Canon March 2013 Announcements – EOS T5i, EOS SL1

So a couple days ago Canon official announced their new additions to their entry level DSLR line. First off, the EOS T5i which is their annual refresh of the Rebel T#i series. The specifications didn’t blow anyone away. Glancing at snapsort.com you can see they released almost the exact same camera as the T4i, link. As far as I can tell the only big difference are some new creative modes. Full specs.

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The more exciting part of the T5i announcement was the new EF-S 18-55mm STM kit lens. While the T4i could be bundled with the EF-S 18-135mm STM kit lens the 18-55mm option is more affordable for a standard zoom lens with STM. Remember, STM is the new step motor system that allows auto-focus during video capture. While, I haven’t seen STM used particularly well in practice this is a welcome feature.

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The big surprise of the Canon announcement is the new EOS SL1. Canon has been trying to add more to their compact line-up with the release of the 40mm pancake lens and the EOS M last year. The EOS packs a punch for its size and weight. Judging from the specifications you’ll be wondering what exactly you’re missing by going up to the T5i. Canon is tactfully marketing to a casual market and I could see this working out pretty well for them. The EOS M has been a bit a of failure but its the first of their mirror-less design so it could still have some success going forward. The SL1 on the other hand looks like it takes everything they’ve been building on in their Rebel series and just packages into a camera body that you may actually want to carry around. Full specs.

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All the new Starcraft II Heart of the Swarm Portraits

These are portrait sprite sheets found on the official Starcraft 2 forum. The first sheet looks like it includes some older portraits from their official arcade games and special edition gifts. As you go down you will notice the HOTS portraits that are rendered a little differently. Valerian being the first. These are the portraits gathered from the campaign.

Heart of the Swarm New Portraits sheet 1

This second sheet are the portraits received from leveling each race. The last three were unlockable during beta.

Heart of the Swarm New Portraits sheet 2

Surface with Windows 8 Pro Coming February 9th 2013

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I think many people will agree it was a poor decision for Microsoft to release the Surface RT months ahead of the Surface Pro. The average person doesn’t know the different between the RT and the Pro and have since then already come up with their own opinions of what the Surface is.

The surface was supposed to change the game by making us more productive on our tablets. I still believe it can. From a productivity stand point the Pro allows you to replace your laptop or netbook with a tablet that can be used with a keyboard cover and mouse. The Surface RT can’t run all of your favorite programs on your laptop so it could never truly be a laptop replacement. The Surface opens up the door to the entire PC program library so it isn’t limited to the minuscule Microsoft App Store. In this way the Surface Pro does have a huge advantage against the currently available tablets.

However, Microsoft’s prior misstep has already been made and they will have a steep road ahead to unseat Apple or even Android tablets. The Pro has advantages with its operating system but how will it’s hardware perform running programs meant for more powerful machines? How will it’s durability stand against the other tablets? Will it’s cost be worth it’s benefits? The answers remain to be seen.

Microsoft’s little tablet has promise because of it’s innovation over the current tablet market but it won’t be long before the competition begins to catch on. I’m sure Apple is working on their own next generation iOS that will be able to run Mac OS software and Google won’t be far behind.

Gaming Headphones Review

This is a review of gaming headphones I’ve owned over the years. I started acquiring them around the time Starcraft 2 was released. By no means do you need a pair of headphones to play Starcraft 2, but like many online video games having a headset to communicate with your teammates increases the fun factor.

Logitech G330

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When I bought the G330s I was looking for a fairly cheap solution that would fill my needs while providing comfort and style. I didn’t know very much about gaming brands at the time and I had always bought Logitech products like mice and keyboards. After some research I decided on the G330s. I’ve liked the behind the neck style for a while and appreciated the fact that it can be connected via USB or 3.5mm inputs.

To my surprise the audio quality is anything but cheap. The small speakers provide an unexpected level of lows. The mic picks up my speech clearly and I’ve never had a problem with it. The behind the neck style is comfortable for short to medium stretches but you’ll want to flex your ears every hour or so or you’ll feel the strain. This isn’t so much of a design flaw as it is something you can get used to. Overall I’ve been very satisfied with the G330s and still use them on my secondary machine. I’ve even recommended them to a friend and he is quite happy with them as well.

Logitech G930

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When I started looking for a higher end solution I still wanted to go with the tried and true Logitech brand. This time I was looking for a noise canceling design and perhaps wireless capabilities. The G930s are not cheap but they have gone on sale a few times.

The sound quality of these are great and they feature 7.1 surround sound for those of you who play shooters. The programmable buttons are frills that I don’t really use but the volume scroll is very convenient. I also like that the mic automatically switches to mute when you fold it up. My only issue with the mic is that it can pick up some interference, that I’m assuming is because it is wireless.

They are very comfortable yet a little too heavy because of the battery and on-ear controls. They would definitely fit better on someone with a wider skull. My head is rather slim so because of the weight they can slide off on the tightest setting if I bend over or lean back.

The battery life has been very good to me. I don’t charge them every time I use them and they’ve only died on me during a game once. The USB charging cable is connected to a convenient spool that can help with cable management.

Overall they are a good set of headphones with minor issues with the mic and the fit if you have a small head.

Steel Series Siberia V2

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After realizing my issues with the G930s I finally knew what I really wanted. A pair of circumaural(around the ear) headphones that are comfortable with little to no frills. After doing a lot of research on actual gaming brands I chose the Siberia V2. The self suspending design was the selling point for me. This allows them to have a snug fit while absorbing some of the weight.

They are truly a very comfortable pair of headphones with great sound depth. You can honestly wear these for hours. The retractable mic seems a little flimsy but I haven’t had any problems with it. They also come with a cable extension which most gamers will feel is convenient, however I wish they would have come with a USB adapter as well.

Overall, these are the best headphones I have owned even though I haven’t honestly tried that many. This review is more about finding out what you want in a pair of headphones and the journey I took to finding out what personally mattered to me in the end.

A Fresh Start

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I’m finally in a comfortable spot to start blogging again. I decided to start off by scrapping my old template that I’ve just modified over and over again for years. Instead I’m just gonna have a clean slate. I’m not a designer and I’m gonna stop pretending.

Pokemon X and Y Announced


I may actually play another Pokemon game. After years of the same thing over and over, they are finally mixing things up for the 3DS release.

I will admit I was intrigued by Pokemon Conquest though.

Zagg PROplus Keyboard for iPad

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Prior to receiving the Zagg ProPlus Keyboard I was very interested in the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard. I did some research and I discovered Zagg was releasing a keyboard with a similar design with the added benefit of a backlit keyboard. This made my choice easy since I already own a pair of backlit desktop keyboards for no apparent reason.

Fast forward to X-mas 2012. “Ask and you shall receive.” Now that I have the keyboard in my hands and I’ve been playing with it for a few weeks, I have to say it is exactly what I needed. Taking notes at work has never been easier.

Using it as a stand is much sturdier than my Apple Smart Cover. As a case it magnetically adheres to the front of the iPad,however you’ll still want an iPad sleeve for real protection. You won’t want to scratch the aluminum finish of this keyboard.

Zagg seemed to intentionally copy the design of the Macbook keyboard as the keys have a similar weight and feel. The backlight works as advertised and provides 3 levels of brightness and 7 colors to choose from.

So far the battery life has been outstanding considering the power usage from the bluetooth connectivity and backlit keyboard. I haven’t had to charge it since my first full charge.

One of my complaints so far have been that the backlight settings aren’t saved when you switch the keyboard off. My other complaint is that out of the box a couple of the keys were a little sticky. When the keys bottom out they brush up against a foam like material which seems to cause friction on the way back up. I had to clean the edges of those keys with a razor. For the price its not really acceptable.

Overall I’m happy with the product and would recommend it to anyone who owns a 3rd or the 4th generation iPad. In fact I wrote this blog post with the keyboard and I’m loving it.

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection: My hands are confused.

Just a day into trying out the new graphics of Metal Gear Solid retreads and my hands are already confused. I guess you’re not supposed to play all three games at the same time but I think they should have spent a little time standardizing the controls for each game. I guess I’m a stickler for this kind of thing but intuitive gameplay is not something that should be overlooked.

One of the reasons I enjoyed Metal Gear Solid 4 so much is simply because the controls finally made sense with an Aim and Shoot trigger. Some claim this control scheme was influenced by the westernization of this sacred Japanese series but I think it helped the game without hurting it. Playing MGS HD Collection with the perfected control scheme would have made this HD experience much less confusing and overall more enjoyable.

Other than that, getting to play Peace Walker without a handheld is great!

The New iPad

So far this new toy has been great. The ease of surfing on your iPhone with a size that won’t strain your eyes. The first thing that jumps out at you when you see the new iPad is the clarity of the screen. The retina display is nothing but impressive. Even though I have an iPhone 4 with a retina display the fact that they accomplished the same quality in a large format is magnificent and a joy to use. This is my first tablet so it’s hard for me to draw any comparative conclusions. One thing I will say is that it does get tiring to hold while lying down.

State of the Blog 2012

Posts are less frequent because work has been keeping me away. I’ve been wanting to post about certain things and actually writing drafts that I never published and won’t publish because old news is old.

Most Anticipated in 2012:

  • Mass Effect 3
  • X-COM Enemy Unknown
  • Starcraft 2 Heart of the Swarm Pushed back to 2013
  • Diablo III
  • The New iPad
  • iPhone 5
  • Miami Dolphins acquiring Peyton Manning
  • L.A. Clippers playoff run
  • New photos with Canon 60D and 60mm Macro
  • Vacation because I missed my last one
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