Saturday, September 30, 2017

Gadgets | Quick review: Sony SRS-XB10 Bluetooth speaker

Our rating

"Value for money, this one is a keeper"


Sony SRS-XB10

The gist

A compact and wireless monoaural speaker with long battery life and a water-resistant surface, the Sony SRS-XB10 Bluetooth speaker, despite its size, can provide that extra bass for deep, punchy sound. It can even connect to your smartphone with One-touch NFC.

The good

Water resistant
Decent sound
Battery life
Sony brand 

 Sony SRS-XB10

The bad 

Distorts at high volume 

Our verdict D

Don't let the size fool you. The Sony SRS-Sony SRS-XB10 can deliver the sound. Perfect for on-the-go adventures, this little Bluetooth speaker can go a long way in your travels. We also love the fact that the strap holder can convert into a stand for the speaker when placed on its side. Simple and functional, it's Sony design at its finest. 

Sony SRS-XB10 quick specs 

Speaker type/size: full range; 46mm 
Bluetooth: v4.2 
Water-resistant: IPX5 B
attery: Up 16 hours 
Built-in microphone: for speakerphone capabilities
Input: Stereo mini jack input 
Cable: Charges via Micro-USB 
Color: multiple color options 
Weight: 322g

 Sony SRS-XB10

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Our rating: 

"Almost perfect. Buy it now before you change your mind"


Sony NW-A36HN

The gist 

The NW-A36HN model is part of the Sony Walkman A30 series, an entry-level high-resolution digital audio player integrated with Sony's highly-acclaimed audio technologies. Compared to the earlier A10 and A20 series, the A3O series now sports a touchscreen interface and operating system similar to the more premium (read: expensive) Sony Walkman models such as the NW-ZX300 and the NW-WM1A. Equipped with high-quality capacitors to strengthen the power supply of the digital amplifier, the A30 series has the capacity to cut distortion and noise across a wide range of frequencies making it ideal for high resolution music.

The good 

High-resolution audio
Sound quality
Build and quality
Battery life
Noise-cancelling earphones
Sony audio technologies
Sony brand name

The bad 

Touch screen not for big fingers 
Proprietary USB data transfer cable

Sony NW-A30 series 

Our verdict 

We loved the Apple iPod when it was all the rage. But we also loved the fact that, despite the tough competition, the Sony Walkmans continued to stick it out there until it's time to regain the music market once again. Although lately, Sony has been bringing out high-resolution audio products aimed mostly for the high-end market with deep pockets. However, the fact that they released several entry-level models could only mean one thing: there is actually a market for high-resolution music, and it continues with A30 series. As for the A36HN model, it's all what a music lover would be looking for in a DAP capable of playing high-resolution audio. Equipped with the best Sony can offer in an entry-level model: features such as ClearAudio+, DSEE HX, and VPT (Surround) can help the overall audio experience even more appealing. Audiophiles, of course, would say otherwise. Nonetheless, with or without audio colorization, the overall sound quality is great. Plus, the handsome look, build, and quality are truly exceptional too for the price. The iPod is dead. Long live the Walkman! 

Quick specs 

Model: NW-A36HN 
Internal memory: 32GB 
External memory: 128GB (micro SD, microSDHC, microSDXC) 
Display size: 3.1-inch, 800×480 pixels 
Output power: 35mW per channel 
Audio formats: MP3, WMA, FLAC, PCM, AAC, HE-AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DSD 
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.2 (SBC, LDAC) 
Radio: FM 
Headphones: MDR-NW750N earphones with digital noise cancellation
USB charging time: 4 hours 
Weight: 98g 

Sony NW-A30 series

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Friday, December 30, 2016

Saturday, November 05, 2016

AUDIOPHILE | Ten years of Hi-Fi – not bad at all


(some typos from the original online post were corrected)


What started as a simple swap meet of gears and music media among audio enthusiasts a decade ago, the November Hi-Fi Show is now one of the most anticipated audio and video events of the year.

Although I can’t remember the particular time when they started occupying the entire two floors at the Dusit Thani, I’ve been going to this event in the plush Makati hotel for several years now to check out all the wonderful audio equipment on display -- both old and new; not to mention bargain hunting for other gears, including CDs and vinyls. Yes, those long-playing records are back! (although, vinyls never really went away, it just hid behind the CD until people started getting tired of digital music; and if you hang out in places like the basement of Makati [Cinema] Square, you’ll get the idea.)

Turntables and vinyl albums are regaining their popularity in the audiophile arena, particularly among the newbies, which led the lead organizer Tony Boy de Leon to fly in an expert in the name of Michael Fremer, to discuss everything about high-fidelity music. Fremer is a renowned analog music guru who has his own audiophile blog called AnalogPlanet, a popular website for anything Hi-Fi.

What makes the November Hi-Fi Show different from other audio and video exhibitions is the presentation. Paid exhibitors have their own hotel room where they can show off audio equipment in a controlled environment, without the unwanted noise and other distractions often encountered in an open space, like for example, a mall or an appliance center. Literally speaking, each exhibitor has its own listening room.

Perfect for any audiophile. Plus, the presence of Fremer, who did a turntable workshop, made it exceptionally worthwhile for many fans of this year’s event.

So, what is an audiophile? Simply put, an audiophile is a person enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction -- a general description as old as your grandfather but still very much true today.

But what used to be reserved for the moneyed elite, high-fidelity music for the past several years has trickled down to a larger part of the population. Like high-tech gadgets, high-fidelity has been “consumerized.”

Nonetheless, Hi-Fi, despite now being affordable, is still a niche market. Yes, hi-fi gears and hardware are very expensive, especially for brands that target the high-end crowd. There was a pair of speakers on display at the event that go for $94,000 (yes, US dollars) or even a headphone for P90,000! Still, some audiophiles share that you could own a Hi-Fi system for less than P50,000.

Almost the price of an expensive high-end smartphone. In all practicality, that sounded good enough.

Nowadays, there’s a notion that you don’t really have to spend too much (unless you can afford it, of course) for a great audio (or even video) system. Like music itself, sound is also an acquired taste.

