Friday, December 25, 2009

The next Honda NSX - if only Honda put it in production

JONSIBAL » Blog Archive » HSV-010 GT Shakedown

This car completes the japanese supercar trilogy, the other 2 being the Nissan GT-R and the Lexus LF-A.

Honda will be racing with it next year, but whether it goes into production is still unknown.

But what beautiful compact lines...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

IVLP - 1 Nov 2009

A city tour is the main highlight of the day. It's also the first time the group of 13 (including 2 ELOs) met.

We travelled in a minibus with a tour guide to show us the sights. It was cold and raining but we were quite enthusiastic to see the capital. One of the first places we passed by was the Washington National Cathedral.

Very cool Gothic architecture. If you look closely, you may be able to see the gargoyles that also serve as rainwater drain-off pipes.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

International Visitor Leadership Program - 31 Oct 2009

Setting off from home at 3.30am. Reached the airport before 4am. First leg, flying to Narita on Northwest Airlines (NWA) was an eyeopener into the "American way". The NWA flight safety video was slick and enjoyable to watch, with plenty of fast cuts, catchphrases, and great acting. Also noticed that the stewardesses were wearing different attires. They were also allowed to keep their long hair untied. Individuality 101.

The transit at Narita was a bit chaotic. The boarding gate was changed, and the queue was not controlled, quite un-Japanese...

The marathon 2nd leg from Narita to Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP) was quite a ride. First ride on a 747, not really different from other airliners, except for semi-open spaces which passengers use to "stand & hang around", to combat the effects of sitting through a 10 hour plus session.

Transiting at MSP was slightly more structured, but timing was razor-thin, with a long walk between the departure and boarding gates. I made it worse by exiting to the public area by mistake, and had to "re-enter" by passing through security again. By the way, US security involves removing shoes and belts.

The final leg, MSP to Washington DC (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to be exact) was a short but meaningful ride. I was in the window seat for the first time, and was sitting next to an old couple. Cue friendly grandma small-talk. Explained that Singapore was not part of China, and that we had hot and humid weather. The air stewardesses were wearing special T-shirts in support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Cool. Food was minimal, with only complementary drinks and a packet of peanuts.

Reaching Reagan airport was a relief. The long wait for luggage didn't really hurt the experience. Being a internal flight meant no need for security clearance upon landing.

The quick taxi ride was a bit surreal. I seemed to be watching a letterbox format movie through the windscreen of the taxi. Magic carpet ride and autumn leaves everywhere. Reached the hotel at 5 plus. Unpacked and explored the room, and left the hotel at 7 plus to find dinner and shopping for amenities.

By then the mercury had dropped even more. Wandered around the area, and found the 7-11 around the corner. The Metro entrance (Foggy-Bottom station) was next, and I explored further. Foggy Bottom seems quiet except for the Metro entrance. Quite a few quaint buildings, mostly low-rise. Imagine a SMU-style city campus setting (without the completely new buildings), and you won't be far off. Quite cosmopolitan though, as I heard some Mainland Chinese accented Mandarin being spoken on the streets.

I was getting tired of finding a dinner spot, when I came across an American diner restaurant at a street corner. Johnny Rockets is your typical Billy Bombers-type eating place, except with African-American and Middle-Eastern servers, a Caucasian cook, what seems like an Indian owner.

Its strange (but cool) to land in USA on Halloween. Lots of costumes on show, pity that it was raining, so I didn't risk taking out my camera (the Pentax K7 is staring at me now). Will try to grab a few more shots tomorrow...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lives spent lurking too long in the shadows of the virtual

Private Worlds | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters
We are too connected, we are too distracted...

How to approach the difficult topic that is street photography

Ways of Working
With a 3-week trip coming up, I guess this is one of the best time to pick up street photography again. Having tried it in Little India with mixed results some time ago, I'm hesitant about using a DSLR again. Maybe it's just me giving myself another excuse to buy another camera when my current arsenal of 2 cameras are already underutilised... Anyway, the link above is quite a good one on street shooting.

