# Thursday, July 22, 2010

This post is used to test Facebook's fb:like widget after I done some editing to the system.

Ok.. I give up, this whole thing just works REALLY REALLY weird, I can only suggest that if you want to use the fb:like button then do remember to put the Open Graph tags.


Thursday, July 22, 2010 10:15:48 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, July 18, 2010

Let's see now.. how do I put this? Oh no... not another...

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Seriously, I don't know why I get all these Sony cameras... I guess I just like their features.

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So... the next Sony camera I got is.. the Sony NEX-3.

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It falls under the Micro Four Thirds family, or as the camera industry likes to call it "The smaller than a DSLR camera yet gives you DSLR like quality cameras and features... and then some!" Oh.. if you're looking for a camera review, you better go here instead since I'm not qualified to give full technical reviews of cameras, I'm just giving opinions about it as a user.

The NEX-3's BODY is small and compact, almost as small as your typical compact cameras

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But... unlike your typical compact cameras, and more like a DSLR, the NEX-3's lens doesn't shrink into the body. It's basically a removable lens (like DSLRs) so you can attach different lens for different situations. The problem is of course, depending on what you attach the camera might change from slightly pocketable to only fits in your handbag/man purse size. So... is it easier to carry around than a DSLR? Yes... Is it as easy to carry around as a compact camera? No. Do remember.. I have pretty big pockets in my Docker's pants, so if I feel that even with the 16MM slim pancake lens the NEX-3 is not really pocketable, it won't fit in most other pockets.

The NEX-3's battery bay and card slot is housed in the grip on the side.

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It accepts Sony's own Memory Stick Duo cards, SDHC cards and also... SDXC cards. One of my minor complaints is that there's only ONE slot that fits both card dimensions, so when you insert the smaller, thinner profile Memory Stick. Sometimes it goes in the wrong way. I can only imagine what would happen if someone shoved it in the wrong way... HARD!

The rear of the NEX-3 spots a clean minimalistic look.

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But.. just because it LOOKS simple, doesn't mean it is. See the big wheel on the right? Not only is the center an ENTER button for selection, Not only is it a wheel which you SPIN to make selections, it is also a four direction D-PAD! And the simple matter of fact is that with only so little buttons, it takes some time to get used to the interface and menus. But I guess once you are familiar with the camera, the maze of menus won't matter this much. Oh yeah... it's NOT a touch screen!

One thing that I must commend Sony on is the Shooting Tips feature, basically the camera ITSELF has a mini beginners shooting guide book. Look at some of the tips offered by it.

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Pretty invaluable to someone who's learning how to use pictures outside of Full Auto mode, I wonder if other cameras come with a feature like this?

Since we're talking about the screen, it's also tiltable so you can take photos holding the camera high up, or down low.

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You can also see the USB and HDMI mini jacks her on this side.

The NEX-3 DOES NOT come with a built in flash, the little indention you see on the top is actually the accessory port which you connect the external flash to.

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It doesn't matter HOW good the camera performs in Low Light situations, or how little noise is contained in the camera's High ISO pictures. If you don't have a Flash, the camera FAILS the all important WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) for the simple reason that without a Flash there are many situations where you can't get pictures of your 3 year old son running around. So it's a big deal when the camera doesn't have a flash built in.

This is the how the external flash for the NEX-3 looks like.

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And I'm guessing because the designers at Sony realize that if you had a flash but can't carry it with you easily it's just as useless, they give you a nice little case to hold it in.

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Not only that, said case can be easily attached to the camera strap so you'll always have the Flash on you all the time... if you decide to use the camera strap that is...

More importantly is that in a move that easily increases the WAF of the NEX-3, the Flash is INCLUDED in the package instead of as a separate accessory.

To install the flash, you just open the connector door. Plug it in, then tighten the connection screw on the flash.

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Then you close the screw's door to make it look nice and flush

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Simple right? But there's one ANNOYING thing, the accessory door does not pull back a lot, heck it's almost at it's limits in the pictures you see above, I'd imagine someone with big fingers would have a hard time installing and uninstalling the flash.

Other than that little annoyance, the Flash looks well and proper sitting on top of the camera.

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You have to turn it on yourself by lifting it up, it doesn't pop on it's own.

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How well is the flash? Well.. it's your typical head on fill flash. Nothing to write home about, if you're at the right distance it works well, if not.. full blown white out. But that's pretty much how these things are. Of course I never actually used it a lot yet.

I mentioned just now that the industry calls these type of cameras "The smaller than a DSLR camera yet gives you DSLR like quality cameras and features... and then some!" So let's talk about the "then some!" features of the NEX-3. First of all, like all compact digital cameras the NEX-3 is able to take videos. The cool thing is that you don't have to enter a movie mode to take videos, you just press the "MOVIE" button.

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And you're recording a movie. Unlike most video capable DSLRs (or is it ALL of them?), the NEX-3 is able to perform autofocus during video recording I'm guessing this is thanks to the more silent gearing in the lens. Other reviews have said that the autofocus isn't perfect, and it's hard to achieve certain optical effects with the NEX-3's video mode. But for a movie mode in a still camera's body, it works well enough.

Yet another annoyance I have with the NEX-3 is the position of the LEFT voice recording mic, it's position is easily covered depending on how you hold the camera. Personally I don't even understand WHY they have stereo mics on these things in the first place, what kind of audio distinction can be done by mics there are mic inches apart?!?!? Or maybe they use it for noise cancelation.... but that doesn't make sense too!

The other waaaaay cool feature that the NEX-3 has is that it can take panorama pictures automatically. Basically all you do is enter the panorama mode, press the capture button and the camera will start taking pictures for a few seconds, in that period you are to sweep the camera so that it can snap enough pictures to build a scene.

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There are a lot of factors that determine how well this feature works, things like how steady are you moving, how static is the scene (not really meant for a crowd scene), how similar objects look to the camera... etc. etc. But generally it's a pretty nifty feature and fun to play with.

I haven't taken too many shots with the NEX-3 yet. Here's a few.

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They built a squash court inside the Curve... impressive..

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Corridor shot.

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Anxious parents.

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Look I can finally take a proper picture of my A550, this is with Flash

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So, what's the verdict on the Sony NEX-3? Well... it's size makes it more portable than a regular DSLR without a doubt, it's still not as portable as your typical compact digital camera, but it has similar performance to a DSLR yet still retains some of the nifty features as a compact camera (movie mode FTW!) I don't see a reason recommending people AGAINST it if they ask me should they get one.

ps. Before you ask, the main difference between the NEX-5 and the NEX-3 is that the NEX-5 has a magnesium body and is capable of taking Full HD videos. Not things I'm terribly concerned about hence I went for the cheaper NEX-3.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010 5:38:37 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ok, I've nabbed the new Beta developer tools for Windows Phone 7 (and still cursing the fact that no offline installer is available) dropped it into a test VHD and did a quick test project to test out wheter the previous Silverlight 4 port of the library works on the phone (and also in Silverlight 3) and... well.. it works without a hitch, so if you were looking for a QRCode library for use in  Windows Phone 7.

Download it here.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010 10:59:24 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, July 09, 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, July 09, 2010 10:03:48 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

After finding out about local online knife selling website Blade.MY I decided to pick up something to try out their service. So I went and got this.

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This is the Leatherman Style CS, it's a small little multitool knife like the best pocket multitool I've ever used, the Leatherman Squirt.

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So it's small and slightly more than 3 inches across, and of course it's sporting a very holely look.

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Not only do the holes give it a sweet look, they also serve to lighten the overall weight of the knife, and yes the weight's very pocketable.

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The Style CS comes with a pair of scissors instead of pliers, which is actually one of the things that is stopping me from swapping out the Squirt in my pocket for this. I kinda like the idea of having a pretty usable pair of needle nose pliers in my pocket.

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On one handle you'll find the knife.

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And on the other you'll find the combination nail file / screwdriver. After carrying around the squirt for 4 years I actually fear using these flat screwdrivers, the problem is that they don't have the structural strength of a real Phillips screwdriver so if the screw you're trying to open happens to be really right you might end up damaging the head.

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The carabineer clip that's on the end of the tool is actually a bottle cap opener as well, personally I haven't opened a bottle cap EVER with my knives but I guess caps must still be popular enough to warrant the inclusion of an opener in anything that can be called a proper multitool.

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The little nib on the handle, is actually a small pair of tweezers.

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Nothing much to write about a pair of tweezers I guess...

While the Style CS will still not replace my Squirt P4 in my pocket, the main thing I found out was that Blade.My is able to supply these Leatherman Tools at pretty competitive prices. So if you're looking for a Leatherman tool you might want to check them out. I myself already have my eyes set on something else in the catalog...


Friday, July 09, 2010 12:33:36 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [1]  |