I have days when this is exactly where I am.
“Running through the field of time is this energy which is the one energy that is putting itself into all these forms. By identifying with that one energy, you are at the same time identified with the forms coming and going. If you see the two modes—involvement and the still point within you, samsara and nirvāṇa—as separate from each other, you are in a dualistic position. But when you realize that the two are one, you can hold to your still point while engaging. It’s the same world experienced in two different ways. You can experience both ways at once.”— Excerpt From: Campbell, Joseph. “A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living.” Joseph Campbell Foundation, 2011-08-01.
Finally, a Windows gadget I can get along with.
The test of any gadget for me is if I am able to open the box without looking at the manual (if there is one) and just get going by simply exploring it. I am an intuitive guy. That’s how I work.
I’ll be honest and tell you that I’ve always had problems with Windows.
I have been using the Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro 700t for about a month now. I have not looked at any reviews and what I will say here is what the experience is about. I did not expect it to get into it right away. Like I said, Windows intimidates me. But I found my exploration not so difficult. Sometimes it was actually easy. I am still learning how to navigate along some things.
But let me be direct to the point: I love it!
Here are some of the specs:
- Processor— Intel® Core™ i5-3317U Processor
- Display Resolution— 1920 x 1080
- Storage— 128GB SSD
- Graphics—Intel® HD Graphics 4000
- Dimensions—11.97” (W) x 7.46” (H) x 0.47” (D)
Frankly, specs can only impress so much. But I thought geeks out there might want to know. It is the actual experience that does it for me. I love it that the Samsung Ativ is both a notebook and a tab. If you want to write using a regular keyboard as you would on your laptop/notebook or desktop, you can do so. If you want to separate the screen from the keyboard, just pull it out of the dock. As easy as that. The whole CPU is actually on the screen tab.
It also has a pen so if you want to do the S-Functions that Samsung put on its winning tablets, you can do so to write email, draw, create graphics, etc. Did I say it is touchscreen? You can experience the ease of Windows 8 by moving your hands around the screen.
The 13 inch screen looks wide which feels like a spread. I say that in a good way. I am used to a 15 inch but I went through just a little adjustment to get used to the Ativ’s size. The processor is fast and the battery life is quite impressive. I don’t even check the battery that often. It lasts quite a few hours. I’d say at least 5 hours but normally, more than that.
The weight is a bit heavy though compared to a regular tablet. But then, this is not a regular tablet. It is actually as powerful as a desktop so the weight is excusable. The camera is not that big a deal at 2.0 MP HD in front and 5.0 MP HD at the back. It will do. The mic and speakers are decent.
After a month’s use (alternating with my other tabs and a mac), I am liking it more and more. I bring it along now during my travels. it’s great to have it anywhere I feel like writing.
Passion Night 4 Itinerary
Hey guys. Congrats.
This is fate. You have been chosen randomly out of close to 200 hundred who wrote me wanting to join. I am glad you responded. We have exchanged emails and talked on the phone. There were some others I invited but in the end could not go.
Congratulations. You know who you are. I will not put your names here anymore.
Here’s the Itinerary more or less..
1. June 15 10:45AM— Meeting at the old Domestic airport. Check in at Zest Air flight Z20428 MNL PPS 12:00 13:20
2. 1:30 to 2:00PM —Check in at Aquari Travelers suites (Aquari.ph)
3. Free time till 6PM
4. 6:15PM— assemble and proceed to La Terrasse, Puerto Princesa’s premiere resto. Check it out at laterrassepalawan.com. Owner Ditchay Roxas will welcome us.
Here’s the menu:
Hors d‘oeuvres –
Smoked fish pate on Mini Russian Pancakes (Mini Blinis)
Crispy Duck Rolled in Mandarine Crepe
La terrasse seafood Ceviche
Mixed mesclun greens with Smoked bacon and Alfalfa Sprouts
Main course –
Crispy Rolled pork belly served with pumpkin puree and sauteed greens
Poached fish fillet ala nicoise
Ice cream in Tulips
Coffee or tea with Nougat
5. We return to hotel
6. Flight the next day is
June 16 – Sunday - Z20429 PPS MNL 13:45
We have the choice of waking up early at 8PM for breakfast of just take a slow brunch around 10AM and go straight to the airport. Let’s decide when we are there.
