Tuesday, December 28, 2004

[Moblog] Hands-on with O2 XDA Mini

[Moblog] Hands-on with O2 XDA Mini

I just played with the O2 XDA Mini for about a minute in Sim Lim Square, Singapore. What can I say, I am sold! It's about the size of iPod Mini, and that's really small for a PDA phone. It has a better screen (no observable color cast) and camera. It doesn't have built-in WiFi, but I don't use WiFi that often anyway (especially after the T-Mobile HotSpot debacle).

If I was to really buy the O2 XDA Mini in Singapore, then I have to sell the HP6315 first.

Monday, December 27, 2004

[Moblog] S$7800 (> US$4500) massage chair

[Moblog] S$7800 (> US$4500) massage chair

I tried this S$7800 (> US$4500) Osim iDesire massage chair for 15 minutes. It's pretty good. It does arms and feet, in addition to the normal back and legs. But oh the price!

[Moblog] 面粉馃

[Moblog] 面粉馃ƒ


[Moblog] Ostrich at Singapore Bird Park

[Moblog] Ostrich at Singapore Bird Park

Sunday, December 26, 2004

[Personal] Earthquake and tidal waves in Asia

An 8.9-magnitude earthquake and giant tidal waves have hit Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Malaysia. The report says that more than 3300 people have been killed. This event is more personal to me while in Singapore as compared to if I am in US. Even though I wasn't aware of the devastations until this evening, people in certain parts of Singapore have reportedly felt the tremors. And just 4 days ago I was helping my sister and cousin research for their Thailand tour in January. I strongly suggested Phuket, the Thai resort that was just hit by the tidal wave, since I had tons of fun there in 1999. Luckily they decided on Bangkok instead, because Phuket is now closed to tourists.
Some 168 people died in popular southern Thailand resorts, the Narenthorn Center of the Public Health Ministry reported. The center said people were swept away in Phuket by a tsunami with 16-foot waves. More than 1,900 were injured and many others were missing.

Waves reported to be up to 30 feet high crashed into beaches, where thousands of tourists were lazing on the country's renowned white sand beaches when the earthquake struck. Hundreds of bungalows, boats and cars were carried out to sea.

Followup: The death toll is already at 19,930. I wonder how main-stream media in US is covering this huge story. Do they play it down since it doesn't affect US and instead still pay more attention to Iraq?

Friday, December 24, 2004

[Moblog] Random picture: something something

Taken this morning in a Bukit Panjang neighborhood market.
Posted by Hello

[Moblog] Random picture: Mosque

Mosque next to Bukit Panjang LRT track.
Posted by Hello

[Moblog] Nintendo DS sighting

[Moblog] Nintendo DS sighting

Spotted the new Nintendo DS in a window display in Lot 1 Shopping Center, Singapore.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

[Personal] 20-hour flight

The 20-hour flight to Singapore was gruesome, typical of such non-first-class, non-business-class endeavors. The flight was fully booked, as expected during the December season, so I had to crouch the whole time in my pathetic coach seat. Luckily the plane I took was Singapore Airline's newer Boeing 777s, meaning I was able to watch lots of movies on demand and not have to wait for the movies to recycle themselves. During the first 11 hour flight to Incheon, Korea, I managed to watch "Borne Supremacy", "I, Robot", "Alien vs. Predator", "天机变2", and one hilarious Hong Kong movie whose name I can't remember. That's a couple of DVD rentals saved right there! :) It's not like I didn't want to get some sleep during the eleven hours - I just wasn't able to because the guy next to me had his reading light on the whole time! As for the 6-hour flight from Incheon to Singapore, well, I eventually grabbed four hours of it for sleep.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

[Moblog] At pet store

[Moblog] At pet store

Today is the last day before I take off for Singapore, and what am I doing? I am sitting here in a pet store while my wife is doing some last minute gift shopping. Luckily I have my trusted h6315 and GPRS data plan.

[Coding] Chris Justus dissects Google Suggest

Yes, I was curious about Google Suggest's underlying technology, but I am also a lazy guy, with laziness overpowering curiosity. So I didn't bother looking into Google's code (although I had some thoughts on how it was done). I guess laziness has its merits, as Chris Justus has already taken apart Google's JavaScript code and served it up in a reader-friendly platter.

[Personal] Anonymity

I have always tried to remain anonymous ever since I started blogging in late 2003. I was careful not to reveal personal details or any information that would link my blog with my identity. (Although I did reveal my dog's name.) This is because I sometimes complain about work or people around me, and I don't want anyone to hunt me down for my whining. And one can never be too careful about online identities.

What caused my second thoughts? Well, lately I have been researching open-source Content Management Systems (CMS) just for fun. I don't really have much content to publish online, but being anonymous further restricts whatever little content I have. That's a kill-joy for someone like me who likes to toy with different technology.

Besides, not having to worry about anonymity would also open up more possibilities for blogging. For example, I can post more photos that reveal who I am. Not that many people would care, but it just might make my blog more interesting at a personal level. Of course it might also turn people away as they don't care about some stranger's private life.

Hmm... I will think about it over my few weeks of vacation.

Friday, December 17, 2004

[Personal] Why respect the elderly?

My wife had a minor accident in a car park today. She parked the car and went into McDonald to get some food. Prior to going in she saw an elderly couple attempt to park next to our car. When she returned to the car from McDonald she saw a scratch on our side rubber panel, and there was some rubber debris on the bumper of the old couple's car as well. She waited for the couple to come out and told them of the incident. If the couple had just acknowledged the incident and apologized then it would be the end of that. My wife wasn't looking for any monetary compensation since it was a small scratch and the insurance claim would be more hassle than its worth. Unfortunately the old female refused to accept the facts but instead insisted that the rubber debris was "dust". No choice, my wife called the police. And the police straight away said it's the old couple's fault.

All my life I was taught to respect the elderly, I guess supposedly for their wisdom and knowledge. Well, wisdom and knowledge does not lead to doing the right things. Perhaps the more a person knows about everything, the more he/she knows how to act unscrupulously to get what he/she wants. So my question is, why should I respect the elderly? Respect should be earned, regardless of age. Unfortunately some old people tend to abuse their elderly status and use that as excuses.

In the end my wife insisted on an apology from the old lady (who was touching up on her makeup while the police was running vehicle checks) and eventually got a reluctant version after some convincing from her husband. I feel sorry for the old man.

[Personal] Last day at work in 2004

Today is going to be my last day of work in 2004. On Sunday I will take off for Singapore and return in middle of January 2005. If nothing goes wrong, I am envisioning my entire "work" day spent on surfing the web.

I love it when I am in the "mood". :)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

[Singapore] Reservist dialog

Read the Rules of Engagement entry for some not-so-wholesome-yet-hilarious dialogs. Not exactly G but normal in SAF.

Here is an excerpt:

Tired and frustrated from climbing the stairs, and perhaps also from having problems at home, the 'hostage negotiations' were opened by a member of the section and it went something like this:

What the fuck you want, ninabehcheebye motherfucker?

I want an airline ticket!

Airline ticket?? Cheebye! Simi airline?!


Cheebye! Emirates?! Ki tolo?! (go where?)


Fuck you! Kaninabuchowcheebyemotherfucker! Limpehshootjitliaphorliseeeee!

And then there was a burst of automatic gunfire. After which, the slack-jawed trainer declared the simulated hostages and their simulated captor dead.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

[PDA/Cellphone] Magicans vs. Blue Angels comparison review

HowardForums has a great comparison review of Magicans vs. Blue Angels. Tons of high-res pictures! Must view (if you are into this stuff).

Just makes me drool after the Magician (XDA II Mini) even more. Oh well, next year perhaps.

Via Engadget.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

[PDA/Cellphone] Skweezer is great

Skweezer is a service that converts normal web pages to PDA-friendly versions. It worked great on a few sites I tried it on, including this blog.

Discovered via PocketPC Thoughts.

