Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Aya-chan gave me a birthday cake… ehr, I mean… doughnut… to celebrate my birthday today. She’s so sweet! I don’t mind if it’s a cupcake, pancake or a simple loaf of bread with or without candles on top as long as it comes from her! ありがとうございます彩ちゃん!とてもとても愛してます!

Let me dream for now. It’s my birthday anyway! Hehehe!

Back to reality, I’d like to thank everyone who greeted me on my 2nd 25th birthday – yes, I’m in denial about being 26 but let it pass for now as well. Whether it was personally, through a phone call, via SMS, through email, on Facebook or telepathically I thank you all!

I may be broke at the moment but Keira Knightley and Yui Yoshioka are probably celebrating my birthday for me right now. If you are around their area just drop by their place and say that I invited you. Okay, don’t do it. I don’t want you to get in trouble because of me. Hahaha!

See yah!

Is that a bird?

Festo SmartBird

Yes it is! Well, somehow. It’s actually the Festo SmartBird. It can start, fly and land autonomously and best of all it doesn’t poop. Festo’s SmartBird is a beautiful flying machine (an ornithopter per se). It can be controlled remotely using ZigBee radio.

Measuring 1.07 meters long at the torso and with a wingspan of 2 meters, it’s amazing how it only weighs 485 grams. It was created using a lightweight carbon fiber structure and extruded polyurethane foam. Its body twists and flaps very much like a real bird so from afar you might really mistake it as one. I doubt it lands like a real bird though.

This graceful herring gull inspired flying robot is best viewed than described in words. Videos after the break.
Continue reading

Play for Japan

Play for Japan: Auction of games and gaming merchandise to help Japan

If you’re a hardcore gamer with a lot of spare cash in your bank account you might want to send some over to the Play for Japan fund in exchange for some really cool stuff. Too bad I’m not one of those hardcore + rich gamers. There are some stuff (like this and this one) that I wish I could get from the auctioned items but alas I’m quite broke at the moment. I’ll just donate via PSN. At least I can help even though I don’t have a credit card.

Anyway, 100% of the final price will be donated to the American Red Cross to help our friends in Japan recover from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated their land.

頑張ってジャパン!

Help Japan through PlayStation Network

Yup. You heard that right. The “Aid Japan” appeal tab under the new releases section in the PlayStation Store will let you donate $2, $5, $10, $25, or $50 to help Japan from their crisis. Proceeds will go to the American Red Cross’ Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund which I mentioned on an earlier post. I learned about this when my friend’s donation purchase popped up in Facebook. If I knew about this earlier I would have donated my $20 card instead of purchasing Worms 2: Armageddon but darn it’s too late. I’ll just get a new card and  send my donations when I get my money before my vacation in a few days.

Want to donate some spare PSN cash? Login to PSN through your PS3 or PSP, head to the PlayStation Store and start donating. Any of the above stated amounts would surely help.

American Red Cross Japan

Tragedy in Japan

Massive tsunamis hit the coast of Japan

Massive 4 meter high tsunamis slam on Japan's Iwanuma coast (March 11, 2011)

I heard about the most recent earthquake in Japan through a Facebook status post of one of my Japanese friends. Her family was in Tokyo and she was worried about them. She later confirmed that her relatives are alright. On the other hand, I became uneasy about the welfare of another friend who lives in Chiba. I tried sending her email (their equivalent to text messaging) but it was being rejected by the server which meant that the network was down. Fortunately, she went online after reading the mail I sent to her other email address and she said their house shook like a boat during the earthquake but confirmed she and her family are okay. They lived nearby the oil refinery that exploded though so she heard and saw it first hand.

Oil refinery explodes in Ichihara, Chiba

Major oil refinery explodes in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture (March 11, 2011)

I was relieved when I learned that the people I know and their loved ones was unhurt but my heart still feels heavy about the tragedy as a whole. The massive earthquake that shook more than a hundred miles off-shore created massive tsunamis that brought the brunt of the earthquake to Japan. So many people died and the confirmed death toll is still rising at the time of writing. Even more who lost their loved ones, homes and livelihood are suffering right now. I know I am quite emotionally strong but I can’t imagine what state I’ll be in if the same thing happened to me.