Just a few things
1) Prepare to room share. We will assign rooms when we get there
2) Dress comfortably but be a bit more dressed up for dinner. No gowns or cocktail dresses, but no slippers and shorts either. No kamisetas for guys. Dress down smart casual.
3) We will hardly have time for anything else except for the dinner.
During your free time, (after checking in and before dinner), you can join me as I go around and shoot pics or go on your own. BUT BE BACK ON TIME. I will not look for you.
4) Please feel free to tweet, blog, FB starting now.
Please include hashtags #FlyZest #Aquarisuites #LaTerrassepalawan. Let’s make our sponsors feel good.
5) Show up with your stories and your lending ear. None of us really know each other so it will be great to share without judgment.
6) Bring some cash for your hotel incidentals
7) Be at your friendliest best. Let’s enjoy this.
If you have any questions, you can comment here. You also know where to reach me. See you soon!
PS..Two more people will be joining us from Palawan
Passion Dinner 4 participants
The following are cordially invited to PASSION DINNER 4 at Puerto Princesa on June 15.
1. bvirose firstname.lastname@example.org
2. GERALDINE RAE CUENCA email@example.com
3. MARIEL SANDICO firstname.lastname@example.org
4. MAUREEN MANUEL Maureen.email@example.com
5. KATHLEEN JOYCE FIO firstname.lastname@example.org
6 ANTOINETTE MACALINAO email@example.com
7 ROMY ANTONETTE PENA firstname.lastname@example.org
8 GLEN IAN BAUTISTA email@example.com
9 XIELA ANTONIO firstname.lastname@example.org
10 ZION AQUINO email@example.com
a) You MUST confirm your attendance by Saturday May 25th before 5PM. This is important since tickets will be booked and names cannot be changed once they are booked. The scheduled Zest Air flight is on June 15, Saturday at12:00 NN out of Manila. ETA Puerto is 1:20PM. Flight home is at 9:30AM In case you cannot go, say so by Friday since I will have to find a replacement.
2) You must be willing to share a room with someone (of the same sex)
3) The invitation is includes plane tickets, room for one overnite stay, one dinner and one breakfast. All expenses outside of this will be your own. Prepare to spend for airport tax, transportation around Puerto Princesa, and hotel incidentals.
4) You will be encouraged to tweet, write on your blogs and tell your friends about the experience.
5) Pls send your complete names, ages, addresses and phone numbers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put ‘Passion 4 Participant details’ as title. This is required for issuance of tickets.
6) Since I am inviting you in the spirit of goodwill, friendship and mystery, I wish to ask you to agree that:
a) you will not sue me for whatever reason if unfortunate events befall you during the whole event.
b) you will not bad mouth or talk negatively about any participant, or sponsor.
c) anything intimately shared in the conversations during must be kept confidential.
7) Lastly, bring wine if you wish, and anything small that says something about yourself for an exchange gift. Don’t make it expensive. Make it creative. And most importantly, bring your good spirits, your passion, stories and your sense of adventure to share with total strangers.
Excited to meet you all!
PS. If you wrote me to join this dinner and you are not on the list, thank you very much for your interest. Also, please check this website again on Monday. If some of the participants already chosen cannot make it (and usually some cannot) , I will immediately find replacements.
Going for the Big Boys: Samsung NX 300 Mirrorless camera
I’ve had the Samsung NX 300 camera for some three weeks now. I first came across this camera 2 months ago in Jakarta when Samsung invited writers to view their product showcase this year. I remember being quite impressed as I held the demo unit in my hands inside the exhibit area. I wondered then how it would perform in real life situations.
Since I got it, I’ve brought it to travel abroad, and have used it for mostly outdoor locations under sunny, shady, beach, cloudy and night conditions. I have taken a few hundred shots with it.
Let me just say outright that if Samsung has been successful with smaller cameras like the NX 1000, and the Galaxy Camera, the NX 300 could possibly be their foot on the door when it comes to the booming, hot category of the mirrorless Four-Thirds format.
