# Saturday, 31 May 2008

Never ever trust a non time sensitive delivery medium to a time sensitive task EVER AGAIN!


Saturday, 31 May 2008 12:06:23 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 30 May 2008

By a stroke of luck...

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I managed to get Yuki! My friend went to a shop to get his Haruhi and I thought what the hell, if they have a Yuki then get one for me and hey..

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Now I have 2! Should I complete the set? One problem though, Yuki's posing rod hole was unfinished properly and thus I can't stick the thing into her properly for effective posing, gonna have to file down the rod before I can have some SF action or maybe even DOA action for more controversial poses!

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Friday, 30 May 2008 00:54:08 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 23 May 2008

Microsoft has just flipped the switch and allowed people from Malaysia to activate their SkyDrive accounts. Check it out if you're looking for a storage in the clouds solution.

Now if only they have a download counter for the files for those who are interested in those kind of data.


Friday, 23 May 2008 09:58:51 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 22 May 2008

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Wow... check it out it comes wrapped in the weird sponge like material.

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Let's rip it then!

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It comes with a stand cum posing rod so you can make some nice poses.

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I don't think the move set matches the person.

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The joints might make the thing look a bit weird

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But they do the job and allow a nice range of movements.

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I personally like this system better than the Revoltech one because Revoltech joints don't stay in every position, it's like they have specific notches when you move the major joints like say the leg or arm. While this gives the Revoltech a stronger stiffer posability, it limits the movements since you HAVE to lock the joint at a notch and not anywhere you want it.

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This has got to be the best pack in accessory in my opinion, a nice ziploc bag to keep all the unused parts from getting lost! ;)

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Thursday, 22 May 2008 22:24:36 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [3]  | 
# Tuesday, 20 May 2008

What the fark have I done!!!!????!?!?!? Why did I hit the buy button??!!?!?!?!

It happenned so fast...It's all a blur now.. I saw it, I knew I wanted it and... I fell off the wagon.

IT!

Bloody hell the product status changed from ships in 24 hours to unavailable AFTER I hit the buy button.... I hope I managed to secure one... no I hope I didn't... did.. didn't! DID!

UPDATE : ORDER SHIPPED!!!!


Tuesday, 20 May 2008 11:32:52 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 19 May 2008

I finally had an opportunity to make a real life application with Linq, and I must sure the experience has been GREEEAAAAATT!!!

It's really something to go from using table adapters, TSQL code, to do all your queries to a simple syntax like

query=from authors in ctx.authors where authors.name.startswith("john") select authors

directly in my code to do selection. Why is it easier and how different is this from using typed data adapters? well the main difference is the speed at which you can make a new query.

With a typed data adapter you'd have to fiddle around with a designer to create your queries, slowing down developement time. With Linq, you just keep pounding away on the keyboard to build your data layer and queries, so the time for code to go "from brain to actual code" has decreased, thus improving developement time.

Either great, there are some developement choice changes that come with using Linq, and I'm still fiddling with it to see if it can be as flexible as a dataconnection in a pinch.


Monday, 19 May 2008 12:12:58 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 


Monday, 19 May 2008 11:18:53 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 18 May 2008

Mommy let's take WZ to the park near our house, it's a small little park with a little pond.

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Then there's the usual children's slide for WZ to run around and play in.

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WZ might get distracted by the LRT that passes by over head every few minutes.

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I'm sure that the high tension wires that run on top of the park won't do any harm

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It's a pretty well equipped park there are some simple gym equipment things here. Like jogging machines, cross country skiing machines.

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For sure they are just things that work, and don't have any fancy doodads or instrumentation.

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But that's probably because it's a public park and it's better to make stuff that is simple and has a risk of being vandalized and broken.

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That's a little on the lake walkway which we'd have to be sure to hang on to WZ if we want to walk on it.

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And there are also some rules we need to follow, don't I don't get the bit about the blankets.

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So.. what do you say mommy? Shall we go? What do you mean there might be too many mosquitos there? What do you mean WZ is too young to be playing on the slides? So... that's it? Ok... I'll go myself and to take some pics then.


