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?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

iPhone 5

Semi live blogging...

It is official, the phone is 5, with a A6.

It is exactly what has been leaked. Duo tone backing.

The Apple keynote is like a Keynote template where you just drop in the name and specifications of the iDevice: The best phone design ever, the lightest ever, nothing like we have ever done before, we couldn't be prouder of it. Yada Yada.

Just like the Olympics, records are still being broken, but the differential is getting smaller and smaller. It is now 7.6mm thin, an 18% reduction from before. It "fits" just nice in your hands. Duh!

The camera is flattened a little but basically similar, except they can do a super panorama, up to 28 MPs.

Oh 3 microphones, for a moment I thought Rich Recording like Nokia? Hmmm wideband audio really sounds like Rich Recording.

Ah the connector is now called Lightning. You can plug it in either way. Thinner and more durable. Really? Looks like something that can snap with the wrong move. Class action someone? The adapter looks worse.

Here comes the iOS 6, with Scotty. Yawn already. Serious Yawn fest, but I shall struggle on!

Oh how delicious, Shared Photostream. Anyone on your sharing group will receive that oh so very naughty picture you took while drunk stupid! Oh is that your mistress? Oh so family friendly.

Uniquely bi-colored. Apple is all black and white, all Aluminium and Glass. Time to trade commodity?

"The variances from product to product we now measure in microns." Cameras actually take images of each case and select the appropriate back plate to fit.
Fascinating manufacturing process. Still a Yawn fest for a phone.

Available 21 September. iOS6 for everyone else on the 19th.

Ah wait, something new about music i.e. iTunes. Which we didn't get in Singapore for the longest time. Probably will be very US centric still. The interface is now "dramatically simpler" with a full page of tiles. Sounds familiar.

New iPods. Up first the Nano. Desperately in need of reinvention. Its got Lightning. Best Nano created, (see what I mean Yada Yada). Home button! How original. Multi-coloured oh wow. Built in pedometer. Bluetooth DUH!.

The iPod Touch is next. Template on, best, thinner, lighter. With Retina display left over from the iPhone 5, it is the poor man's iPhone without the phone. Better camera, finally. Oh Siri is present with sartorial flair for more colours.

Speakers. Hmmm. Something new? Oh its just headphones. Imagine there are 1.2 billion headphones out there! Imagine the spaghetti tangle! Nothing surprising here, the design had been leaked.

It has been a Yawn fest, clearly something for the truly faithful.

Apple Harvest 2012

Well in just over 30 minutes, there will be the proclamation from the hallowed halls of Cupertino.

Will the new iPhone be introduced as the iPhone 5 or simply the New iPhone to confound and confuse with the next, new, now iPhone? The bet is on 5 from the clever graphics.
Courtesy of Engadget

And the new 6 will be on the 5, iOS 6 that is. What new will there be that we knew not already?

Is it going to be jaw dropping or a huge yawn fest? For sure what will not be new will be hordes of the faithful renewed.

Money will be taken

Friday, September 07, 2012

Being a duck

I used this title from Shelton Muller's blog as I simply could not think of anything better.

After talking about Nokia, I chanced upon this post and thought about it. Apart from a mild ache from actually thinking, I also realized that I had known this service philosophy all along, just not so eloquently put.
When providing a service, or putting up a show, the client or audience should not be aware of the background work being done. It should be so seamless that they are totally immersed in the experience. Of course most people are simply clueless or oblivious anyway.

Being a duck means:
"you simply have to be a duck. For all concerned, you are sailing along smoothly on top of the water while all along you are privately paddling like crazy underneath. To be anything less than a duck would be unprofessional. Whatever is going on in your life, it is irrelevant to this event, this moment, this bride and groom. Leave it at home, and be a duck." - Shelton Muller

The problem with being a successful aquatic avian, is that a lot of people think what you do is so easy and they tell you so openly or imply politely.

