Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Making the Case for: Dario Saric winning ROY

As the regular season is starting to wind down and the voting for the various awards get started, one of the yearly awards is drawing a debate unlike any other. While the MVP race is still wide open and will go down the wire, the Rookie of the Year is almost settled in most pundit's minds, and with good reason: Joel Embiid has been head and shoulders above the rest of the rookies this year. However, with the Sixers ruling him out for the rest of the year, and having played in only 31 games, I feel that it should disqualify him from being rookie of the year, due to the limited minutes and games that he played during the year.

In his stead I submit a case for his teammate, Dario Saric to be this year's Rookie of the year. Why do I think he should win the award over his more celebrated teammate? Well, let me present my case.

1.) He has played enough games

While seemingly inane, I find it necessary for an award winner to have played enough games during the season to be eligible for an award. As Tracy Mcgrady said in NBA's The Jump with Rachel Nichols, a player can play a limited number of games, average 30 [or more] points per game, but that would not necessarily make him the scoring champion. I have the same logic in mind. All the other awards look at a player's level of production over the span of a season.

As of this writing, Dario Saric has played in all of the 76ers games. That has to count for something. It shouldn't be the only reason he wins [and it isn't], but it has to account for something.

2.) He's past the rookie wall

While the "Rookie Wall" is an arguable point, it is a phenomena that has clearly been seen time and again with rookies trying to adjust to much shorter seasons to the grind of the NBA game, from back to backs, to 4 games in 5 nights, and just from a 30-40 game season to an 82 game run.

Dario Saric has gone through that period, played through it and has progressively gotten better stats. The same could not be said of Embiid, who not only played in limited games, but also in very controlled minutes during that time span.

3.) Much better stats the past two months

Ever since the calendar turned February, Dario Saric has produced comparable averages to Embiid's sparkling stats.

February: 17.0 ppg 7.9 rpg 2.8 apg 1.0 spg
March: 19.6 ppg 7.3 rpg 4.0 apg 0.9 spg

While this was also helped by an increase in playing time, the overall game of Saric has steadily improved, and just going by the numbers, are very much comparable to that of Embiid's, hence the gap is not as big as before. Overall, Embiid will still have a better, more impactful career, but just for this rookie season argument, Saric has put forward a solid case.

If Saric continues this pace up to the end of the season, I see no reason why a.) he shouldn't garner votes for rookie of the year, and b.) why it shouldn't be a travesty as many claim it to be. The other rookies in the class have been underwhelming. Rookie favorite Kris Dunn has struggled, and has not gotten enough playing time playing behind Ricky Rubio. Buddy Hield has shown flashes, but not nearly enough. Brandon Ingram is still learning his way through. The only other potential candidate, and he's an even further distant third, is Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Cloudfone Next Review - The Next Smartphone in your Arsenal?

It has been over a week since I received my purchase of the Cloudfone Next from Lazada, which I feel is more than sufficient to navigate through the phone and go through the paces and see what Cloudfone’s latest flagship is capable of. The question remains, is it worthy of being labeled as a local flagship phone? This review just comes from the point of view of a user who took his chances and bought the unit when reviews were scarce and only available through an online retailer.

The Package

The Cloudfone Next comes with the standard phone-charger-cable-headphones ensemble, but they also threw in a few freebies like the jelly case, a screen protector, and a faux leather case [which I did not use], but that’s a matter of preference.

Before we go further, here are the specs:

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 505
Display: 5.2-inch full HD display with 2.5D glass Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 1920 x 1080 resolution
Internal Storage: 32 GB Internal, expandable via MicroSD card [up to 128GB]
Main Camera:  16-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, Samsung ISOCELL S5K3P3 sensor, PDAF and LED flash
Front Camera: 8-megapixel front camera with flash
SIM: Dual-SIM, micro
Mobile Data: 3G/HSPA+/4G LTE
Other Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner
Battery: 3000 mAh with Quick Charge support
Android Version: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

Specs-wise, this is a really beefy flagship for a local phone with a nice look and feel to it. The phone has a metal back and the 2.5D glass is a nice touch. It doesn’t feel premium, the way you’d think of the iPhones, or the Note series, no. This is similar to how you’d consider the Zenfone line to be premium. In short, it has a midrange look, which is not a bad thing at all.

I have also dropped the phone once from about waist-high and I’m happy to report that it is still in one piece with no damage on the phone itself. This accidental drop test was not planned, since this is my own phone and have no intent to get it damaged, but was pleasantly surprised to a sturdy phone in that department.
Up top is the 3.5 mm audio jack for your earphones, while the right side of the phone has the volume rocker, and power buttons, respectively. Down at the bottom are speaker grilles and the micro USB port. Also, below the screen, instead of capacitive buttons, lies the fingerprint reader [more on that in a bit].

Audio and Video

The full HD IPS display on the Cloudfone Next gives it a very crisp and clear with good contrast. It has nice viewing angles, and it was a joy to go through my Facebook feed, play games, and watch YouTube videos. The audio is a bit too soft for my liking, and the speakers are a relative downer. Bring your headphones for a better experience.

Call quality is fair, nothing out of the ordinary in my experience, as the caller was audible when taking calls while I was heard fairly easily on the other end as well [cellphone signal notwithstanding].

General Usage

Navigating through the apps, and handling multiple apps at the same time is a breeze thanks to the generous amount of RAM on this model. It was smooth sailing switching between apps, and up to this point, has not triggered any lockups or lags in performance. Cloudfone used an almost stock copy of Marshmallow, just doing away with the app drawer, similar to MIUI, with their stock launcher.


I’ve tested a handful of games on the phone and was pleasantly surprised at how smooth it was handled. From Asphalt 8, to Pokemon Go, VainGlory, NBA 2K17 and NBA Live Mobile, all these games work out beautifully. Even with a screen recording app in tow, playing on the Next was smooth, and did not show any difficulty in rendering the games even when set to their respective high settings.

See these sample videos for reference:




Camera Performance

I’m no photography expert, and I prefer to just show my samples and let you take a look for yourself on how the camera performed. For what it’s worth, it is a more than capable shooter outdoors, and in great light, and thanks to the LED flash on both front and back cameras, it is fairly decent in low light. Noise is a bit more evident on low light photos, but is definitely decent, especially in this range.

You can check out the samples on this link: Cloudfone Next Samples


Here's a sample video I took while on the road using the Cloudfone Next:

Battery Life

This is another area where the Next shines through quite well. While only sporting a 3000 mAh battery, it still manages to get an average of close to 8-10 hours of screen time, which is a term I use for when you regularly use the phone for social media, games, and web browsing. For the past week, I’ve been able to play with the phone, and have not been drained of battery even when I was walking around Eastwood during the Pokemon Go Halloween event [with data, GPS, and the screen constantly active].

This I feel is where Qualcomm's line of Snapdragon SoCs are still leaps and bounds ahead of the Mediatek SoC. Even when going against Mediatek's Helio X20, battery efficiency still is better on Qualcomm's end.

If you end up needing to charge, it is a pleasant surprise that this phone is equipped with Quick Charge 3.0 as well, and it goes from 10-100% from 45 minutes to an hour, 1 hour 5 minutes tops in my overall experience with it so far. The phone does get a little warm during this process, as common with a lot of phones with quick charge technology. Nothing blew up in the process.

Fingerprint Reader

The Next's fingerprint module was quick and responsive, and did not have any problems enrolling and recognizing the fingerprints enrolled. As an added perk, you can unlock your phone while the screen is off from the fingerprint module. 


The Cloudfone Next is well-equipped to be a daily-driver phone, with decent specs, good overall performance and excellent battery life, and a fairly affordable price tag for what it offers. This phone is definitely worth a look if you are on a fairly tight budget, but want good internals that would be relevant for games and most apps for about 3-4 years. Not bad for the price.

As of this writing, it is available through Lazada, which ensures availability and you can always opt for Cash on Delivery if you're a bit skeptical about online shopping, and/or divulging any sensitive banking/credit card information online.

Links included below for reference.

Cloudfone Next
Gray: http://ho.lazada.com.ph/SHIx0s
Gold: http://ho.lazada.com.ph/SHIx2G

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tutorial: How To Remove/Disable Ads on uTorrent!

Looking annoyed at the rotating ads on your uTorrent application? Wish you can just go Pro instead?

Well, you can do that, if you'd spend for it... or torrent it, but the only big difference between the Pro and free aside from being ad-free is the built-in antivirus, which may be redundant if you already have one installed on your computer.

If you just want to remove the ads on the GUI of the free version just follow these instructions - it is very simple:

1. Go to 'preferences' and open the 'advanced' tab. You might see a warning that the settings should not be changed, but that's a general warning for people who might come snooping in and mess the entire program up. That's not you.

2. search for the following and set them all to false [don't worry, they are alphabetical, easy to sort through]:
- bt.enable_pulse
- gui.show_notorrents_node
- gui.show_plus_upsell
- offers.sponsered_torrent_offer_enabled
- offers.left_rail_offer_enabled
- offers.content_offer_autoexec

3. click 'ok' and restart utorrent

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Falling in Love as defined by Calvin and Hobbes

So, that's how it works. Just sharing an apt Calvin and Hobbes comic just in time for Valentine's Day.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Is it time for Rafa Nadal to change coaches?

Rafael Nadal's 2015 US Open run crashed with a loud thud as he was downed by Pablo Fognini in 5 sets in the third round of the US Open.

I wonder if this is due to the regression brought about by one's health and age, or is it more of a mental challenge for Rafa, who seemed a step slower and whose "return all balls at all costs" game is now porous.

This is not without precedent. Two similar clay court specialists ground out with an accumulation of age and court time. Marcelo Rios was a top player who faded to obscurity the same time his reflexes went awry. Another name: Gustavo Kuerten.

I am beginning to wonder if this is an accumulation of all the small ails and injuries these past few years, or if he simply needs a new set of eyes to give him a new course of attack and perspective and tactics to go hand in hand with his uncle Toni.

Many in the sport think that Nadal should follow Federer's example in another way by hiring extra help to back-up Toni, who has coached him since he was four.

Federer brought Stefan Edberg on board to work alongside longtime coach Severin Luthi.

Novak Djokovic has Boris Becker teamed up with Marian Vajda while Andy Murray works with Jonas Bjorkman and Amelie Mauresmo.

This would be the first time Rafa in a decade that Rafa is without a grand slam win in a season. His losses weren't just to the elite, he has lost to unheralded players this year. 15 losses in 2015, 11 in 2014, and less than 10 on both 2012 and 2013 show that this is a slow decline and not just a one-off for this season. The only silver lining is that Nadal can look to his contemporary in Federer who won Wimbledon at age 31, in 2012.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thinking of Converting your old light bulbs to LED? Well, I found something which may convince you to make that push.

Have you considered changing your lighting fixtures from incandescent or CFL bulbs to LED? The cost savings over a span of around 12 months would pay off the price of a LED bulb. However, what stops most of us from considering this is the high initial cost of LED bulbs compared to these older, cheaper, but high power consuming bulbs. I was trying to check for options and luckily enough found a posting for 6 9W bulbs [rough equivalent of 18-20W of CFL bulbs, or 50-60W incandescent, good enough for medium sized rooms] for the price of probably just 3 of these bulbs. It's worth a try to check if you're in the market and have huge electric bills you'd like to lower over time.

Go here to purchase these cheap and energy efficient LED bulbs while they are on sale.

If you prefer to buy things at Amazon, you can check them out here. Still a great value at $19 for 6 bulbs.