Saturday, December 15, 2007


Impressions on Samsung SyncMaster 205BW 20” LCD Monitor


Until November of this year, I thought that a 17” monitor with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels is already very good. That 19” monitors are just plain excessive. But in November of this year, I was relieved from my site works and have been returned to our design office. Our office has undergone some renovations since the last time I was there and so my old work station is gone and so is my old computer.

Nevertheless, our administration has provided me with a new cube (it’s considerably more spacious than my old cubicle so I’m calling it that) and then our IT department made arrangements for a computer that I can use. Part of the renovation works (and effectively re-branding) included upgrading our computers so I got one of the new computers with 19” Samsung SyncMaster 920NW LCD monitors. For some reason, I got one of the wide screen 16:10 aspect ration instead of the usual 4:3. (Majority of the new monitors delivered to our office were 4:3’s.) I’ve always preferred the wide screen monitors. I’ll explain this later on in this article.

Anyway, I was glad to find out that it’s resolution is also much higher than what I got used to (1024 x 768 pixels). Sure my laptop’s monitor resolution is 1280 x 800 but with a screen size of 12.1” it looks basically the same as the old CRT. I did not fully appreciated the extra pixels. I mean, the old one was good so this one looked good to me too. Good but not better. Not a major leap forward.

But my new office monitor – wow! That was the first word that came out of my mouth when I first turned it on. At 19”, 16:10 aspect ratio, a whooping 1440 x 900 resolution, and an effective viewing angle of 160 degrees, I thought it looked pretty amazing. I tried it with the usual software we use in the office – AutoCAD, and again – WOW! Even with all those icons in there I still have plenty of space to work on my drawings. And the 16:10 ratio was most effective because it makes working with multiple viewports really very convenient. I also found myself zooming in and out a lot less. Then I tried it with Excel and again it was so fantastic to be able to view more rows at a convenient size. And because it’s wide screen, more columns too.

And then, it occurred to me – how will my pictures look on this? Electronically, I’ve seen my pictures large with multi-media projectors. They looked nice but I’ve always thought that the rendition of colors were a little different from what I see on my old CRT (or laptop). So the next day, I brought some of my photos – unprocessed jpg’s – from my Philippines and Brunei vacation last October and viewed it on my office monitor. I was dumbfounded by the clarity of the details the monitor has revealed. I spent my entire lunch break looking at hundreds of pictures testing especially those photos that looked good in my laptop and also those that looked bad. Those that looked bad turned out to be not so bad at all and the good ones looked even better. It’s probably important to note at this point that it does not do a good job of making any picture look good. What it does really well is reveal the fine details. Because as good as it is in showing the clarity of your pictures, it’s also very good at revealing noise and compression artifacts that I don’t normally see on monitors with lower resolution.

Suddenly, my laptop’s monitor looked terrible. I love my new office monitor! I loved it so much that I decided to get one for myself at home – with my laptop, of course, as my CPU. Their prices have considerably gone down and have vastly improved since they were first introduced into the market.

Looking around what’s available in the market the following day, I found out that there are even better ones out there. There’s a 20” and a 22” versions at a much higher resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixels. The 20”, while not that much bigger than my office monitor I figured that they would look better because of the much higher resolution. The difference in quality would probably be more obvious with 22” and perhaps that resolution is more suited to it but for its price, I could buy two 19” models. I think the 20” offered more bang for the buck so I went for it. At this point all these were just speculations because I couldn’t test it in the shop with my own stuff. Sure they look good but they were running sample photos and videos that were, of course, made for demonstration, designed to make the product look really, really good.

For size comparison, here it is next to my laptop (to which it is connected to) with a 12" screen and a resolution of 1280 x 800.


Upon arriving home I wasted no time in connecting my laptop and making the necessary adjustments to the desktop display, the difference in resolution became instantly apparent. I made my laptop wallpaper to fit exactly to its set resolution of 1280 x 900 pixels and so when it was displayed in my new monitor, the empty spaces around it is big enough to contain 3 columns each of icons at the right and left side of the screen without overlapping with the wallpaper picture. Texts were just the right size and very comfortable to read.


The pictures? In one word, brilliant! The best photos looked even better but the not so good ones revealed their weaknesses. I saw some compression artifacts in some of the JPGs straight of the camera with medium quality setting. Now I’ve set my camera to shoot RAW + best quality JPGs. Watching slideshows in this monitor is such a joy. And I’m very happy about it.


HDTV’s are at least 720p and Full HD’s are 1080p. At 1680 x 1050 pixels, this monitor is nearly Full HD and it’s actually equipped with an HDCP port and supplied with the respective cable. I’m sure that Blu-Ray movies would also look really good here. Sadly my laptop is not that equipped and I only have regular DVD’s. My best quality movie (“King Kong”) did not looked so good. Colors looked dull and the images soft. Adjusting to a lower resolution to match that of the DVD did not help and actually made it worse. I guess, that’s any LCD’s “weakness” – they look good at their native resolutions (resolution for which they were designed for) but look terrible when adjusted to a different one.

Wide screen format allows working on applications side by side. At a resolution this high, it's even more wonderful.


The high resolution and 16:10 wide format allows me to browse two windows side by side without overlapping on top of each other and without having to pan left and right on either window. Well – flickr, Yahoo! Mail, and most blogs at least.


As mentioned above, working with Spreadsheets and AutoCAD is very nice on the 19”. It’s even better here. I just wasn’t able to test AutoCAD because Autodesk has not yet made a version that is complatible with Windows Vista (my laptop’s operating system).


- Design – despite the screen size, it’s a space-saver. It has a thin bezel which helps in minimizing the overall dimensions while maximizing screen size. It’s also provided with a stand that allows you to swivel the monitor up and down or left and right – and the height is adjustable. The stand has a circular footprint of just 19.5 centimeters.
- HDCP port – Hopefully I could afford to buy a computer with Blu-Ray drive and HDCP connection in the future. That makes it future-proof enough for me.
- Comprehensive adjustment buttons. Other than the usual brightness and contrast controls, it’s also equipped with Samsung’s proprietary MagicBright button which allows you to choose preset settings for text, internet, games, sports, movies or your own custom settings. The menu controls even allows you to adjust sharpness, fineness and coarseness of the display. If all of those sounds complicated, you can just press the “Auto” button.


- Nothing major really. It’s just that my slightly smaller, slightly lower resolution and slightly cheaper office monitor has a wider viewing angle of 178 degrees while mine is “only” 160 degrees. That’s not so bad, is it?

Here's the difference between a 1280 x 800 and 1680 x 1050 resolution monitor. Note that the sizes of the icons are identical yet the difference in physical size is very compelling.


For its price (around PHP 11,650) I think it’s a really good monitor. I have yet to find a major fault to not recommend it to anyone looking for a big monitor.

Watching normal video (full screen) is probably the only disadvantage here so YouTube addicts, be warned. Incidentally, my wife told me that when she tried to use this monitor, she felt a little dizzy. Apparently it felt like watching a movie from the front row seat inside a cinema. Perfect for me – it’s just the way I like to watch movies.

Wide screen / high res combination is great for virtually any application. It may be excessive for simple word processing but in this case, I’d say too much of a good thing is a good thing.



Saturday, December 08, 2007

FPC November Photo Contest Winners

Here are the entries and winners of the FPC November "BOO" Theme Photo Contest.

"The Entries"


and here are the Top 3 Winners for the month of November:

3rd Place Winner

by: papdoligosa

2nd Place Winner

3 - Lenard Po

1st Place Winner

2 - Marvin Maning

Congratulations to the Winners!

Watch out for our FPC December "Red & Green" Theme Photo Contest.
Thanks for dropping by.

FPC October Photo Contest Winners

Here are the entries and winners of the FPC October "Delicious" Theme Photo Contest.

"2nd Place Winner"

by: "akire - Erika Serrano"

"1st Place Winner"


Congratulations to the Winners!

Watch out for our FPC November "Boo" Theme Photo Contest.
Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Awe-inspiring Beauty

Scenic Falls
Originally uploaded by john edward
This is my third visit to Wawa Dam, Montalban and Im still amazed at the place’s natural and historical richness. The deep gorge below the main falls where large boulders split the stream, the thundering noise of white water crashing down to the bottom from the top of the dam, the river lined with hills on both sides and of course the friendly local folks living along the trail going up to the dam are some of the splendors only Wawa can bestow to its guests. The main attractions of course are the Spanish era 1800s (best guess) structures: the roughly 100 foot stone brick dam, the dam control stone brick tower and the man made tunnels bored at the sides of the hills to allow folks to access the dam by foot. These are some of its gems but every visitor will surely find their own to add to the list.

One can only go so far to paint a picture of Wawa using words. You have to be there to capture and experience it! These pictures somehow try to capture some visual gems of the place but they are merely made for seeing. Traveling per se is so popular because of its a multi-dimension sensory experience. Going to Wawa is no exception; it will not disappoint.

All About Fish-ball Sticks

One of Wawa’s striking features are its people. Although the dam was built with considerable technology during its time the people of Wawa seem to have stagnated in terms of development. The place is still rural community than anything else. Its locals lack most if not all of today’s conveniences. I doubt if they have sufficient plumbing, sewerage and electricity; they live in shanties after all.

As you navigate the trail to the Dam what captures your interest is its people. They are friendly and yet will look at you with curiosity. What struck me however are the local working folks. I admit that I’ve only really noticed them beginning with my second trip to the place. As you ascend the narrow rocky and uneven trail you inevitably cross paths with young adults, the elderly and children carrying sacks on their backs that look like a mountaineer’s full sized back pack. Instead of carrying the load on their shoulders however, its carried on their backs, head and balanced against a band on the top of their head (see inset).

I've seen some carry sacks loaded with coal. On my last visit they were carrying cut bamboo pieces in very large sacks. I tried to carry them by lifting it with one arm and the sack hardly budged. I used to be able to bench 200+ pounds back in the day. Sacks (inset) are packed with cut bamboo pieces and are soaked in water hence their heavy weight. The 6 inch planks will further be cut into sticks to be used as “fish ball” or barbeque skewers/ sticks.

Those who move them transport them by raft from 2-3 mountains away via a bamboo boat that operates like a gondola. They are then off-loaded to a riverbank and loaded to the backs of the young men, elderly and children. They get paid for each pack they deliver from pick-up to the delivery point . I reckon they don’t get paid a lot judging from the type demographic of the workers. As I photographed them I’ve watched them flex their whole body with their veins on their necks and arms stretching as if they were about to burst. They seem to be mildly amused by my presence but choose not to be distracted because it was already 4:00pm then and they still needed to fetch and deliver about 4 boatloads of sacks before nightfall about 6:00pm.

I followed them to document how they mount, carry and move the packs. I just shook my head how the littlest of them manage to even carry those sacks and travel even a minute on very rough terrain. Travel by foot to the delivery point is about 15 minutes away.

One of them asked in Filipino: “what will happen to the pictures?” I presumed they wanted to see themselves in prints so I told them I'll leave copies to the neighborhood tourism office for them get copies.

He wasn’t interested. He remarked instead: “Send them to Gloria (Philippine president) instead so that she may know our (dire) condition here.”

If anyone can forward this to the right agency local or foreign who may be able to HELP (perhaps through technology grants and livelihood programs but at the same time not disrupt their way of life in a sense) please do.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

FPC's Bowling TournaParty!

The Flickers Photo Club is going to have
some FUN and PARTY again.
If you are a member of FPC, Come join us and check out
the details and register HERE.

If you are not a member, We invite you to check us out
and join us at the FPC Flickr Group.
You are cordially invited to have fun with us.
It would be an honor to meet you in person.

See you all there!


FPC September Photo Contest Winners

Here are the entries and winners of the FPC September "B&W" Theme Photo Contest.

"The Entries"

Sept B&W

and here are the Top 3 Winners for the month of September:

3rd Place Winner

2 Daniel Y Go - Old School
"Old School"
by: Daniel Y. Go

2nd Place Winner

13 xavier alcala - fisherman's face
"Fisherman's Face"
by: Xavier Alcala

1st Place Winner

20 yetbu - hintay
by: Boyet Ignacio

Congratulations to the Winners!

Watch out for our FPC October "Delicious" Theme Photo Contest.
Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

PoW! 46th Week

Here are this week's FPC's PoW!s, in no order of preference:

Charm City Rollers Girls Championships 2007
"Charm City Rollers Girls Championships 2007"
by: Maryland1RN
Olympus E-500, 1/30, f/2.8, 60mm, ISO400

Editor's Comment: The only way to get this right at the set shutter speed is to pan the camera following the subjects. Oliver is fortunate to be in this position to capture the many expressions of the players especially the jostling behind the column of players. I figured that the flash must be blinding to the players but if they concentrated on their play, I assume they would mind that momentary burst of creativity.

by: addikk
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT, 1/200. f/2.8, 23mm, ISO1600

Editor's Comment: When I first see this photo, I was surprised to see that it was shared by Syke. If my memory does not fail me, this is his first PoW! The concept and the lighting indicates that this is shot in a studio, probably in one of their media productions. Syke shows his share in creativity with a great composition and timely capture of that expression along with the action.

Suggested Title: "Stealth Merchant"
by: archjoshua
No Exifs Available

Editor's Comment: The action here and the setting bespeaks of a street peddler trying to hawk his wares in between plush shops and among high class citizens. Or it might be that he is stealing those items in the middle of the street. Highly unlikely though. For what reason he is there where it seems he doesn't belong, only Joshua can tell.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

PoW! 45th Week

Here are this week's FPC's PoW!s, in no order of preference:

"300" -- Philippine version
"300 -- Philippine Version"
by: mtxtremist
No Exifs Available

Editor's Comment: This is what i call "A Photographer in Action". kudos to the photographer's courage and determination to produce quality photos and news, despite the risk of getting caught in the middle of both sides. Great! Just Superb Photojournalism.

by: Gilbert "gilbz" Gamolo
Canon EOS 30D, 1/13, f/16, 68mm, ISO200

Photographer's Comment: "Wala ako magawa last night eh"("I had nothing to do last night"). I just practiced lighting products (applied rim lighting as well). Just grabbed my shampoo from the bathroom since I also love the matte blue finish of the bottle. Did some post processing with lightroom then fine tuned the dithered background in photoshop CS and added the reflection and the copy.

Editor's Comment: Very productive idle time, Gilbz! Very professional hob on the lighting and the post-processing. One could easily mistake this practice photo for one taken for a real product advertisement!

Beautiful Moment
"Beautiful Moment"
by: JRMannn
No Exifs Available

Photographer's Comment: Sometimes I just chuckle when I find captures like this. I wasn't planning on shooting macros but I got to work a little early, turned on my computer, went to the side of the office where the trees are. Didn't see much happening so I was heading back to the office. On the way this bluish color caught my eye, which was the butterfly. I haven't seen this before but after all the rain and gloomy skies, this is my reward. Thank you Lord! =)

Editor's Comment: Among the butterfly and flowers shared into the FPC pool of photos (there are countless of them, if you'll notice), I have to give accolades to this one for the superb colors and the angle with which it was taken, bringing out the brilliance of the blue, brown and pink. Truly a rewarding macro moment for JRMann :D

Thursday, September 27, 2007

PoW! 44th Week

Here are this week's FPC's PoW!s, in no order of preference:

Given Teves face portfolio
"Given Teves Face Portfolio"
by: igorms
Nikon D200, 1/320, f/13, 160mm, ISO100

Editor's Comment: Aside from the model gave a dramatic pose.... i like the color tone used and tight crop....

"Anti-Smuggling Unit Commandos"
by: mtxtremist
Exifs not Available

Editor's Comment: One of the best photojournalist I have personally known. "Mr. Linus Escandor". This photo shows specifically the ingredients of a good quality photo.... from the composition, bokeh, focused subject and the message/information that the photographer wants everyone to see. He have shared to us before that a photo should consist as much as possible the following elements. SUBJECT, WHERE and ITEMS related to the scene.

by: [2]rokbot[2]y
Sony DSC-R1, 1/20, f/4.8, 68.1mm, ISO160

Member's Comment: This is just a simple shot of a box of candles... what strikes me is the way the photographer composed this shot... and the memories he rekindle from going back to his hometown.

Friday, September 21, 2007

PoW! 43rd Week

Here are this week's FPC's PoW!s, in no order of preference:

Panorama Wedding
"Panorama Wedding"
by: Ken Tamayo
Nikon D80, 1/80, f/5.6, 28mm, ISO400

Editor's Comment: The Panoramic effect of this shot is wonderful and romantic. The Location is just perfect. Great Job.

airsoft-Where they at?
"Where they at?"
by: Roel Santiago GUAM
Canon EOS 5D, 1/1600, f/4, 28mm, ISO160

Editor's Comment: I couldn't find a suitable for my category this week in 30 pages. Thus, I switch to checking the ones I have faved while browsing the pages. This one among them stands out. What makes it interesting, of course, is the juxtaposition of the wall graffiti (which, by the way, is very artistic; it reads "eDGe") and the air-soft gunner. The wall texture added the "grit" factor necessary for this high action shoot.

by: Edlin Roguel
Canon EOS 30D, 1/45, f/8, 50mm, ISO100

Editor's Comment: Lovely Girl, Lovely Pose. Nice lighting. Wonderful treatment on the photo.

Friday, September 07, 2007


FPC's 1st Exhibit

FPC 1st Exhibit

Flickers Photo Club (FPC) turned one year old this year. But beyond just counting, "one" represents the unity with which the Club will face the challenges that lie ahead. This photo exhibition caps the celebration of last year and heralds the beginning of another eventful year. The Club also joins the celebration of World Tourism Day in recognition of the fact that we have only one world, one home. Now, take a look at our home through our photos.

We are cordially inviting you to join us on

September 11, 2007 at 7-9pm for the Opening Night.
The Exhibit is located at
Ground Floor, Alab Art Space
IP Philippines Building,
351 Send Gil J. Puyat Ave.
Makati City

Saturday, September 01, 2007

FPC August Photo Contest Winners

Here are the entries and winners of the FPC August "STILL LIFE" Theme Photo Contest.

"The Entries"

Still Life

and here are the Top 3 Winners for the month of August:

3rd Place Winner

3 MidnightBlues
"Midnight Blues"
by: erxkulotz

2nd Place Winner

6 glass trio
"Glass Trio"
by: dark_ghetto28

1st Place Winner

4 HB024514
by: Mushroom & Gadgets

Congratulations to the Winners!

Watch out for our FPC September "Black & White" Theme Photo Contest.
Thanks for dropping by.