Some people like the music loud on the bass, others like their highs more, or some would have the middle frequencies up front, while most audiophiles would rather keep it flat, the EQ that is.

Then, there are people who like their music delivered by big speakers, others are contented with the smaller bookshelf ones, while some would rather go for headphones for that immersive feel. So basically, to each his own.

But for most audiophiles, nothing beats a well-configured audio system setup. It may cost them millions or just a few thousands, but the perfect combination of the audio hardware -- may it be a vintage vacuum tube or modern solid-state amplifier, a well-maintained media and music player, a good-sounding balanced speakers, and even the use of proper cables and clean electric power -- always makes sense.

At the Dusit Thani event you could see all the familiar names in today’s audio hardware; including A/V systems, since home theater is very much in demand, most of the well-known major toys-for-big-boys brands were there. Hardcore audiophiles were also present to exchange ideas, sell, swap, and of course, exhibit their wares—Do-It-Yourself (DIY) vacuum tube amps, turntables, and speakers included.

Rega, Audio Research, Definitive Technology, Bowers-Wilkins, McIntosh, Focal are just some of the Hi-Fi names one will encounter in this extraordinary weekend event.

If you think Bose is already high fidelity for you, then obviously you haven’t been to a November Hi-Fi Show. I suggest you catch the 11th in 2104.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

GADGETS | Focal headphones: Is it worth the money?

Expensive but they do sound really good. So, are Focal headphones and earphones worth the money? If you do care about the sound quality, I say yes to Focal.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

GADGETS | Quickie review: Sony Xperia XA Ultra

Sony Xperia XA Ultra

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Our rating

"Good enough."

"Good enough"

What is it?

Under the Xperia X-Series, the XA Ultra is one of Sony's latest foray in the smartphone market. Announced locally in late June, this Xperia model comes with a 6-inch, full-HD display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, a 21.5-megapixel rear camera, a 2,700 mAh fixed battery, and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755 processor and equipped with 3GB of RAM. A 16GB of internal memory (expandable up to 200GB via microSD) completes the memory specs. The smartphone weighs 202 grams.

What's it for?

For selfie lovers, this Sony Xperia XA Ultra will definitely work for them. The phone's 16MP front camera light sensors was made precisely for low-light environment, ensuring sharp, bright, blur-free shots all the time, well at least on paper. But yes, it does work most of the time when we tried it.

Sony is one of those smartphone makers very particular when it comes to camera quality, since the company is a major player in the digital camera business. And many may not be aware of it, but the Japanese electronics giant is the market leader when it comes to mobile phone imaging. Sony has been providing camera image sensors to practically every high-end smartphone in the market. Yes, including the Apple iPhone.


The good

Impressive screen real-estate Highly quality camera output Dual SIM 4G-LTE Support Slim, minimalist design Qnovo fast-charging tech

The bad

Battery non-replaceable Choice of chipset

Our verdict

The Sony Xperia XA Ultra has an almost borderless display, giving the smartphone an impressive screen real-estate. Together with Xperia's traditional minimalist lines, it is beautiful all throughout. Some may find it boring, but Xperia's design is purely Japanese -- elegantly simple, handsome looks, and functioning effectively. Not even Apple could deny that. It did work for them, right?

That said, the choice of a MediaTek chipset, however, stopped us from giving this model a full Four Stars. Yes, we're not a fan of MediaTek and we don't deny it. Specially in this class and price range. But then again, a Qualcomm chip would have jacked up the price.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra

Quick specs:

Sony Xperia XA Ultra

Display Size - 6.00 inch
Resolution - 1920 x 1080 Pixels, Full HD
OS - Android v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Processor - Octa-Core
Chipset - Mediatek MT6755
SIM - Dual
Internal Storage - 16GB
microSD - Up to 200GB
Rear Camera - 21.5MP
Front Camera - 16MP
Battery Capacity - 2,700mAh
Connectivity - 4G-LTE, Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi
Weight - 202.00 grams

SRP: P19,990.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

GADGETS | Quickie review: Samsung Gear Fit2

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Our rating

"Good enough."

What is it?

The Gear Fit2 is Samsung's latest model of wearables under the fitness tracker category. Its eye candy design complements the curved super AMOLED display, which at 38.1mm (1.5 inches) is 8.63mm smaller than its predecessor. Nonetheless, the screen is Gorilla Glass 3 so it's as tough as a smartphone using the same display technology. In addition, the screen seems to look wider than before, providing more details and info with its color touchscreen producing 322 pixels per inch at 432 x 216 resolution. Plus, the Gear Fit2 wraps around the wrist more like a smartwatch than a typical fitness tracker wearable.

What's it for?

The main target of wearable fitness trackers are the fitness buffs, no doubt. It's an essential device for workouts. It'll provide the wearer all the stats right away such heart rate monitor, the number of steps (on walking, running), and other vital activity sessions that need tracking, for example: on a stationary workout machine or outdoor cycling. All these in a device that is not only high tech in specs but gorgeous in appearance. And it comes with some striking colors in blue and pink, aside from the plain black.

The good

Small and large sizes band
Music storage capability
Eye candy design
AMOLED display
Will go perfect with Gear IconX

The bad

Lousy strap lock design
Samsung needs to rethink its app
No iPhone support
Battery life

Our verdict

Compared to the first Gear Fit, the Gear Fit2 is well-thought-out in terms of design and function. You don't have to be a gym warrior to appreciate how the Gear Fit2 looks beautiful on the wrist, wrapping itself more like smartwatch than a fitness tracker, as stated above. We just wished that it had a better strap lock, though. That alone took the half-star on our rating.

Quick specs: Samsung Gear Fit2

Display - 1.5” Touch Curved sAMOLED
Screen size - 216mm x 432mm
Memory RAM - 512MB
Storage - 4GB Battery - 200mAh
Typical usage time - 3~4 days
Standby time - Up to 5 days GPS battery time -
Up to 9 hours Sensors - GPS, HR, Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer
Processor - Dual-core (1GHz Dual)
Connectivity - Android 4.4 Water/Dust Resistant - IP68

SRP: P8,490

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

GADGETS | Quickie review: ASUS VivoMini UN65H

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Our rating

Simply great!

What is it? 
ASUS VivoMini UN65H

The VivoMini is one of the latest micro computers to hit the market. Manufactured by Taiwan-based technology company Asus, the UN65H is light, small and compact.

This particular model is powered by an Intel i5 processor; enough RAM to run many applications; a right number of I/O ports for its size to accommodate most of today’s standard connectors; the necessary wireless connectivity; and graphics that could run high-definition videos.

What’s it for? 

It’s a mini PC. Yes, it’s not the first. The Mac mini has been around for several years now but that’s Apple OS territory, well, at least for most. While PC-compatible brands have also taken miniaturization to new heights, basing their products on the incredible Intel Compute Stick (Asus has its own version — the VivoStick), the VivoMini is still a standout in its own right.

At 131mm square by 42mm tall, this single-color computer module, to compare, is just a bit larger and heavier than a typical Wi-Fi router. Yes, heavier. All because of the PC components cramped inside. But not that heavy to make it not portable. It is very portable and beautifully designed. It is a full-working computer that could run all kinds of applications under the Windows platform. Best of all, despite its size and unibody approach, there are some upgradable PC components inside, such as RAM and storage.

Although, it may fall short on the expectations of gamers and creatives alike, the power inside this VivoMini is far more than enough for us mere mortals who need a computer for normal everyday use. The only drawback? Like any other mini PC of this class, it’s definitely BYODKM or bring your own display, keyboard and mouse.

The good:

Intel Core i5
Upgradable RAM and storage
Wired and wireless connectivity standards
Compact, no doubt

The bad:

At almost P24k, it’s a bit expensive considering it’s a BYODKM
Thief magnet

Our verdict

What we are looking at here is the future of personal computers on our desktop now. The PC is definitely not dead. Not yet. They just renamed it VivoMini.

Quick specs: 
ASUS VivoMini UN65H

OS – Windows 10 Home
CPU – Intel 6th generation Core i5-6200U Processor
Graphics – Intel HD Graphics 520
Memory – Dual Channel, DDR3L at 1600MHz 2 GB x 2 (expandable to 16 GB); 2 x SO-DIMM Storage – 2.5″ 500GB Up to 1TB SATA III Hard Drive; 32GB Up to 256GB M.2 SSD Wireless Data Network – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth V4.0 , or 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth V4.
LAN -- 10/100/1000/Gigabits Mbps
Side I/O Ports – 2 x USB 3.0; 1 x 4 -in-1 Card Reader; 1 x Kensington Lock
Back I/O Ports – 1 x RJ45 LAN; 1 x HDMI; 2 x USB 3.0; 1 x DC-in; 1 x Display; 1 x Audio Jack(s) (Mic in/Headphone out)
Card Reader – 4-in-1: SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC 100G
ASUS Webstorage for 1 Year free usage

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

SOUND ART | A decade of noise

The Children of Cathode Ray and autoceremony are featured in this seminal sound art album.

"July 22 2016, marks the 10th year anniversary of the landmark music anthology release that documented and showcased the plethora of experimental/sound art/unpopular music in the Philippines: S.A.B.A.W. An Anthology of Noise, Electronic, and Experimental Music" -- Tengal Nolasnem

S.A.B.A.W. Anthology of Noise, Electronic, and Experimental Music

This is the digital release of a two-CDR anthology launched at Future Prospects, Cubao X on 22 July 2006. It was broadcasted for the first time in its entirety by WSK.FM at Green Papaya Art Projects, Kamuning, QC on 11 November 2013.

1. Pow Martinez - 1-01 - Colored Noise 02:44
2. Conscript - 1-02 - I've seen god 04:24
3. Blums Borres - 1-03 - Cloth 05:13
4. The Children of Cathode Ray - 1-04 - Stations (part II) 12:11
5. Ascaris - 1-05 - Isolation 03:15
6. Teresa Barrozo - 1-06 - bigKAS 10:56
7. Nasal Police - 1-07 - Fan 08:03
8. Tengal - 1-08 - Piece of work in two parts 13:15

9. autoceremony - 2-01 - Sound Environment v0103 05:48
10. Insomnia - 2-02 - Barbarella 07:27
11. Foodshelter&Clothing - 2-03 - Xenocideremix 05:52
12. EAT TAE - 2-04 - Godhead 06:24
13. Elemento - 2-05 - Excerpt from Liquid Angel 09:34
14. Blend:er - 2-06 - Worm 02:20
15. Inconnu ictu - 2-07 - Aldus Janbrean 04:12
16. Arvie Bartolome - 2-08 - After Concussion 08:31

Original liner notes:

The S.A.B.A.W. Anthology was the result of existing material I had collected from experimental musicians and sound artists who had been working in the Philippine underground (read: under-appreciated and under-funded) scene for the last 20 years. The project, conceived with the intention of not just publishing but also promoting innovations and experiments in music, was born nine months ago when I was still hosting experimental music concerts at mag:net Cafe Katipunan, QC.

Just seven months ago, I began posting invitations in almost every mailing list I knew. The overwhelming response turned what should have been a one-disc album into a two-disc anthology. The artists here represent but a cross-section of a much larger body of musicians and artists. I wished that many more had contributed, but for some reason or another not all were able to participate.

This album is a first step, an attempt to fill a gap made real by the lack of critical appreciation and inaccessibility of sound art and experimental music for the past few decades.

This anthology is not a mere "labor of love," but an act of necessity.