[Personal] Webhosting

So I have been researching for a potential web host. It was down to WebHosting Buzz, Surpass Hosting and a visitor nicely suggested Startlogic.

I looked at Startlogic and initially found the promotion package very attractive. Then I realized the $1/month price is only for the first three months, after which the price is $7/month. Since my needs are small and I don't want to spend too much on web hosts, I will have to pass on Startlogic for now.

Next I sent two emails with identical presale questions to both WebHostingBuzz and SurpassHosting. This was past midnight this morning. By 6am I have one reply from SurpassHosting. I sent more followup questions after reading the reply at 10am++, and a couple of minutes later I got my replies again. As for WebHostingBuzz? I am still waiting.

Unless some better choices come up I think I will be going with SurpassHosting.

Monday, December 13, 2004

[Personal] WordPress template in progress

This is the WordPress template I have been toying with the last two days. It's based off the ArzelWPT-Blue theme from Yusop.net. I have yet to do the graphics (if I actually bother), but the colors and fonts are more or less set.
Posted by Hello

[Personal] 临时抱佛脚


[Complaint] T-Mobile's new support phone system

Minor complaint actually.

Today I called up T-Mobile support for some enquiries and was greeted by a new voice recognition system. I hate those. Normally I only call when I have a specific question that cannot be answered by a machine with limited vocabulary (sometimes not even by a support personnel). It took me a while to wade through T-Mobile's long-winded "help" just to retrieve the magic key to the organic department. By the way, the magic word to tell off the machine is "Representative".

All in all I spent more time trying to bypass the machine than with the representative getting the answer.

[Internet] Oracle Buys PeopleSoft in $10.3 Bln Deal

Oracle has done it, they finally bought the "mighty-in-CRM-market" PeopleSoft for $10.3 billion.

[Personal] My own domain!

Ho ho ho, I got myself a new .com domain name. I will most likely sign up for a web host early next year and transfer this blog over.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

[Personal] My own domain?

Playing with WordPress yesterday made me think seriously about getting my own domain name and web hosting plan. Trouble is, I don't have a catchy domain name and I don't know which web hosting company I would choose. The good thing is that a hosting plan can be had for as little as $4 per month, e.g. WebHosting Buzz and Surpass Hosting. And just for info, WebHosting Talk and FindMyHosting are two great places to start the research.

[Automobile] F.O.R.D.

I was talking to my manager yesterday when his cellphone rang. It was from his mechanic about his newly bought Ford RV. When my manager first took ownership of the RV weeks ago from the dealer in Sacremento, he already noticed that the maintenance light was on. The dealer said it is probably some <fill in a non-serious car problem that I couldn't comprehend> and will go away by itself. It didn't. In fact the local mechanic told him that the entire transmission needs to be replaced. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the transmission of a brand, spanking new Ford RV needs to be replaced just less than 2 months out of dealership.

F(ix) O(r) R(epair) D(aily).

[Automobile] Not CRV's year

More Honda CRV troubles. And I bought one (years ago) because I thought Hondas were supposed to be reliable.

[Personal] WordPress

I just setup WordPress 1.2.1 on my home computer. Why? Because Blogger doesn't seem to want to offer categories feature any time soon, and because I want to see how hard it is to set up my own blog software. I probably will never put my own blog server online, solely because I don't want to pay for web hosting every month.

Sure, setting up WordPress was fun (after everything works), but this is what I had to go through:

  1. Set up Apache
  2. Set up PHP
  3. Set up phpMyAdmin (which I can only get the welcome page and nothing else)
  4. Configure PHP to work with MySQL (which was setup much earlier)
  5. Install and set up WordPress

I chose WordPress over Movable Type because of all the bad licensing publicity Movable Type has gathered for version 3. Next step: import my Blogger posts into WordPress just for fun.

Friday, December 10, 2004

[Moblog] 雾

[Moblog] 雾


Edit: Flickr doesn't yet support email posting in Chinese. I guess no system is perfect.

Edit 2: After additional testing, the problem seems to be Pocket Outlook instead of Flickr.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

[Internet] Dan Washburn's Shanghai Diaries

I like the writing style on the Dan Washburn's Shanghai Diaries. Funny stuff, and the topics are of my interest too. Nice picture of the ducks on the front page, wouldn't you say? (The picture on the front page has been changed.)

Oh, I come across this site via its gadget article.

[Misc.] Never-boil-dry stove

What can I say, I need one of these for my home: CNN.com - Sensor keeps cooking on the boil - Dec 6, 2004.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

[Laptop/PC] What happens to ThinkPad now?

The news of IBM selling its PC business to Chinese computer maker Lenovo is all over Internet. My interest is on what is going to happen to the laptop I couldn't afford - the ThinkPad.

[PDA/Cellphone] More pictures of Innopocket h6315 case

Posted by Hello
Not that anyone might care, but here are more pictures of my Innopocket h6315 case as promised.

[Internet] "Superficial" website

Go to the "The Superficial - Because You're Ugly" website if you are jealous of those teen-multi-billionaires. 葡萄好酸。

[Singapore] SPH, MediaCorp Lay Off Over 200

Remember a while ago I blogged about Singapore media companies merging? Well, now comes the consequences.

[Bizarre] Serious road rage problem

Autoblog has an entry about a woman with a serious road rage problem, oh wait, make that "mental illness".

[PDA/Cellphone] Innopocket h6315 case

Innopocket 6315 case (1)
Innopocket 6315 case (2)
Innopocket 6415 case (3)
Innopocket 6315 case (4)

I just received my new Innopocket Metal Deluxe Case for hp iPAQ Pocket PC h6300, and so far I am pretty happy with it. The reason why I chose this case over all others (leather or metal) is because this one allows me to view the full screen while the case is closed. Afterall, I wouldn't want to open the cover every time I use the phone portion of h6315. After getting this case, I realized my biggest worry was unwarranted - it fits nicely without any alignment issues.

Don't get me wrong, I like the case a lot, but it's not perfect. While all the button and ports are exposed properly, the power button is totally hidden when the front cover is closed. I had noticed this on the website before I made the purchase, so I can't really complain. The case is also a bit tight such that I have to apply some force to put my h6315 in and take it out. Imagine doing this every time I want to put the h6315 in its cradle - I hope I don't scratch the PDA during in the process. The mini keyboard cannot be used when the PDA is in this case, it's simply designed that way. The included belt clip feels cheap, I could hear the weak spring and cheap plastic whenever they are in action. And lastly the case adds a bit of weight and size to the overall feel.

My next step would be to make some "real" phone calls with the case fully closed.

The above pictures were taken with h6315's built-in camera, so there is no way right now I can post any pictures of the case with the h6315 in it. I will do that later when I get home.

Monday, December 06, 2004

[Personal] "Delivered"?

The past week I have been constantly tracking a package via USPS website. I had the package sent to my work address as someone would be there to sign for it during office hours. This morning I was pretty happy to see the status changed to "Delivered", so when I didn't get the package this afternoon, I enquired about it at the company mail room. Turns out USPS' definition of "Delivered" is special - it means the package has been delivered to the local office, not the final destination. I guess I will have to wait one more day to put my hands on my 6315 case.

[PDA/Cellphone] Anyone still cares for Motorola MPx?

I guess someone out there must still care for the Motorola MPx. As for me, I got tired of the many delays in 2004 and moved onto other phones. I am linking this MPx news because that's what the Engadget guys said too:
The MPx has been pushed back so many times that at this point we almost don’t care (by now our affections have shifted to other, more promising phones)...

[Laptop/PC] HP z545 review by PC Magazine

PC Mag has a review of HP's z545 MediaCenter PC. For me? I like the pictures. :)

So far this z545 is my favorite MediaCenter PC on the market. Too bad it's kinda expensive at $2000 for the decent model.

