# Sunday, August 21, 2011

One of the things which is going to be the hardest thing to teach WZ and make him understand about the consequences of his actions. It's easy enough to tell him when he's done something wrong or right. But what happens when he does something that doesn't have a clear cut definition on what is right or wrong?

How do I teach him that when that time comes, it's not a question about doing the right thing but rather can you live with the consequences of your actions?

Is that something you can even teach instead of having to experience or come to a conclusion for the question yourself?


Sunday, August 21, 2011 4:24:26 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, August 15, 2011

This is a wireless network camera.

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This is a BATTERY POWERED wireless network camera.

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This is a RELATIVELY SMALL CR2 BATTERY POWERED wireless network camera.

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You’ve just seen the Trek Ai Ball battery powered wireless network camera. It’s unique feature is that it is an honest to god WiFi Network camera in an extremely tight package and through the use of a battery means its can be truly wireless. All these features make for some very interesting applications.

The camera has very little physical features, the entire rear section after the blue divider line happens to be the battery compartment.

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It’s design has an interesting purpose, more on that later. On the side you find the on off switch.

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when you first turn it on the camera will establish a ad hoc network which you connect to using your web browser, then like any other network camera you will be able to view the feed from it. image quality is…. usable, but I guess I shouldn’t be expecting miracles from a 3V driven camera.

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So… it runs off a pretty expensive little battery, the manual says it’ll run for about 90 mins on a fresh battery depending on how long you spend looking through it. The range of the wireless radio is about 2 rooms in doors I expect longer range reception when you have line of sight.

Now, they didn’t expect people to keep running the camera off batteries, so they sell a cradle accessory.

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which, luckily for me was included in the old slightly trampled package. The cradle basically allows the camera to be powered through a USB connector, or what I’d like to call 5V of the gods! The socket sits at the back as you’d expect.

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The entire front half of the cradle is actually a battery analog complete with the necessary contacts.

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But the damn contacts on my cradle wasn’t high enough to reach the contacts in the camera, causing me a few moments of panic as I thought something was wrong with my set. An interesting thing to note is that the voltage coming off the contacts is 3V and not 5V, so there’s some sort of resistor dropping the voltage in the cradle.

So all you need to do is just snap the camera onto the cradle and you have your typical connected network camera.

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Snap is the right word to use, because there’s a horrible crunching noise of weak plastic whenever you insert or remove it, wonder how long it’ll last if you keep moving it from the cradle.

So, while the cradle grants the ability to use 5V to power the camera, the stand gets in the way, luckily it is easily removed by unscrewing it from the side.

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So now I have a more compact camera, now all I need is a source of power to make it mobile again, and a way to secure said power supply to the camera. I believe I have the parts.

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And here’s what I ended up with.

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Why is it that all user hacks end up looking like IEDs? But aside from that it is now a slimmer package which can be concealed easier, also the fatter battery should provide a longer runtime than the single battery.

Why should you get it?

It’s a pretty darn small battery operated network wireless camera, yes it broadcasts it’s SSID out in the open and there doesn’t seem to be any advanced settings available to turn that off. But still if a light bulb went on in your head when you heard the product description you know you want it!

Why SHOULDN’T you get it?

There’s no onboard recording medium, you’ll need a Java capable web browser to record streams. Or… you could just BUY their iOS recording applications, I understand that the apps would most likely be generic enough to work with any MJPEG source, but seriously? I bought your hardware and you couldn’t even give me the software for it? Not even just the ability to ONLY VIEW the streams? (granted, if all you wanted to do was view the camera, browsing to it using most modern mobile browsers would work)

Another downgrade of the Ai-Ball’s appeal is that the build quality just doesn’t feel too good! inserting the cradle feels like it’s gonna snap the hooks, the battery door feels thin and flimsy, the power switch feels flimsly. You get the picture?

If you DO intend to pick it up, do realize that there are TWO hardware revisions out there, v3.0 and BEFORE V3.0, from the pictures I see on the web seems like v3.0 has some new management functions in admin mode for dealing with the wireless settings. I got a PRE v3.0 model, guess that’s why they were bundled it along with the cradle.


Monday, August 15, 2011 9:42:07 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, August 07, 2011

And so... another year, another attempt to get the ultimate meeting Tablet PC. The Asus T101MT generally worked well but with palm rejection mode on, writing on the screen had some irritating problems every now and then, but since I had no other choice at the time I lived with it. And of course, now I've find a replacement. The Fujitsu T580

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Once again I've gone with the convertible form factor.

