Monday, February 24, 2014

3D Printing is the Future

3D TVs and cameras were a dud. But there is another 3D technology that will more likely be successful and have far-reaching repercussions in the future - 3D printing.

A 3D printer is like your inkjet printer on steroids. Instead of printing an image or text on a paper, a 3D printer will can create a three dimensional object. And instead of an image out of ink on paper, your final product is the molded item that is made of plastic or other materials like metal or vinyl.

Out of paper clips? No problem - print your own paper clips. Need a case for your iPhone? Find an iPhone case, and customize and print one for yourself. 

Mini 3D Printer
The average consumer may not yet embrace this technology as it the printer itself and the raw materials are currently cost-prohibitive for practical use, but the business enterprises will more likely adopt this technology first. It will speed up and help easily customize production.

But as 3D printing becomes more prevalent, it is not far fetched to see this technology in homes as well. Printers will most probably decrease over time, and 3D layouts can possibly become more ubiquitous that anyone can gain access to.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Where to get Paid and Free Ebooks

I discussed ebook readers in a previous post, and I would like to expand on where to get or download digital books.

You can purchase ebooks in sites such as Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon books, and once paid, the digital books will be sent to you.

However, there are many sites that offer free ebooks in various ebook formats that you can download from (these are actually what got me started on ebooks).

The top site is Project Gutenberg, which stores over 40,000 books that have become part of the public domain.

I also frequent Like Project Gutenberg, it provides public domain books as well as new authors who wish to distribute their books for free.

If you have a Kindle or Kindle app in your phone or tablet, you can download free Kindle books as well. Sites such as Hundred Zeros and One Hundred Free Books show an updated list of Kindle ebooks that you can download for free and later on read in your Kindle or Kindle app.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dual Sim Android Phone Recommendation

Mobile phone capabilities have come a long way. I am particularly happy that dual sim capabilities of mobile phones have grown leaps and bounds.

Dual sim mobile phones of the past usually ended up in compromises for the consumer. In some phones, you could only make one sim active at any one time. In other phones, their capabilities were compromised to accommodate the dual sim functionality.

Right now, there are a number of Android phones that offer top notch dual sim capabilities without sacrificing the full functionality of the Android ecosystem.

One phone I particularly like is the Alcatel OneTouch Idol.

I have two sim cards for two separate carriers, and I got tired of carrying two phones with me all the time. That is why I took the plunge and bought OneTouch, and I have not once regretted the purchase.

Right off the bat, I was liberated from carrying two bulky phones, while the phone's hardware (it is quad core already) rivals the top Android phones in the market.

The dual sim capabilities are seamless - both sims are always active at the same time. I can can receive, make, or send calls and messages from both sims without any additional configuration on my part. I can also assign the default sim for texting, for calling, and for mobile data.

The only drawback from using the phone is its mobile data. It does not offer LTE yet. Also, as you may know, when you use the phone to send an SMS or to call someone, the mobile data gets cut off momentarily. Having two sims and potentially receiving twice as much texts messages or phone calls mean that the mobile data gets cut off more often.

Despite the drawback, I am very satisfied with my phone. I have used the Alcatel OneTouch for about half a year now, and I have no plans of replacing it any time soon. To sum up my experience, it's like having two Samsung Galaxy S4 phones for a fraction of the price.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Price Gap on Androids and iPhones

There is a recent article on phoneArena detailing the widening price gap between Apple iPhones and Android phones.

The gap is understandable, considering that there are more and more cheap and cheap Android phones being released nowadays.

However, even comparing the new Apple iPhone 5s with the high-end Android phones such as Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or HTC One, the iPhones end up more expensive.

The question is, what will you choose between iPhone and Android phone, if they have the same having the same specs?

I really like the iPhone's and its apps' polished look and the simple interface. But I'd rather have the Android's customization it offers. I like the fact that I can root my phone, the customization of the look, and the freedom to choose which launchers keyboards to use, the option to place useful widgets, among others.

