# Tuesday, 02 April 2013

After the whole fiasco with the Hori FPS Assault Pad and the spectacular failure of the Razer Onza part of me was a bit cautious about getting another ‘Better than the standard controller’ controller. But I did.. and here it is.. the Razer Sabertooth.


One of the reason I decided to even consider buying the Sabertooth is the fact that unlike the Assault Pad and the Onza, no where in any of the reviews online did I see the line “It’s kinda big.” in their reviews. It was also proven to be correct when I first picked it up and my hands didn’t feel like cramping up!

When I first held it in my gaming grip, it had the familiarity of the stock Xbox 360 controller, didn’t feel too big or small. Felt as if I was holding the stock controller.

And that’s a GOOD thing, because the stock 360 controller has a very good feel when you hold it.

The other immediate improvement was with the position of the extra mappable buttons, you get 2 on top nested deep inside between the bumpers and the triggers.


And FOUR under the controller


Basically the bottom switch is a loose see saw that can tilt towards either side so you can 2 buttons for each switch.

The impressive thing about these buttons is the fact that previous pads like the Onza put the extra buttons too close to the normal buttons, which meant that by sheer muscle memory it would be VERY LIKELY for you to hit the buttons when you didn’t want to.

But on the Sabertooth, it less of a problem depending on how you press the bumpers. For me I’d hit the bumpers using the middle of my index finger, I don’t actually press it with my finger tip. The extra top button is positioned in such a way that it’s at my index finger tip instead of my knuckle so I wouldn’t accidentally press the extra button.

The bottoms buttons have no standard buttons to get in the way of, and I don’t feel that they get in the way of my small hands. Might be a problem for those with bigger digits, so I guess that’s why Razer provided the ability of removing the bottom buttons if you don’t need them.


Once you remove the button, you get a hole like the indention on the left, Razer was nice enough to give some rubber stoppers to block the holes like the one on the right. The problem is that I just couldn’t seem to press them into the hole tight enough and kept feeling that they were going to fall off. The other interesting issue was that as I was squeezing the stoppers in, the joystick gave out loud creaking noises…

Like the Onza the face buttons of the Sabertooth are still the good old caps ontop of micro switches with minimal travel distance


The D-Pad is now four normal looking buttons instead the weird pie slice on the Onza.


Unfortunately because it is still four separate buttons, it still doesn’t work very well for sweeping motion ala Street Fighter. Basically it’s hard to get a Hadoken on, let’s not even talk about a Shoryuken!

The analog sticks on the Sabertooth feels just right to me, not too loose, not too tight. The caps have a slight bumpy dot texture on them.


But if you really want better grip on the tips, Razer was kind enough to provide two grippy silicon joystick caps for you so you can have a better grip on the sticks if you want.


Let’s talk about the special features of the Sabertooth, the first thing to talk about is of course the OLED screen that sits at the bottom of the stick.


This is probably one of the reasons why the Sabertooth is so expensive! But it allows for some interesting features to be implemented because the screen is used to show more information to the user.

The first obvious function is the ability to map the six extra buttons to any other BUTTON on the stick.


Yes, you heard right you can map ANY button to the extra buttons, including the Start and Back buttons as well as the triggers. Very useful indeed!

You are also able to adjust the sensitivity of the thumbsticks.


You can set sensitivity in the range of –10 to +10. As I mentioned in my Hori FPS Assault Pad review, joysticks report values as how far it’s pushed to the edge where the center is 0% and the edge is 100%.

To further explain how joystick sensitivity tuning works we’ll need some diagrams!


The picture above represents how far the joystick is from the edge, so the left edge is the joystick in the neutral position, and the right edge is when you push it fully to either direction. The picture above depicts how a normal joystick reports how much it’s pushed to the game, so normally when the stick is at rest it reports 0% and when it’s pushed to the edge it reports 100%.

When we set the sensitivity to +3 this is what happens to your joystick range


The point where the joystick tells the game that it’s been pushed to 100% get’s drop to around 70% of its full range. This in theory would let you hit full turning speed in FPS games much more faster. Would this give you a edge? Well I’m not that competitive a gamer to know. Smile with tongue out

Then if you set sensitivity to +7 you get the results below


So all you have to do is nudge the joystick a little and you get to move at full speed!

So that’s what the POSITIVE sensitivity values do to the stick, so what about NEGATIVE values? Let’s take a look at the setting of –3


What happens when you set the sensitivity to a NEGATIVE value is that the maximum reported distance of the joystick gets dropped, so even though you might be pushing the joystick all the way it’ll only report 70%. This is helpful when you need to move something slowly and you can’t trust yourself to not just slam the stick into the corner ie. When you’re staring down a sniper scope.

A value of –7 would yield the following range


And for some reason, the setting of –10 yields a range of 0% to 0%. It's either that, or because the reported range falls within the deadzone region of the games I was testing on.

Since you might not want the sensitivity as –5 all the time, the Sabertooth have 2 profile slots for settings. Swapping profiles can be done easily by pressing the profile button. But if you’re going to do it on the fly while playing, note that you’ll need to press it TWICE to swap. The first push brings up the profile menu, the 2nd actually changes the profile


One more not so obvious feature which the Sabertooth has is the ability to access a diagnostic menu and display the current values reported by the analog sticks (Reported values are not influenced by the sensitivity settigns)


This is important to competitive players, because after time the analog sensors on the sticks might deteroriate and give false reading or values, or they might be worried that they’re victims of a slow-turn joystick. So with this onboard test menu it’s extremely easy to confirm that your stick are all working properly.

Having used the Razer Sabertooth through Bioshock Infinite, I must say it’s not too bad at all. Not having a cramp inducing shape helps alot of course, but the fact that the mappable buttons are pretty much out of the way and being able to quickly and accurately adjust joystick sensitivity. I would definitely recommend the Razer Sabertooth without reservation…. if only it didn’t cost so much! The price will definitely cause concern to potential buyers and the features while great still doesn’t make it an absolute must buy yet.

That said if the only other controller you’re thinking of getting is the Razer Onza? No man… just say no to Onza!

Gaming | Gear
Tuesday, 02 April 2013 10:18:00 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 31 March 2013

You could download some free open sourced sample site, or can even hammer out a simple catalogue and ordering system via code if you’re capable of doing so.

But the thing is that after the customer has paid for their order then comes the REAL WORK, it needs to get the PHYSICAL item to be delivered to the customer and that’s not something the website can actually do!

“How hard can it be to package something up and send it to the post office?” You might ask? The answer to this question is determined by the scale of operation. If it was just a housewife trying to sell some things through a blog, then yes it’s a simple matter of her logging on to check on pending orders, pick all the orders HERSELF, pack all the orders into boxes HERSELF, send it to the post office HERSELF, and then update the order status with tracking number HERSELF. Then yes, it’s not complicated at all since it’s all done by ONE person, and only ONE person needs to know about the state of the order.

Now imagine if it’s an online store of a public company, when an order comes in, the Order Processing department would verify the orders, send it to the Storage Warehouse to pick the items in the order deliver it over to the Delivery department for actual packing and delivery then update the delivery status of the order. All this while that this is happening, the Customer Service department must have enough visibility of the process to be able to answer any customer enquiries that pop up.

Different companies and organizations would have different workflows and auditing requirements than the simplified scenario which I listed above, the most important thing to understand is that the work required to build an Online Store Website ISN’T limited to just making a website which the customer can buy stuff from. Depending on who’s running the online store, the backoffice to support the entire process might turn out to be just as complicated as the online store website itself!

Sunday, 31 March 2013 13:37:29 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 22 March 2013

I found this Battery Case for my Nokia Lumia 920 at Brando.com


Looks like your typical phone jacket style case.


Just that it adds about 1CM to your phone, and it’s weight is almost doubled as well. Dropping the Lumia 920 into the case is done by extending the top a little.


So the Lumia 920 can then be snugly plopped into the case.


The hold is pretty tight but the fact that it is still just plastic probably means that it’ll eventually loosen to a point where it’d be unusable. There’s also a little kick stand in the back of the case which you can use to prop the phone in landscape movie viewing mode.


You’ll also find the ever important power button and charge indicator at the back.


Each of the lights represents 25% of battery content, to start charging your phone all you have to do is press the button, the lights turn on and you’re good to go!

