Thursday, September 30, 2010

September 22 Equinox

September 22, 2010. I spent the day at Griffith Park.

Mt. Hollywood trail
N82 | Along the trail, there's Griffith Observatory. Further away is Downtown LA

Mt. Hollywood trail
N82 | Climbed up to the top of Mount Hollywood

Mt. Hollywood trail
N82 | Marker of the summit

Mt. Hollywood trail
N82 | There were lots of tree trunks along the walking paths

Flip Mino HD | Dr Laura Danly explains the equinox at sunset on the west deck of the Griffith Observatory

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Double Rainbow

20100929421, originally uploaded by Al Pavangkanan.

I think this is the first time I used the Vivid setting.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dead Rising 2 Launch Event

A few days ago I attended a Dead Rising 2 launch event. I took my newly repaired N82 to check it out.

N82 | Greene's Hardware store front

Capcom rented out some store space and threw a party there. The wait to get in lasted about 30 minutes. The front of the store was made to look like Greene's Hardware. The walls were covered with sale advertisements. A lot of the weapons were duct taped together. I guess that's a feature in the game.

N82 | Machine gun wheelchair

Walking to the back of the store, I found myself in a warehouse where a party was going on. There were wall to wall game stations set up for people to play the game. There was a DJ and in the back was water and Pepsi. Press and VIPs had access to an open bar. About 30 minutes after I got in, pizza was served. I left early and missed out on free t-shirts.

N82 | Killing zombies

I forgot how great of a camera the N82 is. The N97's flash would often interfere and cause horrid night shots. The N82 made each shot I took amazing. Really looking forward to the N8.

N82 | Football + grenade + duct tape = Hail Mary

The full set can be found here on flickr

Monday, September 20, 2010

Work and Play with the E72 and the E73 Mode

a while back, I was invited by the fine folks at WOM World Nokia to attend an E73 Mode event down in Sunset Beach. The event was a lot of fun. I went kayaking and jet skiing in a 3 piece suit. There was lots of new people to meet, food and booze to consume and some great swag in the form of towels and hats. I also got to trial an E73 Mode.

E72 vs E73
N97 | E72 vs E73

The E73 has some neat tricks that its E72 counterpart doesn't have. It supports T-Mobile's Hotspot at Home and let's you make calls if your place has bad reception. My favorite is a simple option for the right soft key. The Lock Keys option makes it super simple to lock the keypad. This year at Comic Con, I accidentally called 911 on the E72 I was using. Lock Keys would have come in handy then.

Speaking of keys, the E73's button layout is much easier to use than the E72. The buttons are nice and big and less susceptible to an errant press. Unlike the E72, the call and end buttons are colored on the E73. I do prefer the color choices on the E72. The d-pad is much improved on the E73, it is much more thumb friendly.

Both the E72 and E73 feature amazing battery life. When I took the E72 to Comic Con, it lasted all day with Gravity and email running with high frequency updates.

Since I never got around to unlocking the E73, I was stuck with a prepaid card with less than $3 in credit. I mainly used the E73 as a GPS device. I drove around LA with Ovi Maps without needing to keep it plugged into a charger. I could never do this with my N97. The battery efficiency has really advanced forward on the E73. I went hiking a few times and tracked my progress with Endomondo and the E73 had no problems picking up signal even in offline mode.

Of the two, I think the E73 makes the better upgrade from an E71. I really enjoyed using it.

VOX Archive: HDR at the Griffith Observatory

This was originally posted to VOX on January 11, 2008

HDR: Smog
N95 | HDR Smog

HDR: Los Angeles Skyline
N95 | HDR Los Angeles Skyline

HDR: Griffith Observatory
N95 | HDR Griffith Observatory

Sunday, September 19, 2010

VOX Archive: Lounging in the car

This was originally posted to VOX on January 2, 2008

I set up the N800 in the sun visor to watch some video. This angle is required because the N800 has poor visibility in daylight.

N95 | Car was parked, I wouldn't do this while driving

Saturday, September 18, 2010

VOX Archive: Red Sunset

This was originally posted to VOX on January 1, 2008

I took a few photos at sunset today. This is my favorite, an HDR composite.

HDR: Red Sunset
N95 | HDR via the N95

Friday, September 17, 2010

VOX Archive: Gorilla Pod

This was originally posted to VOX on December 23, 2007

I recently ordered a gorilla pod from Amazon. Its a lot smaller than I thought it would be. It doesn't seem very stable or secure. But I think I can have a lot of fun using this thing.

