Friday, July 31, 2009

Ferrari 458 Italia

The brand new Ferrari 458 Italia, successor to the Ferrari F430! Set to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Ferrari 458 Italia sports a new direct-injected, mid-rear mounted 4.5-liter V8 good for 570hp, a 0-62 time of 3.4 seconds, and a top speed of 202 mph, a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, a breathtaking new Pininfarina body with a compact, aerodynamic shape and terrific curves, 20-inch wheels, and more. Ahhhh... Simply stunning...

Check out the car directly on Ferrari's website.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tron Legacy trailer

The new Tron Legacy trailer is smoking!!! Check it out below. Can't wait to watch it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

iPhone App Review: KENKEN

This is my new favourite game at the moment. I've just finished playing Let's Golf, which is PSP's Everybody's Golf clone for the AppStore. Great game if you're into those styles of golfing games.

Anyway Capcom's KENKEN game. At first I thought what? Did they spell the game wrong instead of Can Can? I don't know but after downloading it, it took literally a few minutes to get hooked into it. It's a puzzle game similar to sudoku but instead of entering numbers in a 9x9 grid or whatever you're used to in sudoku games, in KenKen there are multi grids within the main grid and in each grid there may be multiplications, divisions, additions, subtractions. Sounds simple right? Wait to you try it that's for sure. After playing this for the last day or so I'm only up to the Amateur level from Apprentice.

It is really addictive and I recommend you to try it out!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cancer Fear Of Calorie-Laden Iced Coffees

Calorie-laden iced coffee drinks are putting people at increased risk of obesity and cancer, an expert has warned. Most iced coffee drinks contained over 200 calories. Women could be consuming more than a quarter of their daily calories with just one drink.

Dr Rachel Thompson, science programme manager for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), analysed the calories at three leading high street chains: Starbucks, Caffe Nero and Costa Coffee.

In her findings most iced coffee drinks contained over 200 calories, with some measuring in at around 450. A Starbucks venti dark berry mocha frappuccino blended coffee with whipped cream has the highest number of calories at 561.

Sky News Online took the streets of London to see whether consumers were aware of the number of calories in the drinks.

In their studies, one person who used to work in Starbucks, guessed a Caffe Nero double chocolate frappe had a huge 1,000 calories; more than twice the actual figure of 483.

"You have no idea what is really in the powder that makes up these drinks," she explained. "I used to wonder what it was. I wouldn't drink it knowing there's that much in there."

Another guessed 1,000 calories; although he conceded he didn't have any idea what his daily allowance was. "It's terrible to think it's that much but I would probably still drink it," he said. The lowest guess was as little as 150 calories; just a third of the true sum.

And for Rebecca, being told about the high calorie count was a shock. "It's lethal! I don't want it now," she told Sky News Online. "I know there's a lot of fat in them too."

Dr Thompson said: "The fact that there is an iced coffee on the market with over a quarter of a woman's daily calorie allowance is alarming.

"This is the amount of calories you might expect to have in an evening meal, not in a drink. Having these type of drinks as an occasional treat is unlikely to do you any harm. But if you are having them regularly then they will increase the chances of you becoming overweight which, in turn, increases your risk of developing cancer as well as other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes."

The recommended calorie intake for women is around 2,000 a day and 2,500 for men.

Venti dark berry mocha with whipped cream 561
Venti dark berry mocha without whipped cream 457
Tall dark berry mocha with without whipped cream 288
Venti iced coffee 5
Tall iced coffee 3

Caffe Nero
Double chocolate frappe 483
Mocha frappe latte 483
Mocha frappe latte with skimmed milk 452
Framme latte with skimmed milk 277
Iced latte 117

Costa Coffee
Massimo iced mocha 361
Massimo coffee frescato 332
Primo coffee frescato 199
Primo iced mint latte 167
Primo iced mocha 152

Hamley's toys store in London has revealed which toys they expect to be among the most popular this Christmas

Hamley's toys store in London has revealed which toys they expect to be among the most popular this Christmas. It includes a £1,500 model Lamborghini Murcielago LP640, encrusted with more than 7,600 Swarovski crystals. Impressive.

Don't know who they are trying to kid with this one. Who in the right mind would pay that much for a model car?

A Rubiks 360 which is the latest puzzle made by the same company that brought us the Rubiks Cube, which is still one of the most popular toys after 30 years.

One of the other is the Generation of Dreams Doll, the Barbie which has been launched to celebrate 50 years of the much-loved toy. But I'm not too sure about this one though. From the looks of the picture it looks like the guy is enjoying the new Barbie doll abit too much and abit disturbing as well.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Madrid, Spain: Day 4 and 5

Today we woke up abit late. LOL... decided to take things easy as we’ve been to most of the sights. We headed out just before lunch time to go to Plaza De Castilla where Torres KIO and the Jose Calvo Sotelo monument can be found. Torres KIO (Kuwait Investments Office) is also known as the Gate of Europe which are the two towers that are leaning to each other. After a couple of snaps taken we then went to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is the football stadium in Madrid that is home to the Real Madrid team. We went there expecting to go for a tour of the stadium but instead was greeted by thousands of Real Madrid fans or even Cristiano Ronaldo fan for that matter as it was the same day that Cristiano Ronaldo was being presented for the first time since the transfer from Manchester United. Entrance to the presentation was free but with thousands of fans already queuing to see their new hero we decided to go elsewhere to relax abit. Though if we were to have waited long enough we probably would have seen him too but since the presentation would only last for 30mins we didn’t want to get caught up with the storm of crowds later on when we get back on the metro.

We then went back to Palacio Real (The Royal Palace of Madrid) to go in for a tour of the palace as the first time we went there, we were on our way to the catch the bus to the Monastery and Site of Escurial and Valle de los Caídos tour and we didn’t have time to queue to go in. Around the exterior grounds of the palace you can freely take photos but once you’re inside there are no photography allowed.

There were a lot of security guards everywhere so there was no chance of sneaking a few pictures without the pictures being too blurry. I didn’t bother by then. Just packed up my camera gear and lock it in a locker that they provide. After that we headed to Parque del Retiro to enjoy the rest of the day.

From there we headed back to Plaza Mayor where we settled down for dinner and then back to the hotel to call it a day.

The next and final day in Madrid, we went to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía but it was closed on the Tuesday. The Reina Sofia is Madrid’s world famous modern art gallery. It houses many works by Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Guernica masterpieces. We really wanted to see it but just happen to go on the wrong day. Should have gone the day before when it was OPEN but sigh... You can’t do anything about it now.

So the rest of the day we just headed back to Plaza Mayor to have brunch and chill out. Then head back to the airport via the metro. Again being abit extra careful with our bags while on the train. We were definitely looking forward to be going home.

For a map of the sights that we had checked out in Madrid you can see them here via Google Maps.

So now plan for our next trip and hopefully have a better experience than in Spain.

Madrid/Seville, Spain: Day 3 of 5

Today we headed out to Seville for a day trip. Also abit brave today decided to take the DSLR along for the ride. What can go wrong right? Still haven’t learnt my lesson... This time round I packed all of my belongings in the camera bag. The camera bag that I’m using is the Lowepro Primus AW bag. All compartments are either opened from the side (for the camera) or from the back of the bag which is good in a way that it is abit more secure than conventional bags. So I had tucked the iPhone in there as well as this is the first time that I’m trialling the Trails app to record my GPS positions internationally.

We took a taxi out to the train station (Atocha Renfe) then caught the high-speed AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) train there to Seville. The journey itself was roughly 2hr 30m and it was very comfortable with air-conditioning and also they provided headphones to listen to their onboard music or movie that they were showing. The cost of the ticket itself worked out to be cheaper if you buy the InterRail Single Country pass for 3 days than to buy a single return journey for Seville itself. Well that is if you’re an EU resident that is anyway.

Upon arrival, we walked from the Santa Justa Train Station to central Seville. Only took 15-20 mins to walk which would have been ok if it wasn’t such a scorching hot day. Anyway we got into the central part and again were presented with a lot of beautiful architecture. We had arrived quite early so tourist traffic were kept to the minimum and were able to enjoy what Seville had to offer.

There was a lot to see or that we had planned to see anyway. The few main sights that we wanted to check out were the Catedral de Sevilla & Giralda Tower, Alcázar of Seville (Royal Palace), and Torre del Oro (Golden Tower). There were a few other sights along the way but they were very much optional and that you will bump into them when you go to your main destinations anyway. If you want to check out all of the other sights that I had mapped you can check them out here via Google Maps.

One thing is for sure is that Seville is actually a very small town and it feels like that anyway. Within the day you can definitely see all the sights as everything is within walking distance, though it is probably not a good idea on such a hot day (close to 40°C). Hot!

As it was such a hot day we couldn’t help but getting a few of the local Granizado De Limon (crushed-ice lemon) drinks to quench the thirst. We loved it so much that through out the rest of the trip we always made sure we had at least 2-3 during the day to cool us down. LOL... You can get the recipe here.

We had dinner at a local restaurant before we ventured back to the train station to head back to Madrid. Have to say that today it was actually ok. No one tried to steal or pickpocket from us today which is always a plus.

Note that the pictures are on the way. There are still abit of processing to do... Sigh...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Madrid, Spain: Day 2 of 5

From this point, everything just wasn’t the same. Not as enjoyable as you would like as tourists in a foreign city/country. Instead of packing the DSLR, I decided to leave it in the hotel room; trying to keep a lower profile than the first day. So instead took the portable IXUS camera out. Normally would carry two cameras during our travels; One DSLR and one portable for my wife to use while travelling. :p

Instead of taking the metro this time round, we decided to take the taxi to the famous plaza, the Puerta del Sol (Spanish for “Gate of the Sun”). When we got there it was all in under construction. You just cringe whenever you go travelling after researching all the sights etc., once you get there it is all covered up by construction. ARGH!!!!! What else to do apart from checking out the side streets and head to the next point of interest, the central plaza in the city of Madrid, Plaza Mayor.

The Plaza Mayor itself is a pretty amazing square. It is surrounded by three-story residential buildings having almost 240 balconies facing the Plaza. No I didn’t stand there and count. Google or Bing it to find out. :) The Casa de la Panadería, serving municipal and cultural functions, dominates the Plaza Mayor.

After taking some snaps at the Plaza Mayor, we wandered around to find where the best places are to have a meal, which is really literally around the corner of the square. Unfortunately once we got there, the restaurants were all closed as it was too early in the noon so we walked up to the Mercado de San Miguel (San Miguel Old Market) where we sat down and had our lunch. The Mercado de San Miguel is one of the oldest covered markets in Madrid and it was bustling with all sorts of stalls selling freshly made tapas, freshly caught oysters which was fantastic btw, jamón (dry-cured Spanish ham) *slurp slurp*, fruits, bars selling cocktails, champagne, and butchers selling all sorts of meats. Basically selling all sorts as you would expect from any market but this one is abit more up-market. It had an air conditioning system for one so that for the hot summer days like the day I visited it was just perfect. Just sit inside having some giant raw oysters, some seafood tapas and an ice cold drink to wash it all down. AHHHHHH…

The market itself is just over one hundred years old (it was inaugurated in 1916) and has gained a new appearance through the recent renovation, but you can still recognise the metal structure of its original construction. Overall was an experience...

After lunch we headed to the Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid). Along the way we saw Plaza de la Villa also Casa de la Villa which is the seat of the Municipal Council of the City of Madrid and the Almudena Cathedral (Santa María la Real de La Almudena) which is a Catholic cathedral in Madrid. Once you get to the Royal Palace you’re surrounded by a few other sights as well such as the Plaza de Oriente, the Royal Theater (Teatro Real), a few other small parks named Jardines del Cabo Noval, Jardines Lepanto, Jardines de Sabatini and also a 20 hectare large park Campo del Moro (Field of the Moor) which is the Royal Gardens.

After slurping down a cupful of Häagen-Dazs’ Mango Passion fruit slurpie to cool down from the smouldering temperature we headed to Plaza de España to meet up with the tour group to go to the Monastery and Site of Escorial and Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen).

The Monastery and Site of Escorial is a historical residence of the king of Spain. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and school. The Valley of the Fallen is a monumental Nationalist memorial in the municipality of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, erected at Cuelgamuros Valley in the Sierra de Guadarrama. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. WOOT!!! The tour itself cost 50€ per person and luckily the tour guide spoke English. Although it was a small group (7 in total excluding the tour guide) in the big 40+ seats tour bus, it was still relatively quick. The tour itself was roughly just a little over 3 hours including the travelling time between the sites and Madrid (45m-1h each way). If you have a car then I would recommend going yourself instead of joining a tour then at least you are not constraint by time and free to roam wherever plus the savings of 50€ per person. You can always hire an audio guide once you get to those sites.

After the tour ended we were dropped off at Plaza de España where we walked towards the streets of Gran Via and back down to Plaza Mayor to the restaurants where we had stopped over earlier in the day to have dinner then headed back to the hotel to rest via the metro.

Overall the day itself was eventful with lots of sights to see. Nothing got stolen today which is always a plus. Anyway if you want to check out the photos taken, they’re not ready yet. Still have to process them so hopefully should be up by end of the week. So do check back as I’ll update with the rest of the trip to Madrid.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

SingStar Michael Jackson

With the death of Michael Jackson, the media has gone all crazy following every single bit of news that mentions Michael Jackson.

An idea came to mind while I was waiting for my flight in Madrid when I walked into a store that was showing MJ’s memorial service on the TV... Now that SingStar PlayStation is releasing releases with specific mega bands or groups, would SCE London Studio (the group behind the SingStar series) and the Jackson family contemplate releasing a Michael Jackson’s version of SingStar?

Think about it... Even with all the controversies surrounding him while he was alive, he still had a gazillion of fans out there and now that is dead, in my opinion his fan-base has grown bigger. Everybody just wants to buy anything that’s Michael Jackson. He is a legend just like Elvis, ABBA, Queen. Not being disrespectful in any comparison but his records and memorabilia is just going to sell like hotcakes.

So I think it is a fantastic idea for Sony if they decide to release SingStar Michael Jackson. So Sony... Any time frame? Heck, I might even get it.

Madrid, Spain: Day 1 of 5

I’ve recently just been back from a holiday in Madrid, Spain and in summary had a mixed bag experience. Before going to Madrid I’ve heard that it’s a beautiful place with loads of culture, great food and overall great place to go to for a holiday. So after some careful planning I decided to take a 5 day trip to see the sights and as well as plan to take a day trip to Seville.

When I got there I didn’t think the weather would be a problem but as soon as I stepped outside the airport it was very very hot! I think it was peaking around 38 °C for the entire time that I was there. Maybe even higher… I was literally perspiring the minute I walked out of the metro station and while walking around always felt parched.

Anyway on the first day there while commuting on the Metro I had two incidents. First one was a failed pick-pocketing attempt. I was being targeted by pick-pocketers when I got to the Metro station. It all happened when I got into the train when basically got cornered and being pushed around. Luckily someone yelled and they stopped. This is the first time it has ever happened in my travels so was abit concerned about it. So then I got off at the next stop noticing they got off as well so just ran for it and got away. Went for dinner and was still shaken up by it. After dinner decided to head back to the hotel to have an early night and try to forget about the incident but then again when I got into the Metro, without even noticing was again targeted by pick-pockets.

This time round I was targeted by a family. Needless to say it didn’t even occur to me that a family would all come out together to target tourists like me. It all happened so quick that again I was being pushed to a corner. I didn’t notice it because the train was actually quite full. But yeah it all happened within 1 stop and when I got out at my destination, hand went into the pocket then only discovered wallet has been stolen. Not a very good experience considering it happened twice in a day and as well as losing the money and cards that I had. The only thing is that I do feel sorry for the family that had to go down to this level to survive. In this economic climate it is hard for everyone, but there are many ways of staying afloat rather than descending to this level.

Now I’m having all the hassles of filing a claim with insurances and all that and it is just a real big pain in the end where the sun don’t shine!

My tip is if you are heading to Madrid and are commuting via public transports, always keep your daypack/backpack in front of you. That is a given. If you have a secured area in your bag, I would keep all your important belongings there, including your wallet. Having a multi layer protection will just make it harder for the pick-pocketers if they slash your bag. As well as however inconvenient it is for you to always open your bag to get money etc, it will also make it inconvenient for them.

Also another thing, when you goto the police station to get a police report, they won't help you catch the people responsible. When I was there they were so slack and unhelpful. Told me to go into a telephone booth to give my statement and that was it. Was told to sign the statements (which was in Spanish!) and was not given any translations so you don't know exactly what you're signing. The police basically don't care because it seems that this type of incidents are a normal part of local lives and so they just give you your statement and tell you to be on your way. What is the point of having a law enforcing system when the people who runs them don't bother?! Reminds me of the Malaysian police system. You just have to pay them a small sum to get things done.

Anyway this is day 1 of my trip to Madrid, Spain. Stay tuned for the rest of my trip when I can find something good to blog about.