A couple of weeks ago I had the misfortune of having my media drive died on me. It was a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 SATA 3Gb/s 1-TB Hard Drive, model ST31000340AS. It had contained all of my photos ever taken since June 2007 and all my MP3s, videos etc. ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!
I’ve only had the Terabyte drive for 3 months and had bought it brand new when I went back to New Zealand to sort out some other stuff. I have always been a big fan of Seagate products with all of my computers (desktops, laptops and portable devices) I make sure they are all Seagate Inside. I even recommend the brand to others. I have never expected a brand new drive die on me so soon. All of my older drives ranging from the P-ATA drives to the SATA 1.5Gb/s drives are still working and they are more than 4 years old.
I not that keen on paying the extravagant amount of money to someone else to recover the data for me. I read somewhere that you may be able to recover some parts of the data by freezing the drive... But I’m not too sure or even ready for that. I guess nothing to lose. I’ve already lost big time by not backing up!
Anyway... Important lesson... If you have anything important data stored on a Hard Drive, no matter how new or old or whatever, you should always make a backup of it either to another drive or CDs or DVDs. Something I should have adhered to in the first place. :(
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A couple of weeks ago I had the misfortune of having my media drive died on me. It was a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 SATA 3Gb/s 1-TB Hard Drive, model ST31000340AS. It had contained all of my photos ever taken since June 2007 and all my MP3s, videos etc. ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!
Monday, December 01, 2008
I managed to get a couple of tickets for the England vs. All Blacks (New Zealand) Grand Slam final at Twickenham last week. It was my first time to Twickenham and being the Grand Slam final I was really looking forward to it. Needless to say I was there to support the All Blacks even though I live in London now. A Kiwi is always a Kiwi!
Sitting there in the stands in the cold weather, the first half was touch and go. It was a pretty boring first half. All they did was kick the ball around back and forth, a couple of penalties and Daniel Carter missing about 4-5 penalties. What’s going on DC? Too much cheese and too much sun bathing in Perpignan is it?
Anyway the second half was where all the excitement was. Within the first two minutes the English offensive team was strong and they were moments away from scoring a try. But the All Blacks came back even stronger with Mills Muliaina scoring two tries for the team and a try from Ma'a Nonu. It was just simply AWESOME with a final score of 32 – 6.
If Dan had stepped up his performance it would have been somewhere like 47 – 6.
More pictures here.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Food Fight Short Film.
"Food Fight is an abridged history of American-centric war, from World War II to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict. Watch as traditional comestibles slug it out for world domination in this chronologically re-enacted smorgasbord of aggression."
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've had this game since it was released in the UK last Friday (21st Nov) and if you've read my blog below about me being sick for the last week I've had some time to burn. Since I started recovering over the weekend, yesterday I finally had the energy to get about and do things. So I opened up the game to try it out on the PS3.
First thing that caught me was yeah back into the Carbon/ Most Wanted style of gameplay. The AV was good but there’s nothing to brag about. Don’t even know why the maximum resolution was not at 1080P. Have to settle with 720P and you can still see the jaggies on the screen. And I do play this on a big screen as well. ARRGGHHHH!!!! I would have at least expected 1080P for a game like this.
As I started playing it I noticed the game is not quite like Carbon. I mean it shared similarities but you can tell it’s not the same game. I think in my very very quick review, I would play Carbon/ Most Wanted over this. They’ve spent too much time I guess on the intermediate videos than the quality of the game itself. In Undercover it felt like the game was pushing you from race to race where in Carbon you actually have time to roam around to drive to your next race. Don’t know… I just don’t like it. It doesn’t let you appreciate the surroundings of the game.
One other niggle… While racing the game would pause of a very slight second to load up the background scenes. This is on a PS3 and the disc content copied over to the built-in hard drive. So why would it still pause to load the background? If while you’re racing this would be the last thing you want. This is probably the first game that I’ve purchased that has done this and on a PS3 as well. Not even Race Driver GRID or Gran Turismo 5 Prologue has done this. WTF!
Anyway don’t know if it is me or not but a day of playing and I’m already at 50% of completing. Seems like it’s not going to be a very long game in comparison.
Are you feeling sick? I know I am... This year the cold weather has been set upon us early, arctic winds from the North bringing the temperature down to single digits and in some occasion’s negative values. I have been pretty good holding up to all the coughs and sneezes around and then all the sudden it hit me…
I was at the gym in the early mornings of early last week and after exercising till I felt it was my resting point, some guy walks by and coughs in my area. He had no regards of whom or where he was coughing at. He didn’t cover his mouth while he was coughing and that only help the spread of his germs. I had a feeling that afternoon that I was going to be the next one coughing.
And as you’ve guessed it, I got sick. I have been resting at home for about 5 days now and am only recovering now. The first few days I’ve had sleepless nights. Waking up every hour to cough and when I had to cough my head felt like it was going to explode causing severe headaches. With the loss of appetite the only food I could really take in was my homebrew of hot honey and lemon drink. When I wasn’t drinking my brew I would be sleeping almost 70% of each day. That’s how exhausted I was for that week as my body tries to recover. I had lost almost 4 kilos in that week. Not bad for not going to the gym but not a great way of losing the excess weight.
Now I’m back to semi good health. Still coughing and have the slight runny nose but not as frequent now and the flem that I cough out are not dark brown in colour anymore or covered in blood! Yep! That’s how bad it was.
So note to everyone who’s reading this, if you are sick and you are out and about, please stop and consider others around you. Stop the spread of germs that make you and others sick!
To help stop the spread of germs,
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
• Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.
• Was with soap and water
• Clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner.
If this was in America I could probably have sued that guy that made me this sick!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Have you thought about being a games developer? Specifically utiliting the latest technologies available? Well Microsoft has just released a new version of their XNA Game Studio now version 3.0 to allow you to create games for the Xbox LIVE environment.
Here is what they have to say... "XNA Game Studio 3.0 appeals to game developers of every level and now enables commercial community games to be written for Xbox LIVE. XNA Game Studio 3.0 supports C# 3.0 and Visual Studio 2008, giving developers more options than ever before, while continuing to provide easy-to-use, approachable tools for hobbyists, academics and indie game developers. XNA Game Studio 3.0 enables developers to produce the best games to be shared with the world on Xbox 360, Windows PC and now on Zune. Visit http://creators.xna.com to download XNA Game Studio 3.0 and start creating your game today!"
You never know... You might start a new craze...
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
OMG! Just watched the cinematic to Valve's upcoming release, Left 4 Dead. It looks awesome. The game's story kinda reminds me of the earlier Resident Evil games but with more gore and way more shocking. It's due out on the 18th November so if you're into the Resident Evil/Alone in the Dark genre of games then this will definately be your cup of tea.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
If you’re a fan of the Macross universe, Macross Frontier is a new series that came out around April this year.
"The series features the 25th New Macross-class Colonial Fleet, dubbed the Macross Frontier, en route to the galactic center. This heavily-populated interstellar fleet (consisting of numerous civilian vessels and their military escorts) contains a makeup of both human occupants and their Zentradi allies. As such, many of the Macross Frontier's companion vessels appear to merge more metallic Human designs with organic Zentradi aesthetics. On the Macross timeline, the story is set in the year 2059, 47 years after the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross, 19 years after Macross Plus and 14 years after the story of Macross 7. Macross Frontier's plot explores a combination of action/political intrigue/space drama more than previous Macross series have done in the past." from Wikipedia.
Now Bandai are moments away from releasing its first set of toys for this new series. The Macross Frontier VF-25F piloted by Alto Saotome & VF-25S piloted by Ozma Lee, are going to be the first two chogokins (die-cast metal robots) that are due to be released around November this year. From what I understand is that there are going to be a few variants in sizes for these toys but the first set is going to be 1/60 in scale.
Needless to say I’m super excited about this. Not only are the plane modes of these toys looks super sleek, but this is going to be my first set of chogokins from the Macross series that I’m going to collect.
Have a look at the pictures below or go to the main website where galleries of the VF-25F & VF-25S are being held.
* Note the above two links are in Japanese. it doesn't matter if you don't have the language pack installed. It shouldn't hinder you looking at the galleries.
*Original post from this site.
It's Wednesday today and Westfield London is only about a day away from its grand opening as Europe’s largest retail mall. It is going to be a prestigious mall encompassing most of the major labels around the world rivalling Harrods, Selfridges and the shops along Oxford Street. It is going to be awesome! Check out Westfield London homepage for a list of stores available.
A quick inspection from the outsides looks like they may not meet their deadlines. The building structures and most things looks like they are all there but you can see that there is electrical wiring for lights on the outside that has yet to be wired up. And there are loads of construction workers still there doing something like patching up holes etc. If it was me I would have expected all the construction bits to be completed at least a fortnight before the grand opening so at least the retailers can set everything up and have that completed feel rather than looking half complete on the opening day. Anyway IMO the project manager of this grand project is not doing a very good job at delegating tasks to the workers.
Still who am I to care? It is still going to be a grand mall to check out. It still may be some time away for everything to be finished but it is still going to be fantastic. Looking forward to the traffic!
Monday, October 20, 2008
A teaser trailer for DragonBall was shown at Brand Licensing Europe Expo, and DVD quality of the video clip was leaked to Internet. Enjoy the teaser trailer, while waiting for the official trailer to be released, rumored to be around December 2008.
It has been awhile since I last had high tea so had the urge to make a booking for last Saturday. Dim Sum city here I come. So anyway usually we would go to Pearl Liang which is one of our favourite dim sum restaurant situated next to the Paddington tube/rail station in a semi business area. Very quiet during weekends and just the way I like it. Not the traditional bustling atmosphere where the waiters would shout across the room to ask you what you want to order.
Anyway the food there are beautifully presented and tasted delicious! They are steamed almost just right and not as oily as some of the other Chinese restaurants do. 4 out of 5 for food and presentation I would reckon.
So last Saturday we went there with a few friends to enjoy a meal and catch up. Almost at the end of the meal we discovered a dead roach (that was steamed) underneath the "siew mai" (steamed mince pork/ prawns dumpling). I was only moments away from having that siew mai when my friend discovered the cockroach. Put us off the rest of the meal. We didn’t know what to say or do nor expect this from a decent restaurant.
To me it is usually quite common to have 1 or 2 roaches around in a typical Chinese restaurant kitchen. After visiting Chinatown you will know. Usually those with closed kitchen you will discover a few around. But to have a dead one in your meal?!? It was a baby roach as well so you would expect the mother roach and the rest of the roach family in the kitchen.
You’d expect some sort of quality control for a restaurant that had just won an award for "Oriental Restaurant of the year" in the capital this year. Their award should definately be stripped away because of this.
They’ve definitely lost this customer… Time to look for another dim sum city…
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Just read on a local paper's website saying that female commuters in London are more likely to have faecal matter on their hands than male commuters. Say what? You mean there is still a problem with people not washing their hands after visiting the toilet? OMG! That's disgusting!
Check out the article here.
There are some serious desperate people in the world. With the phenomenon of Facebook (a socialising website) where if you are subscribed to such services you share your personal details with anyone and I mean anyone. And with those who want to have their privacy you can opt to only share your details with your friends.
I’ve recently heard a story where there are a group of people who have a room that has just become available and are so looking for a new flatmate to share the accommodation with. Usually to find a new flatmate you place an advert and wait to see if there are any interests. If there are you would then invite them to come over to show them the place and the room available then ask them a series of questions to see if they fit/gel with the rest of flatmates. If they do then you’ve got yourself a new flatmate.
Well, one thing that surprised me was that they have a new requirement now and that was all new potential flatmates needs to add them to Facebook for further assessment to see what that person is like. WTF?! Is it because you didn’t ask them enough questions in the first place to find out what that person is like or is it because you want to laugh at their profiles and make false assumptions. Gosh… Or is it that you can’t find friends?
What do you when you are tested for a serious condition and you are misdiagnosed? Or how do you know if your results are wrong? Well, when you are being brought into the hospital only days of receiving the result, that’s when. That’s scary! When you can’t even trust your doctor or the physicians to give you the right results, what are you to do? Is everyone cutting corners now to save costs even at the expense of a patient’s life?
Well someone I know, has a serious condition that has been ongoing for quite some time now. Through an introduction into Amway, they were taken by Amway sales pitch of how their Nutriway products are the way forward and were apparently advised to take these Nutriway products over alternatives advised by previous doctors. Health checks and tests were conducted by their representatives and from the results said that they were ok but should take these Nutriway products to maintain them. Well now that person is in hospital after taking only Nutriway products for several weeks and opted to stop taking the prescriptions prescribed by the original doctor.
I found a PDF attachment on this website that shared similar stories where a doctor is practicing medicine along with selling Nutriway and it all went wrong. It’s a decent read.
Now I know the economy is rough now but to fudge the results so you would make more sales is just wrong! For that reason whoever that person was who advised to take Nutriway instead of the doctor’s prescribed medication should pay for the mistake! Locked up and throw the key away because you’re playing with people’s lives. A big FU and hope you get caught out!
PS: That person is now recovering well after back to taking the medication prescribed by the doctors. Damn you Amway!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Just finished playing this game... Only took me a total of 8 hrs with the normal difficulty set and that was without any cheating or codes entered into the game! As well as I died quite a few times… So yeah for a well seasoned player, this game could have completed it in a shorter period of time.
Overall thought… Well it is a Star Wars game. What else do you expect? Everything was brilliant, the theme and cinematics was awesome. It is a great fit to the whole Star Wars Empire.
Would I play this again? Erm… probably for a quick game to try out with all the codes entered for different costumes and abilities etc but yeah, only probably for another few hours or so.
Was it worth it? It’s a 50/50 on this one. I would say ‘Yes’ just for the fact that it was a Star Wars game. A ‘No’ for well, the story being so short and it cost £39.99 for the game. The game-play got abit repetitive after awhile as well. I read somewhere that they couldn’t develop this game for the PC was simply the PC couldn’t handle it. Well, if it was the same game for the PC and same story then yeah, LucasArts would have just been ripped into for charging so much for such a short game.
Oh if you are looking for exclusive codes for this game, especially for the Playstation 3 version, then head over here. Right at the bottom of that article there are 3 exclusive codes for unlocking all 32 costumes, unlock lightsaber throw, and all lightsaber crystals.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Anyone out there who is or wanting to learn some Chinese (Mandarin) especially with writing/reading characters, nciku is one of the most wickedest website that I had just come across.
It lets you enter Chinese characters, Pinyin, and of course English to find the right words/characters that you're after. Another feature is that it has a character recognition system by letting you handwrite the Chinese character onto their sketch pad which then it tries to identify which characters you have entered. Ingenious!
This is very good if you don’t have a Chinese keyboard or an able system to type in the character. Once it has identified the character or pinyin or even the English word you have entered it provides you with a list of examples of how that character could be used. It even provides you a sample audio clip if it has one.
If you’re learning to write Chinese, once the system has located your character, it shows you the stroke order as well to write the Chinese character.
The site is currently in beta but definitely give it a shot.
On their blog they have this learn 5 new characters a day. Very cool!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
For those who already has this game and found the gameplay abit hard or looking to try out a different costume here are some codes for you to try.
At the main menu, choose the "Options" selection, then select the "Enter Code" option. Or, you can choose the "Extras" selection inside the Rogue Shadow, then select the "Cheat Codes" option. Then, enter one of the following codes to activate the corresponding cheat function:
• AAYLA Unlock Aayla Secura costume
• ACOLYTE Unlock Asajj Ventress costume
• BENKENOBI Unlock Obi Wan Kenobi costume
• CHOSENONE Unlock Anakin Skywalker costume
• CORTOSIS Immunity to all damage
• COUNTDOOKU All combos at maximum level
• DANTOOINE Unlock Ceremonial Jedi Robes costume
• DREXLROOSH Unlock Drexl Roosh costume
• ECLIPSE Unlock Juno Eclipse costume
• GRANDMOFF Unlock all costumes
• HIDDENFEAR Unlock Darth Phobos costume
• HOLOCRON Unlock Sith Robe costume
• HOLOGRAM Unlock PROXY costume
• INTHEDARK Unlock Shadow Trooper costume
• ITSATWAP Unlock Admiral Ackbar costume
• JEDIMASTER Unlock Mace Windu costume
• KATARN All Force powers at maximum level
• KLEEF Unlock Kleef costume
• KORRIBAN Unlock Sith Stalker Armor costume
• LEGION Unlock 501st Legion costume
• LIGHTSABER Amplified lightsaber damage
• MANDALORE Unlock General Rahm Kota costume
• MARAJADE Unlock Mara Jade costume
• MARISBROOD Unlock Maris Brood costume
• MAVERICK Unlock Qui Gon Jinn costume
• NERFHERDER Unlock Han Solo costume
• NOTIMO Unlock Chop'aa Notimo costume
• PALPATINE Unlock Emperor Palpatine costume
• PAUAN Unlock Darth Desolous costume
• SHOCKTROOP Unlock Heavy Trooper costume
• SCOUNDREL Unlock Lando Calrissian costume
• SECURA Unlock Twi'lek costume
• SERENNO Unlock Count Dooku costume
• SITHLORD Unlock Get Darth Vader costume
• SPEEDER 1,000,000 Force points
• STORMTROOP Unlock Navy Commando costume
• T16WOMPRAT Unlock Luke Skywalker costume
• TK421 Unlock Classic Stormtrooper costume
• TOGRUTA Unlock Shaak Ti costume
• TYRANUS All Force powers
• VERGENCE Unlimited Force power
• YELLOWJCKT Unlock Yavin Luke costume
• WOOKIE Unlock Kento’s Robe costume
• ZABRAK Unlock Darth Maul costume
Though the codes are supposed to be universal, some may work or not depending on the console version that you are using.
Can't wait for the game to arrive!
Edit: Two new exclusive codes... These will work with the PS3 version.
• ADEGAN Unlock Lightsaber throw
• HURRIKANE Unlock All Lightsaber Crystals
Don't forget that once you activate these codes, you will not be able to either save your game or gain any further unlockables in the game.
Edit 2: Another exclusive code.
• SOHNDANN Complete 32 Costume Unlock Master Code
Monday, September 15, 2008
Chur Chur = NZ slang for Good Job/Congratulations
Final score 28/24 to the ALL BLACKS!
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
One game I’m most looking forward to is LittleBIGPlanet from Media Molecule. It’s an upcoming puzzle platform game developed exclusively for the PlayStation 3.
In the game you control small characters in which they can jump, push, run or grab objects to interact with their surroundings. One big plus is that you can also create your own worlds for you and or other players to interact in. When creating the world, you can have almost any object and then set parameters for those objects, i.e. set the object to electrify when it comes in contact with a player. You can also get crushed if trapped under or between heavy objects. The possibilities are endless. Real world physics!
For this type of game it means it also has the ability of online play. Other PlayStation Network registered user community around the world can participate in these levels/worlds/environments.
This game is scheduled to be released sometime around October 2008 across all regions. So keep an eye out for it. An 80GB PS3 bundle with this game is also scheduled to be released around November 2008.
Check out the videos below or for more information goto the LittleBIGPlanet site.
I had just picked up this fantastic remote control for the PS3 after it has been out of stock at most of the major retailers for a month or so now. For a remote control it is actually quite light. The layout for the remote control is quite good. It’s easy to navigate around to the major buttons and all. All in all it is a great remote control.
I don’t want to open up the remote control to have a look at what’s inside but one thing they could have done is to add an USB charging point as like with the DualShock3 controllers to charge the remote rather than having to buy additional batteries for it. Guess they were thinking of cutting the cost of the remote because at £14.99 @ Play.com it is still abit pricey for a remote control. Well you pay for the brand and of course the exclusivity to use it only on the PS3.
One good thing is that you can use it to play the games with.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Yes, you read it right. Electronic Arts is giving away a download copy of Command & Conquer: Red Alert for FREE and legally to celebrate their 13th anniversary of the storied Command & Conquer franchise, which has sold over 25 million copies to date when it was first released on August 31st, 2008.
So what are you doing still reading this. Head over to EA and download it here.
I’ve just recently spent a few days in Venice, the city of water and considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I couldn’t agree more. Not only is it beautiful but also can be a romantic city as well if you’re there with your partner. Venice is a city that composes of a series of islands (118 small islands) on a marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in the northeast Italy.
We were there for 3 days and by looking on the map it looked like we definitely had enough time to visit all the attractions and more. From our flight we ended up getting there early and when we got to the hotel we were luckily enough to be able check-in. Most of the hotels won’t let you check-in till at least 2pm but we were there around 10:30am and there was a room available so we managed to get that room. Thumbs up for Best Western Hotel Bologna! Definitely the best service, friendly staff and great rooms along with the excellent décor to make you feel comfortable. I would definitely stay in this hotel in the future.
After checking in we took the train towards Venice which only took less than 20mins to get there. It was really convenient and fast as well. For € 2 return it was definitely the way to go. So when we got there we try to go to all the places marked on our map. Oh boy did we not take into account how lost we could be because Venice it like a massive maze. There are canals and bridges everywhere and if you’re not in tuned to where everything is you will get lost easily. Somehow we still managed to get to all the spots. We were told later that even the locals get lost so we didn’t feel that bad afterwards but worthwhile to factor in the lost time if you’re going to visit Venice.
Anyway in the 3 days that we were there, we had taken the gondola ride along the Venice canals and the gondola rower was giving us the history of the buildings around Venice. Went to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), where we went into St. Mark’s Basilica, climbed up St. Mark's Campanile for the best panoramic shots of Venice, walked across the Rialto bridge and visited almost every single corner of Venice.
Here are some of the pictures taken.
Click on the "Venice" in the Snapshots links.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Cha Cha Moon… a new restaurant opened up in mid 2008 by Alan Yau; a restaurateur who launched other restaurants such as Wagamama, Hakkasan and Yauatcha in the UK. Last two of which have been awarded a Michelin Star each. Cha Cha Moon is quite different to the other restaurants that he had launched though. This time round this restaurant is a low cost, semi fast food place that anyone can enjoy.
The dishes they served are Chinese and generally from China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan.
I had the pleasure of sampling Cha Cha Moon last week where we had ordered a total of 6 mains with 4 entrees to share plus drinks and that came to around £50 for the meals for the 4 of us. That is pretty good considering the amount of food that was consumed that night. There was a small hiccup during the night where one of the main dishes ordered didn’t make it to us. After 30 mins of munching through we asked and well apparently it was left out of the order for some reason so eventually it came.
Also their fire alarm had gone off. Most likely it was due to the char-grilled chicken dish that we had ordered but everyone just stayed and continued enjoying their meals. Weird…
Anyway back to the meals themselves. In all the time that I have been in London, this is probably the only Chinese restaurant that comes close to the authentic stuffs. Not 100% but probably the closest so far. I remember when I first came to London; I went to a restaurant in Bayswater called Kiasu which in Chinese means “fear of losing”. What supposed to be best and authentic Singaporean restaurant in London turned out to be my worst experience so far and in my books; You’ve LOST! What is the point of serving something stating that it’s from this region of the world when you can’t even reproduce it authentically for your patrons?
At Cha Cha Moon, the meals are cheap and taste good, which is all in a very traditional Chinese culture. And also they taste almost very authentic! Just Fantastic! I would recommend this restaurant if you’re out for a cheap meal or even a great meal.
If you’re keen to check out this restaurant they are located just off Carnaby Street on Ganton Street.
*Note that when they do get busy, the waiters/waitresses do mess up by where they bring out the wrong foods/drinks to your table but if you give them the benefit of doubt they do eventually get it right.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
It has been awhile now since I last heard anything about Microsoft's Photosynth web application. I think it was about maybe a year ago when there was a demo about it. For a photo enthusiast I was ecstatic about what Photosynth was going to bring to the table.
Photosynth offers you the ability to combine photos to form panoramic views, i.e. where you have more than 1 photo to form a wide field of view. There are already a lot of panoramic generation applications out in the market already so where does Photosynth differ from the others?
For all of the panoramic applications out in the market at the moment allows you to only generate a flat 2D view of your photos. In Photosynth it generates 3D views. Essentially allowing you to navigate though your photos in a 3D’ish environment. You can navigate through only if there is a photo of it.
Also Photosynth is a web application and others are standalone desktop applications. Being a standalone application it gives you the flexibility of creating panoramic photos without uploading anything anywhere thus saving your bandwidth and just the ease of creating something without being tied down to an online service.
If Microsoft makes a desktop version as well, something similar to Google’s Picasa where you can apply enhancements to photos but actually generate the panoramic views before you upload it to their website then I think it will be successful.
Anyway head over to the Photosynth’s website for more info.
*Note: I’m browsing through their galleries and the plugin seems to be still buggy. The images are not flowing though even though it had loaded up the fixtures. No wonder this application is still in Live Labs department.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Looks like Electronic Arts have been very busy. This trailer is for the upcoming RTS video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.
This game takes place in a parallel universe in which World War 2 never happened and the Soviet Union has become the world’s dominant nation. A huge war is ongoing among the Soviets, Allies and a new third faction known as the Empire of the Rising Sun, which is derived from Imperial Japan.
The amount of known actors/actresses in this game is unbelievable.
- Gina Carano as Natasha Volkova. A folk legend and Commando, Volkova is a legendary sniper with a great reputation for marksmanship.
- Tim Curry as Premier Cherdenko, leader of the Soviet Union.
- Peter Stormare as a Russian Scientist, responsible for the time machine which they use in their mission to eliminate Einstein.
- Andrew Divoff as a Russian Soldier, appears with the in the casting trailer with the Soviet leader and the scientist.
- Ivana Milicevic as a Russian Communication officer, also appears within the casting trailer, warning the commander of the attack by the Empire of the Rising Sun.
- Jenny McCarthy as Tanya Adams, who appeared in Red Alert and Red Alert 2 is listed on the official "factions" page to return for this game.
- Gemma Atkinson as Lt. Eva McKenna.
- J.K. Simmons as President Howard T. Ackerman, President of the United States.
- Jonathan Pryce as an Allied General.
- Randy Couture as an Allied Soldier.
Empire of the Rising Sun
- Kelly Hu as a Japanese officer who briefs and assists the player.
- George Takei as Emperor Yoshiro, Leader of the Empire of the Rising Sun.
Release date is set on 28th October 2008 and it's going to be available on PC and Xbox 360 at the moment. PlayStation 3 version in on hold.
Oh well, another game to add to the list of games to play!
This trailer for this anticipating game looks SWWEEET! I didn’t realise that Maggie Q is in it as well. She sure has been popping up here and there in the Hollywood scene. Good luck to her.
This time round players will go undercover to infiltrate an underground racing scene which apparently is connected to an international crime syndicate. I sure hope Electronic Arts have reverted the gaming style back to Most Wanted or Carbon style. I still play Carbon once in a while even though I’ve finished it to relax funnily enough. Just to wreck some havoc and get the police chase scenes going. Bring it ON!!!
Anyway this game is due out on the 18th November 2008 States side and on the 21st November 2008 in Europe and available on all platforms (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PC and mobile devices).
Always been a big fan of the Need for Speed series… ProStreet was a big big disappointment but sure hope this one will rekindle the NFS spirit.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The video below is probably going to bore you and put you to sleep but what it shows are clearly enhancements that can be made onto any video. It's just like adjustting/enhancing your still photo via Adobe® Photoshop® but for video. Totally awesome if this becomes commercial and easy to use.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sony is replacing the 40GB core pack with a new bigger 80GB core pack at the end of this week here in the UK. The 80GB core pack will come also include the new DualShock3 wireless controller instead of the standard SIXAXIS wireless controller. The new PlayStation 3 core pack have the same specification namely 2 USB slots, no memory card readers, and no PS2 backwards compatibility.
There has been news that Sony is going to utilise the new 65nm RSX “Reality Synthesizer” GPU in this new core pack that replaces the 90nm technology GPU. The PlayStation 3 already had the Cell CPU reduced from 90nm process to 65nm since end of last year. So seems like Sony is trying to reduce the size and number of components in the unit. Sony mentioned that this was done to further reduce the manufacturing cost of each unit but by doing so this should help to keep the system cooler as well.
Hopefully then there is no need to have to get a separate cooling unit for the PlayStation 3 and having the new DualShock3 controller than the SIXAXIS is welcoming too.
The price for the new SKU will be @ £299/€399 which is the same as the original 40GB core pack. Sweet!
Sony is also going to introduce another new unit for the PlayStation 3 around mid September. The PlayTV add-on device is a new unit that turns the PlayStation 3 into a PVR (personal video recorder) which enables you to watch/record existing digital TV/ Freeview channels*. Even have the ability to record your favourite channels when you’re in the middle of playing a game.
- An Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) up to 7 days in advance.
- Mobile TV functionality. Watch content via the PSP on the go if the PSP is connected to the system via WIFI, which means that you’re able to watch your favourite show whilst abroad!
- Personal Video Recorder functionality - watch live TV, pause, fast forward and rewind.
PlayTV is currently available for pre-order @ £69.
With this add-on coming soon you can see why Sony is replacing the 40GB core pack with the bigger 80GB capacity core pack. You’ll need the extra space for all the recorded goodness!
Word has it that new bundles will also be available along with the new core around September/October this year. Possibly a Star Wars bundle when the new Star Wars game (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed) is released in September and possibly a Street Fighter bundle around early next year. Maybe even a PlayTV bundle when PlayTV is being released around mid September.
* PlayTV: Will depend on if your country supports digital terrestrial television.
** All release schedules are specific to UK.
*** For those who wants to pre-order the new 80GB SKU, Tesco is actually selling it for £289.97. That's a £9.03 saving.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Gosh... Another report just out... Now they are confirming that the little girl that was singing the national anthem was actually lip-synching! The original 7 year old Chinese girl was not good looking enough for the ceremony so another was used. OMFG!
The little girl must be absolutely gutted! Imagine what the family must have gone through when they were told “Nope sorry your girl is ugly.” I can only imagine the girl is going to grow up with some serious issues because she has been told that she is not pretty enough to represent her country.
This is going abit too far eh. First there was the faked fireworks footprints and now lip-synching. What is next?
The father of Lin Miaoke, Lin Hui, told China Daily he learned Miaoke would be "singing" only 15 minutes before the opening ceremony began. The newspaper wrote Lin "still cannot believe his daughter has become an international singing sensation." LOL!!!
Singing sensation you say??? By lip-synching? hmm... Remember Milli Vanilli? They were a pop sensation back from the late 80s to the 90s. They were caught out lip-synching musics sung by Charles Shaw, John Davis, Brad Howell, and twin sisters Jodie and Linda Rocco. Again it was because the other 5 singers lacked a marketable image.
You said what?! The fireworks footprint that was shown during the opening ceremony on live TV all around the world was faked! I could not believe it when I read this story this morning. What were they thinking!
They are saying that “We could not put the helicopter pilot at risk by making him try to follow the fireworks route.” That is lame! If it couldn’t be done then why bother with it in the first place. If you want to make a real impressions then make it the right way.
Friday, August 08, 2008
The Beijing Summer Olympic 2008 is almost upon us and its opening ceremony is now only under 3 hours away from starting. I’m really keen to see what the Chinese are preparing for the opening ceremony. I’m sure it is going to be spectacular.
For those aren’t able to get to a TV to watch the live coverage there are several different ways of catching this online.
- China & Macau: CCTV website
- UK users: BBC website
- US users: NBC website
- New Zealand users: TVNZ website
- Australia users: Yahoo!7 website
- Watch Olympics
- Macedonian TV
And here are the 50 Most Beautiful Women of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Most houses/flats in the UK need to either get a high gain aerial installed on the roof or subscribe to a satellite service to receive a clear signal to watch TV. As indoor aerials either doesn’t work or work at all to get a clear signal due to the distance from the transmitter to your home, or obstacles such as trees, buildings etc in the line of sight. Trust me when I say there are loads and loads of terrace houses/buildings in the UK, enough to block the signal.
Anyway if you’re like me, renting a flat and not allowed to make modifications to the flat; i.e. installing an outdoor aerial or just don’t want to fork out the huge amount to get one installed then I think I have found the answer.
After some research I had found that from Ricability website, they had recommended the Philex SLX Gold Amplified High Performance Indoor TV Aerial as the best indoor aerial. Though can’t guarantee that you will get a clear signal of course. After a quick Google search the only place that I could buy this was either off an American website or through Amazon UK and for £20 including postage I thought what the heck.
Tried it out when it arrived and it worked a beaut! With the new indoor aerial and signal gain turned to the max, the TV managed to receive all Freeview digital channels and even a few analogue channels. There were some slight interference once in a while but that didn’t bother me much. When I say slight I meant a few pixels that didn’t received clean for a second. Also the only place I had placed the aerial was right at the back of the TV in the corner where it had no windows or anything. Just the walls and surrounded by a tonne of terrace buildings along the street.
Definitely a well recommended indoor aerial to use!
A few links to check out:
- Freeview (www.freeview.co.uk)
- Ricability (www.ricability-digitaltv.org.uk)
- Wolfbane UK digital TV reception predictor (http://www.wolfbane.com)
It has been almost 5 years now since I last stepped into a Gym and let me tell you that I've let it slip for a while now.
Anyway I signed up for a free trial session at our local Fitness First a couple of weeks ago and I went in on the last weekend for my free trial session. Believe me when I tell you it is hard work! OMG… All my flab muscles were aching and aching… I wanted to leave but then decided to tough it out and pushed on. By the end of it I was sweating like a porker but then thought it is worth it.
So I walked up to the counter and said I wanted to become a member. 30 mins later I was walking out with my membership and starter pack. It couldn’t be any easier. I was totally stoked and sore for the next day. Still sore today but then went in anyway and did my thing.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
There is a classic saying that if you make an assumption for others, you make an ass of yourself.
Some people think because they have a certain status or think they do, they like to assume things for others. They think they know you and know you well. So des ne? Is that so? They think they are floating high in clouds by acting this way but actually they are floating in crap; because they make an ass of themselves.
Things change. People change. Some for the worse and some see the light.
Never assume things. If you are not sure then ask. Simple as pie...
If you're the one making an ass of yourself then pull your head out of the bung hole and get a life!
Monday, July 28, 2008
I've had my Nokia N93 now for about 16 months now. I had originally purchased this phone online without trying it out or even see it physically before purchasing. So I was taking a big chance in buying the phone. I mean it was expensive. At that time of release I had paid something like £480 for the phone. It's a bulky phone but for the features available I knew it was a good investment.
Anyway 3 days into using the phone, when it was plugged in to charge, the battery indicator was showing that it was charging but in fact it wasn't. I had sent it back for a replacement. So I’m on my replacement phone now and it’s all working beautifully. Like the inbuilt optical camera and all.
When I had the phone I try to get every single accessory for it. I went nuts. I had attached the original supplied wrist band to the phone. I would pull on the wrist band to get the phone out of the pocket every time. 2 months after use now. It seems that every time I would pull on the wrist strap it was actually applying force to the clip end of the phone. Eventually it snapped. I was like WTF?! I thought at least the plastics would handle the stress. Ok so I managed to fix it along the way. I’ve tried cement glue etc to stick the pieces back together. Eventually that gave way too so now I'm just using sellotape to cover the end of the phone. Sick and tired of the pieces exposing etc.
Oh the plastic lens cap also tore off after 1 month of use. Not even with heavy usage. I tried to mod the lens cap as well in many ways so I didn't have to buy another lens cap but only lasted for another week.
So great. It has been almost 14 months now since I have had anything done to the phone. Everything was running smoothly until recently when I flick the phone into camera mode and all I see is a black screen. All I see now is a blueish glow at the left bottom corner. Weird I thought, so I flick it into video camera mode and all I see are a series of lines on the screen. Pretty funky actually but hey WTF happened to the optical camera? It still zooms in and out etc but nothing on the screen. I mean I know it has been like 2-3 months since I had used the camera but WTF!
This is a Nokia product after all. Have they suddenly gone cheap when they were producing this phone? From an always Nokia brand supporter I was expecting a quality product and especially from such an expensive phone. I still like the Nokia brand itself but hey it only takes one bad experience to switch to a competitor.
iPhone 3G is on my next phone wish list...
Monday, July 14, 2008
I've just recently had spent 5 weeks in New Zealand and here are my initial thoughts of NZ. So much have changed since I left here just over a year ago. You walk down Queen Street (the main strip in Auckland) and the first thing you noticed is an LV and Gucci shop bang right at the beginning of the street. They look brand spanking new. All glittery and very posh like and the only types of people that go in are the types that have big bucks to spend. Fair enough on that.
The next thing is the ever skyrocketing fuel prices. No thanks to US for causing all the oil barrel price hikes. When I got to Auckland, the fuel for unleaded 91 was roughly NZD$1.80. Just after 5 weeks it was at NZD$2.18. Probably not going to affect the people who drive luxury cars as they could probably afford it but for an average user it was almost $100 for a tank full. Ouch! I remember the days when it was only 77c per litre. Those were the days...
Crime rates have risen to the point where everyone was taking the law into their own hands. What has gone wrong in NZ? Are the government not taking action or is it just coming to their election year and they rather spend more time worrying about their seats in the parliament than about the people? I've heard alot of stories where if you're not hurt, the police will not do anything about it. As in taking reports as well. So if you've had any of your property stolen, the police will not take any action and leave you to be. Does that mean it's a shopping spree for the thieves out there? OMG… that is pathetic!
As for taking action into your own hands?! Now come on… Even as a citizen of that country you do have to respect the law. It is up to the government to take action. We can voice our concerns to them but in the end if they are not going to, either leave or as in the coming election, vote them out! At the end of the day you do have choices.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
No seriously... I've recently have had the pleasure to fly from London to Singapore via Singapore Airline's Airbus A380 and I have to say it is definitely a step up in class for air travel.
Even though I only sat in their economy class, it was still an enjoyable experience. Each economy class seat has their own entertainment system which is standard on all Singapore Airline flights. This is different though. It has an entertainment system that you would basically expect if you were in their business class.
Their entertainment system has a widescreen panel and its feature packed. Endless numbers of movies, tv series, music, games and all are available. One new thing I did noticed is that the ability to plug in your computer via the network port or via the USB interface to review your office documents or even just reviewing your media/picture files. This is wickedly solid!
The seats were comfortable as well. It felt like as if you were sitting in bucket seats. The recliner was just right. Much much better than any other planes I've ever flew on in all classes.
Later I had to transit to New Zealand via their standard 747. Not much to compare to after that. Just left me wanting more A380...
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
On our last day we decided to take things easy. Our flight back to London was late in the afternoon so gives us time to relax and let our legs rest from all the walking we did in the last two days.
We thought we check out Petřín Hill today to climb up the tower as we have pretty much been to most of the sights that we wanted to see in the last few days. We took the funicular up to the hill as it was much quicker than hiking all the way up.
There is a rose garden up there but it wasn’t in the right season so we didn’t catch any roses but one thing we have noticed is that there are tonnes of tulips everywhere in Prague. There is also an observatory there by the rose garden called Štefánik´s Observatory.
Anyway we headed up to the Petřín lookout tower (Petřínská rozhledna). This lookout tower was built in 1891 and it was used as an observation tower as well as a transmission tower. Today it is just a tourist attraction allowing tourist to climb all 299 steps to reach the top of the lookout tower. There is a mid point stop as well so if you’re not up for it you can stop halfway to rest as well as enjoy the view.
After that we ended up walking all the way back down because the ticket we bought only lasted 75 mins. So the funicular operator wouldn’t allow us in to the funicular even though it was out by a few minutes. Ah well it was good to walk among the outdoors anyway.
Just before we were due to leave Prague we stop by a restaurant called Pivovarský dům to have local Czech meal. They brew their own beer as well. I ended up ordering a rabbit dish and their sample beer selection which had about 8 different types of beer they brew.
Types of beer they had:
- Classic Light Lager
- Classic Dar Lager
- Sour Cherry Beer
- Coffee Beer
- Wheat Beer
- Banana Beer
- Nettle Beer
- Special of the month (It was kind of like a stout)
The best one of them all was the classic light lager. The rest of the beers were interesting but weird. I wouldn’t order to drink any of them alone. Sorry…
Well that was Prague. More trips and holidays to come so stay tuned.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
On Day 2 in Prague, we decided to head up to Prague Castle early in the morning to hopefully miss the bus/tram load of other tourists. We decided to take the tram up to the Prague Castle via tram no. 23. That tram had a direct route from Malostranské náměstí direct up to the Prague Castle.
Just abit of history about Prague Castle; Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) was founded around 880 by prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid dynasty. Prague Castle served as the seat of Czech princes and later kings, and the seat of the Prague bishop since the 10th century. The castle experienced one of its greatest periods during the reign of Charles IV (1346-1378) when it became the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor. The Royal Palace was rebuilt, the fortifications were strengthened, and the construction of St. Vitus Cathedral was initiated in 1344 and completed in the 20th century.
When we got to the Prague Castle we bought our tickets and queued up for the St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála sv Vita). By the way, the entrance to the St. Vitus Cathedral is FREE and probably the highlight of the area. Inside the massive cathedral you will find the Chapel of St. Wenceslas (Svatováclavská kaple). The chapel is decorated with semi-precious stones and also holds a 14th century tomb with the saint's holy relics.
Just before viewing St. Wenceslas Chapel though there is a door on the side that you can enter to climb to the top of the cathedral. Just a note that there is only a single staircase to lead you up and down the tower and they don’t have a specific time window for people to go up or down the tower. This was just crazy. I was lugging around a daypack holding a DSLR in hand and a tripod trying to manoeuvre myself down the tower which only had a 1.2 meter width steps with other tourist on the side of the wall. Talk about being careful you don’t fall down or drop the camera! Also note it is a 297 steps climb to the top. But the view up there is just remarkable. It gives you a complete 360 degree view of Prague city. Well worth the climb. Just try to time it to miss the hoard of tourists.
The only other highlight of Prague Castle is the Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička). Golden Lane is a small street made up of 11 historic houses which exhibit medieval armoury and textiles as well as souvenirs for tourist to buy. It was originally called Goldsmith’s Lane (Zlatnicka Ulicka) because of the many goldsmiths’ that was residing there in the days. I thought this was a pretty cool area but you have to buy a ticket to get into this area. This is also where the famous writer Franz Kafka resided in house no. 22.
After visiting Prague Castle we walked down the old Castle Stairs (Zámecké schody) to Zámecká Street. This area is another picturesque area and a romantic location in the evenings just before the sun sets.
From there we walked through the streets of Malá Strana then to Kampa Island which is just off Charles Bridge. There is a park on Kampa Island where you enjoy views of the bridge and across the river and also relax.
Day 3 to follow…
Sunday, May 11, 2008
I've recently been to Prague, the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic; for a long weekend and I have to say it is true what they say. It is definitely one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever visited.
The language was pretty hard for me to understand but thankfully most that I had encountered speaks a little of English and some at least I can interpret from gestures and general direction.
Anyway we were there for 3 days. On map it had looked like we were staying in a hotel which I thought was pretty far away from all the action in Prague but when we got there everything was relatively close by. When I say relatively I meant roughly 10-15 minutes’ walk. There are trams and busses everywhere and they are frequent too.
I’m sure that you’re meant to pay when you get on for the trams and busses but seems like everyone forgets to do just that. The trick was as long as you don’t enter via the front/driver’s entrance then you’re fine. Though if you get caught then be prepared to pay up to 400 Czech Koruna (CZK) for the trip. Keep that as a note for you fellow visitors…
On Day 1, first thing we did was to head up to the Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) and there you’re surrounded by various architectural buildings such as the gothic Týn Cathedral, the baroque St. Nicholas Church and the Astronomical Clock. There were loads of tourist there so we only stayed long enough to visit most of the historic buildings/churches there.
We then walked along cobble stone streets to see the life of Prague. Enough to get bearings of where everything is then we moved onto the picturesque Charles Bridge (Karlův most). Charles Bridge is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltara river in Prague. We didn’t cross the bridge at that stage as it was just jam packed with, you guessed it, tourists! But we did find a little door on the side of the Old Town bridge tower so we climbed up the tower instead.
Lucky as we did because this happens to be where most of the postcard photos are taken of the Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. The view up there was just remarkable. I think we ended up staying up there for a good few hours taking pictures of the castle and its surroundings at different times of the night. There was certainly a lot of people up there and cramp so be prepared to camp a little while if you get up there to get the best spot.
Day 2 to follow in the next post…
Friday, May 09, 2008
What is it like flying these days? I would think it is still the same. You queue up at the check-in counter to check in your luggage and get your boarding pass. You then get to your gate to board the plane. You find your seat, sit back and enjoy the flight to your destination.
Before the plane takes off you’re given specific instructions on airplane safety. It has become pretty standard now that if you have flown enough times you know what to do. You pay attention anyway just in case. You’re also told that no electronic equipment is to be turned on during take off and landing and no use of mobile phones or radio control equipment is to be used. It’s documented in the airplane safety document anyway. So what has changed?
Well in the last few years in my experience I have noticed people would have their mobile phones turned on and switched to silent mode. Some even don’t bother changing their setting and sometimes they would get a phone call when the airplane is just about to land only to be asked if they have arrived.
Another case is that when the airplane lands before the seat buckle sign is switched off, everyone would unbuckle and then proceed to get their cabin luggage while the plane is still in transit to the terminal itself.
This is pretty p**s poor if you tell me. In the old days you would get a fine of $2000 for having your phones turned on or get a fine for not obeying flight regulations and safety. Or get pulled aside when you get to the terminal so you can be grilled by security.
So what is up with the major and minor airlines these days? Are they not worried about getting reported or not concerned about the general safety of their passengers? Or for the passengers, what is the rush?! Can you not wait a few minutes for the airplane to get to the terminal before you get your cabin luggage from the overhead locker? You still have to wait for your check-in luggage!
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I can't believe it… The weather has been great this week. At the moment it is 24 degrees Celsius or 75 degrees Fahrenheit and its only spring! But it feels like summer now. It is going to be like this for the rest of the week. Nice and barmy. This is a first for me since been in London.
There is a nice cool easterly that’s coming across London so at least it is not super hot. But if you’re indoors working (like me!) it’s like an oven in here. Don’t think my boss will pass me coming in casual clothing with shorts and sandals.
This weather reminds me of summer time back in New Zealand where you’d have a barbeque in your back or front yard along with your mates sipping on some ice cold beer. Ahhh… Good times…
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