# Wednesday, February 16, 2011
A common misconception is that you can interact with a touch enabled Windows 7 PC in exactly the same way as you do with a mouse and keyboard. Well, you CAN'T. If you keep thinking about how to interact with your Windows 7 PC via touch in exactly the same way as through traditional methods you'll run into a few problems which are likely caused by the fact that you are unable to do what you want to do via touch, and you're unfamiliar with the touch alternative to what you want to do. So here's a little guide about how to browse effectively with Internet Explorer via touch ONLY.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 12:56:47 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [8]  | 
# Monday, January 31, 2011

This is an XBOX360 Wireless Controller.

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On the box, this is ALSO called an XBOX 360 Wireless Controller

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There are some slight differences along with a special transforming D-Pad feature. But let's get the subtle stuff out of the way, on a normal pad's analog stick, there are 4 dimples to indicate directionality.

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On the transforming controller, the surface of the analog stick is smooth but with a little pit right in the middle of it.

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Ok it's not exactly smooth, there's an ever so slightly gripy texture on the surface of the stick to ensure your thumbs don't just go flying off the thing. But not so gripy as to put all the grip pad manufacturers out of business.

The other obvious difference are the face buttons, where as this is the normal one.

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Buttons are marked with letters and color coded. Now for the transforming controller (seriously… why no special name?)

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Notice it's a mono tone design, and the X is BARELY visible! So… if you're the type of person that still has to look at the controller for the right colored button or letter when the game tells you to push it, you might have a slight problem.

And now for the main event. The D-Pad, this is the normal D-Pad.

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Some gamers call it Worst D-Pad EVER! Basically because instead of a cross which presses in like a button, you get a disc which tilts. Which is probably causes the majority of the complaints that the D-Pad isn't accurate. Personally I never had too much of a problem with it. Here's the D-Pad of the transforming controller in disc mode.

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By gripping and turning the cross key in any direction the grey colored rounded edges sink into the pit, leaving you with…

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A distinct cross key, so your thumb doesn't need to guess where the major directions are.

And now for the little problem I have with this. When I first heard about this controller, I thought when the corner edges are sunken the cross key would then function like buttons instead of tilting the entire D-Pad. But when I got home and took the controller out of the box and pressed it around in cross key mode, it feels slightly different. But it's still a tilt. Trying out a few games like SSF4, Ikaruga and Pac Man CE DX and I can't say wheter or not in cross key mode it is better than a normal D-Pad.

This is probably because MECHANICALLY the transforming D-Pad is probably the SAME as the normal D-Pad, the only change was that instead of a single plastic disc that forms the D-Pad area, what we have is a 2 part cap that's able to convert when necessary.

The OBVIOUS difference would be that your thumb can actually feel the major directions, and maybe for big thumbs, now that the corners aren't there you won't accidentally hit a corner?

If you're looking for a controller bundled with a battery pack plus play and charge cable to add to your console I'd say you can consider this, since it is still a normal controller. UPDATE : In light of recent events I must downgrade my recommendation from buy it if you want to to NOT A RECOMMENDED BUY. What's the recent event?

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Yes, you're seeing it right, the whole D-Pad SNAPPED off from it's controller stem.. It might have been weaker because it's a thinner rod than the normal one to allow it to spin. And I guess I must have snapped it after a particularly intense Super Meat Boy test session. I hope this falls under the normal warranty claim…

But… if you're hoping that the D-Pad actually works radically different from the normal D-Pad, you might want to test it out first before buying it. The converting D-Pad is a nifty feature but it doesn't really feel all that different to me.


Monday, January 31, 2011 12:39:45 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [4]  | 
# Sunday, January 23, 2011

For a more civilized age. The most popular weapon of all, the lightsaber! The dream weapon! Theoretically impossible to achieve… but… Well some of us has been living the dream through plastic lightsabers for a while now, so let's check out the evolution of this dream weapon based on my stash.

My First Lightsaber is the Obi Wan Kenobi Lightsaber, I *think* I got this around the time Episode 1 came out and everyone was going gaga over Star Wars toys again.

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This is your standard torchlight with collapsible light deflector, it uses 2 C cell batteries to drive it's light and sound show. And it uses a standard (for that time) filament light bulb that's why the torchlight analogy fits.

The next extendible plastic baton I got was the Yoda Training lightsaber.

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Pretty much the same as the one above, except that it's shorter (It IS Yoda's lightsaber) and it has this mode where as you swing it around, Yoda will speak through the weapon instructing you in the ways of the force!!

I was pretty much done buying plastic batons after the last two, it'd have to take something special for me to get another plastic lightsaber. And here's the something special.

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This is the Force Action Darth Vader Lightsaber. What's so special about this one? Notice that for the two lightsabers above, they don't fully collapse into the hilt. Not only does this one fully collapse into the hilt, hit a switch on the hilt and a spring loaded mechanism SHOOTS the blade into its fully extended position. The spring mechanism is STRONG, about as strong as a light jab at close range.

I actually carried this as a make shift weapon when investigating potential intruders at night, cause it can make a handy club with it's slight heft, it's easy to carry around when collapsed but I can extended it to gain a length advantage at a whim (don't underestimate how much hurt these thing can cause if you WANT to hurt someone with it) and I can at least get ONE surprise shot if it comes down to a fight.

Those factors are probably what caused Hasbro to discontinue this method of making lightsabers, cause it's TOO DANGEROUS as a children's toy. WZ is strictly forbidden to handle this lightsaber and it is kept way out of his reach.

And speaking of WZ, we come up to the most recent lightsaber I bought. And WZ was the main reason I bought it.

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Looks the same as the others right? But this most recent model is truly an evolution of toy lightsabers. First of all because it uses slim AAA batteries instead of gargantuam C sizes, the hilt is small and can actually be held with one hand. Instead of a normal light bulb, it uses an LED for it's light. Alas to make it more kid friendly, it's also shorter than the previous lightsabers.

For a toy of an iconic weapon, it's very interesting to have been able to see and experience the various evolutions the humble extendible lightsaber has gone through.

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And I'm excited to see what future improvements we'll see next!

But wait you say! "You're losing a lot of geek cred Marauderz! You bought all these plastic toys, but a real geek would never have been satisfied by these mere batons!"

Ok… this is where you stop reading if you're a true Star Wars collector.

What you are about to see might drive you blind… insane… or both.

Ready?

A long long time ago, in a place where I yet had to worry about spousal complaints and in a sudden lost of control because of the color purple. I got this.

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I'm not a collector, I don't go around looking for limited edition figures, or hunt for expensive series of figures. But in my life thus far, Star Wars made me go nuts and pay a lot for something that just sits as a collectible. This is one of them.

This is the Master Replica Mace Windu Lightsaber, who knew that the one thing that would make me want to buy a replica lightsaber was the color purple!

I have a deep sense of guilt in buying this because I'm not a collector. I won't buy a fancy cabinet for it, nor would I care to clean it every few months so that it keeps its golden shine. That's why now after years of neglect, the hilt is reduced to this.

Sometimes when I go to bed after looking at it in it's place sitting on the top of the shelf, I have nightmares of it crying about it's neglect. If anyone has any idea on how to restore it's shine (can I polish it? With what? It's definetly just cheap plating I guess) please let me know.

And so… here's the real final tally of my lightsaber collection. (It's in potrait mode due to a Zoom.It bug)

I've sincerely believed in the moto that "Toys should be played with, not kept behind a glass cabinet." (Yes that's from Toy Story 2) Even more so now that I have my own kid so one word of advice, if you ever thought of getting even getting just one decorative lightsaber think of all the work and effort you'll have to put in to keeping it maintained so it keeps looking great sitting there. Then think of how much you can actually play with one of the toy lightsabers. I know what I'd choose NOW.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011 12:55:47 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, January 20, 2011

In the last few post about toys and stuff I used Zoom.It to allow readers to access the full resolution images to see the detail of the pictures, if you didn't realize that the pictures were any different because you didn't click on them. Well that's the beauty of a Zoom. It picture, it works on most Javascript capable browsers even though the experience is smoother with the Silverlight viewer. So for those of you who missed it previously, here's a good use for Zoom.It. To be able to present and show fine detail of your picture to the viewer. (Click in the image to zoom, drag, fullscreen for details)

This of course uses Microsoft's Multi Scale Image technique (was it called Sea Horse? I can't remember) When I first showed this to the SemiPro His main comment was "Neat trick, but not very usable in the real world." His argument was that being able to zoom in like this encourages pixel peepers and not to mention the fact that people look ugly up close.

And those are very valid points, pixel peepers are scary people. Giving them such an easy way to spot an off color pixel, or easily detect Photoshop edits is a very bad thing indeed.

The other point is of course, as I found out after using my macro lens a few years back. There are somethings you don't want to be able to see up close. For example.. cute shot of WZ and the aftermath of a cold.

Versus... Not so cute shot of my unshaven face. Zoom in at your own peril!

Granted my wife did say after taking the picture "Your face not so bad lar" then started running for cover when I took back the camera.

It doesn't matter so much to me if people say that I take lousy pictures and stuff since at no point do I need that as part of my resume therefore I don't mind putting detailed pics up for viewing. Hmmmmm… I guess if I feel like it one of these days I should revisit PC Fair or some model shoot and get a nice collection of pics with my macro lens. ;)

And here's a major advantage of Zoom.It, because the pics are untouched you get the full detail. Zoom in fully on to the left eye of WZ in his picture (the eye on the left side of the pic, not WZ's left eye) Did you just have a CSI moment?


Thursday, January 20, 2011 10:54:24 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, January 17, 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, January 17, 2011 11:55:45 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [3]  |