Mini Review of my new phone – the HTC One X

May 8th, 2012 by eyal | 4 Comments | Filed in Techie

I’ve finally upgraded from my old trusty Google Nexus One, the device which started the Android revolution, it served me and Google well :-) I waited for the Samsung Galaxy S III to be announced and once I saw it I knew I wouldn’t want it. I’m sure the S3 will be a top notch piece of hardware but the design, screen, shape.. just not for me. The HTC One X on the other hand looked very attractive so I spent a couple of hours playing with it at the HTC counter at the shopping mall. I finally got it over the weekend and I can say that so far it is fantastic.

Many things to like about it and so far no niggles. My points of reference are not just the old N1 but also my wife’s Samsung Galaxy S2 – which she no longer has but more on that later :-) So the HOX as people like to call the OneX has a ton of goodies: camera is really good, very responsive, very fast and great quality of photos. The audio quality is also excellent I’m now enjoying listening to it more than to any other device I have. The HTC Sense layer was tastefully done, not too heavy unless you insist and add a ton of HTC widgets which I don’t. In terms of speed it is lightning fast, as was expected from a Tegra 3 quad core device. Surprisingly the battery life is quite good. At first it looked it was really bad, even after updating to 1.28 which I did immediately after charging it. It seemed to go through the battery very quickly but then on subsequent days this “problem” was gone, maybe it needed another cycle of the battery to sort through the capacity thing. Moving, besides the excellent design and good looks the materials and build are top quality. The white polycarbonate feels really nice in the hand and has a bit of an ivory feel/tint. But by far the best part about this phone and one of the main reasons I got it is the screen which is absolutely gorgeous. Far better than on the Samsung S2 and I expect also to be better than the S3 which will have a pentile display based on currently available specs. The display, made by Sony I believe, is the same high density as iPhone 4S “retina” but instead of the miniature 3.5″ size on the iPhone (god how can ppl use 3.5″ ??) it’s a 4.7″ display. Overall a real pleasure to use and well worth its price. Highly recommended. Remember my wife’s GS2? She had an advance notice of this recommendation and went ahead to sell her S2 and got a HOX in white :-)

So now I’m on a bit of a shopping spree. First things first, cases. There’s no case in the box and I do need one, I don’t like those TPU / Silicone / Rubber / Plastic casings, not even the best ones from casemate / otterbox / seidio. I don’t like any bulk on the phone when I’m holding and using it. I’m getting a good leather pouch and a couple of cheapo colorful pull tab type.

Secondly I’m also shopping for a pair of earphones headset. The ones that came bundled are actually pretty good quality but they’re earbuds and don’t fit me well and I much prefer the in-ear type which are more comfortable, don’t fall out and provide some noise isolation. So far I’ve been looking at Klipsch Image S4i, Etymotic MC2/3, Nocs NS200/NS400, A-Jay’s One+. I prefer white color to match the phone but we’ll see, the sound quality will trump the color.

I already have a universal dock in the car and a charger so I think the above should do it for now.

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Buying car tyres in Thailand Bangkok

February 23rd, 2012 by eyal | 1 Comment | Filed in Asia, Motoring

Since I bought my car (Alfa Romeo 156) I’ve been enjoying maintaining and playing with it. One thing I knew I needed to do when I got the car was change the tyres, the old tyres celebrated their 5th year birthday this week ;-) but like everything else I do I gotta go through a research and fermentation phase till I actually go ahead with whatever it is I want to buy. This Saturday we’ve got a trip coming up to a trackday in Pattaya Bira race track so I thought it’s time to actually get the new tyres (I’m not going on track but getting there involves a couple of hours on the highway). Like most people new to owning a car in Bangkok I had no idea where to begin. The nice folks at the Alfa Romeo Thailand Club helped with some tips I followed on from there.

As for the tyre itself, after doing some research, reviews reading, auto magazine tests I decided to go for the Michelin Pilot Spot 3. I wanted a nice performance tyre since my rides are mostly for fun and I don’t do high routine commute mileage. If you want to read more about the tyre and others in its category you can see more here.

Here’s the mini report on my findings re buying tires in Bangkok. I went around the area where I live looking at tyre shops, small and chain stores for the PS3, including some very “local” shops and this is the jist of what I found out: basically if the shop has the tyres in stock then you can get some discount, the B-Quik chain store price is 4890 Baht and the lowest I was offered at a small shop was 4600. However the tyres at that shop were coming to 1 year old, not ideal, especially given the storage conditions – pretty much open air, no direct sunlight but plenty of natural light and UV all around. Small shops which didn’t have the tyre in stock could bring it in within a couple of hours but the prices were unattractive, 4900, 5000 etc.