"It is very simple right? Doesn't take long"
"It is very small, shouldn't be expensive"
"Children are very easy right?"
"Even my child can do it!"

Each of those statement have the power to demoralize you, especially when you make the extra effort to maintain that calm seamless experience while things fall apart at the back.

So here is to all those special ducks out there, may your swim be uneventful.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Nokia oh Nokia

Oh dear, the time I was focusing on the PureView technology, Nokia's shares have dropped at least 16%. Apparently investors and the "market" are totally unimpressed by the presentation. (How do you know it is bad: Their shares are half the price of RIMM, maker of Blackberry phones.)

The worst sin was to omit the availability, release date and pricing. The presentation venue itself was rather small probably due to Nokia losing money and obviously the quality of the show was a bit uninspired. I think they rushed to get ahead of Apple before lining up their production ducks.

Faking a advertisement is also a serious No No. You just ruined a beautiful technology Nokia. 

Let Janet Takavoli tell you what went wrong with Nokia's business and sartorial decisions. 

I do agree that Apple does the best keynote presentation. They are tightly choreographed, hardly any glitches and speakers don't sound like they are reading off scripts. Steve Jobs had a knack for his famous Reality Distortion Field, almost like a mutant power. He could (perhaps can) suck you in and you will totally ignore unpleasant facts like a supposedly unique feature has already been done by others.

Come September 12, we shall see if the rumour mills are accurate about the design of the new iPhone. As is, I find the design boring, but that is Apple. Fans will gush over it, the masses will just accept that it is the best. 

Money will be taken.

808 Pure View

A day with the 808

The Haze.
The city skyline lost.
Panorama on 808

Cinnamon! Seriously rich flavour. Gives a kick to dark chocolate. Sadly it may not be repeated due to low demand. By the way note how quickly it melts! Don't waste it!

This is suppose to be Penang Char Kway Teow. I hate it when food is wasted on half-hearted cooks.

Food photography
While I was finishing up the rather boring lunch, someone was busy creating pictures to tempt diners. Hope he doesn't mind me sharing his setup.

Nokia Lumia PureView

Well well, Nokia just finished showing off their latest Lumia with PureView technology. Information had been leaking like crazy in the day before, so a lot of people were incredulous at the claim of PureView with a 8 Mp sensor. Turns out it wasn't the same as the 808. It was different and much more.


That was my reaction when I watched the keynote. On the verge of pulling out my depleting hair, I was amazed and frustrated at the same time, wishing they had used the optical stabilization technology in the 808.
I so very much need that with my rather shaky hands.

They managed to float the whole lens assembly and actively compensate against movements up to 500 per seconds which allows for blur free photography at shutters as slow as 1/4th seconds.

A Steadicam setup? Who needs it!

It will probably be up to 1/30th with my hands, even then I will be very very pleased as I get blurriness at that speed on the 808.

Not to mention video.


Built in Cinemagraph function. Just when I am amazed at how people did it, Nokia went and made it simple for people like me.

While I am still very pleased with my 808, I can't help feel a tinge of sadness it was not given the full potential it could have been. Then again it was a technology waiting for the OS and CPU. On that note, Nokia had been running on single core CPUs for the longest time with everyone else already jumping on 4 cores but they were never a slouch.

I don't know much about the Windows ecosystem, but Nokia is concentrating on letting people take good pictures and getting around with better ease and have your social life flashing and winking at you continuously. Sure iOS fans will swear Apple has already done that and more, but then again I have seen a bunch of late teens armed with at least 4 or 5 iPhones confused as to how to proceed to their destination.

How will the Temple of Cupertino respond?

Sunday, September 02, 2012

PureView Cinema

My little blog got a visitor boost recently when the PureView Club kindly put up my pictures. So to Marc and Peter, dank u. Think I got that right.

Here is the latest from their treasure trove. From a Chris West, a mini showcase of what the PureView can do with some help. Read the text here, watch below.

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