Features

18 biggest hits and misses of 2018

More misses than hits once again

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We don’t want to do it, but we have to. Twelve long months have passed and we need to look at both the best and worst of the year.

What you’re about to read are the biggest hits and misses in the tech, gaming, and lifestyle world for 2018. Let these be the basis of what’s to come in 2019 and beyond.

Miss: Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

This was a terrible way to start 2018. The exploits presented by Meltdown and Spectre shifted the security landscape for months to come — decades, in fact, if you count the damage they dealt.

Hit: Nokia reboots another classic: The 8810 4G

First we got the 3310 in 2017; this year, it was the 8810 — now with 4G! The banana phone we all know and love came back in a stylish yellow option, and it made us hungry for more throwbacks.

Miss: Huawei is spying on you, says US government

This was the start of several obstacles for Huawei in its pursuit of global product distribution in 2018. The investigations are still going on, and several countries have followed suit. This will likely continue to show up in headlines for the entirety of 2019.

Hit: India is now world’s second-largest mobile phone producer

Tech brands have been seeing the potential in India for both production and buying power, thus becoming the second-biggest phone manufacturer cements their place in the techie world order.

Miss: Uber sells their Southeast Asia business to Grab

What’s worse than a duopoly? A monopoly, sadly. Grab took over the ride-sharing space in Southeast Asia, resulting in no alternative for commuters who want options on their smartphones.

Hit: Thanos of Avengers: Infinity War comes to Fortnite

When you put together 2018’s most popular movie and video game in one package, you get absolute chaos that everyone can enjoy! It was madness that resonates to this day.

Miss: ZTE faces ban from using Qualcomm, Android on their phones

ZTE was another Chinese company that experienced misfortune in the US. President Donald Trump later came to their rescue, but the damage was already done to ZTE’s image.

Hit: The Roots, Jimmy Fallon, and Ariana Grande perform her new single with Nintendo Labo

Now this was a collab that we thoroughly loved! Ariana Grande’s hit song played with Nintendo’s cardboard Labo was a match made in heaven. LSS, anyone?

Miss: Microsoft recalls Windows October update due to deleting issues

Losing files is never cool, especially when it happens without you knowing because of a major bug. Windows 10’s October update was a major headache for everyone, and took what felt like forever to resolve after even more mess-ups.

Hit: WHO officially recognizes gaming addiction as a mental health disorder

While mental health disorders suck, recognizing one as a legit problem is a definite hit. WHO reminded everyone in 2018 that video game addiction is real, and it can cause more harm than good.

Miss: Google is shutting down Google Plus after data leaks

The oft-forgotten social network got dealt its final blow after it was revealed that user data was leaked and Google+ was subsequently destined for closure. This is a Google-made product, mind you, making this breach even more worrisome.

Hit: Huawei takes Apple’s crown as second-largest smartphone brand

No one saw this coming a few years ago — except Huawei, of course! While Apple still enjoys record-breaking sales, the Chinese giant could at least savor the fact that all its hard work has been paying off.

Miss: Stan Lee passes away at 95

The most significant pop culture icon to pass away in 2018 was Stan Lee. It’s gonna be hella sad to no longer see his cameo appearances in upcoming superhero flicks. 😭

Hit: Apple is now worth $1,000,000,000,000

Those are a lot of zeros! With Tim Cook at the helm, Apple has been experiencing its most fruitful results since the company started. Watch them fight for that next trillion.

Miss: Tumblr will start banning porn this month

Tumblr has turned from being a haven for porn into a hub for… things that aren’t porn. While sexy creators scramble for another platform to share on, Tumblr struggles to form a newer, cleaner identity.

Hit: Esports added to the official sports for the 2019 SEA Games

What a victory for the competitive gaming community in Southeast Asia! Esports is finally getting the recognition it deserves, placing its PC, mobile, and console warriors alongside traditional athletes in 2019’s major event.

Miss: China bans Apple from selling iPhones

While the western world gives Huawei and ZTE problems, Apple is facing a serious ban in China. Although it only affects older iPhone models, the hit in sales could impact future sales in the world’s biggest consumer market.

Miss: Samsung will re-evaluate fake Supreme partnership after criticism

This made hypebeasts around the world go whaaaat. The partnership initially seemed too good to be true, and that’s because it was. After all the backlash, Samsung has been asking the cool kids in their departments how to fix this.

Computers

This 34” LG UltraWide monitor disrupted my workflow

In the best way possible

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I’ve been working on a laptop almost exclusively for the better part of the last decade. It’s been so long that I had forgotten the benefits of working with a bigger screen — a benefit that was shoved into my face when I used the LG UltraWide 34” Curved monitor. 

Easy setup 

Putting it together was relatively easy. I didn’t need any special tools or anything of the sort. Everything just fit into place seamlessly.

Here are all the ports on its back. That’s two (2) HDMI ports, one (1) Display port, two (2) USB downstream ports, one (1) USB upstream port, and one (1) headphone out port.

It also comes with a cable organizer that you kind of clamp to the stand so your setup can look clean.

Once everything is plugged, you only need to use this button at the bottom center of the display to make any changes in the settings or switch between inputs should that be necessary.

My regular workflow

At any given day I can be doing anything from writing an article, a script, coordinating with the team and external partners, copy-editing articles, and video editing among others.

This means I toggle between screens A LOT. Other than that, my posture while working is mostly crouched down since I’m looking at the laptop screen.

However, that all changed when the fire nation attacked. No, I mean, it was definitely shaken up when I started using the LG UltraWide 34” Curved Monitor.

I didn’t really have a proper setup with it owing to the tiny space I live in but in the brief week that I used it, I started craving a better work from home setup.

How the LG UltraWide monitor disrupted my workflow

The first thing I noticed was how I was now looking up instead of looking down. It might not be that big a deal for younger people, but when you reach a certain age, even the smallest improvements to your posture can make a huge difference.

The extra space is invaluable. At one glance I can look at Slack and Tweetdeck. This means I can quickly look up if there’s anything new that needs to be edited while also monitoring any potential news that we should run on the website.

Bonus: I can also have a floating tab with a playlist of my favorite girls TWICE cheering me up as I slog through another work day.

This works in other instances too. I can pull up a press release for reference on one side of the screen and have Google Docs on another. This means I no longer have to quickly press Alt+Tab every time I need to double check details.

Just the overall convenience of seeing more at a glance is already a major upgrade to the workflow I’ve grown accustomed to.

Video editing

I no longer video edit as much as I used to due to changing roles and all. But here, the benefit of having a larger, wider monitor is even more pronounced.

Having a wide workspace means I didn’t have to hide certain tools while editing. They’re just there, easily and immediately accessible when I need them. It was honestly tough going back to the smaller screen especially for this task.

Taking less steps to complete your everyday tasks is a godsend. Every small thing adds up to a faster, smoother, and generally better working experience.

Should you upgrade to the LG Ultrawide 34” Monitor?

There are plenty of things to consider. For people like myself who have mostly worked on laptops, we’re pretty set in our ways. Plus there are a few other peripherals I might need to get so it’s not an easy yes or no decision.

You also need to consider your workspace. As I mentioned, I live in a rather tiny place with very little space to accommodate a fully desktop setup.

But this is me. If you’re still working on a more traditional 16×9 monitor, I guarantee the difference, while jarring at first, can be truly beneficial in the long run.

The LG Ultrawide 34” Curved Monitor retails for PhP 45,999 (around US$ 937). If you’re ready to splurge to up your productivity, this isn’t a bad place to start.

LG has other monitors you can check out. The UltraWide line of monitors start at PhP 12,699 for the 25”, PhP 14,799 for the 29”, PhP 29,499 for the 34”, and PhP 45,999 for the curved 34” version.

LG’s UltraGear gaming monitor line on the other hand starts at PhP 12,599 for the 24”, PhP 22,199 for the 27”, and PhP 23,999 for the 32”.

SEE ALSO: LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor review: Enough to get you started

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Entertainment

The cost of the post-pandemic movie

Why you should care about Mulan’s terrible premiere

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The fate of the Hollywood blockbuster rests on a fingertip. A formerly grandiose affair with celebrities dressing up to the nines, the red-carpet premiere is now an impossibility thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. On the other side, streaming services blossomed with new titles and exclusives. It was (and is) a great era for the home theater. But the home theater will not last forever. Hollywood is now facing a crisis for the future of the premiere.

If the past year is any indication, Hollywood will, of course, not go down without a fight. Large networks and production houses have released their own streaming platforms to monopolize their content, putting additional weight on a consumer’s budget. Take Disney’s Disney+ or NBC’s Peacock, for instance. Now, a few of these (like Disney and Netflix) make their own blockbuster content as well. We’ve seen Netflix’s streaming-only premieres already. How about Disney’s (or anyone else’s) Hollywood premieres, which often rely on astounding box office numbers?

This week, we got a taste of such a strange premiere scheme. In an earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek detailed the future of a delayed movie, Mulan. Initially premiering in theaters back in March, Mulan was repeatedly delayed because of the continued shutdown of movie theaters. Now, as the company is itching to finally launch it, Chapek announced a hybrid release for the film. Partly premiering in theater in safe countries, the film will also launch simultaneously on Disney+ for unsafe markets.

Now, here’s the catch: the film will cost US$ 29.99 for Disney+ users. Even if you have a subscription already, you have to fork over approximately PhP 1,474 to watch the new film. Of course, the hair trigger response is, “c’mon, Disney; stop haggling money from your customers.” And the response is right. However, there is so much more to this. Mulan can set the stage for an unprecedented era for Hollywood premieres.

Let’s get down to business

In New York, an average movie ticket costs around US$ 15 (approximately PhP 736). Mulan’s price tag is twice as much as a theater ticket. It’s even weightier in cheaper states and, most especially, in the Philippines (where movie tickets are only around US$ 5). Further, you’ll still need an active Disney+ account to access the film, costing an additional US$ 6.99.

(Naturally, it’s impossible to accurately translate the prices to an Asian market since Disney+ has not launched in all of Southeast Asia yet. We can only assume that Mulan’s streaming price is 200 percent of normal ticket prices, whatever it might be.)

Objectively, Mulan’s price is worse than a regular movie ticket. It’s easy to conclude the argument with this statement and head home. However, there is a way to justify the price.

The whole family plus your cow

Now, a single movie ticket typically admits one person. Buying Mulan pays for the streaming privilege which can typically include an entire family. With a 15-dollar average, two people watching the same Mulan purchase is already a break-even point. In the same vein, a family of four obtains double the value of the 30-dollar film price. Even better, a family can watch the film over and over again. And, as any parent who has a Frozen-loving child can tell you, unlimited playbacks is a blessing for your wallet (albeit a curse on your sanity).

Unfortunately, despite the mathematical mind-bending, Mulan’s price is still far from ideal. The movie-going experience is not the same on a streaming platform as in a cinema.

An assumption of equality

A cinema ticket is price of equality. Besides a few slight differences, everyone is paying for the same product. All other things considered equal, a 20-year old college student is paying and enjoying the same experience as a 50-year old CEO. Same film, same seat cushions, same facilities, same projector.

On the other hand, a streaming subscription cannot assume the same thing. A platform cannot control where and with what device a user will watch the movie from. A 20-year old college student watching the film on a laptop screen in a poorly lit dorm room is not enjoying the same experience as a 50-year old CEO watching the same thing in their high-end home theater with Dolby Atmos.

Likewise, the platform cannot assume how many people will watch the film in one purchase. Now, Mulan is a family film. Disney can easily assume that multi-person families will buy and watch the film. However, how will the audiences take the same price tag for a more polarized movie like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet or the next James Bond film?

All of Hollywood knows you’re here

In the same announcement, Chapek hints that Mulan’s price is just a “one-off.” Basically, other films might not follow the same pricing scheme. In a way, it makes sense. Mulan was made with a pre-coronavirus budget. It was expected to make millions from box office tickets. This might be the only way for Mulan to recoup its many losses. In the future, Disney might make films with lesser budgets and lesser expectations.

However, make no mistake; other filmmakers are intently watching Mulan’s performance on streaming. If Mulan succeeds, they can likely charge the same amount without incurring a lot of losses. That said, streaming premiere prices will likely vary from film to film. Even then, this isn’t the last discussion on the future of the film industry.

If the industry hopes to adapt to the new normal, it needs to rethink its strategy even further. Disney is offering only one solution for the problem of streaming. Unfortunately, the brand’s solution leverages a family-oriented release, one that might not appeal to the average moviegoer today.

A price worth fighting for

My suggestion: Implement a tiered premiere price. Not everyone will want to pay the full 30 dollars for a film they’re not wholly interested in. Most will watch it once and forget about it. Some won’t even care about watching it in HD.

Why not implement a pricing scheme based on those different preferences? For example, charge US$ 5 for a standard-definition, one-time playback premiere; US$ 10 for an HD, one-time playback premiere; US$ 20 for a standard-definition, unlimited playback premiere; and US$ 30 for an HD, unlimited playback premiere. In one swoop, a film can appeal to all streaming markets and needs.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Unboxing, Hands-on & Camera Test!

Elegance and sophistication in an ULTRA-big device

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Just recently, we had a quick video introduction of Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 20 series. Now, we finally have a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra on our hands!

Be sure to subscribe and hit that notification button to stay notified on our upcoming review video on August 18th.

For now, you can enjoy our unboxing, hands-on, and a quick camera test using the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra by clicking here.

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