Manila, July 2006

Released July 22, 2006

Tracks by:

1-01 Pow Martinez - Colored Noise
Pow Martinez: White, Pink, Brown/Red, Grey, Black, Blue, Purple noise

1-02 Conscript - I've seen god
Tom McWalter: Novation nova synthesizer, Alesis Bitrman effects box, Alesis 6fx mixer

1-03 Blums Borres - Cloth
Blums: Guitar, Effects

1-04 The Children of Cathode Ray - Stations (part II)
Tad Ermitaño: Laptop
Jing Garcia: Laptop

1-05 Ascaris - Isolation

1-06 Teresa Barrozo - bigKAS
Teresa Barrozo: Tascam tape machine, Soundforge 7, Pre-recorded instruments

1-07 Nasal Police - Fan
Pow Martinez: Laptop
Ria Muñoz: Electric Fan, Contact mics

1-08 Tengal - Piece of work in two parts
Tengal: Computer, Kulintang, Reverse Kulintang with electronics

2-01 autoceremony - Sound Environment v0103
Jing Garcia: Computer

2-02 Insomnia - Barbarella

2-03 Foodshelter&Clothing - Xenocideremix
James: Analog bass, Drum programming
Bong: Vocals, Synthesizers, Sound Bites
Ian: Turntables

2-04 EAT TAE - Godhead
Tengal: Composer, Collage, Drums
Anto Bautista: Electric Guitar
Pow Martinez: Guitar Effects
Ivan Garcia: Bass

2-05 Elemento - Excerpt from Liquid Angel
Lirio Salvador: ZPE, Sandata 1G, Sandata 3D, Sampler, Voice
Gilbert Sanchez: Drums, Bicycle Wheel, Found Objects
Kristopher Deuda: Baby Sandata 4
Raymond Patawaran: Paint and Brush

2-06 Blend:er - Worm
Cris Garcimo: Roland sh101, Reason 2.5

2-07 Inconnu ictu - Aldus Janbrean
Inconnu ictu: Tape hiss, Water drops, Basketball, Brass Chimes, Cowbell, Chica, Acoustic guitar, Yamaha DDS, Casio R2-1, Toy Keyboard, Multi-effects, Cassette tape loop

2-08 Arvie Bartolome - After Concussion
Arvie Bartolome: Macmini

Saturday, July 02, 2016

RETROTECH | Gone digital in '83

Sinclair ZX-81
I found a very interesting link a couple a weeks ago, shared by my good friend Tad Ermitano. Tad, who is an established multimedia artist and a pioneering member of sound art group Children of Cathode Ray, knew that I would be fascinated by it. And he wasn't wrong.

In a 2014 post by Robert Sorokanich at Gizmodo, he revealed in an article entitled "The 1983 Punk Rock Record With a Digital Music Video For a B-Side" a long lost recording that I myself didn't know even exist. #ThankYouInternet.

Apparently, a 1983 single by an English music artist named Chris Sievey's was released containing the digital noise created by a computer, a ZX-81.

One of the earliest home computers, the ZX-81 was manufactured by Sinclair Research based in Scotland (Yeah, we had one when I was a kid but my sister didn't like the thing because of the small keys and eventually swapped it with a Commodore VIC-20).

And it's not just ordinary digital noise that was produced but rather an entire computer program created from the ZX-81.

Digital sound, in this case a computer program, when recorded and played back in analog will make unbearable screeches -- similar to the sound of the computer modem when handshaking for an Internet connection, if you remember those times; distinguishable only by a computer, decoding the noise as bits of data.

Sorokanich said "(T)he B-side of Chris Sievey's 1983 single 'Camouflage' sounds like an unlistenable malestrom of noise. It's not an avant-garde song; it's a program for the ZX-81 computer, and if you could load it correctly, it gave you a (very rudimentary) computer-animated music video, coded in the grooves of a vinyl record."

Here's a video of that computer program from the single:

Sorokanich continued saying  in his post: "(T)his neat little tidbit is well known to fans of early 80s punk music, butUsVsTh3m brought it back to our attention recently and it's worth re-remembering. Chris Sievey, on top of being a founding member of The Freshies and the mind behind the charmingly offbeat character Frank Sidebottom, was a computer tinkerer drawn to the ZX-81. The hobby computer, weighing only 12 ounces, with zero moving parts and no display (you plugged it into your TV), bolstered its 1kB internal memory by storing data to cassette tapes at a blistering 250 baud."

Truly ahead of his time, Sievey definitely created something that would mark him a pioneer. The only thing though, the song itself is not 'punk' (music) as described by Sorokanich or the editor's at Gizmodo. The only punk there was the way it was packaged in 1983. Indie maybe. But definitely not punk music by 1983 standards. Power pop is more like it.

Nonetheless, Sievey's contribution in pop (tech) culture is marked by this adorable revelation.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

TECH NEWS | Rockin’ with Netflix

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Popular video streaming platform Netflix originally rolled out its global service in January this year but it was only last May that they officially announced their presence in the Philippines. Of course, for the more enterprising video streaming platform users out there, Netflix has been available in the country for quite some time now.

Nonetheless, the availability of Netflix locally is definitely a welcome treat, this despite the other video streaming options such iFlix and Hooq peddled directly by the telcos. Netflix, being a strong brand in the U.S., will definitely enjoy a great following among the locals, especially for its number of exclusive content with titles like DareDevil, Jessica Jones, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt among others.

However, people who haven’t experienced Netflix locally often ask: What about Internet speed? And people who have experienced Netflix would often answer: What about it?

Yes, notwithstanding the country’s perennial problem with Internet speed, the Philippines is still very much ready for Netflix. Here, let me try to convince you.

This writer has been using Netflix for over a month now; subscribed to the 3Mbps offered by a local telco; bandwidth chopped among other WiFi users at home. In my crude calculation, the 46-inch HD Sony Bravia smart TV used for Netflix streaming gets less than 1Mbps. And the experience? Simply incredible.

At first load, there will be some pixelations on the video. But that would last for just a few seconds. After that it’s smooth sailing all the way. Not once did this writer experienced any lag nor see that tedious buffering icon. Like stated earlier, this country is definitely ready for Netflix. No doubt.

“It’s what we call Adaptive Streaming,” said Jonathan Friedland, chief communications officer at Netflix, in an interview with local media at their Manila launch in May. “This means that the quality or the bitrate that comes into your device — mobile or otherwise — is measured in the milliseconds; you don’t see any buffering, so the pictures are constantly adjusting according to conditions around you.”

In other words: Netflix has its own technology to adapt to any Internet speed or bandwidth that you might have on any devices a Netflix subscriber may be using — fixed or mobile. And that said technology works. Yes, even with the often dismal Internet speed that we have. Netflix, you rock!

