Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why they are good.

When you see someone in action, you can tell they are good at what they do. The subject matter in this strange photo shoot is people, and the photographer is really good at interacting with the people, putting them at ease and allowing the best elements to emerge. Pretty fascinating to watch.

Thanks to DigitalRev TV and Chase Jarvis

Great quote from his blog

Thursday, December 22, 2011

HCM Fried Rice

Ah, the privilege  of good home cook meals.

And yes, that was all mine. How do you think I have the ring around my middle earth?

Canton Paradise

This is a new offering from the ever expanding Paradise Group, concentrating on Cantonese / Hong Kong flavours. As with most Chinese restaurants here, the culinary distinction is however not so clear cut, bits of other regions slip in, but the Cantonese style of cooking and flavouring is prominent. It is also located at one of the latest shopping malls 112 Katong.

The star of the meal is the Char Siew with Honey Glaze. This is made with Pork Belly and is tender without being overly fatty. The Chinese name for the dish literally translates as Fat Lady Char Siew, but the smallish portions is not likely to make you one, if you share!
Char Siew with Honey Glaze

About Blogger

Blogger has a cool tool if you are just curious about who reads your blog, but apparently the stats are a little too flattering. So when there is a spike in Pageviews, thinking how cool that is, you hop over to Traffic sources to see who is your new fan, STOP!

Don't click on the referring link.

A lot are Referral Spam sites apparently, they are NOT interested in you. Unless you are looking for a new porn link, don't click, don't look. For more information read this Blogger FAQ. Also the real deal on Blogger.

Excuse me while I go pick up my deflated ego.

True Geek

This really calls to the inner geek. Don't skip the cheesy version of the Christmas Carol either, it is a little funny who the ghosts are.

Follow after the jump, the video may cause browser to crash....mine did after a while. Still worth watching if you can get it running.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A clean slate

What is a slate in computing terms? This is Microsoft's term for this between-er class "PC", apparently to distinguish from the ubiquitous tablet from Apple. Basically it is a notebook without a keyboard, simple enough!
Or if you prefer the trendier Ultra-book. The King of "Ultra-book" to me is the 11 inch Macbook Air, the Net-book who didn't like to be called that!
Not another Tablet!

Tablets are becoming common, which  is good when stuck underground in stalled subways, but there are times when life is normal, you wish to have something more powerful to run programs that don't simply toss furious feathered creatures around.

This particular machine is a Samsung Slate. Nothing too remarkable as notebooks go by but definitely in the middle to high range of portables, clearly reflected in the pricing as well. What got my attention was not the rather confused review by Engadget, but the fact that it is basically a Cintiq with built in computing power. Although it is far less sophisticated than the very expensive Artist's tool, it IS Wacom. Repeat after me..WACOM.

I can already envisage what I would do on this machine, with that Pen, things would look really straight and aligned.

Light Art

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Eggs and Oysters

This is just one of the many variations of fried egg with oysters. The egg is undiluted, pure in egg-y goodness, a little crispy in parts, tender in others. Providing heat is not the usual sambal chilli, but chinese style chilli with a hint of sze-chuan pepper. The oysters are just a touch  before being overdone, so it is still soft with the flavour of the sea, but purist would probably scream murder.

Xi Men Ding Taiwan Cuisine

Sunday, December 04, 2011


The thrill of getting a brand new gadget is something we geeks are familiar with. Nowadays, the pleasure is extended to the process of unwrapping, sometimes we are even distracted from the actual gadget by the layers to be unpeeled.

I am a big fan of Wacom tablets since their ArtPad II tablet. Not that I actually achieve anything on it, but the tech is solid. (A little secret: It is powering the cool pen function on the Samsung Galaxy Note)

The 3rd generation of tablet for mortals are now available and is the most refined and user friendly. Priced at a fraction of their professional level Intuos range, the Bamboo tablet now captures 1024 levels of pressure and is touch friendly. It brings the magic of Apple's Magic Track Pad to Windows users on top of the excellent Pen functions. Yes the full magic of multi-touch gestures and WIRELESS freedom with an optional wireless module.

Enjoy the minimalist package design..

Update: Found this couple of YouTube videos showing said pleasure. Link only...
Unboxing Pen and Touch
Unboxing Wireless Accessory

Thursday, November 03, 2011

N9 Good Eats

Taken and edited with the N9, freshly uploaded. Serviceable.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

N9 in shiny white and getting smarter

I seldom like gadgets in white, but the latest update to the N9 could be an exception. 
The sharp contrast between the screen and the casing is beautiful. Provided it doesn't yellow over time. 

Of course the bigger news is actually the upcoming software update though woefully short on details. Interestingly Nokia soliciting ideas from users in a dedicated website for improving the N9, not just simply part of some online support forum. They are actually giving away N9s as rewards for the best ideas.

Monday, October 24, 2011

N9 Swipe Swipe

The N9, ladies and gentlemen, is here.

The packaging is minimalist and decidedly similar to the other popular phone company's. Even the charger is almost a replica. The included Micro-USB cable is not a generic design but rather given a classier touch to it. Nokia threw in a silicone casing in a matching colour, not to prevent users from "holding it wrong" but just to protect the nice polycarbonate back. There is no screen protector available so far, but the screen is quite easy to clean and seems tough enough to resist minor scratching.

Here are some reviews from more competent sources.
Note: For Engadget review, do watch the software review video, I actually found out a few new things. 

Ok here is my few cents worth of opinion.

The Screen
It is beautiful, or as someone described as touching liquid glass. In normal indoor lighting, the black of the screen is deep and pure which makes colors pop. Only in bright sunlight can you see where the AMOLED display ends and the true bezel starts. The very gentle curve of the screen does seem to make it more natural to swipe, but only a little. Although it is very glossy, it is surprisingly easy to view without too much distracting reflections unless in bright sunny areas. Apparently it has a polarizer in place (the phone wears sunglasses!), which also explains why there is a slight colour shift when viewing off angle.

The Swipe interface is actually more versatile than I thought. With the built in option, you can swipe left and right to switch between the three home screen and close an app by swiping from top down. This works relative to orientation, top is always the top of the view, either portrait or landscape. With free apps from the Nokia store, you can enhance it with multi-touch swipe or control the 4 direction screen swipe.

The main problem with N9's touch implementation is it is overly sensitive. Now I can appreciate how difficult it must be to program for it. The flick scroll has this annoying habit of interpreting it as a click selection. Example is scrolling through contacts, instead of breezing through, it ended up selecting the unwanted contact and a hassle to switch back. Now I have to hold it a few microsecond longer to prevent the screen from thinking it as a "click". iOS is a lot better in this department, more natural from the get go, N9 needs a little more conditioning for me. Also overly enthusiastic swiping, like while playing Angry Birds, I end up switching home screen. Minor annoyances which can be avoided with practice.

It must be mentioned especially in view of iOS 5 trumpeting of their notification system, the N9 is far more elegant. It begins even while the phone is in stand-by mode, the screen will display the current time constantly unless you keep it covered. (The same sensor works to turn off the screen when you take a call.) Notification of e-mail or missed call will be displayed as a single simple symbol like @ below the clock. All very subtle.

Wake up the phone with a double tap or press the power button, the next level of notification is seen on the lock screen with enough information for you to decide to ignore or respond. Swipe the lock screen to the home page or swipe the notification direct to the app concern. The Events home page will show all your notification as well. Finally, the status bar at the top will display a small green flag that something needs your attention. Very subtle visual reminders coupled with an audible beep and short vibration.

The one complaint I have about the keyboard and this applies to all other operating systems. I wish they actually put the numbers on the top of the alphabets. Only WebOS does it correctly. It becomes more ridiculously apparent in tablets with their larger screen space.
Apps and such

As a phone, the key applications of Calls, Contacts and Messaging are pretty standard, but as some one who is still on a "dumb" phone, buttons still feel more natural to use. The problem is no desktop syncing of contacts and messages.

Email accounts are quite easy to set up along with Flickr, Picasa and Twitter. You can set how often they are updated to help reduce power consumption. It is interesting you can set peak hours in your life.

Facebook is bare minimum and far less developed compared to the current iOS App. All the new pages and groups are not visible. Just sufficient to know that your friend is dining at some fancy place while you are working your butt off.

Skype does not support video as yet and the voice volume seems limited.

Camera is working quite nicely except no focusing in Macro mode. This flaw is weird as when using Auto mode, the camera can focus quite close to the subject. In the photo gallery there is built in basic photo editing, hidden in a menu option, which was a bit of surprise for me.

Just a quick example of low light photo without flash

The web browser is also a bare minimum implementation. Annoyingly there is no bookmark function, although you can add as app on the App screen. Performance is generally fast but a bit erratic on some sites. No flash capability, but not quite missed. Definitely adequate for the occasional surfing, but I still think tablet format is the minimum for more intensive browsing.

Video playing is quite sufficient and has built in decoder for DivX files. Update: Strangely it does not play WMV files, considering Nokia is already in bed with Microsoft

The music player has nice interface, very basic with one strange omission. It cannot repeat play a single song. Also no equalizer in any form. Nokia please add that and direct music control on the lock screen please. It is annoying to need to enter the phone lock code just to do that.

Virtual keyboard, is a bit of hit and miss for me especially with the phone lock code. More importantly is the lack of chinese input, which is strange since there was obviously a chinese version of the OS.

GPS. It always amuses me that people need this in the Tiny Red Dot, but I must say the turn by turn navigation is pretty accurate except for smaller roads where it insisted I keep right only to command a left turn ..across 2 lanes! I ignored the instructions and the program valiantly kept up with my defiance and adapted accordingly without hesitation. However I will not stress out the Voice any more in case it turns Hal on me. 

Battery Life
Coming from dumb phones and the Nokia E52, battery life sucks in comparison. I can carry the E52 around for at least 5 days before recharging, now I have to recharge it in 1.5 days. And I am not using the N9 for speech currently, mostly data. However considering the large gorgeous screen and the constant data connection, I guess it is acceptable. From what I can see, most iPhone users need to charge it quite often, I know that because they borrow my Sanyo Mobile Booster to charge them.

Final view
Overall, the phone feels a little incomplete in terms of the operating system, lacking a certain finish, but this is the first generation. Compared to the iPhone 3GS, it is pretty much on par or better in some aspects, which unfortunately means Nokia is a few years late to the game.

There are rumored firmware / software updates that would bring it up to par with current phones, almost. It is still however a single core CPU phone, so most would pooh pooh this phone. Nevertheless this phone is more than sufficient for the occasional browsing, keeping up with your social life or for the busy workaholic.

Judging from rumors, the upcoming Nokia Windows Phone is going to have the same form factor and visual as the N9, which means it is a trial run for future phones. The good news is that Nokia has promised to support their disowned operating system, hope they keep their word.

So why would I get this over the iPhone since I am already "entrenched" in iOS eco-system? Well I guess firstly, almost everyone else has an iPhone or Android, so I like to be different. Secondly I was first to get the phone from the Nokia store I pre-ordered at, no fanfare, no geniuses to cheer and absolutely no queue. Just as I like it, quiet and understated, both the phone and the experience of getting it.

Hell to the no if I have to queue like a refugee for something that I have to pay for dearly.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nokia N9 Countdown

Oh yes. It is in.

The demo units are in Nokia retail stores for public fondling, resting irresistibly. Unfortunately they were tethered to the display table for security and power supply, but even so the N9 does not feel too heavy and sits quite comfortably in the hand.

The casing is polycarbonate has a solid look, not a cheap look, not glossy slippery, relatively fingerprint resistant except for KFC finger licking good situations. It looks exactly like the promotional images, colour is solid all around the beautiful deep black screen. Beneath the glass is a bright AMOLED display which maybe standard in premium smart phones, but Nokia glued it so closely to the glass that the images floats just below the surface.

The Swipe works as advertised, very responsive and accurate. App switching is much more natural than on iOS without having to press a home button and in easy reach of a thumb. One hiccup was the Angry Bird App which didn't show up in the Open App view despite opening and playing a game.

Taking photo is quite easy despite a lack of a dedicated button, the camera app is in the shortcut menu activated with a upward swipe from the bottom of the screen, though a few shots will probably be missed as it still takes time to activate. Focusing distance is pretty close, though not quite like a Ricoh compact.  The bad about it is the position of the lens which is a bit too close to the centre, my fingers kept getting in the way while holding it in a natural grip. Maybe it was because of the security cable, something to be confirmed with a real untethered phone.

Boot up time is a bit long for my patience, but I guess it will be left on most of the time. Something strange happened the second time I tried the phone, one of the unit was slow or non-responsive. It was possible to swipe between the home view, but somehow I could not open the phone app or message app, despite rebooting.

Currently none of the telcos are saying anything, and it is on pre-order only in the Nokia retail shop. For the 64 GB model, it is going for $899 and comes with a free bluetooth NFC enable headset.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


What is MeeGo?
The MeeGo project provides a Linux-based, open source software platform for the next generation of computing devices. The MeeGo software platform is designed to give developers the broadest range of device segments to target for their applications, including netbooks, handheld computing and communications devices, in-vehicle infotainment devices, smart TVs, tablets and more – all using a uniform set of APIs based on Qt. For consumers, MeeGo will offer innovative application experiences that they can take from device to device.
In short it is an open mobile operating system. Initially launched by Intel and Nokia, it was the time when the Finns were stumbling around in the shadow cast by Apple in search for a new smart phone and Microsoft was not quite the eligible bachelor then.

So it is puzzling why Nokia had actually abandoned MeeGo in the beginning of 2011 after one year, for the other suddenly eligible bachelor. What if the N9 becomes successful, would Microsoft find itself left at the altar?

Within a short time of the announcement of the N9, there seem to be a lot of positive response to the MeeGo interface, although technically the N9 is not a MeeGo product. The rest of the phone makers have adopted the green robot and unlikely to "unlike" the little droid too quickly, so would MeeGo still have a chance? Would we see a MeeGo tablet in the likes of N9?

Or perhaps meet the same fate as WebOS in the hands of HP's ex-CEO Leo Apotheker?

2011 seems to be the year where newly appointed CEOs abandon newly completed or nearly completed projects. From MeeGo to WebOS, TouchPad and even Halloween Parties. And they get paid how much for such failures? Ok sure, they get fired, but they still get paid ridiculously well.

For the curious, this guy has gathered a fair bit about Nokia and MeeGo, worth a peek.

N9 continued

Hands on video in Mandarin

This clip is a little more detailed with narration. The Swipe is really fine tuned for the thumb and possibly a little more ergonomic, though I think I hear a faint chuckling from orthopedic surgeons. Swipe-titis anyone?

I think getting rid of the Home Button is a good move. Now you can move just one screen / swipe away from what you want. To "quit" an app in the iPod Touch, you have to press the home button and double press to see the "taskbar" and tap and tap to close all "multitasking" app. That sure makes the home button last that much longer right?

Ah but you say, comes iOS 5, you don't have to press the button anymore. That is true, but you also get to exercise all your fingers more with the 5 finger pinch. Maybe it might be a good workout for some foreplay exercise, but I hear more chuckling.

Want to make a call or send a message or even take a snapshot while playing Angry Bird? That is just a half swipe with the thumb up.

The N9 is all thumbs but no confusion. So I can go from a dumb phone to a thumb phone. Sorry bad pun.

Follow through to the last third of the clip, you will see where the micro USB port and SIM card are hidden. Interestingly the SIM card carrier is hot swap enabled if I hear and see right. That is a pretty neat trick.

Other language input is obviously possible, but I had thought only iOS had perfected chinese character hand writing input. The N9 looks promising.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Endangered species

I missed the HP Touchpad recently before it's premature demise. Now looking forward to the next doomed from start gadget. Don't know why, but I seem to gravitate towards endangered gadgets.

The Nokia N9

The official site is here. Swipe is natural, swipe is good.

The N9 runs MeeGo, basically Linux on a mobile platform. In terms of Apps, which seem to be the defining criteria for a successful smartphone, Nokia will lose out for sure. The king of the hill is obviously Apple. By itself, the N9 is sufficiently impressive for me as a phone that can connect to the internet. I hardly use my iPod Touch more than what is demonstrated for the N9, even though I have quite a lot of apps.

What I like is the interface, familiar to iOS users but more logical and intuitive. Definitely designed for one handed operation.

The following clip basically shows the guy swiping through different aspects of the phone. Be warned, it is a masochistic exercise to watch it, there is no narration and you have to resist the urge to grab the phone from his hand.

The screen looks nice and bright, as responsive as iOS. The MeeGo is not as walled up and anyone can reach the Root directory from the Setting function, possibly destroying your phone? Thankfully that is defaulted to off, but eager toddlers just might do that somehow. The Android system is similar, but a little too cluttered for me, mentally I don't have an affinity for it, no matter how powerful it is.

Unfortunately, Nokia has decided MeeGo is No Go and gone off to Tango with Microsoft's Mango. This will be first and the last of it's kind.

It is a good thing to adopt this poor little orphan, I guess.

PS: It takes a full 55 seconds to boot up...touch on the slow side I guess.

Monkey See Monkey Do

Nikon has jumped in on the current trend of interchangeable lens system in a "compact" body. No more mirrors or prisms and just let the light shine through.

The supposedly biblical declaration of "I AM" seems almost arrogant, or is it a mischievous play on Descartes? I shoot therefore I AM? Nikon has stamped it's position in the musical chair game of making "affordable" interchangeable lens camera, leaving Canon to the rumour mill.

Affordable being relative to the king of interchangeable compact, Leica. The Nikon 1 system is not exactly cheap, with the basic kit setup well above $1000 and well into the low to mid range setup of their DSLR.  What is puzzling is the decision to develop a new sensor size they called DX, which is between a micro four third and a thumbnail 1/1.7" sensor. The few sample photos on DPReview shows it it capable even up to ISO 3200, but that should not surprise, it is the bare minimum in the game nowadays.

The features look fun, taking multi shots, HD videos, thanks to massively powerful processors. I guess  that is perhaps the purpose of this camera, market testing of their latest R&D efforts and perhaps making a little money along the way. Technology can now trickle upwards to their high end DSLRs?

It is probably a good machine, but I don't feel the urge to abandon my Ricoh as yet. For one, pardon my shallowness, I think it is ugly. Can't put my finger on it, just feel it is ugly. I do like the little speedlite though,  it swivels, tilts and is so compact that I can almost imitate japanese girls shrieking Kawaiiiiiii.

If only Ricoh would.....sigh...but they don't do cute things ever. The engineers there are like medieval monks painstakingly illuminating manuscripts, beautiful work but takes forever.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wanted not needed

Perfect for getting away when you can't get away from all that humanity out there.

Sony never ceases to amaze with their art of miniaturization. Do they have a magic wand hidden somewhere?
The latest Noise Cancelling earpiece is a work of art. Squeezed into the ear pieces are the batteries and noise cancelling processor, along side the new balanced armature driver. That miniature battery can run up to 20 hours, that is almost a whole day's worth of quiet paradise.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ricoh GXR Mount A12

Ever since the GXR system came into being, people have been wanting a Mount unit. The lens-sensor concept proved to be foreign and jarring to the conventional notion of interchangeable system. Within this group, there was also no consensus to what type of mount, though most leaning to the Leica M mount.

Personally I thought they would have licensed the E mount from Sony since they were the providers of the sensors. Then again, Sony is Sony. Guess Canon and Nikon would not play this game either. Finally on the 5th of August 2011, Ricoh announced the M - Mount unit, with a 12 megapixel (Sony?) sensor.

Since then I have been searching ie goggling about the mysterious M mount. Of course I drool over the new unit, the words Ricoh GXR is my Pavlov's Bell. That is until I fully realised what it means to own anything branded or related to Leica. Owning the Mount A12 module is not the problem, but it would open up a rabbit hole that could possibly empty my bank account faster than Lehman Brothers stocks plunging that fateful day.

Bit by bit the "reviews" appeared in photography websites and they all chimed in one thing, Ricoh is now the "Poor man's Leica".


Holy bovine posterior output.

No "poor man" can afford Leica, or perhaps it is only me who is below the poverty line.

Jokes aside, to get that elusive Leica look, you have to get a Leica lens, period. Well, equivalent, but there are only so few quality lens from what I read. They all basically start from SGD$5000. Pre-Owned.

Pretty steep in this time of economic uncertainty and to be used by an amateur.

Strangely it is about this time that I somehow begin to understand what is the Leica look. The danger of knowing what you did not know.

Ignorance is bliss and lighter on the wallet.

Coffee Art

Well this is hot chocolate rather than coffee, but the effort is commendable. Little details can make big difference.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ricoh Firmware update 1.40

Ricoh has been busy shopping, bagging themselves Pentax. How will the purchase pan out is still pretty uncertain as the process will only be completed in October 2011. In the meantime, the engineers have not sat idle, despite a devastating earthquake / tsunami that is also still reverberating throughout the Japanese society.

The biggest news is of course the official announcement of the M-Mount module. That is discussion for another time. For now they are tempting users, or rewarding early adopters for their patience.

I think the biggest highlight  is the following

  1. Greater focusing precision now possible.
    • In order to increase the precision of manual focusing, the focus assist function has been added. Two modes can be selected, with the focus being checked by strengthening outlines or contrast.
    • It is possible to magnify the image while shooting to make it easier to focus. In addition to magnifying the central part of the image, it is possible to display the magnified area across the entire screen. The image quality for 4x and 8x magnification has also been further enhanced, and the area to be magnified can be moved with the directional pad.
    • A setting can be made to automatically eliminate the display magnification after the picture is taken.
The dismal focusing ability the GXR APS-C modules had in the early stages are virtually gone since the last few firmware updates. But it still cannot compare with dSLR in terms of speed and precision.

While the LCD screen is brilliant, focusing is still a bit of hit and miss at times especially with closeups. It is quite difficult to assess the point of focus accurately and I always hated the magnified view which only shows a small rectangle of highly pixelated image.

Now it comes with FULL screen magnification at full resolution. It is really much much clearer. The only problem is I lose track of the composition. Something easily solved with practice.

Catching up with video cameras, now they have focus peaking in 2 modes. In Mode 1, you see the full color image with the focused portion showing a glimmering outline. Mode 2 the image turns into a grey monochrome with glimmering edges in the focused zone.

It is an amazing tool in view of the relatively large apertures of the APS-C modules. The fly-by wire manual focusing is not precise or fast, but it is enough to get as close as possible. The limit to the focus assist function is in low contrast situation, especially with the A12 28mm. I still get some out of focus pictures when I thought it looked ok on screen.

This is of course a prelude to the long awaited M-Mount module where manual focusing is the only option. Still it is amazing that they updated for ALL the modules.

6 months

That's how long it has been since posting anything.

Blogging is fun and strangely liberating, but it is not an easy task for me. I  have not found the equivalent of a verbal laxative that would encourage a flow of words and also the fact I have placed so many mental restrictions that I am always second or third guessing what to share. It's a mental tug of war between sharing myself to the world and keeping my privacy in paranoid fear. Sometimes it takes almost 3 hours just to post, not very productive.

Yet I can't bear to see the end of this tiny part of my shared existence.

So dear audience, whoever or wherever you are, I am back. Not so much as with a BANG, but you have to agree, whimpering sometimes gets as much attention.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ricoh Firmware 1.33 for GXR

It is nice to receive firmware updates for your toy that upgrade rather than cripple. Ricoh has been consistently doing that and for the GXR, it has been pleasantly surprising.

This firmware is not a big improvement compared to when the focusing speed was improved tremendously, but one might prove an asset for people who take pictures of their children or pets.
Just tested the Target Follow function and it seems to be working, but would need a real moving target to  fully test it out.
The extra scene modes are just bling bling for the camera, but hey, the GXR can be a little fun too.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Alternative Camera

Let me just say this about the iPod Touch Camera.


Either that or it does interpretive photography by default.

No the photo above is not of some paranormal phenomenon, it was taken at a concert. Sure the person has a divine voice but definitely he does not glow divinely. (Though some fans would probably say he does.) Ironic that I was lucky to get so close but the iPod Touch decided the personality was dazzling and interpreted as such.

Ok, some may ask, where was my Ricoh?

Well unfortunately, being the naive sheep that I am, I thought since photography and videography is "banned", I didn't want to chance having to foster out my Ricoh in some forsaken cubical and risk some harried staff member giving it away accidentally. So much for the ban, people actually came in with a DSLR bling-bling around their neck.

Still while I did take some shots, I do respect the artist and avoided capturing actual performances.

So much for using the Touch as a standby camera. It is only for sunny days and motionless objects unless you like interpretive photos.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Too slow too late

Raise your hands, how many of you have had ideas that has been tossing and turning, always on the verge of coming into being, but it just never does. Then someone else makes it into a full 3-D working model.

Of course being at the equivalent of secondary school level physics is hard to compare with the geniuses behind these companies.

Of course I had not thought of making a radio, it was more making use of all that raw kinetic energy that flows through our pipes as we preen and clean. Multiply by all the toilets that flush around the world, it would make a green symphony.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Venusian female and Martian male

"Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"

What nonsense.

Men would have never made it from Mars as they will never ask for directions and end up circling back. Women would have asked for directions and still made the wrong turn at the moon.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

What the heck were they thinking?

In this day and age of eco design and high oil prices, it is surprising to find this packaging. The only important content of this box is the 5 ink cartridges the same size as you see on the box photo, all snuggly packed into rectangle envelope in the middle. To put it in context, you can throw 2 iPhones inside the box and still make plenty of rattle.

It doesn't make sense at all.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Rice flour. Water. Roll it.

That the basic premise of Chee Cheong Fun. This is the Ipoh interpretation. Mr Makansutra likes it and talked about it. I revisited this forgotten (by me) area of the Katong-Geylang Gastronomic District recently and "discovered" this.

Unpretentious street snacks are the offerings, Chee Cheong Fun the star, but they have things like Yam Cake, Ngo Hiong (5 spice rolls) actually in 2 versions. To wash it all down, Soya Bean drinks are the main choice.

I had the Yam cake which is tender and not mushy, no danger of your jaws being stuck. But once the first dishes arrive and eating started, I totally forgot the camera. So what you see is the Anson Special Chee Chong Fun and the Curry Pig Skin Chee Cheong Fun. Feel your arteries clogging yet?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fruity Aluminium

Personal computers have been constantly evolving ever since the time of Commodore, Atari and Apple. In the great circle of silicon life, one company has been making in roads into our lives, well mine at least.

In the great Windows (don't call it PC please) versus Mac debate, I feel that Apple has made a winning case for it's side. At the very least they are profitting from it. The Mac side has 2 simple advantage, stability and ease of use. By stability I mean leaving your machine in standby mode and jumping back straight to work, without funny coloured screen. Sure Mac crashes too, but far less annoyingly than Windows. Linux users would probably make a strong point for their favourite OS, but sorry I am only familiar with the Mac variant of Unix. The iPad/iOS platform makes this argument even more evident.

As for ease of use, if you simply use Apple priced stuff, Macs run pretty fuss free. Just don't plug in things like Windows based keyboard while trying to change boot up options, the Mac EFI is a linguistic snob. The latest Mac App store exemplify this culture of ease of use, click buy and it pops on your dock installs. No queries of what directory, or endless clicks of NEXT. The price however is that Apple plugs into your life like a primitive version of the Matrix.

As a result, I have collected quite a few Apple aluminium pieces. Buy one Mac and you end up with more peripherals than you should have, how devious the Almighty Steve.

Life is looking very Aluminium. Expensive Aluminium.

Blogger Update

Hmmm. It's like taking a holiday and coming back, you find things have changed. Been away from blogging and got nagged at by someone who is equally guilty of negligence. Blogger apparently has gone Baskin Robbins on fonts. It is cool to have variety, but sometimes too many choices is really annoying.
While you can't go crazy and personalise  each post with different fonts,  it's better than variation on Arial.

Also now you can monitor, how popular or dismally unnoticed (in my case) the blog is, directly from the Dashboard.

It's all about the little details, devil or paradise.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Ricoh GXR A12 Firmware 1.29

The biggest issue with the GXR A12 unit in the beginning was the focusing function. A few have totally no problem but most who use it complained about it. It wasn't about blurry pictures, it was a little trying when you watch the GXR hunting for focus on the beautiful high resolution view screen and your subject disappear out of sight.

Kudos to Ricoh engineers that they did not stop looking for a solution, but they were merely band-aid on a leaky wound. Then Firmware 1.29 arrived, it is a god-send. (But so very late for my last trip, arrgh!). It also made the beautiful view screen even better.

Running through the update, I came upon something interesting. This is strictly for the A12 50mm unit. Spot focusing now comes in 2 flavours: Normal and Pinpoint.

Normal is just normal. Pinpoint actually reduces the area of focus even further. This however slows focusing down, especially in non-macro mode. I think the purpose of this setting allows for very precise focusing in macro mode at the expense of speed. Coupled with adjustable targeting this would definitely help with macro work on tripod.

Top is Normal mode and lower is Pinpoint.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

How do you carry your GXR?

Apparently the decision to buy a new toy can simply be determined by how you are going to carry it around. What about a camera then? With cheap DSLRs, there seem to be a trend of simply hanging it around the neck like a fashion accessory, but my neck would strongly disagree. Also the thought of swinging the camera around and getting knocked about really scares me.

The obvious answer is to get a bag, but which bag? Most camera bags are just either bulky or almost single purpose. I needed something all purpose to lug around the rest of my toys and things from real life, you know, like bills! When I am off work, I hate to carry a bag that screams LAPTOP INSIDE, or STEAL ME EXPENSIVE CAMERA.

I found an all purpose casual bag that suits me except it doesn't protect the GXR, fortunately salvation came in the form of a video camera bag from Case Logic. Actually I have 2 versions of it, the latest acquisition was due to the new 28mm camera unit. It comfortably carries the camera with one unit attached and the other unit free. However with the EVF attached, it gets really tight and I do worry about the stress on the hot-shoe, so no EVF. With the GXR safely cocooned, I can carry it in my man-bag (Don't call it a murse, please!).

Sorry I can't show you my main bag, but to give an idea of the size, I can just squeeze in an 11 inch MacBook Air broad side first. Of course when I do really own the 11 incher, I can report if it plays nice with this video bag.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2012 Minus One

Year 2010 faded away just as quietly as it had arriving. This night should have been like any night, yet there is a significant mental threshold to cross. It is as if we can somehow unhook the many baggages picked up this year and just let them down and move on fresh and new. I guess this helps us cope with our daily struggles, otherwise it would seem the dark night would never end and the light never to shine again.

So how will this year turn out? Just a prelude to the Mayan Apocalypse? A year we actually save ourselves from ourselves? The year when Steve Jobs takes over the world one phone at a time? Your guess is as good as mine.

I almost never make New Year resolutions as I expect not to achieve them. This year, I think my one resolve would be to take more decent photos, and even if I fail, I guess it would be fun trying.

So everyone, have a great year ahead. Be nice to each other, stay healthy.

Let the fireworks begin.

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