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Date: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 06:50

If I were to summarize the Anilao experience into one dive site, it would have to be an area called Batok, a rich reef located right behind Sombrero Island. Huge barrel sponges seascapes with the divine hand, flat table corals lined with hovering juveniles and fry and fan corals that pipe the currents like wind.

Enjoy!


The Coral Garden: Tables and Barrels from jayvee Fernandez on Vimeo.

Link to The Coral Garden Video (Vimeo)

Video and stills shot using a Sony RX-100 Mark II
Music: Celeste by Les Enfantes
Dive buddies: Bobbit Suntay, Jan and Jules Acosta, Chie Fernandez and Hub Uy

coral_garden (Custom)

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Underwater, anilao, batok, Bobbit Suntay..."
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Date: Monday, 14 Apr 2014 10:08

From April 11 to May 11, new SMART Infinity subscribers can avail of the new Samsung Galaxy S5 for free starting at ASPIRE PLAN 3500. As you go higher however, SMART sweetens the deal! At Prestige PLAN 5000, you get the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 together with the Galaxy S5 + 5k worth of gift certificates. Now, on PREMIUM PLAN 8000, you get the Galaxy Gear 2, Galaxy S5 with a 32″ Samsung TV OR 15k worth of gift certificates.

samsung galaxy s5 download booster
For those wondering if the new Galaxy S5 is worth it, I would highly recommend it even if you are currently using the previous S4 model or even a Galaxy Note 3. There are two reasons: (1) the new S5 comes with a download booster mode which enables both WiFi and data when downloading or surfing. What this means is that you can use the combined speeds of LTE and your home or office WiFi to download files. What a feature! (2) If you’re low on battery, the S5 can switch to a low power mode by turning your screen black and white and disabling all features that are battery heavy. You’ll be able to text and call.

For more details, check out

http://www1.smart.com.ph/infinity/s5

Infinity S5 650x650

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, galaxy gear 2, samsung galaxy s5,..."
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 03:00

Surprise! I’ve been using Spotify Premium since February!

Before April 8, going to the Spotify website would give you a “Spotify is not available in your country” message (unless you’re using a proxy of course). Well, not anymore! Spotify officially launches in the Philippines today, at 11:00 AM with Premium Access for PHP 129.00 a month payable via credit card or PayPal. The soft launch done by Coca Cola Philippines gives you access to the desktop versions of Spotify. Today, you can now download the Spotify app from the local iTunes store and the Google Play Store.

Links:

Spotify for Android

Spotify for iOS

spotify_windows_premium

In terms of song library, so far I’ve been able to find every single International track save for the ‘Happy / Get Lucky’ mashup of Pomplamoose that’s actually fairly new. In terms of local tracks, it is still very limited. Well, they have Chicser. LOL! But seriously, I have a rather eclectic taste in music from 70′s folk to Prodigy, from Motown to Electro Swing. My favorite playlist I’ve shared thus far is titled “Tegan + Sara + Wilson + Phillips.” Because the latter is the former’s reincarnation. For parents, Spotify is a boon. I can build a comprehensive playlist of kiddie songs with ease.

chicser_spotify

spotify_chaingang

With Premium Access, Spotify allows you to choose from 3 stream qualities:

Normal 96kbit/s
High 160kbit/s
Extreme 320 kbit/s

Unless you’re an audiophile playing on a really good set of speakers, normal will do. The file sizes are also much smaller and easier to stream with local telcos. Speaking of syncing, you are able to synchronize songs via 3G and save them for offline play.

spotify_stations

Because Spotify is finally legit on mobile, it goes hand-in-hand with Shazam — you know, that app you use to listen to music you hear while shopping at Old Navy or Uniqlo — helping you identify every single hipster song on the planet. Launch Shazam, tap on ‘Listen’ and once the song gets identified, open it directly on Spotify and save it permanently to your “Department Store Music” playlist.

In the two screenshots below, I ran Shazam and listened to whatever was playing on the radio and after it identified the song, there was a link to run Spotify so you can save the song into your playlist.

spotify_shazam

spotify_shazam_2

OK so what does Premium Access get you? For P129 a month you get to save songs for offline listening, you don’t hear ads and you can search for any song. The free accounts are ad supported, does not support offline listening (Spotify will stop buffering when you lose your data connection). In the US, Spotify costs USD $9.99 a month. Here it is about USD $3.00 only. Not bad.

spotify differences

Last. Did I mention that Spotify is time-sensitive? On Fridays, it compiles TGIF playlists. On Sundays, it winds you down for work the following day. It gets you up for your morning jog and gives you ambient music for your yoga.

spotify_time_sensitive

To recap:

· To sign-up for Spotify, just go to www.spotify.com

· Monthly Spotify Premium subscription fee is PHP129 a month via credit card / PayPal on their website

· Official FB Page: www.fb.com/SpotifyPhilippines

· Official Twitter Account: @Spotify_PH

This is what the checkout looks like for premium access:

apotifywebsite

My wishlist:

· That it wasn’t so dependent on Facebook for personalization

· More extensive local albums

· An easier way to add friends who are NOT on Facebook. ProTip: Type spotify:user:username where the username is your friend’s username to add them up. Do this on the search bar of your app.

Disclaimer: Spotify Regional gave me a free Premium Access Pass to feature the local launch. Opinions are mine. I am not affiliated with Spotify nor their local partners.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, cost, how much, Philippines, Premi..."
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Date: Friday, 04 Apr 2014 03:25

A good camera bag is like the best pair of jeans you can own: comfy, rustic and beat up. You know you’re in love with photography when your camera bag has absorbed the dust and flavors of the sojourn, much like how a cast-iron skillet cooks with the spices of the last hundred meals.

