# Saturday, 26 June 2010

God that was such an underwhelming experience.. There's a LOUD POP... and then SOME confetti..


Saturday, 26 June 2010 18:50:29 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 25 June 2010

Google has a great barcode reading program/library in the form of ZXing. They had a CSharp branch already but not a Silverlight one. So I looked through the code a little and ported the QRCode portion of the library for Silverlight use by doing the following

  • Replaced System.Collections.Arraylist with System.Collections.Generic.List <Object>
  • Replaced System.Collections.HashTable with System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary <Object,Object>
  • Removed all Serializable attribute markings
  • Forced all calls to System.Text.Encoding to use UTF-8 as the encoding type.

While the first two changes might have a performance impact to the code, it's the LAST change that worries me since it deals with encoding, specifically I worry about exactly how well can the code deal with NON English content... oh well, that's a challenge for another day I guess.

What is that you say? Talk is cheap.. then GIVE IT A TRY!! How does it work? Create some tags.. save the tags as PNGs, then Read some tags by loading images which contains tags. Or.... Take a PICTURE of a tag using your webcam! Oh.. if your webcam can't take nice sharp images, you might want to invest in an autofocusing camera like the Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000.

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What's that you say? It's an Open Source project therefore I need to contribute my code back into the trunk? Well.. sure... the source for the sample along with the lib is here.

The code was compiled for Silverlight 4, technically I don't *think* I used anything that won't allow it to work with Silverlight 3 though.

As to how to actually contribute it back in the trunk errr.. I guess I'll have to get in touch with the guys that's handling the project.

So.. 2 things that need to be done now.

  • See how to integrate with RawVideoStream and read tags off a LIVE video stream
  • See if the library works with Windows Phone 7

The 2nd would be a bit more difficult since I DON'T HAVE A WINDOWS PHONE 7 device! :P


Friday, 25 June 2010 00:03:57 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 21 June 2010

As I mentioned before, writing experiences on a capacitive screen still has a long ways to go, no thanks to the fact that you can't have a fine pointed stylus to write with.

Anyway as I was browsing the Gadget Crack Dealer DealExtreme, I stumbled on this little stylus.

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Basically it's a 2 in 1 Capacitive + Resistive Stylus. The sharp pointy part is for resistive screens, and the stubby slanted rubber part on the other end is for capacitive screens.

The resistive end works as expected, though I'm always a bit wary of carrying styluses with exposed nibs since they might get damaged during transportation and scratch up the screen.

The capacitive stylus on this one.. SUCKS ASS. It's feels like rubber instead of the foam like material for the last capacitive stylus I used in the video above. Therefore it doesn't want to glide on the screen. Not good at all.

The search continues for a usable capacitive stylus. Hmmm... I need to try out that steel wool thing my friend suggested.


Monday, 21 June 2010 20:19:11 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [2]  | 

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Sometimes WZ just stares into the open, like he's lost in thought about something. I'd just like to say that a 3 year old is not supposed to have that kind of look.


Monday, 21 June 2010 02:15:37 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

I basically found what you might essentially call a Made In China shop, where you find cheap Made In China items of varying levels of quality. The shop name is called "Fun & Cheer" and you can find it here.


View Larger Map

It's on that road, big red signboard, consists of multiple shops. I was able to pick up some interesting items for a low price. First off is this jumbo disposable lighter.

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I got this for RM3.90 which is cheaper than the RM9 I usually see these going for. And also, it has some extra features, flip it to the bottom and...

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Not only is there a WHITE LED flash light for finding candles in the dark (which you can light with the lighter after you found them.) There's a cheap UV light as well for revealing hidden marks on bank notes, and I guess... errrr.. authenticity labels on wine bottles?

I also acquired a confetti shooter.

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It's not a one shot barrel type like the rest of the stuff I've seen people used in weddings. This thing takes ammo cartridges.

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The design of the thing seems to be similar to the old six shooter cap guns I used to play with when I was young, there's a simple mechanism that rotates and sets off a hammer that strikes an ignition source which theoretically will propel the confetti out. What ignition source you say?

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Those small little dots are just small quantities of errr.. for lack of a better term. Gun powder, which can be set off on impact.

And also I said that it should theoretically work since I haven't actually shot off a round yet, cause I want to capture the thing firing in slow mo with my video cam. And if I spray confetti inside the house I think my wife would kill me.

I also seem to remember the ammo compartment of my toy guns exploding after too much use. I guess since you can't refill these things it should be fine.


Monday, 21 June 2010 01:57:23 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 20 June 2010

This little USB OTG Cable came with my Ainol V9000HDA that I got recently.

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It allows a very interesting feature on the Ainol which is to allow the use of a thumbdrive as a file source.

