# Saturday, 25 May 2013

This is my Nintendo 3DS XL

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The amount of games I play on it is quite surprising considering it’s a portable dinky little console, in fact the only reason I upgraded from my original Nintendo 3DS to this XL one was because not only did I wanted WZ to be able to see me playing properly on it but also because the fantastic, funky, hot games coming out for it in the next few months are just too much!

But even with all this love for the Nintendo 3DS, one thing that Nintendo managed to do both right and wrong at the same time is their implementation of a digital purchases, their Nintedo e-Shop.

So what do they manage to get right? Let’s take a look at the stuff which I bought from the e-Shop (Using the prepaid cards purchased from Play Asia, since it’s almost I haven’t been able to attach a Malaysian CC to the account)

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Everything after the 3rd column are downloads from the e-Shop, and everything without the word DEMO on it are things I bought from the e-Shop. And this is what Nintendo get’s right, in addition to e-Shop only mini games like Liberation Maiden and Starship Damrey, retail games like Adventure Time and Art Academy 2 can also be purchased on LAUNCH DAY. Nintendo seems to be quite committed to selling games in both retail and digital form, and that’s great!

But then in typical Nintendo form, for all the good which they’re doing they just HAD to go screw up the platform some how. It’s goes like this, all those games you saw just now, and also the balance in my e-Shop account?

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The USD43.07 balance? They’re not tied to any form of online ID, they’re tied to the CONSOLE ITSELF!!!

To put it simply, when you loose an iPod, or a phone, you can just sign in to your account and redownload you apps and stuff.

Nintendo in their effort to make it easy (probably) and user friendly decided that creating an account was too much of a hassle an just linked everything to your 3DS. I’m gonna guess that all the people in the team who came to this decision

  • Don’t have children
  • Never broke a device by dropping it
  • Never lost a device

It’s RIDICULOUS to assume that a person is never gonna have any accidents with the 3DS which results in ALL the e-Shop downloads AS WELL as e-Shop balances being lost. It also means that a heavy e-Shop user’s 3DS might be worth a LOT!

After coming to this realization, I have decided that any retail games that I would want to play all the time (Animal Crossing) and games which WZ might play I’ll buy the e-Shop version (cause I don’t trust WZ to swap cartridges properly!) Everything else I’ll buy the physical cartridge except when I can’t… like.. Ace Attorney…

God damnit Nintendo, get your act together!


Saturday, 25 May 2013 16:50:25 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 19 May 2013

After months of staring at the box and wondering Why the heck does this mouse look so weird? I finally bought a MadCatz Cyborg R.A.T. 7 mouse.

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At first glance the mouse already screams that it is not your conventional mouse and of course it isn’t, it’s main claim to fame is it’s ability to be customized to fit your grip so you won’t be able to complain that the mouse isn’t comfortable to use because the mouse doesn’t fit your hand. How does it do that? The magic begins from the tail end of the mouse.

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This grooved object is actually a small hex bit

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It is the key to unlocking the customization features of the mouse, let’s take it easy and start off from the right side of the mouse.

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See the little hex bolt there? Using the hex bit you can unscrew and remove the conventional side panel and replace it with one of these 2

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The one on the left is basically the normal plate with an additional rubber surface for extra grip, but what’s more interesting is the extra large one on the right.

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It gives the right side of your hand (usually the pinkie) something to rest on while you’re moving the mouse. It’s AMAZING how well it feels to rest your pinkie on it while you’re moving the mouse!

Next we’ll move to the left wing, first of all you can adjust the position of the platform between

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and

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For about 9MM of distance, doesn’t look like much on paper but you can feel the slight distance effect the ability to reach the side buttons, this ability allows me for the first time to reach BOTH side buttons without reaching awkwardly. You can also tweak the angle of the platform from

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To

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Again, this basically affects the ability to reach the side buttons of the mouse so you can adjust it to your liking.

Next up is the palm rest portion of the mouse which you can extend from it’s zero position to

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For a total of 3 stops, this affects the length of the mouse and then you can also remove the palm rest and replace it with one of the other two palm rests

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Again the left one is just like the standard one but with a rubber surface for extra grip, the one on the right looks like the normal one but is actually 4MM higher is you want your mouse back raised.

Then we move to the bottom of the mouse where we can find this near the tail of the mouse.

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After you remove the retaining nut you can slide off the weigh discs.

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Each of the discs weigh about 6 grams so you can customize the mouse weight to your liking.

With the physical customization out of the way let’s talk about the actual gaming mouse features of the RAT, I don’t actually use these features personally so here’s a quick summary. The mouse has a tracking resolution of 6400 dpi, using the rocker switch located behind the mouse wheel.

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You can switch back and forth between four settings which you can customize via the control software of the RAT. You can get a visual indication of the current settings via a four segment light display on the side of the mouse.

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There's a horizontal scrolling thumb wheel in the body of the mouse, positioned near the side buttons.

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Once again using the profiling software you can customize what the side buttons and turning the horizontal wheel does. There’s also a red Percision Aim button near the front of the side wing. That’s basically a brake for the mouse speed so while you’re holding the button down it scrolls at a slower speed to make it easier to aim.

Like all good gaming mice the RAT 7 is able to store three profiles, with each profile having it’s own DPI and button settings. The button to toggle between profiles is located on the inside tip of the top fin near the mouse wheel.

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It has 3 colors to indicate which mode it’s in. I find it funny how every other thing on the mouse is designed to be used by a right hander and thus all the indicators are on the left side of the mouse except for this one, which there’s no quick way to see what mode you’re in since you won’t be able to see the light. Although the light is strong enough to cast an image on your index finger…

One thing to note about the profiling software, when I was using it in Windows 8. You MUST INSTALL THE MOUSE DRIVER FOR THE RAT in order to get it to work! Before I installed the driver the profiling software just didn’t want to work!

There’s also one flaw in the RAT, which is the fact that the shortcut keys activated by the horizontal wheel and side buttons can only be used if you have the profiling software installed, it’s kind of a bummer but I suppose it makes the mouse cheaper to manufacture without having to deal with key mapping on the mouse… but then again the RAT ISN’T CHEAP

Closing Summary

As a mouse with a customizable grip so that you can tweak it to be most comfortable for you to use the R.A.T. 7 is fantastic and does stand up to the name of a customizable mouse well.

For me the only real gripe on this aspect was the fact that since I’m using the mouse at it’s shortest setting, the hex wrench bites ever so slightly into my palm. The problem is easily solved by removing the wrench from the tail of course, I just hope I don’t lose the darn thing!

As for a gaming mouse.. I don’t actually play PC games so I don’t know how good the RAT is compared to say.. other Razer products, but I do suppose the fact that you need to keep it’s profiling software running for customizations to work might be a turn off for some.


Sunday, 19 May 2013 23:20:42 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 17 May 2013

I really need to remember that if I’m in DESPEREATE need for Nintendo Prepaid Cards, Play Asia while being a reputable store seem to have some funky handling algorithm. In fact I do believe that it might be some MANUAL process, since you can get the code almost instantly if you buy it during normal office hours at GMT+8 but after that… it’s a looooong wait…

It’s all Nintendo’s fault!

ps. Don’t buy stuff too close to midnight, banks run batch processes then and most likely CC processing will get delayed!


Friday, 17 May 2013 23:57:15 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, 30 April 2013

User Experience (UX) seems to be quite the hot topic now, everyone seems to be talking about it. And all of a sudden instead of just saying “Let’s think of a proper User Interface (UI) for our web application!” People start saying “Let’s build a great UX!” Cause as you should already know, anything with the letter X in it sounds cool! (Why else would Apple not want to learn to count to 11?) To me UI and UX are somewhat similar, whereas UI only applies to software you can use UX to explain anything that involves a user. ie. Physical shopping flow.

As a programmer, you might think that designing the UX is a job for the designers and the client. Then you’re dead wrong, the designers might be able to paint a great picture for the client to see but that’s just half of the job! Who is responsible to make sure that the design can actually have data bound to it? Who is the one that has to be the voice of reason and mention that you can’t just bring down the whole product database JUST to make a *seamless* scrolling experience?

The programmer! Who else?

So when you’re working on that next big thing, the following pointers should help you make a positive contribution to making a great UX for your application/web site/whatever.

If You See Yourself Hating The Use Of It, It’s Probably Done Wrong.

The first most obvious rule is that if you look at the proposed UX and the only thing you can see is how painful it would be for you to use it, it most likely not a good idea to begin with.

Don’t Design A UX For YOURSELF, Design It For the USER!

This might sound like it’s conflicting with the first point since it’s mentioned that you shouldn’t hate using it, but it isn’t. Cause the first point states that you mustn’t HATE using it, I didn’t say you must fall madly in love with it!

Most of the time, everyone would think that they’re designing the UX for the CLIENT (I’m talking from the role of an ISV here) That the UX is supposed to meet the client’s requirements. WRONG! The client’s most important requirement is always make something people want to use. Always keep that in mind when making your UX, but how do you know what’s the best solution for the user? Do you conduct usability testing? Customer interviews? Well if you have the time and money that’d be great! But most of the time you wouldn’t, so you go for the next best thing.

You make up your users.

This act of creating personas isn’t anything new, people have been doing it for a long time in the creation of various things. I don’t actually practice the creation of named unique personas, but rather one of the concepts in the use of personas which is :-

Know who your users are and what they’re capable of.

If you feel that your website is likely to be used by tech savy people, then maybe you can put more effort into your search capabilities since they’re more likely to use it to find what they want.

Or if you feel that your users are more of the browsing type, then you need to put more effort into designing the best way to rub promotions in their face or make it more likely for them to stumble upon it.

Ends CAN Justify Means

Sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be a way to make something have a good UX, the process might take too many steps, or a form might have too many input boxes, or maybe the data source you’re validating the user’s data against just isn’t fast enough. You client keeps hounding you over the various internet articles that say how every extra SECOND in processing results in HUNDREDS of lost sales, this problem was described by an article my colleague once forwarded to me as “The worry that every one of the users have an attention span of a squirrel” Instead of trying to argue how it doesn’t make sense that one SECOND can give HUNDREDS more sales, the question that should be asked is.

What is the end result of this flow and how important is it for the user?

Because depending on the results, the user WILL be compelled to jump through all the hoops of even the worst UX in order to reach the end. The best example to give is the online plane ticket website AirAsia, I find that the UX can be vastly improved since it’s unpleasant and complicated even for me. And yet everyone uses it because the end result of a cheap air plane ticket justifies the means of having to slog through a poor UX. Let’s not even talk about what happens whenever they have one of their crazy sales!

Another fictional example is of course, if you told your users that they’d have to finish a test that needed 2 hours to complete in order to BUY an iPhone at 25% of the price would they not be willing to do it? Even if you’re told that the scenario isn’t comparable to what you’re trying to achieve, the point is that users are willing to take extra effort if the end is important enough to them.

And that’s enough for this time around.


Tuesday, 30 April 2013 22:16:06 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 22 April 2013

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Decided to do a catalogue of the gear which I carry on me most of the time.

  • Duct tape – Does this need any explanation?
  • Swiss Card – A gift from the Semi Pro Indespensible to have a knife and scissors in your wallet!
  • Mini LED Flash Light – Cause some situations just calls for a real light!
  • Swiss Tech Screwz-All – Read all about it here
  • A Pen – Yup… a plain, normal pen, You’d be surprised how much this thing is used!
  • Small length of rope – This is a recent addition to the old utility belt, not sure what I’d use this for!
  • Leatherman Squirt – Wait.. how long have I had this? Other than the fact that the Phillips screwdriver has the potential to be destroyed by tight screws this thing has seen me through a lot of tricky situations!
  • 2 Caribiners – Surprisingly sometimes you just need a quick hook, got 2 of them because I forgot one of them was already in the pouch. Smile with tongue out
  • USB Thumbdrives – One is encrypted (in case I plug it into something and forget about it… AGAIN) and used to shuttle sensitive data. The other is used to shuffle whatever junk that’s needed.

Maybe I should catalogue my backpack contents as well… though even I wonder what I might find in there if I did that!


Monday, 22 April 2013 00:05:03 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |