Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cheap Fiber Optic Cable

The Samsung Blu-Ray player that came with our new Samsung U55D6600WP TV did not come anymore with a coaxial audio port.  It only has an optical audio port at the back.  I was not aware that my really old Yamaha receiver actually had optical ports all these years.  The old Philips player was just connected to it via coaxial audio.  But after tinkering with the back panel of the Yamaha a bit, I noticed that the optical port was just covered.  D'oh!

I previously shopped for an optical cable at Shangri-La Mall where the audio/video shops there were selling them for like P1,500 or more.  Since we were at SM Marikina this afternoon, I tried going to Ace Hardware.  Lo-and-behold, they have China-made ones for a measly P250.  Digital data is digital data no matter how thick or how well-insulated a fiber optic cable is.  So I plunked in my hard-earned P250 and bought the low-end cables.

When I got home, I tried it and it worked perfectly fine!  Granted that I am not really an audiophile and that my hearing is not that sensitive to distinguish a cheap cable from an expensive one.  But the sounds are good enough for my regular movies.  'Nuff said.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Samsung 55" LED TV

We've been wanting to upgrade our 3-year old Samsung 40" LCD Series 5 TV with a bigger one.   And finally, the successor was delivered today.  We bought a Samsung 55" LED TV (U55D6600WP).  Its a Series 6 TV, and not the top-of-the-line, break-your-piggy-bank Series 8 TV.  I've never been a bleeding-edge guy.  Even with computers, my specs are always 2 to 3 generations behind the latest-and-greatest technology out there.

The new TV came with 3D capability.  Granted that there are really not that many 3D movies out there yet, I guess its an investment for the future since that seems to be where the industry is headed.  Personally, I don't find 3D that amazing.  It doesn't really make the movie any "better".

What is interesting about the 3D capability of the U55D6600WP is it can make standard 2D output into pseudo-3D.  Its a software trick, but it does give a 3D feel to regular shows.  I don't know how the TV determines which part of a 2D show to make 3D-ish.  Does it assume that areas with pixels moving a lot faster to belong to an image that should be in the foreground, while slower-moving pixels are assumed to be background images?  I watched a short segment of 2D Captain America in this 3D-mode, and does get some sort of a feel of 3D admittedly.

The U55D660WP is labeled as a "Smart TV", a fancy word for a TV with a built-in computer.  It comes with an internal media player which can pretty much play a very broad range of media formats.  It renders having a separate player (ex. DVD) redundant.  You just copy the file you want to watch into a USB flash drive; stick it into one of the 3 available USB ports at the side; the TV takes over and can play the file directly.  I tried plugging in my WD portable drive to one of the USB ports and it could see all my movies inside and play it directly!

The unit also comes with built-in wifi capability and a wired ethernet port (which I am not using).  You would need it to download Samsung Apps; surf on the Internet; watch YouTube; have a Skype session; etc.  A qwerty remote control helps you navigate easily.

The freebies that came with the unit are:

  • Samsung Blu-ray Player
  • 4 x 3D Glasses
  • Megamind 3D Blu-ray Disc
  • Web cam
  • 32" Series 4 LCD TV
Although I've been a skeptic before, I now believe LED output really looks better than LCD.  It just looks so much brighter and colors are sharper.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Worst Passwords for 2011

Mashable compiled this list of the most commonly used passwords on the Internet for 2011. Do any of them look familiar to you? :P

1. password
2. 123456
4. qwerty
5. abc123
6. monkey
7. 1234567
8. letmein
9. trustno1
10. dragon
11. baseball
12. 111111
13. iloveyou
14. master
15. sunshine
16. ashley
17. bailey
18. passw0rd
19. shadow
20. 123123
21. 654321
22. superman
23. qazwsx
24. michael
25. football

Friday, November 11, 2011


Numerologists and geeks today are having a field day today. This will be the only 11/11/11 that we will have in our lifetime (the next one will be 2111 already).

On a bright note, Gmail is back to "normal". For several months, most of my outbound mail has been bouncing back to me. The Gmail filters seem to think I'm a spammer for some reason. It has rendered my Gmail account almost useless and I had to install Thunderbird just so I can send out email via Mozcom's SMTP. Thank goodness somebody there must have fixed something.

But on a sad note, Google announced that they will be shutting down Google Notebook by year-end. Its not exactly a popular app, but next to Gmail, its my most-used Google product! Its kinda like Microsoft One-Note. Its like notepad and is great for unstructured data. Now Google will be migrating all Google Notebook content into Google Docs (which I'm actually not that big of a fan).

Monday, November 7, 2011


I've been suffering from a really bad toothache in my inner left molar the past couple of days.  Since its a national holiday today in observance of a Muslim celebration, I went to see the dentist beside Ilene's nail space at QC.

When I got there, she confirmed my worst fear -- I needed to get a root canal!  However, since its currently inflamed, she cannot perform the procedure yet.  The infection need to subside first.  She cracked the cap covering that tooth and bore holes onto the damaged tooth to let it "singaw".  I didn't realize rotten tooth can smell so bad.  The stink permeated the entire room.

Once the pressure has been relieved by the removal of the cap, I finally feel a whole lot better.  But I'm not exactly looking forward at the inevitable root canal procedure itself.