Friday, August 31, 2012

PureView 808: Before and after

I had been and still am a Ricoh fanboy for a long time, but ever since the PureView 808, I have been neglecting the Ricoh. For the longest time, I almost always had a Ricoh in my bag, but the 808 is really much easier to bring around. While a dedicated camera like the GXR can be better for certain situations, it does not beat the 808 for convenience and speed. The capability of the 808 means more confidence in getting reasonable shots.

The only issue I currently have with the Nokia is that it can hang. I don't know if anyone else experiences this, but the 808 stalled on me yesterday for the third time. Being my secondary phone to the N9, I only use it mainly for photos and WhatsApp. When it hangs the screen remains frozen and could not power down using the power button, the only solution was to remove the battery. I have had this problem with the E52 previously and I suspect it could be due to Symbian not agreeing with me somehow.

Anyone out there with similar situation?

Comex 2012

Singapore's third quarter tech "show" is on, yes we have one show every three months. Sadly it is nothing like IFA currently on in Berlin, which showcases upcoming toys. Here it is more like cheap-er sale, although if one has the tenacity and stamina to brave the crowds there are gems to be found.

This year however, I think the crowd situation just might be a real nightmare. Suntec City Convention Center is currently undergoing a make over. The usual access areas have been blocked off and security planning has gone into top gear. So those thinking of braving the weekend crowd, be warned. Most routes are now one-way and choose the wrong way you might need to detour back. While the distance is really minimal, but with  everyone packed in like sardines it just might be an explosive keg. The only entrance by foot is likely to be only the main entrance, even the way through Food Republic might be cordoned off.

That said, if you have the chance to go before the weekend, for PureView fans, the phone is going for SGD$799, down from $839 without contract. Availability is questionable considering the worldwide shortage, but for the brave and strong it might be a worth physical bruising to save $40. 

For possible discounts available, you can see the brochures here first.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Clash of the Tech-tans

The recently ended legal saga between Apple and Samsung had the tech blogger sphere abuzz, divided over the judgement declaring Samsung a copy cat. Actually the Appeals process is just started,  so the matter is far from over legally.

Samsung on the surface did appear to copy the iPhone, I still remember having to take a second look to see if some one was using either. However it did not take too long with Samsung's name across the top in shiny silver. The legal case is actually more complex than just that fleeting similarity, but I am not going to rehash the discussion that is all over the internet. 

The sum of money involved is mere pocket change to either giants, so the real ramifications from this tussle is the possible technical fallout. Will it allow Apple to go after other smartphone producers or hinder innovation as Samsung claims?

Frankly I think the rest of the world has moved on from simply catching up to Apple's iOS especially Android. Heck, Apple has not been actually completely original either, there are lots of ideas in iOS that have been done by someone else. Apple's strength is making something appear to be an "Aha" moment and very intuitive. Sleekness is the keyword.

All the devices listed as infringing Apple's patents are generally the older generation Androids which are bordering on turning into antiques in the fast paced tech world. Not so long after Judge Koh struck down her gavel for the last time, Samsung fired a shot across Apple's bow at this year's IFA.

Ranging from the Galaxy Note 2 to Windows 8 devices, Samsung has shown it can think beyond the Apple orchard. I think the thing that makes the most difference is the very thing that Steve Jobs dismissed, a stylus. It is almost as if Samsung was giving him a high tech finger.

I am quite impressed with the S Pen system, but being the stubborn mule that I am, Jelly Bean will not be my pick of dessert as yet. Still, enjoy the rather euro-korean centric presentation here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

New flavour

Heads up gelato lovers!
Alfero which I mentioned previously has a new flavour on offer. New to me anyway and it's Banana.
Not a big fan of banana flavoured dessert generally, but this has quite the potential to change my mind.


Recently there was a column in our local newspaper (unfortunately no links here) that was talking about old buildings in Singapore. I only glanced through the article so what I am commenting on is based on an impression, rather than a actual deconstruction.

The main point that stuck in my head relates to the balance of preserving the old and clearing the way for the new. The writer's pragmatic advice is that clearing away those without significant offering to nation building is acceptable. Practical, very business like and with precision calculation of worth. It would seem logical when land space is at a premium.

Now I hate doing social commentary as it tend to follow with you-say I-say devolving into I hate you, you hate me. This topic of conservation vs modernization happen to intrigue me, so I shall attempt in this post to crystallize my thought. (Hey it's my blog! Why should it bother you! Shoo!).

My perspective in the face of new malls sprouting like mushrooms and massive road works is this: All those old buildings are like memories. At the rate things are changing, I go around Singapore muttering "Hey wasn't such and such building here before?" I bet this is a taste of how dementia patient feel.

Is ripping up and tearing down so many like the onset of national dementia? I can't help but feel so much like a stranger at home at times. The speed which it happens at is also the problem. I can visit a town in UK almost a decade apart and still know my way around, three months here and I can get confused.

Here is to being a stranger at home. The Rochor center, which will be a mere memory in 5 years time, is so familiar to geeks in Singapore.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tweets from Mars

The boxy lady on Mars has tweeted some travel photos. (E.T. phone home is so last century)

It is a huge panorama, with some missing parts, understandable considering the long distance connection.
Go here to view the latest Martian vista.

The full resolution JPEG file is about 9 MB

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Monday, August 06, 2012

How do you get a SUV on to Mars

NASA is nearing the end of a mission that could be dramatically ended or a new beginning to space exploration.

The Mars Science Laboratory  is a huge project. Follow it here.

At this time of writing, it is about 13 hours before the Curiosity Rover land on the Red Planet. What it will find is another story, now the crucial part is landing it. Mars's rather thin atmosphere is making it challenging to the engineers.

Is the complicated maneuver typical NASA or is it simply the only way? Brings to mind the story about designing the best writing implement for zero gravity, where the Russians simply used a pencil instead of a convoluted pen design by the Americans.

Still, it is something out of a movie but with real stakes.

I hope it succeed and avoid the waking up something evil apocalyptic story end.

Watch the dramatic simulation of the landing while following the time delay news from NASA

Follow the detailed schematics of the landing at this amazing slide show

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Street View @ NASA

This is very very cool!
Thanks to Google Maps Street View.

Also see the Gallery


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Alfero Gelato

There is Gelato and then there is Alfero Gelato

Anyone can claim they use the freshest ingredients, but only some you can really taste it.
The chef is one Marco Alfero, Italian obviously who trained at The Gelato University of Carpigiani.
Now that is passion! Stupid as it may sound to pragmatic Singaporeans, that is really pride in what you love to do.

To quote his website:
"As a kid, he has always love eating gelato and would even eat gelato like a regular meal. He still loves eating gelato and has always dreamed of becoming a gelato chef."
That is someone you know can make good gelato!

I have only recently visited his website for "ahem" research, but I have been enjoying his gelato at Marina Square since he started.

For an Italian, he does a mean Durian Gelato with a seriously rich flavour that last to the final scoop but is not overpowering that makes you a little sick.

Chocolate lovers will love their version, a deceptively pale looking dark chocolate gelato. It is pure indulgence.

Coffee lovers I recommend pairing their basic Coffee with Vanilla, it's like a cold fluffy Affogato.

I don't have much pictures to share as I am more eager to eat it than snap it. Plus a word of warning, if ordering for kids, don't let them run off first. It melts very fast, especially with a cone.

One of my favourite is Limone and I could not figure out what to pair it with for a long time, until I tried the Mango flavour. That hit the spot.

Go taste the Gelato. They are very generous with sampling, but seriously, you need to part with some money and appreciate the complex taste slowly. It is almost a religious experience.

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