That being said, the Cobram Outpost is part of my lifestyle regimen to make the logistics of underwater photography more bearable. This 2014, I’ve been shooting exclusively with Sony’s RX-100 Mk II and I still can’t stop hankering as to how I’m enjoying myself a lot more with the upgrade in technology and the downgrade in size. Lugging around more than 5 lbs of equipment that was not SCUBA gear can be a huge impediment so the move to a compact camera was a welcome one.

crumpler hero kashgar outpost (Custom)

Available in two sizes, both iterations of the Cobram Outpost have the same form factor with multiple hard foam compartments for your camera body and lenses. Since I don’t carry a micro 4/3, I keep my compact camera inside its Nauticam body with my wide and +10 I-DAS wet lenses pocketed in the other compartments. The large version actually fits my camera tray with the cover flap hugging it. For non-divers, this feature is actually intentional, allowing you to fit your tripod on top of your camera gear.

kashgar outpost content (Custom)

kashgar outpost cover (Custom)

kashgar outpost macbook air (Custom)

kashgar outpost UW photography strobes YS110a (Custom)

Traveling with stobes, each of my YS-110a’s occupy its own lens compartment leaving me with **some** space for the wet lenses. In fact, without storing a MacBook Air, I can store the following inside:

- RX-100 Housing (w/ camera inside) in center compartment
- two YS-110a strobes in both lens compartments
- wide angle wet lens adapter on top of the RX-100 housing
- +10 macro diopter in side pocket
- camera tray where the tripod is usually located, strapped in using the laptop velcro
- dive arms inside the laptop compartment
- miscellaneous tools such as o-ring grease and bolts in other side pocket

It’s portable, easy to access with the cover-zipper and the velcro covers provide convenient protection between your gear and whatever else you store inside. There’s also a tight front pocket for keeping anything thin from filters, adapters to an iPad.

The Cobram Outpost from Crumpler goes for P6,950 and is probably the last camera bag you will fall in love with, whether you’re shooting above or below water. This one is for keeps.

crumpler kashgar outpost logo (Custom)

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, Camera Bag, Cobram Outpost, Crumpl..."
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Date: Monday, 31 Mar 2014 07:14

There are so many new electronic gadgets on the market every year that, if you love to keep up with technology, you can end up spending a lot of money. It was anticipated that consumers in the United States would spend $555 per person on new electronic devices in 2012, which was a nine percent increase from the previous year, according to NPD. That’s a big chunk of money and, if you are on a budget, it can be impossible to get all the electronics you want or need without overspending. But that doesn’t mean that you have to go without electronics in order to stay within your budget.

remote controls

Shopping Online
Shopping online for electronics is a great way to save money. Not only can you find online deals or sales that aren’t available in stores, but you can also use online coupons. While some businesses offer in-store sales or the use of in-store coupons, online sales are prominent, and online coupons are more popular than ever. One study determined that about half of all American adults who shop online will have used an online coupon by the end of 2012, according to one of the article on InternetRetailer. If you haven’t used an online coupon before, using one on an electronic gadget is a great way to get started. It’s easy to find online coupons if you know where to look. Start by searching for a good coupon gathering website. This will be a website that features online coupons and promotion codes from various dealers and makes it easy to find the ones you need for a particular retailer. Once you’ve found the coupon you need, it’s as easy as entering the code during the checkout process to see your savings add up.

Where to Shop
Especially when you are purchasing an expensive electronic gadget, it is not a good idea to buy from an online retailer that you have never heard of. Instead, try shopping the online store of a physical retailer with which you are already familiar, like Best Buy, an electronics store that sells mobile phones, cameras, laptop and desktop computers, tablets, video game consoles, and more. It’s probable that you’re already familiar with this very popular shop for electronics and you might think of Best Buy as the big blue and yellow store that you wander around in when you need a new laptop or a cable for your television, but Best Buy also has a large online presence. In fact, Best Buy is the third most visited online retailer on Black Friday, with 2.75 million unique users, according to StatisticBrain. Part of this presence is due to the online coupons that you can use when shopping BestBuy.com and you can also take advantage of sales that aren’t available in stores. Another great perk to shopping with BestBuy.com with online coupons from sites like Mycoupons is that you can visit one of its many physical stores to browse available items, then shop online to purchase the item and save more by using that online coupon. Best Buy also allows you to make returns, which is essential if you receive an item that isn’t what you expected or that is defective in some way. Another advantage is that you can return items purchased online to the physical store. It’s likely that you live near one of Best Buy’s many stores, so you can save time and money by returning items purchased online to the store instead of shipping them back to the warehouse.

Americans are spending much more on electronics as more items become available and as technology becomes an even larger part of their lives. With all this technology comes a pretty big price tag, and if you can save money on your initial purchase of electronic items, it can offset the cost of keeping them up and running, especially if they come with a monthly usage bill. One survey found that 63 percent of American households spent more money on technology than on utilities, with their mobile phone bills costing the most, according to an article on Huffington Post. If you are spending more money per month on your cell phone bill than you are on your heating and cooling bill, saving on the initial purchase of your tablet or cell phone can really come in handy down the road. Use online coupons to find great deals and shop with reliable retailers in order to feel confident in your purchase, and in the fact that you’ll have no trouble returning it if you don’t like it or if it is defective. Whether you’re in the market for a new tablet, a new cell phone, or that big screen television you’ve always wanted, you can probably find it for less by shopping online and by using promotion codes and online coupons.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press"
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Date: Friday, 21 Mar 2014 01:14

When it comes to running a successful business, no one has a crystal ball that predicts the future of the industry. What you do have is the ability to use data from a number of sources to gather information that will allow you to make an educated prediction about the future health of your business. Today there are more sources of information available than ever before that can be used to make these predictions. The key is to know which information to use and how to use it in order to make the forecast you need for your respective industry. Below are five ways to find and use data to predict where your industry is heading.


image_binoculars

Social Studies
Much of the information that you can use for industry forecasting is the same that is used in the creation of an initial industry analysis outline. One of these sources of information is social media. Michelle Fontaine, social media forecaster, states in her blog that it is important to know what social trends are through analyzing trends on social media sites. This information can tell you which industries will be growing in the future and which may be dying. When using social media outlets to garner information about industry trends, it is important to keep the personal separate from the business. With so much noise flying by, you have to learn which information to grab a hold of and which information you can let go.

Listening to the Forecast
Creating an industry analysis outline means having to gather information, decipher it, and organizing it in a way that is relevant to your industry. Taking the time to match this data with the forecast of those who forecast social trends is a prudent move these days. Take the time to listen to what they are saying in reference to issues that could influence the direction of your industry. In a Wall Street Journal article, an example is given of how trend forecasters have helped predict the future of the fashion industry and how they could do the same for other industries.

Technical Thinking
Advances in technology help to shape the way we live and think. It is important to stay informed about any recent discoveries in technology that could have an effect on you industry if you want to stay ahead of the competition. It pays to listen to daily tech news. It also helps to read recent tech journals that may cover technologies related to your industry. This information will hold great insight for what is to come for a particular industry.

The State of the Union
Keep informed about the trends in current politics. Major elections and which party currently controls the White House have an effect on Wall Street. What happens with the stock market will eventually have an effect on the spending habits of the average consumer. If you look over the spending trends in the past that matches the current political state, then you can better predict consumer habits. All of this information can be obtained by simply staying informed in regards to current politics on a national and state level. Research how the economy and your industry were doing the last time the current trends in politics took place. This will provide you with a wealth of knowledge about what the future hold for your industry.
Knowing the Competition
Whether you are managing a local restaurant or are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, it is always wise to know your competitors. You should gather information about your competitors in the same way you would for an industry analysis outline. The key information you need to gather is what current businesses in your industry are doing and who is entering into your industry. First check and see what the state of the stock prices are for those currently in your industry. See how these prices have been trending in the recent past. Once you have done this, it is time to research any businesses that are coming into your industry. The current fiscal health of these businesses coupled with the amount of new startups will provide you with the information you need.

Knowing how to gather information and analyze it to recognize future trends in your industry can give you an advantage over your competition. This information can also help you better manage your resource so you can ensure the success of your business for years to come. While you can’t look into a crystal ball or ask a magic mirror to predict the future trends of the industry, with some understanding and dedication you can take the future of your business into your own hands and identify where the future of your industry is headed.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press"
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Date: Monday, 10 Mar 2014 02:00

Did two dives at the famed USAT Liberty Wreck in Bali, Indonesia last month. I’m a little jealous of the fact that the locals have easy access to one of the most beautiful wreck dives in modern history. A shore entry from the resort and a few meters down leads you to this humongous America cargo vessel that was sunk by a torpedo during WWII. There were no casualties as the ship was already parked. Years of current drifted this wreck to the nearby shore.

Without further ado, click to play the video and please share it with your diver friends! I really wanted to capture the serene mood with the BG music by Satie.

Diving the USAT Liberty Wreck (Tulamben, Bali) from jayvee Fernandez on Vimeo.

Since I don’t have a Vimeo+ subscription, I’d rather you click on this link to watch the same movie in 720p. Vimeo doesn’t allow hi-res embedding for free users.

usat liberty tulamben the approach

This wreck is teeming with life, from amazing barrel corals and sea fans to a menagerie of marine life including a great barracuda which I didn’t have the guts to approach. I had heard from others that schooling jacks and bumpheads made this place home but I was not able to find them in these two dives.

tulamben bali usat liberty wreck penetration

tulamben usat liberty turtle
Video was taken in February 2014.

Background music is Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie. Video was taken using a RX-100 Mark II w/ wide angle lens attachment on a Nauticam housing.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Underwater, affordable underwater video ..."
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Date: Thursday, 06 Mar 2014 23:04

The possibilities for adventure, inspiration, or learning are limitless in the world of books. And with an Android ebook, access to this world is cheap and in your pocket at all times.

In fact, perhaps one of the most fantastic features of Android tablets is that you can store thousands of Nook Android eBooks on your device. There is a variety of books available for Android tablet users to buy on the Google Playstore. The only difficulty really is how to choose.

Here is our list of top recommended books for any mood that takes you. Just make sure that you have taken your Nook Android Tablet with you.

ebook_1

I Want to Be Inspired:

The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank
Perhaps one of the most inspiring books out there, this diary is of the young, opinionated girl growing up as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. The book is a heart-wrenching and hard-hitting look into the life of a highly intelligent and insightful teen attempting to live a normal teenage girl’s life in the dangerous Second World War environment. It is her courage, the truth told and her insight that will leave you inspired.

12 Years a Slave: Solomon Northup
After the recent success of the film inspired by the book, this hard-hitting literature is now a New York Times Bestseller.
It will inspire you to be strong and truly resilient as you experience the harrowing story of slavery in the 19th Century. It will inspire you to see just how far we have come, and show you a moving picture of human kind.

I’m Feeling Ambitious:

Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness: Walter Isaacson
Pretty much any role in society, whether professional or social, requires an element of good leadership, whether it is your title or not. But what makes a good leader? Harness your ambition and find yourself in the many great leaders in history. This book takes a deeper look at what made great leaders great, and who they were. Are you ready to write history yourself?

I Want to Escape It All:

Walking the Amazon: 860 Days. The Impossible Task. The Incredible Journey: Ed Stafford
Electric eels and alligators, this story couldn’t drag you any further away from home and normality- depending on where you live of course. If mundane daily life is becoming too much of a slog, and an escape into a faraway land is what you are looking for, you have come to the right place. In 2008, Ed Stafford began his great journey walking in one of the most ruthless, harsh and awe-inspiring lands in the world and now lives to tell the tale. It will blow you away, and you may just be grateful for your sofa when you’ve finished. Perhaps life isn’t too bad after all. Or maybe your feet will get itchier? Anyway, this book escapes reality.

ebook_2

I Want to Learn Something New:

Mindhacker: 60 Tips, Tricks, and Games to Take Your Mind to the Next Level: Ron Hale-Evans Marty Hale-Evans
Are you looking for a good challenge? Are you in need of making your brain work harder? Mindhacker is a killer, interactive book that will get your neurons zapping. The book includes tricks, tips and games that lead you to understand, apply, and then practice how your mind can work beyond its current average use, and at maximum capacity. The great thing about this eBook is that you can keep coming back to it; it’s a bible for your mind, food for your brain.

I Need a Pick-Me-Up:

Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life: Gretchen Rubin
Rubin is perhaps the leader in all matters of happiness. This book is a great addition to her series of books about how to improve your overall happiness; the book itself will leave you feeling uplifted. After her success with New York Time’s Bestseller – The Happiness Project – this book offers many more practical tips to develop the most important part of your health: your mental health. Not just a self-help book, Rubin means business, and takes happiness very seriously. You’ll reap the benefits of this book way after finishing.

I Am In the Mood to Laugh:

The Funny Thing Is…. Ellen DeGeneres
The funny thing about this book is that much loved talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres talks in a funny way about her ability to be funny. There’s a lot of funny there, and it may seem like it will make your head spin. But Ellen uses her usual wit and succinctly expressed insight to deliver this labor of love in an e-book, that will not only make you laugh as you’d expect, but will also give you an insight into the mind of the funny lady herself.

Author: "Aakash" Tags: "Press, android ebooks"
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Date: Tuesday, 04 Mar 2014 05:58

Business meetings for any company are a time to discuss anything from new ideas, to new opportunities, or any number of things. There are also many different mediums to have business communications. One medium in particular that has been proven effective for progressive meetings is the face to face meeting. The reason is because having a face to face conversation not only allows you to hear what the other person is saying, but see how they are saying it; meaning non-verbal body language indicators. As a matter a fact, statistics show that only 7% of communication is spoken, the other 93% consists of the tone of voice and the body language. This makes it easier for there to be a mis-communication unless both parties are able to see each other. It’s important to understand this point because internal business meetings are a crucial time to make sure the company is on track. For example, meetings can be a time:

• To gather and impart information
• To exchange ideas, views, opinions and suggestions
• To discuss options
• To solve problems
• To make decisions
• And to devise plans

As a result of this, programs like Blue Jeans Network have been created to help fill in the visual gap that communications like the telephone and email can’t fill. This can be beneficial for any company because holding meetings online using video conferencing has its own set on benefits. One being that it helps save time. By using it, people are no longer required to travel long distances in order to have a face to face interaction. This helps make sure that both parties have a better understanding of the content being discussed during the meeting. A side benefit to video conferencing is that it also improves efficiency; most internet conferences can be done in as little as thirty minutes.

With the prices for traveling rising significantly, using video conferencing on a daily basis can help save you money. It helps eliminate costly travel charges like airfare, gas, meals, and accommodations. This can help reduce the effects of those rising prices and the effects of a harsh economy. In addition it allows any member of a company to meet with any other employee at any time. Not only does that increase the company’s internal flexibility, it leads to better team building since employees are able to speak directly to each other more often. Physical location is also no longer an issue in terms of hiring. Not only can you interview a potential hire via video conferencing from virtually anywhere in the world, you can allow them to work from their location without having to relocate.

With the growing popularity of video conferencing, it’s important to try and to make sure all members involved are able to contribute because it may be difficult to tell if all employees are paying attention during a meeting. One method for doing this is to make each participant responsible for a part of the presentation. Doing so helps ensure that all attendees are familiar with the meeting topic which in turn makes them feel more involved in the meeting. This also helps promote healthy dialogues during the meeting. Having smaller sized group meetings also encourages participation because people generally become more familiar and get comfortable with one another faster. Many video conferencing programs have interactive tools. Try to encourage employees to learn some of them ahead of time and apply these skills during the actual internal online meeting. For example, have an employee create a poll or survey to administer after the presentation/conversation.

There are also some subtle, yet important tips that help promote a successful online meeting; one being not to have a messy or inappropriate background. The place where you hold the meeting should mirror your attire. It would be unprofessional to show up to a meeting wearing pajamas, so don’t have the meeting laying in your bed. Choose a location that looks clean and free of outside distractions. It may seem obvious but that main component that sets video conferencing above other forms of communication—the fact that they can see you, can quickly turn those benefits into negatives if you don’t have the proper video etiquette. That’s why it is important to be mindful of your body language and working on other activities. If you appear uninterested or are working on another activity during the conversation it will most likely send the wrong message. This includes things like chewing gum, yawing, crossing your arms, and rocking in your chair.

Overall, holding internal company meetings online can be a great way to increase the productivity of a meeting. No two meetings will be exactly the same but using the information above can provide structure and help create the type of online meetings that match your company.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, internal online meetings"
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Date: Tuesday, 04 Mar 2014 01:28

Mediocre reviews towards the reboot of the Thief franchise can be credited to how the stealth genre has changed in the past decade. In a sense, stealth has been “perfected” in may different ways: Mark of the Ninja on one end of the spectrum turning sneaking into an arcade platform jumper while Splinter Cell, Deus Ex: HR and Hitman have carved their own niches into to action-stealth genre. And then there’s Dishonored, which in my opinion is Thief’s spiritual successor.

Nonetheless, here we are. More than a decade later with huge leaps in gameplay mechanics, graphics and player sentiment. The world has indeed changed for us gamers, but as a child of the 80′s, growing up with Thief in my teens brings back a familiar wonder. At times I really have to remove myself from associating the plot for that of Dishonored — a city in turmoil, a thief discovering super powers, a struggle between the oligarchs and the plebs… it’s the same formula that adds that bit of grit and mystery to any stealth genre.

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Like its precursor, Garrett relies on stealth and his Green-Arrow-esque stable of projectiles from fire and water arrows to choke arrows and rope arrows. Choke arrows render animals unconscious, fire arrows ignite barrels and water arrows extinguish flames to keep you hidden. Despite the number of arrows made available in game, it is actually quite possible to complete missions without using any — triggering direct confrontation with guards or taking them out quietly with your blackjack.

Early on in the game, Garrett gains the power of Focus, which is essentially a toned down predator-mode from Batman: Arkham Asylum — allowing you to see objects of interest but also bolstering your skills for the time the mode is active.

2014-02-26_00015

Starting Thief, you are faced with a set of gameplay difficulty options which can be played vanilla (easy, medium, hard) or customized to your preference such as the game ending if you fall, one hit a patrolling guard kills you, or even being spotted ends the game. The ability to fine-tune specific instances of difficulty is a welcome one, however for review purposes I went the easy route and found the awareness level of most guards to be cakewalk, allowing you for bonus points if you do decide to stay hidden without killing anyone.

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‘The City’ is daunting at first with a main complex that lets you do side quests by opening glowing windows and conduits that open up different parts of the city for main ‘instances’ which are the different chapters in the game. Pathfinding through the mini map can be confusing as it may take time to get accustomed to the ways and means around the city — some crates can be scaled while others cannot. Although there are visual cues for traversable platforms (seen with a white paint stain similar to Tomb Raider’s cues), getting around can still be challenging given that Garrett cannot jump at will. The space button gives him a direction-sensitive swooping motion that is used to evade guards and transmute from shadow to shadow. It’s a great mechanics but I really wish jumping around was made easier, ala Dishonored.

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In terms of story, there’s something there — I feel that it isn’t much about the what but more of the how the story gets delivered. Dialogue can get rather campy and the plot tries to take you for a ride about three hours in but has difficulty sustaining it midway through the game. As a master Thief, Garrett himself feels like he’s really just being taken for a ride reminding himself that he just wanted to get a job done and get out — pretty much how Geralt felt in the first Witcher video game a couple of years back. But he’s brought knee deep into the intrigue so as he breaks through houses to get to his objective, he steals what he can — picking locks and stealing trinkets contribute to Garrett’s gold reserve which is used to upgrade and buy more weapons as well as upgrade his focus abilities when he encounters the Queen of the Beggars early on.

Verdict: 3/5
Don’t get me wrong. This is a good game and it is worth playing for more than just the nostalgia (albeit a few technical hiccups like map path finding issues). Thief just doesn’t own the genre anymore and we’ve become desensitized with the concept of sneaking around our enemies. if you play on the PC, add this game to your wishlist and wait for a sale.

Thief is now available for consoles and PC’s. You can buy it directly from Steam or head over to your nearest Datablitz branch.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, 2014, game, is it better, remake, ..."
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Date: Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 13:30

Of course there has been a massive surge in mobile technology and it has had lots of gaming fans rushing to play on some top mobile casino sites. It makes everything so simple, no longer do you need to be concerned about waiting for people or extended train journey’s – there will always be something to enjoy. Casino gaming has never been easier! Have a look at some of the top gaming phones for you to get the best experience possible.

iPhone 5C

We have all heard of this little number – it’s launch was eagerly anticipated. If you are looking for some handy and portable this is definitely right up your street and not as expensive as previous iPhones when they were first launched. It has a great touchscreen which will have you whizzing about in no time and has 1080p visuals that will have you feeling like you are in a real life casino.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Similar to the iPhone 5C the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has 1080p visuals and has absolutely tonnes of storage, 64gb to be exact which gives you loads of room for mobile casino’s. Don’t worry if that’s still not enough – you can get 64 more you can download pretty much as many games as you would like. This little number is extremely high resolution which means you can enjoy top graphics and animations and the 2.3 Ghz Krait 400 means you can download pretty much any game available!

Google Nexus 5

As you would expect from anything brought to us by Google – this is a high quality piece of equipment. With the HD display you will feel as if hose slot reels or Roulette balls are coming right at you. It doesn’t have a huge amount of storage in fact up to 32 gb but has a quad core that packs a punch. You can get this phone in white or black – so if you fancy a little style you can choose between the 2.

LG G2

This technological dream is the one that is marketed most by LG and for good reason. In terms of the visuals – it is probably the best of the bunch! Storage wise it isn’t as good as the iPhone 5C as you can only get up to 32 gb but that’s more than enough for some mobile casino action. The quad core on this device is just as powerful as some of the others we have mentioned with a 2.2Ghz Krait 400.

Nokia Lumia 1520

You may have noticed that there wasn’t yet a Window’s phone on our list – but here we go! It may be compatible with less mobile casino’s than iPhone’s or Androids but the size of the screen will allow you to view the casino games in style. It is 6 inches complete with a 367 ppi pixel density and once again has the 1080p visuals we have now come to expect from Smartphones.

As you can see there is a good list of mobile phones that you could use to enjoy some of the best mobile casino sites out there and the good news is that you can try out some of them or free. You can find more info about mobile casinos no deposit here if you are interested in trying your luck at some Vegas type treats on the go!

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, Best Gaming Phones"
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Date: Friday, 14 Feb 2014 05:46

This review has been sitting on draft for quite some time. For one, I’m reviewing a camera that was released during the latter part of 2013 so by all means it isn’t new. Secondly, it’s hard to write this review without removing my fanboy cap. This is seriously the best point and shoot camera available in Sony’s stable of imaging devices. I’d even go as far as to say that this is the best point and shoot camera in its class, especially when you’re looking at devices in the PHP 30,000 range. So yeah, let’s fanboy away.

(Note: Apologies to the dust particles on the camera!)

rx100-mark2

In the Philippines, rarely will you see the Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX-100 Mark II on the Sony store display shelves. It’s under-hyped in favor of the ‘Alpha’ DSLR line and the NEX line of compact cameras. Looks-wise, it closely resembles the jet black Cyber-shot W series, meaning that this is the compact line of cameras that don’t utilize a touch screen (the “T” series is the touch screen variant). Also, the Mark II is a follow up to, well, the Mark I (or simply, the RX-100), which was released in 2012 and is still available in markets today. Note that the official SRP of the RX-100 is around PHP 26,000 while the RX-100 MkII is at PHP 35,000. Some places sell it cheaper.

I encountered the RX-100 from diver friends who have been using it as their compact setup for both photography and video. More and more of them have been pushing out excellent underwater photos and video with this compact setup.

Here are the main differences between the between the RX-100 (2012) and the RX-100 Mark II (2013):

- Mark II has a movable viewfinder which is useful for shooting high and low; it’s useless for underwater photography because you won’t be able to move the screen when it is inside a case

- Mark II has a built in hot shoe in case you want to attach an external flash or a microphone

- Mark II has built-in WiFi transfer which works well with the Sony Play Memories app environment

- Mark II has a slightly better low-light feature, but that’s already considering that Mark I has a top notch 1-inch sensor so there’s really barely any difference in terms of photo and video quality

sony-rx-100-mk2

rx100-sony-mark2-cybershot

Just look at how that lens pops out of the seemingly small body. The secret to the RX-100′s awesomeness is the 1-inch sensor that is responsible for such clarity and low light compensation. Which is why in underwater use, I’m able to get good on Program mode without having to compensate my ISO much. If you’ve also seen other underwater videos before, you may notice an overcast blue on most of these. The RX-100 Mark I and II have excellent white balance compensation so that even without the use of a flash, the natural light + custom white balance is more than enough to give you correct colors underwater.

The Mark II has one particular feature I like, which is the option to set 3 custom shooting modes. Although it takes several button presses to engage these settings on the menu, I particularly find it useful for setting custom white balance at different depths. When SCUBA diving, ambient light changes the deeper you go. At the beginning of my descent, I can adjust and save 3 different white balance presets by targeting the substrate (white / gray sand) or a dive slate at different depths (usually 20 ft, 40 ft and 60 ft) to get correct colors.

On land, I stick to Intelligent Auto (which is basically a composite shooting mode) or “P” mode. I don’t do manual on land because it defeats the purpose of toting a point and shoot camera around. I’ve attached some sample photos at the bottom of this review.

Bottomline

This is the best point and shoot camera in its class. To say that it is one of the most amazing underwater cameras only means that it can deliver excellent photos and video under extreme conditions where light is both sparse and unforgiving.

Specs (c/o Sony Website)
20.2MP
1″ Exmor® CMOS sensor
f/1.8 Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 3.6x zoom
High speed AF
Connectivity to smartphones via Wi-Fi® or NFC
Up to ISO 12800 sensitivity
P/A/S/M modes
JPEG and RAW image capture
Tiltable 3″ display

In The Box
Rechargeable Battery Pack NP-BX1
AC Adaptor AC-UB10
Micro USB cable
Wrist Strap
Shoulder Strap Adaptor
Instruction Manual

Photo Samples from Baguio 2013

rx100_mk2_sample3

rx100mk2_sample_1

rx100mk2_sample2

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, Best underwater Camera, Cybershot,..."
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Date: Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 09:08

This is it! All your favorite Samsung devices in one big sale! I’ve attached the PDF file which you can download to have handy for your buying guide. Simply click on the ‘DOWNLOAD’ button on the embed.

From Samsung PR:

From February 14 to March 23, catch your favorite Samsung smart phones, tablets, and gadgets on sale! Avail of big price discounts and exciting freebies on our hottest devices, including blockbuster hits like the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3.

Want to surprise your special someone with a brand new Samsung gadget this Valentine’s day? Head to the Great Samsung Sale and get huge discounts of up to P3,500, and great freebies like stylish covers for smart phones and tablets, 9000mAh Powerbanks, or a Galaxy data SIM card. Get a new Samsung smart phone for as low as P10,490, or a Samsung tablet for P7,490. Or, get a free phone with every purchase of a Samsung Tab 3 7.0 Wi-Fi.

