Monthly Archive for July, 2007

Now screening on Tech65’s “Channel65″ videocast

Just before I came back to Buffalo, I was given the honor of appearing on the first episode of Channel 65, a new technology videocast by the guys at Singapore-based

Show hosts Daniel Tsou and Farinelli (hey you!) chatted with me to learn who I was and what I do for a living. We later delve into the sousveillance backpack, with questions ranging from what it does, how I use it, ethical considerations, and the important lessons I’ve learnt from this experience. I talked about the future prospects of such an instrument, focusing on the augmentation of relationships over long distances, through the idea of continuous partial presence.

What do I think of Tech65? Well I think it’s about time! Probably the first professional-looking podcasting outfit from Singapore to focus on tech happening in our region, Tech65 is currently made up of two shows, namely 65bits (the podcast) and channel65 (the videocast). The folks behind the gig include Daniel Tsou, Jerrick Lim, NTT, Farinelli and Kai Yi.

Show some love by subscribing to their podcasts and by contributing if you’re up for it. Check them out here…

BTW: Friends in the PR industry might want to take note of this local tech channel. Try showering them with sponsorships :)

Photos: Landing on both hands and feet… then running

Wearable video test over EVDO

Attention new readers: Looking for lifecasting videos? I’ve just settled down and will get a video stream online soon. In the mean time, you can learn more here or watch my “wearable” blog category.

Being jetlagged is kinda fun… it’s as if you’re caught in some transdimensional rift while you recover from your travels. It’s also means the lack of updates, where I could barely make heads or tails running errands one accumulates while being away for so long.

This also means a whole torrent of emotions, caused by a shift from living in dense (Singapore) to dispersed (Buffalo) spaces. I still get amazed by this blogging business, be it that friends and family call in to check on me when I signal a problem. Thank you for being there for me.

Naturally for a techie, one of the first things I did when I landed was to check out the Samsung “UpStage” dual-faced phone (SPH-m620) which Sprint sponsored some of us bloggers. While the phone looks slick, it has a major design issue, that is the controls and display keeps flipping over to the other side, making it irritating to set the phone preferences (e.g. Bluetooth). That aside, I’m more impressed by the phone’s dual batteries (one’s built into the cover) as well as its dual-band EVDO feature, complimented with free and unlimited data service Sprint gave us for 6 months. Not sure how to hook up an EVDO phone to your Mac via Bluetooth? Even Sprint endorsed NoDRM’s blog post showing you exactly how to do it!

Above is a shot of me testing (see actual video) over mobile broadband and mind you, this thing is so darn fast, I could replace my home cable service for this. For the number crunchers, EVDO Rev A has a theoretical max bandwidth of 3.1 Megabits per second (I clocked about 2.5Mbps down and 700kbps up), and it feels so much faster than a typical Wireless@SG internet connection I get in Singapore. Best part: I can get connected anywhere! My buddy Peter pointed out as a great resource for learning more about EVDO. Hmm, I’m thinking of adding a mobile wireless hotspot to my sousveillance backpack!

PocketDock charges but doesn't sync iPhone
Click to see entire iPhone photo set…

Speaking about cell phones, I went to get an iPhone. I’ve been holding out on a decent iPod, with the only one I ever bought being a 1st generation Shuffle. I’ve always liked a video iPod, but felt that the screen was too small. The iPhone’s screen was just perfect, though a bit too sensitive with the on-screen controls. Still, this wondrous device feels like the tricorder of our generation, the stuff of science fiction brought to life. As seen in my iPhone photo set, I’ve personalized mine with a black Incase protective cover, Power Support’s screen film protector, and the tiny Bluespoon AX2 headset. Sadly, it’s Bye Bye T-mobile, Hello AT&T. If you got yourself an iPhone, don’t you think the speaker and ringtones are a little soft? Anyway there are tons of sites out there for iPhone goodies, but one I frequent is the Apple iPhone page from TUAW.

Creative Zen Aurvana betters Shure E3C? - 2Inova X5 LED flashlight - 1
LED Alarm Clock by Jonas Damon - 5LED Alarm Clock by Jonas Damon - 4
See entire “retail therapy” photo set here…

Not far from the Apple Store at the Galleria Mall, I discovered that the Discovery Channel Store was having a closing sale, so I went to take a look. Nothing like male retail therapy, as I soon found myself grabbing these last pieces of the shelves. Everything was 50% off, including the Creative Zen Aurvana earphones (for $49 only) which has specifications quite equivalent to the really pricey Shure E3C. Since Buffalo was prone to power outages, I also got myself the Inova X5 LED flashlight. Finally, caving into my eccentric taste in timepieces, I got myself the “Open Edition” LED Alarm Clock by Jonas Damon at only $39 (original price $150!). Watch my photo set careful as I literally get to play with time.

AAA replacing my car battery

The first photo I took with the iPhone was a AAA guy replacing the battery on my Dodge Neon ’98. Like pets, old cars need constant upkeeping, and as soon as I got the car moving around, the temperature gauge went wild as the alarms went off. Stopping at a parking lot off the highway, this was what I saw…

Argh, coolent leaking...

Looks like pee, but that’s the radiator leaking buckets of coolant. Repairing that was beyond me, so I’m sent the car to the shop. In the meantime, my buddy Peter fix a major safety problem with the car, saving hundreds of dollars. Loyal readers will remember that before I left for Singapore, someone had courteously busted both tail lights.

Fixing the Dodge Neon 98 - 2

We went to the a junk yard and got the tail lights we needed ($45 each vs. $70 brand new), then he helped fixed them onto my Dodge Neon ’98 only to discover some electrical problems with the brake lights. Fortunately, the junk parts came with spare bulbs and cabling, so replacing the old one with the spare ones worked. I just got my radiator and front brakes fixed at the shop today for a whopping US$715. Ouch!

MrBig's farewell
See entire “MrBig’s Farewell” photo set here…

All the money in the world cannot replace friends though, as the Singaporean community loses several more cherished members in Buffalo. MrBig, a long-time buddy of mine, recently moved to South Carolina for a year long internship in the field of psychology, while Kassy and Adrian both graduated and are seeking opportunities elsewhere. The remaining few of us feel much like the cast of LOST, seeking an unholy alliance with an equally uncertain future here. See the “MrBig’s Farewell” photo slideshow here, watch videos of MrBig doing the Stewie (of Family Guy) and finally, bidding us farewell as he starts his moving truck.

BTW: I’ll be posting tidbits I’ve collected from Singapore. Whoever said our tiny country was boring?

Back to Buffalo, Back to Worries

Return to Buffalo - 3

Spoiler Warning: If you intend to enjoy this film / book, you might not want to read this…

While flying the last stretch to Buffalo, I read this book called “The Secret” which was made into a film as well. From what I understand, the film and book have enjoyed major marketing hype, and even the cover of the book tries to sell itself a little hard. Hopping off the plane at the Buffalo Niagara Airport, an airport staff spotted the book and said that he watched the DVD and felt it was great. So does the fluff bluff?

Yes, I wouldn’t have read it on my own. Given that it was a gift from a good friend, I easily plowed through the colorful pages (yay, picture book!) and realized that it simply spoke of how we think as a projection of how we want our realities shaped. That is, if you’re depressed, it’s because you keep thinking of depressive thoughts. This ties into the law of attraction which the contributors subscribe to. If you have a positive outlook towards life, positive outcomes will be expected.

I can see why this was given to me as a “feel-good” farewell gift… being in Buffalo, not many of you know how depressive it can be to me. While it gets worse in winter, this is a place where I have a lot of personal freedom, but am confined by my mind (or the sheer amount of work I am suppose to be doing).

If you’ve read my blog long enough you’d know that I’ve mentioned this before, that academia might not be the thing for me as I find it too restrictive. Academic rigor is important, but I enjoy going out, getting hands-on and working with people. In contrast, writing papers just seems too solitude an exercise to me. I’d love to work with others on research, but part of the requirement in my program is to work alone to prove my worth, aka sole authorship. The thing that keeps me going is the goodwill academic work brings to mankind, by being directly responsible for the understanding our world, and eventually the meaning of our existence.

I do wish there were some way to find happiness in what I do… waking up each day in Buffalo in cold sweat isn’t exactly enticing. One year to get everything done, or else.

P.S. Note to self… aren’t you suppose to stay positive? It’s all in your head.

Video travelogue: Halfway there to Buffalo…

Fresh off SQ22, I hit the ground running with a video travelogue of what happened next…

Flight planSQ22 lunch or dinner?SQ22 Chicken Pie Roll

Never-ending food on the comfy Singapore Airlines SQ22… yum!

24th July 2007: Best Western Palace @ Edison, NY - 424th July 2007: Best Western Palace @ Edison, NY - 624th July 2007: Best Western Palace @ Edison, NY - 5

After a long confusing time finding the right hotel, I’m finally brought to a strange palace-like hotel called Best Western Palace. Yes, it’s got an indian theme to it… right down to the take-away dinner. Quite delish actually.

CNN / Youtube Democratic Debate on TV - 3CNN / Youtube Democratic Debate on TV - 2CNN / Youtube Democratic Debate on TV - 1

The best part of all this was that I’m watching the historical CNN / Youtube Democratic Debate in my hotel room. It’s historical because it’s mainstream and user-generated content merging to ask U.S. political candidates questions they’ve always want answered. You’ll hear everything from opinions on the Iraq war, to race issues, to global warming concerns.