Nokia 6120 Classic | N95 mounted

Due to the lack of a camera mount, I use a universal tripod for my Nokia N95. The one you see here is from my Sunpak Versipod. It worked great with my N90, I could mount it vertically and have no problems. With my N95, I have to mount it horizontally.

The gorilla pod is very adjustable and can attach to just about anything. It makes a great combination with the head of the Versipod and my N95. With the horizontal nature of how they work with each other, this system can be attached to poles and provide a great mounted experience. This set up is a little flimsy though. The N95 carries a lot of weight and can wobble easily if there's enough wind.

With my recent interest in HDR photography, this set up will come in handy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

VOX Archive: Guide to N-Series HDR Photography

This was originally posted to VOX on December 8, 2007 and was also posted to the Nokia Blog on March 31, 2008

HDR: Los Angeles River
N95 | HDR via the N95

High Dynamic Range imaging, better known as HDR, is a great way to make your digital photos look awesome. Normally when you take pictures of subjects with a sky background, the sky will have lots of color and the subject goes dull. Alternatively, you might get a good picture of your subject, but the sky will just be a white mess. With HDR imaging, everything in your picture have more color.

HDR imaging uses multiple pictures with different exposure settings and combines them with Tone Mapping to make awesome pictures. Check out the HDR wikipedia entry here for more info.

Normally, you need a DSLR camera and equipment to pull off such great pictures. I will show you how to pull off such pictures with an N-Series phone.
You need equipment beyond your N-Series phone. Let's start with the tripod. You can get the Nokia Tripod DT-22. It costs about $30 and looks great with the N93 or N95 8GB. Alternatively, you can get a Sunpak Versipod off Amazon for about $15. A great thing about the Sunpak tripod is that you can twist off the head and attach it to a full sized tripod or the very flexible Gorillapod.

The next piece of equipment you will need is a bluetooth keyboard. The key to HDR photos is to keep your camera steady. With a bluetooth keyboard, you can operate the camera menu's without touching your phone, keeping your phone very steady. The Nokia SU-8W or Think Outside Stowaway Keyboard are recommended. Check out the reviews at MobileBurn to help you make a choice.

Now that you have your equipment, let's take some pictures!

1. First set up your N-Series phone with your tripod.
2. Next, activate the camera.
3. Adjust your phone set up your shot on the screen. This should be the last time you touch the phone.
4. Using your keyboard, go into scene modes and select Landscape.
5. Next, go down the menu and set the white balance.
6. Now set the Exposure compensation to +2
7. Go up the menu to Self timer. Set the timer to 10 seconds.
8. Activate the timer.
9. You will now have you first shot. Now press back.
10. Now set the Exposure compensation to 0 and take another picture using the Self timer.
11. Next, take a third picture with the Exposure compensation set to -2.
12. And now you're done. Pack up your stuff and go home.
13. After you have finished taking pictures, upload them to your computer.

The last thing you need for HDR photography is computer software. You can get Adobe Photoshop, but that is really expensive as well as complicated.

I recommend getting Photomatix from HDRsoft. It costs $99 and has a great tutorial on how to make HDR images.
Simply follow the directions and you can get great pictures like mine.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

VOX Archive: My time with the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet

This was originally posted to VOX on November 9, 2007

I've had the Nokia N800 Internet tablet for about 2 weeks now. I've really enjoyed how portable it is. I can browse the internet from anywhere in my house. I love to wake up and start browsing right away.

I've stumbled upon so many features. I'm not a person who reads the instruction manual, I prefer to just explore. I stumbled onto the fullscreen key and my face lit up with happiness. It took me a while to figure out the thumb board. I usually just place my whole thumb on the screen to activate now.

N95 | Me and the N800

Its kind of a large device. Not very pocket friendly. I'm going to have to get a nice bag to keep this and all my other gadgets with me. I paired it with my Think Outside Stowaway Bluetooth Keyboard that I was using for my N95. The Stowaway makes an excellent companion to the N800. This combo is like a mini laptop.

The screen is nice and big. Its nice to be able to look at web pages without having to scroll all over the place.
Unfortunately, I've scratched up the screen protector pretty bad. I've already put in an order for more.

I had ordered a 4gb micro SDHC card for my N95 back in August. When it arrived, it turned out to be a defect and its replacement took forever to arrive. So instead of waiting, I used up some of my Amazon gift cards and bought a 6gb card. I was wondering what to do with the 4gb card when the N800 fell in my lap. I am very happy to see the N800 supports it.

I love that the N800 has 2 memory card slots. What I don't like is how the external memory card slot has no eject mechanism. A mini or micro SD card is very hard to get out of there. Theoretically, the N800 can support up to 64gb of storage. That's more than my laptop!