Photos from a Panasonic GF1

The things I ate in Japan « Evernote Blogcast
A strange place to find pics taken by a new camera, but this blog post (or more exactly, the corresponding Evernote shared notebook) showcases real world shots taken by the new micro Four Thirds camera, the Panasonic GF1. Lots of indoor shots, which seem to show that sensor size is still key to low-light shots.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Opera Mini 5 beta

Opera Mini
The new version of Opera Mini is here. I have only tested it for 3 hours, but my initial thoughts are not 100% favourable.

Some problems below which didn't appear in Opera Mini 4.2 (hope to resolve them soon)
  1. Entering passwords. The new version does not show the character briefly before showing an asterisk when you press a key. It just shows asterisks. This is problematic, as you have to "guess" if you've pressed the right key.
  2. The shortcut keys have changed. Normally, pressing '#' then '2' brings up the bookmarks, but here it opens the search field.
  3. The menu is not easily accessible. I need to press at least 3 keys to get to it.
  4. Where is the Page Down? One of the most valuable feature of Opera Mini is the ability to page down using the right D-pad key. This is great in mobile view where everything is on 1 column, and there is no need to scroll left or right. Mobile view on the new version does not allow for this.
New features
  1. Search within page is good. The new find function is great, and is "search as you type".
  2. Tabbed browsing. Works quite well, with screens changing quickly when you toggle tabs.
  3. Copy and paste (and search). Press and hold the main center button for a few seconds and it will show up a dialog, "Select Text". Then move the cursor to your start point and press the left soft key. Move using the D-pad to select the text. Then press the left soft key again. Pop up dialog will have 3 options, Copy, Search, and Search With.
I suspect part of the problem is caused by a GUI slanted more towards touchscreen phones... Now to find the feedback forums...

CASE to organise event with timeshare-related company

CASE is organising a talk on timeshare with RCI, a timeshare exchange company. Personally, I don't think it sounds right for CASE to organise an event where one particular company will be recommended (even if indirectly) over others. The CASETRUST scheme already offers whitelisting, but is normally done on an industry level, and consciously involve several companies, and not one particular firm.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Virtual World / The Natural World

Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters
From the blog entry introducing issue 86
Attention all jammers, activists and cultural creatives,

A specter is haunting the mind of the industrialized world – the specter of the virtual. — Metaverse Manifesto

How’s your online life? Are you happily learning, creating, interconnecting … or is your digital existence growing flatter, duller and ever more predictable?

As physical reality crumbles, the bluish glow of the virtual realm beckons and humanity is presented with a Faustian temptation: to abandon our evolutionary home (it’s too damn hot, messy and boring anyway) and become psychic hives of activity in cyberspace. This is the existential choice we explore in Adbusters #86.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Getting Things Done (GTD) using Remember The Milk (RTM)

Remember The Milk - Blog
Currently using Gmail Tasks to manage my to-do list, but RTM could be more apt for implementing GTD comprehensively...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Touchscreen and physical QWERTY keypad - best of both worlds?

Just when I was lamenting the lack of touchscreen handphones with QWERTY keypads in a candybar form-factor, Palm drops the Pixi onto US shores. While we're not likely to see it on sale here (unless it gets a GSM radio), it's still nice to see that this form-factor works.

Back to my original story. One of the rare examples of the above form-factor is the Samsung i780, which strangely has not been replaced yet. This while Samsung launches model after model of touchscreen handphones without keypads.

After trying it out in person at the Samsung flagship store in Vivocity (this was before I got my Nokia E71), the only thing that stopped me was the optical mouse D-pad. Instead of a normal D-pad, Samsung saw fit to use a thumbnail-sized touchpad.