“We have this complexity based encoding,” said Friedland. “We can make data log lighter depending on the content, and with our own content delivery network called Open Connect designed for video, this reduces latency.”

However, those lucky enough to have high-speed Internet allow users to sign up for plans that include high-definition (HD) and Ultra-HD viewing. These are ideal for streaming on large screens.

Although, not all content is available on HD or Ultra-HD, but those that do will play in 720p or better with a fast enough Internet connection — at least 5 Mbps for HD and 25 Mbps for Ultra-HD.
So, that’s how they do it at Netflix.

Now, when in doubt about your Internet speed, just go to powered by Netflix to check if you got the speed to stream those videos.

At Los Gatos

Enjoying Netflix is not enough for this writer. And fortunately for me, together with other tech journalists from the Philippines, we got a chance to drop by Netflix’ Los Gatos headquarters in California, this after visiting other Silicon Valley tenants such a Facebook, Google and Apple.

At Netflix, we found out, that their engineers constantly test several gadgets at their laboratories to ensure quality of service on all range of devices capable of video streaming. These include televisions — from the smallest screen smart TV to the latest model available in the market — and not to mention smartphones, tablets, and even game consoles like the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox.

The tests, said Marlee Tart, corporate and technology communications manager at Netflix, are needed to ensure that the app will work on all the tested devices and the video content from Netflix will play without a hitch.

Hey, some of those TVs have an exclusive easy access Netflix button right on the remote. Neat!
Furthermore, to better enjoy Netflix on mobile devices, the video streaming company introduced Cellular Data Controls, a new tool that can help users greater control how much data is used when streaming on cellular networks. So, make sure to put this tool into good use, especially those with data cap.

Where to look for this data control on your mobile device?

On iOS and Android devices, cellular data usage can be adjusted in the App Settings from the menu. One can select a lower or higher data usage setting that would work best for the data plan.

So far, Netflix has delivered over 3 billion hours of videos in 190 countries to over 81 million subscribers. That’s really not bad.

It is suffice to say that the best time to stream video from Netflix is now.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

RETROTECH | Computer Chronicles - Episode One

This what I often do on the Web: watch old episode of The Computer Chronicles. I love the old tech. I love the history.

Below is the very first episode of the series entitled "Mainframes to Minis to Micros" (October 10, 1983)

A half-hour television series, The Computer Chronicles was broadcasted from 1983 to 2002 on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) public television in the U.S.; hosted by its creator, Stewart Cheifet.

Retrotech galore!

I'll be posting more episodes shared from

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Domain

Finally, my two domains: and Both URLs will redirect to this blogsite. A blog I've been manipulating since 2006.

Hopefully, on my 10th year of blogging, I'll be able to resurrect myself to post more of the same materials on sound, soundart and music. This time, however,  a bit of tech and other manifestations and enthusiasms I find amusing will be thrown in.

Sound Art. My love for experimental sound and music is still here. This, since I help establish one of the earliest sound art groups in the Philippines way back '89. Read our history; listen to our incantations in my early musings on this page. It wasn't called soundart when we started. Simply experimental music.

autoceremony. An alter ego in the sound art scene. A solo project.

DXing. Never really knew the term until the Internet. It's the art of listening to distant radio broadcasts. My affinity for shortwave and medium wave radio began in '77 with my first AM transistor radio. Later, I discovered SW and lurked on alien stations; giving me a glimpse of the world outside the Martial Law walls. Many radio streams ended up in my autoceremony recordings. Part of my soundart.

...steps on radio: dzme, dwdd, radyosingko. #TechSabado

Music. What are you listening to right now?

Toys. There are some things you just couldn't outgrow. I hoard 1:64 diecast cars and Japanese robots, calling it a collection. Was I deprived as a kid? No.

Books. Most of them I read on my Kindle; some reads I read over and over.

Electronics. The basics. I can tell a positive wire from black. I can identify a resistor, read their values. To melt lead, I handle a soldering iron.  I tinker. Fix things. I try.

Technology. The Internet, computers and gadgets? We are slaves of modern times.

Monday, June 01, 2015






Wednesday, November 05, 2014

'The only intuitive interface is the nipple' and 10 other things to know about WSK: Festival of the Recently Possible

 “What started as a joke became something bigger than what we expected,” Tengal Drilon, Festival director says of the 5-year-old WSK: Festival of the Recently Possible. Apart from “traffic becoming worse,” longtime followers will notice that, WSK has (finally!) dropped the “Fete dela” from its name. And from just being a one-time underground sound art festival, the fest has now grown to champion digital culture—expanded cinema, new media art, fringe activities on uses of technology. 

The festival proper happens on the weekend of Nov 7-9 but that’ll just be like a closing party; a week prior, on Nov 1, things will have started by way of radio. Here are 11 things about WSK:

It’s no longer called ‘Fete dela Wsk. ”It’s now “WSK: Festival of the Recently Possible.” “We dropped ‘Fete dela’ in the name as a reminder of our maturity. Five years ago, it started out as a pun on Fete dela Musique,” says Tengal.

The festival actually begins Nov 1. As in, you can start listening to WSK’s a pirate radio broadcast starting Nov 1. It’s 107.9 on FM dial. Also: participating artists will have begun their collaborations on Nov 1 at 1335 Mabini.

But the ‘opening party’ is on Nov 7. And it’s called The Drop x Fete dela WSK. This is because it’s in cooperation with Black Market and Nov 7 is a Friday and Friday nights at Black Market are dubbed “The Drop.”

There are four venues this year. 1335 Mabini (1335 Mabini St, Malate, Manila), where the radio broadcasts take place, as well as where the studio workshops happen. Black Market (Warehouse 5, La Fuerza Compound, Sabio St., Pasong Tamo, Makati), where the opening party is going to be at on Nov 7, Friday. The Tiu Theater (Mile Long Compound, Amorsolo cor Dela Rosa St, Makati), where Sat’s audio-visual concert and film screening is happening. And finally, at the Chino Roces Warehouse (2135 Chino Roces, Makati), where exhibitions and the closing concert are at.

