Monthly Archive for December, 2005

Blogger Elia Diodati visits Buffalo

Travelling Buffalo @ 29th Dec 2005

After yesterday’s post-Christmas dinner with our American colleagues and finalizing of the Tomorrow widget, I totally forgot to write about the visit of our mysterious friend, Elia Diodati. This is the second time we’ve caught up since my recorded interview with him during our New York City trip on the 4th of July.

Penny and I picked Elia up on a wet Thursday night at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and whisked him to our humble home (which he describes in detail). Here’s a quick summary of what we did on today (Friday) in Buffalo…

11.30am
Thanks to a strange sleepless night, I awoke late, much to our guest’s wonder. In a flash, I washed up and took him to our first stop: The University at Buffalo. I showed him the modern libraries at North campus, as well as the historic buildings in the South Campus (see photo).

2.15pm
We went for lunch at the ever wonderful “Uncle John No. 1″; the Hong Kong chef who single-handedly saves the reputation of Chinese food in Buffalo (Elia called this the non-basterdized version). We had three delicious dishes: Brisked Beef Noodles, Pork Hor Fun and Yang Chow Fried Rice (see photo).

4.05pm
Finally made it to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Even though it was free on Friday from 3-10pm, the contemporary Chinese art series called “The Wall” wasn’t. Seeing that it was worth it, we paid the $10 student rate and enjoyed the various artist installations on display (see photo).

6.30pm
Drove over to Niagara Falls where we met Elia’s family and had a wonderful Japanese dinner at Taki’s. There we traded life stories and discussed our New Year’s Day plans to be spent in Canada.

I’m going to sleep earlier today as Penny and I are going over to Toronto tomorrow for some authentic Malaysian food as discovered by Elia’s mom and dad. Yums!

Tomorrow.sg Dashboard Widget released!

Tomorrow.sg Dashboard Widget released!
A Huge Thank You to beta-testers iCheerful, Peter, and FreshJive

Dedicated to…
This dashboard widget is my little token of appreciation to the tomorrow.sg team for all the work they’ve put in for 2005. Through the trials and tribulations, they have been doing the thankless task of serving the interests of our Singapore blogosphere.

Who would use this?
This Tomorrow widget is meant for those of us who want to know the latest ongoings of tomorrow.sg, but refuse to deal with RSS feeds or having to repeatedly refresh the web site. The widget will automatically refresh every 15mins to give you the newest posts. Note that the widget only works on Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) and above. If enough people make noise, I’ll make a Windows version as well.

How do I use this?
Clicking on any of the posts will bring you to the relevant web page on the Tomorrow’s blog. Clicking on the bottom text brings you to the relevant sites as well.

How do I Install the widget?
1. Download tomorrow_widget.zip (333kb)
2. Double-click to uncompress the file on your desktop
3. Double-click on the “Tomorrow.wdgt” to install
4. That’s it!

Being my first widget, I’d like to hear what you think through the comments…

UPDATE: Thanks to Brennan for recommending this on Tomorrow.sg
UPDATE 2: Re-download if you wish for the new version without the “MacDaddy” text.

flickr/finds: Bachelorette + Banksy + SexySpeckyblogger

pinthethingpinningspecialcakefunnycandlesplayful
banksybanksybanksybanksytomatobanksy
brennanmailorderbridenadnutloneyrunnerpaulatwork

Ashley’s Bachelorette party is “crazy delicious” yet safe for work. Be sure to check out the girls’ new take on “Pin the Donkey Tail”, their “charming” party cake and the “little” candles. Are all-girls’ parties always that crazy? (Thanks emilyrae)

Banksy – Crude Oils is this reowned subversive artist’s latest gallery of re-mixed masterpieces, vandalism and vermin in London. Subtle yet mind-blowing at the same time. (Hat tip to edscoble)

SexySpeckyBlogger is the latest blogger meme featuring none other than geeky bloggers with glasses. Unfortunately, I can’t qualify since I’d be too sexy if I put on glasses… wait a sec, that sounded like a total NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) statement. (via brennan.sg)

Only if you’re a Halo fan…

kubrick_halofigure

I’ve been a Bungie fan for the longest time. Been following the entire Marathon Trilogy (now a free download) on my Mac until Halo came out for the Xbox. Above you see the limited production Kubrick Halo 2 figurine… you could only get this if:
1. You were in Japan on 11th Nov 2004
2. You bought the Halo 2 game there

Thanks to this “black market” called eBay, I am now 1 of 4,000 holding onto this wonderous, detailed miniature in my hands. What an amazing piece of work it is!

Understanding Riichiro Majima’s “Ski Jumping Pairs”

Ski Jumping Pair
This has got to be the queerest PSP UMD Video ever!

Jeff Chen of PSPupdates got word that “Ski Jumping Pair” is a hot fantasy CG product by Riichiro Majima. It seems to be a compilation of fantasy comedy scenes that all happened in ski jump games. Ski jumpers go in pairs in tandem on ONE pair of skis and perform all kinds of weird jumps. To top it off, you have highly exaggerated Japanese sports commentators running instant replays of the most dramatic moments.

This UMD Video (not a game) has already been released on December 21 (Price 2,800JPY) and is available in DVD format as well. You can watch the hilarious trailer here (It’s pretty long… just keep watching past the AVEX credits).

Is there a cult following for this sort of stuff?

This Year’s Gadget for Videographers (and Movie Pirates!)

Consus Hard Drive Divx Player

Isaiah of Visualise Media recently introduced me to his new toy, the Consus Hard Drive Divx Player. Being a freelance videographer, he finds it a great solution for those strange times when his clients lack a DVD player or even a DVD drive in their computer.

While the Consus Hard Drive Divx Player can handle most media formats, what really differentiates this device from others in the market is the sheer number of outputs it has. If his client has a television set, he simply plugs it into the RCA jacks. Otherwise, the device also plugs into the computer monitor via the VGA input. Yes people, the device comes with VGA Out!

Other than functioning as a portable HDD, the Consus plays back MP3 and photos with an IR remote, and features an OTG (On The Go) function which allow you transfer data without connecting to computer. I believe this refers to the “USB Host” function, which may make this usable as a backup drive for the Sony PSP and digital cameras.

While Isaiah finds the player very versatile, his only gripe is that he wished it had a pair of speakers. Other than the necessary cables, he brings along powered speakers just in case.

Specifications for the Consus HDD Divx Player include:
• AV Playback function, suits MPEG4, DVD, VCD, MP3, CD etc and JPEG images
• Editing function available – copy, remove, rename, delete files / folders in HDD
• 9 picture playback functions with 12 playback transition effects to choose from
• CVBS and VGA video output, can be connected to TV or computer display
• Search playback, Repeat playback, A-B segment repeat playback function
• Available with 40GB / 60GB / 80GB (on 2.5″ IDE HD)
• Includes an IR remote
• Compatible with Mac and Windows

If you’re interested in getting one, it’s distributed online for S$199 (or US$119.50) via Gajah International. Not sure if there’s a U.S. distributor for it yet, so do let me know if you find one.

Speak & Spell resurrected!

One of my all-time favorite toys is back… The Texas Instruments “Speak & Spell” is now playable as a flash-based simulator. I’ve tried it and I must say it’s so authentic, my childhood memories started rushing back. I wonder why the photo says “Dyslexic” though… what is the author trying to say?

Coming Soon: Tomorrow.sg dashboard widget

Tomorrow.sg dashboard widget coming...

The Tomorrow.sg dashboard widget will work in Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) and features the most recent posts refreshed every 15mins. As expected, clicking on the post will bring you to the relevant web page on the Tomorrow’s blog. Finally, they’re not exactly easter eggs, but clicking on the bottom text brings you “places”. I’m testing it on a bunch of friends right now, so stay tuned for the full release (don’t worry… before 2006).

Want to be a Tomorrow widget beta-tester?
Just leave a comment with a valid email address and I’ll send you a copy. Try it for a day then send feedback in the comments informing me of any problems and suggestions.

For interested developers: For some strange reason, I couldn’t get Tomorrow’s feedburner feed to cooperate with my widget so I took Tomorrow’s original Drupal feed and burned my own unique Feedburner feed. By using feedburner’s “Convert Format Burner”, I finally got a clean feed which works with the widget! As a bonus, this feedburner feed allows me to see the number of users for this widget through the no. of feed subscribers. Hooray!

CurrentStatus: What I received for Christmas…

What I got for Christmas...

Currently Exchanging
OK, so Christmas was over before I could fully appreciate it. Normally I don’t make a big deal about the gifts I receive because I’ve gotten pretty sad things like a “paper weigh clip” (shows you the kind of friends I am with… just joking!). This year was a little different: I gave a special edition of the Office Space DVD (everyone should own this!) as my Secret Santa present and I received an UNO Attack Game in return (I love UNO because I’m dumb at normal poker cards). My friend Peter also gave me a nice surprise which came in the form of a black cap with a silver Apple logo.

Currently Feeling
Pretty nice Christmas, even though I still feel depressed for some reason. I really need to motivate myself to get more work done this semester and that’s worrying the hell out of me. For this reason I’ve reiterated to a few friends how they should never to take up a PhD program unless they live and breathe academia (or at least are comfortable writing a lot). I feel that my motivation shifts too quickly for me to focus on my work and I constantly need to remind myself the joys and rewards of getting your work published. For this reason alone, you might start to see a change in the frequency and type of blogging to come.

Currently Reading
Seven + 8th Habit of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey… okay it’s a total of 9 hours worth of audiobook listening more than reading, but I think it’s the same. I’m trying to digest more in a short span of time. I haven’t really read this book before and I’m going to take it with a pinch of salt of course. I’d love some pointers if you’re a seven habits fan. I hope to read/listen to Getting Things Done by David Allen next.

Currently Weathering
The freezing cold of Buffalo’s winter. It’s 0 degree celsius right now!

Currently Playing
SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo (PSP) – It’s more fun than I thought. Although internet-enable multiplayer is impressive (wifi infrastructure with VoIP headset support), the single player campaign is pretty engaging too!

Currently Wishing
How to make my own RSS Dashboard Widget

Currently Thanking
Penny for organizing an great Christmas party and using food as a powerful motivator.
Sacrelicious for being such a Mac fiend and blogger buddy!
• For a third time in a row, Elia Diodati for visiting me this week!
• Everyone who sent me well wishes over the weekend!

Today’s Links: I’m a slutty celebrity wannabe

This is so untrue!
So untrue! It started with a rumor… hat tip to UneasySilence