Archive for December 2009

Auld Lang Syne

I always spend the last day of the year looking back at the things I’ve done for the year. Today is no exception. And it’s easy to recall what you have done when you have a blog, although these days I seldom blog about personal stuff here. Still, from the way I blog, I can remember roughly what was happening during that period.

It’s amazing how 2009 flew pass so quickly. It doesn’t feel like 365 days at all. Somehow, I felt that the days are passing faster and faster. Is there some sort of inflation going on? It felt like 2008 was just a couple of month back. And here we are, at the last day of the year, counting down to a new year and singing “Auld Lang Syne”. Looking back, I regretted not taking some actions in 2009. Will not let it happen again.

Come to think of it, last New Year Eve was the worst New Year Eve ever in my life. Perhaps it might be a jinx for the rest of the year if you had a bad New Year Eve. Which is why I swear that I’m never ever going to go thru that kind of New Year Eve again. New Year Eve should be spend celebrating, not infront of a computer explaining yourself.

Even if you are alone, a glass of wine is a great companion for celebrating.

It has become a tradition for me to post this song on my last blog entry of the year. Auld Lang Syne is a song usually sang after the New Year countdown. Honestly, I don’t really like this version by Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis when I first heard it. But my impression of this version changed after watching the Sex And The City movie. Perhaps it’s the movie that changed the meaning to this song for me.

Enjoy the last few hours of 2009. Happy New Year and may 2010 be a good year for you.

Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis – Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
For of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for of auld lang syne.
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup !
And surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for of auld lang syne.
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for of auld lang syne.
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for of auld lang syne.
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Best of 2009

It’s the end of the year. I guess after playing and reviewing with so much gadget, I should come out with a list gadgets that I think are the best of 2009.

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Best Notebook: Lenovo Thinkpad T400s
A slim and lightweight 14.1inch laptop. You can run a 26,000 pounds vehicle over it and the harddisk is still intact. Need I say more?

Best Netbook: Lenovo S10-2 & Samsung N310
I can’t decide which netbook is better. Both netbooks have good looks and keyboard. S10-2 has a quickstart function that I love. N310 has a super long battery life. So I guess it would be a tie for this.

Best Smartphone: HTC Hero
I’m considering either iPhone 3GS of HTC Hero. But the iPhone 3GS didn’t have much improvements over the iPhone 3G (which would have been my 2008’s Best Smartphone). So I guess HTC Hero deserves this place better. Strange, notice that I didn’t do a review on this phone even though I’ve been playing with it for quite some time.

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Best Unlimited Music Download Service: Nokia Comes With Music
2009 is an interesting year where we saw 3 unlimited music download services hit the shores of Singapore. (Nokia Comes With Music, Sony Ericsson PlayNow Plus and Singtel AMPed) And Nokia Comes With Music is a clear winner among the 3 for it’s large catalog and audio quality.

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Best Local Gadget: X-Mini 2 Capsule Speaker
Hard to believe that these little speakers are actually designed by a Singapore company. They may be small, but they sure produce great sound. It is so good that I bought 2 of them myself after reviewing it. Loving it.

OK, that’s all for my Best of 2009 list. Let’s pray that 2010 will have more amazing gadgets. Cheers!

Beware of imitations when buying the capsule speaker

One of my favorite gadget that I’ve reviewed this year is the X-Mini 2 Capsule Speaker. They are small, yet ultra powerful. You got to try one yourself to believe it.

The only problem with the X-Mini 2 Capsule Speakers is that there are lots of imitations out there. And I notice that shops in Funan and Sim Lim like to put the original X-Mini 2 Capsule Speakers together with the imitations. I’ve listened to the sound quality of the imitations. None of them come anywhere close to the sound quality produced by the X-Mini 2. Which is why whenever someone told me they are looking for the X-Mini 2 capsule speakers, I always tell them to beware of imitation. The original X-Mini 2 Capsule Speaker comes in this packaging.

The packaging for the X-Mini Max 2 Capsule Speakers is also similar to this. So remember, if you are buying the Capsule Speakers, get the original. There is a huge difference in the sound quality.

PS: I just bought 2 X-Mini 2 Capsule Speakers for myself. Lovin it. :)

Review: Nokia E52

On a quick glance, the Nokia E52 looks somewhat similar to the successful E51 that it is replacing. There isn’t much changes except adding a few more feature. Well, I guess there isn’t much improvement that Nokia can do to a near perfect phone.

The E52 is a candy bar phone. Most candy bar phone out there in the market are feature phone (aka dumb phone). But the E52 is nowhere dumb. It runs on Symbian OS. It comes with a 2.4 inch QVGA screen that is non-touchscreen. But trust me, Symbian is good with non-touchscreen. The E52 weighs 98g and is 11.6 x 4.9 x 0.99 cm. I like the form factor, feels good in the hands. 60mb of internal memory and a 1GB microSD card in the retail box. 3.5mm audio jack and a MicroUSB port for charging and data transfer. Like most smartphone, the E52 comes with WIFI, Bluetooth, A-GPS and digital compass. Yeap, digital compass on a candy bar phone. Isn’t that great? The only disappointment is the 3.2 megapixel (No Auto Focus) camera. What was Nokia thinking? They almost created the perfect candy bar phone. ALMOST. Argh.

The Nokia E52 comes with support for Exchange and Lotus Notes. If that is not enough, you also have support for Nokia Messaging Service. The only problem is not many people will want to type long email on a number pad. If you are into typing long email on your phone, I would suggest something with a Qwerty keyboard like the E72 (Which I will review soon). The E52 would be more useful for viewing emails and typing short replies.

Nokia gave the E52 a slightly different look compared to the E51. But I don’t know if it is my “resistant to change mentality”, but I still prefer the look of the E51. But I guess beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. The 4 shortcut buttons are arranged differently on the E52. I kinda like this new arrangement. The new arrangement makes it less likely to press the wrong buttons. The 5-way navigational keypad is pretty good for navigation. I wish Nokia would consider adding an Optical navi key in the next model.

From what I understand, there isn’t a non-camera edition for the E52 unlike E51. I feel the pain for the NS guys. When I went for my last reservist, I was fortunate to have the E51 to keep me company. It would be good if Nokia release a non-camera edition for E52. It would be a big hit among the NS guys. Imagine having a phone with A-GPS and digital compass during your next reservist. Install Google Maps with Latitude and you have the best command and control device in your pocket. Wahahahaha.

As a whole, I quite like the Nokia E52. Nokia did a good job in fine tuning the successful E51. It’s a very good candy bar phone. Perhaps the most advanced candy bar phone in the market now. If you are a huge fan of candy bar form factor, this phone is your best choice.

In short:
One of the best candy bar phone money can buy

Likes:
A-GPS with Digital compass
MicroUSB and 3.5mm audio jack
Support for Exchange and Lotus notes

Dislikes:
Camera no auto focus

Hacking the wall in Hackerspace

There was a false wall at Hackerspace Singapore in the main working area. The guys wanted to remove it so that there is more working space. They were considering hiring professional help. But I knew it’s not going to come cheap.

I’ve hired someone to knock down a false wall which was at least 3 times larger for my previous office. The guys told me that they aren’t making much profit from it. But they took up the job because my dad knew them. Basically, most of the cost go to the workers’ salary. There isn’t much skill or equipments involved. So I guess it would cost the same if we got their help. And honestly, it’s not worth paying that amount for that small wall.

So I suggested that I knock down the wall myself since I’ve seen how they do it and roughly know how to do it. Initially, there were lots of concerns like what if the wall is nailed firmly onto the ground etc etc. But you’ll never know until you try. So, in true Hackerspace spirit, I just went ahead and it. Besides, there are so many experts here in Hackerspace. If something really go wrong, just crowd source the solution.

I was lucky that there isn’t a need to get extra help. The false wall, as I predicted, is mostly hollow and pretty easy to tear down. And the only tool that I need was a hammer.

The knocking down of the false wall is easy. The tough part was the cleaning up. Luckily I got the help of several members. And within hours, the wall is no more.

That was fun. Too bad there isn’t anymore false walls in Hackerspace Singapore for me to knock down.