Monday, November 26, 2012

Our One Year Anniversary!

I'm always a bit late in general. Whether it's to basketball practice, school, or even birthday parties. At least I'm fashionably late.

Anyways it was our one year anniversary for Cool Asian Kids on November 18th. We were going to have a huge celebration and have giveaways....but laziness got in the way, as always.

But anyway, in this one year of blogging about what we like and do as Cool Asian Kids, we became more connected to what is happening around us via social media.  My sister and I were able to become more involved in things we wouldn't normally do. We were invited to volunteer at the Asian American V3Con. We were asked to guest blog for other sites and reviewed books, comics, movies, music, and electronic gadgets we liked. We even posted our own artwork on our blogsite for folks to enjoy.

By entering in contests and giveaways we discovered through sites that we follow, we got tickets to attend events such as the Asian American Film Festival and the Supply Cup soccer fundraiser hosted by KevJumba. Attending these events made us appreciate Asian American films and filmmakers, as well as socially conscious endeavors that Asian Americans were pursuing and promoting through social media. We are also tickled to learn that we were beginning to start a small following of our own.

We'd like to thank everyone who has been encouraging us and following us this year. We welcome any suggestions for our blog for the upcoming year and we hope to do some new things too to make our blog even better. So watch for updates regularly!

Cheers everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Electronic Gadgets and the 4G Network

As a result of volunteering at the V3Con social networking conference, we had the opportunity to test use Verizon's 4G network using a couple of awesome devices: The Samsung Galaxy S3 smart phone, and the Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet.

Here are some disclosures: For a couple of years now, because of my lack of self-control in using electronic gadgets, (I used to text and IM into the wee hours of the morning during school nights and once texted over 900 times a weekend when I had only a 1500 texts per month plan), we have parent imposed restrictions placed on all our cell phones and computers. While we have wifi access on our computers and tablets at home, only our dad has 3G access on his cell phone. The concept of unlimited data use and live tweeting from anywhere, anytime, was new to us until the Verizon 4G network was make available to us . . . temporarily.

Having unlimited access to test use the Verizon 4G network for a whole month was a dream. We used it for everything, from watching movies on Youtube, to using the GPS (and I especially needed it one time when we didn't know how to get to the gym my basketball game was at.), listening to music, to live tweeting my basketball tournament and the Supply Cup Soccer Tournament, and to promote our blogs from everywhere. We posted pictures we took, made movies of my robotics competition preparation. Even mom got excited over a new money saving activity: downloading ebooks and audiobooks from the Los Angeles Public Library so she doesn't have to buy books to read. The 4G network was faster than my dad's 3G network in terms of streaming programs from the internet. It was much faster than our wifi capabilities at home using Uverse.

As for the devices themselves, we split up reviewing them. Chloe reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S3 because she doesn't have a smartphone. I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy tablet 7.7 because I don't have a tablet.

The Samsung Galaxy S3: For a kid who has a dumb phone with only 250 talk minutes and 200 texts, this smart phone is quite an upgrade and an attention getter. I was happy to show off it's sleekness everywhere: at sleepovers, in school, and at parties. It's like going from driving a Prius to a Ferrari (not that I drive).  The moment I powered the phone on, I noticed that the screen resolution is beautiful. The phone's screen is huge and much larger than dad's iPhone 4s. Photographs taken with the phone are crisp and clear. It was so convenient to take a picture and tweet it immediately anywhere and anytime. As I mentioned, using the skills I learned from V3Con, I used the phone and Verizon's 4G network to live tweet and post pictures of my VFW Basketball tournament when we came in 2nd Place. I also used it o to live tweet and promote the charity Supply Cup Soccer Tournament hosted by Kev Jumba, and attended by some favorite Asian American stars: Dante Basco who plays Prince Zuko from Avatar, the Last Air Bender, Wong Fu Production guys, The Fung Brothers, etc. Since we blogged about those events, being able to promote them via Twitter also drove traffic to our blogs. Really cool.

I love the large size screen, but the size of the phone makes it hard to just slip it into my pocket and run about with it. I have to put it in my back pack, or worry that it might fall out of my pants pockets and break. I like Android keyboard swiping, and other convenient Android features. In some ways, I like the phone much better than the iPhone because the sound quality is great and the screen resolution is amazing! The phone is also really good for drawing on because of the big screen and the touch sensitivity. If I ever get a smart phone, I wouldn't mind getting the Samsung Galaxy S3. You can do so much with it without having to switch devices. As of this writing, I accidentally dropped my dumb phone in the school's girls toilet. It has not come back to life despite placing it in a bucket of rice for a couple of days as some online posts suggest I do. So, hint hint, mom and dad, I need a  new phone!

The  Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet: Like the Samsung Galaxy S3, the screen resolution is excellent. It is so clear that the screen image on it looks like a photograph. This tablet is definitely smaller than the iPad 3 that Chloe uses for school. We have mixed feelings about this. I liked the smaller size because it is really convenient to be able to carry it around in a purse and bring it to school, or on a bus. The iPad is a bit too big for that. Putting the tablet on a shelf and using the 4G network to stream shows on this tablet, I can watch TV shows or movies while using the exercise bike. This made exercising quite pleasant.

However, the smaller screen size is also a drawback in the sense that everything appears a bit smaller on the screen.  While I'm okay with it, my parents complain that they need to wear reading glasses just to look at the news online using this tablet.  So I guess for older people, maybe the small size of the tablet is not so appealing. Otherwise, I think the tablet is quite good, although I haven't seen the new iPad mini yet, so I can't compare them.

Monday, November 5, 2012

High School Robotics

I don't know if you remember, but last year, Chloe was on her middle school Lego-League robotics team.  This year, the fun continues!  I (Eileen) am on one of the four high school VEX robotics teams at school.  I was actually not too happy about joining the team because it's pretty nerdy, and I didn't want to perpetuate the Asian nerd image. However, since I was a new student at my school last year, and didn't participate in anything school related, I did want to participate in some school activities this year.  I thought Robotics team would be the least time consuming because the course syllabus says two extra hours during the week and I knew I could handle that easily. . . until after I joined, I found out that I needed to be there every Saturday too, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  There go my weekends.

But it turns out I actually like the class and team a lot.  Many of my friends are on the team, so that probably helps! Because our school mascot is the wildcat, the team names are all supposed to be wildcat-related.  I'm on an all girls team called the Snoop-Lions!We also have a Lynx Sys, Robocelots, and Wild Tigers.

Our vex robot being built.

A few weeks ago, we went to the first competition of the year.  I've never been to a robotics competition before, but it's a lot of fun. It's a nerd fest.

This year's competition game is Sack-Attack, so we're basically supposed to build robots that can put as many sacks in the goals as possible within a given time frame.

Competition at Cabrillo High School
 ...Let's just say we didn't do so well this time.  It's okay!  Our next competition is the Vex Robotics regionals in San Diego (yay!, and because it's for two days, we'll stay in a hotel! Really exciting. It won't be for another month or so, so we'll have time to work on our new robot.  I'll post pictures of it when it's done!