# Sunday, 18 April 2010

Here's some things which I realized after playing the role of bootleg recorder during yesterday's Video Games Live concert.

First of all, if you want to make a good recording, you need to prepare a proper setup for your gear. Great thing about VGL was that I didn't need to hide my gear so I just had to make sure I mounted my camera properly. Because I had a Gorillapod I could do this


The camera and I basically shared the same eye level, so from a camera angle aspect I got a pretty good one. Here's a sample of the resulting video.

From the video I learned the remaining tricks of being a good bootlegger

  • If you can ensure the camera position doesn't change like what I'm doing, then leave the camera on MANUAL FOCUS so it doesn't focus hunt in the middle of the show. It's not like the screen will move or anything.
  • If your intent is to bootleg, don't go to the show with someone you're likely to talk to. :P

Gaming | Gear
Sunday, 18 April 2010 14:07:31 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

This is it! This here is the final release model of Marauderz Portable Wireless Router.


Instead of using the unpredictable cinch straps, I'm just using a LOT of velcro strips to secure the battery and provide wiring conduits throughout the cage. Looks a bit more cleaner now.


But of course it's still weighs a damn ton. But of course the comments I get is that this is such a huge and heavy piece to lug around if only there was something smaller, more elegant and looks less dangerous. If only there was something like...


The D-Link DIR-457 3G Wireless Router. How small is this? Here's a size comparison.


Well, so a crudely hacked system loses out to a commercial product, what were you expecting? Anyway I did know about the existence of such devices, they're actually the reason I embarked on my project. I just never thought I'd see one here so soon. :P The DIR-457 is about the size of an iPod Touch so no problems carrying it around.

If you're unfamiliar with what I've been trying to do, and what does the DIR-457 actually do. Imagine a internet router but instead of connecting to a fixed line, it connects using any one of the wireless broadband providers ie. Maxis, DiGi, etc. etc. Then imagine that it's powered by a battery and small enough for you to carry around.


The DIR-457 basically allows you to carry around your own personal mobile broadband wireless hotspot to connect multiple devices to the internet using one one wireless broadband connection. It contains a 3.7V 1330mAh battery.While it can stay ALIVE for around 3 hours, expect it to only last 2 hours if you're actively using the connection. One question that I can't wrap my head around is why did D-Link make this battery removable? Are they gonna be selling extra batteries? I don't think it's easy for that to happen.

Should you run out of power you can just connect the DIR-457 to your PC using a typical USB cable to charge it. Another interesting feature of the DIR-457 is this.


If you slide the switch to modem and connect it to your PC, the DIR-457 will then act like your typical wireless broadband modem. Interesting and nice to have feature I must say.

How well does it work? As well as expected I guess. It works and connects my UH900 and the iPod touch to the internet... what else were you expecting? Two things that I have an issue with the firmware though.

  1. You can't switch the device to HSDPA or EDGE ONLY mode, it's always stuck in autoswap which might not be something you want in certain situations as autoswap can kill connections and also drains power.
  2. The DIR-457's EASY AUTOMATIC setup automatically assigns your Telco's Access Point name based on the telco's name detected from the network it's connected to. This would be a nice feature for novice users, but the problem is... some telcos have DIFFERENT settings for their wireless broadband. ie. DiGi has both dgnet and 3gdgnet as their APNs, and the latter is the one that wireless broadband accounts should use. UNFORTUNATELY the DIR-457's auto configuration sets and LOCKS the APN to dgnet. This might stump users who are unfamiliar with APNs.

This is not quite a review of the DIR-457, more like just a rant on why the heck didn't it get here sooner and save me my time, effort and money on my own project. But of course it was cool to make my own portable wireless broadband router, even if it looks too Macgyver'ish for it's own good.

Sunday, 18 April 2010 02:24:37 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 12 April 2010

Well I'm done packing and ready to head out the the Malaysian launch of Visual Studio 2010 tomorrow, and if you can't make it there physically, you can still watch a LIVE webcast of the event if your office Internet holds up at the local event site.

I'm done packing, and I'm bringing a little friend for a little trial run.


And of course, because a hacked up little cage containing a SLAB and a bunch of velcro straps would probably scare the bejesus out of everyone.


Now I just like look like some dumb schmuck who is hanging a small bag from the probably fragile and not meant for load bearing hook on his bag.

Seriously... I don't know if the little strap will hold or not! Not even sure how long the battery would last... heck the last time I was in Sunway Pyramid Convention Center, cell phone reception was pretty crappy! Would I even got proper signal in there this time?

Monday, 12 April 2010 00:56:38 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 10 April 2010

I was contemplating wheter or not to actually write this post, but since people seem to be asking wheter I’ll be getting the iPad I might as well just write the answer and point people to it next time they ask.

The first reason why the iPad isn’t for me is it’s size, for capabilities which are slightly better than an iPod Touch doesn’t justify the 10” size of the device. Since I can’t fit the thing in my pockets (and considering that I’m wearing Docker’s Mobile Pants which have a few deeeeeep pockets) I’d need to carry a bag to hold it, and if I’m gonna have to carry a bag to hold a device, that device better damn do everything I want to do on go. And when I carry my UH900 with me I can do ANYTHING I NEED, surf the net, watch movies, deal with my servers, and even write some code.

The people who question why I don’t want an iPad usually call it a revolutionary new experience of using a computer. Imagine being able to surf from the couch, watch videos, share photos with friends. etc. etc. I agree that those are valid points, but when those revolutionary experiences are mentioned to someone who has been using convertible Tablet PCs whose average size has been less than 12” I’ve done all that! I’ve surfed the net from my couch using my ultra lights since 2005, reading in bed, done that, surfing from the throne, done that too. So this revolutionary experience the iPad is offering? I’ve BEEN LIVING IT already.

Then the argument of battery life comes up, saying that the iPad has 10 hours of battery life, well that’s all nice and great. But if I know I need to use my UH900 longer than 2 hours, I’ll be bringing some form of extra power. Then they bring up the point that I need to carry extra stuff then, I remind them that as they pointed out previously a BAG is needed to carry the iPad around, and once a bag is involved you can pretty much put anything into it to extend system lifespan.

The main reason that I will never get an iPad is because I CAN’T WRITE ON IT properly. But it’s a touch screen you say? Yes… it’s a CAPACITIVE touchscreen, great when you have nice big contact points touching the screen like your fingers, but there’s no solution to simulate a pen on paper form of writing. As I found out when experimenting with the Lenovo S10-3T. Here’s the video with my findings.

The reason I NEED the ability to write on the screen is mainly due to one program, one singular program that pretty much holds my thoughts and ideas.

Microsoft Onenote

For every platform, there’s always one must have application, that one program that justifies the existence of the platform. If you ask me, for the Windows Tablet PC platform what this program is. It’s Onenote.

Most people haven’t heard of Onenote, so when they ask me what does it do I point to their paper A4 pad which they’re scribbling their meeting notes into and tell them “Onenote is that pad you’re using, but all the notes that I’ve ever written can be easily retreived, searched through and organized”

The most ironic view came one day when I noticed that my old Fujitsu U1010 was thinner than my colleagues paper notebook. And it does more!

While you can use Onenote on non touch capable systems, you’ll find that you can do so much more with a touch capable system. (and if you currently keep meeting notes as bulleted lists in a Word document you really should check out Onenote!)

With my pen I can easily and quickly sketch out system flows, design ideas, architecture and many more. In fact I’m so hooked onto OneNote that when my main workhorse system was upgraded to a NON touchscreen system, I had withdrawal issues because I couldn’t write down my ideas anymore. Until I found a pen system which I could use with the notebook.

Writing onto my portable device is VERY IMPORTANT to me, and since Steve Jobs would die before allowing a stylus to be shown with Apple devices there’s no way I’m getting an iPad cause it can’t perform that one function which I want.

Actually the industry’s obsession with capacitive touch really scares me since it would mean that the bulk of the tablets that consumers will buy is unable to be written on effectively and that turns a tablet from being a great productivity tool to just… Windows 7 operated with your finger.

I’m looking at you HP Slate!

Saturday, 10 April 2010 10:10:28 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 08 April 2010

The Apple iPad was just launched a few days ago and people are constantly comparing it with other touch enabled Windows 7 PCs like the Lenovo S10-3T and constantly saying the Windows 7 pales compared to the iPad even with all it's touch features. Well let me just say it for you in simple terms.

Windows 7 Touch Will NEVER Be Better Than The Apple iPad

The main reason is because while the Apple iPad was DESIGNED (ok.. imported from the iPhone) to be operated exclusively using touch. Windows 7 was not. Windows 7's touch features were added in order to allow both users and system builders to build PCs whose only form of input might be touch only NOT to redesign the entire OS to be operated exclusively by touch.

And even if the OS was redesigned to be fully operated by touch only, one of the main complaints that is heard by users who tried using Windows 7 using a touch interface is that the apps aren't designed for touch operation and Microsoft should have made the apps more touch friendly. The one question to ask those people is that WHERE do they draw the line on which apps Microsoft should work on? This is Windows we're talking about, an OS that has DECADES worth of old applications, and any one of them might be used on these touch only Windows 7 PCs.

The key point to remember is that with the touch enhancements that is present in Windows 7, Microsoft is not trying to make an OS that exclusively works via touch interaction. But rather it's to provide a platform for developers to create apps that are designed for touch interaction, and more importantly to allow users to use as many of their applications as possible even though the apps are NOT MEANT FOR TOUCH OPERATION. And in this area the touch enhancements present in Windows 7 do a pretty good job and I want to show this very least understood area of Windows 7 soon.

So to take a platform that's designed for touch like the iPad and then say that a general purpose OS like Windows 7 will never be as touch friendly as the iPad is just ridiculous. And you're not comparing Apples to Apples... and that always sounds funny when talking about Apple products.

More on this topic soon.

UPDATE If you want to find out how to optmize your Touch Enabled Windows 7 PC, check this page out!

Thursday, 08 April 2010 01:06:26 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |