Shopping Diary #10: Apple Crazy

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted a shopping diary. Still, I’ve bought many different things throughout 2013, both for myself and for others. I just decided not to share all of them here. For the last quarter of the year, however, I rewarded myself with some truly wonderful items… all a product of hard work and year-long savings.

Anyway, I went a little Mac crazy and purchased the latest in Apple gadgets and accessories. Take note, though, that I didn’t buy all these in one day; and I didn’t dump all my savings into these “gifts.” These were budgeted and planned according to what I could afford (which is what everyone should do).

GLOBE
iPhone 5S Space Grey

My Best Ever Super Plan plus Cash Out (24-month lock-in)

It’s been 2 years since I got my iPhone 4S; and it hasn’t been working as great as it used to. After all, it fell into the water over a year ago and certain functions (such as the camera and the silent mode) aren’t at their optimal performance. I decided early on to recontract once my plan expires. Enter iPhone 5S.

Despite its confusing and more complicated billing plan, I stuck with Globe for convenience. With a little cash out and an upgraded plan, I now have the latest Apple smart phone that has so far delivered in terms of performance (great speed and screen quality) and features (amazing camera with slow motion, touch ID, etc.).

KIMSTORE
iPad Air White/Silver

I’ve been eyeing the iPad Mini since March; and I promised myself that I will buy the latest model once it comes out this year. However, my plan suddenly changed when I held an iPad Air in my hand for the first time (courtesy of a director who bought one for himself). I was convinced. With a bigger screen size and its much lighter weight (compared to older iPads), I just had to go for the Air. Its screen size is perfect for reading my magazines (Zinio, Newsstand), editing my documents (Evernote, DocsToGo) and playing games (Sims Freeplay, Bejeweled, Scrabble, Secret Passages). I would have been constrained by the iPad Mini when it comes to these apps.

The iPad Air has become a fitting alternative to lugging my laptop to work everyday. I just love it so much… by far my favorite gadget now.

POWER MAC CENTER
Lab.C USB Case for iPhone 5/5S

Php1,690

I just love multifunctional accessories; and the Lab.C iPhone 5/5S case is exactly that with its innovative design. Aside from protecting my iPhone, it also has an 8gb USB built into the case. This way, I can bring my important files with me anywhere; and since the USB is virtually part of my phone, I’m always reminded if someone has borrowed or is using it… No more leaving my USB anywhere.

DIGITAL WALKER
Olloclip 4-in-1 iPhone Lens

Php3,250

I love taking photos with my phone; and the Olloclip 4-in-1 iPhone Lens elevates the quality of my shots with minimal effort. Despite its simple design, I get four different lenses in one device: fisheye, wide, 10x macro and 15x macro. It’s so much fun experimenting with the lenses and the effects they create. Definitely a must for any iphoneography enthusiast.

With technology like what we have right now, there’s no doubt in my mind that this isn’t the last time I’ll go gadget crazy. The important thing is that they were well thought out purchases, all of which I have no regrets spending on. I’m absolutely happy to have them… Merry Christmas to me!

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the IT list #9: “S”

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #9

This edition is sponsored by the letter “S” (an honest coincidence).

#ONE
I absolutely love Suits. I’ve already read and heard about this show a couple of times; but only got around to watching it a few weeks ago. When I started with the pilot, I couldn’t stop. I finished 7 episodes in one night… Yup, slept at 1am.
The show is smart, quick and funny. The characters are likable and the cases are always interesting. The second season has especially stepped it up. The current story arc has raised the stakes; and I’m more involved than ever. I now have another lawyer show to obsess over (the other being The Good Wife).

#TWO
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is the first single off of Taylor Swift’s upcoming album RED. I recently purchased it off of the iTunes Store (where it’s currently at #1).
Anyway, I’ve always been a fan of Taylor Swift since her album Fearless. I like how every song is a story and you know that it comes from somewhere very personal. This one is no exception. The lyrics are to be taken as is; and it’s set to a tune that is really addictive and catchy. I’m really liking it.