Interestingly, the other current handphone with this form-factor is the Palm Treo Pro, which I excluded then because of its high price...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Evernote to the Rescue

I have been trying (for the umpteenth time) to simplify my life, especially the ton of documents that I have all over the place (PC, netbook, handphone, online, thumbdrive, etc). I tried out Evernote a while ago, but didn't really utilised it that often. Nice video below, maybe I'll give it another try.

Friday, September 04, 2009

How can I gently explain to non-techie friends they are the victim of a hoax

Super User
I do this all the time (expose hoax emails, that is), but I still find it hard to break the news gently to a friend, who most likely forwarded it as a kind gesture.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The camera revolution is near

The traditional digital camera scene is changing with the appearance of a few potentially landmark products
  1. Canon G11 (less megapixels than its predecessor)
  2. Panasonic GH1 (DSLR/camcorder hybrid with continuous autofocus & stereo mic)
  3. Nikon S1000pj (in-built projector)
  4. Fujifilm W1 (3D camera)
  5. Olympus E-P1 (micro Four-Thirds in a compact camera)
These are interesting times for cameras and camcorders...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Drivers Republic (DR)

A Message to our readers
Another one bites the dust. DR isn't the first web magazine that I've seen disappear, and I suspect it won't be the last. I will miss their innovative magazine layouts, with embedded video clips within their online magazine. The long-term reports on 2nd hand cars that were legends during their day were great too, as were the regular tweets from their recent race at Nurburgring.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Above and Beyond presents Oceanlab - I Am What I Am (Lange Remix)

I know you've read, so many books
You keep abreast of all the things you think you should
You've got your own home-grown philosophy
And it works for you
But please don't try to make it work for me

You have nothing to prove
But you're trying much too hard
Stop trying to change me (Stop trying to change me…)
I am what I am (I am what I am…)
I don't need you to save me (I don't need you to save me…)
I am what I am (I am what I am…)

I don't want you to show me (I don't need you to show me…)
Because I stand where I stand (I stand where I stand…)
I just need you to know me (just need you to know me)
Just know who I am (Just know who I am…)

Just know who I am...
Just know who I am...

I know you feel
You need to prove
That you are good at something
Everything you try to do
And people hang on your every word
That you deliver
With conviction
Though they may just be absurd

Leave your armour behind
Free your vulnerable mind

Stop trying to change me (Stop trying to change me…)
I am what I am (I am what I am…)
No I don't need you to save me (I don't need you to save me…)
I am what I am (I am what I am…)
I don't want you to show me (I don't need you to show me…)
Because I stand where I stand (I stand where I stand…)
I just need you to know me (just need you to know me)
Just know who I am (Just know who I am…)

Just know who I am...
Just know who I am...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fifth Gear Web TV

Now that both Top Gear & Fifth Gear are taking a break, suddenly there's a void in my weekly web TV schedule. EPL is back though, and both MotoGP and Formula 1 are finishing their summer break soon. Anyway, Fifth Gear is going to continue with their Web TV while their main show is on hiatus. Its short, and should be formatted as a vodcast, but it's still a good filler to catch up on all things motoring.

Friday, August 14, 2009

An informative article on website design, especially the background context & reasons behind certain decisions made regarding a particular design choice.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Microsoft Office on Nokia handphones?

Actually, I rather like the QuickOffice on my E71. Recently there was also a free update that allowed Office 2007 files to be opened. A change to Microsoft may not be that great after all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Opera Mini vs UCWEB6

Opera Mini has been my fav mobile browser ever since I bought my Nokia E71. Now there is a competitor, in the form of UCWEB6, which distinguishes itself with tabbed browsing and copy-and-paste. But I can't seem to blog at Error message appears, saying that required field cannot be blank. Will test more and report back.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Testing if my combined RSS feed works on Facebook

Currently, if you want to show posts from your blog in Facebook (via Notes), you can only use one RSS feed. What about people with multiple blogs? There are several websites out there that combine RSS feeds into one single RSS feed. I've been trying a few with limited success. One previous feed only showed old posts before the various feeds were combined, and did not show my new blog posts. Now trying a different website (FeedMingle) to see if this one works. This is a test post after inserting the combined RSS feed. If I can see this in the Notes, then it should be working...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nokia E72 - quick thoughts

Major changes are the new optical D-pad, 5 megapixel camera, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

I personally think it's ugly. Also, I would have preferred a touchscreen. Cut-and-paste within the browser would be welcomed too. And why did they make the camera stick out even more. The lens is going to get scratched easily.

Lucky me. I'm going to save money by sticking with my E71.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Iris Browser

Torch Mobile
A quick test of the updated Iris Browser confirms full Blogger functionality on my HP RX4240 Pocket PC, i.e. the ability to use the toolbar, e.g. bold text, make bullet points, align text, etc.

This bodes well for full functional blogging on the go. Now I just need to find out how to connect the Pocket PC to the internet via my Nokia E71 via bluetooth. (The Pocket PC has wifi, but no HSDPA)

How to blog about a link using Opera Mini

Most of my blog posts are reactive in nature. I would highlight links which I came across, and comment on the issue at hand. On the desktop, I would normally do this by using the "Send To" button on the Google Toolbar installed as an add-on to the Firefox browser.

For browsers that can't install Google Toolbar, an alternative is BlogThis! Clicking on the BlogThis! bookmark fires off some javascript code to replicate the Send To function.

Since I started using the Nokia E71, I've been struggling to get the same functionality, i.e. blog about a link I just read. The Nokia built-in browser offered a "Blog entry" function, but I couldn't get it to work.

Also, I started using the Opera Mini browser more often. It was simply a faster browser. Assessing the Blogger website on both browsers was possible, but without a copy and paste function (to copy the url of the link), I was back to square one.

Eventually, I manage to find an interim solution. I activated the email posting feature on Blogger. Then, using the Nokia browser, I could post to my blog by sending the link via email on the E71. It wasn't a pretty solution as I had grown tired of surfing on the slower Nokia browser.

As usual, the solution was right under my nose.

One of the killer features of Opera Mini (and Opera) is the ability to sync all your bookmarks across computers. For example, once synced, your Opera browser at work will see the same bookmarks as those on your home PC. And more importantly in this case, your Opera Mini browser.

First, a quick detour. Yesterday, I manage to find out that Opera Mini supported the use of bookmarklets via WAPReview. So I started trying to get the BlogThis! bookmarklet into my E71 by inserting it in a link on my blog. I would then access the link using the E71, mark it as a bookmark, and edit the link to strip away the url, leaving the javascript code intact. But I couldn't get it to work.

Thankfully, the Eureka moment wasn't too far away. I realised that the objective was to copy the bookmarklet onto the phone. Then I remembered Opera Link, the sync function on Opera and Opera Mini.

On Opera Mini, there are 2 sets of bookmarks. One list is permanent on the phone, the other available online when you sync. I already had the BlogThis! bookmark on my PC. So I accessed it on the E71, and copied over to the permanent bookmarks.

To use it, I simply go to the BlogThis! bookmarklet when I see a nice link to blog about. This brings up the usual Blogger post webpage, complete with the url link already in the blog post. I can then blog my comments, and save or publish it immediately.

Having tried it in one of the earlier posts here, I am glad to say that it works seamlessly.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Google Wave

Lifehacker Post Detail
Sounds like a cool idea, morphs email, IM, twitter, google docs and facebook into one major shared desktop

Testing bookmarklet for BlogThis! in Opera Mini

UMPCPortal Trying out a Opera Mini bookmarklet to mimic the BlogThis! function in a desktop browser. If the above link and this post can be seen, then it works. Full explanation in another future post.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Dreaming of a replacement

Now that my dad is starting to learn how to use a computer, I can start thinking about passing him my Asus Eee PC 4G, and replacing it with something better.

Some of the features I would be looking out for
  • touchscreen
  • long battery life
  • windows os
  • 3G capable
There is currently no product available in Singapore with all 4 features.

The closest to mind are the following
  • UMID M1
  • Raon Everun
Current product that has all the features is the Gigabyte T1028M, but it is not available in Singapore yet.

The other is the Asus T91, which has not been official launched yet.

Meanwhile, the Gateway lt1001g (8.9 inch screen, XP, 160GB HDD, 3-cell battery) is retailing at a low price of $499.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Natural Planning Techniques: The Five Phases

GettingThingsDone - MineZone Wiki
Very useful for planning projects. This is part of David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) book.
  1. purpose / guiding principles (Why are we doing this?)
  2. mission / vision / goals / successful outcome (What would wild success look, sound, or feel like?)
  3. brainstorming (How would we accomplish it?) view the project from beyond the completion date, envision wild success (suspend "Yeah, but. . ."), capture features, aspects, and qualities you imagine in place
  4. organizing (identify components, subcomponents, sequences, events, and/or priorities; what must occur and in what order? When do we do these things?)
  5. next actions (Where do we start?)
"If the project is off your mind, your planning is sufficient. If it's still on your mind, keep applying the model until it's clear."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

How to blog about an interesting website using the Nokia E71

I've finally found a way (or two) to recreate the BlogThis! feature which I use extensively when surfing the internet. Basically, I enable the Mail-to-Blogger function within Blogger, and then use the Send function (found under "Tools") in the E71 native browser to "email" a blog post. BTW, the above is a new National Library Board (NLB) service for accessing electronic archives of Singapore and Malaya newspapers.

According to the NLB,
Users who access the collection through the multimedia stations at our islandwide network of libraries will be able to search, view and print from The Straits Times digitised collection. Offsite users will also be able to access the website and view the articles but limited to the first 50 words of each full-text article.
What about the other way to blog a url (or maybe even third way?). Think I'll say more in another post...

Anyway, what did I first search for? :)

Honda - Impossible dream

Saturday, March 28, 2009


MID Moves
After a few months off from monitoring the UMPC/MID scene, the market has quickly moved on... This new model from UMID could be the current smallest thing running on Windows XP. 4.8 inch touch-screen, thumb-able keyboard, 6 hour battery life, sounds like great specs to me. See below for a quick video tour by JKKmobile

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rule changes for Formula 1 in 2009

A cool video explaining the substantial rule changes to the 2009 Formula 1 season, courtesy of the Red Bull racing team.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

If only the MX-5 looked like this

That was my first reaction when I saw the VW BlueSport Concept. BTW, its a diesel roadster concept; methinks it will pull sales from its sister model, the Audi TT. A quick mindcheck also brings back a thought that VW haven't done a cabrio Golf for quite a while. (I remember that their Gen III Golf still had a cabrio version)

Anyway, hope it comes into production soon, and is embued with nice driving dynamics...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nokia Messaging

Just a quick post to say that this new software is great. It recognised my office email settings automatically; just provide email address and password. No need to provide details like outgoing/incoming email server settings...all very seamless, cool.

Personal priorities

I have a small piece of paper in my wallet to remind me of the below
  1. Being healthy
  2. Being physically active
  3. Simplifying my life
  4. Making a difference
  5. Enjoying my hobbies
I've forgotten about them for a while; need to step up my focus on the above...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tokyo Auto Salon - photos

The wacky (I mean it in a good way) Tokyo Auto Salon is here again. 3 forum threads with lots of great photos...
Thread 1
Thread 2
Thread 3

My favorite? That would be the LF-A

Motor Cycle News (MCN) 7th Jan 09 edition

I didn't know that MCN has a free online edition; anyway, enjoy...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Curse of the draft post

Part of the problem (actually also a great feature) with Google Toolbar is the ease with which one can blog a post.

See a nice article online? Putting a blog post on it is a simple 3-click process. Except you want to properly comment on it. So you perhaps put down some points and save it as a draft.

The problem is that you sometimes never come around to editing that draft post. You end up with lots of draft posts. Bummer.