REAL RAP RADIO

Posted in expensive, luxury, nightlife, nitelife, urban, wealth on March 23, 2011 by The Hales Report

 

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APPLE’S IPAD2 REVIEW

Posted in expensive, luxury, nightlife, nitelife, urban, wealth on March 10, 2011 by The Hales Report

To say Apple’s iPad 2 is an easy tablet to review is somewhat of an understatement. The device, a follow up to last year’s wildly successful (and currently market-defining) iPad, is nearly identical when it comes to software, and though improved, closely related on the hardware side as well. With a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 display, the general size and shape of the device has remained the same, and though inside there’s a new dual core A5 CPU, more memory, and a pair of new cameras, most of the iPad 2’s changes are cosmetic. Still, the previous tablet soared far above most of its competitors when it came to the quality of both the hardware (if not its raw specs) and its software selection — something Apple still stands head and shoulders over its adversaries on. So this new model, a thinner, sleeker, faster variant of the original may not be breaking lots of new ground, but it’s already at the front of the pack. But is the iPad 2 worth an upgrade for those that took the plunge on the first generation? More importantly, does the device have what it takes to bring new owners into the fold? Those questions — and more — are all about to be answered in the full Engadget review, so read on!

Hardware

The iPad 2 is both all about — and not about — the hardware. From an industrial design standpoint, the iPad 2 just seriously raised the bar on sleek, sexy computer hardware. If you’re an owner of the original model, you know it was no slouch in the design department, but its latest iteration takes it to a whole other place. The first thing you’ll probably notice about the iPad 2 is that it’s thin — unbelievably thin. At its thickest point, the tablet is just 0.34-inches (compared with the first iPad’s half an inch of girth). The device is slightly shorter than the previous model (at 9.5-inches tall), but also slightly less wide (just 7.3-inches versus the iPad’s 7.47-inches). It looks and feels amazingly sleek when you hold it. As Steve Jobs pointed out at the launch event, the device is thinner than the astoundingly thin iPhone 4 — quite a feat considering what’s packed inside the slate. Of course, it’s still not exactly light, weighing in at 1.33 pounds (or 1.34 / 1.35 for the 3G models), just a hair under the original’s one and a half pounds.
As with the previous version, the front of the device is all screen, save for a bezel (which appears slightly less broad than the one on the first model), and a home button at the bottom of the display. The iPad 2 does add a camera opposite from that button at the top of the device, but the small dot is barely noticeable. Around back there’s the familiar, smooth aluminum of the previous version (it does feel slightly smoother here), a small, dotted speaker grid on the lower left, a camera on the upper left, and depending on what model you get, the 3G antenna along the top back. The volume buttons and mute / rotate switch sit on the back left side of the device, while on the right you’ll find the Micro SIM slot (on 3G versions). A standard 30-pin dock connector is along the bottom, while the top reveals a power / sleep button on the upper right side, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left. All pretty standard business for an iPad, but smartly put together on this tiny frame.
The device is available with either a white or black bezel — we reviewed the white model.
In all, it’s an incredibly handsome and svelte package. Pictures don’t quite do the iPad 2 justice — it feels really, really great in your hands. Not only does the construction give it a feeling of heft and permanence, but the thin profile combined with the new, tapered edges make holding the device a real joy. Apple is known for its industrial design, and they didn’t just chew scenery here; the iPad 2 is beautifully and thoughtfully crafted.

Internals / display / audio

Much has been made about what is — and isn’t — inside the new iPad. For starters, Apple has replaced last year’s A4 CPU with a new, 1GHz dual core chip it’s calling the A5 (surprise surprise). According to Geekbench, there’s now 512MB of RAM in the iPad, bringing it up to iPhone 4 standards. That still seems on the low side to us — a device in this class should probably be sporting 1GB, though we had no memory issues. The screen is identical to the previous model, a 1024 x 768, 9.7-inch IPS display. It still looks good, though we really would have liked to see a bump in resolution — if not up to the Retina Display’s doubled numbers, then something substantial. We don’t take issue with the quality of the display as far as color balance or deepness of blacks go, but we would like to see higher pixel density, especially for the book apps.
On the wireless front, you can nab either a WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n) only model, a Verizon 3G version, or an iPad of the AT&T / GSM variety. Bluetooth 2.1+EDR is on board, as is an AGPS chip in the 3G versions. All the models come equipped with an ambient light sensor, an accelerometer, and a new addition: a three-axis gyroscope.
As we said, Apple has relocated the iPad’s single speaker to the back of the device. The sound seems clearer if somewhat quieter than the old version, and we can’t say that there’s a major improvement as far as the placement goes. It does the job, but if you’re working in GarageBand (or just listening to music or watching video), you’ll want good headphones or decent speakers nearby.
Still, on the specs front the iPad 2 feels very iterative. There’s nothing here that is totally mind-blowing, but there’s nothing here that makes it feel far off from its nearest competition. We’re early enough in the tablet game that a small push in specs like this will last us another season, but Apple needs to deliver bigger guns by the time we see a "3" at the end of the iPad moniker.

Performance

As we noted above, the iPad is equipped with a 1GHz, dual-core chip called the A5. According to Geekbench, the CPU is clocked at 800MHz. When we first handled the device, it seemed noticeably faster to us, and even after a week with the tablet, it’s still zippier than the previous model by a longshot.
The CPU and graphics performance of this tablet felt extremely impressive to us — the iPad 2 performed excellently no matter what we threw at it, games and graphically taxing apps seemed to have higher frame rates, and even when dealing with CPU intensive programs like GarageBand, it rarely (if ever) seemed to be struggling.
But don’t just take our word for it: Geekbench demonstrates quite clearly just what the processor gains on the iPad 2 look like.

Battery life

Not surprisingly, Apple promises major battery life on the iPad 2. Though the device has been physically trimmed down, the company says users can expect the same longevity we witnessed in the previous version. In our testing, this was 100 percent true. For the first few days we used the device we didn’t even bother plugging it in. In fact, even during heavy use — 3G and WiFi on, app testing (heavy work in GarageBand in particular), browsing, news reading, emailing, picture / video taking, and music listening — we neglected to plug the iPad 2 into a socket for a span of about five days. When we did plug it in, the battery percentage was still only hovering around the low 30s.

In our standard video test (running an MPEG4 video clip on loop, WiFi on, screen at roughly 65 percent brightness), the iPad 2 managed an astonishing 10 hours and 26 minutes of non-stop playback. That beats Apple’s own claims, and bests its nearest competitor — the Xoom — by about 2 hours. That’s another whole movie!
To say we were impressed would be an understatement. The iPad 2 fully delivers when it comes to battery life.

Cameras

Let’s just put this out there: the iPad 2 cameras are really pretty bad. They’re not unusable, but it’s clear that the sensors employed are not top shelf by any measure. If you have a fourth generation iPod touch with cameras, you can expect the same results. In fact, it seems to us that these are the SAME cameras used in the iPod touch — there’s an "HD" lens around back (which means it’s roughly a single megapixel shooter), and on the front you’ve got a lowly VGA cam. Neither one of these produces remotely satisfying results for still shots, and in particular (when compared with something like the Xoom), the back camera just seems utterly second rate. For video duties and FaceTime calls, the cameras are reasonably useful — but we would never trade a dedicated camera (or at least a smartphone with a 5+ megapixel shooter) for this.

iPad 2 camera shots

Even with the lower quality sensors, Apple still gets to span the gap between the original iPad and its new competition — so that means video calling is now on tap. And since this is Apple, we get treated to a FaceTime app, Photo Booth, and the new iMovie (more on those in a moment). At the end of the day, the company is putting its flag in the ground when it comes to tablets with cameras, but it feels like it’s done the bare minimum to make it happen. We won’t lie: we’re disappointed by how low end these cameras feel. We don’t expect to be doing photo shoots with a tablet (in fact, we find using a tablet in this manner to be tremendously awkward), but that doesn’t mean we want a camera that produces results reminiscent of our RAZR. In short, it feels like the iPad 2 has a serious photon deficiency.

Software
It wouldn’t be a new iOS product without an iOS update, and the iPad 2 ushers in iOS 4.3, a minor update which touts a few bells and whistles. Notably, Apple has improved browser performance, added broader AirPlay support, mercifully added an option to toggle your mute switch for rotation lock duties, and (on the iPhone at least) brought Personal Hotspot to GSM devices (but not the iPad 2).
Alongside the iPad update, Apple also introduced two fairly major pieces of software — GarageBand and iMovie for the iPad. Here’s our take on those apps, as well some of the other big additions.
Browser

Apple claims big gains in the speed and performance of the new iOS browser thanks to the introduction of the Nitro JavaScript engine to the underlying Mobile Safari software. In our testing, we scored a fairly healthy Sunspider number of 2173.1ms (while Google’s V8 returned a score of 338). Nothing to freak out about in comparison to the laptop numbers below — but compare those digits to the iPhone 4 and original iPad running 4.2. Of course, the Motorola Xoom is neck and neck with the iPad 2 in terms of browser performance, which shows that speed is most certainly not Apple’s domain alone.

In general use, we found the browser to be noticeably faster and more responsive than on the previous iPad, which is a good thing considering that the browsing experience still doesn’t quite give you a desktop experience. That said, the iPad 2 gets a lot closer to the speed and fluidity you see on your laptop — and it’s obvious Apple is putting time and effort into making this complete.
We still have to take issue with the lack of Flash, however. Though many sites have begun to employ HTML5 for video and interactive elements, there’s still loads of content we couldn’t view because Apple won’t allow Flash on its platform. We’re not saying that we think the experience will be killer (though we’ve seen good Flash performance on a jailbroken iPad), but the option to turn it on and off would really be welcome.

FaceTime / Photo Booth

As you might expect, the FaceTime experience on the iPad isn’t wildly different than the experience on an iPhone or OS X computer. Though the layout is different, you’re getting basically the same results. As with the phone, you’re unable to use the service when not on WiFi, but given that you’re dealing with a tablet as opposed to a handset, it seems to make a little more sense.
Results were unsurprising but satisfying with the video calls we placed, but again, those cameras don’t produce stunning images — especially when you’re piping video in both directions.
Photo Booth, on the other hand, has gone from a minor sideshow in OS X to a full blown event app on the iPad 2. The device’s A5 CPU seems to have little trouble cranking out nine separate, live video previews of the kinds of effects you can do in the app, and when you’re in full screen mode, you can tweak the silly-yet-often-psychedelic graphics to your heart’s content. It’s not something that is wildly useful, but we imagine a lot of people will be walking out of Apple stores with an iPad 2 in hand after playing around with this for a few minutes. It’s just kind of cool.

THE 9TH ANNUAL CANCUN JUMPOFF

Posted in urban on March 9, 2011 by The Hales Report

THE 9TH ANNUAL CANCUN JUMPOFF

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The Hottest Event of Every Calendar Year Just Got Better. With an all star cast of the hottest Club DJs in the United States already slated for this event, the sexiest party zone on the planet is set to explode! With 13 crazy theme events on the Party Menu, "O" INTERNATIONAL’S 9th Annual Cancun Jumpoff will once again be a nonstop party adventure. Imagine the lights and sounds of Las Vegas set in a tropical paradise, the largest, most sophisticated Club Venues in North America playing host to the largest urban event held outside the United States. Over the last 8 years the Cancun Jumpoff has developed into the life style choice for much of the world’s leading trendsetters. This is a cant miss event for young urban professionals living on the cutting edge of hip hop culture. This event is for serious party people with a healthy appetite for traveling and meeting people from different parts of the world. If you want to experience a nonstop party adventure, where you are the celebrity with 12 thousand sexy people, in one of the most exotic places on the planet, the Cancun Jumpoff is the event for you.

HISTORY
Over the last 7 years the Cancun Jumpoff has entertained over 95 thousand urban trendsetters. Having played host to Lebron James, Lil Jon, Megan Good, Joey Porter and a laundry list of others, the popularity of this event continues to evolve into the playground for todays most influential people. This event caters to young urban professionals living on the cutting edge of Hip Hop culture and is a weekend showcase of the latest trends in American popular culture. Having grown from 4 events in 2003 to 13 crazy theme events in 2010, the popularity of this event is attributed to the quality of repeat patrons and the wide range of activities offered each year.
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BIGGIE SMALLS TRIBUTE

Posted in expensive, luxury, nightlife, nitelife, urban, wealth on March 9, 2011 by The Hales Report

Gran Patron Tequila

Posted in expensive, luxury, nightlife, nitelife, urban, wealth on February 26, 2011 by The Hales Report

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Gran Patrón Burdeos Añejo


Gran Patrón Burdeos tequila is matured in barrels made of a unique blend of American mountain oak and oaks from the different regions of France. The tequila is aged for 12 months, then distilled once again and racked in hand-selected Bordeaux barrels, adding the distinct fruity flavors of the finest Bordeaux wines. It comes in a crystal bottle packaged in a velvet-lined black walnutbox. The retail price ranges from $500 to $600.

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Gran Patrón Platinum

Gran Patrón is the world’s finest platinum tequila. Triple distilled, it is a true connoisseurs silver tequila. This is the smoothest sipping tequila ever produced. Every bottle is handmade crystal (lead free), hand polished, signed and numbered with an etched label. The bottle is enclosed in a hand-crafted maple wood box.

Louis Vuitton Acapulco

Posted in expensive, luxury, nightlife, nitelife, Uncategorized, urban, wealth on December 18, 2010 by The Hales Report

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The new Louis Vuitton summer collection includes the very dope Acapulco sneaker.  Available in white and black leather, it features an oversized LV logo in rubber on the side and an adjustable velcro strap.  Priced at $635.

Bentley running on W16 from Bugatti?

Posted in expensive, luxury, nightlife, nitelife, urban, wealth on December 7, 2010 by The Hales Report

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Some sources inside Bentley say that a prototype of the Arnage is made with the W16 engine from the Bugatti Veyron under the hood. The sources say that they want to produce a Bentley that can be positioned above the Continental Flying Spur in the Bentley bhp-range.

Franz-Josef Paefgen, director of both Bentley as Bugatti, should be the man behind the dream. The current Arnage produces 500 bhp, the Flying Spur is powered with 560 bhp.

Autowereld is wondering how the enormous W16 can be planted under the hood of an Arnage. But what’s sure is that the most powerful version of the new Bentley Arnage will have between 560 and 1001 bhp.

For a couple years photos of this Bentley prototype float around, whether this car will ever be produced is still to be seen:

Bentley W16

Bentley W16 Hunaudieres