Best Western Palace @ Edison, NY

Before you go, here’s where I am right now... until 7.45am this morning where I’ll be on the final leg of my flight home.

Photos: The “OK, this is goodbye” Party @ Oosh

The "OK, this is goodbye" party @ Oosh
Click to see photo slideshow…

Friends had been asking, so I finally decided to throw a farewell party just to say goodbyes and trade well wishes. I had a terrific time with fellow bloggers across genres at The Roof of Oosh, and I took the chance to strike a conversation with the folks on video, just to share what everyone’s up to. I’ll publish the video soon, but in the meantime enjoy the photos and see if you spot anyone you know…

Aside: By the time you read this, I should be on that non-stop flight from Singapore to Newark (SQ22) which you can track live here. Once at Newark, I’ll transfer to the domestic flight CO2576 which should get me to Buffalo around Mon, 11pm EST (that’s Tues, 11am, Singapore time).

Welcome Zaobao newspaper readers…

MacRitchie to Bukit Timah Briskwalk
I don’t know which is funnier: Siva (Indian dude) reading a chinese paper or me on the cover (pinch me!)

If you’ve come here after reading the Zaobao Weekly newspaper on Sunday, a humble welcome. Wo de hwa wen hen cha, suo yi bu ke yi sui bian jiang.

Siva, Ariani, Lawrence and I just completed a Sunday briskwalk from MacRitchie to Bukit Timah when we headed to the prata shops across Beauty World for breakfast. A sudden SMS from reporter Wei instructed me to grab today’s Zaobao, to which all of us went “woah”.

It’s huge… a cover feature spanning four pages, detailing everything from who I am, what I do, my motivations and how I pulled it all off. The sousveillance backpack is a thing of sci-fi wonder, yet it’s real and improving over time. GPS was recently added, and the next step is integrating everything together and possibly having a thing going (as the article suggested seeing

As featured on Zaobao WeeklyAs featured on Zaobao Weekly

If you missed the Zaobao paper, you can see the entire illustrated article in this flickr slideshow.

BTW: Microsoft’s Nic Fillingham recently did a video interview with me about the backpack too.

Thanks to Maggie Xu, we now have the English translation of the Chinese newspaper article above. More on this after the jump…

Continue reading ‘Welcome Zaobao newspaper readers…’

Photos: Counting down to “Bye Bye Singapore” time…

Countdown to "Bye Bye Singapore" time

Looking through the photos of my last few days in Singapore, I think I’m turning into a geeky socialite… now if only I could turn this into a full-time profession! Continue reading ‘Photos: Counting down to “Bye Bye Singapore” time…’

Systems Theory: The Uber-Geek Tshirt

Systems Theory: The T-shirt

Spotted this guy at the Prata shop near NUS just now at 1am. I guessed that he was from computer science, went forth to ask him and got it right. Took a photo and left him my blogging card. His name’s Chun Wei.

What’s Systems Theory?
Think Unified.

Aside: So much to blog about, so little time…

Double Whammy Videos: HTC touch and the iPhone

HTC touch and the iPhone

Here are the HTC Touch and the iPhone videos

Watch Vantan demo her HTC touch smartphone which runs Windows Mobile 6 and has features almost like an iPhone. As Vantan sorta mentioned, it’s a great segway to owning an iPhone, since we can’t really use the iPhone in Singapore yet.

On the flipside, I cautiously handle a rare iPhone in Singapore. Big ups to Paddy of for sharing the exquisite gadget, Tim Yeo for the camera work and Geek Terminal for the location as always. :)

Before you go… lots of iPhone vs. popular cellphone comparison photos here.

Try to catch Singapore HeritageFest ’07 @ Suntec City

HeritageFest 2007 @ Suntec City - 16
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After an evening with the folks at the Singapore Mac Meetup (blogging soon), Siva, Airiani, Lawrence and I walked through Suntec City to share a cab home. Along the way we spotted friends over at the National Heritage Board setting up a very elaborate exhibition on our childhood memories.

Called Singapore HeritageFest ’07, fond memories were rekindled as we were given access to the exhibits while they were being setup. As you’ll see in the photos, there are artifacts from my younger days in school, as well as familiar old toys and even electronic games (Look! It’s Western Bar!) exhibited at this special public event. There’s even an old barber’s chair where I was told only ten lucky persons per day would be able to get their hair cut in the traditional way. From the looks of it, it’s sure worth checking out!

See a slideshow combining all photos from HeritageFest07, which is currently Siva’s and mine.

Update: Siva gives his take on…