rudyamid on November 19th, 2012 at 5:36 am

There was a Facebook Meme earlier this year to post the #1 song during the week of one’s birthday.  Apparently, mine was “Jude” by The Beatles:

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rudyamid on October 24th, 2012 at 11:57 am

Apple iPhone 5I’ve been an Apple fan since the iPhone 3G.1 I appreciated their attention to functional details and widely available accessories.  So naturally, I invested some money into their products, all the way to the iPhone 5.

But with the introduction of the 4th generation iPad, this is where I’m drawing the line.  I’ve just purchased the 3rd generation iPad in May and now it’s rendered obsolete? That doesn’t sit well with me. If I want my device to get old quick, I would’ve bought an Android device. Apple products are suppose to last longer, at least 12 months between refreshes.

This surprise refresh for iPad lineup is a strange one.  It’s not even a huge leap forward.  My thought is, Apple is mainly trying to sell their Lightning-based accessories, which will give them huge profits in the short term, since they don’t license to third-party manufacturers.  Small incremental change in tech is not typical for Apple – post Steve Jobs era.

Now, there’s not much else I want from Apple.  I never wanted to get a Macbook, as I’m happy with the cheaper (and Enterprise approved) Wintel Ultrabook. I don’t want an Apple TV, as I’m perfectly fine with my custom built HTPC.  My iPad 3 has retina display and more than capable for consuming media (Flipboard, Netflix, etc.)  My iPhone 5 is going to be my last iPhone because, so far, Apple has no interest in making a bigger screen version2.

So thanks, Apple for the wonderful iPhones and iPads.  It’s the end of the line for me.  I must now disembark the Apple bandwagon.

  1. Not a true “fanboy” because I don’t go line up for hours to buy their products in front of the Apple Store. []
  2. Like the Samsung Galaxy S and Notes series. []

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rudyamid on August 17th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

There was a Verizon FIOS commercial that asked the question: How many devices do you have (at home) use the Internet? Good question. I started counting:

Laptops: 4
Desktops (including HTPCs): 3
Tablets: 2
SAN: 1
Smartphones: 3
Game console: 1
Disc player: 1

I have 15 devices! Barring any breakage1, this number is likely to increase. So if I’m left to my own devices, I’ll probably get more!

  1. Lost an iPod Touch, already []

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rudyamid on August 13th, 2012 at 9:39 pm
Mt. Fuji at the Background

Mt. Fuji Through The Clouds

My family and I visited Mt. Fuji, for the first time. It was about 83 miles west of Tokyo. We took a Gray Line tour bus, complete with a tour guide.1  We were dropped off at the “5th Station” which was 2400 Meters high.  People stopped here and hike their way up Mt. Fuji, hoping to circle the crater so they can be blessed.  People from young and old climbed the mountain.  Very dedicated (and superstitious) bunch, these Japanese.  We only had 30 minutes to look around, so couldn’t do a hike even if we wanted to. In the summer, the peak of Mt. Fuji is usually covered with cloud/fog.2 It was difficult to see the top. Our tour guide got so excited when she could see just a glimpse of it, and told us to take a photo of it (right).  Not exactly the postcard version, but hey, we saw it!

Nearby Mt. Fuji, there’s a small city called Hakone. It’s famous for its hot springs. We visited and took photos. After taking a cable car ride, at one of the main hot spring area, the phosphors smelled so bad, it was unbearable to stay there too long. We didn’t stay too long. We started heading down to Togendai to catch a “pirate ship” ride.

The highlight of this Hakone & Mt. Fuji trip was taking the Bullet Train (Shinkansen) back to Tokyo. Amazing speed. Wonderfully clean. Highlighting the people again, I noticed the train crew always bows before and after entering through the door. The locals didn’t notice it much, but us Americans, were just astonished by the discipline and respect to tradition. The bullet train is the symbol of modern, yet highly traditional Japan.

Japan's Bullet Train

Shinkansen aka Japan’s Bullet Train

  1. A nice little lady named Michiko-san []
  2. Best time to see the peak is during cold winter, with snow cover. []

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rudyamid on August 3rd, 2012 at 5:38 am

Japan's FlagI just got back from a vacation in Tokyo, Japan, late last week. I haven’t visited Tokyo since I was 12, so obviously my view and impression of it has changed, quite a bit!  There are so many wonderful, interesting, and unique memories. Let’s start from the beginning.

I arrived right before midnight at Haneda International, an airport closer to downtown Tokyo, on the west side of the city. It’s a small and non-sophisticated airport1 that I was frankly unimpressed with.  Since we arrived in the middle of the night, immigration officers were scarce, so the lines were long.  Not a good start.  I couldn’t wait to get out of there. However, it was a good thing my airport pick-up service was there to drive me to the hotel. The driver spoke excellent English2. He was very courteous, and informative! Great service, as I came to expect from Japan.

My family and I stayed in the 2nd busiest part of the city called Shinjuku.  The hotel was minutes away from the Shinjuku Train/Subway Station, so it visit it almost every day.  When we walked in, we were overwhelmed with the complexity of it!  There were multiple lines of trains, hundreds of destinations, and thousands of people!  It was mind boggling.  It took a while for me to get my bearings.  I came to realize I needed to start asking for directions. Thankfully, there were station personnel could speak a little English and was very helpful. They pointed me to the how, where, and how much.  So, on with the adventure!

Tokyo Disneyland Toys

Tokyo Disneyland Toys

Our first visit was Tokyo Disneyland. We had to see first-hand, what’s different about this place.3 Everything looked familiar: Disney Store, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disney Hotel & Resort, and the Monorail. There are subtle differences, like toys that looked anime-ish.  Some of the people who visit, mostly girls, wore costumes and heavy make-up.  They were dolled up. Oh speaking of dolls, the popular new attraction is Disney Sea, which is pretty much like Disney California Adventures, but much smaller.  The main attraction there is Duffy Bear. Incidently, Duffy the stuffed animal, can only be purchased inside the park.  Great marketing stunt, Disney! I could see the girls carry Duffy Bears on their knapsack and purses, proudly.  A badge of honor, paying at least US$60 for one – plus accessories, you can customize the bear!

Then, we were off to Ginza, the most expensive district of Tokyo, where condos can be bought for US$17,000 per square meter!  No wonder coffee costs $15 in this part of town. Since we were there to enjoy the scenery, we hung around mainly along the Harumi-Dori4 and Chuo-Dori. Plenty to see. Walked into a few luxury department stores, like Mitsukoshi. Of course, I also found the Apple Store!

Next post, we’re off to see Mt. Fuji…

  1. I base the “International standard” as Changi Airport in Singapore, the defacto big and fancy airport. []
  2. Driver went to school in Los Angeles area for 4 years. []
  3. I live in Anaheim, California, where the original Disneyland is! []
  4. Dori means street. []

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