy to get used to and very snappy, without any rattling or shaking. The only gripe I have is with the joypad- it's a bit stiff, especially with side motions. It's especially hard to play games like Sky Control and Space Impact with the pad. Sigh.
Overall the phone feels very solid, firm and snug in your hand. It's thinner and narrower than the 6600 and a bit lighter, but far tighter- quality!

The Megapixel camera is really cool and it's better than anything else available on cameraphones right now. There are three settings- High, Normal and Basic. The High pics are several hundred kilobytes in size, and fit about 20 or so in the phone's onboard memory. It's good that you can transfer photos to a PC or some other large archive via an included USB cable or through Bluetooth. Despite still not having a flash, taking pics in low light is better with the 7610 since the lens allows for more light exposure, and a single button push activates an excellent Night Mode. Video recording, of which you can now take up to 10 minutes per session, is incorporated with the digital still camera. As far as I can tell, the videos taken with the 7610 are clearer and sound a bit better than with the 6600.

In general, the 7610 has the best sounds of recent Nokia smartphones- far better than the 6600 and the 3650.

The Symbian OS of the 7610 runs a lot smoother and a lot faster than in the 6600, which will become quite apparent after you run programs, arrange files, compose MMS messages and stuff. Videos play smoother on the embedded Real One Player and even the third-party Smartmovie player.

Themes and apps that will work with the 6600 will usually work with the 7610, except for any apps that require the use of the IR port (Infra Red), since the 7610 doesn't have IR!

Memory is a bit of a problem at present since regular MMC memory cards won't fit in the phone. The 7610 uses Reduced-Size MMC cards, which is a new format that will soon become standard in upcoming phones from Nokia and other companies. I've already found a 128 MB card in a shop, but I'm holding out till larger-size RSMMC's are available.
Battery consumption is fair- about three hours to fully charge the battery, and then it will last for about 2 days. Using Bluetooth, the camera and media apps will of course shorten this faster.

The phone is presently priced at 30K in most shops all around the Metro, while The Hub will be selling the phone starting this weekend at about 28K with their subscriptions (get it free with the higher plans).
The 7610 package includes the 7610, manual, promo brochiures, a USB cable, PC suite CD, RS MMC card (64mb) and adaptor and a wrist strap. The wrist strap is not recommended since it has a metal component which may scratch your lovely mobile.

Well, that's that. I am fully satisfied with the 7610, and it's really cool to have be one of the first to have this great model. I am sure it will be as popular as the now 'In' 6600, though the present high price will be a deterrent to all save the most devoted (and in the money) gadget freaks.

And now, let's see about learning how to work the in-phone editing programs so I can start putting together my first 7610 short film...

Friday, June 25


Things have been great at work lately, and now we end the work week it at a high note. We presented a TV commercial to client and got high marks. It's really great to see your idea, once presented as a concept, finally made reality by excellent directors and production houses. It's even better when you show your work to your client and see smiles of approval on their faces.
We've been labouring on this particular TV commercial series since last year, and to finally reach the closing stages is truly refreshing. Soon, it will be onto showing the final, final spot and then releasing it into the media for the world at large to see.
Great way to end the week. WOOHOO!!!

Thursday, June 24

Suikoden III Part 2

The war between knights, tribes and mysterious sorcerers continues in Suikoden III manga, volume 2.

The second part of the game-to-manga translation of the PS2 RPG Suikoden III is available now.
As before, the quality of the translation is still excellent, despite having to balance attention between at least three major groups of heroes- from a troop of noble knights, to tribes of fierce barbarians, to a somewhat shady troop of mercenaries. There are tons of touches to please fans of the game, including not only the showing of major events from the game story, but also tons of little cameos of even minor cast members (remember, the Suikoden game has a cast of over 108 different heroes and villains).

There are some little hiccups but overall the second volume of Suikoden III still has me hooked and waiting for the next one. Check your favorite comic store and get your own copy for some high fantasy manga.

We won the pitch we were working on all week!!! A new account won! A mountain climbed and conquered!!! WE DID IT!!! GO, TEAM, GO!!!!


That means..!

More work for us..!




The Metro Rail Transit (MRT) is a good thing. I still believe that, even though these days I prefer spending on a cab rather than squeezing myself in with the MRT crowds.

I remember the first time I entered the Katipunan station of the East-West MRT, I marvelled at the cavernous interior, the cool feel of being underground and the relative quiet of the place compared to the more populous EDSA workhorse.
As the train moved through the tunnel and into daylight, I moved to a window and watched the buildings pass by. I've been commuting more than 15 years, going past these same buildings over and over countless times by jeepney, taxi or bus. But at that time, I looked at the buildings again and saw them completely new from the elevated perspective of the MRT.


If only for the ability to see old things in a new light, new ways of going about things, new ways of doing things, should always be sought out. So the routine becomes something exciting again, until the next new train comes along.

Tuesday, June 22

Closet Dungeoneer

Dungeons and Dragons, the original tabletop RPG, turns 30 this year. Wow. I have to say that it brings back memories and feelings in me that I thought I had long lost to anime, manga and videogames.

Yes, it's true. I admit it. I was a Dungeons and Dragons fan.

I was always fascinated by the idea of roleplaying games, back since when I was a little kid. I read about tabletop gaming in my older brother's gaming mags, watched that tragic, tragic Tom Hanks film Mazes and Monsters, and begged my relatives overseas to send me the books so I could play.

I remember being sent the green set- the Dungeons and Dragons Companion Set Rules first. Which was unfortunate since the set was for advanced, expert players. I remember reading through it and loving all the illustrations and definitions of spells... but failing to make heads or tails of ANYTHING. I remember my sister coming in and asking me to try out the game with her- Which I DID, despite not at all having ANY idea of how to play, nor did I have ANY of the required dice (the Companion Set didn't come with any). I remember that was probably my first and only attempt at 'winging' D&D- I made up everything, from rules to monsters to combat results, arbritrarily using a bunch of six-sided die (the only dice I could find) and feeling like a quack doctor selling fake cures the whole time. I think my sister knew it as well, but for her credit she played quite seriously for that one and only session.

It was some time later when I finally got the Red Box of Basic Rules, and I marvelled at the included dice. I loved the little in-box solo adventure, mourned the death of Aleena the Cleric at the hands of the evil magician Bargle, and had shivers at the thought of gibbering, flesh-hungry ghouls.
I loved reading the literature, writing down stats, thinking up adventures and even doing a little mini-comic based on D&D. In fact, into my high school years I'd work on a D&D-based comic known as Swords of Valour; I never finished it, and it vanished into the mists of antiquity soon after I graduated, but it was fun while it lasted.
But it's actually funny for me to realize that I never really played D&D as much as I would have wanted. For a few months in high school I was able to actually run with a bunch of guys who loved RPGs, but we could never pin down our Dungeonmaster for any good length of time- he was a fickle upper year guy who was hard to get along with, but to his credit he could spin a good story and acted out the parts with gusto. After we lost touch with him, the role of referee hopped from one guy to another, but we never really played seriously after.

Since then, I dabbled into other games of the TSR lineup- Star Frontiers, Gamma World, Gangbusters and Top Secret and Marvel Super Heroes, but I never really liked them as much as I did the good ol' D&D games. Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms... these were the places I really enjoyed.

Into college, I forgot about RPGs save for the occasional fantasy novel or gamebook. It's too bad I really never got into serious RPG playing- perhaps that would have changed my life, I think. Maybe today I'd be an RPG fanatic instead of an Anime/Manga Otaku. Maybe I'd be both. Who knows? I wonder how it would have been if I had been friends with my present barkada- many of whom are RPG veterans. Oh well.

All I know now is that I still love the ol' D&D games. If I had spare cash on me, I'd zip down right now to Nova Fontana in Greenhills and pick up what TSR relics they still have over there, just for kicks. I'd probably take a look at the upcoming re-released D&D Basic Set coming later this year. Probably not because I want to play, but just because I want to read and visit these fantasy worlds once again. Who knows... Maybe it just might be enough to get me to dust off the dusty black cloak and robes, polish the ironwood staff, take up my spellbook and sally forth once more.

Maybe. If the magic is still there.
Grudgingly Translated

The trailer for the upcoming remake of Ju On: The Grudge is now online, at Yahoo Movies.

The remake, produced by horror icon Sam Raimi and directed by Takashi Shimizu (the director of the original creeper) stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as the hapless young woman who gets sucked into a world of supernatural revenge, murder and eerie feelings on the back of your neck. The remake looks to follow the original Japanese film quite religiously, down to the look of the ghost, the scary little kid and the chilling scene of ghostly fingers stroking the back of the heroine's head...

Look for The Grudge later this year.
The Latest Catch

I've gotten a crop of new dvds to watch when I have the time: Van Helsing is the recently-shown action-fantasy starring Hugh 'RRRAAAAAAAAUUUGGGGHHHH!!!" Jackman as the titular monster hunter hot on the trail of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman. The Day After Tomorrow is the world-disaster flick starring Dennis "Dragonheart" Quaid. FInally, I found a VERY CLEAR dvd of Kill Bill 2, the second part of Quentin "Cameo" Tarantino's bloody 4th film. Haven't watched ANY of them yet- hope I can squeeze in the time to do so despite having quite a lot of stuff to do into next week.
On my hit list for must-get dvds: the period Japanese ninja flick Azumi by Ryuhei Kitamura and Director Zhang Yhimou's latest opus House of Flying Daggers, starring Zhang Ziyi.

Monday, June 21

A Hero by Chance

Over the weekend, me, Vin, Gig, Jason and Carl talked about a superhero or a comic book character who didn't just have a power that did one particular thing; he could actually cause anything to happen, from changing the weather to making someone's shirt shrink. His/her power would seemingly be totally random and wild, though usually beneficial. The challenge, we thought, was thinking up exactly what could happen at any given time, and how our hero would use that effect to his advantage.
This line of thinking was precipitated when, while we were on route to dinner at Behrouz, I started talking about the movie Firestarter. In this movie, the father of the titular pyrokinetic kid, Drew Barrymore, was played by actor David Keith. He himself had powers of mental domination; he could make anyone do whatever he asked, or feel whatever he commanded. Whenever he used his power, the guy would look like he had a HELL of a migraine and bleed from the nose, but he could do a lot more stuff than just burn things.
"YOU ARE... BLIND!!!" He'd say, and a bad guy was blind.
"Here's a hundred." He'd say, giving over a dollar bill to a cabbie.

That was cool! You could make people do anything you want. I think that's a LOT better than just burning things up.

Well, our hero would go through all that head-stroking migraine stuff, and then SOMETHING would happen. It would affect the area, and it would not be directly harmful to him. It could be anything from changing the weather to altering matter in the immediate vicinity. Maybe if he really, really, really tried, his power would actually do as he intended. But usually, he'd be out of focus and just cause something totally random and weird to happen.

We threw around titles like Murphy's Law, Chance, Weird Luck and even V-Factor (V for Variable). Or maybe even the title for this post would be a good title for the story. We still haven't pinned down just what the story would be about, who his enemies would be, if HE would actually be a SHE, or whatever. But with so much pending and current comic projects we have, I don't think I'll be taking this storline further anytime soon. It's just something we just talked about and had fun with at that moment.

Something totally random.