Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lumia 1020 Revisited

Just to revisit the keynote presentation.


This is so cool!

Friday, July 12, 2013


41 Million points. Far away, zoom in close. Manual control. Anti-shake.

Shut up and take my money already will you!

I know how you feel Marc of Pureview Club. Thanks for the excellent preview/review.

Source: MyNokiaBlog

Monday, July 01, 2013

Microsoft Surface Pro

Source: Hardware Zone
I had been eyeing the titular gadget ever since Microsoft Designer Panos Panay click the accompanying keyboard audibly during their keynote presentation and bravely dropped the device deliberately on stage. It was obviously a carpeted floor, but nonetheless we have yet to see witness the same at an Apple keynote.
Microsoft Keynote 2012. Source: The Verge YouTube channel

Ok, the original keynote showed the RT version, but it is not too far off from the Pro version.

Fast forward 8 months to today, I am now posting this on my very own Surface Pro.

The Surface Pro is a strange animal indeed that has everyone confused. Never mind the RT version.

For all intent and purposes, it is basically a Windows Ultrabook without a keyboard. Compared to a lot of ultrabooks out there, the Surface is smaller but blocky. It is thicker than an iPad decked out in a cover but weighs the same. Compared to my 11" MacBook Air, it is noticeably lighter.

This is not a review as it would probably take me a week to write that! So just some quick impressions.

Why did I buy it?
It was purely an impulse purchase, I just had to have it. Thankfully it took a long time to launch in Singapore, so it was impulse shopping in slow motion, plenty of time to save up.

The biggest draw was the Wacom digitizer built in. For this price, there were only a few device with a Pen bundled in. Samsung was disappointing with their sorry excuse of S Pen in the Ativ series. The best was actually Sony with their 11" Vaio Duo, but it turns out the stylus needs a AAA battery at almost twice the cost!

Second reason is I can run EA Games' Command and Conquer Tiberium Wars in Full HD.

How does it handle?
It is a challenge initially as holding it is quite different from the traditional laptop form. You can't really put it on your lap and type, say, a post like this easily. The kickstand doesn't work on your lap unless you fold the optional keyboard back as support. Or lie it flat if you have ample lap like I do. In the end I just used it in full tablet form pecking on the virtual keyboard, which is surprisingly accurate, comfortable and easy to use, even better than the iPad.

The pen is quite similar to that from a Wacom tablet, but the very smooth glossy screen gives no traction to the tip so it does not have a semblance of writing on paper. Note that you must use the updated interim driver from Wacom in order to get the full pressure sensitivity capability. Original Wacom tablet pens DO NOT work on the Surface, but it is compatible with those from Samsung's galaxy of  pen enabled tablets or Wacom's Bamboo Stylus Feel range.

The screen is gorgeous for photos and even HD movies which plays smoothly. But the desktop looks painfully small unless it is scaled to 150%, then some programs looks fuzzy. The Modern interface works well with the screen, but the desktop interface is obviously painful to use on a sub 11' high definition screen

That being said, the Surface is fast being coming a favourite with digital artists, even a few preferring it over a Cintiq!
Source: Mike Krahulik YouTube

As I mentioned before, the Surface can run a full Windows game, although it does make the fans run at full speed, a barely audible whine. Just don't expect to run Crysis.

There are tons of reviews on the machine, here are 2 that I feel are more balanced.
Source: Michael Henkelman YouTube

Mr Henkelman talks about serious programming work and gaming on the Surface.

Next is from Marc Weber Tobias of Forbes. He presents a short clear summary of should you or not own a Surface.

The Achilles Heel for the Surface is the battery life, you cannot be without an adapter or stray too far from a power point. A point of note to Microsoft, the magnetic power connector needs work still, it does not snap easily into place like Apple's Mag Safe connector.

I started this post using the Surface, but completed it on my desktop as it is still far more comfortable using a large screen and keyboard. But it could have been totally written on the Surface with all the cut and paste of videos and images.

Is it for you?

I would say it is a qualified "No". It is a well constructed machine and looks good, but my negative is due to 2 major consideration.

Firstly, you must be able to break away from the traditional concept of a laptop, otherwise the Surface will frustrate you to no end, not to mention the schizophrenic Windows 8.

Secondly the launch of Intel's 4 generation iCore CPUs would like mean a refresh is not too far off. The advantage those battery friendly CPUs could very well mean almost double the battery life. So a definite no unless you are a gadget collector.

In the meantime, I heart my Surface.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Hello Peekers.

It has been a long time since my last post. Nothing like Apple to bring me to the keyboard, in the middle of the night no less.

iOS 7.

I am first to say I like the new OS especially the lack of fake green felt, and for the first time also I might just switch to iPhone, maaaaybe.

But being rather discombobulated by lack of sleep, I have to do a rant.


Innovation my ass. Some of the functions have been on my old N9 phone from 2 years back. Tons done by others for over a year. Jolla being the latest plagiarized victim and they have not even launch commercially yet.

To be fair to Apple, they have refined all the elements and tied them up with a nice neat pretty bow. Still, a copy cat nonetheless.

Short rant over

I do declare however, I really enjoyed the Deforstallization of the Apple interface.

Thank you Sir Ive


Engadget hands on review of the Jolla Sailfish OS demo. The possible draw would be that Android apps runs native on this OS. Looks familiar Apple?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


Disclaimer: This is simply my opinion, emphasis on opinion. So please read and move on.

The hottest water cooler talk in the country centers around 2 digits and a decimal point. It is quite a blow, if you get the pun, to a lot of people but the thought behind it is not quite as mutual.

Speaking of bad puns. Here is a little snippet from our national paper.

Train capacity into the Central Business District during the busiest hour in the morning is expected rise to 70 per cent in five years' time, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew on Tuesday.
And with ridership unlikely to increase by the same magnitude, Mr Lui said it would likely lead to a less crowded ride.

On the surface it seems reassuring, but here is the point related to the post title.

The statement would seem to say, yes capacity will increase, but the load will unlikely rise by the SAME magnitude. Now, it is true that parallel increases would be unlikely, but question is will the change be simply a difference of 5 per cent? The load may also increase to 80 percent and the statement would fundamentally be still correct.

Therefore the conclusion that rides would be less crowded is likely to be as unlikely as the tandem increases in population and capacity.

I just re-read the clip and realized I missed a small detail. Emphasis mine

Train capacity into the Central Business District during the busiest hour in the morning is expected rise to 70 per cent

Firstly I cannot quite understand it after reading a few times. Is there a grammatical error or typo?

Secondly, if read as "expected (to) rise to 70 percent", that would be a horrible projection or reflection of reality. Pity the 30 percent who will never get to board any train during that period.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

San Francisco 2012

One of the many things happening in 2012. I had the fortune to attend a training course in San Francisco, so naturally one would find a little time for a detour.

This next picture might not be interesting in itself, but could it be Marty or Doc attempting a temporal transition?

Napa Valley - Wine country

Fisherman's Wharf

Early morning on the way for training.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Day by the Gardens

So lucky to have a "me-day", spent a couple of hours at the Garden with the trusty 808


Enjoy this. If your machine can handle it, watch it in the original 4K resolution.
Video by Jacob Schwarz
Music by Tony Anderson

Source: The Verge

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hello World

Its been two months since I last posted. So much has gone on in the mean time and the world, despite dire prediction, is still pretty much around but not necessarily in a good state.

So just throwing a few cents worth of thought around.

About the famous 21 December date, didn't it occur to those believers that the Mayan calendar might have ended because after carving a few hundred years worth of calendar, the poor dude might just give up or suffer from a severe case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

World Economy, Fiscal Cliff and Recession. Best explained by Wiley Miller

Climate change still doesn't exist for some people.
The New York Times: Heat, Flood or Icy Cold, Extreme Weather Rages Worldwide

So will it be a Happy 2013? I certainly hope so for everyone.

And welcome back to my little corner.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lumia my day

The icing on the cake for the day was spotting this on my regular walkabout.
Taken with Nokia 808
Yes fellow Red-Dotters! The enormous, mindbogglingly heavy Lumia 920 are up for preview. They are estimated to arrive for sale in the first week of December.

I had the opportunity to hold one. The Nokia Rep had his personal unit and was willing to let customers hold it. Stupidly I actually asked why was he allowed to get one before the rest. Green was my colour.

The Windows OS navigation is a bit of a learning curve, but nothing too difficult.

I tried the camera of course, it is quite responsive and the Optical Stabilisation seem to work quite well. The camera settings are far less sophisticated than the 808 and works more in an Auto mode.

One quirk though. The 920 NFC doesn't connect well to the N9 and 808. I could not transfer photos as seamlessly as between the 808 and N9, but Bluetooth transfer works well manually.

Now comes the complaint of so many tech reviewers, that the 920 is too heavy.
My first immediate impression was: It is very comfortable to hold and feels like it will stay without taking wings to a concrete oblivion. This is based on holding a tethered display set.

Now while holding the Rep's personal phone, I had no issue with the weight. Perhaps the various reviewers was like the lady who asked to try my 808 and found it heavy.

Nonetheless, after actually holding the phone and I felt I had to respond in particularly to one review.

Warning: Mild Profanity 

Dear Mr Sam Biddle

The following is my opinion of your review in Gizmodo of the Lumia 920.

This phone is not fucking way way too HEAVY. There was no visceral instant repulsion nor do I feel exasperated  holding it. My hand have not been deformed in anyway bearing it's supposedly incredible weight. I have to inform you that I am very very mortal nor have I been exposed to comical amount of gamma radiation and it fits quite nicely in my hands and fingers.

You Sir, are either lying about your experience or suffering from a disability. If the latter, I offer my apologies and sympathy. Otherwise, you are a Princess moaning about a fucking pea.

Glad to know that you won't be in the way for the rest of us mortals to owning this beautifully designed work of art.

Good Day

Started the day early and the sky was grey and gloomy, but it was still a good day.

Don't know if this is the effects of climate change, but the recent cycling of heavy rain and bright sun shine might have confused some plants. It is beautiful though.

It is always good to be able to sit down and have tea and cakes in comfort. Such a privilege.
Under estimated the lighting and picked iso 800. Takes quite an effort to make picture more palatable, no wonder Instagram is such a hit. Instagram lookalike done with Lightroom Preset.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blue Skies

Nice to have blue skies after days of afternoon showers.

Missed catching the moon in the first picture being on a moving bus. Otherwise I think it would have been better with the Art Decor look of the tower.

PureView 808 and cooked with Lightroom

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pure Cat

Obligatory cat picture. They are the natural, sometimes unwilling subject for quick draw snapshots.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It Ain't Heavy, It's My Phone

It has been a while since I posted anything because I simply couldn't not summon up enough brain cells to work out a sentence, let alone a whole paragraph. However this little comment by one Sam Biddle of Gizmodo energized me enough into action.

Sam is the opposite of Joshua Topolsky's overly sunny reviews of anything Apple. He is overly critical of anything not Apple.

OK, that comment is totally based on hearsay and a single reading of one of his work, so to be fair, one should read more of his work.

But I am not in a fair mood.

The offending article is titled Lumia 920 Review: Just Too Damn Heavy. Below is an excerpt where dear Sammy dedicated 3 paragraphs to what amounts to a group of skinny girls doing a body check at the beach.
Tragic Flaw
It's just too heavy.
The Lumia 920 weighs almost half a pound. It clocks in at just under than 90 grams less the iPad Mini. A tablet. It weighs more than the Galaxy Note II and the Titan. No, really. It's uncomfortable enough to be disqualified from serious consideration.
It's just too heavy. Inexcusably heavy. Way, way too heavy to recommend to anyone. The 920 isn't just big—the HTC Titan was big, and it was pretty great. The 920 is bloated, cumbersome. Anyone's first response will be "Ugh, God, this thing is heavy." It's a visceral, instant repulsion, and it doesn't get any less heavy, as if through some polycarbonate osmosis. It's just as galling every time you take it out of your pocket—stretched within a micron of its life—and that isn't the kind of feeling you want to have with an object you're going to be using all day every day.
Our gadgets should be comfortable. They should be made for our hands and fingers. The 920 was perhaps made for hands and fingers, but not of any mortal. Not any of us. Maybe Nokia figured that bigger means better means more things sold means Windows Phone 8 succeeds. Maybe Nokia just couldn't figure out a way to make it skinny. But we haven't just been spoiled by the impossibly slight iPhone 5—the 920 is a design failure all by itself. Everything good about it is nullified by its obesity.


Paragraph 2 is basically one long "Your Momma is so heavy" joke and good old Sammy practically ends with a "Girl you so fat, there ain't nothin' you can do to be good." (I have been watching too much US TV shows sorry!)

Just how heavy is the Lumia 920? It weighs in at 185 grams, just a mere 5 more than the Galaxy Note 2 to warrant a disqualification. Or as Sam noted, 90 grams lighter than a iPad Mini. So while weight distribution would change the feel on the hand, something that is 90 grams lighter is "inexcusably" heavier and "instantly repulsive"?

My Nokia 808 is 169 grams, just 16 less than the Lumia, but I have yet to suffer any wardrobe malfunction while carrying it together with the N9 and a key pouch in one trouser pocket.

Sadly Sam Biddle is not the only writer with such sentiments, but he takes the cake with his vehemence.

This YouTube video is kind of how I might respond if I wasn't a shy person.
Warning! Heavily laced with profanities. You have been warned!

Presenting GeneralTheDestroyer. One American who loves his Nokia.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lumia versus the Aluminium King

You know how the saying goes: Hindsight is 20/20.

The latest gift bestowed by the Temple of Cupertino has the internet buzzing till now. From the Lost World  Apple Maps to Scuffgate, more carbon has been emitted from the internet verbal sparring and in the meantime at least 5 million wallets have been raided.

I had to have a look at this latest wonder, that bestest phone EVER.

It is a lightweight smartphone. No no, not in terms of functionality, it is still the same iOS device that fans love and adore. It is light, so light that I would have thought it was a dummy phone if the screen wasn't on. Definitely an engineering feat to lower the weight that significantly. My complaint would be it is a little too light for my clumsy hands, without the weight feedback, I might drop it.

In any case, pardon the pun, my firm belief is that iOS devices should not be carried naked, with its very sensitive skin. So the irony or perhaps deliberate design is that the lighter scratchable phone will be wrapped up, becoming the thicker bulk than it is designed to be. All that lovely detailing, the shiny bevel by Jonny-boy will  remain unseen. (Incidentally that bevel took quite some scrutinising before I could see it). No wonder iPhones comes in only 2 colours, how kind of them to accommodate for the accessories market.

Now the part about Hindsight 20/20.

Nokia was eager to showcase their Lumia phones before Apple, but unfortunately ended with up a PR nightmare. What was to be their key camera feature is now tainted as fake. As it turns out, all they needed was to put a disclaimer that the effect was simulated then people will at least not hot stamp a huge FAIL across their name.

Gradually it seems they have won some of the media over the real strength of the technology, Endgadget for one, posted a comparison between Lumia 920 and iPhone 5.

Here is the video

All this in mind Nokia perhaps need not have rushed the presentation, after all, there is no stopping the money from flying to Cupertino. 5 million iPhones will still be sold even if ALL phone makers launched their phones on the same day featuring perfect Maps. The iOS base is just that strong.

Perhaps if Nokia presented their Drive/Navigation after everyone was introduced to Apple's Lost World Maps, they might get quite a sympathetic nod. Their setup is quite practical and solid, no need for fancy flyovers.

And the Pureview OIS, instead of pretending the Girl on the Bike was real, they could have said stated that type of stability was desired. Key to marketing is perhaps making users realise how much they NEED to have OIS then offer it in a nicely packaged Lumia 920. The limited prototypes they had would be enough to intrigue all the media/tech geeks at the event.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hot Chili - Sweet ending

Had a bit of a surprise with this dessert being not a fan of deep fried sweet fritters. The difficulty I have is most are heavy with oil and sweetness.  XiaoLaJiao's Pumpkin Pancake is made with whole piece pumpkin filled with lotus paste. There is no doughy armor around the pumpkin, just a sesame coat, and the lotus paste is smooth but not too sweet. The problem with that is it might not be sweet enough for some.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hot Chili

Revisiting some old pictures taken with the Ricoh.

If you like fiery stuff and have the stomach for it, you can try XiaoLaJiao.

The Chicken Feet salad looks innocent, but it can be quite fiery compared to the local/Thai version.

Fried Rice is like a balm for sore tongue or the weak stomached.

This fish soup is tangy, can be spicy if requested, definitely stimulate your appetite.


Up or down

Which way?

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