Datel SuperSports 3X Steering Wheel and Pedals Review

Before I purchased an Attack 3 I knew that the next itch would be for rudder pedals because the Attack 3 doesn't have twist function. Incidentally, I also wanted to have a steering wheel for some driving action. The logical choice regarding availability here is the Logitech (again) wheels but they feel too expensive for me considering that I may tire eventually of using it. I looked at the nearby shops and found only Logitechs and the high end one at that (G27). So out of desperation I went looking in game console shops (found none) and eventually SM Toy Kingdom! :-) Here I found two wheels - a Logitech Driving Force GT and a Datel Super Sports 3X, prices are P5899 and P2499 respectively. I went home and researched the Datel and found that those who bought it gave generally favorable reviews and the main selling point appeared to be the programmability.

Going back to my needs, I wanted a steering wheel and pedal set that can double as rudder pedals. Reading the PDF manual of the Super Sport 3X I found that the pedals can be programmed to act as buttons or axes including linking to a single axis! OK I'm sold.

I went and bought it and when I got home I was a bit expecting to be disappointed because after all it is just an Xbox 360 controller in the body of a wheel. But to my surprise the thing is well worth the money spent! Ok some details:

1. Build quality - above average build for the wheel (nice rubbery sides) and I would say average for the pedals (though i like the nearly symmetrical pedals because of my rudder pedal needs).

2. Gameplay - very responsive and is well suited to driving! (and also flying as rudder pedals)! I was fearing a large deadzone in the center but to my surprise the deadzone is very very small - unnoticeable during gameplay. Turning angle is 180 degrees - thought it would be tight but didn't notice it when actually playing.

3. Feel - wheel centering spring feels slightly stiff but the pedal springs are a bit light to my foot. The two  shifters (paddles and sequential stick) have a very loud "click" sound that may annoy sleeping spouses at midnight gaming sessions :-) But I like their tactile feel and besides you can also program the other buttons as shifters for silent mode gaming :-)

4. Vibration feedback - not like real force feedback but works great for the price. Reasonably strong though you may have to install this extra driver: http://lavendy.net/special/driver/xi/index.html  after normal installation to get vibration in older games.

5. Mounting - here is where it is bad. Instead of a table clamping mechanism for the wheel, there are just suction cups for it and just rubber feet for the light plastic pedal set. I had to add mounting straps to my table and floor just to have a stable platform.

6. Programmability - works as advertised but I just wish it doesn't need to be unplugged and plugged for mode changes (between normal and program mode)

I've had it for two weeks before I wrote this and the Datel Super Sports 3X still works good and I enjoy driving games more now. No more gamepad! (well except for motorcycle gaming - hope someone comes out with a proper controller for those too! listening Datel?)

I know it is no Logitech but at less than half the price it is way better than the cheaper no name china wheels. I recommend it to anyone who wants to drive. Remember that it can also double as rudder pedals in flight sims, just remember not to step on both simultaneously.

Overall a good purchase.

Product Page



Logitech Attack 3 PC Joystick Review

I fondly remember the good old days of PC gaming. Playing X-wing, Tie Fighter, Advanced Tactical Fighters were among my most memorable experiences.

Back in the day I had a Microsoft 3D Pro joystick, it had optical sensors, rudder twist, throttle and hat switch. It had everything you needed for these games. But then they phased out the gameport connector :-( .

When this happened, I went and bought a cheap china-made joystick from CDR-King, unfortunately it was a waste of money for me because of a very large deadzone at the center (though some people like these CDR-King sticks - maybe a bad batch I bought). That was back in 2007 and have lost interest because of the bad purchase.

Recently I was in the mood for flight simulators again. I looked at what was available in the local market. To my surprise joysticks were no longer readily available except for Logitech brand ones. You had to go to specialized gaming stores for Thrustmaster, Saitek and the like.

Knowing my interest could pass I opted to save money and just go for a Logitech stick. I wanted an Extreme 3D model but it was not available so I went for the Attack 3 model - the cheapest Logitech joystick at the moment :-)

I've used it several times now and am quite happy that there is no deadzone in the center. The spring is a bit stiff though.

Overall feel of the unit is solid and you feel the quality compared to a cheap china-made stick. There are 11 buttons and a throttle. All feels nice considering the price. Some slight mechanical bumps in the gimbal system but I would expect that for a cheap joystick (fixed it with some spacer inserts).

On the downside, it does not have rudder-twist and a hat switch. One can assign rudder to any of the buttons or to keyboard keys. Alternatively for a DIY guy, I can convert the china-joystick to a rudder pedal set. Or just buy a wheel pedal combo.

The hat-switch's most common use is for cockpit views which can be emulated quite realistically by using head tracking tech like FreeTrack and FaceTrackNoIR. You just need a good webcam and some patience setting it up.

Going back to the Attack 3, I am pleased with the purchase and just hope it lasts long too. My old MS Sidewinder still works but is no longer supported - sad that Microsoft left the joystick market.



Pioneer DV-3032KV Upscaling DVD Player Review

It has been a while since my last post. Here is a series of reviews...

After 3+ years my Philips DVP3360K died a violent death. I was going to watch a movie one night and when I turned on the AVR power the thing just popped loudly. When I opened it I saw that an IC exploded (which was located in the PSU section). I tried to fix it (even replaced the PSU with working one from another Philips) but I believe the main board had somehow become colateral damage.

A sad day but once again a time to select and buy new gear! :-) I contemplated at first if I should buy a Bluray player now but decided against it since the units within my budget were not 3D capable (which I hope to get into soon). Besides, I can always hook up my tablet to the Plasma if I wanted to watch a hi-def movie. Furthermore, we always just watch DVD or AVI material so a replacement DVD Player is the smart choice for us.

I am sure now that I wanted something that upscales (because I really see the difference), reads any DVD media, is a reputable and sturdy brand, and has HDMI and USB. Going through the available choices at the nearby appliance centers we narrowed it down to Pioneer, Philips, Sony, and Samsung. Eventually Sony and Samsung were dropped because they are said to be finicky with media.

So it was down to Pioneer and Philips specifically the Pioneer DV-3032KV and the Philips DVD3880K. Having had two Philips players over the past 8 years it seemed a logical choice specially considering the claim at something called CinemaHD but my gut feeling said that it was time to try the Pioneer unit which it turns out is a newly released model.

This is a short review of the Pioneer DV-3032KV. First it has the following main features: Upscaling, DivX, HDMI, USB, and a claim to be able to read any DVD media even scratched ones so it fits my needs nicely. Here are some details...


Upscaling: the quality seems a bit better than my old player. At first the image looked dark but a little fiddling with the player's picture settings (gamma) yielded a very nice PQ. This thing even manages to smooth out compression artifacts from small Xvid files (with the help of the noise reduction settings on my TV). Most useful are the sharpening, brightness, contrast and gamma settings. Though one thing I noticed is that if you play a video from a USB flash drive, you cannot alter picture settings - it just uses the one you last set.

DivX and Xvid: compatibility is quite high. It plays large 2GB+ Xvids with no errors or issues. It even played some Xvids with GMC and Packed Bitstream smoothly - which I distinctly remember that my older Philips had trouble with stuttering and AV sync issues.

DivX/Xvid Subtitles: On the Philips player the font and size they used was big and blocky (very ugly). However on the Pioneer the font is small and elegant and just looks more professional. I love it though I wish I can tweak it too especially the color.

HDMI: nothing much to say here except it works and is my interface of choice. BTW the player displays the red Pioneer logo when idle which I think harks from their Plasma TV days. The low-key colors of the menu and logo are Plasma friendly (no burn in danger) which I appreciate because I have a Panasonic Plasma TV.

Disc Compatibility: it is outstanding! It reads everything I threw at it and I have a lot of DVDRs! Even scratched discs worked fine you just have to eject and reload the disc in the tray because sometimes it fails to read (same idiosyncracy as my previous Philips). Also one particular Double Layer media I have is very problematic on my previous player, the Philips cannot read the second layer properly but on this Pioneer it can be read but sadly also seems to buffer every few minutes (it is a cheap DL-DVDR I tried). But kudos to the Pioneer to be able to actually read such trash media!

Sound: here is where it separates itself far away from my old player. The sound options available is great. The EQ settings are extensive (but not user configurable, just presets). And the DRC and Dialog features work as advertised - I never noticed the DRC working on my old Philips it must be so subtle - but here it is very noticeable. DRC and Dialog enhancement are very useful on late nights so we don't annoy the neighbors! No more scrambling for the volume adjustment when the loud action starts!:-)

Misc features: the player also has Karaoke scoring and CD ripping features but I do not use them. Also has the large-type mic jack and has physical mic volume control in the middle of the unit.

The Player appears to be region free. This was stated by the salesman and it did play my imported disc without the need for unlocking.


As for negative qualities, this is nitpicking but the main thing I can say about it at the moment is the remote is not as responsive as I would like. There is a small lag. Also the buttons are so small and they have grouped the important ones on the lower part while giving large space for just the numerical keys! Finally the arrow buttons do not fast forward and reverse like on the Philips, here they are just for cursor use.

Regarding fast forward/reverse another nitpick I have is that it only goes up to 3x speed - my old one went to 32x! though in practice it seems enough.

On the unit itself, there are no buttons for next/previous track (the circular design of the front control is only for show as it only has play and stop.

There is also no button for USB/DVD switching on the main unit.

The player also needs the user to switch between DVD and USB sources via the remote. The Philips autosenses this and presents the USB contents when plugged.

The menu is not automatically presented upon inserting a DVD or USB drive. It just says reading and then drops back to the Pioneer logo. You need to press "menu" on the remote for it to present you with the file browser.

Lastly I was disappointed with the zoom feature. It functions perfectly but I miss the ability to "zoom out" or make the picture small. This is useful for lowres AVI files to make them bearable to watch on a big screen.

In closing, I would recommend the Pioneer DV-3032KV to anyone needing a DVD/DivX/Xvid player that upscales. It has some negatives but they are small compared to the wealth of good features you get. The picture quality (after some tweaking depending on the TV) is excellent and the sound features are also exceptional. The DVD drive read all the dics I tried so this one's a keeper.

I just hope it lives up to its website claim of "a very low cumulative failure rate, proving long-term reliable performance". I do not wish to buy a new player every three years if that is at all possible with current tech durability.

Product page



The Lord Jesus Christ's Birthday

It's that time of the year again... the "ber" months. Already malls are playing Christmas carols and displaying all sorts of decorations for the season. I feel sad for them because the Lord Jesus was NOT really born on the 25th of December. At the time of this writing, we are within a few days of His actual birth anniversary. Like I wrote in a post last year, I believe His birth was during the 7th month of the Hebrew calendar (Sept-Oct). At first I thought it was specifically during the Feast of Trumpets but after a few more months of study I now believe it to be at the start of the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Lord Jesus' birth date can actually be counted logically using details revealed in the Holy Bible. One method uses a count from the conception of John the Baptist using the courses of the Temple Priesthood. It is quite complex so here is a link to the article.

There is I believe an easier way to count it arriving at roughly the same time. (Here I share my own method so please let me know if there is an error in my approach). This method involves the prophecy in the Book of Daniel about the coming of Messiah the Prince (Daniel 9:24-27). In that prophecy we are told that the Messiah would be "cut off" in the middle of His ministry. This means He will be killed in the middle of the last prophetic week. One day is one year in prophecy. His ministry spans 3 and a half years. From this we know two things: first, His death during Passover(14th Aviv-1st month in the Hebrew Calendar) and second, we know His baptism date by counting 3.5 years backward from his death. Now we must determine His age when He was baptized. From the Laws concerning the Temple Priesthood, we know that someone who is to serve in the Temple (that is to minister) must be of a certain age. In the previous passage we determined it to be 30. Note that the specific age is actually not important to our birth date study but the timing is. Here is the important point: We must in faith assume that our Lord would never delay the fulfillment of His Word in Daniel concerning Himself. I therefore say that His Baptism was on or near His birth date. It is safe to assume He was counting His years because He must fulfill the requirements of the Law. Knowing these facts, we count backward from the time of His death - the 14th of the 1st Hebrew month. Counting six months back we arrive at the 14th of the 7th Hebrew month to take into consideration the "half" year of the prophecy (the Hebrew calendar also has 12 months so half of it is 6 months). From there counting 3 whole years we arrive at His Baptism. Notice that we don't even have to count a full 3 years, it is enough to consider the "half" of the 3-and-half years because the 3 years are whole 12 month segments so the backward count will always fall on the same date. Therefore from our count and the assumption that the Lord Jesus Christ would not delay this prophecy in the Book of Daniel, we can safely say that He was born around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles which starts at the 15th of the 7th month. Making His name "Immanuel" or "God with Us" all the more meaningful.

These two methods arrive at the same date: between the 14th and 15th of the 7th Hebrew month. Which is September 22 and 23 in the Roman calendar year of 2010 (it falls on slightly different dates yearly because of differences in the Hebrew and Roman calendars). If we do not wish to be that specific, it should be enough to say that the birth of the Lord when He came in the form of a Man occurred during the 7th month of the Hebrew Calendar which falls in September-October of the Roman Calendar.

Therefore to all who were allowed by God Almighty to know, Let us celebrate the Feasts of the Lord knowing full well that the Lord's salvation plan is outlined in His Solemn Feasts. Let us observe them spiritually in remembrance and anticipation of fulfillment of the 7th month Feasts (without the sacrifices and oblations which the Messiah caused to cease) while we await the return of our Resurrected Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.

Please let me know of any error I may have made. May the Lord God Almighty forgive any mistakes here and cause us to come to the full knowledge of the Truth.

UPDATE 10/8/2010: It occurred to me that I did not consider leap years. If assuming a leap year (presence of Adar I) fell within the last half-year of the prophetic 3.5 year period, we would have to accept a margin for error. And even if we use a margin of +/-15 days (half a month - half Adar I), the Birth estimate would still fall within or around the seventh month. Given the other supporting Scriptures and the prophetic meaning of the Feast days, our overall conclusion of the Birth occurring around the time of the 7th Hebrew month still stands.



Finished reading my Bible

Last July 24, 2010 at 7:34AM Philippine time (a Sabbath), I finished reading through my KJV Bible. It's the first time I read the Scriptures from cover to cover. I believe it took me approximately 2 years and 4 months to finish my study. It was an eye opening experience. My intent was to dig deep in the Bible and have some of my lingering questions answered.

With the help of God, I was able to finish reading and learned a lot of new things. I am now confident that true Christians should keep the Lord's Sabbath among other things (it is Saturday not Sunday: from sundown Friday to sunset Saturday). Not to be legalistic, but to keep the Commandments out of love for God our Creator with the help of Jesus our Savior and the Holy Spirit. We are saved by grace not works but our works are among the fruits of our faith.

Furthermore, out of brotherly love, I advice you all to stop eating pork and all the unclean foods. Read your Bible. Never was it mentioned that those foods unfit for eating has already been cleaned. This is another false doctrine that is causing many health problems because God didn't intend us to eat those animals.

I urge everyone to read their Bibles with an open mind and test your pastors or church leaders with what the Bible says. Do not rely on what man teaches no matter how charismatic the person - test what they say against the Holy Scriptures to see if they are truly of God. Life everlasting is at stake.

Again, please read your Bibles - pray and ask God and the Holy Spirit to guide and teach you. This is the essence of the New Covenant: where God will put his laws in our hearts and write them in our minds (Hebrews 10:16).

Dear Reader, please let me know of any questions you may have and I will answer with God's help.

To my co-members from my former church, you know who you are, and you are witnesses to my zeal when I was among you. I am sorry to say that your leader is blind. Visit me and I will show you proof from the Bible itself.



Happy 2010!

It's less than 20 hours to 2010. For the past month or so Filipinos have been celebrating the holiday season like there's no tomorrow (seems like everyone has lots of money these days). Tonight, I expect another display of fireworks firepower that will rival a small war. The sonic fury and visual display from a fireworks-crazy nation is sure to terrorize small animals once more ;-) I know that once again we have to cuddle up with our dogs who are terrified of fireworks. Let's stay safe... don't use dangerous illegal firecrackers and don't shoot guns in the air. And remember:

Always thank God Almighty for His blessings and Love your neighbors.

I wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous 2010!

By the way, the start of the Biblical New Year is the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) which every Christian should also celebrate. 

Edit 10/7/2011: As true Christians,  I now believe that we should have no more part in the observance of the modern Roman-calendar New Year celebrations (and any other non-Biblical celebrations the world observes). The Bible teaches that the true New Year is on the first month (Abib) of the Hebrew calendar and the Spiritual New Year (Spiritual renewing) is on the seventh month (Ethanim) of the Hebrew calendar.



Our food is killing us!

I spend hours in the supermarket, more than any other person I know. It's not that I just like hanging out in the air conditioned mall - it's because I read product labels carefully. I also observe the buying habits of Filipinos. I noticed that the majority never bother knowing what they are ingesting. They just buy what's cheap and tastes good. People don't know that whatever their ailments are, it probably came from the food they ate. Lifestyle diseases like cancer and diabetes are very prevalent these days, so much more than in our grandparent's time. The popularity of fast food, instant snacks and the like are causing people to eat bad things. Among the things most Filipinos buy that's not good for them: instant noodles(has many artificial ingredients), polished rice, refined sugar, canned or processed meats, pork products, artificial drinks  - all are cheap and in good supply. Even cosmetics and lotions are not spared, most contain harmful substances too.

Did you know that some food additives that were banned elsewhere are being sold with our food? For example BHA, which was banned in other countries, yet I found this in margarines, cheese hotdogs, and many other items. Then there's Sodium Nitrite, this is linked to cancer yet it's in the hotdogs and canned meats kids love. There are many more such things including BHT, MSG (locally known as vetsin), and artificial sweeteners like saccharin, acesulfame-k, aspartame, - too many to list everything here. Some of these artificial sweeteners are actually claiming to be healthy substitutes!

Most doctors are not much help in the area of advising  people what to eat. I've seen many doctors and most lack knowledge when it comes to nutrition. I knew one that even said smoking was good for you :-( And another that said that these poisons won't affect you when taken in small quantities! Then there are conflicting studies that say they are harmless. Come on, who can predict each individual's body tolerance? Why do we gamble with people's health just to make a buck? Are we to wait until we have a terrible disease before we act?

If we read our Bibles, you will notice that God even advises us what to eat and not to eat (also Deut 8:8). And these do not include artificial and chemical ingredients. Some would debate that these verses are obsolete because Jesus "cleaned" all food - Read your Bible friends - God never takes back any fact he says. The error comes from an out-of-context reading of Acts:11 and Mark 7:19 . Anyway, the point is, let us be responsible (even religious) in what we consume. More so with what we feed our children. I can't blame people for buying these things specially because of the economic difficulties (since healthy food tends to be much more costly), but we must stop and think - what's more expensive? eat the right foods now or be hospitalized (or dead) later?

Further reading from CNN
also here 

Excuse the bad pic it was taken in the supermarket :-)