The combination of the N95 and N800 is pretty awesome and I'm trying to find a balance of how I want to use their features. I still use my N95 for podcasts and music since the podcasting and music applications are better on S60. However, since there's a much larger potential for storage, I might move my music collection to the N800. I've been using the Canola Player and found it enjoyable. There's supposed to be a major revision with a prettier UI coming out soon. I'd like to see some developer copy Apple's coverflow. Since the N800 runs linux, anything is possible, right?

I find it strange that .mp4 movie files I made for the N95 dont work on the N800. But I do love how I can share media with home networking. After activating home networking on the N95, I can watch a slideshow of my pictures on the n800. I often stream music from my computer to the n800 as well. I'm hoping that the new OS offers A2DP. I have the Nokia BH-501 headphones that I'd love for the N800 to pair with.

I recently signed up with Jaiku to follow the Nokia blogger community. There's a great app called Mauku that is a Jaiku client for the N800. I usually just leave it on all day and get excited whenever the screen wakes up with a new post. The N800 is also great for IM. I wish more of my friends had Google Talk, since the built in client is excellent. I've been using the Gizmo Project for AIM and its ok. It just needs a way for inactive friends to not be shown and then its an ace program.

I love how I can tether my N800 to my N95. Having the full uncompromised internet with me at all times is very satisfying. I can never ever be bored.

Monday, September 13, 2010

VOX Archive: BarCampLA4

This was originally posted to VOX on November 5, 2007

I went to another BarCamp over the weekend on Saturday. This one was held in downtown LA at the Little Radio Warehouse. Despite using my N95's GPS to get there, I walked past the venue. A couple of other campers helped me find my way. I walked around a bit and saw people from last weekend's MobileCamp. After checking in, getting a name tag and t-shirt, I sat down to rest.

I talked to a girl who made a video podcast movie for at We talked about internet and ubuntu. At that point I pulled out my new N800 and said its my first exposure to Linux. Her friend Seth was excited about the N800 as well. He works at the Apple store and was fed up with the lack of real development. He ended up trading his iPhone for an N800 with someone there. (See flickr gallery)
More talk of the iPhone led to the media capabilities of my N95. I showed off the camera and video options.

During lunch, I talked to some people who went to BarCamp San Diego. When I took their picture, they were amazed with how much my N95 looks like a real camera. At the first panel I went to, a bunch of other n800 owners attended as well. At a panel later on, I met another N95 owner who loved how he used it in Korea and Japan.

Near the end of the day, I met a who had a Chumby. Chumby is a neat little linux thing that has an accelerometer inside. He was trying to write an alarm app that would be deactivated when turned to the left with a code, like 3 shakes and off. He showed me video he made of using the Nintendo Wiimote to control a roomba. I pulled out my N95 and showed off the moving ball demo. We agreed that accelerometers are awesome.

My ride home showed up around dinner time. I learned that he doesn't fit in with geek culture, so I couldn't convince him to stick around longer for the free drinks that were going to be provided later. On the way back, I played the new Saul Williams and he was surprised with how loud the speakers on the N95 were.

N95 | Flickr set from BarcampLA4

Sunday, September 12, 2010

VOX Archive: N800

This was originally posted to VOX on October 31, 2007

My new toy, the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet

Also pictured: Think Outside Stowaway Keyboard, Nokia BH-900 headset, Sandisk SDHC reader, eyeglasses and a pen.

N95 | N800

Saturday, September 11, 2010

VOX Archive: MobileCampLA

This was originally posted to VOX on October 30, 2007

I went to MobileCampLA last Sunday.
I had a conversation with Astra, a graffic design artist from Cal Arts. When I told her about my N95's 5 MP camera, she seemed surprised how big that is. We got into a conversation about possibilities of the video recorder and how great movies could be made, regardless of medium.

I attended a bunch of panels. My favorite was the Megaphone demonstration. There's a big screen set up and people with any kind of phone can call in and play. I won the first game.

Lunch arrived in the form of a catered In & Out Burger truck. I ordered a double but probably could have eaten another.

After lunch was a half baked entrepreneur contest. The attendees formed groups and suggested a bunch of mobile words. The groups then picked 2 words and was tasked to make a company around it. I grouped with the fellow WOMworld attendees and made a pitch about Laser QR codes. Rich, Mike and Jeremiah did the bulk of the work in creating a laser equipped cell phone that can project QR codes anywhere and onto anything from clouds to kittens. The winning group came up with a car parking alarm system. They won 5 N95-3's and 2 N800's.

