# Thursday, 29 October 2009

Damn.. forgot about this old old post that I wrote a month ago.

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This looks like a normal high performance Dell Percision M6400. Just how high performance is it?

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16GB of RAM means never having to say "I need more memory" for a LOOOOOONG time! I can't remember how many CPUs appeared in the task manager, but it might have been 4 or more! This is a custom made to order model, so custom made that the base doesn't have any regulatory labels at all! How much power does it take to power such a beast?

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The size of the adapter dwarfs my XPS one, and in terms of output. My XPS outputs 4.7A worth of power, The big slap? Outputs 12.3A power. 3 times the juice... phew..


Thursday, 29 October 2009 22:34:33 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

So I've been hearing all the nice things about Windows 7 on old Atom powered netbooks and how well they are running with Windows 7. That's great because I happen to have one.

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Or two of these things.

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But there's just one little problem... BOTH of my eeePCs have only a 4GB SSD as it's main storage device, the 901 has an additional 8GB secondary storage but that drive is SLOOOOOOWWW. So I figured my chances of running Windows 7 on my eeePCs were pretty slim.

Then I finally figured out how to boot Windows 7 from a VHD on a USB storage device. And now I can do things that shouldn't be possible.

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Windows Media Center, running on an 800x480 screen resolution, on a machine with 1GB of RAM that's powered by an underclocked 600Mhz Celeron.

Yes, it's possible to do so. But there's not really any reason to. Cause the video card on the eeePC 701 doesn't even have Vista drivers so it's using the old Windows XP driver model, video performance while attempting video playback is pretty bad. Or it could just be the fact that there's an underclocked 900Mhz Celeron operating on 600Mhz. So.. this little piece of magic is possible due to the fact that the VHD containing the OS is actually running from a USB Hard Disk.

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Performance when running from an external hard disk is pretty good considering a few things. First of all Windows 7 was never meant to run off external storage, yes yes I know all you Linux users have been doing that for a while now. But serving the relatively small number of people who want to boot from an external device doesn't seem to be high on Microsoft's list. But there's just one main thing to remember.

You can't unplug the device when the OS is running.

This is the first question you want to ask right? Like I said, Windows was never meant to be run off external storage, it doesn't expect the system drive to disappear into thin air. Oh.. and what happens when the drive goes missing? Weird things.. sometimes Windows will just sit there unable to do anything, sometimes it restarts.

But anyway, you don't want to lug a portable hard disk with your slim netbook! You probably want to know if you can run off something more portable... more slim... something like a USB thumbdrive.

Yes. It is possible to run Windows 7 off a USB thumb drive. But would you want to? Thumbdrives have relatively slow random access speeds, couple with the fact that Windows 7 was never designed to be run off such a slow medium the system stutters and halts when multiple applications demand disk access. At times you might be waiting an eternity for the system to bring up something. But once the system settles down and you're not asking it to do much, well.. it works.

The strangest thing that I can't figure out is why shutting down take an ETERNITY to process.

So if you had a choice, using a USB hard disk is definitely a much better option than a thumb drive. A thumb drive strapped to a netbook is of course much more easier to carry around than any 2.5" hard disk.

For me?  Well let's just say I call this THE DRIP.

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It's like an IV drip that helps bring out the full potential of a netbook with a space deficiancy.

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Should you do this yourself? Only if you have a really really REALLY GOOD REASON. And that you REALLY REALLY REALLY Want to run Windows 7 on your old netbook. While everything seems to be working for me right now, this is definitely not a supported operation method so don't complain to Microsoft when it doesn't work out for you.


Thursday, 29 October 2009 22:31:54 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 26 October 2009

I've already mentioned before that I feel that Windows 7's Boot From VHD feature is the best new feature in Windows. But what I also really wanted to do was to be able to take the VHD, put it on a USB storage device and boot from there.

And after trying and failing for a few times.. finally I've done it! The summarized process is.

  1. Install Windows 7 Ultimate on a VHD. (search the net, plenty of ways to do this)
  2. Read through this document to prepare Windows 7 and the USB drive for booting.