I have experienced mild earthquakes when I was a child. I am from the Philippines and my family hails from the Bicol region, a province with many active volcanoes the most active of which is the majestic Mayon Volcano. Shaking and tremors were the most that I experienced and I’ve seen Mayon Volcano spew lava and ash too. Still my experiences are nothing compared to what just happened in Japan.

Yesterday I was reminded about Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 – an anime series that aired last 2009. It was a realistic what-if depiction of a magnitude 8.0 earthquake hitting the heart of Tokyo created with a premise that a 7.0 earthquake could hit Tokyo in the next 30 years. Who would have thought that a stronger earthquake would actually happen less than two years after the anime aired? It gives me goosebumps whenever I think of it.

The recent earthquake was a magnitude 8.9 (upgraded recently to 9.0) but instead of happening under the metropolis, it happened beyond the coast but still with horrifying consequences. If you don’t know what it feels like to be in an earthquake  watching Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 will definitely open your eyes. It’s both terrifying and sad – definitely something I’d never want to experience myself.

On the other hand, below you’ll find Yoko Kanno’s song that is directed to the victims of the earthquake. It is subbed in English by Ruri Fansubs so you won’t have to worry about not understanding it if you don’t know Japanese.

For those who have some to spare please donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami on the Red Cross donation page. If you are in the United States you could also text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 paid from your phone bill.

American Red Cross Japan

Alternatively you may also donate to the Kesenai Japan Relief Fund. I also placed a Kesenai donation link in this blog’s right sidebar to make it easy to find.

“Our thoughts go to Japan in these very difficult moments. And to help them, along with you, we invite you to donate to our fund raise on GlobalGiving that will go to International Medical Corps, Save the Children and other organizations on the ground to providing support.”
Mirko Muresan, President of Kesenai Non-Governmental Organization
Kesenai Japan Relief Fund

Please click on the image above to donate to the Kesenai Japan Relief Fund

There have been reports that there’s a 70% chance for another magnitude 7.0 earthquake to strike Japan again in the next couple of days. Let’s all hope and pray that it doesn’t happen and for improvements on the situation there.

Playing MKV files with subtitles on the Galaxy Tab

The Galaxy Tab's Video app in landscape mode

One of the things that I love about the Galaxy Tab is that it supports playing MKV videos, Full HD 1080p even – something that I find lacking in most of the devices that I see portable or otherwise. The Video app (pictured above) has been able to play most of the MKV wrapped anime and TV series that I throw into it sans those with embedded media using incompatible codecs but it lacked one very important aspect especially when anime is concerned – embedded subtitle support.

mVideoPlayer IconFortunately we have mVideoPlayer which enhances the MKV video playback capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy devices – Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S included! The application is a great replacement for the Galaxy device’s good but rather lackluster video player app as it enables the display of embedded and external subtitle tracks of various formats. Files with multiple subtitle tracks are supported and you can search and download subtitle files from within the app as well so you won’t have to worry about not being able to view subtitles for another language.

Continue reading

What’s new?

It’s been a while since my last post. I have been busy playing with… I mean, learning… how to use my new stuff. I just bought a Kinect sensor for my Xbox 360 recently and damn I’m having fun with it. Other than that I bought a Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth headset to replace my aging DS970 for use with my Samsung Galaxy Tab. Finally, since my birthday is coming up in a few weeks, I bought myself a Canon EOS 550D DSLR camera with a EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and I bought an extra EF 50mm f/1.8 lens too.

The Canon EOS 550D is my first DSLR. I hope to do macro photography as a hobby but at the meantime I don’t have a macro lens to use. A friend recommended that I get a reverse lens adapter. Further research led me to macro extension tubes and reversing the lens at the end of another lens. I’ll buy the required stuff from Ebay and I’ll do with those until I get a decent macro lens.

Expect to see personal reviews of my new gadgets in the following posts. Let me learn more about my camera first as I will be using it to take pictures of the stuff I’ll feature in this blog assuming that I own or have access to such stuff. And, yes, it’s International Women’s Day today so more power to the women of our lives! Have a great day!