[Singapore] SAF Scholars == Success

SAF Overseas Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholoarships in Singapore. Typically winners end up getting command roles in SAF followed by executive positions in civilian companies. Our Scholars - Success Stories provides a list of why you might want your kid to get this scholarship.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

[PDA/Cellphone] Motorola Razr V3 Review

Motorola Razr V3 Review by The Gadgeteer. I don't know, a normal cellphone just doesn't cut it for me anymore now that I have a PDA phone. Boo-Ya! :)

[Personal] My blog categories

I am really hoping that Google would introduce categories into Blogger. I can't understand why they are holding back on this feature given their excellent "label" implementation in Gmail. In anticipation I have started tagging my recent posts with categories names enclosed with "[]". So far I have come out with the following:

  • PDA/Cellphone
  • Internet
  • Technology
  • Personal
  • Moblog
  • Laptop/PC
  • Toy
  • Automobile
  • Weird
  • Misc.

Any suggestions for better or more categories? Or should I just go with a less granular system such as "Gadget", "Personal", etc?

Who knows, maybe I will follow the suggestion by Oldcola. The problem with this approach is that each blog entry is restricted to only one category.

[PDA/Cellphone] Audiovox PPC-6601 Pocket PC Phone review

PDA Buyer's Guide reviews the Audiovox PPC-6601 Pocket PC Phone from Sprint PCS. I guess it's better than my HP iPaq 6315 except for two things: PPC-6601 doesn't have WiFi and it's more expensive by (only) $125. Other than that it looks pretty impressive with its built-in keyboard, fast CPU, huge memory, and faster 1xRTT support. The PPC6601 model reviewed doesn't have a camera, but then my HP iPaq 6315's camera is crap anyway.

The review includes a picture for size comparison of Audiovox SMT5600 MS Smartphone, Treo 650, PPC-6601 and the HP iPAQ 6315.

Why oh why did I put down my cash on the iPaq 6315 so fast?! :P

Friday, December 03, 2004

[PDA/Cellphone] Treo 650 versus Treo 600

X-Gadget has the most detailed review of Treo 650 I have seen to date. It's written in comparison to Treo 600.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

[Internet] MSN Spaces and its content ownership

Microsoft/MSN now also has its own blog service. I tried it and let's just say I won't switch over anytime soon.

I didn't bother to read the service agreement when I registered for the free service, but someone sure did:

"For materials you post or otherwise provide to Microsoft related to the MSN Web Sites (a 'Submission'), you grant Microsoft permission to (1) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat your Submission, each in connection with the MSN Web Sites, and (2) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. Microsoft will not pay you for your Submission."

[Technology] Interesting Google information

The interview with Google's vice-president of engineering, Urs Hölzle, is a terrific read. For example, I didn't know that Google employs its own file system, debugging tools, and smart spelling checkers?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

[Personal] Integrity

Today I found out the true color of a "friend". This person had some informal agreement with us where we would help look after each other's dog during vacations. Through out 2003 we looked after her dog while in December 2003 she looked after Frosty. The same was supposed to happen this year. We looked after her dog for weeks through out 2004, except now she claims that she feels unappreciated and "prefer" not to look after Frosty for our trip this year. It has always been a mutually agreed exchange and not some favor, so where does this victim theory come about? The worst part is that she ignored our phone calls and only sent an email a few days afterwards. I just don't think that's a mature way to handle any problem, even if you are the victim. Thanks to this last minute "maturity", we now have to find an alternative solution less than three weeks away from our departure. In Singlish we call such a person "Sabo Queen", to say the least.

Of course there were many different incidents leading up to this, so just to be fair, I also confirmed my thoughts with a mutual friend who witnessed all of it in the last two years. I guess it's our fault we didn't keep a distance with this person but instead trusted her to honor the exchange.

[Laptop/PC] Alienware DHS 2 MediaCenter PC

It's good that more major computer retailers are coming out with real MediaCenter PCs (versus just slapping a tuner in some generic PC) - we get more choices. Alienware PCs are not exactly affordable, but at least its DHS 2 appears to be cheaper than HP's z545.