It's actually quite simple, a bit complicated though. I'll prepare a more detailed report once I finish some more testing.


Monday, 26 October 2009 10:08:12 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 19 October 2009

Almost everyone will be using Windows with a mouse and keyboard. But there are other ways of interacting with Windows. With a touchscreen enabled system, or other peripheral add-ons such as this Wireless Pen set.

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You'll be able to have a more direct interface with your system. Since you'll be able to literally reach out and touch your system. A lot of people think that when you use a touchscreen with Windows, the pen just acts like the mouse. This is a huge misconception! When you have a compatible touch system, additional Windows features will come alive to allow you to to achieve ALMOST FULL CONTROL of Windows using ONLY TOUCH.

The first thing you'll see different on a touch based system is this little tab hanging off the side of the screen.

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Give the tab a little tap and out pops the Tablet Input Panel

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This is what you'll use to perform text input into the system. Just by writing as usual, and the handwriting recognizer excels in cursive recognition!

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Of course, the recognizer isn't perfect so you'll need to make corrections and such, and Windows provides you with a number of gestures to do so. You can check out the gestures by just hitting the ? mark on the tablet input panel. And then on the gesture you want to check out, and a short video on how to use it will play.

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Of course you shouldn't be expecting to enter you SuP4l33t5 passwords with handwriting recognition, so in those situations you just give the little keyboard icon on the top left of the input panel a click and VIOLA!

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You get a nice little keyboard to type in your stuff.

To make it as quick and easy to enter text with a touch screen, you aren't even expected to have to constantly tap the little tab to make it appear. Whenever you get to a situation that requires text input, for example a textbox in a web page.

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The highlighted icon appears, and clicking on that will instantly make the input panel appear and once your're done with it you can dismiss it just as quickly.

And of course, whenever we talk about pen input in Asian countries, the main question that pops up is... Is there handwriting recognition for my native language? If you bought a version of Windows in your native language, the recognizer will be there (I think.. it's not like I have seen a native Japanese version of Windows). But if not then you'll only be able to download the recognizer as part of a Windows Language Pack, which is only available to Windows 7 Ultimate Edition through Windows Update.

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But once you have to appropriate language pack installed...

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And it just works marvellously!


Monday, 19 October 2009 21:30:38 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 18 October 2009

I find that mashed potatoes are great for WZ to eat, for one thing, he can eat it on his own. For another, it doesn't fall off the spoon that easily! It can be quite hot (temperature wise) though!


Sunday, 18 October 2009 01:49:29 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

There are times when your child will just amaze you with the things he does, leading you to question where did he learn to do that? And does behavioral patterns actually get inherited? So I finally manage to grab a picture of WZ doing this.

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Where the heck did a 2.5 year old boy manage to learn to support his chin in his hand and give out the "What the heck are you doing?" look? I also caught him stroking his chin and had that "I'm thinking about something" look before.


Sunday, 18 October 2009 00:55:32 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 11 October 2009

Wow.. I've been looking for something like this for AGES! Maybe I didn't find it cause I was looking in the wrong places?

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And then all of a sudden I just managed to get hold of one.

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It's a really neat and handy thing to have around.. yes yes.. I do believe there are tons of stuff like these for iPods. But I've got other things to hold at an angle. Mostly for WZ so he doesn't need to hold his player and eat at the same time.

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Of course... Daddy could use the stand as well.

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The sad thing is, I know this thing is for sale, but they weren't actually selling it. I got it when I bought something else.

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And we'll talk about the something else later...


Sunday, 11 October 2009 23:04:43 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 10 October 2009

Long time readers of my blog might remember what this is.

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Yes, this is a hand crank 5V dispenser, but it's not the one that was pictured in the previous post no, this is a new one that I picked up from DealExtreme, so why did I go buy another thing which I hope I never be in the situation where I'd need it? Cause it comes with a USB port as it's output!

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The previous one I had used a normal power plug style connector, so it meant I'd have to carry the proper cables around if I wanted to provide power for USB.