Asian artists are taking the festival’s front and center. Unlike previous years where a shitload of Westerners participated, this year's headliners come from our region of the globe. Representing Japan are Daisuke Tanabe and Yosi Horkawa, from Indonesia are Lifepatch and Rick Janitra; Thailand is participating by way of Stylish Nonsense. “Since the beginning, we’ve always wanted to have more interaction with artists and communities’ working in the Asia-Pacific. No coincidence here, we really wanted this from the beginning. Thanks to institutions like Japan Foundation, they made it possible for us,” says Tengal.

Children of Cathode Ray reunion! This is the band’s first performance in 13 years, so Tengal and punks of the 80s underground are terribly excited about this. Background check: Children of Cathode Ray is a three-piece outfit in the 80s comprised of names you’ve surely come across: Tad Ermitano is a well-established media artist and filmmaker. Jing Garcia is a well-known rock journo who made the successful transition as a tech journalist, and “Magyar is an all around handy man. They were underground before we were underground,” exclaims Tengal.

WSK is for the artist as it is for the audience. Tengal would like to think of WSK as a “festival as a laboratory” experience. “A chosen methodology of the festival is that of shaping new interactions. There’s a more process-based approach: We fly in foreign artists to collaborate with local artists, and then we present the collaboration to the public during festival proper, be it as a concert, an installation, an exhibition, or a series of interactions in the open studio,” Tengal says.

Get in on the program. Because WSK champions the alternative, Tengal says there are always new people checking them out. “Maybe because what we do is so strange at first, people can’t determine if they would like it. But almost always, there’s at least one fellow who sticks to it [because] it changes his perspective on art, and then moves on,” he says.

But there’s still a long way to go. “In terms of the art market, so far, collectors and galleries [still] get confused and concerned about things that plug in! Ha ha!”

The after-party party: Pork, inasal, Chinatown, and traffic notes. Tengal is looking forward to getting his Japanese and North American guests to try lechon, sisig, street food, “and other evil things. But we will have some Muslim artists from Indonesia, too, so we will have to take them to Inasal places. And Chinatown! Regardless of their nationality, I think we are all united by the same things Filipinos are bound to: good food, booze, and hatred for traffic. It would be fun to compare traffic notes from those guys from Jakarta and Bangkok!”

The wisdom of the nipple. When asked what’s the best thing he’s learn in the five years he’s been at it, Tengal says: “The only intuitive interface is the nipple. Everything is learned after.”

By Lou Albano October 31, 2014 for Coconuts Manila

Saturday, September 13, 2014

autoceremony at Today X Future

Will perform at Today X Future. Will test new sound software for Children of Cathode Ray reunion.

Friday, August 08, 2014


MUSIKO IMBENTO invites all crafters, hobbyists, instrument builders, college students, teachers, performers and supporters of self-built musical instruments in the Philippines to attend the third MUSIKO IMBENTO event happening on August 9, 2014, 7:00 p.m. at Sev’s Café. 

MUSIKO IMBENTO is a one-of-a-kind event where you can DISCOVER, LEARN and PLAY self-built musical instruments from the Philippines. Be inspired to create your own instruments using re-purposed objects, scraps, electronic parts, old toys, and other odds and ends.

There will be a presentation of the different instruments, workshop, short film showing, raffle draw, meet-and-greet session with the instrument makers and live performances.

Feel free to bring your own self-built instruments for an open jam and drum circle. Poster design by Reese Lansangan Feel free to share, twit and repost.

Event Details/Program

MUSIKO IMBENTO Show and Tell/Live Performance/Open Jam Date and Time: August 9, 2014– Saturday, 7:00PM

Venue: Sev's Cafe Basement Level, Legaspi Tower Roxas Blvd. cor. P. Ocampo, Malate Across Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) 

Ticket: Php200 pesos P100 consumable at Sev's Café

FEATURING: Erick Calilan Jean Paul Zialcita Jing Garcia a.k.a. autoceremony Jon Romero Modulogeek Richard John Tuason Cris Garcimo


6:00 Registration

7:00 Circuit-Bending 101 Workshop By Erick Calilan 

8:50 Documentary/Short Film Showing Building the Shruthi-1 Analog/Digital Synth Time Lapse Video by Modulogeek Bleeps for Peeps: The Modulogeek Q&A Jeepnilamella: Custom Musical Instrument for Jeepney Orchestra by Cris Garcimo

9:00 Radio Elemento by Jon Romero Sound devices using deconstructed portable radios and electronic scraps 9:30 Ensemble by Richard John Tuason Featured on GMA’s SAKSI

10:00 Live performance by Jing Garcia a.k.a. autoceremony (Special Guest Performer) Sound artist; producing post-music soundscapes and sound design through analog and digital audio hardware and software synthesis manipulation; founding member of pioneer sound art group “Children of Cathode Ray”

10:30 Make and Play Your Own Percussion using Trash Cans and Water Containers (Sinawali and Aquadrums) By Jean Paul Zialcita, Percussion Performance Artist;Featured on AHA! GMA Channel 7 and recently on “Green Living”, ANC's lifestyle magazine show about sustainable urban living.

11:00 OPEN JAM/DRUM CIRCLE FOR CREATIVITY and PEACE Bring your own handmade/self-built musical instruments or any percussion instrument. *Subject to change without prior notice

Ticket: Php200 pesos P100 consumable at Sev's Café For more information, please email

Special thanks to Sev’s Café.

Poster Design by Reese Lansangan

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bali-ing at Dawn by autoceremony (2013)

'Listen to My Music': National Artist Jose Maceda's life and works at the Vargas Museum, from June 25 to July 26, 2013.

raymanray by Childen of Cathode Ray (early 90s)

A rare and original recording from Children of Cathode Ray, and with vocals at that!

Retitled to 'Raymanray' this experimental, quirky pop-ish tune was recorded sometime in the early 90s with Magyar Tuazon laying the lead voice. Primitive as it may seem, please excuse the quality of the recording since all the tracks were bounced several times on two-track stereo cassette tapes.

Except for the digital transfer to the computer, most of the original recording was retained to maintain its authentic analog reproduction.

Children of Cathode Ray was established in 1989 and regarded as one of the earliest experimental sound art groups in the Philippines. Its original members were: Tad ermitano on video, visuals, bass, synthesizers, electronics, efx, computers; Jing Garcia (a.k.a. autoceremony) on audio, synthesizers, electronics, efx, computers; Blums Borres on lead guitars, efx, graphics, computers; Peter Marquez on lighting effects, electronics, photos and visuals; Regiben Romana on percussions, efx; Magyar Tuazon on visual effects, bass, electronics

The Electric Sound of Electricity by autoceremony

Uploaded on Jul 17, 2011 my contribution to 'The World Listening Day' , July 18.

Electrostatic 09242008 by autoceremony

Uploaded on March 20, 2011. Jing Garcia a.k.a. autoceremony performing for the 'Electrostatic Sound Conference' on september 24, 2008 at Club Dredd, Eastwood City, Manila, Philippines.

Edit by Children Of Cathode Ray (1994) [autoceremony]

'Edit' by Children of Cathode Ray': from the 1995 'Numeric Sampler 502' CD

Renaissance by autoceremony

Uploaded on Aug 1, 2011 a rare live performance by autoceremony at the 'fete dela wsk!' in November 2010 at B-side, The Collective in Makati City. autoceremony (Jing Garcia) is a sound artist based in Manila, Philippines.

INC. by Children Of Cathode Ray (1995) [autoceremony]

'INC.' by Children of Cathode Ray: from the 'Numeric Smapler 502' CD.

I Am by Dominguez Shimata Colony (1996) [autoceremony]

I Am' by Dominguez-Shimata Colony: from the 1996 'Numeric Sampler 507' CD

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Limitations Of Remedies by Dominguez-Shimata Colony (1996 [autocermony]

'Limitations of Remedies' by Dominguez-Shimata Colony: from the 1996 'Numeric Sampler 504' CD.

Diagram by Children Of Cathode Ray (1995)

'Diagram' by Children of Cathode Ray: from the 1995 'Numeric Sampler 502' CD.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

U2 producer Brian Eno creates new iPad ‘Scape’

Celebrated music producer and experimental musician Brian Eno explains why his newest release 'Scape', which comes in the form of an iPad app, will change the way people make and listen to music. Reuters' Matt Cowan reports

Saturday, March 26, 2011

raymanray by children of cathode ray

A rare original recording from Children of Cathode Ray, and with vocals at that!

Retitled to 'Raymanray' this experimental, quirky pop-ish tune was recorded sometime in the early 90s with Magyar Tuazon laying the lead voice.

Primitive as it may seem, please excuse the quality of the recording since all the tracks were bounced several times on two-track stereo cassette tapes. Except for the digital transfer to the computer, most of the original recordings were retained to maintain its authentic analog reproduction.

Children of Cathode Ray was established in 1989 and regarded as one of the earliest experimental sound art groups in the Philippines. Its original members were:

Tad Ermitano on video, visuals, bass, synthesizers, electronics, efx, computers;
Jing Garcia (a.k.a. autoceremony) on audio, synthesizers, electronics, efx, computers;
Blums Borres on lead guitars, efx, graphics, computers;
Peter Marquez on lighting effects, electronics, photos and visuals;
Regiben Romana on percussions, efx;
Magyar Tuazon on visual effects, bass, electronics

Thursday, March 24, 2011

autoceremony: electrostatic 09242008

Jing Garcia a.k.a. autoceremony performing for the 'Electrostatic Sound Conference' on September 24, 2008 at Club Dredd, Eastwood City, Manila, Philippines.

Gear list: Korg miniKP; Korg Kaossilator, and AM radio.

the children of cathode ray: mantracks

A rare recording from Children of Cathode Ray, one of the earliest experimental sound art groups in the Philippines.

There was no documentation on this track but it was probably recorded between 1989 and 1990 at North Greenhills and/or Scout Area.

The recording was done bouncing 4-channel open reel and stereo cassette tapes several times, along with grounding exposed PL wires.

The last part of the track was what remain of the original tune that was recorded over on the stereo-channel master reel tape and accidentally retained it.

Children of Cathode Ray was established in 1989 with original members:
Tad Ermitano on video, visuals, bass, synthesizers, electronics, efx, computers;
Jing Garcia on audio, synthesizers, electronics, efx, computers;
Blums Borres on lead guitars, efx, graphics, computers;
Peter Marquez on lighting effects, electronics, photos and visuals;
Regiben Romana on percussions, efx;
Magyar Tuazon on visual effects, bass, electronics

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

jing garcia (aka. autoceremony) performing on the second night of 'fete dela WSK' at b-side, the collective. november 20, 2010.

fete dela WSK! is dedicated to contemporary electronic, digital and experimental sonic art, as well the diverse range of artistic activities in the context of digital culture in south east asia.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Ampatuan Massacre public service adverts by the November 23 Movement/NUJP

A montage of the gory massacre juxtaposed with press freedom issues, using a high Phantom High Speed Camera and the Red Camera. This short video jolts the audience into what the core issue is all about of the Ampatuan Massacre. Director: JIM LIBIRAN DOP: LUIS LIWANAG Script: TJ BESA Sound: JING GARCIA EP: ALWYN ALBURO PM: VERONICA UY Producer: N23M/NUJP Production: RSVP FILM PRODUCTION Post: RSVP FILM PRODUCTION Talents: 1.ED LINGAO 2.INDAY ESPINA-VARONA

The Ampatuan Massacre public service adverts by the November 23 Movement/NUJP

The families of the victims continue their quest for justice one year after the Ampatuan Massacre... Director: JIM LIBIRAN DOP: NAP JAMIR Script: VERONICA UY Sound: JING GARCIA EP: ALWYN ALBURO PM: VERONICA UY Producer: N23M/NUJP Production: RSVP FILM PRODUCTION Post: UNDERGROUND LOGIC

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sunday, November 07, 2010

fete de la wsk!


NOV 19-28, 2010

Fete dela WSK! is dedicated to contemporary electronic, digital and experimental sonic art, as well the diverse range of artistic activities in the context of digital culture in South East Asia.

WSK! -- three cryptic letters, which can only provide as much as the sum of the parts.

Organized by SABAW Media Art Kitchen – a not-for-profit organization whose primary interests lie in curatorial and research-based production towards the imminent intersections of art and technology.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fete dela WSK



But things have gotten decidedly more interesting. Weirder. (a blog by Erwin Romulo in 2006)

Whereas punks before needed only two or maybe three chords, the new breed were happy to discard these altogether. The independent release S.A.B.A.W. is an anthology of experimental, electronic and noise recorded by local artists, some formed as far back as the late 80s/early 90s. It features elder statesmen in the sound-art scene like the multi-media Children of  Cathode Ray (featuring tech-journalist Jing Garcia, media artist/guitarist Blums Borres and acclaimed filmmaker Tad Ermitaño among others), noise terrorists Elemento and Foodshelter&Clothing. to young upstarts like the abstract-rock outfit EAT TAE and modern classical composers like Teresa Barroza. If nothing else, the album is a document of recent times up to the present, making perfect sense amidst the Futurist cacophony that assaults anybody on EDSA during the late afternoon. The cover art itself by visual artist Poklong Anading aptly represents/depicts this savage, noisier era: against a backdrop f flypaper, everything that is thrown on the wall sticks—not just the flies.

Read Erwin Romulo's entire blog at:

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Profile of participating artists visit:

Sunday, July 19, 2009



JULY 21 to JULY 25







ASEUM is an international network of new media art practitioners initiated by SABAW Media Art Kitchen (Philippines) and Multimedia Center KIBLA (Slovenia) that aims to become a catalyst for a cultural, educational, and technological exchange on emerging new media art practices in South East Asia with Europe.

The symposium, initiated with the support of Asia-Europe Foundation, will consist of a series of workshops, presentations, performances, video screenings, open-studio sessions, round-table discussions, and policy meetings with cultural foundations by both participating organizations, in an effort to advance artistic positions reflecting on the socio-cultural impacts of new technologies and artistic practices that not only respond to scientific or technical developments, but also try to shape the way in which we think about and experience these technologies.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Field Trip

Media Arts Manila
Field Trip
"Field recordings and soundscapes of corporeal and imagined environments"
Green Papaya
February 25, 2009

Photos: Eddie Boy Escudero

Blums Borres

The space

Dark side of autoceremony

Crowding the space

Lighting the Green

Tad's right side

Korg's DS 10


A tad of light

sound tripping

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Media Arts Manila
in cooperation with Green Papaya Art Projects presents

field recordings and soundscapes of corporeal and imagined environments

February 25 (Wed) 9 p.m.
Green Papaya Art Projects
41 T.Gener St cor Kamuning Road (near Brahma Kumaris)

The M.A.M. tour bus stops over at the Green Papaya Art Projects and ushers us through an acoustic safari of feral atmospheric fauna. Featured artists present their original phonography, creating immersive environments through the manipulation and playback of captured ambient sounds. autoceremony, Blend:er, Christian Conception, Mark Laccay, Mannet Villariba serves us their own brand of improvised acoustic ecology. Improvised video by Edsel Abesames and Tad Ermitaño. This show is supported by Globe.

Edsel Abesames

is a video editor / motion graphics person / director / racketeer / guitarist / poser / anime fan /overweight 32 year old / discontent drunkard.

autoceremony a.k.a. Jing Garcia

sound artist and award winning music producer. He established the Children of Cathode Ray backed in 1989, one of the early experimental and sound art groups in the country. Produced several music albums for different alternative music artists in the 90s. He is currently the tech editor for The Manila Times and Speed Magazine. He also hosts a tech segment on the late evening news on TV5

BLEND:ER a.k.a. Cris Garcimo

is an electronic music creator and a noise enthusiast who lives in Cavite, Philippines. He started experimenting with audio acrobatics and technoid sonic landscapes in 1999. Being included in various album anthologies like Mood Swing Theater Volume 1 (2004) released by Kittenwhip Compilation and S.A.B.A.W. Anthology of Noise, Electronic, and Experimental Music (2004), Blend:er has often collaborated with E.X.I.S.T., SABAW and Electronica Manila artists.

Tad Ermitaño

is a media artist, writer and filmmaker. As far as the media art goes, he is interested in algorithmic/procedural editing and composition, new uses for the moving image and have been lately drifting into elementary robotics. His work "Quartet" was exhibited in the recently concluded International Symposium for Electronic Arts (ISEA) in Singapore.

Grnd Ctrl a.k.a Christian Martelino Concepcion

a manila based art director, experimental musician, DJ and event organizer. His breed of work roots from his propensity in the field of music and design. It is his passion for avant-garde films, art, fashion, experimental music and bizarre imagery that led him to create audible pieces as well as to do graphic design work. It wasn't until implementing his studies of traditional fine arts and his enthusiasm with avant-garde music that began his realization of his ideas, philosophies and visions by combining dissected sound textures with rhythm, to create soundscapes that pierce images inside our minds. His currently an active band member for the ambient/experimental/industrial band "The Slave Drum", busy with his own electro industrial act "Decay Transit" and does solo performances as "Grnd Ctrl". Uses both traditional and non-traditional sound sources with using samplers, synthesizers, transducers, effects and anything he can get his hands on. Has participated in several events from various production outfits and his group called "Circa1849".

Mark Laccay

is an award winning Audio Engineer who is the CEO of Sonic Logo Multimedia Inc. and a managing partner of Sweetspot Studios. He has worked as a Sound Designer for various films and is the main audio consultant for the "Dr. Jose Maceda Collection Digitization" Project. As an educator he taught audio classes at DLSU-CSB. He recently returned from the Austrian Academy of Sciences where he acquired a certificate of Audio Tape Restoration and Digital Audio Archiving.

Mannet Villariba

is a performance artist, painter, sound artist, visual programmer and designer. He has been active in diverse fields of art and design - including research and development. Yielding the outputs of sounds, images, and light through analyzing and transforming the numerical values gained from various sensors and input devices, he is a visual artist pursuing sensual peculiarity and interaction.