Then I went to TyrePlus where the lady just stared at me and had trouble understanding me despite the fact I asked everything in Thai (and all the other shops had no problem understanding it), eventually she snapped out of it and said there’s no stock and it’ll take 4 days to bring them, the price was 49XX I can’t remember exactly now.

Finally I ended up at B-Quik as the last stop, turns out you can negotiate there and they knocked 100 Baht off each tyre so 4790 each, the best thing was that the tyres are brand new! 0212 and stored in the shade. So I bought them and had them fitted. For the old tyres, a couple of the smaller shops looked at them closely but both decided they weren’t in good enough shape and they weren’t interested in buying them at all. I ended up just leaving them at BQ.

The level of professionalism at BQ (Beungkum branch located at GPS coordinates: 13.790707,100.679709) was quite impressive. It was obvious they were very experienced doing this day in and day out. The alloys were gently handled, tyres balance checked and then laser alignment checked. Unlike in some other shops they didn’t tighten the bolts to the max with an air powered tool but used a ratchet with proper tightness setting. There are also all kinds of after-sales warranties and services at BQ which seems like a nice add-on. I still need to figure out what exactly the warranty covers. Another advantage at BQ is that the cover is national, you can get service at any of the hundreds of shops they have. That’s it, hopefully this helps someone if they’re like me – have had no idea about how to get new tyres here in LOS.

Tony Horton’s One on One workout DVD – unmotivating?

February 17th, 2012 by eyal | 2 Comments | Filed in Living

I just started exercising at home after I cancelled my gym membership. I never really liked working out in the afternoon time slot which was the only time I could get to the gym. I much rather exercise later in the day, after I’m done with trading in the evening. So I was looking for a workout plan and some exercises I can easily do at home without getting equipment which I don’t want to store or spend on. So after looking around a little I found the P90X: Tony Horton’s 90-Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout DVD Program, but it was way way too much for my current fitness level. So I started with the 10 Minute Trainer: Tony Horton’s Workout for the Busiest People Fitness DVD Program which I really like. Anyone can put together a 30-60 minute workout, but designing a 10 minute one which is fun, challenging and comprehensive requires talent and experience.

It will take some time till I’m bored with the 10 minute trainer but I like checking out what else Tony Horton has out there since I like his style and exercises. I found the P90X One on One with Tony Horton: For P90X Grads, Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1 Workout DVDswhich is a more customizable program, just Tony doing workouts of different types.

If you want to see previews of the actual exercises you can check out youtube and even download some segments of the DVDs. You can do the exercises either with just body weight or get exercise bands like I did. It doesn’t get cheaper or free (er) than this.

Anyway, reading the review on Amazon for the one on one program one person commented on how Tony looked older and like he couldn’t care less sometimes about the workout and that he felt it was demotivating. I thought about writing a reply and figured Amazon has enough content so I might as well put this reply here instead, enter this post. So here’s the reply I started typing up and finished doing here:

I agree with this reviewer but want to offer an alternative view. When I watched the Road Warrior DVD I felt the same, man this guy is looking old, unmotivated and as if he doesn’t really want to do this. But surprisingly that had an opposite effect on me. You see, there are hundreds if not thousands of DVD’s showing super ripped, super motivated prime of their like people exercising as if that’s all they ever want to do. But guess what, life isn’t like that. Sometimes you feel unmotivated, tired, old, or overall crappy. But you still need to get off your gluteus maximus and put in the effort, the reason is obvious, because if you don’t you’d feel and look even more crappy!

So there you have it, a mini review and my opinion on Tony Horton’s workout DVDs. For anyone wanting to work out at home I’d highly recommend checking out these programs. I’m pretty sure the vast majority of people would be challenged by these programs, 10 minute if you’re a beginner, P90 Master for intermediate and P90X if you’re in top shape and want to get in an even better shape.

P.S. If I could have a chat with Tony and suggest anything to him, I’d say please please make a DVD working out with Kettlebells. Those things are the most effective weights I’ve ever tried, but that’s for another post.

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Worth noting today

August 31st, 2011 by eyal | Comment? | Filed in Links

Worth noting today

August 25th, 2011 by eyal | Comment? | Filed in Links

Worth noting today

August 20th, 2011 by eyal | Comment? | Filed in Links

Worth noting today

August 13th, 2011 by eyal | Comment? | Filed in Links