Something that always puzzled me during Chinese New Year is the tradition of exchanging mandarin oranges or Kum. According to tradition, the word Kum sounds like gold in Cantonese. That’s why it is considered auspicious to exchange kum during Chinese New Year. But have you ever wonder, why must it be Kum?
Pineapple also have a very auspicious name. Pineapple is called “Ong Lai” in Hokkien which mean something like “Luck come”. OK, it might be difficult to bring 2 pineapple around when doing house visiting. How about dumplings? Dumpling is called “Zhong” in mandarin which sounds like “win”. To make it sound even more auspicious, you can pair a dumpling together with a bun. Bun is call “Bao” in mandarin which means “Guarantee”. Giving a bun and a dumpling is like wishing someone sure win Toto/4D/Big Sweep. I’m sure everyone want to sure win when they place their bet. So why are we just exchanging Kum and not other auspicious items during Chinese New Year?
I suspect it might be a good marketing campaign by mandarin oranges farmers many years ago. How else could you make so many people buy mandarin oranges in large volume during Chinese New Year period? But I’m not complaining here. I’m just glad that the pineapple farmers didn’t engage the same marketing agency that the mandarin orange farmers hired. Imagine having to bring 2 pineapples around when you go house visiting.
Speaking of mandarin oranges, I think my family might be the largest purchaser of mandarin oranges each year. My dad usually buy around 70 to 80 mandarin oranges each year. Don’t ask me why he need to buy so many. It’s a complicated story.

And in case you are wondering, that is the free trolley that comes with every printer you buy during PC show. We kept it in the storeroom and use it once every year for this purpose.
OK, back to my last minute area cleaning aka Spring Cleaning. Wish everybody 新年快乐!!! 恭喜发财!!! HUAT AHHHHH!!!!!

I was invited to check out the Sentosa Lights of Spring last night. The Lights of Spring will replace the annual Sentosa Flowers show. The event will take place at Imbiah Lookout and the Merlion Walk from Chinese New Year Eve onwards. Both venues will be transformed into an enchanted land filled with a medley of colours and brilliant fairy lights with light sculptures and displays.

There are also light sculptures of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals. Each Zodiac character has been hand-crafted from rattan and wire mesh, and interwoven with fairy lights. The 12 Chinese Zodiac animals can be found at the Images of Singapore forecourt and the Merlion Plaza. Stilt-walkers dressed as the God of Fortune, Rainbow Walker and Cupid will be there to wish you a Happy Chinese New Year too.

Another interesting display is the bell of prosperity. Floral bouquets with bells hanging on trees symbolize Prosperity, Abundance and Good Fortune. Visitors can pull the bell cord and make their New Year wish. My wish is simple: “HUAT AH!” Haha.

There is also a light and sound show featuring a cinematic display of shapes, images and colours on the façade of the iconic Merlion. The lightshow will take place at 7:45pm, 8:30pm, 9:15pm, 10pm and 10:15pm every night and can be best viewed at the Merlion Plaza.

The Sentosa Lights of Spring will be on display from 13 to 21 February 2010, 7pm to 10:30pm at Imbiah Lookout and Merlion Walk, Sentosa. Event admission is free. (Island admission payable separately)

PS: The monkey on the left is not on display.

We mentioned this several times on 65bits. But for the sake of being a nag (and also those who didn’t listen to 65bits), I’m going to repeat this again. Stop using Internet Explorer 6!
In case you don’t know, IE6 was released in 2001. That’s 9 years ago. Internet has changed a lot since 2001. Cyber criminals have become smarter. What used to be a rather secure internet browser is no longer secure anymore. The most recent incident is the cyber attack on google and 20 other US companies. If company as big as Google can be attacked using security vulnerability found on IE6, what makes you think your company/home is safe to use IE6? And trust me, this is not the last time a vulnerability is found on IE6. There will be more.
Several major websites has already stopped supporting IE6. Google will stop supporting IE6 from March 2010 onwards. More sites will follow soon. It’s just too much hassle for developer to make sure their website support IE6.
Some Government agencies like Germany has advised their citizen to stop using IE6 because of the security issue. I wonder why IDA hasn’t issued statement to ask Singaporeans to stop using IE6.
In fact, from what I understand, some Singapore Government agencies are still using IE6 because of legacy systems. I don’t know about you. I definitely don’t feel safe when my Government is still using IE6. They have too much sensitive data. I hope IDA do something about this quickly before something happens.
If your company is still using IE6, please talk to your IT manager/director about it. Try to convince them that the company need to get off IE6 soon. It’s better to spend money now to upgrade those legacy software than lose important data to hackers.
As of January 2010, estimates of IE6’s global market share ranged from 11-20%. That is a shocking high number for a Internet browser that is 9 year old. It’s time everyone stop using IE6 already. For the sake of security, switch to a newer browser. They are all free and easy to install. I personally like Chrome browser. Firefox is also not bad. If you like Internet Explorer’s look and feel, why not switch to IE8 instead? Or any browser but IE6.
Come, let’s unite together and kill IE6. IE6 must die. Even Microsoft is advising everyone to upgrade their IE.

Managed to steal the Lenovo Thinkpad X200T from Nicole for a couple of hours while she is away. This will just be a short first look. More detailed review when I get my hands on the review unit. This is actually not the first time I’ve seen the X200T. Lenovo been showing off this beautiful half laptop, half Tablet device for quite some time already. But this is the first time I get to use it for a couple of hours without any interruptions.

Like all Thinkpad, the X200T is very sturdy. The classic metal hinge is gone because this is a tablet. But the rotating joint that connects the screen to the rest of the laptop is very sturdy. But I won’t recommend that you hold the laptop by the screen like you usually would on a Thinkpad. Keyboard is the same as the classic Thinkpad keyboard. Which means very comfortable and nice to type with. And if you have been reading my past reviews, you will know that I simply love the Thinkpad’s keyboard. The X200T, like all X series Thinkpad, does not have a touchpad. You will need to learn how to use the Trackpoint (Which, in my opinion, is the best way to control the mouse pointer on a laptop).

OK, I know you guys are more interested in the Tablet mode. So to summarize, the X200T in laptop mode is just like any other Lenovo Thinkpad.

I personally think that Lenovo did a good job with the Tablet implementation. The screen has a special coating which makes it great for touch. It doesn’t attract much fingerprints. You can use multi-touch gestures like pinch to zoom. To page up or down a website/document, simply flick up or down.

The battery protrude out a little so that you can have better grip of the device when in Tablet mode. There are several shortcut buttons like rotate screen and lock on the side so that you can use it when in Tablet mode. The fingerprint scanner and power on button can also be accessed when in Tablet mode, which means you can leave the X200T in tablet mode forever. Lenovo added a hold on the power on button so that you won’t accidentally power on/off the device.
Lenovo added a program call SimpleTap which I really love. SimpleTap can be activated via the red dot on the side of the screen. Once inside SimpleTap, you get quick access to controls like Volume, Brightness, Wireless on/off etc. You can further customise SimpleTap to include shortcuts to your application or even bookmarks to websites. The only problem is that the SimpleTap’s red dot is a little too big and I have a problem deciding which corner of the screen should I place it. I hope in future model, Lenovo would consider a physical shortcut button on the side to access SimpleTap.

The tablet mode is pretty good for browsing the net or reading documents. But if you want to do text editing, I would suggest that you use the physical keyboard. The onboard keyboard still isn’t something you would want to use for typing long emails. The X200T comes with a stylus for those who want to use handwriting as input. I’ve seen people do fast text entry with stylus. But for me, I can never get used to writing on a tablet.

The only problem with the X200T is the Operating System. Even though Windows 7 is customised for Touchscreen, I must say that it’s still not very friendly enough for touchscreen. It’s hard to use the scrollbar at the side of the screen. Microsoft should allow users to scroll up/down just by dragging up and down on any part of the website/document just like what we do on a touchscreen phone. If you really must force users to use the side scrollbar, the least you could do is increase the side of the scrollbar.

As a whole, Lenovo did a good job with the Tablet implementation. User interface on the Tablet mode needs to be improved. But this problem is with all PC tablet unless Microsoft do something about it. If you can’t decide on whether to get a Laptop or a Tablet, perhaps Lenovo X200T would be a good option.

Dell/Alienware launched the Alienware M11x last week in Singapore. I’m not a gamer personally, but a number my gamers friends are excited about this device.

The M11x is a 11.6 inch laptop with graphics power of a 15 inch laptop. It has a 1GB NVIDIA (GeForce) GT335M graphics card. Comes with 2GB RAM which you can pump up to 8GB. I was kinda surprised that Alienware choose to use a 1.3Ghz Intel Core2 Duo SU7300 processor instead of a Core i7. But although it is using a lower power chip, the performance wasn’t compromised. And it managed to push the price of the M11x to a very attractive level.

The M11x comes with HDMI, VGA, Firewire and 3 USB ports. The M11x weighs around 1.99kg. That’s rather heavy for a 11.6 inch laptop. But with this kind of performance, you won’t mind the extra weight. Oh, did I say that the M11x has a 8.5 hours battery life according to specs? Maybe that’s where the extra weight goes. Pretty good for long flights, if you can find enough space to use a mouse.

Like all Alienware laptop, the M11x is very beautifully designed. Alienware put in lots of effort in the branding and design. The design is so cool that every gamer wants to have one. I personally love the backlit keyboard. It doesn’t matter if I cannot make it at first person shootout games and didn’t manage to frag anyone. At least I play in style. 🙂

The Alienware M11x is now available in Dell online store from S$$1,699. That, I think, is perhaps the cheapest Alienware PC you can find. Will do a review if I managed to get my hands on it.