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But of course with this new one I can just directly plug a USB charge cable into it and start cranking. But... as I started testing it I realized something. First of all the USB cranker had a much tighter and stiffer crank, and I could hear the gears slipping every now and then. Secondlly the USB cranker seemed to be outputing much less current than the old model.

As the crankers were only secured by 2 screws, I decided to pop them open to see what's so different between the 2 of them. Here's the USB Cranker

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And here's what the old cranker looks like on the inside

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Since I have no electrical engineering experience and can't tell how efficient each cranker is, I'll explain from what I can see. The crank handle of the old cranker has a METAL core thus it can rotate around more smoothly, the new one has a PLASTIC core, so not only it doesn't move around smoothly, I'm gonna guess if I use it too much it'd start changing shape and get filed down. The gears generally feel much more tighter and well made on the old one as well.

Damn.. I guess they really don't make things like they use to anymore!

Hmmm... maybe I can perform a transplant...


Saturday, 10 October 2009 15:46:43 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

As previously mentioned in an earlier post I ordered a protective device skin from Gadget Shieldz. And they arrived a few days ago. Installation of the thing was hair raising considering I was going against everything I believed in and actually putting visible water on my Diamond 2.

Then was the fact that immediately after applying I noticed that there were a LOT of micro bubbles and imperfections trapped underneath the skin. The installation page on the Gadget Shieldz page stated that I shouldn't fret over micro bubbles or the hazy appearance of the screen cause they'll improve after 24 hours.

But I was worried never the less, since traditionally a screen protector should look GREAT the moment you put it on! Not to mention the skin felt tacky and not ideal for sliding your finger around on. Then one of my friends mentioned that I should just let it be for a few days and see.

So I did... and what a drastic change it was!

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After one day the skin feels smoother and slicker, the micro bubbles all over the place has almost fully disappeared. Whatever's left are just small little traces of bubbles.

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I'll give it another few more days and see, but they're acceptable to me. What was not acceptable to me were the side flaps, because they just seem to be too long and overlapped in some places.

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So I have to trim it myself.

And so.. the big question is... Is this thing SCRATCH PROOF? The website of all these shield products say that the sheet can withstand being punctured by a screw driver. Well.. that's nice cause it means the sheet is tough enough to not be RIPPED APART because technically a screw driver (especially those big ones which they used to demonstrate their point) doesn't really have a SHARP POINTY point.

To test the scratch resistance I took my keys which I would put in the same pocket as my phone now that it's protected by a scratch proof sheet, and introduced it to the rear panel. The results? Not pretty. The film is definetly scratchable causing fine lines to appear where the keys hit it. The reason could be because some of the points on my keys are sharp enough to be used as a needle point and can prick skin. If I used a NOT so sharp key, then well the film escapes undamaged.

I guess I should have expected this to happen since it's not INDESTRUCTABLE! :P I DO feel that it's stronger and more durable than my other screen protectors though.

So you might say it's because I used the cheaper Gadgetshieldz and not the original more expensive Invisible Shield. And I'm a strong believer of getting what you paid for. So I took a look at the videos hosted by the Invisible Shield.

The one on top is just one of the many that they have there, and I noticed a common path, they try to scratch the device with a key, they drop screws on the thing, then they put a rotary tool on it (seems like it's using a sanding or cutting disc, though they move it around on the device, would love to see what happens if they actually TRIED to cut it, but then they're simulating usage and not finding out how indestructible it is) then they remove the film to reveal that the DEVICE is scratch free. So the point here seems to be that, they never said the PROTECTION FILM can't be scratched or damaged, but rather your DEVICE is the one that'll be more protected from scratches.

Anyone care to introduce their invisible shield covered device to my keys of doom?


Saturday, 10 October 2009 12:40:03 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 09 October 2009

I was scribbling on my DS when mommy brought WZ in to watch some TV before going to sleep. Mommy set WZ down on the sofa and was about to ask WZ what he wanted to watch, when WZ uttered "Papa, bring it over for WZ to play." It's always something seeing your kid learn how to properly express his wants through words, but of course this just reminds me that soon the day will come when he wants to play the 360 himself.

Or of course.. in coop mode!


