# Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Yup… still don’t know how to take insect macro shots.

Zoom.It pic of squished mosquito below

Tuesday, 12 October 2010 00:59:06 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 09 October 2010

So I got a new 32GB iPod Touch 4G a few days ago for my wife, and I couldn’t get any screen protector or case for it yet because… well no one had any thing for it yet. So I was extra careful in handling it, also made sure WZ didn’t toss it around when he was getting some bullet hell action going. But… after less than a week of very babied placing on tables…


Horrible horrible scratches! What did they use? Butter coated metal? It’s almost as if they delibrately made it so fragile to make it a NECESSITY to buy a case. hmmmm……

Here’s a Zoom.It version of the pick so you guys can take a closer look.

Saturday, 09 October 2010 11:13:16 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 30 September 2010

After installing the latest Internet Explorer 9 Beta on my Tablet PC I noticed a very worrying problem. The IE9 UI degraded my Tablet PC surfing experience compared to IE8. Ok, let’s me show you the problem.


The picture above is the top of a maximized IE9 window displayed on my Asus T101MT when it’s in Portrait mode, therefore it has a width of only 600pixels in this configuration. There are > 3 tabs opened in the browser. So at first glance the problems are:-

  • Address bar has limited space making it hard to read or enter an address
  • Tab display area has limited space, making it hard to navigate between tabs.

Let’s see how it used to look in IE8.


So obviously more VERTICAL screen space is used up, at first glance you can see these UI problems

  • Address bar has limited space, after being squished by the search bar which was given the ability to extend way more than it should.
  • Tab display area is VERY cramped, only able to display the current opened tab.

So, how is IE8 better than IE9 in this UI aspect? Because of a little known thing called the tab list!


Clicking on the drop down to the left of the tab row shows a list of your currently opened tabs which can then be easily used to navigate between tabs. But instead of just a plain list, you could also click the left most button and bring up the quick tabs view which looks like this.


And you have a nice visual way of navigating between tabs. Honestly I didn’t use this feature AT ALL before I started using the Asus in slate mode, AFTER I did though this was a GREAT way of moving between tabs. It’s basically how mobile browsers work when they let users navigate between tabs as well.

Fixing this UI problem is actually VERY easy, since everyone says that Microsoft stole the whole simplistic UI from Google Chrome, let’s bring up Chrome then.


This is Google Chrome maximized on the screen. With only 600 pixels to display tabs with, it probably can’t fit too many as well, BUT… look at the address bar, since the address bar is on it’s own line it has plenty of space to actually be USEFUL.

So the best thing that the IE team can do now is to stop fighting over who has the most compact title bar chrome and split off the tabs and address bar into 2 rows, bring back the Quick Tabs button and the user experience for Tablet PCs can be brought back to functional instead of annoying. Smile with tongue out

Thursday, 30 September 2010 23:55:28 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 29 September 2010

So.. they call this Wobble 3D? Interesting…


Well.. it gives SOME impression of shaky, wobbly depth. Smile with tongue out

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 01:17:30 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 26 September 2010

Whenever people compare performance between an iPad and a Windows Tablet, they always like to fire up the browser, try to pan the page around by dragging. Then finding not much difference between the two, they’ll then proceed to pinch zoom. At which point they’ll promptly point out that the Windows Tablet is slower because the browser will stutter during zoom instead of smoothly zooming around the page.

To see the effect which they’re seeing on your Windows browser (I don’t know wheter it’ll be the same on others), hold down CTRL and slide your mouse wheel up and down, this will zoom your browser in and out a few times, and you’ll see that it’s not a smooth zoom but rather in steps.

What the people are comparing with is a smooooooooooth zoom experience on the iPads, or rather most mobile browsers. Which looks something like this. (Below is a webpage hosted as an image by zoom.it, if you don’t have Silverlight installed the Javascript viewer will be used and it might not be buttery smooth). Just go ahead and fiddle around image by dragging it around, scrolling in and out with your mousewheel.

OK, so now you’ve seen the 2 types of zooming and panning which people like to compare tablet performance with. If you tried out both zooming methods you would also have noticed that the mobile browsers have a nice fluid zoom movement, whereas your desktop browser didn’t have that. Does this mean your desktop browser sucks?

Not really, because the 2 browsers don’t really zoom the same way.

A mobile browser renders the page into something akin to a very large and long image, zooming is then achieved by panning and moving around the image. Hence the use of zoom.it to simulate the mobile browser navigation experience.

A desktop browser renders the page based on how big the browser window is, dimensions defined in the document, etc. etc. For every page you view in your browser it has to perform a layout pass to determine where exactly to place that 250 pixels wide center aligned paragraph of 12pt text in the window. What does this have to do with zooming? When desktop browsers zoom, they are basically (I’m doing a very general explanation of it, I realize that it could be much more complicated than this) bumping up the defined sizes in the webpage, therefore at 150% zoom the 12pt text now becomes 12 * 1.5 = 18pt.

Because the size of the elements have changed the browser would have to perform a new layout pass whenever the zoom level is changed. This is not so much of a problem on a normal desktop where a user would explicitly select a zoom level from a drop down menu and immediately choose the zoom level they want. When operating with touch gestures the user is basically cycling through zoom increments at a rapid pace which desktop browsers weren’t designed for.

You might ask why don’t desktop browsers just implement a rendering method similar to how mobile browsers work, while that would just solve the problem of the desktop browser’s poor performance I’m sure some other deeply engrained legacy issue would crop up since that’s basically how IE, Firefox and Chrome work right now and there’s must be some reason why all 3 of them work essentially the same way.

Sunday, 26 September 2010 23:19:53 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |