September 28th, 2012
11:36 PM ET

Move over iPhone: In China, it's cool to call on 'Xiaomi'


Hong Kong (CNN) - He's the 20-something blogger who created the iconic Steve Jobs action figure.

He's also the Hong Kong-based gadget fan who worked his supplier contacts in China to leak authentic components of the latest iPad before the official launch.

And yet, despite his devotion to all things Apple, MIC Gadget's Chris Chang says if it came down to just one device - he would choose a Chinese-branded smartphone over the iPhone.

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Filed under: Gadgets • General
September 25th, 2012
04:47 PM ET

Tempted by inflight electronics

It's the summer of 2006. I'm playing multiplayer Grand Theft Auto with a friend on the PlayStation Portable via Wi-Fi. And we're 38,000 feet over the South China Sea.

I know there's a ban on wireless devices in the middle of a flight. I know I shouldn't be doing it.

But there I am, speeding through the streets of Liberty City, chasing a friend who's sitting four rows behind me, when my car hits a barrier and explodes.

The plane shakes a little. FULL POST

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Filed under: Gadgets • General • Personal musings • Technology
September 25th, 2012
01:31 AM ET

The changing shape of mobile handsets

Some of the old phones you see in that video came from a street market in Hong Kong. Browsing stalls full of old handsets brought back plenty of memories for me.

There was the Nokia 6110, the first phone with Snake. There was the Ericsson T68, the first phone I'd ever seen with a color screen. And the Nokia 7650: My first experience with a so-called "smartphone".

It made me realise something: The phones I loved weren't necessarily the most important ones. The most important ones were the phones that completely discarded the logic of their times and established something genuinely new. FULL POST

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Filed under: Gadgets • General • Technology
September 13th, 2012
10:56 PM ET

No surprises with iPhone 5

Apple is known as one of the most secretive companies in tech. The lengths the company is said to go to avoid information getting out is the stuff of Silicon Valley legend.

But leaked parts mean we now know more than ever about upcoming Apple products. So many parts have made it into the wild that a Japanese blog even constructed the casing of the iPhone 5.

Did the lack of a surprise ruin the buzz surrounding the iPhone 5's unveiling? The New Yorker's Nick Thompson explains why it might not matter.

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Filed under: Gadgets • General
September 11th, 2012
02:11 PM ET

Watercolors of a warzone

The medium is decidedly low-tech, and known more for depicting sunsets than civil war.

But British artist George Butler turned to watercolor to document life during wartime in Azaz, Syria.

Courtesy George Butler

His subject matter includes a child posing on a destroyed tank, a bread line outside a bakery, and a rebel-run prison - its thick bars and large metal lock in full focus.

"I felt like I was an intruder," says Butler about creating the image of the prisoners. "It's an odd feeling, to draw people you don't know... essentially in a cage, and sitting so compliantly."

Powerful images of the human conflict inside Syria have been taken by photojournalists like Robert King. But what can a water colorist capture in a war zone?

"Time lapse is a great advantage," says Butler. "The idea is not to compete with photographers, but to offer something different by sitting on the street, and getting to know what you're drawing for an hour."

The young artist advances the heritage of traditional artists working in hostile environments, such as the war artists in World War II who worked in oils or pen and ink like John Nash or Ronald Searle.

Butler says the medium is even more relevant today because it stands out from the massive trove of modern-day war video and photography now available online.

And it's true. In the era of YouTube and Bambuser, his watercolors offer an entirely new perspective of life inside Syria.