Friday, 09 October 2009 23:23:40 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

Everyone is saying how good Windows XP is, how fast Windows XP is, etc. etc. etc. That in comparison Windows Vista is slow, memory hog, etc. etc.

Isn't that what they complained about Windows XP when it was first released?

Gheeezz


Friday, 09 October 2009 17:59:44 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, 06 October 2009

A few days ago I saw WZ dig out two cardboard boxes from a cupboard and then started pulling out some books from them. Then he'd attempt to read it but of course he couldn't understand everything yet. The box was interesting, it was more like a binder than a box. And they held 6 books each.

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WZ can't actually read them yet, but he can memorize the titles based on the pictures of the books. Even though of course, these are simple picture books with giant illustration on one side, and words in big giant fonts on the other side.

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When I saw WZ retrieve the boxes I already knew what the contents were. You see, these aren't WZ's picture books. These were MY picture books. The memory is faint, but I do remember that the books were kept in the box previously when I was... I don't know... 3? 4? And of course, now WZ inherits them. Hopefully he doesn't completely destroy them in a fit of rage or something.

The other main treasure that WZ will inherit will be something I present to him when I realize he wouldn't shallow small plastic bricks. :P


Tuesday, 06 October 2009 00:37:14 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 04 October 2009

It's the end of a generation. Ever since I started using phones I have always used a belt clip to hang my phone on my belt. But lately I realized that whenever I carry WZ around I always remove the phone from my belt and put it in my pocket cause WZ might step on it when I'm carrying him. But since I put my keys in my pocket as well, I need to ensure that the screen of my Touch Diamond 2 is well protected. So I ordered one of them super scratch resistant device protection sheets from GadgetShieldz and it's on it's way over already.

But that only protects it from being scratched, so I still need some bumper protection so I decided to buy one of them silicon cases. I easily found one in a gadget shop.

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The problem with silicon cases and touch screen phones is of course, they protect everything other than the screen, that's why some cases come with a plastic screen cover or something of the sort. This Capdase one I saw didn't come with any plastic cover. But in the corner of the box it said.

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So I thought ok, I don't exactly need it but it'll be nice to have as a backup I guess. Then the shop keeper told me "The screen protector is not included" I pointed to the caption on the box. Again he reaffirmed that THERE'S NO SCREEN PROTECTOR IN THE BOX. That they've searched high and low for the screen protector in the box but they never found it. I pointed out that wouldn't that be false advertising? But he just gave me a well that's how it came to us response. Since I was just looking for a simple case and didn't really care if the screen protector was included or not I bought it anyway.

As I sat down having some food in the shop I did what other gadget obsessed person would do with an unopened package and time to kill, I tore open the box and pull out the case. It fit my Diamond 2 perfectly, so no surprises there. Then I started looking around for the elusive screen protector. The packaging was basically a cardboard frame placed inside a transparent plastic box, then I realized that the rear of the frame was actually another piece of paper. And sandwiched in between the frame and the paper was....

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The GREATEST Guarder For LCD Screen!! I didn't find a screen protector though!

As I made my way back to the shop to inform them about my discovery I couldn't help wondering how many GREATEST Guarders did the shop throw away if they said they never found any before. I walked up to the same sales person that reassured me that there was no screen protector in the box and then proceeded to show him where it was hiding. I was expecting expressions of shock and disbelief but without missing a beat he immediately said "There was no screen protector in the box LAST TIME!"

Kinda makes me wonder how far back was LAST TIME since I find it hard to believe that there's such a huge demand for Diamond 2 cases.


Sunday, 04 October 2009 21:06:02 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 03 October 2009

WZ is in the phase where he doesn't realize he's actually attacking and punching people. I keep trying to teach him that he should not hit people intentionally, but nothing works better than actually getting shunned after hitting someone I guess.

And yup.. great time to test a simple Silverlight video player I cooked up. It's real simple. It just PLAYS. Ideal for clips where you know people have no reason for shuffling around. Need to find some place to put my videos now that Soapbox is down. So let's give the Silverlight Streaming service a workout then.


Saturday, 03 October 2009 02:30:47 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |