The iPad Mini

The iPad Mini is one of this holiday season’s hottest gadgets. Sadly, it hasn’t been officially released in the Philippines yet.

While the dollar price conversion for the most basic version (black, wifi 16gb) is about 14k in pesos, the actual retail price for this in stores around the metro is more like 20k. The popular online retailers like Kim Store are selling it for 19.4k.

However, the cheapest I’ve seen it for right now is definitely at the gadget store in Pop Culture in Alabang Town Center. While I did get into a bit of argument with them and ended up NOT buying one (they screwed me on the pricing), they still offer the cheapest price for the black 16gb wifi model: only 18.5k.

Those of you in the area looking for a deal, this is definitely the one to get. Although they stiffed me, I figure the price they have is good and a little push from me won’t hurt.

Happy iPad hunting people!

The Magic Strikes Again

Unbelievable! Just after picking up the Spyridons as detailed in my last blog post, I headed over to National Bookstore to buy some gift wrap. And as I pass by the

image

The Little Prince! 2013

Moleskine section, lo and behold, my eye is caught inadvertently by another item I just happened to have on my wishlist: a Little Prince 2013 Planner!

This is just too good. I should note that I have been looking for this planner for the
past two months, and it simply hasn’t been in stock. Today, of all days, its finally here, and even better there was a 100 peso discount as I swiped it! Just how great is that?

Now while the Magic has certainly been working to get me to part with my money today, to not buy these items as they are presented to me would be a lapse in gratitude. I humbly accept, and gratefully.

The Astonishing Power of Gratitude

Well, I’d read The Secret several years ago and last month I picked up the sequel, The Power for fun and for a nice pick me up. Reading these books always lifts my spirits, so I went ahead yesterday and got the third book of the trilogy, The Magic.

The Magic focuses on giving thanks and gives some good activities to do so, a 28-day program really. I had just finished the first two things to do in the book — making a wish list basically, and then starting Day 1 of the program which is to learn to count your blessings.

Then an amazing thing happened. Just as I finished counting my blessings for the first day, I text message came in from The Athlete’s Foot. It turns out that a shoe I was looking for had just come into stock — the VFF KSO. However, on my “wish list” I had just noted I wanted a Spyridon model instead in green. So I went ahead and asked them if they had the Spyridon in stock instead, and they said yes! It was available, and precisely in my size!

How’s that for fast service from The Universe? I’ll be dropping by The Athlete’s Foot later to pick up what the Universe served up to me on a shiny platter. It’s amazing what gratitude can do. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

vff-spyridon

Monster Turbines vs. Ultimate Ears Metro.Fi 170

You know, I have had the Metro Fi 170′s and the Monster Turbines for a few months now. You know what I have concluded so far?

The Metro Fi’s, at a third of the price, actually sound better than the Turbines. I really thought I would love the Turbines more but it is a very confusing earphone. The sound is very rich but the sound stage is smaller than the 170′s, and the clarity is not quite as good. The driver is also not as fast, and the treble is and bass detail is kind of drowned out in comparison. What it has instead is, I dunno… “body.” The sound is very colored, though not in a particularly bad way. It sounds great actually and the sound doesn’t hurt the ear after long listens, and lends well in certain genres like R&B, House, Chillout, Latin, and many types of Jazz. In other genres that I prefer to sound clean like Hard Rock or Acoustic it gives a certain “echo” to the sound which is not unwelcome.

But despite that I find that the clean but not thin sound of the Metro Fi’s on the whole sound better. The Turbines give a nice listening experience for House and similar types of genres but the 170s are great in every genre I’ve listened to them with and hold their own against the Turbines even in genres you’d think a bass heavy monster like the Turbines would own.

And actually speaking of bass, the 170′s have as much bass as the Turbines, only cleaner. Crazy. I don’t know, I’m very confused over the Turbines, I don’t know what to say. Common sense tells me it’s 3x the price and 3x better but in actuality I find the Metro Fi’s — and I’m talking the low end UE model here — are actually better overall.

The Anti Logitech

Logitech is a horrible company. They somehow succeeded by building a brand that is perceived as the Porsche of keyboards and mice, but the shoddy worksmanship of their peripherals betrays their true form.

I have an MX3200 desktop set and the keys feel so spongy, it’s like there was a mound of dirt beneath them that you squish every time you type, and it sticks so they pop back a little slowly. The effort needed to press the buttons is above what other keyboards require.

Their mice, all of which have been following the MX700/MX300 form factor for ages now, may be good for people with big hands who like to palm their mice, but for gaming using your fingers for precision is often the better method, but all these palm mice they churn out just don’t make the cut compared to an el-cheapo A4-Tech mouse that handles flawlessly at a third or sometimes even a fourth of the price. Let’s not even get into how often their batteries crap out for all their cordless mice, and I’ve owned quite a few of them.

Logitech is highly disappointing, I’ve been burned too many times buying their shoddy products. You could say I’m the fool for going back to them time and again, fooled by the brand name, but sometimes I just gotta learn.

Bruce Lee Bullshido

I made this post on the Sherdog forums on a discussion about Bruce Lee:

So what? Are you saying that because Bruce Lee “inspired” more people to do martial arts, he can rightfully be called the Grandfather of MMA?

The sad things is, the evidence points to Bruce Lee inspiring people with his MOVIES and not his actual martial arts or rantings about martial arts.

Did anyone actually listen to his JKD musings? Apparently not, because when UFC 1 came along seems everyone was doing single style fighting and nobody was cross training.

In effect, he netted the same influence with his JKD philosophy as Dempsey did with his Tough Crosstraining Manual: NADA.

Everyone still thought that martial arts was about standup fighting with fancy kicks and going “Wataa!” Thanks no doubt to Bruce Lee’s movies that glorified this kind of fighting. And this is pretty much what everybody who got into martial arts because of Bruce Lee was thinking. I read the article on the frontpage a few days ago about Vera’s wife. She described herself as a “Bruce Lee-crazed tomboy begging her parents to enroll her into taekwondo” (or something to that effect.

How many people got inspired by Bruce Lee and enrolled into Brazilian Jiujitsu or Greco Roman Wrestling or Sambo? Probably none. They all went to the arts we like to sneer at with disdain as McDojo arts (Karate, Taekwondo, and various forms of Kungfu).

One dimensional as they were, the Gracies are the ones who opened up the gates to what MMA is like today, by proving in the actual spectacle of combat that standup would get demolished by grappling. That is what ultimately led to people crosstraining en masse to succeed in MMA.

It was putting together the different styles in ACTUAL COMBAT that people were able to see what worked, what didn’t, and what needed to be thrown away and to find out what to keep. Not all the theorizing and bullshido Bruce Lee did that never proved anything — again everyone still went back to TMAs and standup in the wake of Bruce Lee’s heyday. It wasn’t Bruce Lee’s JKD who got Mo Smith learning the ground game in order to take out Coleman and eventually become UFC HW Champ, it was actually fighting in real combat, with real stakes, that got him to realize the importance of being a true Mixed Martial Artist.

Bruce Lee is old news. He gets credit for increasing the public awareness and interest in martial arts in a way nobody else ever managed, but his actual success — or lack thereof — in actual practical martial arts will never go away no matter how much the diehard Bruce Nuthuggers wish for it. Theoretics only goes so far, you can’t swim unless you get into the water and get wet. You can’t really do martial arts unless you actually fight.

This is something I had always believed in. Bruce Lee is the Grandfather of the Martial Arts Movie, and perhaps the Grandfather of Bullshido, but it would be a stretch to really call him the Grandfather of MMA.

He had the right idea going — getting out of the style and learning what works — but his lack of actual practical combat experience and more importantly his emphasis on his Kung Fu Movies and his McDojo approach were what ultimately led to people doing nothing but using their interest in him to get into the McDojo TMAs that are scorned by real mixed martial artists and even regular martial artists.

We all know the wonderful site Bullshido.com and it is quite arguable that Bruce Lee is the man most responsible for the rise of McDojo Martial Arts as we know it today, which we all love to call Bullshido. Bruce Lee was famous for going around America doing martial arts demonstrations like his one inch punch, and getting people to believe in his style of fighting, not unlike the various demonstrations Bullshido McDojos use to gather students.

Maybe if Bruce Lee put his money where his mouth was, he’d have a real airtight legacy. Joe Lewis, a world karate champion, always lamented that Bruce Lee never sparred with him and often talked about how Bruce wasn’t the best ever because he never really competed. I have to wholeheartedly agree.

As it is, while there will always be people who will consider him the best martial artist the world has ever known, there will also be a lot of us who see him as nothing more than a glorified movie actor.

Bruce Lee Bullshido

I made this post on the Sherdog forums on a discussion about Bruce Lee:

[b]So what? Are you saying that because Bruce Lee “inspired” more people to do martial arts, he can rightfully be called the Grandfather of MMA?

The sad things is, the evidence points to Bruce Lee inspiring people with his MOVIES and not his actual martial arts or rantings about martial arts.

Did anyone actually listen to his JKD musings? Apparently not, because when UFC 1 came along seems everyone was doing single style fighting and nobody was cross training.

In effect, he netted the same influence with his JKD philosophy as Dempsey did with his Tough Crosstraining Manual: NADA.

Everyone still thought that martial arts was about standup fighting with fancy kicks and going “Wataa!” Thanks no doubt to Bruce Lee’s movies that glorified this kind of fighting. And this is pretty much what everybody who got into martial arts because of Bruce Lee was thinking. I read the article on the frontpage a few days ago about Vera’s wife. She described herself as a “Bruce Lee-crazed tomboy begging her parents to enroll her into taekwondo” (or something to that effect.

How many people got inspired by Bruce Lee and enrolled into Brazilian Jiujitsu or Greco Roman Wrestling or Sambo? Probably none. They all went to the arts we like to sneer at with disdain as McDojo arts (Karate, Taekwondo, and various forms of Kungfu).

One dimensional as they were, the Gracies are the ones who opened up the gates to what MMA is like today, by proving in the actual spectacle of combat that standup would get demolished by grappling. That is what ultimately led to people crosstraining en masse to succeed in MMA.

It was putting together the different styles in ACTUAL COMBAT that people were able to see what worked, what didn’t, and what needed to be thrown away and to find out what to keep. Not all the theorizing and bullshido Bruce Lee did that never proved anything — again everyone still went back to TMAs and standup in the wake of Bruce Lee’s heyday. It wasn’t Bruce Lee’s JKD who got Mo Smith learning the ground game in order to take out Coleman and eventually become UFC HW Champ, it was actually fighting in real combat, with real stakes, that got him to realize the importance of being a true Mixed Martial Artist.

Bruce Lee is old news. He gets credit for increasing the public awareness and interest in martial arts in a way nobody else ever managed, but his actual success — or lack thereof — in actual practical martial arts will never go away no matter how much the diehard Bruce Nuthuggers wish for it. Theoretics only goes so far, you can’t swim unless you get into the water and get wet. You can’t really do martial arts unless you actually fight.[/b]

This is something I had always believed in. Bruce Lee is the Grandfater of the Martial Arts Movie, and perhaps the Grandfather of Bullshido, but it would be a stretch to really call him the Grandfather of MMA.

He had the right idea going — getting out of the style and learning what works — but his lack of actual practical combat experience and more importantly his emphasis on his Kung Fu Movies and his McDojo approach were what ultimately led to people doing nothing but using their interest in him to get into the McDojo TMAs that are scorned by real mixed martial artists and even regular martial artists.

We all know the wonderful site Bullshido.com and it is clear to me that Bruce Lee is the man most responsible for the rise of McDojo Martial Arts as we know it today, which we all love to call Bullshido.

Maybe if Bruce Lee put his money where his mouth was, he’d have a real airtight legacy. But as it is, while there will always be people who will consider him the best martial artist the world has ever known, there will also be a lot of us who see him as nothing more than a glorified movie actor.

ATH-M50

Well, hot in the heels of my last headphone purchase, I just went out and out and got myself the fabled Audio Technica ATH-M50 studio monitors.

These cans are reputed to be the best in the world under $200US. And from the last hour I spent with them, I have absolutely no reason to disagree.

They just officially ROCK. Without prejudice. They just simply blow away every Bose, Sennheiser, Shure and AKG I have owned or heard. I own a bunch of headsets but they were all in the $100 or less category. Sennheiser HD212 Pro, Sennheiser HD465, Shure E2C, Bose Triport OE and IE, AKG K81 DJ and the VModa Vibes. These easily beat out all of those. At the same time. With one hand tied behind its back.

They are seriously that good. As my GF said when I snuck behind her and stuffed these on her ears, “I feel like I’m in another place!” They are good enough to suck you into another dimension.

I can’t recommend these cans enough. I will let them burn in for a bit… should sound even better then… then I’ll put up a full review then.

But oops… I still need to review the K81s… and I’m not even done burning those in yet.

AKG K81 DJ

I just picked up a set of AKG headphones… it’s a popular DJ model, the K81 DJ. AKG had always been an audiophile favorite so it’s a great to have a good pedigree behind your product.

This item sounds very good. The sound quality is quite comparable to my Bose Triport OEs. Some would say they are better, and while they do a better job than the Bose in some aspects, I still find the Bose better. More on that later. But these sound really good.

Their biggest weakness I suppose is the very flat sound stage; the Triports have a much wider stage, and I don’t even consider the Bose as having much of a soundstage.

But the miss and highs are very forward, and the bass is tight and punchy. I love it.

Oomph Oomph on the Highway

I just installed a new car audio system onto my car today. After two and a half years, my Vios finally gets a sonic upgrade!

The new toys are:
Ryan Audio i60.4 amp
Pioneer TS-WX301 sub
Kicker K6.2 seperates

It took about 4 hours to install. What a headache! But the results are… staggering to say the least.

Although both the sub and amp are only rated at 150W RMS, they deliver an amazing oomph. I wouldn’t call it punchy… The Pioneer dies sound a bit on the muddy side… but I suppose that’s to be expected from a budget sub. It also hasn’t been broken in.

But the Kickers deliver a real punch! They are strong, clear, and really create a sound stage I hadn’t heard in my car before. I guess having separate tweeters isn’t just for show.

It just feels so refreshing to have an actual sound stage in the car now. I love it!

I think I need to tweak the sub a bit, though. It’s just that powerful. I’m the kid that goes for clarity over SPL so this is one of my projects to tweak this system.

Well, I’m gonna go cruising a bit with this setup for a while. Oh yeah!!