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# Saturday, 22 June 2013

You know how when you go to someone’s wedding that they like to have photo montages of how the couple were from when they were babies to the present day? Do you realize that with the rise of digital photography, people will no longer have mere dozens of photos when they were babies, they would probably have dozens of photos for every WEEK.. at MINIMUM! Hence it’d be quite possible to have HOUR long photo montages during wedding.

Hence as a parent it is my responsibility to ensure that my children’s embarrassing baby photos are well kept to prepare for montage creation and blackmail purposes!

Since we're talking about digital media here, a simple shoebox or photo album ain’t going to cut it. You’ll need backups and redundant backups. In the past month I’ve seen friends post about not knowing how to deal with their children’s photos, and also the lost of a hard disk holding such photos. I guess now is a good time to talk about my children photo backup strategy. Here’s the component diagram.

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All photos and videos of the children are primarily taken on one camera, my Sony NEX-3. The first step is to use Robocopy and copy the files into the main Home PC, the cool thing about using Robocopy to do this is that.

  1. It’s pretty fast and copying stuff
  2. It ignores empty subfolders when copying, this is a god send when dealing with cameras like the NEX-3 which create an empty sub folder for each day which is supposed to be containing videos even though you didn’t take any videos that day. This saves on sorting time.

If you haven’t set your camera to make a new folder per day, you probably should, I find it helps immensely with organization of the photos afterwards.

So after the RAW copy I’ll end up with a bunch of folders for the images taken in the camera like this

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The 30520 type number in the end is actually the last digit of the year, month then day. Organization wise this would start to get confusing once you have photos for 2003 and 2013. Therefore when I copy the photos into my RAID 1 NAS (For the non technical readers, a NAS means it’s a storage devices ie. hard drive connected through the network instead of USB, the RAID 1 means that the device has 2 hard disk in them and the data is automatically copied between the hard disk so that unless both hard drives die at the same time, data can be recovered) I undergo one extra step of sorting and break out the photos into the following structure

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I create a folder for the year, and then for every month, then I toss the photos inside the month folder. If there’re any important events during that month, they’re given their own folder again for easier cherry picking when looking for photos.

Even though the data is considered to be doubly backed up between the Home PC and the NAS (TRIPLE if you consider that the NAS has 2 hard disk inside of it) I must be ever vigilant of the worst case scenario in which everything fries at the same time. Therefore, once a month the data from the NAS is copied onto an external hard drive, this is designated as the LOCAL BACKUP DRIVE in the image above.

But as most data protection specialist will tell you, that is STILL not enough! That’s why I’ve recently obtained yet another external hard drive, this one is designated as the Remote Located Backup Drive this is the hard drive which sits in my office so that in case anything happens to my house, I still have a copy in the office.

Some would call this overkill, my wife wonders why I go through all this work when ‘It’s just some photos.’ But I know that if anything were to go wrong, she would be the one that would feel the worst over it. It is still overkill in the fact that I don’t even protect my work PC data with a NAS or an offsite backup! :P


Saturday, 22 June 2013 23:30:06 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 05 December 2012

After the trip to Legoland Malaysia we went to Universal Studios Singapore the next day!

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If you're planning a trip, here's the first tip. This is the ticketing booth.

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Notice the long queue? Now the tip is that, if you came in through the parking the escalator that brings you up to the Universal Studios entrance is close to where the tour buses park. There are bus ticket booths that also happen to sell tickets for Universal Studios there, there's literally no queue there so just make sure you're aware of the ticket prices for the day you're going and make sure you're not being scalped and buy the tickets from them to avoid the queue.

Immediately after crossing the entrance, I found what I was thinking about after seeing it yesterday in Legoland Malaysia.

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Stroller rental! I saw the same design but in a different color in Legoland Malaysia which leads me to believe that this is a very common thing to have in Theme Parks. Now some of you might be asking If my son is old enough to walk properly, why put him in a stroller? The answer is because your son will not survive spending the whole day walking under the hot Asian sun, if not for him, think about how much hard it would be for YOU to carry him under the hot Asian sun once he is unable to walk anymore!

So we ended up at the first ride which I knew I just HAD to get on.

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The sign out at the entrance said 50 MINUTE WAIT TIME. Which was pretty much equivalent to a death sentence since I had WZ along, and he BARELY survived a 15 minute wait in Legoland the day before. That's when I saw the Universal Express lane, I recalled that certain theme parks had special charges if you want to beat the queue and screw the waiting. I hoped into the souvenir shop next to the ride which CONVINIENTLY happened to sell the tickets, it cost an extra SGD50 for each PERSON to get the express pass. How effective was this express pass? It cut the wait time of 50 minutes to...

ZERO MINUTES

My wife totally impressed with the experience asked me after the thrilling 4 minutes ride in which WZ couldn't figure out wheter to hang on to the guard rail or the 3d specs (make kid sizes man!) and totally freaked out at the drop in the end. "Why the hell didn't you just buy the express pass to begin with?" I replied that I wasn't sure if it'd be worth the money and she'd just be angry that I'd spent extra for something which wasn't useful. "No, you do NOT save money when you can have more fun on a vacation!" So there you have it...

If you want to remember you trip as in playing all the fun rides instead of spending half the day waiting in line... buy the express ticket if the crowd is really big.

In case you're wondering there's a sort of anti abuse control on the Express ticket, you can use it only ONCE PER RIDE, so holders can't abuse it to hog a ride, it's really for people who just want to enjoy the park... seriously we had ZERO wait time on everything!

We came to a double roller coaster which my wife just had to go on.

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I personally don't like roller coasters so I waited outside with WZ

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While mommy went for a ride. 5 minutes later she came back feeling awesome about the ride, as she brushed her hair in excitement she realized her hair clip came off during the ride, and that was her BEST HAIR CLIP EVER!! I was about to console her when she reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out ANOTHER HAIR CLIP! Seeing which I immediately switched from compassionate to sacarsticly curious and asked why the hell does she have a backup hair clip in her POCKET! She didn't even have to rummage through her bag, it was "OMG I lost my hair clip!" and whoosh, backup hair clip is pulled out from the pocket!

We managed to go on a few other rides after that thanks to the express pass, I'm pretty sure everyone in the lines we were walking past was wondering Why the fark those people don't need to queue? Oh... again, one thing to remember is that the minimum height limit for the rides which kids can actually use is 102CM one of the rides WZ just barely squeeze in because he looked up when he was being measured and he touched the minimum height bar. So again.. very important if you want to bring a kid to enjoy the theme park. Make sure they can actually ENJOY it!

One nice thing about the trip was that it was cloudy the whole day, so the sun wasn't roasting us, but as I mentioned in the Legoland post, if the sun isn't out to kill you, then it means...

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Rain's a coming!!


Wednesday, 05 December 2012 02:32:21 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

So after a reschedule on the account of the plague affecting the family, we finally managed to make it to Legoland Malaysia.

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Some might notice that the 18 month old WH is not in the picture. Let me put it bluntly, it's an open air theme park in South East Asia. You're either under threat of sun burn, or a thunder storm, do you REALLY want to bring a small little kid there?

When you first arrive to Legoland Malaysia here are a few tip which I found out when I was there

  • The entrance to Legoland is actually behind a giant mall, if you're parking in the closest car park lot next to the mall, you have to go through it to get to the Legoland entrance.
  • The open air parking lot is an open field multi column affair, when I went there at the time of the post. THERE ARE NO INDICATORS to help you remember where you parked. I wished I figured that out BEFORE I left the parking lot and looked back into the sea of cars and realized... I DON'T KNOW WHERE I PARKED!!
  • Buy your tickets online before hand, you don't want to waste time queuing up at the ticket booth. Do take note that some of the promo free tickets you can get might have some conditions that can't be used with online tickets.

So.. what is there to see in Legoland? Well.. of course there's the large cityscapes and other scenes made with Lego.

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As much as I wanted to take pictures of every last building here, WZ got EXTREMELY cranky after mommy told him to pose for a picture for the Nth time!

Like any theme park, there're a number of attraction zones and rides for you to enjoy.

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Like any theme park on a weekend, the queuing can get CRAAAAZY...

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Especially for the more popular or simple rides where the whole family can go on without restriction.

There seems to be 2 types of things you can enjoy in Legoland which Rides and Experiences. Rides are stuff like the roller coasters, kiddie rides and such.

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Experiences would be the Building camps, driving school, etc. etc. which they talk about on the website and the brochures. I didn't manage to check those out because 1. WZ still couldn't be bothered by stuff like that. 2. WZ was extremely cranky walking around in the heat.

It's important to note that even though you have to buy a child ticket for any kid age 3 and up. Most of the rides require a height minimum of 100CM for the safety equipment to work properly

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WZ is 110CM... The Dragon roller coaster has a height limit of 100CM and an AGE limit of 6 years old. WZ is 5 years old... Moral of the story is that you need to be aware of these kind of restrictions before taking your child to a place like this or you'll be wasting precious time and money.

Aside from the height and age limitations, remember that this is Malaysia so remember this when you want to go to any open air theme park.

If the sun isn't out to burn you to death, it means that a storm is coming!

So bring an umbrella to protect you against the elements, and if it's the rainny season, bring a poncho or something. If not, Legoland is well equipped to save you.

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It was an enjoyable trip. Wished we could play more, wished WZ could be less cranky, but I guess that'll would change in a few years Smile with tongue out


Wednesday, 05 December 2012 01:24:58 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 21 August 2011

One of the things which is going to be the hardest thing to teach WZ and make him understand about the consequences of his actions. It's easy enough to tell him when he's done something wrong or right. But what happens when he does something that doesn't have a clear cut definition on what is right or wrong?

How do I teach him that when that time comes, it's not a question about doing the right thing but rather can you live with the consequences of your actions?

Is that something you can even teach instead of having to experience or come to a conclusion for the question yourself?


Sunday, 21 August 2011 16:24:26 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 23 April 2011

A leaflet for the TURN OFF WEEK (wait... who the heck names a site kkk.org.my?!?!?) was given to WZ, its wants families to turn off their screens and do other things in order to bond and stuff. What I find funny is the list of things they mention you can do during this turn off week. (Zoom.It picture below so you can pan around and read the large brochure)

While some of these are ok, some contradict the aim of turning off the screen. ie.

  • Take family photo - Given that most cameras are digital now, wouldn't you end up having to use a screen to view this?
  • Write a letter to a friend or relative - Through snail mail just for the heck of it?
  • Get out the family photo album, Research your family history - But it's turn off week, so... you want to do said research without the Internet?
  • Teach people computer skills - So it's OK to use the screen when you're not using it?

Some are a bit crazy

  • Paint a picture, a mural or a room - The first 2 are reasonable, But painting a room for the heck of it?
  • Listen to the radio - So... huddling around a TV is bad but huddling around a radio is good?
  • Anything that involves outdoor activities - I'm guessing the aim of the list is "You can do X instead of watching TV" but when X are things like cycling, swimming, climb a hill. I'm sorry, how can that be done on a daily basis. So.. I come back from work at night, instead of playing games with WZ I take him swimming around 8PM? How is that appropriate?

I applaud the aim of trying to foster more family bonding, but telling people to turn off their screens when screens are part of the daily ritual? That's pretty much impossible.

Which is why I'll be giving back the activity form with a giant "Not Participating" written over it.


Saturday, 23 April 2011 00:09:53 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 17 January 2011

It was a few years back when I realized the fact that while I didn't take forever to make WZ's milk. Mommy seem to just disappear into the kitchen and reappear within moments with a bottle of milk. I didn't think too much about it until one day while I was visiting my inlaws I overheard mommy talking to her sister in law and they were discussing how the fathers (me included) were all slow and clumsy when preparing the baby's milk. That's when I decided to identify the problem areas where I was slow and clumsy and become as efficient as mommy.

So here's what I am doing right now, not sure if it'll work for all the rest of you fathers out there but here goes.

There's no zero tolerance policy on water measurement :- When I first started preparing the milk, I was meticulous in my water measurements, if I needed 6oz of water I'd pour the water in, put the bottle on the table, wait for it to stabilize, check if it's at the right measurement, if not, adjust and repeat. That can take quite a while. Then I saw how mommy did it, she poured the water into the bottle. While holding it in her hands and the water level still unstable, as long as it was near the required level it she just left it at that. So now I do the same thing, if the water level's off by a few CC, it's ok as long as you don't miss it by a whole ounce and change the density of the milk.

Don't Try To Make 3oz of properly warm water :- When preparing the milk, you need to use slightly warm water so you'll have to mix it with water from a hot pot and room temperature water. When your baby is young and needs only 3oz of water, trying to mix the right amount of hot water and warm water takes forever. What you do is to know how much of each water makes a proper warm temperature water. Instead of having to test to make sure the water's not too hot (and hence having to remeasure the thing ala the first point) I've figured out that 2oz of hot water from my hotpot + 5oz of room temperature water = 7oz of suitably warm water, then I just discard to the actual required measurements.

Don't bother doing math in your head :- There'll come a time when mommy will say "Make some milk for your baby, but less than usual" Previously I'd be running numbers through my head ie. 6oz Water = 4 scoop powder. Therefore 3oz Water = 2 scoop powder. Then I realized that I didn't have to be so strict with numbers (again refering back to the first tip) The main thing to remember is that you don't want the milk to be too thin (causing the baby to drink too much water) and not too thick (it's milk, not cream) and it'll be fine. One thing I noticed though, the density of the milk changes when switching from baby to toddler milk, etc. ie. Baby milk (step 1) is thick, when you shake it in the bottle you can feel it moving around heavily, toddler milk (step 2) feels lighter, and now the step 3 formula that WZ is on feels just like water.

With these steps I'm not able to make milk just as fast as mommy. But of course.. WZ is four years old so he's more tolerant of any weird mixtures. Let's hope this works out when number 2 arrives later this year.


Monday, 17 January 2011 23:55:45 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [3]  | 
# Saturday, 14 August 2010

Look here!

Not often that I get to take pics with WZ.


Saturday, 14 August 2010 17:34:08 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 09 July 2010

A little scene was waiting for me when I got home today.

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Of course, the person responsible for this is.

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Friday, 09 July 2010 22:03:48 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 21 June 2010

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Sometimes WZ just stares into the open, like he's lost in thought about something. I'd just like to say that a 3 year old is not supposed to have that kind of look.


Monday, 21 June 2010 02:15:37 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 13 June 2010

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Why does he keep walking so funny? Mommy asks about WZ stepping on one tile per step, or at other times when he keeps trying to follow a pattern on the floor. I remind her that it's a kid thing to follow patterns on the flow and not step out of line.


Sunday, 13 June 2010 16:17:43 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
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