To start with, it definiteley has the right specs to match what’s out there in the market. The shutter opening is wide and goes all the way up to 22 just like a real DSLR. It comes with 18-55 OIS lens but it has an array of varied lenses available to choose from. It even has fixed lenses and a versatile lens that can switch to 3D! (But that is another awesome story by itself!).
The speed setting can go as fast as 1/6000th of a second or a slow 30 seconds if you want really long exposures for night shots. It also has a bulb setting in case you want indefinite exposure. It has most if not all the other settings you will find among the Big Boys’ cameras.
The ISO range is just as astounding. It starts at the usual 100 and goes all the way up to 25,600. It also has 1/3rd incremental increases if you so wish.
To operate it is so simple. If you wish to shoot on manual as I do, speed, f-stops and other controls are conveniently accessible through a wheel at the top of the cam. Or if you wish to use the touch screen, you can also access a lot of the other functions.
In truth, it has all the functions you want that are available on the big DSLR including various picture size choices, quality, white balance modes, etc. It has a lot of calibration capacity for almost all features of the camera.
And it has more things most DSLRs can’t do!
For example, you can send and share your pics through wi-fi and autoshare (a function exclusive to Samsung). While it also has the usual presets you find in big boy cameras like aperture priority, time priority, manual and auto settings and more, you can also have other presets under ‘picture wizard’ such as portrait, landscape, macro, night shots, light tone, etc..
Want instant edit? You can conveniently crop, color, temper the brightness, contrast, switch to gray scale, saturation, etc. in a whiz.
The back screen which is also its viewfinder is moveable and can be held at an angle which is just fine when you are holding the camera over your head or down to your knees. It makes framing the subject the subject easier.
What I wish it had though was a built-in diopter or a normal viewfinder. I still am not too comfortable looking at the back screen to compose my subject. And it is quite difficult to look at the screen especially when it is an extremely sunny day.
But overall, the NX 300 is a great camera and I am quite surprised that it is still largely underrated considering its capabilities.
If you are thinking of buying a ‘prosumer’ camera that doesn’t come on as too intimidating, I suggest you take a look at this beauty. It’s easy to use and it won’t take long before you will be taking great shots!
Here’s a few shots for you to enjoy!
By using 8000 ISO or higher , you will have no problem with dark settings.
By changing your settings easily with a simple turn of the wheel, you can create drama and intensity with clouds, etc.
A Night of Passion 4
I am looking for 10 people to have dinner with in a resto @ Puetro Princessa. I have done this 3 times before but it is the first time we will do so outside of MetroManila. What exactly happens during these dinners? We have dinner and we talk and listen to each others’ stories and thoughts and ruminations. It should be fun. There is nothing more exciting being bold and talking with people you do not know.
1) I will give you a round trip ticket free
2) Free delicious dinner and hopefully interesting conversation
3) will try my best to get free accommodations as well. Will announce more about this.
1) You and I must have never met
2) You must not be a stalker or carry firearms during the trip and dinner
3) You must be over 21 years of age
1) Please write me an email at email@example.com and tell me about yourself and what makes you feel alive. Tell me what you are passionate about!
2) Tweet me when you have sent an email and hashtag it with #FlyZest and #Jim1Night
3) I will read and screen all letters. After I do that, I will randomly choose.
4) I will inform you about it.
If for some reason you cannot make it, pls let me know ASAP. Tickets will be issued and so you must be sure to go!
4) All email must be submitted by May 21, 2013
Samsung S4: So cool, so loaded
MANILA, Philippines - It was love at first sight for many in New York two months ago. I was there with hundreds of people from all over the world to attend the launch of Samsung’s S4 Smart phone at Radio City Music Hall. It was a big, impressive presentation where they pulled out all the stops. Every prominent techie blog and site was there to witness the debut of the smartphone that was hyped to be “The Big One for Samsung for 2013,” and was touted to be the newest, best, smartest mobile phone to date.
After watching the presentation, I went to one of the demo kiosks and had about 15 minutes holding the phone in my hands and trying some of the functions and getting the general feel of it. But too many people were in line and wanting to have their turn. Alas, I had to give way.
Right now as I write this, I am holding the S4 once more in my hands and using it the way it was intended to be used — as a phone, camera, online device, video and music player, and all the other functions modern smart phones should be capable of doing.
And more! Much more!
I’ve had the S3 for a few months now and I have been very impressed with it. So when I heard that Samsung was coming out with the S4 barely nine months after S3’s launch, I was quite skeptical. What could Samsung possibly offer that would top it? Is the S4 much better than the S3? After having a hands-on experience with it however short, I would have to answer the last question with a big solid “yes!”
The basic features alone are really impressive. The phone is the same size as the S3, but it has a bigger five-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 full HD AMOLED. The screen is clear in every detail. It runs on the latest 4.2.2 Android software. It has a quad-core processor and is LTE capable. It means it is really fast in all ways. The back camera has 13 megapixels and the front has 5 meg. The phone has a much bigger 2600 mAh battery that will certainly outperform the S3 and much of the competition.There are just too many things to like with the S4. For its camera, Samsung borrowed heavily the features of its winning Galaxy Camera and added a lot more which makes the S4 camera experience a squealing delight. Here are some:
• You can have front and back cameras on at the same time. This means you don’t have to be the photographer who doesn’t have any pics of himself in the event. You can now include yourself in the photo.
• Sound and shot: This allows you to attach nine seconds of sound to your photo. Imagine sending a photo with a short voice greeting, or having the ambient sounds of the moment included. Imagine sending a concert pic? What a delight.
• Drama: Imagine capturing a series of various shots during one sweeping movement. Great for showing or analyzing action.
• Eraser Shot: This is THE photo bomb solution. You can now remove unwanted elements from your photos by simply touching it and replacing it with another shot taken while on this mode.
• Cinema photo or animation shot: You can shoot a photo with a still image but with moving objects around it. Simply select which objects you want animated or frozen. Send it as a GIF file.
• Live Filters: You now get a get real-time preview of the effects for photo/video before capture.
There are a whole lot more goodies to crow about with the camera both for photos and videos.
Samsung has been adding newer kinetic features on its latest products. The S4 has Air View, which allows you to peek into certain apps without your finger touching the screen. You merely hover over the screen and, voila, texts and gallery pics pop out for a sneak view. It also has Air Gestures where you literally just wave a finger or hand over the S4 to change or advance to the next screen. This is useful if your hands are dirty for example. You can actually take a phone call by simply waving your hand and diverting it to speakerphone, or change the music playing by advancing to the next tune.
Did I mention that you can use the S4 as a remote control? That’s because it has IR (infrared) capability. It’s called Samsung Watch On. The only problem is, the Philippines is not one of the countries listed when you set it up. But you can use it to control various Samsung products like speakers, cameras, etc. It is among the arsenal of interconnectivity apps such as All-Share, or Wi-Fi Direct, etc., which you can use with your laptop, printers, tab, camera, other Samsung phones and devices
The S-Translator is a very useful feature that will help travelers navigate a foreign country since it translates eight languages easily. You can use both the spoken and written word to communicate.
One of the unique features Samsung has integrated into its recent products is eye-detection capability which means the S4 can be enabled to pause a playing video if you move your eyes away from it, and resume it when you look again. It is called Smart Pause. This is true innovation.
There is just so much more to experience and get wowed about with the Samsung S4. That could be a problem for some since it will take time for you to master everything the S4 can do. It’s a problem many would not mind, I suppose.
I have yet to talk about Group Play, Knox, Story Album, S-Travel, S-Health and so many other apps and features that will surprise and delight you. But I will leave all that for you to discover.
It is not a perfect phone. Some apps work easier than others. The gesture apps take some effort to learn but not much. Despite that, Samsung S4 deserves all the respect and admiration it is getting. It is the phone that everyone has been waiting for with bated breath, and as the unofficial hype goes, it is the smartest phone today that surpasses the iPhone and all other rivals.
A Samsung executive in NYC told me that in today’s world, smart companies like Samsung are learning that more than responding to the market, the market is becoming more eager to respond to technological breakthroughs. That must be the reason why they didn’t wait to too long to come up with the S4.
Neither should you. You will not be disappointed.