Great Samsung Sale

What’s more, Samsung is offering more ways to enjoy the Great Samsung Sale. You can visit your favorite authorized Samsung retailer, or you can order your Samsung gadget online at http://www.greatsamsungsale.ph/, avoiding long lines and heavy traffic. Your item will be delivered straight to your home within 3-5 days!

Feel the gadget love and avail of great deals on your favorite Samsung devices. Head to the Great Samsung Sale, running from February 14 to March 23, 2014 only!

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, 2014 gadget sale, samsung sale"
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Date: Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 10:09

Given the past few weeks’ worth of news spreading throughout social media one of the more welcome ones would be scenes of friends posting photos of themselves over the backdrop of Wicked. Whether it be photos of the huge signboards with pen marks at the CCP lobby, the mechanical smoke-spewing dragon atop the stage, or the standing ovation for the cast after every show, it’s safe to say that Wicked is definitely a hit.

I fell for the books before the play when one of my good friends (who eventually became one of my best men during my wedding) ran up to me one morning before class started (this was the early 90′s) and said,

“Hey! Did you know the wicked witch of the west has a name?”

“Really?”, I said, brows raised.

“Elphaba.”

“What?”

“Elphaba. E-L-P-H-A-B-A. Elfie for short.”

“Oh.”

And I forgot about the conversation entirely until I popped into a Power Books back in 2007 and found a bonanza of Gregory Maguire titles sitting at the front best seller display. In fact, I wrote about it! This was one of the first books I digitally catalogued in my Delicious Library barcode scanner.

But yeah, the book. It was amazing, just like his other works. “There’s always another side to everything.” — That was the premise of all of his books. Elphaba was really just an animal rights activist who just wanted to do the right thing.

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IMG_0125

The blog post I wrote in 2007 casually mentions the play and I never thought they would screen it here. I got my two tickets up front and center (best seats in the house!) thanks to the perks of Smart Infinity. I’d been a subscriber for over 10 years but it was only this year I made the switch to the more premium service because after looking at my bill for the last couple of months, I was pretty much racking up the same amount (I was previously using an ALL-IN Plan and have since switched to the near-equivalent with Infinity). The main difference are the perks — they gave me Wicked tickets, a 16GB iPad mini when I signed up, discounts and various other perks (like the concierge service (which comes in handy when you aren’t as virile as you used to be).

IMG_0131

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There’s a big difference between your favorite book coming to life in a movie and coming to life in theater. In a musical. It’s totally different. I’ve prepped myself with several months worth of the soundtrack on repeat in my car from a pre-event teaser last year. On stage, there’s really no room for disappointment, especially with Wicked. Goosebumps, I tell you. It’s a visual and sensory treat you absolutely need to see for yourself. It’s the same with showing photos of your favorite nature scene versus actually being there. The words and photos just don’t compare and some things (like this) are best left out of social media.

I’d like to give a big shout out to the guys from the Infinity team for the perks. As Dorothy and Elphaba would say, there’s no place like home (with Smart!).

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, CCP, gregory maguire, musical, Re..."
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Date: Monday, 03 Feb 2014 05:11

An excerpt from my article today for Manila Bulletin’s Tech News section, an in depth view of the PS4 from its hardware to the advantages of a Playstation Plus subscription


IMG_0005

It seems that Sony doesn’t suffer from tetraphobia, the fear of the number “4” which is fairly common in many countries in Asia. In fact, they’ve risen from the spoils of war from the previous console war and have made a rather strong statement for gamers with the launch of the Playstation 4 (PS4) this month in the Philippines as the ultimate gaming console. And it’s working.

IMG_0017

The PS4 is a next-generation console. By “next gen” we mean that this package will bring utter joy to your living room for the next ten years which is the projected lifecycle for every gaming generation. Out of the box, the PS4 package contains the actual unit, one DualShock 4 controller and a free three month trial to Playstation Plus (PS+) which is Sony’s premium membership tier for downloading games and watching movies over the Playstation Network. PSN is sort of like the iTunes of Sony games. It is important to note that PS+ is required for gamers who want to indulge in online multiplayer matches.

For the rest of the article, please buy a copy of Manila Bulletin or read the full piece from the TechNews website.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, manila bulletin, Philippines, PS+ ..."
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Date: Friday, 31 Jan 2014 08:06

“The adventure party is a family and Gary engendered family wherever he went.”

From their Facebook page:

A documentary that tells the story of the people that created Dungeons & Dragons and how its success affected their lives and families. The Great Kingdom is the story of families, blood and personal bond, affected by the success of the game, a game that brought joy to millions but heartbreak to its creators.

In 1969, Gary Gygax, a family man and game designer with an entrepreneurial mind meets Dave Arneson, another brilliant game designer from Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The Great Kingdom (Trailer) from The Great Kingdom on Vimeo.

This is the first look at our documentary, THE GREAT KINGDOM. It tells the story of the creation of Dungeons & Dragons, how its success affected the lives and families of those who created the game.

Leave your thoughts below. Make sure to follow us on our Facebook page (facebook.com/TGKFilm) for further updates and insider news.

Music:
– "Ten Years Gone" by Led Zeppelin
– "The Wizard" by Black Sabbath

Plot Outline
1969, Gary Gygax, a family man and game designer with an entrepreneurial mind meets Dave Arneson, another brilliant game designer from the twin cities. Their collaboration over the next few years would change the gaming world and themselves. This is the history of the people behind the creation of the role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.

The Great Kingdom is the story of families, blood and personal bond, affected by the success of the game, a game that brought joy to millions but heartbreak to its creators.

We are still in production on this amazing story. Stick with us and tell your friends about us. We will update you here and on twitter (@TGKFilm) as we near completion of the film with details of our release.

dungeon board

thegreatkingdom

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, D&D, story, The Great Kingdom, tra..."
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Date: Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 02:54

They say that advances and innovations on the web, especially with social media and always come from two sources: online gambling and yes, probably, pornography. The former is safer to talk about for all intents and purposes.

888poker, one of the leading online poker sites has just introduced a new feature on the virtual tables — Snap Poker. After going through its alpha and beta phases which were only open to a select few, the new table features a SNAP fold trigger that can be pressed to discard your current opponents and immediately insert you with new opponents done via the in-game algorithm ladder ranking.


888poker

For the uninitiated, ‘snap’ plays exactly like the traditional poker we’ve come to love except that once you fold, you are IMMEDIATELY dealt a new hand, which means that you’re never kept idle while waiting for other players and you can focus all of your attention on a brand new strategy. Now, ‘Snap Fold’ however is a brand new feature that can only be recreated online as it assigns you new opponents based on ladder and skill rankings. In real life this would be a chore, but it is easily done online. Believe it when we say that you’re never kept waiting!

You can download the feature via PC with Mac and mobile device versions arriving soon.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, 888poker, online gambling"
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Date: Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 11:03

Like my click-bait title? I swear these types of headlines are annoying. So yeah the video is awesome. But what “I didn’t tell you” is that I didn’t use any artificial light for this. My only light source was the sun!

See what I did there? LOL.

Anyway, over the weekend, we got the Sony RX-100 Mark II wet! Yep, we bought a new camera system for underwater photography. Not that I’m totally ditching my old Canon 350D — but a circa 2006 camera w/ 5MP in it can be a bit frustrating to use. They say that the best camera is the camera you currently have, so I currently have a Sony DSC RX-100 Mark II, a follow up to 2012′s RX-100. I will do a full review of the camera out of water in a separate post.

Let’s watch!

UPDATE: Check out my RX-100 Mark II camera review

SONY RX-100 Mark II Underwater Test from jayvee Fernandez on Vimeo.

Dive Site: Coconuts, Anilao, Philippines
Camera: Sony RX-100 Mark II
Housing: Nauticam Underwater Housing w/ Fisheye Wet Lens
Music: I'm Not Through by OK Go

NOTE: I would honestly advise watching it in HD. Sadly I can’t embed HD video with my Vimeo account. So here’s a link to the HD version directly from Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/85233011

Dive Site: Coconuts, Anilao, Philippines
Camera: Sony RX-100 Mark II
Housing: Nauticam Underwater Housing w/ Fisheye Wet Lens
Music: I’m Not Through by OK Go
Made with iMovie

cuttlefish rx100

rx100 mark 2 sample shot

Thanks to my dive buddy Stephen Tan (above!) and to Adrien Uichico / Scott Gutsy Tuason of Squires Bingham Sports at BGC for the Nauticam housing, wide port and 67mm adapter ring. Special mention of course goes to Robert Suntay for helping me out with the video settings and for being a huge inspiration with his Mark I videos. I’d also like to call out the helpful folks from Sony Philippines: JV Ruanto and Erica Dela Cruz for listening to my non-stop raves about this camera.

Superior white balance controls, huge 1″ sensor and the ability to take photo stills while recording video are the key selling points of this camera, especially for underwater photographers and videographers.

muck dive reef

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Underwater, custom white balance underwa..."
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Date: Monday, 27 Jan 2014 09:50

Beats Pill wireless speakers bring the party with you wherever you go. The Beats Pill is lightweight, portable, and wireless enabled, meaning you can change tracks from your phone or take that call with Bluetooth conferencing. Small enough to fit in your hand, the Beats Pill surprises with its powerful signature sound. The smallest wireless speaker from Beats by Dre and completely cord-free, Beats Pill allows you to enjoy hours of premium sound without being tied down.

beats pink

SMALL SIZE, BIG SOUND: Despite its compact size, the Beats Pill produces powerful sound. It’s easy to enjoy soaring highs and deep, booming bass in every room of the house. The Beats Pill is Beats’ smallest wireless speaker and completely cord-free.

CHANGE TRACKS FROM YOUR PHONE: Or your laptop, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device from up to 30 feet away. The portable Beats Pill frees you to roam which means you’ll always have high quality sound near or far.

TOTALLY PORTABLE: You’re good to set up anywhere. The Beats Pill is lightweight so it won’t slow you down and small enough to fit in whatever you’re carrying out the door. The carry case even comes with a handy carabiner so you can attach it to your backpack.

BLUETOOTH CONFERENCING: Take that call. The Beats Pill’s Bluetooth capability and internal microphone make talking on the phone easier and better sounding than ever before.

Beats Pill is available in Black, Red, White, and Nicki-Pink at Php 12, 500.

MSI-ECS is the newly appointed distributor of Beats Electronics. For availability, please email marketing (at) msi-ecs.com.ph or call 688-3180 to 83.

beats pill black

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, beats pill, dr dre"
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Date: Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 10:23

Is this the end of long lines for a piece of paper? Well, maybe for one piece of government document it may be. Those of you who are dreading lining up for a NBI Clearance because of your new job — it might be time to rejoice. You can now do this online.

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Starting January 24 2014, you will be able to apply for a NBI Clearance online and only show up in one of 55 branches to pay and pick up your clearance form. You can apply in any of these sites:

http://doj.gov.ph/nbi

or

http://nbi.gov.ph

The responsibility of the NBI clearance procedure has been moved to the Department of Justice.

dojPH

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Digressions, DOJ, NBI Clearance, no more..."
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