#THREE
This game has been around for a while; but I only started playing Snoopy’s Street Fair a few days ago. Someone told me this game is nakakatunganga (leaves you idle for a while); and I would have to agree 100%
The premise is simple; but it’s just a lot of fun to play. I can’t let an hour or two pass by without checking on the progress of my booths and ongoing constructions. You just want to level up and make your money grow. Plus, Snoopy and the Peanuts gang are just so cute!

#FOUR
Sherlock is a show that everyone’s talking about; but I put off watching it until a month ago. With each episode being one and a half hours long, I’ve only finished 5 out of 6. I take my sweet time appreciating each and every episode; because it’s an intelligent show… a bit exhausting at times… but it’s extremely engaging. The show is quick-witted and brilliantly executed. Best of all, it features characters with an amazing chemistry. All credit, of course, goes to Benedict Cumberbatch (as Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Freeman (as Dr. John Watson).
So far, The Scandal in Belgravia stood out the most. The storytelling is amazing. The mystery is intricately told; and the revelations unfolded quite cleverly. It’s just awesome television.

#FIVE
I can’t stop raving about this cake! This particular strawberry shortcake from Mary Grace is soft, fluffy, moist and not too sweet. Best of all, it doesn’t scrimp on the strawberries. Every bite is simply yummy.

Life Tips

You gotta love the Internet.

Think of almost anything you can imagine; and you’ll probably find it there. Recently for me, two valuable tips I’ve found on the world wide web have helped me a lot. These are simple, everyday solutions to problems and emergencies that just might save you money and a whole lot of stress. I really want to share my experiences here; because I hope to teach you some stuff in the way these other sites aided me in certain situations.

CRISIS # 1: Tight Flats

Three months ago, I bought a pair of flats that fit fine when I tried them on in the store. However, after walking in them for less than an hour, the shoes hurt and bruised my ankles. It’s too tight for everyday use! They were then hidden away in the back of my shoe closet.

Thanks to Pinterest, which led me to Coffee Light & Sweet, I found my solution three weeks ago; and I’ve been sharing this tip with my friends ever since.

What you need: thick socks (or a number of pairs of socks) and blow dryer
What to do:
– Put on the thick socks (or at least two layers of socks) and wear your flats.
– Aim the blow dryer in the tight spots, wiggling your feet as you heat the shoes so that it loosens up. Do this for a couple of minutes.
– Keep the shoes on as it cools down.
– Once cooled down, remove your socks and try the shoes on. Repeat process until shoes are comfortable for you.
Other applications: This is a great technique to break in your shoes. You may also try it with your leather shoes and heels. I’m currently trying this technique out with a pair of rain boots I bought from the US, which is tight around the calves. (It has loosened up a bit; and I’ll try doing the technique again for the next few days.)

CRISIS # 2: Wet iPhone

This is probably the most common emergency that may happen to anyone with a mobile phone. I am one of the recent victims. Let me share my story first. The other day (on my birthday nonetheless), I had an accident and my precious iPhone got soaked. It was in the water for about 2-3 seconds before I fished it out. Common sense told me to turn it off at once, which I did. I then immediately shook the phone for excess water and used paper towels to dry it off outside. In the back of my head, I know I read something about using uncooked rice or silica. I ran to my computer to search for a solution and got my confirmation.

These sites popped up in my quick search: CNET and Appstorm. They also suggested the uncooked rice trick; so I rushed to get some and immediately put my phone in it. A few minutes later, I also found a paper clip, removed my SIM card, then put the phone back in the rice. All of these were accomplished in less than 20 minutes.

When I got home, I found the packs of silica I saved up and added them in the container where my phone was drying out. I also briefly blow dried the phone (in cool setting) before putting it back in the container.

Next thing I did was wait overnight. (It was one of the longest nights of my life!) By the time morning came, my phone has been in the uncooked rice and silica for approximately 15 hours. I plugged in the phone while praying for a miracle to happen. About 8 minutes passed before I finally heard the sweet sound of the iPhone booting up with the Apple logo appearing. At this time, angels were singing in my head.

Next step was to try out the functions. Thankfully, I found no glitches! I only saw some fogging in the lamp and the front-facing camera. To be safe, I put silica packs in my iPhone case for the rest of the day. I also put my phone in uncooked rice again overnight. In the morning, the fogging was gone and the phone still works! Hallelujah!

image from http://www.gadgetreview.com

What you need: paper towels, uncooked rice (or silica packs), lots of patience!
What to do:
– Turn off your phone immediately. Shake it out to remove excess water, then dry with cloth or paper towels. Don’t forget to remove the SIM.
– Put your phone in uncooked rice and leave it there for at least 12 hours. Depending on how soaked your phone gets, others suggest leaving it there for 24 hours to 3 days.
– After waiting, remove any uncooked rice that got into the nooks and crannies of the phone. Use a pin or brush to get them out.
– Plug the phone in and wait.
– If it turns on, test the functions of your phone immediately: battery, screen, touch screen function, home button, sending and receiving calls, texting, speakers, earphone jack, Wi-fi, 3G, camera, games & apps. This will help you determine the extent of damage to your phone. Since getting wet will void your warranty, you might as well get your phone repaired if any problem pops up.
– If it doesn’t turn on, try to put it back in the rice for a longer time, maybe weeks, before trying it again.
*Side note: This technique doesn’t guarantee that your iPhone will spring back to life. This is just one of the most effective ways to dry out and possibly salvage your water-damaged phone. It really depends on the extent of damage or the length of time that the device has been in the water.
Other applications: This can be applied to most electronic devices. If you can remove the battery, be sure to do so and dry it out before putting all parts in uncooked rice.

It’s only been a day or two since the accident; and I have yet to see any problems with my iPhone. I’m really thankful. It was just a matter of acting fast and finding a solution as soon as possible… thanks to the Internet.

the IT list #7

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #7

#ONE
I’ve bought my ticket; and I can’t wait to attend Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball, which is presented by Ovation Productions. It will be held at the brand spanking new Mall of Asia Arena on May 21, 2012. I missed her concert the first time she came to Manila; so there’s no way I’m passing up this opportunity to watch her live. I believe it’s going to be epic. I can’t wait!


#TWO
This brilliant app is like Pictionary among friends; and it has provided me with endless entertainment the past few weeks. With such a simple concept, it’s terribly addictive. If you have an Android or Apple device, this is the app you should download now. Connect with Facebook and play with friends! You don’t need to be a brilliant artist to play this, though some sites may make you insecure about your drawing ability. (See: Best of Draw Something) Still, it’s a lot of fun to try to draw as well as guess your friends attempts to draw. It’s another way to connect with people and share something with them without ever having to meet face-to-face.


#THREE
I’ve been wanting to buy this gaming console for a while; and I finally gave in… So far, I’m loving this toy. Kinect allows you to play games that make you move, dance and jump without a need to hold a device in your hand. It’s a lot of fun for the whole family. Games like Kinect Sports, Dance Central and PowerUp Heroes have kept me preoccupied the past Holy Week. It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever owned in my life.


#FOUR
You either love it or think it’s “too gay;” but I’m personally loving Smash. I believe it’s an engaging portrayal of what it takes to stage a Broadway musical… from the producer to the director to the writers to the talents. As with any series, there are characters I could do without (Ellis, please!) and I could survive without the personal drama that borders on cliched (adultery, mean girls picking on the new girl, boyfriend drama). What I like is how the musical Marilyn/Bombshell has taken different directions… just like any production in real life. It also doesn’t dwell too much on performing as many songs as possible. And when they do perform a song, original or otherwise, it’s organic to the scene and it’s beautifully done. I’m glued to the show and I hope it only gets better from here.

#FIVE
I’ve known of this site for a while; but it’s only been recently that I got addicted to reading every entry on 9Gag. What can I say? The submissions make me laugh… most of the time. It introduced me to derp and derpina. It made me know about Ridiculously Photogenic Guy before anyone else. Bad Luck Brian, trolling, “Bitch, Please!” and everything in between… They’ve got it. It’s a good source of entertainment when I’m idling by with nothing to do while on the computer.

the IT list #6

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #6
My first “IT list” for 2012. So let’s get on it, shall we?

#ONE
I’ve nearly forgotten my account on this site; but it was only in the past few days that I’ve discovered how awesome Pinterest is! This is a quickly growing social networking site, with new users joining everyday. What makes this site different is it simply arranges all your favorite things in a corkboard-like fashion. All you have to do is “pin” them there. Other than the usual favorite shows, artists, movies, books, etc, you can discover great styles, delicious recipes, insightful quotes and helpful how-to’s from all users. If you like what you see, just “pin” and “repin” away. It’s a great, fuss-free way to showcase everything you like and share it with the world.

Feel free to follow me at pinterest.com/mars_mg


#TWO
I’ve traveled to a number of places here in the country; and while I haven’t had the opportunity to go around the world (only been to 3 countries abroad), I do believe the slogan holds true. Despite the controversy surrounding the “originality” of “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” (Personally, I don’t really care… It’s a non-issue.) we’re all seeing how much the Internet community has embraced the campaign in a plethora of ways: serious, funny, witty, sarcastic… All very effective. All very Pinoy (Filipino).

While inspiration hasn’t hit me much to come up with my own, I’m really amused with everything that’s being shared online. Here are some sources to see what everyone else have been posting: Spot.ph 1 | Spot.ph 2 | Roland Benzon | It’s More Fun in the Philippines (Official)


#THREE
I recently put up a new site made of content exclusively created and edited from my iPhone. This app helps make over 90% of it possible. I use it almost everyday. Snapseed is absolutely amazing. It’s one of the best complements to the beautiful camera of the iPhone 4S. It allows me to go beyond just “tweaking” photos. It lets me create great photographs from so-so snapshots. From cropping to color correction, from vintage to dramatic styles, this app makes me one snap happy iPhone owner.


#FOUR
I recently had a Homeland marathon. This show made it to a number of “Top 10 TV Shows” lists, and I would have to agree.

I was only able to watch the first four episodes back in 2011; but it was just last week that I went ahead and finished the first season. What a great show. The story is compelling. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, guessing who’s telling the truth and who’s on which side. The story answers enough questions as it goes along; but it never fails to give you new ones to keep you thinking and coming back for more. Best of all, the acting is superb. Damien Lewis, Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin are impressive in their roles; and I’m hoping they get recognized in the upcoming awards season. Definitely one of my favorite new shows.


#FIVE
(aka The Morning Rush Top 10 Book) I’ve been listening to the dynamic duo of Chico & Delamar since I was in grade school. I followed them whichever station they went to. That’s almost fifteen years of being a fan, though I’m more of a silent Rusher. The Morning Rush Top 10 has been a part of their radio show for a number of those years; and I’ve listened to A LOT of them (most especially lately… in large part due to the podcasts).

When I heard that the book had finally come out, I grabbed a copy that first weekend of release. I devoured it in less than a day. I still reread my favorite parts every now and then. Anyway, I LOVE this book. The funny, witty contributions of the loyal Rushers really shine through. I love the humor. I love the topics. I appreciate the thought that went into this compilation. And it’s only Php175.00! It’s simply one of those wonderful things that you could just grab for a couple of minutes if you need a quick laugh. Highly recommended. Worth every peso.

[Bonus link: Chico & Delamar’s Spot.ph Interview]

Snap Happy with iPhone 4S

I recently gave myself a Christmas present:

What can I say… I’ve been lured by the temptation of a Php5,000 cash out plus a postpaid plan upgrade for a brand new iPhone 4S 16gb delivered to my doorstep. All it took was a phone conversation plus a three-day wait. Simple and quick. Thanks Globe!

It’s been with me for almost a week; and I’ve been tinkering with it a lot. It’s fast and responsive. Siri is absolutely brilliant (save for some times when it’s down). The 8mp camera is simply awesome. I’m in love.

Out of all the features, the camera is getting most of the abuse from me. I’ve never used a cellphone camera this  much before. The quality is really great. I can’t stop taking pictures. Plus, with the help of some amazing apps, I’m able to take even better pictures with some editing and effects.

I know that I’m hardly a photographer; but I’ve been taking so many photos, I’ve decided to start a blog for it. I call it iSnap Happy: Photographic Exploits with Me & My iPhone. It’s a showcase of snapshots I took with my iPhone, using applications such as Camera+, Multi-lens and Snapseed. I also post some of my conversations with Siri. It’s a fun photoblog and I hope you stop by.