Near the end of the day, there was a trivia contest. Every time I sent an email through gmail for an entry, it never showed up. By the time I switched to Yahoo mail, all the N95's were given away. Not discouraged, there were still N800's left to be given away. With help from Jeremiah and his VAIO notebook, I got an entry in on time and won one!

One person, a fellow who runs, won the N95-3. At the end the conference, I noticed he rode a bike. I suggested to him he get a holder for his bike to attach his new N95 and use the GPS to get around and he smiled with the idea.

Before saying goodbye to the WOMworld crew, I discussed with Siobhan about how hard it was to find the Culver Events Center. I have Route66 installed on my N95, but it had a hard time finding the place. Many among the WOMworld crew had GPS units and they couldn't find it either. But the drive home was quick and easy.

Full Gallery here

N95 | Flickr set from MobileCampLA

Thanks to WOMworld for the invitation and to MobileCampLA for the N800.

Friday, September 10, 2010

VOX Archive: MobileCampLA - precamp

This was originally posted to VOX on October 29, 2007

Last week, I was invited by WOM World to attend MobileCampLA.

The WOM World party arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday and invited me to a dinner at the Marriott in Marina Del Rey.

There I met Richard and Siobhan from WOM World and fellow invitees Jeremiah and Kevin.

Jeremiah suggested I drink whiskey. Or maybe it was scotch. Or are they the same thing? Anyway, its a warm drink.

N95 | Precamp with Wom World

We had dinner and discussed things from mobiles to television shows to movies.

The Marriott hosts their own bar / nightclub in their patio and on this night they were having a Halloween party. We visited and found places to lounge hard to find. It was already 12:30 am when I realized I needed to go home.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

VOX Archive: Unlimited Drinks at The Edison

This was originally posted to VOX on October 22, 2007

I got an invite from Jeb, a member from howardforums.

Apparently, he has this really cool job where he travels the world and puts on awesome parties involving mobiles. I am insanely jealous.

The day of the event, Amir, another howardforums member, offered to drive me to the event. We had a crazy time trying to get downtown from the San Fernando valley. The traffic was horrendous. We had 3 GPS enabled phones in the car and still had a hard time getting there.

When we found our way downtown, we had a hard time finding The Edison. We managed to find parking and walked around to find this place on foot. We arrived about an hour after the event opened, which is right on time by Los Angeles standards.

The Edison is hidden in an alley. There aren't any glowing signs to let you know its there. That's kind of what makes the place so cool. It It used to be a power plant and has been converted into a very upscale restaurant/lounge/club.

N95 | Drinks means blurry photos

I talked to the host, Ewan from smstextnews. We talked about how backward the American mobile scene is. I had myself a seat and ordered drinks. My signature drink is the Blue Hawaiian, but the waitress said they have no blue drinks. She suggested I try their signature drink, the Edison. It was a wonderful pear flavored cocktail and I ended up having 2 more. I also enjoyed sweet potato fries, which packed quite a kick.

N95 | Mobile talk

After chatting two girls from Frith PR, a sponsor of the event I moved over to a table filled with Nokia phones. WOM World provided an N95, N76, N93i and N800 internet tablet. Ewan left his own E65 on the table for people to demo. I was rather surprised with how big the N76 was. More surprising was how thin the E65 was compared with the N76. One girl mentioned how intimidating the large size of N93i is.

The strange part was that I was demoing the phones to all the people who haven't seen them before. Running down the specs and features of the N95. Mentioning various uses for the N800.

If Ewan or Jeb read this, I would again like to thank them for inviting me. I had a great time.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

VOX Archive: Nokia N-Series LA Party

This was originally posted to VOX on October 4, 2007

ZoneTag Photo Thursday 7:31 pm 9/27/07

I think everyone who showed up took this picture

ZoneTag Photo Thursday 7:31 pm 9/27/07
N95 | Pool at the N-Series LA Mansion

Addendum: This was the first Nokia event I attended which heralded the arrival of the US version of the N95. There was food, booze, gadgets to play with, rides in a fancy sports car, the works. Good times.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

VOX Archive: Simpsons Movie

This was originally posted to VOX on July 4, 2007

I found a $20 bill on the street and bought some Simpsons Movie stuff.

Two boxes of Krusty-O's, a six pack of Buzz Cola and a Squishee cost me $15.50

Simpsons Movie
N73 | Simpsons Movie swag from 7-Eleven

Monday, September 06, 2010

VOX Archive: Video test: Stalker Ichikawa Z, Don Fuji and CIMA entertain the line at the Burbank Armory

Originally posted to VOX on July 4, 2007

This is my first content post. I shot this video on May 20, 2007 in Burbank. This took about 15 minutes to upload over EDGE. Wifi or 3G would be very nice.

Really simple process. When I tried to send this to youtube over email, I got errors. This uploaded on the first try.

It looks very pixelated compared to the one on youtube.

Note: VOX supported video uploads. Youtube video included for reference

Friday, September 03, 2010

VOX Archive: Comic Con 2009

This was originally posted to VOX on July 29, 2009

Comic Con 2009 has come and gone. It was quite an amazing experience. Here's a summary of what I experienced.

Not much went on for preview night. I spent the night browsing with my N97 tethered to my new at&t 3G account.

The day started with walking the floor and scoring one of the big Warner Bros bag. I also got a Star Trek foam finger from the Paramount booth.

My first panel was The Middleman. This panel was a lot of fun with the whole cast of the show reading a lost episode.

I went on a wild goose chase to find an improptu Amanda Palmer performance, but never found her. I tried to get into the Psych panel, but didn't get in after 60 minutes in line.

I tried to get into Hall H for Avatar but was far too late. I did get to see a preview of Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, which another in a long line of surreal and visually splendid Gilliam films.

Later in the day, I got to see the Green Lantern animated movie, which was really great. I'm a big fan of DC animation.
I then headed into downtown San Diego for a free metal show headlined by GWAR. My roommate got me VIP passes, so I could watch from the balcony and get free drinks.

Batman: Brave and the Bold was my first panel. I sat next to writer Jim Krieg, we talked about local comic shops and I took a picture of him with his son. The panel opened with the BatMite comic con clip. Then showed the Music Meister episode featuring Neil Patrick Harris. EPIC episode.

I then checked out the Disney panel in Hall H and got to see some of their animation in 3D. The highlight of the panel was to see Hayao Miyazaki present his movie Ponyo.

I missed out on the TMNT25 panel. I did get to see the Marvel animation panel, but it turned into a snooze.

The DC animation panel followed, which was awesome with Clancy Brown and Kevin Conroy present.

Next up was a panel for the movie Stan Helsing. The movie was crap, but the stars of the movie were interesting, mainly Leslie Nielson, Kenan Thomspon and Steve Hewey.

The best part of Friday was the big animation block that started off with the WORST CARTOONS EVER. The highlight of this panel was a clunker called Rod Rocket, which featured Space Niggers with Russian accents.

Next up was the Spike and Mike Festival of Animation. It had some great stuff. This was followed by the Spike and Mike Sick and Twisted portion of the show. The climax was the new Dr. Tran short: Fruit Hat

The day kicked off with a celebrity sighting. I caught up with Ryan McPartlin, who plays Captain Awesome on the show Chuck. He said my Nerd Herd t-shirt was awesome.
I went on to wait in line for room 20 and the Chuck panel. This was quite an amazing panel, opening with Jeffster performing Queen's Fat Bottom Girls.

Next up was a Seth McFarlane double shot of Family Guy and The Cleveland Show. The Cleveland Show looked pretty good and I'll be watching it in the fall. There was a great clip shown where Cleveland is trying to make his son more of a man, so he takes him to Comic Con and shows him how not to act.

Next up was the Matt Groening double panel of Futurama and Simpsons. Matt gave out lots of weird prizes to the questioners. A really well made Nibbler costume was a complete series box set encased in Bender's head. Others won a Homer Simpson doll signed by Seth McFarlane and a Peter Griffin doll signed by Matt Groening.

I then proceeded to wait 3 hours in line for the Venture Bros panel. While waiting, I had an epic Tetris DS marathon with some people seated in front of me. The Venture panel was a lot of fun. I was so disapointed missing it last year.

After wards, I checked out the Masquerade, which turned out to be quite boring. I checked out the Heroes Carnival, but that sucked as well.

The day began with a Doctor Who panel followed up by American Dad. I walked the floor a bit and then attended the talk back panel.

This years chief complaints: Twilight ruined Comic Con, lines, the meeting rooms are too small and the security were rude, stupid and useless.

I took the train home and had a very pleasant ride. Looked out one window and saw the freeway jammed with cars while I looked the other way to see the sun set over the ocean.
I sat behind a producer from Psych and he showed an upcoming episode.

The final stretch of a bus ride featured a major geekout with all the guys next to me.

The N97 did its job as a twitter phone and media player while the N82 handled pics. Videos I tried shooting on the N97, but whenever I zoomed, it ended up looking terrible. What I really need is a phone with qwerty, xenon flash and optical zoom. Maybe I should just get a dedicated camera to complement my N97

Comic Con was a ton of fun and I already have my pass for next year.