Sunday, 18 May 2008 12:26:33 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 17 May 2008
Read on to read the adventures of one boy's tool preferences.

Saturday, 17 May 2008 22:50:45 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

Well.. I finally managed to see the Intel Classmate PC design in Low Yat today, aka the FTEC Smartbook.

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At RM1199 with comparable hardware specs to a eeePC 4G, but with a sizeable (I think it was 40GB) hard disk instead of a 4GB Solid State Drive, its a good deal if you're looking for a something in the current popular vain of cheap ultra portable laptops.

But...

There is one problem with the Smartbook. It shares the same 800x480 native screen resolution as the eeePC. But unlike the eeePC (At least not in the one that was on display) It would seem like the Windows XP drivers don't come with the ability to switch it to a scrolling 800x600 display. Why is this important? Because most programs never expected to be used on a 480 pixel high display, so having the ability to switch to 800x600 is NECESSARY if you ever want to run Windows XP on the thing. Hopefully it's just a simple matter of finding a hack or a piece of software to do it.

If not.. remember folks, it's really not a great idea to run Windows XP on 800x480! You might find that you won't be able to hit some buttons in certain programs.


Saturday, 17 May 2008 15:38:45 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 15 May 2008

My next little project would be to make it so I can embed all these little Silverlight Deep Zoom albums on the page itself. Currently they don't lend themselves well to being embedded because the image loads whenever you hit the page, so it's a waste of unnecessary bandwidth if you're not interesting in viewing.

But one main problem is that mouse wheel events aren't captured when you go fullscreen in a Silverlight application due to how it works. So I'll have to see how to get around that user interaction problem.

The first album were some little snaps which I took while I was in Thailand... I failed to get any scenery shots cause I missed the river cruise, but I found something else to shoot! Check it out here. The shots here were all taken with the kit lens of the A350.

The 2nd album are shots taken when I took a little trip down to the Lake Gardens, most interesting thing I realised while I was there was that the Macro lens makes a pretty good lens for shooting normal things too! Check out the shots here.

In case you don't know what Deep Zoom is, what's you're looking at is the FULL SIZED image from my A350, use the mousewheel or the controls on screen to zoom in and out of the photos, and of course.. let them load properly. (and that needs to be included as help text on the control as well!)


Thursday, 15 May 2008 09:56:15 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 12 May 2008

Mother's Day photo log and notes on what mistakes were made when taking the shot.

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Off to the little fish pond we go, with only the A350's Kit lens attached. This shot's mistake : Metering was taking by focusing on mommy's BLACK shirt, therefore to compensate what it though was a dark scene the camera used a slower shutter speed and let more light on the picture over exposing the shot. Granted this is really the first time I tried taking pics with SPOT metering.. maybe I should go with Center Weighted first till I'm comfortable with measuring exposure before taking a shot... hmmm.. but then again I'm taking baby shots don't usually have the luxury of time to measure exposure before shooting.

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The main thing wrong here is of course the subject has the sun behind them and me forgetting to pop the flash to catch the details. Point to note 2 seconds after I take this shot, WZ's shoe drops into the pond.

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Mommy said "Get a picture with the fish in it!" Luckily I was not using the 50mm or the background would be lost to bokeh. So, tlited the view screen down, held the camera up high and shot from above. Think I focused on the mommy's body instead of head though.

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One thing I found was that the A350 produces dull images, or it could just be the kit lens since I don't find my 50mm giving me that feeling. Anyway, bumping the saturation up by one step solves that issue for me. When in doubt shot in RAW mode, then do the adjustments with the LightBox app that came with the camera I'm *pretty sure* whatever settings you apply to the RAW image in that program is the same as what you can apply in camera. So you could take a plain image in RAW mode, then on the PC, use the LightBox app to see what kind of effects you'd get if you shot in vivid mode, applied more noise reduction, etc. etc. Great learning tool. Of course that increases the time to consumption of your shots but it all depends on what you want to do with your pictures.

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The problem with this shot is that I took it during the cloudy evening, so white balance is all wrong. In my opinion learning what is white balance and how to adjust it is the first step to taking nice pics, it's also easy to explain than aperture and shuttle speed (it makes white look white) of course I guess the Semi Pro would probably scoff at such a remark. But that's what I think lar.

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This pic pretty much sums up why I bought a DSLR, point to note here is that the restaurant had the usual dim mood lighting. So it'd be hard to get a nice bright shot without using a flash, but I didn't bring mine with me using the built in flash was an alternative but that wouldn't have looked nice. And I only had the kit lens which doesn't have a wide aperture. But no problem, like the Semi Pro told me before I bumped up the ISO to 1600 and got this shot which makes the place looks like it's brightly lit.


Monday, 12 May 2008 00:56:15 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 08 May 2008

After I purchased the macro lens for my Sony A350, I started reading about people talking about a close up filter in the forums. So I asked the semi-pro (He tells me he doesn't want me to refer to him as semi pro anymore, so I shall refer to him as the friend formerly known as semi pro, or FFKASP but I figured I'd just forget how to type that in a few days so semi pro will have to do!)

Me : What is a close up filter?

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Semi Pro : It's something that allows your lens to get a closer minimum focus distance, so let's say normally at maximum zoom the closest you can get for sharp focus is like this.

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So with the close up filter you'll be able to get in closer like so.

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Me : So it increase the macro capability of a given lens then?

Semi Pro : Yes but it'll never be as good as a real dedicated macro lens which gives you extremely close focus distances like this.

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Me : But the filter costs a FRACTION of what a macro lens costs! And more importantly if I saw the results of the filter BEFORE I got the macro lens I would have been content with it. Why DIDN'T you tell me about this filter BEFORE telling me about the macro lens??

Semi Pro : But it's not as good as a real macro lens

Me : But I would have been content with the fact that I can get PRETTY close up shots, and I would have saved some money!

Semi Pro : .....


Thursday, 08 May 2008 22:50:53 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [1]  | 
# Wednesday, 07 May 2008
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They say this is worse than the normal 3x3 cube.


Wednesday, 07 May 2008 23:21:18 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [1]  | 
# Tuesday, 06 May 2008

The more shots I take with the macro lens the more I realise I need to blow the item clean before taking the pics.

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DUST SPECKS!!! They never were a problem previously! At first when taking closeup shots like this the shadow of the camera lens was blocking the light. And it's not like I have a proper lightbox to shoot product shots. Then the semi pro reminded me that my flash unit can be fired wirelessly thus all I needed to do was to find the right place to put it so it can provide enough light for the shot.

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Interesting...


Tuesday, 06 May 2008 00:27:24 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 05 May 2008

A new version of the Deep Zoom Composer has be released by the Expressions team, downloading it now to see what changes I need to make to my Deep Zoom exporter.

Ooooo... look, they have a prebuilt library now... hmmm, guess that more or less would make my program useless but we'll see after I finish downloading it.


Monday, 05 May 2008 10:14:15 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 04 May 2008

That's the question which I ask my wife and my mother sometimes. Case in point :-

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Sunday, 04 May 2008 22:35:33 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

So there I was reading the morning papers, WZ was playing outside in the yard with Grandpa when there came a loud BOOM sound from outside. I rushed out to see what happened then I see two guys walking from a Maroon Land Cruiser, and looking up towards a tree in front of my house. One of them was holding a rifle. I don't know what they were shooting.. probably crows, but they left as suddenly as they came.

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Not suddenly enough though... The problem with shooting crows is that, even though you're firing UPWARDS, dude.. remember.. your bullets have to come down somewhere eventually!


Sunday, 04 May 2008 22:31:56 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [2]  | 

Well, now that I have a macro lens, I can shoot really small things really up close and not crop. Like this shot of the Mini SD card + reader.

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So much detail until you can see the insertation marks (click to see the larger version)

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Now I just need to constantly remind myself.. my collection is complete, I don't need anything else, and the box is full anyway.

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Sunday, 04 May 2008 22:17:24 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

When I bought my Sony A350, my friend kept telling me about the dark dark path of purchasing accessories which I was bound to travel down.

I told him that unlike him I wasn't using the camera to get some extra cash so I'll only buy things that I need. Like all the stuff I got after I got the camera.

When I made up my mind to buy the A350, I already knew what other extra lenses I would get. The first was the 50mm lens which I recently received, I needed this cause.... my wife likes the blur effect and she seems to feel that it makes pictures nicer. So who am I to say otherwise. The other lens I knew I would get was something wide to shoot scenery with, and I would be planning to get this lens only when my next overseas vacation has been planned.. and considering that we have WZ to worry about now that might be a while...

What I DID NOT plan for was that the macro capabilities of the lenses which I have didn't satisfy me. What I ALSO DID NOT plan for was how fast I sped down to Pudu Plaza when I heard that a shop there had a lens available.

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I didn't initially plan to get a macro lens but hey.. it's cool since now I can take close up shots that show off how dusty a glossy surface can get.

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Or just get up REAAAAAALLL close to something.

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So.. everything is still good... I don't have a problem or a lust for glass.


Sunday, 04 May 2008 17:05:26 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 03 May 2008

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Nothing much to say about the game other than if you feel like kicking back and running a few laps around a circuit on a lawn mower or scooter bikes, this is the Wii game to get. I'd like to talk about using the plastic shell that came with the game.

It surprised me.

After the horrible horrible experience with Ridge Racer on the PS3 I was really worried about how terrible the control would be, but.. it really surprised me. From the get go, I started the game, selected the beginner level and I was off, no calibration, no sensitivity tweaking, nothing! And I was driving with a plastic in my hands. And I was surprised how well it worked.

Nothing beats the exact, responsiveness of an actual joystick. But so far (haven't left 50cc yet) even when racing online, I haven't had the feeling that the wheel is punishing me for using it.

Oh.. here's a video for all of you to see how well the wheel works.

For all of you wondering how I did the video recording to be synchronized? I had my video camera focusing on the wheel and the Pinnacle Video Transfer unit hooked to the TV. I started the recording on both ends then I yelled 1,2,3, MARK! and made a circuit selection at the same time, so that became the sync point for the video. Of course there's bound to be some margin of error since it's such a crude way of doing it.

As to how I overlaid the videos? The process is a bit complicated to be repeated here but the tools used were. AVISynth, FFMPEG and VirtualDub. I'm gonna need some sort of a REAL video editor if I'm gonna do complex stuff like this again. :P

On a side note, after seeing me play without the shell once. WZ now will hold remote controls horizontally between his hands occasionally. ;)

ps. Why did I use YouTube instead of Soapbox? Cause I felt this video needed public exposure. But for comparison's sake, here's the SAME video uploaded to Soapbox.

Main difference here is that each service uses different levels of compression. With the one using a higher level of compression able to deliver the video quicker but suffers with image quality with the other having the reverse trade offs.


Saturday, 03 May 2008 22:10:08 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 02 May 2008

About a little more than half a year ago, WZ was learning how to climb down safely from the bed.

And now finally at 1 year 3.5 months he is able to climb back UP the bed, note how he climbs up when I stop him from standing on the bed on the floor.


Friday, 02 May 2008 12:29:49 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 01 May 2008

After getting my Minolta 50mm lens, the shots I have been getting just feel so different. They look more colorful and bright.

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The soft focus (bokeh) effect that the lens produces gives the pictures the professional look.

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One thing that I'll always remember is that my skill hasn't improved or anything. It's just the lens, so one very important thing to remember with an SLR camera is that it's very important to get a lens that suits the purpose you use the camera for.

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And one more thing is that there's no such thing as a BEST lens, I can see a lot of people who keep asking in the forums for the BEST LENS to get. But remember, there is NO SUCH THING as the BEST LENS!! It really depends on what kind of picture YOU want to get.

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Thursday, 01 May 2008 21:51:38 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [2]  |