Monthly Archives: July 2010

Prim3 Time

Sony has launched 3 new prime lenses for the Alpha mount, two cheap primes and a premium optic.

From left to right: Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM, Sony 35mm F1.8 DT SAM, Sony 85mm F2.8 SAM.

The 35mm is what every APS-C shooter should have gotten – a normal prime with a bright aperture.

The 24mm is an architecture, indoor and street shooter’s dream.

And of course, the very tiny 85mm F2.8 SAM – it has an unsuspecting 55mm filter thread and is no bigger than your usual 50mm prime. It’s the perfect focal length for concerts especially paired to a Sony Alpha NEX-3 or NEX-5, when you can’t sneak telephoto lenses past guards!

Prices for the US have not been announced yet, though it is usually expected to match the European price dollar for dollar. Now the Zeiss 24mm F2.0 by this logic would be USD 1100, or RM3850 retail price, or around RM3500 street price. AMAZING if that does happen!

Wishful thinking here, but if the 85mm F2.8 was a refactored Minolta 135mm F2.8, one of the best Minolta deals with creamy glowy bokeh, that would be amazing!

The plus side of the 35mm F1.8 DT SAM is, is that it is F1.8 which is a good deal for the NEX and LA-EA1 adapter. However Bryan LYT complains that even in MF, the 50mm F1.8 DT SAM makes too much of a grinding noise to be usable in video. This might be a major downer for those of you wanting to use these lenses with video (however, they could have changed it a bit.)

So how do these new lenses fare against the competition? All three Sony primes beat their Canon and Nikon counterparts for weight, minimum focus distance and maximum magnification.

The 85mm F2.8 SAM is particularly notable here – no full-frame 85mm lens has ever focused this close before! It’s now a do-all lens, quite like the Zeiss 135mm F1.8 (which does an even better 1:4x maximum magnification.) And to think, the 35mm does even better, and the 24mm even more so!

In other news, Gary Fong, famous inventor of many different light modifiers, has a Sony Alpha 230! Yes you read that right.

GCB Versus Toasted Pocketful

As a frequent enthusiast for fast food chains in Malaysia, I have pretty much tried every new introduction from McDonalds and KFC in Malaysia. The McDonalds introduction would always be good, and the KFC product would be disappointing. (Usually, KFC’s new servings would be tiny!)

However, this time, I heard that KFC’s new Toasted Pocketful was actually alright… and that McDonalds’ new Gourmet Great-tasting Grilled Chicken Burger was small. I was surprised, given that I usually am far more enthusiastic about McDonalds’ offerings, but seeing that the McDonalds Prosperity Burger of 2010 was tiny compared to say 2008’s version (with a clever chance to upsell by making you buy the Mega Prosperity Burger, which was probably 2008 sized!

And so, Fazri and I set out to debunk the question – did McDonalds shrink their Grilled Chicken Burger as small as KFC would usually do? And so, we met at KL Sentral, where both McDonalds and KFC co-exist.

To do this, Fazri went to McDonalds and got the set (burger, fries, drink) for RM11.90. I went to KFC and got the X Meal (Toasted Pocketful, fries, one piece of chicken, Mountain Dew drink) for RM11.90. Interestingly, KFC sells a standard Toasted Pocketful meal for RM9.90 without the extra piece of chicken.

We then met at KFC, where there were seats outside.

Upper part of picture: KFC Toasted Pocketful.
Lower part of picture: McDonalds Grilled Chicken Burger.

I took these comparison pictures from directly above to avoid any misrepresentations in scale caused by perspective. When wrapped, they appear to be the same size!

Opened. Note that the Grilled Chicken Burger had its top bun moved to the side so it looks wider.

The piece of chicken that came in the KFC X Meal. It was tiny, even by KFC standards!

And here is the chicken next to Fazri’s small Nokia 5130. KFC, will you at least feed your chickens healthily? I mean, if I was a chicken and I knew my purpose of life was to provide carnivorous satisfaction, at least let me satisfy!

The inside of the Toasted Pocketful. There were nachos and corn.

I took a bite into my Toasted Pocketful, and Fazri took a bite into his Grilled Chicken Burger. We then swapped meals and had a bite. This continued until the meals were finished.

The result?

The Toasted Pocketful was a lot more fulfilling and filling. Despite being the same size, the Toasted Pocketful was thicker – the chicken inside was what you would get in a Spicy Chicken McDeluxe! Add the nachos, corn and pita bread wrap, and there was a lot more flavor.

That is not to say that the Grilled Chicken Burger is bad – it has good sauce, but it only has salad and buns to accompany it. The salad did not do much to add to the volume of the burger. To me, it was just an oblongated McDonalds McChicken burger with different sauce!

Don’t forget that KFC throws in a piece of chicken for the same price (though, the size depends on outlet) For once, KFC wins the value-for-money battle!

That is not to say I would never have a Grilled Chicken Burger – if I was with friends at McDonalds, I might give it a second chance. Or maybe I’d just go back to the fulfilling Big Mac or Spicy Chicken McDeluxe!

Of course, if I was having Cravings, this would be the burger to consume… (This was the 12″ Cravings Monster Burger, at RM25.90.)

Planned Cake

Right after I got my Sony Alpha NEX-5 with Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake lens, Azrul brought me to this fantastic Yong Tau Fu restaurant in Pudu!

I was loving the wide angle, able to capture more at close range. It also helped that the camera was so small and, surprisingly, quiet (or at least nobody seemed to care that they were being shot), even though I could hear the shutter.

16mm on the NEX-5’s APS-C-sized sensor meant 24mm on full-frame 35mm format, which was pretty darn wide! All I had to do to accentuate this was to tilt upwards to make use of perspective distortion (which is never a fault of the lens, but the camera operator…)

A thing to note though with wide-angle lenses – if you don’t frame properly, you are going to get unwanted perspective distortion and converging lines. Here, I wasn’t pointing straight on, so the lines on top were slanted.

I could just swing it and take a quick grab, knowing it will have the subject somewhere in the frame!

This is Auto HDR mode, set to the maximum – 6 EV. It takes one shot at -3 EV, one shot at 0 EV, and one shot at +3 EV, and merges them intelligently. Obviously though, it doesn’t work so well for moving subjects!

The Sony Alpha 450/500/550 had this too, but with only two frames – and one saving grace of how it’s done on the NEX-3/5 is that it also saves the 0 EV exposure so you can use it as a regular picture. Unfortunately though, you cannot activate this when the camera is set to shoot RAW or RAW+JPEG.

It is a very convenient focal length for architecture and interiors.

At F2.8 it wasn’t the brightest but it would do.

Though, one should not fear the dark with Hand-held Twilight or Anti-Motion Blur mode.

More Articles:
NEX-3/5/VG10 and A290/A390
NEX: A Technical Hands On
Here’s What’s NEX
What’s NEX? Sony’s EVIL!

NEX-3/5/VG10 and A290/A390

I got myself a black Sony Alpha NEX-5 with Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake lens sometime 1st of July 2010!

Why the 16mm? Because it is pocketable as heck!

I also got myself the very sweet Sony LA-EA1 lens adapter for using A-mount lenses on my E-mount NEX-5. It has a separate firmware from the body, which is a good thing should Sony decide to release firmware that allows the LA-EA1 to focus SSM and SAM lenses (as it was meant to, before, in Firmware ver. 00…)

This is a pre-production NEX-3 with the 16mm F2.8 pancake – even without the LA-EA1 adapter mounted, it still wants to report the lens adapter firmware.

Firmware Update

Firmware 1.02 adds 3D Sweep Panorama, improves the performance of Sweep Panorama, improves the startup time and improves battery life when the camera is off.

Sony NEX-3 firmware update:

Sony NEX-5 firmware update:

For v1.02, starting up is faster, about half a second, with lens cap on. Surprisingly though, starting up is also faster about half a second without lens cap.

I tested this with TWO NEX-5 bodies with the 16mm on. One was mine; the other was my colleague’s. I patched mine but not his, to do this test.

3D Sweep Panorama seems more sensitive to speed (coming up with “too slow”/”too fast” errors more often.) Then again it could be that mine was set to Vivid while his was normal. Creative Styles affect Sweep Panorama as well (set it to Black And White and you’ll see.)

And now, for a 3D Sweep Panorama crop! StereoPhoto Maker 4.30 was used to open the MPO file.

Find a large envelope or cardboard. Use it to separate the left and right images when viewing, like so:

Click on this image to open it in a new window (it is big!)

The effect is subtle but you will notice how it looks like in 2D if you close one eye or the other. If you turn the envelope the other way you can get closer to the screen and the effect will be stronger.

Interestingly – Shooting Tips helps here by saying that the optimal distance for the subject is 3 meters. I’ll go out and hunt for more suitable subjects.

And now, we rewind to the 4th of June 2010, where the Sony Alpha NEX-3 and Sony Alpha NEX-5 were launched at Teeq, Lot 10!

Screens and prints were displaying pictures taken with the NEX cameras.

One of the models who would hold the camera later when it was launched.

There were two events – the media-only launch and the blogger launch – here, bloggers were playing to win.

For the media-only launch, Toru Katsumoto and Masashi “Tiger” Imamura launched the NEX-3/NEX-5 (they did Singapore and Thailand the days before this before returning to Japan.)

As suspicions confirmed, the NEX is just one circuitboard (there were some other circuits in the grip and one around the sensor; this is from the back.) The multi-purpose flash connector is indeed on the main board.

During the short question-and-answer session, somebody asked if there would be more lenses – Toru said they were still doing market research and some wanted G and Zeiss, some wanted 55-200mm and 75-300mm lenses, some wanted primes and macro lenses.

He also said the reason why the NEX-5 came in silver and black was because they did a survey and found that these were the two most popular colors. So we may just see lenses based on popularity (unfortunately, that resulted in our 50mm F1.8 DT SAM!)

I then asked him if they’d have more NEX bodies with more dials and buttons and he said yes (but then again, the yet-to-be-launched-or-named Sony Handycam NEX-VG10 also counts as one.) And that was it, after those 2 questions (I guess the press didn’t have much questions at that time.)

So yes, there is expansion intended for both lenses and bodies, but what that will be, isn’t certain yet.

While you could say the target market for the NEX-3 and NEX-5 may not be interested in a Zeiss lens, I am sure there will be some videographers picking up the NEX-VG10, seen here in mock form (and what a mock it is, missing the very cool Quad Capsule Spatial Array microphone!) It would most certainly drive demand for brighter telephoto primes and zooms. Zeiss primes are popular with the video crowd.

Sony needed to push out cheaper bodies first or risk doing a Panasonic L1! The L1 had absolutely no impact on the market as to pushing out the then new Four Thirds system.

Anyway, back to present-day geeking.

Yes, the NEX-3/NEX-5 do not support wireless flash to trigger off-camera Sony flashes, but you can easily trigger any off-camera flash that can skip the pre-flash signal. Like my Sunpak PF20XD.

This is a screenshot from the NEX-3/NEX-5 user manual. There is also a flash extender, which apparently comes with the Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Active OSS (it does not come with the NEX-3/NEX-5 packages, for sure!)

This is the Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA mounted on the Sony LA-EA1 lens adapter and Sony Alpha NEX-5.

About the same thing, but with my gear-stripped Tamron 200-400mm F5.6 and 1.5x and 2x teleconverters.

A modern version of this would be the Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6G SSM. Now this is where the silver NEX-5 would match perfectly…

While at Sony Style, I also had the chance to check out the Sony Alpha 290 and Sony Alpha 390. The A390 can flip to waist-level position much easier than my NEX-5 can flip to overhead position, and the A390 can flip to overhead position just as easily as my NEX-5 does waist-level position.

It becomes obvious that the NEX-5 is designed to be easy to get to waist-level position hence the different articulation.

Sadly, the A290 and A390 were launched without much fanfare or enthusiasm – even Sony didn’t seem to put much into marketing it! They just needed to make a 2010 budget dSLR model which didn’t have that lousy handgrip of the A230/A330/A380 series of 2009.

The A290/A390 still has no quick way of changing AF point in Local Area AF. Wireless flash and screw-drive AF support is still there though. There was “Shutter release without lens” option sadly, even though it was released after the NEX-3/NEX-5 which had that option.

However, there was one massive, massive improvement – the hand grip! The grip is very solid and very deep – I tried it with the Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6G SSM and did not find any handling issues with it. Even the A550 can feel a bit creaky with that chunky lens, but not the A290 or A390!

The other thing I like that they kept, was the separate SD and Memory Stick Pro Duo slots – this means you can have both SD and MSPD at the same time, though you can only access one at a time and needed to flick a switch to choose between them. My NEX-5 is a pain in that sense because it has only one slot which means I can’t have a SD stored inside as backup. Also, the slot is bigger to allow SD, so inserting a MSPD can be fiddly.

The implications of the A290/A390 having the 14 megapixel CCD sensor are, that Sony has dumped the 10 megapixel CCD sensor. The Sony A350 has never been as popular as the A300 (and neither did the A350’s successor, the A380) so I can see why Sony decided to use the 14 megapixel CCD sensor stock to build the A290/A390. That leaves the current Sony Alpha lineup as:

Sony Alpha 290 (14.2 megapixel CCD)
Sony Alpha 390 (14.2 megapixel CCD with Quick AF Live View)
Sony Alpha 450 (14.2 megapixel CMOS with MF Check Live View)
Sony Alpha 500 (12.3 megapixel CMOS with Quick AF Live View and MF Check Live View)
Sony Alpha 550 (14.2 megapixel CMOS with Quick AF Live View and MF Check Live View)
Sony Alpha 850 (24.6 megapixel CMOS with Intelligent Preview)
Sony Alpha NEX-3 (14.6 megapixel CMOS with Live View and 720p with 25fps or 30fps MP4 video)
Sony Alpha NEX-5 (14.6 megapixel CMOS with Live View and 1080i with 50fps or 60fps AVCHD video)

Oh and how could we forget:

Sony Handycam NEX-VG10 (14.6 megapixel CMOS with Live View and 1080i/60fps AVCHD video)

Sometimes I think the Sony NEX series could’ve been called a Cybershot and it would not be a big deal. However, just as we thought the Cybershots were killed by the NEX series – Sony shows us that they planned it out and sequenced it so one product will not overshadow another. And so they introduced the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX5 and DSC-TX9 cameras. They have Superior Auto mode (shooting a burst of 2-6 images and deciding to reduce noise or increase dynamic range) and 3D Sweep Panorama (like on my NEX-5!) and the very cool Sweep Multi Angle which is not in any NEX or Cybershot! Check out the video on how it’s done!

They also have Background Defocus. Now if you’re wondering where they’d get the bokeh from given that it is using a small sensor (even my Cybershot WX-1 with F2.4 sensor doesn’t get much bokeh when not in macro) the answer is probably focus stacking. Usually macro shooters will focus stack to increase depth of field but I can see them doing the reverse to get shallow depth of field!

And so, the WX-5 finally supercedes my WX-1 with the backlit Exmor-R sensor and 24-120mm F2.4-5.9 lens. It’s the new low-light king of the Cybershots!

Oh and of course, the third guy being the Cybershot DSC-T99, a standard Super HAD CCD from Sony.

About the Sony FDA-SV1 optical viewfinder which I find in my view isn’t worth it:

The viewfinder, I find, is of limited use as it goes with the pancake only – the 16mm is so wide you get perspective distortion if you’re pointing at say a bicycle lying on a street.

This is perspective distortion – I was standing up and holding the camera at eye level. To reduce perspective distortion, you must adjust the location of the camera so the lines align with the frame.

Sony NEX-5, 16mm F2.8 at F4.5, 1/40th of a second.

So in order to straighten the lines, I need to lower the camera. With the optical viewfinder, I need to squat or assume some kung fu stance! People will know if I’m taking a picture of their stuff!

With the flip-out screen, I can just keep standing and look down. Less obvious that I’m taking a picture, especially if I’m walking on the go. Only if you’re some traditional old-school fella you might prefer the optical viewfinder – otherwise, Live View is great!

(On a side note – notice the different shades of greens that the NEX-5 is capable of expressing. It has a pretty darn good color response!

About the infamous NEX menu system

The interface is indeed slow but if you really care for high ISO performance you wouldn’t be relying on ISO3200 JPGs but shooting RAW instead – I’d just do -1 EV on ISO1600 and get the same thing (because it is, really, the same thing!)

I shot for a gig where flash was not used and it shines there – in a spot where you don’t need to use flash, and can shoot RAW. Now if only DxO and Adobe could get their RAW support for the NEX out!

I quite enjoyed using it as a backup camera – when the A900’s buffer was full I just kept going with the NEX-5. Plus it being lighter was easier on my neck compared to having 2 dSLRs.

Oddly, it now feels like it has too many features and too few buttons. Such that they had to categorize each option under one of the six main menu options.

I didn’t understand initially why Shoot Mode needed a menu entry but it explains itself when you find the center button does not always invoke Shoot Mode.

It’s rather odd that with 9 buttons it has less than my WX-1 with 11 buttons. They so could’ve added just one, to the right, but it would not present well on the user interface (as it is, going out of Image Enlarge mode recommends you to press the Play button – and you’re left wondering which soft key was supposed to do that.)

Really – the top, center and bottom keys all change function depending where you are. It would be hard to have another soft key without cramming up the screen (not the body.)

Going from Video Playback to Image Playback is quicker once you figure you press Play – Down – Left – and then Down or Up and then Center.

One thing I didn’t like – Precision Digital Zoom enlarges the image, meaning the zoomed in image is still full resolution instead of being cropped, as it should be!

Other Lens Adapters

According to, we’d have the following tilt adapters!


Sure, the Micro Four-Thirds mount has loads of adapters, but the 2x crop sensor is a turn off and this explains why NEX is quickly overtaking it. Samsung’s 1.5x sensor in the NX10 isn’t up there yet. A full-frame EVIL will make it big – a 45mm F2.0 will feel better there than on an APS-C sensor.

Somebody used a Canon Extension Tube to make a EF-to-E-mount adapter!

The Sony VCL-ECF1 fisheye converter, for use on the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake lens. It mounts via a bayonet mount on the front of the lens (which is the same as the Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS… whose front bayonet mount is used for the lens hood.) I love the lens cap, and how it clasps on!

It was meant to be paired with the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake lens – but what happens when you put it on the Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS?

Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS with Sony VCL-ECF1 fisheye converter on Sony NEX-5. Note the unique coma effects!

Using the NEX-3/NEX-5 for video:

I find that an ideal focal length for portraiture video is the 50mm – the 85mm is a bit too long unless you’re talking about a full-body shot from far away. If you want to record conversations, confessions etc. the 50mm is perfect, and the un-intimidating size of the NEX-3/5 makes it better. The NEX-VG10 would be a bit too big for the 50mm!

Longer focal lengths are a bit too hard to pan or track with (not so much the focusing, but tracking…)

If you find that manual focusing on a lens with a small focus ring to be too smooth or too slippery – put your fingers on the lens itself, like on the right – it helps to add friction and dampen your focusing.

The LA-EA1 lens adapter and 50mm fit in my pocket; I can also pocket the NEX-3/5 with 16mm in another pocket!

Aperture in video on the NEX-3/5 cannot be changed unless we use a lens with an aperture ring e.g. the Samyang 85mm F1.4.

You can only change EV while recording video. However Creative Styles, EV and WB take effect on the recorded video. DRO does not seem to have any effect on video. It auto-gains when going from a bright to dark place.

A fair bit of information on video and audio on the NEX-3/NEX-5 can be read here:

While I would not agree on perfect distortion-free sound (the videos I shot at gigs do have some distortion, but it could be Laundry Bar’s sound system) I would say Sony is very capable of recording audio with large dynamics. No Black Tie is such a place – the volume can go really loud with some singers without the sound breaking, but you know your mobile phones will have audio peaking and clipping. However even my Sony Cybershot WX-1 can handle it, with excellent audio quality and 720p! THe volume can get uncomfortably loud and still be distortion-free.

About Progressive And Interlaced

If you’ve read up on this you’d know progressive is preferred, and that the NEX-5 is weak in the aspect that it is 1080i at 50/60fps – however it is really a 1080p feed at 25/30fps, in an interlaced container. I could convert my 1080i/50fps video into a 1080p/25fps video with no problems. In theory, one could even make it a 540p video with 50/60fps!

The NEX-5 sold in Malaysia is 50fps. You get either 50fps or 60fps.

More Articles:
NEX: A Technical Hands On
Here’s What’s NEX
What’s NEX? Sony’s EVIL!


Here’s over a year’s worth of Twitter posts, which I have not repeated on my blog. The reason why I don’t like Twitter or any external content-storing site other than my blog is because there is always that risk that the content you have on whichever site will become inaccessible someday.

Okay, so I’ve ranted about this before!

In other updates, I’ve had a Sony Alpha NEX-5 and Sony E 16mm F2.8 since 1st July 2010 and a Sony LA-EA1 A-mount to E-mount lens adapter since 3rd July 2010 and no time to blog about it, or even to blog about the Sony Alpha 290, Sony Alpha 390, Sony Handycam NEX-VG10 HD interchangeable lens camcorder (the model name almost sounds like a NEX vertical grip heh!) Oh and the fantastic X-Rite ColorChecker Passport.

Anyway, here goes:

RT @randomleech A consultant is someone who takes the watch off your wrist and tells u the time.
about 2 hours ago via HTC Peep

LHC: Where the hole is not the center of the donut, but the donut itself. @kimberleylow
4:43 PM Jul 12th via web

ZOMG one reason to stare at my phone and wait for invite! RT: @smashpop Google App Inventor Build ur own app
3:51 PM Jul 12th via web

Swype FTW! Just got it installed on my Android phone yo.
9:44 PM Jul 10th via HTC Peep

RT @smashpop Google App Helps Find Open Parking Sadly no car, no reception + GPS weak at parking, QR code 404
9:39 PM Jul 10th via HTC Peep

Marty Friedman and Kerry King on Japanese TV Show (Kerry played in Megadeth and Pantera…)
4:52 PM Jul 10th via web

Marty Friedman vs Paul Gilbert on Japanese TV Show Part 2! @KevBrokenScar
4:51 PM Jul 10th via web

Michael Patton does Michael Jackson! Faith No More – Ben @jalijan @olied
Jul 5th via web

@lydiakwan right next to your rock kapak. 🙂
Jul 5th via HTC Peep in reply to lydiakwan

Banned iPad Promo
Jul 5th via web

@adlysyairi Holy! Sweeeeeetness. Now that I have a radio-enabled phone again I have tuned in. 😀
July 05, 2010 via web in reply to adlysyairi

I haven’t figured out screenshots yet. Seperti!

Saturday, July 03, 2010 5:43:55 PM via HTC Peep

@crazystrat I did tweet from my Nokia N70; I used Opera though so the client was not given away. Most quips come then.
Saturday, July 03, 2010 5:25:15 PM via HTC Peep

I had a revelation; people who know how to use semicolons are sexy.

Saturday, July 03, 2010 1:52:33 PM via web

Saucy Android makes your food taste better!
Friday, July 02, 2010 4:52:19 PM via HTC Peep

From the NEX Mass Order.
Thursday, July 01, 2010 12:31:51 PM via HTC Peep

@duuuhvina as Zac De La Rocha would say, sleep now in the fire.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 3:12:47 AM via HTC Peep in reply to duuuhvina

My first ever status update on Facebook! I join the horde of publicized pointlessness.
Saturday, June 26, 2010 11:15:25 PM via HTC Peep

Check out @duuuhvina the B.player intro video girl on your iPhone 3gs using the B.player app! #astrobplayer
Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:50:16 PM via web

@kBoey: No it is not sold separately, unfortunately. @bryanlyt I will give you a call tomorrow night!

Monday, June 21, 2010 12:53:39 AM via web

@shannzilla I will visit your crib when you have one!

Monday, June 21, 2010 12:25:27 AM via web

@Digi_Telco Any news on a SmartPlan for a phone that is going to be launched in one week from now in Malaysia?

Thursday, May 20, 2010 1:04:16 AM via web

@fritzgoh @chapree @hitomi5 @bluegemini I was at Harith Iskander’s restaurant, SamSaraa, in Sri Hartamas!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 1:26:26 AM via web

Harith Iskander was my waiter; he just took my order.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:39:24 PM via mobile web

Flash on the Nexus One! @smashpop
Wednesday, May 12, 2010 10:37:36 AM via web

Blendtec owns iPad!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 12:14:05 PM via web

What’s NEX? Sony’s EVIL!
Monday, April 26, 2010 7:13:16 PM via mobile web

I always feel like the Wright brothers when they finally take off, whenever I manage to load my washing machine so the dryer spins properly.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 11:17:14 PM via web

Man I remember this. A B-movie I remember vividly from my childhood!
Wednesday, April 07, 2010 10:58:19 AM via web

@ganaeshd yeah man VIP room yo!
Wednesday, April 07, 2010 10:58:05 AM via web

Sweet! I remember being hooked to this TV series with Christopher Lloyd in a white… Cadillac?
Tuesday, April 06, 2010 11:40:41 AM via web

RT: TammyLynn_17
RT @jonreed: following Ricky Martin’s shock announcement, Obama has just revealed that he is black, and the Pope that he is Catholic.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 7:17:29 AM via TweetDeck Retweeted by you and 2 others

Way beyond Augmented Reality – your skin is a touchscreen!
Friday, March 26, 2010 6:07:23 PM via web

Meanwhile, Down Under:
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 4:37:21 PM via web

RT: altimet
RT @modaismail: #memorisekolah fungsi buku matematik adalah untuk bermain ‘conquer’..tidak lebih dari itu..

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 3:02:17 PM via SocialScope Retweeted by you and 2 others

RT: tanyeehou
This is good! RT @timothyteoh: New post: Proof: Jakim Creates Online Poll on Caning Controversy, then Cheats w Results

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 12:56:14 PM via TweetDeck Retweeted by you

“When a young man shaved, he might be invited to sodomy by men.” –
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 11:19:18 AM via web

Wow, Iommi harmonic bends and lotsa cowbell!
Tuesday, March 09, 2010 1:10:32 PM via Posterous

@jasiminne zippers make sexier sounds than velcro!
Tuesday, March 09, 2010 1:39:03 AM via web

Where’s Fallout Boy?
Monday, March 08, 2010 10:29:54 AM via web

My eyes! The goggles do nothing!
Monday, March 08, 2010 10:29:46 AM via web

#yorais so behind he finally got on the Internet. First thing he typed: ASL?
Saturday, February 27, 2010 10:28:44 PM via mobile web

@MyRapidKL U7/U11 seems to alternate Medan Pasar/Lebuh Ampang weekly. Inconsistent and frustrating! Wait @ wrong stop and see bus speed off!
Friday, January 29, 2010 10:21:11 AM via web

ONLY the human eye focuses faster!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 2:06:00 PM via web

More depressing than being active, giving hugs and greetings or being passive, who won’t, is that I am reflective – defined by my company.
Monday, January 25, 2010 7:13:59 PM via mobile web

Sukar untuk #yorais membayar *tukar mode* parking *tukar mode* kerana mesin tidak menerima pohon pitis, kupang, jokoh atau jongkong buaya.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 1:35:37 AM via web

#yorais is so old when he walks into a coffeeshop filled with white-haired uncles he asks, “do your parents know where you are?”
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 12:52:14 AM via web

#yorais will find out about this tomorrow on Beriteks News.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 12:39:55 AM via web

Before there was politics #yorais founded paleolithic, mesolithic and neolithic parties.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 9:09:59 PM via mobile web

RT: shanonshah
Rais is so ancient he once asked Socrates, “Kenapa you ni suka tanya banyak soalan?” #yorais

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 6:35:23 PM via web Retweeted by you and 9 others

RT: TerencetheSUN
FB groups: Protest against the word “Allah” for Non Muslims 547 membrs; We support the use of the name Allah by all Malaysians 71

The End Of The N70

Man, I remember the days when I was the only person I knew with an unlimited data plan, on DiGi. (Heck, even smashpOp did not have one!)

How long ago was it? Since the 10th of June 2006, at least.

Check the EXIF data on this picture for proof. Here’s an unbelieving Cheesie!

This was online streaming radio – SpodRadio. I loved Virgin’s rock channels – they introduced me to a lot of rock. I’d listen to it on the bus – DiGi’s EDGE was pretty consistent. Also seen in this picture is smashpOp’s Panasonic FZ-5 and Nokia 6680!

(And yes, it was hard to believe, but my Nokia N70 was exactly one generation newer than the resident mobile expert’s phone back then.)

Like every other well-aged, well-used and loved Nokia N70, it would scuff at the back in that exact same pattern. However the talking front piece only came about this year – this was the first time I’d have to change the housing!

I liked the green housing – perhaps this led to me liking the Google Android mascot. However when my LCD started getting dull pixels (I could rub them and they would move about, like the liquid crystals were dead or something) I knew it was time for a new phone.

Hence, the HTC Desire which I posted about in the previous post. How is it now? I am discovering new things about it everyday, like its ability to play Quake 3 (or rather, Kwaak 3) over WifiKeyboard, the very awesome Google Goggles (which does read business cards, but struggles with smaller text, and shows augmented reality locations of buildings when GPS works), and of course Live Wallpapers.

My favorite add-on, however, is Swype, which let me get 61 words per minute on myTextSpeed doing the “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.“!

Sure, there is ShapeWriter for the iPhone, but you can’t use it globally – you can only create emails and notes. You’d need to copy-and-paste to use it in messages!

Desire An Android Phone

I’ve had my trusty Nokia N70 for more than 4 years now – I knew it was time when its LCD display’s liquid started leaking out (I could tell by dark lines, which you could rub to move these ‘dead’ pixels about.) It spread quickly, and I replaced the screen, but I knew it was time to get into something faster than 384 kilobits per second (the original 3G specification.)

I’ve had an unlimited data plan with DiGi since like… forever – to be exact, sometime in 2006. I’ll post a picture from ages ago when I get to blog from home! And what a long wait it was for DiGi to get a 3G license (since DiGi isn’t exactly a Malaysian company) that 3.5G, HSDPA and the likes had already arrived. And there was nobody to do video calls with (besides Jenifur at that time)!

And so, I asked the resident phone expert, smashpOp, what phone to get. At that time, I felt touchscreen phones to be annoyingly slippery and prone to mis-touching, so I preferred a keyboard, and having an extensible operating system. I knew I’d keep it for a few years like I did my Nokia N70 so it had to last.

Some Nokias were suggested, as well as the Motorola Milestone (and as an add-on, the HTC Desire.) However, upon hearing the iffy future of Symbian (plus the really cool Nokias would not be launched when I needed to buy a new phone) I headed down to Low Yat Plaza to have a hands-on on both models.

The Motorola Milestone has the same impressive 800×480 screen as the HTC Desire, but with a slide-out keyboard – however, it loses the ability to have a landscape-oriented touchscreen keyboard for when I don’t want to slide out the keyboard and type discreetly. The HTC Desire allowed me to type sideways comfortably – so it was set! I was going to get the HTC Desire… whenever the heck it was out officially.

EDITED 3rd July 2010 2:02pm +0800 GMT: Thanks Jeffrey for the heads-up – the Motorola Milestone can indeed have an auto-rotating keyboard.

The HTC Desire, while relatively dated, still holds its fort – 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, 3.7″ 800×480 pixel multi-touch AMOLED touchscreen, 576MB RAM. It has Android 2.1 (Eclair) as an operating system – which was the latest until Android 2.2 (Froyo) came out in June 2010.

Why not the Google Nexus One, which is also made by HTC, and is the twin of the HTC Desire? Because it wasn’t easily found, not officially sold in Malaysia, and it runs stock Android, while HTC installs HTC Sense, a prettier user interface which makes the phone significantly much more eye candy. Thanks smashpOp for this headsup, HTC Sense is much appreciated!

EDITED 3rd July 2010 2:02pm +0800 GMT: I was wrong about the HTC Sense – Android 2.1 introduced Live Wallpapers and it already has widgets – I found my friend’s Google Nexus One to have all that! (And I don’t like to use widgets on Windows.)

Blackberry? That is a workaholic’s phone. I don’t want to be buggered by emails.

iPhone? I don’t like Steve Jobs. He’s gone bad. Do you tell 7-15% of people to stop holding their phone that way? (That is how many percent of the population is left-handed.)

So the iPhone 4 can do video calls… but only when connected to a WiFi network!

Well then, iPhone 4 FaceTime users can leech off an Android 2.2 phone – Android 2.2 lets you turn your phone into a WiFi Hotspot!


Honestly, I don’t have much use for the HTC Widgets other than FriendStream (which combines your Twitter/Facebook/Plurk/Flickr streams), Agenda (which shows your calendar), Clock/Weather (which shows animated clouds/rain/lightning if it sees you will have inclement weather in your GPS location), and Favorites (so you can make a speed dial list.)

The rest of my 7 home screens are filled with favorite games and apps. Google Goggles is one such app, though it is purely for show – I’ve only managed to get it to work on logos, and the business-card-scanning thing works better on larger print.) From the scanning process it seems to perform edge recognition (it submits the picture to Google to match against their Google Images, I presume.) When I tried Google Goggles on a 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube, it returned “Birthday cake clip art” (but showed a similiar image which was an actual Rubik’s Cube.) Oddly, when I did it again on my 7x7x7 it returned “Rubik’s cube”!


Unfortunately, only Google Nexus One owners can legitimately update their phones to Android 2.2 – I could either do a complex hack to install Android 2.2 but lose HTC Sense, or wait for HTC to release their own firmware update with Android 2.2 and HTC Sense. I guess I’d rather wait.

Face detection and a 5 megapixel camera with flash! (Thanks Waifon for taking this picture.)

Next to my (now white) Nokia N70. I really like how the Android mascot features prominently in the user interface. This is the default caller profile image. I find it really cute.

And this is from a previous blog entry – my Nokia N70 had a green casing, a precursor to why I just find the Android mascot cute! Of course, the Android mascot is a deeper shade of green.

This was from a previous blog entry – HTC Sense allows you to set Live Wallpapers, which is quite like them Active Desktop things on Windows. (You can’t play with this particular Live Wallpaper.) You can set the difficulty of the game and Mario will encounter more enemies in more difficulty settings. Quite cool that although there are only 3 levels, when Mario reaches the same level again the enemies are randomized so you’ll see something different each time!

The other Live Wallpapers are cool, too – there’s Maps, which pretty much is Google Maps with your current location as a wallpaper! Shake Them All! lets you have little Androids in your background (and you can set the number of droids, whether it reacts to gravity, acceleration, touch, light, sound and how many percent for each!)

I really like the hard buttons of the HTC Desire – there’s Home, Menu, Back and Search. Home always brings you back, Menu and Back are context-sensitive (usually to the application), Search can be context-sensitive but usually brings up the Search Bar which lets you search your phone book or Twitter or Facebook or Google (I’m not sure what else, but it’s amazingly… integrated).

Having instant access to Search is amazing. You can be sitting with your friends, where three of them are talking about how that goal should have been an offside, and you quietly wonder, “what the heck is an offside?” and you can Google that, read it briefly, and rejoin the conversation, now able to sound like an expert. Smartphones help people look smart!

I love having Uncle Google in my pocket. Uncle G, as I call him, knows where to find everything! He’s married to Aunt W who is immensely knowledgeable.

The Android Market, where you can download free applications (Malaysians cannot access the paid applications yet) is certainly not as comprehensive as the iPhone AppStore – but there’s still a lot of similiar applications if you search for say “ruler” or “camera”. Some applications can look rather… demo-like, as there isn’t Steve Jobs dictating what can go on the Android Market or not.

Steve Jobs Reiterates: “Folks who want pr0n can buy an Android phone”

Why yes, I can have pr0n on my phone! 🙂

(And Adobe Flash too… and true multi-tasking…)

Speaking of multi-tasking – no app ever really dies. Android keeps them around but eventually flushes them from memory if you don’t use it. This makes it a lot faster to switch back and forth between apps… but it is embarrassing if you thought you closed your browser and it shows you what you were last surfing. Because you know, you can have pr0n on your phone.

Can’t Touch This

Honestly, 5 days into the phone, I still haven’t truly gotten 100% mastery of touch screens – I still end up mis-touching the edges of the screen and closing/opening stuff I did not intend to. SNesoid Lite, a SNES emulator, lets me play Super Mario World, but it’s really hard to run and jump at the same time. The nipple D-pad isn’t easy to roll, though it makes an easy click button.

Also, because the phone is a lot slimmer (very similiar to the iPhone 3G/3Gs in size – even the casings fit) it has become very hard to hold the phone with your shoulder alone! I have to say though, I really like that it uses a standard 2.5″ audio minijack for its handsfree kit (which doubles as a earphone jack).