Unfortunately probably due to the fact that there’s only a very small battery in the case I’ve only been able to recharge the Lumia 920’s battery for about 50% through the battery case. Also, while recharging it gets QUITE hot since now you have TWO batteries which are undergoing a power exchange close to each other.

Another thing to point out is that the battery case is recharged via a Micro USB port at the bottom of the case, should you wish to charge your phone’s battery before charging the case’s battery, you can press the power button on the case and power will be diverted to the Lumia 920 first. This DOES NOT redirect USB data though, so if you want to connect the phone to your computer you must remove it from the case.

In conclusion, due to the fact that it can only provide 50% back to the Lumia 920 this might not be the extra battery solution you’re looking for. You might want to go for a traditional battery pack which provides larger power content instead. What a battery case DOES give you is the convenience of not needed to have a cable tethering your phone to a battery pack when you need a charge. If that’s what you’re looking for then you can give this battery case a shot.

Friday, 22 March 2013 00:02:30 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 18 March 2013

Well, thanks to my son losing the wireless dongle to my Microsoft Arc Mouse I had to get a new one. After a while I settled on the Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse.


You might think that I’m crazy to get another mouse with the word TOUCH in it after the fiasco that was the Microsoft Touch Mouse but the Sculpt Touch Mouse ALMOST works as well as a normal mouse even though it has the gimmicky TOUCH word in it.

First and foremost the Sculpt Touch’s THREE mouse buttons are all real physical switches, non of the touch surface nonsense here.


Where’s the 3rd button you say? In a right move the touch strip / mouse wheel area is a giant clickable button. Kudos to the designers who figured out people prefer to work with real buttons.

Now let’s talk about the touch strip


The touch strip is basically just a replacement for the mouse wheel. Understand that making the wheel a touch area not only makes it sound cool technologically, it might actually cost LESS since it’d consist of less moving parts and sensors than an actual wheel.

Not only can you perform the obvious vertical scrolling, you can also scroll horizontally. Swiping to scroll horizontally is actually much better than tilting a wheel to scroll horizontally. But of course, whether horizontal scrolling works or not in a program is hit or miss since there’s no standard for that if I remember.

The touch strip also has one simple effective trick that makes it feel like a real mouse wheel. It RUMBLES. I think the proper term is called haptic feedback. Basically, you know how a physical mouse wheel has notches in it so you can feel that you’ve actually hit one of the increments? The subtle rumbling of the Sculpt Touch attempts to simulate that feeling, and it works quite well I must say! You can adjust the subtlety of the rumble through the use of the downloadable Mouse And Keyboard Center software.

With the simulated bumps of a mouse wheel the Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse should have been a perfect Bluetooth mouse if it wasn’t for a simple, crucial flaw.

Sometimes touch isn’t detected properly.

I’m not sure if it’s a sensitivity issue or it’s just because of the simple reason that sweaty finger tips don’t work well on touch surfaces, but there are times where I’d swipe the strip but there’s no rumble, indicating a failure to detect my touch. Irritating enough to not recommend for use in games since you don’t want to not be able to swap out your guns at the wrong time.

Another thing to note is that other than the touch strip and the fact that it has a Bluetrack sensor, there’s nothing special about this mouse. Only has 3 buttons + wheel and that’s it.

I wouldn’t recommend it without reservation, but I also wouldn’t recommend against it.

Update 3rd April 2013: Just realized that sometimes when you click the mouse wheel it’ll also detect a scroll up signal. Which makes it a little annoying!

Monday, 18 March 2013 23:50:11 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 13 March 2013

So I got a Seagate 1TB Backup Plus hard disk to act as a backup for my new PC, I took it out of it’s box and it looks pretty nice and all.

Then I noticed the rear portion where the USB connector was felt a bit loose, I wiggled it a bit and it felt like it could be detached so I yanked it and….

Out pops a USB3 to SATA connector!!! I was shocked, I expected this to be done by some brandless Taiwan company but for Seagate to give us a free direct USB3 connector? I just had to make sure that the connectors weren’t some special special non standard SATA interface so in went a hard disk.

And it work perfectly! So not only did I get a new portable hard disk, I got a USB3 to SATA cable on the side as well! This is really neat, such a long way from Western Digital screwing people for trying to buy cheap 2.5” hard drives!

So if you’re interested, here’s a box shot so you know what to get.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 22:33:45 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |