Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Ever since Microsoft rolled out the very first edition of their Windows operating system for personal computers in 1985, they have made provisions for having even the most rudimentary graphics editor as part of its package of applications. First they licensed the PC Paintbrush program from ZSoft Corporation. When Windows 3.0 came out in 1990, Microsoft took things in their own hands with Paintbrush which supported PCX and BMP image file formats. Come Windows 95 the application became MS Paint, remaining part of the Windows suite over succeeding versions until Windows 10 announced that future updates might relegate it to a Microsoft Store downloadable only.
At the latest however, The Verge has it that Microsoft may have abandoned plans to remove the venerable MS Paint graphic editor from the default app load-out for Windows 10. This action was hinted at since 2017, when the Creators’ Update for that year introduced Paint 3D. The new application carried over certain 2D graphic editing features from MS Paint but placed more emphasis on the 3D designing function. Microsoft then announced that no further development will be done on MS Paint, and will move it to the Microsoft Store as an optional free download.
But when Microsoft began promoting the upcoming Windows 10 Update 1903 scheduled this coming May, they revealed that again, the patch that would make MS Paint a Store downloadable was not part of the update package. Microsoft Windows senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc candidly remarked when asked, “Yes, MSPaint will be included in 1903. It’ll remain included in Windows 10 for now.” The previous Win-10 updates had flagged Paint with a “Product alert” button on the user interface denoting its impending move to the Store. From what has been revealed about Update 1903, the Product alert warning has been removed.
No reason has been given for Microsoft keeping MS Paint as part of its default app lineup alongside Paint 3D, its intended replacement. Thus far, the 2D Paint app has been considered “deprecated”: by Microsoft; that is, nobody is developing further versions of the program. Its last major overhaul had been in the Microsoft 8 OS, and even then it was a mere bug fix compared to the introduction of “artistic” brush tools in the Windows 7 edition. Microsoft had already done its marketing push to encourage graphic creators to use Paint 3D and Windows 10 more, but have made no reports on its effectiveness.
If MS Paint will remain on Windows 10, the path forward could alternatively be the deprecation of Paint 3D instead. Or Microsoft will deign to keep both graphic design apps on their operating system, specializing each for 2D and 3D. The story is not over.
Image courtesy of PureInfoTech


Mother Nature can turn from benevolent to destructive so quickly. On the afternoon of Monday, Luzon was rocked by an earthquake that measured 6.1 in magnitude. The brunt of the tremors was felt in the Central Luzon region, with an epicenter in Zambales and a greater portion of damage in Pampanga. No less than fifty aftershocks arrived following the main quake. But the country’s seismic troubles did not end there. The following Tuesday, another earthquake struck to the south. This time it was recorded in Eastern Visayas, and the magnitude of 6.5 was even stronger than the one in Luzon.
CNN Philippines reports that the Philippines received a double whammy of earthquakes in two of its major geographical divisions on April 22 and 23. The Monday quake in Luzon had its epicenter located at Castillejos, Zambales by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). Initially registered at magnitude 5.7, it was upgraded to 6.1 as the extent of damage was calculated. And indeed, the province of Pampanga saw significant devastation following the tremors despite not being the epicenter. PHIVOLCS on Tuesday attributes this to most of the area sitting on soft sediment that is easily disturbed by seismic activities.
“The actual location of the epicenter is in the mountains in between the provinces of Pampanga and Zambales,” explains PHIVOLCS head Renato Solidum Jr. “Unfortunately, there are several towns in both provinces that are underlain by soft sediment.” Case in point, a four-story shopping center in Porac, Pampanga was collapsed by the quake last Monday. The soft sediments are mostly the result of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption, which blanketed the area with lahar that was later rebuilt over by the various communities it covered. In Zambales, Subic and Olongapo were similarly affected, this time because of either closeness to the sea or being floodplain.
Sixteen people have been reported killed in the Monday quake. In addition, Clark International Airport was temporarily closed to all flights until Wednesday, to allow investigation of possible dangerous damage to its runways and facilities.
Complicating matters on taking stock after the Luzon quake is a follow-up tremor on April 23, this time in the Visayas. The epicenter this time was San Julian in Eastern Samar, with the 6.5 earthquake happening 1:37 PM. In the intricacies of seismology mechanics, Director Solidum notes that despite the higher magnitude the Visayas quake yesterday was not classified as “major.” Roadways and bridges showed damage following the shaking, and parts of Eastern Samar had lost power. PHIVOLCS also assured the public that this quake and the Luzon tremor were not related to one another.
As part of emergency procedures, institutes such as schools and public places like malls in Samar were evacuated during the tremors. Social media was also flooded with images of earthquake damages to landmarks like the Catbalogan City Hall and a San Julian Church, the crucifix of which had fallen down.
Images from ABS-CBN News, Inquirer

“GoT” LAST SEASON, EPISODE 2 Shows Calm Before Undead STORM

Seeing as it only has one more than a handful of episodes for its final, conclusive season, we can afford to reserve the start of the week for musing on the new Sunday’s chapter of “Game of Thrones” on HBO. Battle lines are soon to be drawn as the world-ending army of White Walkers and undead wights, led by the Night King, are soon to meet their first determined resistance south of the broken Wall. That battle does not actually happen in season 8 episode 2, titled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” But what does transpire solidifies fan reception to the characters at Winterfell before they risk dying soon.
Indeed, the climax of the previous episode and final season premiere for “Game of Thrones” saw some of the last of those who chose to fight for Westeros arriving in Winterfell on the North. Among them is Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who arrives in time to meet the boy he tried to kill in the series premiere (Bran Stark – Isaac Hempstead Wright). He is then seized an put on trial by Queen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) for having killed her grandfather in Robert’s Rebellion years ago, only for his companion Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) to speak on his behalf, thus sparing him.
From there, the narrative moves to the resigned defense of Winterfell by its occupants. Jaime had revealed that no help was coming since his sister wants them to be slaughtered by the White Walkers first. Daenerys blames this lack of oversight on her Hand, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) who tried to forge an alliance of convenience between her and Cersei (Lena Headey) on the Iron Throne, only to be taken in by another falsehood. The consequence of the treachery is magnified when Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) arrives with his party to announce the fall of House Umber, meaning the Walkers might arrive in the middle of evening.
In signature “Game of Thrones” style, this fragile alliance seems on the verge of collapsing even in the face of common annihilation. A major factor is Dany’s now-pathological obsession over the Iron Throne and her rule over the Seven Kingdoms. Because of this she fails to instill further trust in Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) by remaining mum on the fate of the North, should they win. And when she finally learns the truth about Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in one of the episode’s climaxes, she looks about ready to kin-slay.
Another climax of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” happens when many of the principal warriors gather to muse on their chances of survival. It is brought up that Brienne, for all her prowess and armored look, is not actually a knight. Jaime lays the matter to rest by knighting her, fulfilling Brienne’s impossible dream. (And cementing their relationship perhaps?) One more point of interest has Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) badgering Gendry (Joe Dempsie) to make her a new weapon, and then sleeping with him later so as not to die in battle a virgin.
This part can be off-putting especially for those who have followed “Game of Thrones” since the beginning in 2011. Maisie was a kid then; so was Arya. But in the eight years the show aired (and the 1-2 years of hardship and assassin training her character endured in-universe) both have grown up. If any longtime viewers felt icky, that is understandable. Williams is 22 now.
Meanwhile, Bran has proposed a strategy in the coming battle. As he was cursed by the Night King in past seasons so as to always know where he is, he plans to bait his location in the forest outside Winterfell. Presenting himself to help guard Bran is the returning Theon Grejoy (Alfie Allen) who pledges to fight for his second home. The arrival of the White Walkers outside finally spurs the defenders into action, and delays what drastic reaction Danerys might have had over Jon Snow, that is, Aegon Targaryen.
With the personal-focus story threads out of the way, Episode 3 next Sunday will provide the epic battle as well as the heartstring torture as some of these characters run the chance of being killed off. The character interactions done here have done their job in making audiences care for them anew, and hurt when they start dropping like flies. “Game of Thrones” season 8 airs Sundays only on HBO.
Image courtesy of YouTube (screenshot)

Philippine Moviegoers React to “AVENGERS: ENDGAME” Premiering with CHINESE SUBTITLES in SELECTED CINEMAS this Week

Throughout the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, he has tried to steer the country away from traditional allies and trading partners such as the United States and instead gravitate to closer, powerful neighbors like China. While the practice might have led to eyebrow-raising downplays by the government of Chinese encroachment within Philippine territorial waters and the employment sector, it had also led to a larger tourism of Chinese nationals in the country. And it is to these visitors’ benefit that certain malls in Metro Manila and surrounding areas are making extra accommodations should they want to watch “Avengers: Endgame.”
CNN Philippines reports that some Metro Manila malls are planning to screen the upcoming superhero blockbuster from Disney and Marvel Studios with Chinese subtitles. This is of course for the benefit of the record numbers of tourists from the People’s Republic of China. One of the mall cinema chains to announce their Chinese-subtitle screening for the premiere of “Avengers: Endgame” is Megaworld Lifestyle Malls. They have announced that Chinese-subtitling will be on their cinemas for Newport, Lucky Chinatown, Southwood and Eastwood Malls as well as the McKinley Hill Venice Cineplex. The screening period will be from April 24 to 28.
Unfortunately this news was not greeted positively anywhere. On the official Facebook page of Southwood Mall, their post on the “Avengers: Endgame” Chinese-subtitle screenings was met with comments from moviegoers who have already bought their tickets but have decided to get a refund. Their prevailing mood is that watching subtitles ruins the experience. This is doubly so for Chinese, seeing as they are prevalent on many pirated DVD and home media for movies. Southwood replied that the subtitling was only for selected screenings of “Endgame,” with the rest untouched. Furthermore, they have already announced it well before tickets were even ready for preorder by customers.
Ever since the year 2016, the Bureau of Immigration has recorded more than three million Chinese visiting the Philippines as tourists. This rising trend was especially high in the period between 2017 and 2019. As Chinese President Xi Jinping is noted to be personally friendly to President Duterte, this has been translated by their citizens as tacit approval to visit the Philippines. Xi had much the same effect when visiting the Maldives years ago. Some government agencies are concerned however, especially the Department of Labor, which is seeing even more Chinese workers in the country.
“Avengers: Endgame” premieres on April 24.
Image courtesy of BGR


Changi Airport was recently ranked the best airport in the world by the SkytraxWorld Airport Awards from the UK. This is the seventh time in the world that Singapore’s main international air travel hub has been accorded this distinction by that award-giving body. And as a good example to all that would be called the best of all the rest in many different fields, Changi Airport keeps its top rank by always bettering itself. This can be encapsulated in its newest Terminal 4, as well as the special connecting hub for Terminals 1 to 3 that had been under construction these past four years.
As CNN tells it, the Jewel Changi Airport complex finally opened its doors this Wednesday, April 17. Starting that day, travellers passing through the world’s 7-time best airport according to Skytrax can finally see with their own eyes what was originally only concept imagery. With a budget of SG$1.7 billion (or US$1.27 billion), Changi Airport created a spectacular commercial complex with five stories above ground and another five subterranean. The surface structure is notable for being shaped like a glass and steel donut. The center of this is a multi-tiered garden venue with the Jewel’s crowning feature: an artificial waterfall.
This is the HSBC Rain Vortex, a circular cascade that exits through the Jewel’s central oculus, falling down an impressive 40 meters to the pool below, while generating air moisture that is good for the plants around it. Such is the sound of the falling water that it can be heard even beyond the garden zone, well into the various commercial shopping and dining areas that is the other main draw of the Jewel complex. Already the Rain Vortex is being touted to be the world’s tallest artificial indoor waterfall.
Probably the best thing about the Changi Jewel is that it is openly accessible to everyone dropping in at the airport. As it is not a terminal visitors are allowed everywhere in there that guests are permitted to go. There are accommodation options too in the form of the YOTELAIR Singapore Changi Airport hotel, offering early check-ins, baggage storage and 130 rooms for travellers waiting for flights. Most of the complex is covered by free sign-up Wi-Fi and power bank loans. It is also testing the Changi Lounge passenger transfer service between the airport and cruise ships, a great convenience. The Jewel cinema has 11 movie theaters too, all IMAX.
Being an inter-terminal hub, guests inside the Jewel can see the Skytrain connecting the first three terminals passing overhead, inside the complex. The newer Terminal 4 must contend with a bus shuttle service for now.
With the Changi Jewel up and running, the airport’s future plans can now shift to a proposed Terminal 5 (with a floor area combining Terminals 1-4), as well as a five-year expansion for Terminal 2. Terminal 5 will not be finished until the year 2030.
Image from The Straits Times


Back in 2014, ABS-CBN premiered a weekend primetime sitcom that served as a reunion vehicle of sorts for the John Lloyd Cruz and Toni Gonzaga love team. “Home Sweetie Home” chronicled the ups and downs of a twice-married couple living with the wife’s (Gonzaga) family, with the former ladies-man hubby Romeo (Cruz) trying his best to impress his ever-critical mother-in-law of his worth. This dynamic ended with Romeo being written out following John Lloyd’s indefinite leave from showbiz in late 2017. Since then, the show has carried on with Piolo Pascual replacing Cruz as the male lead, playing Romeo’s cousin. But that might soon change.
 ABS-CBN News reports that “Home Sweetie Home” could see another reshuffling of stars with the prospect of John Lloyd Cruz returning to the cast after his long sabbatical from showbiz projects. Such timing is also perfect in a way due to his replacement lead on the sitcom, Piolo Pascual, considering a departure from the show as well. This reformatting of “Home Sweetie Home” was made known by actress Miles Ocampo this Tuesday, April 16. Ocampo is also a cast member of the sitcom where she plays the younger sister of Toni Gonzaga’s main character Julie.
Ocampo has also worked with John Lloyd not just on “Home Sweetie Home” but on several films as well, and has maintained contact with the actor while he was indefinitely away from acting. When asked during her interview with ABS-CBN on whether Piolo’s planned departure could signal a time for Cruz to return, Ocampo notes that she never talks about showbiz whenever she keeps in touch with him. “We check up on one another. It’s okay. He’s happy,” she said.
While the issue of John Lloyd Cruz reprising as Romeo on “Home Sweetie Home” has not been resolved, Miles Ocampo did share that as part of the reformatting after Piolo Pascual’s planned departure, new characters will be added to the show, with new members joining the large regular cast. “Our show’s getting reformatted,” says Ocampo. “There are new additions to our family. I’m just thankful that our show is continuing on even after everything happening.
Outside of “Home Sweetie Home,” Ocampo is also cast in the horror film “Maledicto,” which is the first movie to be produced locally by the Philippine offices of Fox Networks Group. “Home Sweetie Home” airs primetime Saturday evenings on ABS-CBN.
Image courtesy of Twitter

First Impressions of SAMSUNG GALAXY FOLD Before April 26 Release

Later this month, something that seemed impossible for mobile devices (but now proven possible by South Korean electronics giant Samsung) will be released in the market for curious consumers. This is the Samsung Galaxy Fold, a smartphone that can open up in one side to become a decent-sized tablet, with a larger interior LED display that actually folds in half. Samsung introduced the Galaxy Fold in late February, although no demonstration units were passed around beyond the stage presentation. This time, several tech news sources have had the opportunity to check out the Fold before distribution. How does it stack?
A smaller Chinese smartphone manufacturer managed to rush out its own folding phone-tablet hybrid before Samsung even named the Galaxy Fold. That was a clunky novelty gadget that had several hardware and software hiccups. Samsung’s phone however looks like it is made of sterner stuff according to The Verge. About the one shortcoming that can be quickly mentioned about the Fold is that in its default smartphone mode it is very small. The LED phone screen is but 4.6 inches long, with the folding tablet display a more spacious 7.3 inches. In a way, the Fold is more a tablet that turns into a smartphone, not the other way around.
Tech Crunch adds that the folding mechanism of this unique Samsung Galaxy phone is undoubtedly sturdy. The design has been drop-tested both in phone and tablet mode, while the folding system itself was machine-tested for more than its service lifetime: 200,000 folding motions. Its internals also make provisions for the phone-to-tablet conversion, with two batteries on each half combined for a power of 4380mAh. There’s a snap-lock system for when fully closing or fully opening the Fold. Even when folded there’s a small gap between the two halves on the hinge, but it is negligible.
The rest of its components are routine for Samsung. Fortune lists a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB RAM and 512GB storage. It has three rear cameras with wide-angle, ultra-wide and telephoto modes, from 12 to 16 megapixels. The phone mode has one high-quality selfie cam while the tablet mode has two. It runs Android 9.9, but as a pioneering design it has display quibbles, among several issues, that might mess with Google Play Store apps that are not optimized for a folding display. Communications-wise, it can handle two carrier networks.
Samsung is releasing its Galaxy Fold on April 26. If you want to grab a true pioneer mobile device design, you will need to pay an arm and a leg for the Fold. It costs $1,980 and will probably even be a limited-release gadget, so it will be pounced on by collectors around the world.
Image courtesy of Android Central

NOTRE DAME DE PARIS BURNS; Famous Cathedral “Spared the Worst”

Built as early as the year 1160 the medieval gothic cathedral in Paris known throughout the world as Notre Dame is one of the most famous landmarks in France and an easily-recalled example of an internationally famous church. Its popularity is helped by the 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” by French author Victor Hugo. Younger generations may perhaps recall the 1997 Disney animated film instead. But for all the reverence for Notre Dame de Paris and the tourists it draws in, maintenance on the old structure was largely neglected except for a recent ongoing renovation. Unfortunately, disaster struck.
CNN reports that the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris caught fire on the early evening of Monday, April 15 (local time). The flames started from the building’s old roof, consuming most of it and the iconic wooden spire which was added during the middle 19th Century. Tourists and attendees of the mass that should have been held at the time were among the first to notice the telltale smoke on the roof. As the fire worsened, emergency responders began an evacuation of the Ile de la Cite, the small natural island in the River Seine where Notre Dame stands.
While Parisians and tourists watched from the banks of the Seine in horror, no less than 400 firefighters were deployed to the island to prevent the blaze from razing Notre Dame to the ground. Efforts to contain and extinguish the flames ran around nine hours. In this, the building’s design itself proved a useful ally. While the cathedral’s roof had a lot of wooden combustible parts, it was built over a ceiling vault made of stonework. This slowed the fire down, preventing it from reaching the main church interior below. Nevertheless, much of the furnishings that remained there were lost.
By the time the crisis was ended, the majority of the damage was confined to the roof and upper levels, with the façade and bell towers spared from structural weakening. It is currently theorized that the fire started from whatever construction materials were left upstairs for the renovation of Notre Dame. Fortunately, said renovation also necessitated the removal of several priceless artifacts from the cathedral before the calamity took place. The Parisian Fire Brigade announced that one of their firemen was injured in the scramble to save Notre Dame. Citizens of Paris were disheartened due to the damaged symbolism of Notre Dame for their city.
French President Emmanuel Macron issued a statement before midnight, pledging to spearhead a donation drive in France and the international community to fund a restoration of Notre Dame. “I’m telling you all tonight — we will rebuild this cathedral together,’ declared Macron. “This is probably part of the French destiny.
Image courtesy of USA Today

Monday, April 15, 2019


Way back in the early weeks of January, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a legislation that could potentially add a significant change to the working landscape in the Philippines. This was the Telecommuting Law, better known as the “Work from Home” law. This is the first law in the country that would legally cover arrangements allowing certain company employees to do their work from home if possible, via internet and telecommunications connectivity. While signed already by the president. The Telecommuting Law still needs a body of implementing rules and regulations stating its scope, processes and limitations. Those rules and regulations have come at last.
GMA News Online reports that over three months following the signing of a national Work from Home bill into law, it has finally gotten its implementing rules and regulations. The IRR was released by the overseeing department of the new Telecommuting Law (Republic Act 11165), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). This Monday, April 15, the rules and regulations were duly signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III. Following this, the IRR for RA 11165 will officially take effect upon its addition to the information on the official DOLE website, as well as publishing in a general circulation newspaper.
The official implementing rules and regulations for Telecommuting would give employers the power to offer a “work at home” option for employees, but only if they would volunteer or if presented to the company management via collective bargaining. Mutual consent of the employer and employee/s are needed. Bello adds that any telecommuting work agreement must not be considered as less than minimum standards according to labor laws. That means the home-working employee’s job is equal to his office-working co-employees, in terms of minimum working hours, overtime, rest days, fringe benefits, social welfare and tenure security.
Here are the arrangements to be enjoyed by all telecommuting employees in accordance to the implementing rules and regulations of the Work from Home law:
  1. Employees receive a rate of pay, including overtime and night shift differential, and other similar monetary benefits not lower than those provided in applicable laws, and collective bargaining agreements.
  2. Employees have a right to rest periods, regular holidays, and special non-working days.
  3. Employees must have equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises.
  4. Employees must have same access to training and career development opportunities as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises, and be subject to the same appraisal policies covering these workers.
  5. Employees should receive appropriate training on the technical (telecommunications and internet) equipment at their disposal, and the characteristics and conditions of working from home.
  6. Employees shall have the same collective rights as the workers at the employer’s premises (office employees), and shall not be barred from communicating with workers’ representatives.
Image courtesy of OneMedia PH


In 1996, writer George R.R. Martin brought out the first book in a projected series in medieval fantasy: “A Game of Thrones,” part of “A Song of Ice and Fire.” It and the books that came after found a strong following, which gained greater momentum when HBO adapted the books as “Game of Thrones,” with the first season being aired in 2011. There has been seven seasons of that show since, compared to only five books by Martin with two yet to be published. Followers of the TV version will not have to wait long for the end, with the final season airing this Sunday.
While fans of the original books continue to wonder how the dynastic crisis and impending icy apocalypse will play out in “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring,” certain plot elements from these still-unpublished volumes have been provided by George R.R. Martin to “Game of Thrones” show-runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. These will come to light in the eighth and concluding season of the show, which will comprise only six episodes but will each run over an hour. The season premiere this April 14, “Winterfell,” confirms this by lasting 68 minutes total.
Variety notes such a running time is vital to quickly establish the current situation of the characters so close to impending doom. The ice-man White Walkers and their army of undead wights have breached the Wall and are marching upon Westeros. In the North, the absent King Jon Snow (Kit Harington) has returned to Winterfell castle with good and bad news. He has brought reinforcements for his people in the form of Queen Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) army and dragons, but has given up his kingship and taken her as lover.
Of course there would be trouble. Some of the Northern houses that acclaimed Jon as King in seasons past are disillusioned with his capitulation. Jon’s own surviving relatives in Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie) Stark do not necessarily trust the Targaryen Queen. What is worse, Jon’s friend Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) is upset at him allying with the executioner of his father and brother, despite their former abuse towards him. Sam has complicated things by blurting out Jon’s true parentage as a true son of Daenerys’ late brother Prince Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark rather than the bastard of his “father” Eddard Stark; thus a nephew to his “girlfriend” and more worthy heir to the Iron Throne than she is.
Elsewhere, the situation is just as grim. Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) cares nothing for the White Walker invasion, confident that she can withstand them with her new ally the monstrous Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), who is also her new paramour. Thus she has no need for her now-“imperfect” brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), plotting to murder him and her other brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) kept his promise to rescue his sister Yara (Gemma Whelan) from Euron’s captivity, only to return to Winterfell when he was done.
And finally, the survivors from the collapse of the Wall discover a chilling message from the leader of the White Walkers, the Night King, for all of the living in the world. Winter has come.
The battle lines are being drawn. Alliances are being finalized with the choice of standing together or coming apart. Secrets are revealed at last as the paths of either ruling Westeros until the end or possibly dying to avert that end come close to fulfillment. The rest of the final season of “Game of Thrones” will air Sundays this April and May, only on HBO.
Image courtesy of CBS News

Friday, April 12, 2019

VIVO V15 PRO with POPUP CAMERA Selling Now in RP

With the integration of cameras to smartphones all those years ago, the age of the selfie was born. The ability to take pictures of oneself anytime and anywhere was just too good to pass up. It even influenced smartphone design with the introduction of front-facing cameras (to circumvent the awkwardness of posing for the initial rear-end cams). Some phone manufacturers have even dabbled on new stuff that their built-in cameras can do. Chinese smartphone-maker Vivo is now showcasing their new take on selfies with their latest V15 Pro. Launched in the Philippines last March 30, it is now on sale.
ABS-CBN News reports that the Vivo V15 Pro smartphone became available in the country on April 12, and phone-users (particularly selfie-bugs) are looking forward to trying out its standout camera feature. This was Vivo’s solution to the current smartphone dilemma of locating front-facing cameras when an edge-to-edge display is in the way. In the past manufacturers had to resort to either top notches or even pinhole cutouts to accommodate the front lenses, something that screen junkies find aesthetically lacking. To this Vivo employed a blatantly hi-tech looking solution. The selfie camera is on a frame tucked into the top edge of the V15 Pro. When needed, it slides up from the edge, and into position.
Vivo Philippines brand director Zeng Kai notes that the company is looking to the Filipinos, with their love of selfies, to try out the V15 Pro with its presumably effective camera placement. “We are confident that the V15 Pro can cater to different preferences of the market,” he says, “especially since we considered the fact that Filipinos love to take selfies and are attracted to mobile games and videos.” The pop-up seflie camera lens is at 32-megapixel resolution, and its mechanism thus leaves the edge-to-edge display a perfect round-corner rectangle, with a 91.64% screen-to-body ratio.
While the pop-up selfie cam is awesome enough, Vivo has not neglected the rear camera either. It boasts a main sensor good for 48-megapixels, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens and a depth sensor capable of 5-megapixels. All are managed by a phone AI, and its ability to combine 4 pixels into one makes it a handy camera even in dark environments with low ambient light. Camera-fiend Filipinos with lots of money to spare can have the Vivo V15 Pro for P23,999. About the only major brand whose latest release has a gimmick-equipped camera is the Samsung A80, with a top-located camera that rotates on its fixture to face front or back.
Image courtesy of NDTV Gadgets

USA Network’s “PEARSON”: Latest Trailer Sees GINA TORRES Try to Stay Clean in Dirty Chicago

Since its premiere on the USA Network back in 2011, the legal drama “Suits” has been well-received and nominated several times for awards. The driving story of a lawyer and his associate (who is a hyper-competent college dropout that never even attended law school) made for great courtroom dynamics as their story spanned eight seasons (with a concluding ninth season on the way). The international popularity of “Suits” even led to its having licensed adaptations in both Japan and South Korea. While the show prepares to conclude its narrative, a spinoff featuring one of the main characters is due to premiere this year, with a teaser ramping up the anticipation.
A new teaser for “Pearson,” the new spinoff series from “Suits,” has been released by the USA Network, as ComingSoon.net tells it. The promo drops a few more hints on the current circumstances of play-safe but tough and pragmatic lawyer Jessica Pearson, played on the long-running series by actress Gina Torres from season 1 up to 7. Initially a co-founder of the legal firm that the main characters of “Suits” worked for (and later become partners of), come season 7 Pearson has started establishing herself in Chicago (after officially leaving the firm in season 6).
“Pearson” was first announced by the USA Network in January of this year, before even the final-season announcement of “Suits.” But the plan was already in place since the production of season 7 to spin off Torres’ Jessica Pearson to a story of her own. This was realized in the “Suits” finale for season 7, “Goodbye” where Pearson was seen in Chicago. With the help of Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) she finds herself working as a legal counsel for the Mayor. An earlier trailer sees the Mayor introducing Pearson as part of his office, setting up her struggle to rise in the major city’s ranks.
Video Player
In the newest teaser, it illustrates just how much work has been cut out for Gina Torres’ character. The tagline for her series is shown: “It’s hard to stay clean in a dirty town.” Chicago political shenanigans threaten to ensnare Pearson’s every waking hour. While she has long resorted to unethical means to win her cases she has always presented herself as no risk-taker. But to survive, she might need to take control over the Mayor of Chicago himself, and steer a path through trouble.
“Pearson” also stars Bethany Joy Lenz, Morgan Spector, Eli Goree, Isabel Arraiza and Chantel Riley. The series premieres sometime this summer on the USA Network.
Image courtesy of Chicago Tribune