Choosing one over the other may depend on the user, but I personally like Android phones because it offers more functionality-wise.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Word Processor Recommendation - Q10

There are so many distractions when it comes to writing using the computer. The is only just a click away to pry you away from what you are doing. Even the solitaire or minesweeper beckons every once in a while, making you want to procrastinate for a few minutes.

When it comes to writing, my default word processor of choice is the Microsoft Word. It offers a plethora of bells and whistles for any of your writing needs.

Alternatively, LibreOffice is a free word processing software, albeit with fewer capabilities. I have it installed in my computer, but I use it only when Microsoft Word or my other preferred word processor - the Q10 - acts up.

But when I need to write without distractions, my go to word processor is Q10.

Q10 is a minimalist word processor - the moment you open it, you will see a full screen of black space. No additional buttons or tabs, little to no diversions.

Another feature I like about Q10 is the typewriter sound effect (which you can turn on and off). It may be just placebo, but the sounds it makes pushes me to type more. I was still able to use a typewriter when I did my school projects, and I associate the typewriter unadulterated typing. But unlike typewriters, I can do touch typing with Q10.

The sound and the absence of clutter has definitely helped me concentrate on my writing. Needless to say, Q10 is highly recommended for writers who need to focus on their work.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Taking the Plunge on a Dedicated Ebook Reader

I love traditional books. Reading a book is an experience in and of itself: feeling the texture of the paper, flipping each page as you go along, hearing the sound that the pages make as you flip them, smelling the irresistible scent of paper.

However, having your books stored in one gadget is can be a real convenience. Sometimes, I want to jump from one book to the next. I really cannot do that with traditional books, especially when I am not at home, unless I bring all my books with me. That is why I am drawn to ebooks.

Before, I used to read ebooks through my laptop. But reading from the computer was not really comfortable for an extended period. I was better off reading traditional books.

I then discovered that I could read ebooks from my Palm Pilot (and later, Treo), but the apps and ebook formats were limited.

When I had my Android phone, I read my ebooks from there, thanks to a growing number of apps and ebook formats. Right now, the larger screens of tablets offer more real estate for ebooks.

However, there are drawbacks from reading ebooks in your phones and tablets. The battery life of these gadgets are limited, so you have to constantly plug these. The multifunctionality of these gizmos can also be a distraction from your reading, as it is very easy to switch from one app to the next.

That is why if you really want to enhance your reading experience, having a dedicated gadget such as an ebook reader like Kindle or Nook is the way to go. It may only do one thing, but it serves its purpose very well.

Right now, the best ebook reader for me is the Kindle Paperwhite.

It has a long battery life, it is lightweight, and it lets you read under direct sunlight (something that you really cannot do with phones or tablets without cranking up the brightness to max, draining your battery in the process). You can also read at night, thanks to its built-in light.

Amazon has had a lot of experience in what consumers look for in an ebook reader; its Kindle Paperwhite has ticked all the requirements of what an ebook reader should be, making it the best out there.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Look Back at 3D Technology

The last post that I did featured 3D cameras, with the optimism that it would be the next big thing.

Fast forward four years: obviously, it was not.

It did not even enter the consciousness of the average consumer for the home entertainment system, and for good reason.

First off, 3D technology requires specialized equipment - a camera that can shoot 3D images, a television or projector that has the ability to show 3D images, and DVDs and files that can play 3D videos and images. In other words, watching and producing 3D films were expensive.

It's not purely about the cost.

3D tech could have possibly entered mainstream consumer consciousness - there was a time in the early part of this decade when a slew 3D movies were heavily promoted, and television manufacturers tried pushing 3D TVs as the next big thing.

The movie-goers may have gone to see 3D movies, but it did not translate to 3D TV sales.

Why so?

The technology tries to bank on the novelty of watching 3D films.

As many movie-goers attest, watching 3D videos can be literally nauseating. I watched Avatar twice in a row, and at the end of the second run, I just had enough willpower not to throw up. Also, when I chanced upon 3D TVs on display, I was curious for a few moments, but quickly lost interest.

3D technology has been around for a long time (the first commercially released 3D movie was way back in 1922), but once the initial novelty wore off, people stopped watching 3D movies.

So at the present, 3D technology will remain a niche, and will probably continue to do so in the near future.