# Thursday, 19 August 2010

I decided to go for a little test run to try and see how to best get 3D effect pictures with the Sony NEX, 3D effect here being that when you view the photos with a compatible viewer and glasses such as Stereo Photo Maker

http://stereo.jpn.org/eng/stphmkr/index.html

For each pic below I'll also include the link to the MPO so you can view the thing in actual 3D.

Now instead of calling it 3D, I'm gonna be using the word POP, cause that's the effect I get when I see it. The images aren't really 3D, it's just an effect, and the effect is how the images POP out of the screen towards you.

First... remember that from the shooting tips on the camera :-

  • Your subject should be at least 3M away from you, too close or too far means no 3D effect.
  • Stationary subjects work the best.
My addition to the rule is

It's hard for the camera to seamlessly join a large long object when you do panoramic sweeps, such as a long sofa or a wall, move very slowly and keep your hand level if your subject is like that.

Image 
MPO : http://cid-9d81d8eb3fbbb0ea.photos.live.co...ts/DSC00331.MPO

The BEST way to get pictures that POP, is when you have things that overlap each other in different depth areas, when you view the picture above in 3D, notice that the slide on the left pops a little, where as if you look at the archway, and then the gate behind it, you can feel that one is in front of the other.

Image 
MPO : http://cid-9d81d8eb3fbbb0ea.photos.live.co...ts/DSC00332.MPO

This picture demonstrates 2 things, first being that because the dustbin has nothing close to it to make it pop, there's not much 3D effect there. But there's some if you look closely.

2nd is that, remember you can take 3D shots in 3 sizes, 16:9, Standard, Wide. In terms of angle and arc, Standard is about 180 degrees, Wide is about 270 degrees, 16:9 is errr... 45 degrees? Basically while you'd use standard and wide for scenary, if you needed to take a 3D photo of a SINGLE OBJECT, switch size to 16:9 focus lock on the subject, tilt the camera to the left abit then fully depress and start sweeping right. After practicing a few times you should be able to get your subject in the middle sweet spot for 3D pop.

Image
MPO : http://cid-9d81d8eb3fbbb0ea.photos.live.co...ts/DSC00347.MPO

This is a good example of how when you take panorama pictures try to make sure your scene works well with a single exposure setting. half of the scene was in shade, half was not, since I started from the shade part, the unshaded parts are over exposed... But.. this is not a post about shooting tips, its about making POPing 3D pictures!

Image
MPO : http://cid-9d81d8eb3fbbb0ea.photos.live.co...ts/DSC00349.MPO

When viewing in 3D you can see the proper depth difference between the front and rear chairs, so you get POP!

Image
MPO : http://cid-9d81d8eb3fbbb0ea.photos.live.co...ts/DSC00357.MPO

Ok, last one, just a simple scene, but the stone markers and tree around the area give each other the POP feeling.
Hope my little experimental afternoon helps everyone understand how to make pictures with 3D POP effect, oh in case you're wondering I'm looking at them with RED/BLUE glasses since I dont have any 3D hardware.

DSC09358


Thursday, 19 August 2010 23:55:32 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 16 August 2010

Ok, better get this post up before IE9 Beta hits and I miss my chance for doing it. The recent IE9 Platform Previews have demonstrated that MS is able to put new features and enhancements into IE just as fast as Chrome and Firefox can. Contray to how people has always viewed IE as being the slowest to evolve and react to changes in the web landscape.

But how was this possible? It was because the IE9 preview was deployed as a separate app, instead of upgrading the internal browser component that is in Windows. AFAIK it's a Microsoft policy that if you fix or update something that was delivered in the core Windows OS, you'll have to run a full test suite AGAINST Windows OS again. This would severely hampers speedy updates and feature enhancements such as needed for a web browser.

With Windows 7, a bulk of non system essential apps were already decoupled in the form of Windows Live Essentials. While leaving the core Windows 7 with some basic tools, this allows the programs that make up Live Essentials to be updated faster and without the bulk of testing that's required if it was considered part of the OS.

So.... what if IE9 was delivered as a separate program as well? Moving forward, what if IE8 becomes the standard included browser that comes with Windows, and then on install, you get to choose IE9 as well as the other browsers from the browser candidate screen (*sarcarsm* Thank you EU *sarcarsm*) to use the latest and greatest web technologies vs the standard no frills browser of IE8.

IF this does happen then most likely for us developers who use the IE browser component in our applications, we'll be given a COM shim that's about to use either IE9 if it's installed, or previous versions of IE if it's not.

It's an interesting scenario and proposition when I think about it... cause if IE9 does sit outside the "Included in Windows" category, the ability to quickly add features and functionalities to it would make it a browser to be reckoned with.

This is just my guess of what might happen. We'll know on September 15th 2010 when the IE9 Beta is launched to see if my prediction is correct.

Of course.... it's possible someone already mentioned this before, but I thought about this idea the moment the first Platform Preview was launched, just took awhile for me to write this. Smile with tongue out


Monday, 16 August 2010 10:52:47 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# 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]  | 
# Thursday, 12 August 2010

The recent launch of the Apple iPad has fueled a hunger for keyboardless tablet browsing appliances, and who better to feed such a hunger than your favorite ODM manufacturers in China. Armed with the availability of the relatively free Google Android OS, those guys have been churning out many an Android tablet with various functions and looks. (Check some out here!)

I've recently acquire one such Android Tablet, it's called the eFren and is an Android 1.5 powered tablet made rebranded by local company Mi-Store.

DSC09297

Yes, it looks like a extra large iPod.

Here is their brochure for the eFren. (Presented to you by Zoom.It!)

So... what can you expect to find from a company that couldn't even put the correct URL of their website on the brochure? (The Mi-Store website URL is www.mi-store.com.my, the brochure says www.mi-store.com )

Pretty much a standard job of just ordering a couple of thousand units from China and slapping your company logo on it. As a web browsing tablet the eFren is pretty decent.

DSC09341

It's 800x480 screen means that you might have to scroll horizontally for wider sites but at least it's better than a VGA (640x480) or worse.. QVGA (320x240) screen. The screen is a single touch resistive touch screen, so you won't be pinching to zoom on the thing anytime soon. Responsiveness is ok for something of this quality but I have some problems with the lower right corner sometimes. The Chrome (lite I believe people call it) browser has pretty good Javascript support, but as I've seen recently when testing Zoom.It browsers that use touch panning don't work well with javascript code for dragging and dropping.

Also because this thing only has Android 1.5, it can't run Flash on web pages so you can't use it as a portable Farmville device.

It has the following ports running on the side where the On/Off button is... oh yeah... that center button? That's the on/off button. Yup... that's what you get for trying to copy the iPad in design and functionality.

DSC09314

You get a mic, Micro SDHC slot, a USB client port, HARD power switch, another USB client port, headphone jack, and the charge port. The first problem that the eFren has is that it CANNOT CHARGE FROM THE USB PORTS. I tried with my 5V2A charges and various cables and none of them delivered juice to the eFren contray to what their support people are saying on the Facebook Page

One good thing about the eFren is that it comes with a PROPER USB OTG cable (What does PROPER USB OTG cable mean? Check here) So you can connect thumb drives to the eFren and consume files from it. It DOES NOT have enough current to power a hard disk, so only low power devices. It's supposed to be able to recognize a few USB 3G Modems and use them for internet connections, but I don't have one ready on me to try out that feature. Seems to be hit or miss based on the feedback from the Facebook page though.

If you look back to the eFren brochure on top you'll see them touting their WIDE RANGE of media support. Well.. I can tell you that it plays RMVB files PRETTY WELL, that's probably due to the fact that if you want your device to be able to survive in the Asian market you NEED to have RMVB support nailed down. The eFren is not able to play 720P content smoothly, and here the deception of an OEM Chinese device shows, the eFren contains a DEMO clip with the filename of "Coral Reef Adventure 720P.avi" allowing the salesman to show potential customers that the eFren plays 720P video properly. But... in reality the file's video resolution is just 848x480 and has some pretty weird video/audio bitrates. Check it out in the video below.

The brochure as well as the YouTube video below mentions that H.264 is supported.

The video is PARTLY TRUE, the E-Fren's video player CAN open MKV files. But when I gave it an MKV file with a H.264 stream, I heard audio but I see no video. (For those of you unfamiliar with how video files work, MKV is just a container, inside the container you can have video and audio streams of different types of encoding, H.264 just happens to be what they usually use with MKV files) Given that they've proven they WILL lie with the Coral Reef video, I'm pretty sure the MKV file played here probably doesn't have a H.264 video stream.... hmmm.. maybe it's an RMVB file in an MKV container? UPDATE : I threw a 480P H.264 video into the thing, and it can be played, so it means that H.264 support is there.. but fickle, so be warned.

Now, misinformation like this is pretty much PAR for these kind of products. So there's no use crying foul over something like this. Given that it has a pretty decent web browser, and a pretty decent RMVB player if those are the 2 main functionalities you were looking for. I would have told you the eFren is a pretty good choice, since you're buying a low quality rebadged product which might break down at any moment, buying it locally instead of online means you can replace it... hopefully.

DSC09349

It's small, it's portable, it surfs the web. Normally I would have said "If you find the price satisfactory, and it meets your requirements go ahead and buy it!" But this time I'm just gonna flat out say DON'T BUY THIS!

Not because it doesn't run Froyo, not because of the lies of video support. But because the eFren shipped with a TERRIBLE design flaw.

You can't set the screen brightness to MAXIMUM.

At close to maximum (95% on the brightness bar) the screen is pretty decent, but you'll need 100% brightness if you want to even TRY to use it in direct sunlight. At 100% brightness the screen actually looks quite good.

At 100% brightness the screen flickers like hell on battery power!

Now that's just ridiculous! You'd think that when they accepted the good they went through a proper phase of testing to make sure something as simple as setting brightness to 100% would work properly. What pissed me off more was that when I was shown the device at the store I saw the sales person fiddling with the screen brightness, at first I thought it was because the device had a low battery charge and he just dropped the brightness so it could be used for a while. But after I found this flickering problem I guess it's highly possible that HE KNEW ABOUT THE PROBLEM and choose to conceal it.

And because of this simple little problem I must say that "No, the Mi-Store eFren IS NOT WORTH the RM599 price tag!"

Just wait a bit more if you're looking for a web surfing MID, Froyo devices should be hitting the market soon and maybe they'll work better than the eFren.


Thursday, 12 August 2010 22:46:33 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 08 August 2010

PC Fair used to be a place where you can get some nice deals, and see some nice gear on sale. But... in recent years it has just devolved into nothing might just a great big waste of time since things aren't any cheaper at PC Fair, in fact there're instances where things are more expensive then what you can get at Low Yat. While it is true that you get more freebies at PC Fair, you have to ask yourself if it's worth the time and effort of getting over to KLCC and making your way through the crowd.

So.. I made this short video detailing the PC Fair experience. It's short and boring... kinda like going to PC Fair yourself.


Sunday, 08 August 2010 15:05:48 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |