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Friday, August 29, 2008

Cha Cha Moon

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.

Taro Cake @ Cha Cha Moon

Singapore Char Kway Teow @ Cha Cha Moon

Cha Cha Mooli @ Cha Cha Moon

Crispy Dusk Lao Mian @ Cha Cha Moon

Char Siu Mian @ Cha Cha Moon

Taiwan Beef Noodle @ Cha Cha Moon

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Microsoft Photosynth

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

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

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.

Soviet Union
- 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.

Allies
- 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!

Need For Speed: Undercover

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

Star Wars invade San Francisco?

Using Photographs to Enhance Videos


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

Playstation 3: The new SKU + PlayTV

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.

Features includes:-
- 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

Beijing Olympics Lip-Synching?!

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!

Yang Peiyi (L) provided the voice, but it was Lin Miaoke's face the world saw.

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.

Just pathetic!

Beijing Olympics Faked Footprints?!

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!

Cheeky b*****ds.

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.

Who knows…

Friday, August 08, 2008

Beijing Summer Olympic 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.

Official coverage:
- China & Macau: CCTV website
- UK users: BBC website
- US users: NBC website
- New Zealand users: TVNZ website
- Australia users: Yahoo!7 website

Non-official coverage:
- ItsGameTime
- Watch Olympics
- Justin.tv
- Macedonian TV

And here are the 50 Most Beautiful Women of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Bad reception?

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)

Good ol' Gym

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.