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Interesting when you have some media on a USB stick and you can't copy it to the Micro SD card. On battery power you can only use low power consumption things like a thumbdrive, if you wanted to use a something like a hard disk the Ainol needs to be plugged in first.

Here's where this gets interesting. What you see below is my Sony CX-150 camera.

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When I bought the camera and realized from the manual that it supported USB OTG which will allow the camera to offload files into an external USB source without the need of a computer. Useful during travels. But the USB OTG cable wasn't included in the box, and buying one from Sony was listed as... RM85... NO FARKING WAY I told myself.

So I went to All IT and bought something that looked like an OTG cable for RM15.

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So I brought it back and plugged it into the camera expecting to say a great big FARK YOU to Sony and their over priced cable, but...

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Nothing happened when I plugged it in. So thinking that it's because Sony put in some form of proprietary USB OTG controller that looks for some special cable I cursed Sony and forgotten about it.

Now that I've gotten another USB OTG cable I thought what the heck, let me give this another try. So I plugged the cable end and...

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EVEN BEFORE I plugged in a device to the other end of the cable. Then after plugging in a thumbdrive and the power (cause the CX-150 will only connect devices when on AC power) I was greeted with this screen.

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Well.. my thumbdrive was definitely formatted (and the CX-150 doesn't recognize any NTFS partitions) so I'm gonna guess it wants to create the AVCHD file structure on the thing.

Even though I wasn't actually able to use a USB drive properly but I did prove that the cable works properly, which lead me to another realization.

The fact that I could buy a cable that was marked as an OTG cable yet it didn't work on OTG devices properly would mean that there somewhere down the line there someone must have decided to create a proper standardized cable, and then well someone decide to sell all the non standard surplus.. for RM15.


Sunday, 20 June 2010 17:03:13 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 18 June 2010

So, in some unbreakable form of tradition I got yet ANOTHER media player. It's almost like I'm getting one every year!

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This is the Ainol V9000HDA, capability wise it's close to the AC Ryan PlayOn HD

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Which basically means it can play a PRETTY WIDE variety of files, BUT... in a nice portable form factor. And to top it off, it has a HDMI mini port built in.

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So you can watch stuff both on the small screen AND on the big screen. But I noticed a little problem after connecting it to the TV for a test.

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Problem here is that the V9000HDA is pretty much BUTTONLESS it has no navigation buttons, just a volume control button, power, and a back button. NOTHING ELSE. But once you connect the thing to the TV... the screen goes blank and you ask yourself HOW THE HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO NAVIGATE WHEN IT'S CONNECTED THEN?

Luckily they provided a remote control as an additional freebie when I purchased my set.

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But what if they didn't? Or what if you forgot to bring it with you when you needed the output? And also.. the remote doesn't have all the necessary buttons, it doesn't have the back button required to exit some of the screens, so you end up fumbling between the remote and the player for certain things.

What a bad way of screwing up the TV out feature of your player! Luckily I didn't buy it for watching stuff on TV, 2 strips of velcro later and this thing acts like an upgrade for my car audio system.


Friday, 18 June 2010 23:52:06 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

The Secret Of Lousiana is a restaurant located in Plaza Kelana Jaya.

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It's main claim to fame around my office was the fact that they offered an interesting package of all you can eat Spaghetti for lunch for only RM15.

So today I went with my colleagues to try out and see how good the Secret is.

We got there, gave our orders and waited. It seemed like a very busy restaurant since I could see the waiters constantly shuffling in and out with food. Most probably because of their all you can eat package. After a while the food for my colleagues came, and I was left waiting...

And waiting....

And waiting...

I reached there about 12:30PM, I waited until about 2PM. NO FOOD IS WORTH WAITING FOR ONE AND A HALF HOURS! We asked for the bill and when the waiter came I told them to cut off my set, since I DIDN'T FARKING EAT MY MEAL!

It would seem like the secret to learning the Secret Of Louisiana starts with NOT GOING ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON! The person in charge was typically apologetic when I wanted to cancel my order, but I'm still pissed off because..

  1. My colleagues all got their food, why wasn't mine done?
  2. It seemed like they ran out of Bolognaise sauce or something since I heard some other people  asking for their Spaghetti Bolognaise. If you knew you had a problem, shouldn't you have let the customer know that there might be some problems with their order instead of letting them STARVE?!?!

So after wasting my time, and parking fees, and on the verge of fainting due to an hunger (I was ready for a buffet man, for PLATES OF SPAGHETTI... I GOT ZERO.. ZERO!!!) I still was unable to figure out the Secret Of Louisana.

In the end, the only secret I learnt was that:- Queuing up for McDonald's doesn't take 1.5 hours.

IMAG0100


Friday, 18 June 2010 14:40:18 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 13 June 2010

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Why does he keep walking so funny? Mommy asks about WZ stepping on one tile per step, or at other times when he keeps trying to follow a pattern on the floor. I remind her that it's a kid thing to follow patterns on the flow and not step out of line.


Sunday, 13 June 2010 16:17:43 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 12 June 2010

The thing below is known as a restrictor gate.

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It's found inside an arcade joystick to limit the movement of the stick to certain angles (ie. Vertical only, Horizontal only, 4 way, 8 way) and also to stop the full motion of the stick so it doesn't damage the button circuitry inside. (Didn't get a pic cause WZ was hovering around me when I opened up the stick) The gate above is square shaped and pretty much allow movements to all eight main directions (up, down, left, right and the diagonals) It's a very common gate that you find in most sticks. The gate below is a bit uncommon.

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It's an octagon shaped gate. While you can also move in all 8 directions with this gate, the main difference is that the stick will pretty much drop into each direction so the player can be more aware that he has pushed into a direction properly.

I wonder if a simple piece of plastic like this can help me do hadokens better when I'm on the left?


Gaming | Gear
Saturday, 12 June 2010 18:43:01 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 10 June 2010

My mother wanted to let WZ learn about cutting things properly so...

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Give a 3 year old his own pair of scissors... righhttt... obviously we keep an eye on him when he's using it. But there's something SPECIAL about these scissors.

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The blades are PLASTIC. It doesn't actually CUT paper but more like it SHREDS paper. If the paper doesn't have enough surface tension it won't cut properly. And obviously it's pretty much impossible to cut things like skin or well... furniture and stuff.

A new generation of kiddie scissors I guess.


Gear | Gen 2
Thursday, 10 June 2010 22:54:38 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 07 June 2010

Just got a disturbing message from my cousin, someone walked up to him in a Starbucks and ask if he could borrow his notebook for some Facebooking. Not to mention he wanted to plug in a thumbdrive to do something. My cousin sent him packing on his way, but he just kept going around asking people for access to their PCs. If you haven't already figured it out yet, you shouldn't let strangers use your PCs, and allowing them to plug their thumbdrives into your system could be just allow them to get a trojan into your system. So remember.

DON'T LET STRANGERS USE YOUR PC!


Monday, 07 June 2010 17:46:02 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 05 June 2010

I just attended the Sony NEX Micro Four Thirds camera launch, and as I watched the person doing the main product launch I came to the realization that if ever I attend another even like this, I need to bring along the video camera to record any mess ups.

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First of all, Mr Product Manager (sorry, don't remember your name, not a real journalist you see) did the number one mistake of reading the contents of the slide EXACTLY without any additional explanation. While that can be slightly excused due to standard presentation template dribble. The 2nd snafu came when they talked about the NEX's Sweep Panorama feature.

It's a really cool feature, in order to take panorama pics instead of snaping multiple photos, you just hold on to the shutter button and sweep the camera from left to right. VERY VERY COOL and NIFTY! Then MR PM PROUDLY boasted that you can take 3D PANORAMA PICTURES! While that's a cool thing to note I remembered reading about it here that the tech is not ready yet. Sure enough after a LOUD proclaimation of 3D Panorama Support, MR PM followed up with a more subdued and quieter statement that you'll be able to take such 3D Panoramas after downloading a firmware update.

BUT.... Mr PM again proclaimed that the 3D pictures that were being shown in the demo pavilion as seen below.

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Are ACTUAL SHOTS TAKEN BY THE SONY NEX! It's obvious that Mr PM didn't actually go through all the demo material that's used in his show if not he would have noticed this message that's played in front of the 3D loop.

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This is not the first time I caught a Sony FAIL. I wonder if I'll have any more chances?


Saturday, 05 June 2010 00:13:33 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, 01 June 2010

My main desktop workhorse PC was having a weird problem. After leaving it idle for a while, Windows Explorer wouldn't respond until I hit CTRL-ALT-DEL to bring up task manager and then it'd behave properly. And for a few days I couldn't figure out what was wrong, I didn't install anything on the system, I wonder if it was a virus or trojan that sneaked in from the other PCs.

Then... just now.. I saw IT.. the SCROLL FORWARD button on the wireless mouse had caved in, most probably due to the fact that WZ or mommy kicks it off the sofa every now and then. I pried the button back out, then did a test by holding the the button. Yup... when the button was held down, Windows Explorer just stops responding.

So... WHY was I experiencing the problem only AFTER the system went idle? I have this theory. On idle without movement, the mouse shuts down then when I wake it up by moving the mouse it sends the FORWARD BUTTON down message constantly to the PC, and when I pressed CTRL-ALT-DEL to bring out the task manager it killed the message being sent to Explorer and thus I regained control.

Hard to believe one stupid button caused so much problems.


Tuesday, 01 June 2010 22:25:18 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |