Monday, October 23, 2017

GT SPORT: First ride

With the latest Gran Turismo made its debut on the PS4, looks like I am now back to the writing board to talk about the cars of this newest title and how do they impress me not just by their looks but by how they react or feel on the track. First up, let's look at the car I obtained on my first day of gameplay with GT SPORT.

20171017160830

Sorry, a little dark with this picture but bear with me folks because this is the car I got on my first day of GT SPORT gameplay. It's the Audi TTS, a semi-high performance variant of the third-generation Audi TT.

What is it then? The TT S is powered by a 2.0L TFSi petrol engine that produces 310PS of power output while mated with a choice of either a a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed flappy paddle that can do 0-100kph in 4.6 seconds and top speed limited to 250kph. Apart from the power, the third generation TT S utilizes the MQB platform from every VW Group vehicles of today and because of the next-generation Audi Space Frame, it's surprisingly lighter than the previous TT S model, and with Audi's signature quattro permanent all-wheel drive, it's capable through different road conditions, be it rain or shine.

20171017160844

It's quite surprising that everyone who's starting GT SPORT for the first time get their hands on this but let's not get too exciting because this car can get bitey because of its understeering nature. Despite this, the Audi TT S is a nice starting point for those who want to sample the twists and turns of the tracks offered on GT SPORT. It can be mild and tangy but it's a start of many things to come in GT SPORT.

So, care to see what I did with this on the Tokyo highways? Let's roll the tape and thank goodness, I made my first GT SPORT clip for this post.



20171017160857

Mild as I said but the TT S knows how to impress a beginner before setting off to check out some more cars and tracks offered in-game. Needless to say, before you head off to the big leagues, why not take some time to discover the cars and tracks in GT SPORT?  There's so much to discover before getting ready for the race of your lives so take your time before you raise a hand for a challenge.

20 Years of Gran Turismo

The arrival of GT SPORT is more than just welcoming the PS4 era of the hit racing simulation franchise but it's here for one major purpose; to celebrate 20 years of Gran Turismo. So, to commemorate Gran Turismo's two-decade anniversary since the first one was launch, let's take a moment to discover twenty years of Gran Turismo.


Of course, you could say that in GT SPORT, there's a history lesson dedicated to the longest-running racing simulation franchise in video game history that you can access it on the Museum section at the Gran Turismo brand via Brand Central. But for those who never got the game or a PS4, here's the history lesson that sums it up in-game.

















Here's for twenty years of GRAN TURISMO, and if you're ready for the biggest race of your lives, pick up GT SPORT, now available exclusively for the PlayStation4.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Eat Bulaga presents Love Is...

October is what is known to be the best month for AlDub Nations. Two years ago, the world witnessed the phenomenal love team in the world's biggest indoor arena for the Sa Tamang Panahon concert. Then last year, the world witnessed the Kalyeserye wedding. Now, for 2017, the phenomenal love team has in store for them with an Eat Bulaga TV special titled Love Is...


Photo: Official EB Facebook Page

Before we got into AlDub's latest offering for the whole world to see, first, the Broadway Boys are performing The Eagles' greatest hits and after that weekly session with the Broadway Boys, some Barangay Jokes and Sugod Bahay segments, and it's the big one. It's the event special that was directed by Adolf Alix Jr.

Love Is... centers on the story of a young woman named Vi (played by Maine Mendoza) who is ready to marry a man named Marco (played by Alden Richards). Before the planned wedding, Vi had a fortunate life until all her luck just ran out when her father is suffering from a life-threatening disease but even worse, she had fell from the scam.

As tragedy slowly eating her life around, Vi is suffering from depression and unaware of her life-threatening situation, only Marco can truly understand the situation and set her free from the sadness lurking around her.

This special taught us a valuable lesson about depression while it fills the blank of what love really is. Still, with this special, it's the definitive point that AlDub is here to stay, no matter what happens to them.

Hope you folks enjoyed the TV special, and congratulations for Mr. and Mrs. Ernesto Montaniel for the successful wedding!

Let's Do The News! (October 21, 2017)



- The Malacanang Palace accused the IPU of bulling for its plan to send an observer here to monitor the trial of Senator Leila de Lima, who is a staunch opponent to the Duterte administration,

- The DNA results conducted by the military confirmed that the country's most wanted militant Isnilon Hapilon is killed during a gunfight earlier in the week.

- The government troops have yet to find the body of the supposed killed Malaysian terrorist involved in the Marawi siege, Mahmud Ahmad, even though they've announced that one of the ISIS-linked militants is shot dead.

- The US Congress is set to stabilize the Affordable Care Act with a bipartisan bill in response to the Trump administration's cannibalization of the said healthcare law this past week.

- In Game 4 of the 2017 PBA Governor's Cup Finals, the Meralco Bolts win again after defeating Brgy. Ginebra at the score of 85-83, tying the series to two wins each.

- In case you missed it, The Loud House series creator Chris Savino was officially sacked by Nickelodeon due to sexual harassment charges against him. Following his ouster, one of his accusers revealed that Savino allegedly offered animation work in exchange for sexual favors.

- Sophie Okonedo, Brian Gleeson, and Alistair Petrie are the latest celebrities joining the cast for the Hellboy movie reboot.

TTFN!!!

Fifth Generation Lexus LS

When Toyota first introduced the Lexus brand in 1989, the LS is one of the first Lexus models ever offered and after almost three decades and four generations later, the arrival of the all-new, fifth generation Lexus LS is spicing the battle of premium sedans with its new powertrain, new chassis, new look, and new technology that shows that this is still the car that put Japan in the luxury car map dominated by the Germans.

2018 Lexus LS
With prices start from 9,800,000 to 16,800,000 Japanese Yen, the new LS remains the most expensive Lexus to buy, unless if you are a business tycoon selling real estate or a member of the Diet, but on the upside, it's less expensive than the BMW 7-Series, so it's a hard bargain. But what do you get for your buck? First, comes the exterior and in tradition of making Lexus models scarier than the the predator from AVP, this is the most terrifying and judging by its monstrous Spindle Grille, Z-shaped headlamps, and the new LC-inspired rear lamps, the new LS is as sexy and as terrifying as a poison ivy on the comic book convention or dinner with the Bakers.

2018 Lexus LS interior
2018 Lexus LS interior

On the inside, the new LS boasts the perfect level of luxuriousness and craziness. Take this dashboard for instance, it looks like the air conditioning vents have been stretched throughout the entire dashboard and that's one way of saying "our cars look as crazy as hell and we are proud of it." Just as we thought that the new LS's interior is reminiscent of the old S-Class, instead, it's too wild to be a proper gentleman's saloon car for work or for trips to the country club and with the LFA-styled instrumental panel, life couldn't get even madder than this. On the plus note, the trim and the seats feels like it's fresh from the IKEA catalog while it smells like it's fresh out from the Tokyo museum and on the rear passenger seats, features such as the rear-seat entertainment system, 22-way rear power seats, and a seat massager, brings out that "out on the limo" feeling when you step out from the LS and show everyone that you have spent so much hours inside the car, you forgot to do what you're supposed to do, like bringing your sisters to their favorite fast food joint.

2018 Lexus LS

Like the Lexus LC coupe a while back, the new LS utilizes the GA-L platform and coupled with reworked dynamics, it's now longer, wider, and lower than the previous model it replaces, therefore it's becoming more rewarding than ever. Let's see what the Bethnal Green mob has to say when they drive one of these. Anyway, Bethnal Green mob aside, the powerplants are what you call revolting, starting with the petrol variant. The old model's V8 engine has been sadly thrown away to the great junkyard in the sky and in place lies the all-new 3.5L V6 Twin Turbo (V35A-FTS) engine mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox. The V35A-FTS engine produces 422PS of power, 600Nm of torque and 10.2km/L of fuel efficiency, that performance is a kaiju in the making and when equipped with all-wheel drive, it almost feels like a Nissan GT-R but with Mr. Jolson on the back, smoking his Cuban cigar.

On the hybrid note, the old model's V8 powerplant's also replaced with the 8GR-FXS 3.5L V6 engine with two electric motors and lithium-ion battery. This is the Multi Stage Hybrid, and like the LC, this thing keeps the planetary-type continuously variable transmission from Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive and also adds a unique four-speed automatic transmission and that doesn't stop here because when engaging in M mode, the two gearsets act together to provide the effect of 10 gears. Combined power output is about 359PS while fuel efficiency by JC08 Mode standards is by about 16.4km/L.

Performance aside, the new LS features a high caliber of passive safety for occupant protection in collisions as well as the brand's Lexus Safety System + and Advanced Safety Package, featuring the world's first system with Intuitive Pedestrian Detection with Active Steering within the lane. When it spots a pedestrian, not only it can automatically brake by itself, it can even steer around while staying in the lane. Now that's science stuff.

So, what's my thoughts with the new LS? Well, while the design will most likely to appeal the Jolson crime family in the streets of London, the interior boasts the same level of luxuriousness as the Europeans with reflections of Japanese art in mind. On the performance side, the turbocharged variant doesn't sound as lively as the old one but it can almost behave like the Nissan GT-R when equipped with all-wheel drive. As for the hybrid, however, it's not what you called enjoyable but for daily use, it can rather do the job nicely than the Honda Legend. Above all, the new LS is a revolting revolution to show the opposition what it's capable of.

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

Second Generation Nissan Leaf (ZE1)

Since its inception in 2010, the Nissan Leaf served as the wake-up call for the world to give up petrol and diesel vehicles and instead drive zero-emission vehicles that runs solely on electricity. For seven years, more and more people are driving Nissan Leafs (Leaves? Is it correct?) on the road and while many car companies are drawing inspired from the Leaf, mostly Tesla, rest assured that the Leaf has a strong following in the motoring industry and with the advent of the second generation Leaf, the future of motoring has finally arrived thanks to applied science and some added range to keep it going.

2018 Nissan Leaf
Before talking about how much improvement the all-new, second-generation Nissan Leaf gained after seven years of advent, let's observe how much the design has gained and for the new model, it's a complete looker compared to the previous model. For starters, Nissan draws its inspiration from the IDS Concept so the new Leaf will look just like the concept car it was based upon and that is a plus one for Nissan there, making production cars look like concept cars.

2018 Nissan Leaf interior
2018 Nissan Leaf interior
Apart from the stylish exterior, which looks sexy for EV compact standards, the interior is now surprisingly accessible for both driver and passenger in mind. Of course, the climate controls look like it came from the old model, the dashboard now behaves like a normal Nissan. Also, it's got a proper instrumental panel, it's got a steering wheel inspired from the Nissan GT-R, it's got Apple CarPlay compatibility, up to 435 litres of boot space, BOSE Energy Efficient sound system, seating for five, everything. With so many amenities, the new Leaf is surprisingly accommodating indeed for an electric car fit for everyday use.

2018 Nissan Leaf

Now is the time to talk about how much improvement the Leaf has gained after seven years and let's start with the performance. The electric powertrain has now been improved with better efficiency and slightly improved performance so that now, it produces 110kw of power and 320Nm of torque, resulting to a better accelerating electric car without all the drama intended. With the new e-powertrain and the li-ion battery, the driving range has gone up to 400km (JC08 Mode) on a single charge. That's just the start of the story because soon, Nissan will offer a high-power version with added range and power it can be as interesting as cars can get.

Apart from the improved electric drivetrain, the all-new Leaf features three new intelligent driving technologies. First, there is the ProPILOT as seen in today's Serena and X-TRAIL, which is used during single-lane driving on the highway. Then, there's the new ProPILOT Park, which makes the car park all by itself. Simple but scary at the same time. And finally, for a first in a production car, the new Leaf comes with the world's first e-Pedal, which allows drivers to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop in one pedal and you can have it turn it on or off. Why? Driving conventionally may not be the best but this is why we love driving our cars.

There's more to it than driving the new Leaf because in an event of power outage due to natural calamities, aging power grids, and now computer hacking, the Li-ion battery from the Nissan Leaf can be served as a backup generator courtesy of its Vehicle-to-Grid technology. Think about it, when brownout strikes, the car's battery can be used to power up the entire home and when the lights are back, it goes back into charging. How convenient is that? That's science done right and how come Tesla never done with that kind of gig to turn their cars into backup generators for home use?

The all-new Nissan Leaf starts at 3,150,360 Japanese Yen and it qualifies for the government's tax break so buying one shouldn't be a hassle. So, the conclusion; although the new Leaf isn't one of the most enjoyable cars of the market, this is the electric car of many uses. Not only it has more oomph than the previous model but its cutting-edge technology made it proof that the future of mobility really is now thanks to science and apart from driving, the Leaf serves as a backup generator for home in case of a blackout due to calamities, aging grids, and computer hacking. Nothing says being prepared than being extra prepared with this one. It really is "simply amazing."

Photo: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Friday, October 20, 2017

GT SPORT

After years of waiting, Gran Turismo has arrived on the PS4 for the first time but this is not the Gran Turismo you thought it was because for their first offering on the PS4, Polyphony Digital has introduced GT SPORT, the latest installment of the PS4 that will set the new standards in this new age when playing video games became a competitive sport.

GT SPORT

First and foremost, what is GT SPORT? When you first play it, it can be easily criticized for not being a proper Gran Turismo game because what you get on your first try are a small selection of tracks, a small selection of cars (including those that will be GT-exclusive like the Lexus LC500, the BMW i3, and the latest Mazda Atenza), and that pretty much it. Oh and did I say that this is the first Gran Turismo game to feature Porsche? Yes. Porsche. Now that every racing game in the world has one, GT SPORT features a selection of Porsches like the 911 GT3 RS, the 919 Hybrid, the 911 RSR, and the Cayman GT4 Clubsport so you have plenty of reasons to pick one and try.

Each car is divided into separate groups, from N-Class road cars to Group X racecars, each class is represented in each and every way and when there are races that requires you to drive a specific class of vehicle, be sure to take note which of the right car you should drive on the next race.

Of course, most of the cars can be attainable by in-game credits, the new rewards system makes buying them a thing in the past. All you have to do is to complete your daily workout or achieving specific conditions in Driving School, Track Experience, and Mission Challenges and you will randomly get a dream car for use in-game. With rewards like these, feels like you don't even need to buy one at all. It can be convenient but worthless at the same time. When you're not buying cars, the Brand Central features a museum where you can read through every manufacturers' timeline, visit their official websites or official YouTube channel, and more. It almost feels like it's your new favorite library.

With tracks and cars are a major letdown, what are the most redeeming features in GT SPORT? Hmmm... how about Photo Mode? Sure, you can take pictures of your favorite cars during replays but GT SPORT comes with the Scapes mode where you can take pictures of your favorite car through different locations from across the globe and then share it to the world. You can even bring up to three cars for a photoshoot and that makes for a travel-bugging experience, although the final result can be somewhat different because when you share a picture online, it ended up dark, that is in the case of non-4K TVs because with the 4K TV set, which is highly recommended to bring out the lively detailing of its graphics, you can clearly see the whole picture. Either way, taking pics in GT SPORT is a lot more enjoyable than racing.

With esports becoming more and more prevalent in today's world, GT SPORT introduces a fair way for online competitions and that is the Driver Rating System, which represents a player's overall speed while the Sportsmanship Rating shows how good and bad their racing behavior is. This is very important and with Gran Turismo's partnership with the FIA, this is racing for real now.

Because of the FIA partnership, players who are brave enough to be the best GT SPORT drivers can sign themselves up for the FIA Championship in two distinct series - the Nations Cup of the Manufacturers Cup. You can either represent your home team or be an honorary spokesperson for your favorite car manufacturer but above all, your skill will put you a chance to be part of the world championships so good luck to all the brave drivers taking part of this new kind of challenge.

For the first time in Gran Turismo history, the long-awaited Livery Editor has arrived and players have been given creativity to create designs for their favorite car. I know it's nice to have a feature to design our favorite cars but sadly, it's a lot trickier and difficult than we expected but to ease the pain of making designs, the producers will add the Decal Uploader very soon, where players can turn their favorite images into decals for use in-game, and when it happens, the Livery Editor will become the most redeeming GT SPORT feature yet but in the meantime, let's make do with the hassling bits.

So, the verdict on GT SPORT. How was it? Well, despite the short list of cars and tracks, the photo mode, scapes, and livery editor are one of the most rewarding features in the game, although the livery part is the most difficult bit until the Decal Uploader's arrived to make it very enjoyable for all. What's more important in GT SPORT is the esports and with the FIA partnership, it's not just the skill of the drivers are tested, it's the behavior and because this is all about "racing for real" rather than "racing for fun", GT SPORT really means business and the time for lollygagging is over. It's time for a serious racing game for the most serious of racing drivers and GT SPORT might be the one.

This is the last Australian-made car in history

A moment of silence, ladies and gentlemen, because what you're looking at is the last Australian-made car in history as Holden rolled off the last VF Series II Commodore off the Elizabeth production line, signalling the definitive end to Australian car manufacturing.

The last Holden

A thousand workers past and present have been gathered at the plant to witness the last Australian-made car in history, a red V8-powered Holden Commodore, at a private ceremony held at about 1045 hours local time.

This signals the end of Holden's almost seven decades of local manufacturing and almost a century of Australian car manufacturing. Since the FX of 1948, about 7,687,675 Holdens were produced within the last 69 years, that's more than Ford's 5.9 million production figures and Toyota's 3.4 million, both of which closed their Australian factories within the past year

Before the last Holden Commodore saloon rolled off the Elizabeth line, Holden has rolled off the last Commodore ute, the last Commodore wagon, and the last Caprice luxury car. All of these cars will be kept by Holden as museum pieces.

In Holden's near seven decade history, the fastest selling Holden of all time is the HQ Kingswood from 1971-72, of which over 485,000 were built. The fastest selling Commodore of all time is the VT model from 1997 to 1999, with over 303,000 built. In its prime, Holden has employed 23,914 workers across seven factories in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia in 1964. The number of factory workers in Elizabeth in the lead-up in the final day was 945.

Despite the factory shutdown, General Motors Holden's is pleased that 85% of their employees have either found new jobs or are training for a new career as it thanked "the partnership and assistance of the state and federal governments, along with the unions, over many years" according to their statement.

Holden will continue to sell new vehicles after the factory shutdown but the models will be sourced from across America, Europe, and Asia, including their next Commodore which is now based on the second-generation Opel/Vauxhall Insignia lineup.


Thank you Australia for all the best cars ever made and the best people behind those wonderful cars. Even though the Aussies have stopped making cars, they will remain the beating heart of Australian motoring for many years to come.

Photo: Holden

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: State commission recommends resuming construction of reactors



A state commission recommended resuming the construction of two reactors on Friday after months of heated debates about whether it is the right time to being weaning South Korea off nuclear energy.

The commission said 59.5% of 471 citizens and experts who took part in the debate voted in favor of completing the Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 reactors, while 40.5% sided with the president to remove the unfinished reactors for good.

Scrapping the project was one of President Moon Jae-in's campaign promises. However, after taking office, he decided to determine the reactors' fate according to public opinion and ordered the establishment of the independent commission charged with collecting public views and making a recommendation.

Construction is expected to resume next week as the government will accept whatever recommendation the commission makes. The government is expected to endorse the recommendation in a Cabinet meeting set for Tuesday.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (October 20, 2017)



- A group of international lawmakers are demanding the release of Senator Leila de Lima, stressing that her criminal case is a "response" to her "vocal opposition" to President Rodrigo Duterte.

- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to attend next month's ASEAN summit.

- Senator Antonio Trillanes IV states that he did not try to stop US President Donald Trump from visiting the Philippines next month. He confirmed this during his meeting with top US government officials.

- Self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa pleads not guilty before the Manila REgional Trial Court Branch in an illegal drug trading case.

- Four Disney World hotels are now allowing dogs.

- A certain photo of a high school student was rejected from the school's yearbook because he's holding a shotgun. Bonny Eagle High School senior Wade Gelinas says he wanted his picture to feature hunting because it is a family tradition.

- The second-generation Audi A7 Sportback has been officially unveiled and features the most cutting-edge driving assist technologies in a luxury car.

2018 Audi A7
- Mercedes-AMG says goodbye to the G-Wagen with the G65 Final Edition, which is limited to 65 units. The final edition comes with special 21-inch five-twin-spoke alloys covered in bronze, silver brake callipers, AMG Sport trim strips on the sides, matte bronze finish, and designo Exclusive interior package.

Mercedes-AMG G65 Final Edition

- Fernando Alonso will stay with the McLaren F1 team for 2018.

- Nissan suspends vehicle production in Japan due to inappropriate inspections misconduct.

- Hennessey Performance will unveil the Venom F5 at this year's SEMA Show.

TTFN!!!

Forza Motorsport 7: A Ute's End

General Motors Holden's is the last of the Australian car companies that remained producing some of the best cars in the Land Down Under and with production is coming to a complete end, this is the end of Australian car manufacturing as we know it but for the emotional, the one we will be missing the most when Australia stop making cars is none other than the ute and Holden is the last to make those cool-looking coupe utilities that became the trademark of Australian car manufacturing we all know and love.





Ever since the end of the Second World War, the birth of Australia's own car forever revolutionized the world of motoring and with a ute that bears the Holden marque on it, you'll know that it's truly the kind of vehicle the Aussies are proud of. Fast forward to this decade and the VF Commodore Ute became the harbinger of the end of this wonderful automotive genre that Ford started it all. Ford maybe introduced the ute to the Australian motoring public but Holden became the last to make one and what we have here are the alpha and omega of Holden's ute history. Once started with the FX and ended it with the VF.



What's so unique about the ute? Well, an Aussie ute combines the best cars in the world; a pickup truck, a sportscar, and a sedan, combined into one unique vehicle that was mostly adorned by the Aussies when Ford first introduced to them. You know, the Aussies aren't the ones who buck this trend, even the Americans did when they try a shot with their Chevrolet El Camino a few decades ago. It maybe made to pick up some stuff during work days but when it has a day off, the ute's starting to show its true self by showing its crazy sportscar dynamics, especially when it comes with big V8 power like this HSV GTS Maloo that I'm driving.



Take this workhorse round the track and it will be an instant track toy right off the bat. That's how unique the ute is, it's all work and all play. It can do 9 to 5 stuff on the weekdays while doing most of its free time on the weekends, especially racing stuff on road and on track and while it's sad to see the end of the ute, rest assured that this piece of Australian motoring history will never be forgotten.



To say goodbye to the Aussie ute, let's find out how much the ute progressed from beginning to end and to find out, let's pit between the FX Ute and the GEN-F GTS Maloo round Bathurst and see how much progress the ute has done through the years. Let's finish this!



And now the results...

FX Ute - 3:57.189
Maloo - 2:41.768

After almost a century, the progression rate of the Aussie ute from beginning to the end just took over a minute to do so! At least, this is evolution and this is how it all ends here.



Ah, the cars of Australia. Sure, the Aussies no longer made those but with cars like these, they remain the beating heart of the Australian motoring history and as we say goodbye to all-time greats like the Ford Falcon and the Holden Commodore, along with many other Aussie car greats in history, it's hard to fathom what comes next after the last of their factories shut down for good but rest assured, the rich history nine decades in the making will not be forgotten as long as they can put their pride to it.

To all the Aussies making great cars like Falcons and Commodores, I say thank you. It's been an honor to get to know about the Australian motoring industry and how it really means for Australia.

Until then, see you later, alligator!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Construction of diesel submarine spotted



US military intelligence has detected the construction of a diesel-powered submarine in North Korea's Sinpo shipyard on its east coast. According to Diplomat magazine, US intelligence estimates the sub to be a two thousand ton vessel capable of launching SLBMs.

The vessel is the largest the regime has constructed since building its Najin-class frigates. The US intelligence community believes the new sub will succeed the Gorae-class sub, the only sub that can launch a Pukguksong-1 SLBM.

North Korea has carried out four SLBM ejection tests last summer, with the last taking place on the 30th of July. US intelligence also believes the regim is currently developing a new SLBM which uses an advance airframe made of lighter composite materials that would increase the missile's range.

Amid increasing ballistic missile threats from the North, the US Sixth Fleet test fired one of its most advanced missile interceptors off the Scottish coast.

Source: Arirang News
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