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The Fujitsu T580 again falls under the portable notebook category with it's 10" screen, for general tech specs you can refer to the Fujitsu Product information site. So what made me decide to get the T580?

Hybrid Digtizer

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The NUMBER ONE reason is that the T580 has a hybrid digitizer, so not only does it have a 4 point capacitive multi touch screen, it has a honest to god DIGITIZER, which means writing on the screen with the digitizer pen is FANTASTIC.... Except for 2 problems.

The first problem is that I can't figure out how the digitizer works, wheter it's magnetic reasonance (inference.. or whatever) like a Wacom pen or ultra sound like this pen I once had. Why am I even interested in how it works? Because sometimes the pen goes crazy (once so far) and acts like I never lifted it up from the screen, and this was exactly how crazy the old ultrasound pen would get when it had too much interference. Some people attribute it to N-Trig's (the OEM provider for the pen) QA problems with manufacturing the pens but I'm not too sure about that.

The second problem is that the pen is powered, while don't mind having a powered pen. The problem is that the power source that the pen uses is a AAAA battery, no I didn't spell it wrongly, I DID say A A A A. Here's how it looks sitting next to a AAA.

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Yes, I also didn't know AAAA batteries existed till when the Tablet PC was first launched and the Compaq models used them. It seems like they decided to go with AAAA because of it's slimmer profile in order to be able to make it small enough to fit inside the pen silo

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Having the pen kept inside the device is always a good thing no matter what Steve Jobs said. That said, I do have one worry about the T580's pen silo, it seems to hold the pen via friction instead of any lock mechanism so I do wonder how long would it last.

So where do you BUY AAAA batteries? Well, I've found ONE shop in Malaysia that actually stocks them... I should go buy a pack for emergencies even though they mentioned one battery last a year.

The other method of getting AAAA like batteries is to butcher a 9V battery.

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A 9V battery consists of 6 1.5V cells that are slightly shorter than a AAAA battery, the polarity points are usually reversed, not ALL of them salvaged this way can be used in the pen but at least I have a way to get some in a pinch.

Power in a tiny package

Even though it has the tiny footprint of a 10" notebook, the T580 comes equipped with a Intel Core i5 1.3Ghz, which can turbo boost to 2.0Ghz under load. That's enough to do pretty much any work I have for it! While the powerful processor might turn out to be a power hog and shorten battery life, I created a special power profile which I use during meetings which puts the maximum processor performance at 45% and STILL it runs OneNote pretty well and have about 3.5 hours of battery life.

One interesting added advantage about all that power is that the integrated Intel HD graphics GPU is DirectX 10 compliant (compliant, doesn't mean it has great performance) And therefore the system is more than capable of running the Windows Phone 7 emulator, that coupled with the availability of a multitouch capable touchscreen means the T580 is an ideal Windows Phone 7 development machine, because with a multitouch device you can debug multitouch code on the Windows Phone 7 emulator itself without the need for an actual device!

The Extras

The T580 comes with a built in 3G modem, evident by the presence of a flat little antennae on the top of the screen.

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Which means I could just turn off the normal Wi-Fi radios to save power.

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At least I could IF turning of the wireless switch didn't turn off WiFi, Bluetooth AND the 3G modem as well. Luckily through the use of Fujitsu's own Power Saving Utility applet I am able to selectively turn off WiFi and Bluetooth radios only.

Another added surprise is that the T580's SATA hard disk slot is easily accesible.

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I immediately splurged on a 64GB SSD to replace the 500GB Hard Disk that it came with so that I don't have to worry about any problems that moving around a spinning hard disk might cause.

Summary

The Fujitsu T580 was not my first choice as a replacement for my Asus T101MT, I was initially looking at the sleek Fujitsu Q550 Slate Tablet PC, but all the enterprise features which Fujitsu put in it pushed the price up to a level which I was not comfortable to get something just to work as my notepad, since that is what the Q550's main responsibility would have been cause its powered by an Intel Atom CPU. Where as with the Fujitsu T580, I have a complete ultra portable development machine to work with.

My usage of Tablet PCs are always compared to the iPad, and people have always mocked the weight and thickness of my convertibles. But it's ok, my Tablet PCs allow me to get actual work done so I don't care too much about that any more.


Sunday, August 07, 2011 12:17:07 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, August 03, 2011

One thing which I just realized I missed out in my Windows Tablet PC optimization article is the little quirk of a feature which the Windows Tablet PC Soft Keyboard has, is that when you’re trying to enter a password in a text entry field that PROPERLY identifies itself as a password field to Windows, the soft keyboard WILL NOT show you what key you’ve pressed. This is obviously a security feature to stop people from trying to steal a peek at your passwords when you’re entering them.

It’s also one of those annoying security features more so with a touch screen because there’s literally ZERO FEEDBACK from the keyboard indicating you pressed a key.

Luckily its easy enough to fix. Just head on over to the Options menu on the Input Panel.

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Then in the Options dialog which opens, select the Advanced tab, then drag the slider to the MEDIUM setting. (By default this should be at medium high)

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This will make the keys on the keyboard flash when you touch them, but still keep the mouse cursor hidden so there’s still some protection from prying eyes. Experiment with the various other settings on the slider to see if there’s any other setting you prefer.

Update : seems like this doesn’t work with the Windows lock screen’s keyboard. Pity..


Wednesday, August 03, 2011 10:17:37 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, July 02, 2011

So I just watched Michael Bay's 3rd and hopefully LAST Transformers movie in a while, and boy did it SUCK!

Consider this your spoiler warning, because once again there's this GIANT BIG HOLE in the plot!

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So there I was trying to enjoy the movie by turning my brain off, until Mr Big Giant Transformer says "We used to be gods back on Cybertron, now we're just refered to as Machines!" I'm sorry? How is that possible? How is it that you can refer to yourself on your native planet as GODS? Who the heck refered to you as GODS???? That's just a wrong statement to make! If his main point was to point out that on Earth they're nothing but machines then he should just say that instead of making the god remark, cause that doesn't make sense.

And then by the end of the movie, the biggest plot hole was hit. Throughout the whole movie it was made a big deal about how Sentinel Prime was the only one who could control the Space Bridge, thus the elaborate plan to bring him back to life and what not. But in the final fight when the Space Bridge control pillar was knocked out all it took was the touch of a traitorous human to bring it back up, whatever happened to ONLY SENTINEL PRIME CAN ACTIVATE THE SPACE BRIDGE?!?!?! Don't tell me it's because that it's activated already then anyone can use it because if that was the case Megatron would have shot Sentinel in the back much earlier.

Other nit picky points when you think too much about it

So they first revealed that the space bridge would be used to steal Earth's resources back to Cybertron, ok, sounds like a good plan. Then it was, bring Cybertron to Earth. The fact that they were going to launch the space bridge pillars AROUND the world made me think they were going to just warp Cybertron in place to where Earth was which would have been more interesting than the actual plan... park Cybertron next to Earth, you can't park two objects with their own gravitational fields next to each other. The moon already affects the tide slightly, guess how big a problem another planet would cause?

The whole Let's enslaved the humans to do rebuild Cybertron premise is simply ridiculous! Because you don't get ants to build you a skyscraper would you? Also... note that the Transformers in the movies don't exactly have any sort of tactical advantage that gives them a one up against humans. The only advantage the Transformers have is their size, they seem vulnerable enough to heavy arms fire and explosives so trying to keep the humans under control would be a pain. Also... the Transformers have already demonstrated they're more than capable of creating mindless drones to help with tasks so why would they need humans as slaves?!?!?

Decepticons TAKING AUTOBOT PRISONERS!?!?!??! What madness!?!?! If it was shown earlier that these movie Transformers had ANY REGARD for life that would be fine, but at EVERY FIGHT, EVERY MOMENT, EVERY OPPORTUNITY they'll rip each others heads out, punch them till parts fly, etc. etc. So why the heck would the Decepticons take prisoners??!?!

They didn't even bother to give any reason to why Bumblebee STILL DOESN'T TALK PROPERLY!

Why the fark do transforming robots need TRANSFORMING fighters?!?!?!

Try and remember how many Autobots were pulling their weight during the final fight, as in before the final "Let's go get the pillar!" charge.

Try and remember how many Autobots were captured and grouped together, but how many Autobots were there when rescue came.

The whole movie was just filled with references to classic Transformers as nods to fans so that they can accept Mr Bay's genius. Here's what I caught

  • Optimus Prime gets his trailer.... and is promptly reminded how awkward it is to drive a full trailer offensively.
  • Optimus Prime gets his Axe now.
  • Transformers turn into dust when they die.... well at least one of them did.
  • The whole hidden joke that a giant robot voiced by Leonard Nimov makes Megatron his bitch, and then in end gets betrayed by Megatron leading to his defeat by the Autobots.

Saturday, July 02, 2011 12:56:30 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |