“You need to come back, New York is different in the summer,” a friend urged one absurdly cold day back in May. “It has a different energy to it; it’s more alive,” another friend noted with excitement about the magical effects of the impending warm weather on the city.
Living in a tropical country my whole life and enduring constant humidity year per year, I never really understood the hype. What could be so special about spending yet another summer in another city, I thought. On the contrary, it’s lower temperatures that always excited me. The thought of layering with soft wool sweaters and thick coats, and wearing thigh-high boots on vacation was ideal. It was something I never get to do on the daily, so I longed for it — until I was forced to live out of a suitcase from winter to spring, that is.
Having gone through the chore of exactly that — wearing wool sweaters, thick coats, and boots just to get eggs at the nearest bodega or go for a coffee run next door — made me appreciate being able to wear just about anything I want in the summer including the potential sweating that goes along with it. After months of freezing weather, summer just feels so liberating that you’ll appreciate the heat even if it means smeared eyeliners and a face so oily you could fry two eggs on it.
That je ne sais quoi of summer in the city is not something anyone can describe with mere words or capture on Instagram without losing its essence. This article certainly doesn’t, but here are some vignettes I caught on film, complete with audio recordings, using the Instax Mini LiPlay, one Sunday morning stroll along Upper East Side.
One large cold brew to go
Like any other day, I start with a nice cup of cold brew. Cafes like Bluestone Lane usually gets packed for brunch. It’s especially nice when the sun is out that friends and families eat al fresco. Listen to the audio recording here.
Hotdogs and city performers
Hotdog stands can be found at every corner of the city. This one is outside the Guggenheim Museum, which tourists flock and buskers frequent. Listen to the audio recording here.
Honking yellow cabs
The sound of the train arriving or cabs honking is normally unbearable, but in New York it’s part of what makes the city full of character. Listen to the audio recording here.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
This spot in Central Park is beautiful whether you’re there to see snow falling or flowers blooming; hear trees rustling or dried leaves crackling. Listen to the audio recording here.
Pick a spot at Central Park
Central Park is so big of an oasis that you can have your quiet little spot for reading and alone time, or watch kids and dogs play if you wanted to. Listen to the audio recording here.
Sun’s out, bikes out
Whether it’s for cardio, getting from one place to another, or just for leisure, everyone seems to be on their bikes during summer. Other locals take advantage of this and sell ice cold water for $2 in the middle of the park for anyone who needs to cool down. Listen to the audio recording here.
Grab something quick and cheap
For those who might want a quick bite after a long walk or bike ride, there are food trucks everywhere. Tacos? Check. Gyros? Check. Ice cream? Check. Listen to the audio recording here.
It can get too crowded for my taste, but The Met is quickly becoming my favorite place in the city. It’s where I can run to for shelter when it’s below freezing outside, or when temperatures get higher, walk around the vicinity for no reason or people watch on the steps. I can get trapped here for days and not feel like I’m wasting my time. Listen to the audio recording here.
Witnessing New York City transform from a dark, cold abyss in the winter, to a city with blossoming tress in spring, to the vibrant concrete jungle that it truly is in the summer, is special. If you live in this city, or travel here a lot, it’s something you will learn to cherish once you see and hear it for yourself.
Google Bard hands-on: Not much to worry about
Still has some work to do
Recently, Google made its upcoming AI chatbot available for testing. Bard, as it’s called, previewed Google’s progress in competing against other language learning models such as GPT-3.5. However, the company is keeping the ongoing test exclusive to Google One subscribers. Recently, we got access to the bot and tried it for ourselves. Here’s what we found:
Much like other chatbots, Bard allows users to input a prompt to get a response. No matter how detailed your prompt might be, the system will take only a few seconds to put out an answer.
Now, what can you ask Bard to do? Its uses range from writing copy to creative writing to just playing around. We tried asking for a simple sponsorship letter, the health benefits of ketchup, fan fiction, and a sonnet.
Compared to other chatbots, Bard does vary in quality. While simple tasks like sponsorship letters are decent and presentable, pieces that supposedly deal with facts are problematic. For example, when asked about the health benefits of ketchup, Bard claimed that the word “ketchup” came from the Malay word “ketchupas.” That word does not exist.
It also struggled with simple creative forms. When asked to write a haiku, Bard wrote a piece that failed to meet the 5-7-5 syllabic requirement for a haiku.
It does perform notably better when asked to mimic the style of shows and personalities. When asked to praise GadgetMatch in the style of Shaggy, we thought it was succinct enough to work.
Sometimes, it just flounders like a high schooler trying to rush through an essay’s requirements in the most lopsided way possible. Check out this ketchup-themed essay in the style of a 1970’s workout video. Props on getting the start right, but you can clearly see the point where the AI drops all pretense of a workout instructor and just narrates its ketchup spiel as quickly as possible. And then, of course, it forgets all about ketchup and goes back to being a workout instructor.
It also struggles with some abstract concepts. Despite knowing that we might be metaphysical beings with no bodies, Bard still suggested some workouts for our ethereal buns.
Sometimes, it admits its shortcomings, though. Sorry, Adam Sandler.
Also, Bard has no idea what to make of modern-day lingo. (If you’re like Bard, here’s a translation: “There’s a stinkbug on my hotdog. How do I get it off?”)
Bard has a long way to go. While it is already workable for simple writing tasks, it has some catching up to do if it wants to compete with GPT-3.5 and beyond. On the plus side, we don’t think human writers have to worry about chatbots just yet.
motorola rizr Hands-On
Hello Moto! from my rollable
If you’re an oldie (but goldie) gadget nerd, you would probably remember the stylish slider Motorola RIZR Z3 from 2006.
Fast forward this 2023, we might actually hear “Hello Moto” in this new form factor.
Originally unveiled at Lenovo Tech World ’22, motorola’s rollable concept made its way through the eyes of many at MWC 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.
Are you excited to see the future of smartphones with rollables?
Here’s our brief hands-on with motorola’s rollable concept A.K.A the moto rizr.
HONOR Magic5 Pro Hands-On
A closer look at the hardware
The HONOR Magic5 Pro opened to much fanfare at MWC 2023 in Barcelona, Spain and for good reason. This is HONOR’s first major release in front of a massive audience and is a follow up to the really solid Magic4 Pro smartphone. The Magic5 Pro doubles down on what made its predecessor great, and after a few days of Hands-On, we’re fans of its potential.
Box inclusions are par for the course: You get the Magic5 Pro, a jelly case, the usual documentation, a UBC-Cable, and the 66W SuperCharge adapter.
Unboxing the Power of Magic #HONORMagic5Pro #MWC2023 pic.twitter.com/rc5kTVSyRP
— GadgetMatch (@gadgetmatch) March 1, 2023
Specs and button placements
Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Here’s what the Magic5 Pro is like on paper:
- Processor — Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
- OS — MagicOS 7.1 based on Android 13
- Graphics — Adreno 740 GPU
- Memory — 12GB DDR5X
- Storage — 512GB UFS4.0
- Display — 6.81-inch LTPO quad-curved floating screen, 2848 x 1312, 120Hz, 100% DCI-P3, 1800 nits peak brightness, HDR10+, TÜV Rheinland certified Low Blue Light
- Audio — Stereo system with dual speakers, DTS:X Ultra
- Security — Dual-TEE security system, NFC support, 3D face recognition, AI Privacy Call 2.0, fingerprint sensor
- Connectivity — USB Type-C, dual-SIM slots
- Wireless — Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery — 5,100mAh, 66W wired and 50W wireless SuperCharge
There’s no denying, that’s a 2023 flagship right there. But we’re gonna hold off on any real testing. HONOR told us that the unit we have still needs to receive a software update to fully have the device optimized. So, wait we shall.
Button placements are your usual affair.
At the bottom you’ll find: SIM Tray, USB-C port, speaker grilles.
On the right hand side are the volume rockers with the power button right below it.
Up front, you’ll see the pill-shaped cut-out on the left housing the 12MP (f/2.4) front camera and 3D depth camera.
Design and hand feel
The unit we got is the Classic Black one. The finish is glossy, it’s pretty slippery, and will definitely be home to fingerprints and smudges. Definitely use the included jelly case or buy one if you end up with this unit.
The Cyan variant has more of a frosted matte finish, but it isn’t that much better in the being-slippery department.
Despite measuring a massive 6.81 inches, the device is pretty easy to hold because the display and the back panel curves to the side. It’s also not significantly heavier than most other flagships in this form. The Galaxy S23 Ultra, in 2023 at least, still holds that heavyweight title.
Overall, it’s pretty comfortable to hold and use either with one hand or two hands. Recommendation is to use/buy a case. Our hope that the device becomes popular enough that many case-makers consider creating really good ones for it.
50MP Triple Camera
Prominently featured at the back is the camera module. It houses the crowning glory of the Magic5 Pro – its trifecta of 50MP cameras.
It’s an interesting look. The camera module protrudes but how the back panel goes up, curves, and blends with the camera module is reminiscent of the OPPO Find X3 Pro. But the camera placement is dead center instead of flushed to the left.
100X is also clearly visible in the middle of the camera module, showcasing its digital zoom capability. Here’s what those three cameras are packing:
- 50MP wide camera (f/1.6, 1/1.12-inch sensor)
- 50MP ultra-wide camera (f/2.0, 122 degrees field of view)
- 50MP Sony IMX858 telephoto camera (f/3.0, 3.5x optical zoom, 100x digital zoom)
HONOR is also bucking the trend of smartphone companies partnering with known camera brands (i.e. Xiaomi x Leica, OPPO/OnePlus x Hasselblad). HONOR Global CEO George Zhao spoke about this at a media interview during MWC 2023 in Barcelona.
HONOR Flip coming? @Honorglobal CEO George Zhao says it may come but can’t disclose when. #HONORMWC2023 #MWC2023 pic.twitter.com/fJCS1gjXD1
— rodneil (@rodneilquiteles) February 28, 2023
And it looks like, for now, they’re doing more than okay without any such partnership. DXOMARK has them at first place in camera rankings as of this writing.
The HONOR Magic5 Pro is with an all-new image engine called Millisecond Falcon Capture. It gives users the luxury to capture even the most complex scenes with remarkable clarity and ease.
Along with this algorithm are shooting modes like Super Night Capture and AI Motion Sensing Capture. For video shooters, the phone is capable of recording up to 4K videos at 60fps.
As mentioned earlier, the unit we have is still awaiting the official retail version of the software. Thus, we were advised to not extensively test the camera. But we couldn’t resist taking a few snaps while in Barcelona.
Here are a few sample photos, which already look pretty good, despite the software not being final yet.
Plenty of potential
If its predecessor is any indication, we’re pretty excited to fully test the HONOR Magic5 Pro. It’s undeniably a 2023 flagship on paper and is looking like a phone that can contend against the best of the best.
Its cameras, in particular, will be one to watch out for. HONOR packed some major features here that we can’t wait to try.
Price and availability details in Europe are here. Such details in other markets should be available soon.
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