Monthly Archives: October 2011

[WTS] Sony Alpha SLT-A55 with premiums

Item(s): Sony Alpha SLT-A55 camera, body only, and other premiums

Package includes / Pictures:

1) Sony Alpha SLT-A55 camera, body only, everything in the box included. SOLD

2) Sony 16GB Class 4 SDHC card, never opened, 2 weeks old SOLD

3) Sony Alpha Vest SOLD

4) Sony Alpha Laptop Sleeve (Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet not included, for illustration purposes only – about the same length as an iPad)

5) Sony Cybershot passport holder, cap and card holder SOLD

6) Sony Alpha Duffel Bag (imagine a Santa Claus bag but made of a leather-like plastic – its top folds to become waterproof) SOLD

7) Sony Cybershot leather bag (fits a laptop)

Price: If buying items separately:
1) Sony Alpha SLT-A55 – SOLD
2) Sony 16GB Class 4 SDHC – SOLD
3) Sony Alpha Vest – SOLD
4) Sony Alpha Laptop Sleeve – RM50
5) Sony Cybershot passport holder, cap and card holder – SOLD
6) Sony Alpha Duffel Bag – SOLD
7) Sony Cybershot leather bag – RM100

Warranty: The A55 has a Sony Extended Warranty until 7th October 2013.

Dealing method: Cash On Delivery (COD)

Location of seller: PJ or KL, anywhere accessible by public transport

Contact method/details: send a Private Message.

Age of item: 1 year

Item(s) conditions: With the exception of the A55, everything else was not used and opened only to take pictures.

Reason for sale: Upgraded to A77.

Sunday Night Artista!

24th July 2011: The Artistic Series Presents: Sunday night at Artista, Tropicana City Mall! Here’s the funky fresh Zalila Lee.

Here’s the guitar-slapping, giant-chord finger style guitarist Az Samad.

Immersive music!

Az changes his guitar tuning.

It should be noted that such a framing is made out of necessity in order to fit both Az’s head and the guitar’s head in the frame, since I use prime lenses – as such I am not able to zoom in or out.

The crowd on a Sunday night.

Brahim, I think. I used to write all their names down in a Google Calendar entry but it seems to have mysteriously wiped itself out. And so as of today, I have instilled a systematic approach to detecting whether any calendar entries are missing, by putting a simple “beginning of calendar” as the earliest calendar entry.

I have waited for this day. Ray Cheong, also a finger-style guitarist, but with funk/blues leanings, in the same gig as acoustic finger-style hero Az Samad.

He also sings, often doing a little tribute to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Alda Tan, organizer of the gig, and long-time bassist in many Malaysian bands.

Azmyl Yunor, folk hero. I had no idea that he had a Wikipedia page!

They all had a little showdown jam later that night. An awesome acoustic showdown jam.

Moonshine, July 2011

Moonshine: A Homemade Music Show, 14th July 2011.

Here is the hard-rocking Cats In Love!

They throw us nice crunchy warm tube distorted bluesy licks just like they did in the 60’s.

Jimmy of Tempered Mental looks on.

Then came the modern indie rocking Busco

…formerly known as Bus Company.

Darren Ashley on drums.

Guitar picks on floor.

Samuel Oh on vocals.

Jack in the back. (No he’s not part of Busco, though I am aware that my narrative style may lead you to think so.)

Then it was the Kugiran Warga…

…the backing band for Azmyl Yunor, folk rocker.

This time though, he was all electric, with scalloped frets!

When I see scalloped frets I only think of Yngwie Malmsteen.

Alas, Azmyl doesn’t do neo-classical – he does a street ditty with his blues harp.

Reza Salleh, the hard-working organizer of Malaysia’s longest-running gig series. Not sure if this is certified by the Malaysian Book Of Records – but the Malaysian Book Of Records is just a jaguh kampung compendium, isn’t it?

I love the new flourescent lights. Unfortunately they removed it a few months later.

Then came the progressive, heavy, artistic and technical metal of Tempered Mental.

Jimmy shows us a groove.

Jack belts out mind-blowing solos in between tricky riffs.

Also check out what Laundry Bar’s Official Photographer took here for a different perspective and more coverage: (with flash, and some borrowing my Opteka 85mm F1.4…)

Rollin’ Launch

23rd June 2011: Rollin’ Sixers record launch party, down at La Bodega Lounge! Here’s the emcee.

Here’s Eddy, the frontman. He plays a mean blues harp.

This is Jay on bass.

Henry, the shredder, never seen without his hat with 3 sixers tucked in.

Khai, also doing guitar duty. Both Henry and him exchange rock and roll licks.

Before the gig, I shot a video of Khai just walking around, looking cool. He was not aware of this or how appropriate it was with the music.

Ian on drums. A long, long time ago, when the band was called Triple6Poser, Eddy was on drums and Khai sang. But this was ages ago.

The crowd rocks out!

Eddy harping on the harp, while Khai stands on an amp.

Blues solo (again!)

The crowd grooves to the hard rock!

Lefty versus righty.

I noticed Henry’s metal guitar slide – it was short and had a narrow radius, which was undoubtedly easier to control.

Full house.

Carolynn’s sexy back.

Agent Double Seven

Meet my new 24 megapixel camera, shot by my old 24 megapixel camera through… you guessed it… a Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM lens!

Like my old 24 megapixel camera, it has a top LCD display (which I still don’t find a need for.)

However, this new 24 megapixel camera has a pop-up flash, and can trigger Sony wireless flashes!

Its screen can also flip out…

…and wave at you from the side! Heck you can even have it face the subject, or sometimes yourself, in case you’d like to camwhore.

In case you forgot where you took the picture, the built-in GPS unit will tell you.

This is, of course, none other than the Sony Alpha SLT-A77! This has a whopping 12 frames per second of APS-C goodness, the highest-pixel-density APS-C camera ever.

Size comparison to my Sony SLT-A55 and Sony DSLR-A900 (the old 24 megapixel camera.)

So how is it?

My A77 came out of the box with firmware v1.03.

Somehow I get the feeling that it’s not comfortable getting tested with my Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 45MB/s card – it occasionally kicks up the “writing to card error – cancel/retry?” message. I let it run through the process, which I presume ‘undeletes’ files, and may possibly wipe files from other cameras i.e. my previous A55 pictures. After that it didn’t happen again, but then I didn’t do burst-mode testing with RAW again. The writing speeds after bursts are not consistent (they were, on the Memory Stick Pro Duo HG 30MB/s with the A55).

In general yes, it does seem a bit sluggish in certain screens, enough that Sony should be doing something about it right now.

So, how does it perform with the Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 45MB/s card?

Rough testing with 12 FPS mode; I held down the shutter until it slowed down and I stopped pressing the shutter.
RAW+JPG = 11 shots before slowdown, 9 seconds (from release) before black screen clears, 16 seconds (from release) before red light clears. About 0.7 FPS if you continue holding down the shutter when it slows down.
24 megapixel Extra Fine JPG = 12 shots before slowdown, 7 seconds (from release) before black screen clears, 11 seconds (from release) before red light clears. About 1.3 FPS if you continue holding down the shutter when it slows down.
24 megapixel Standard JPG = 13 shots before slowdown, 5 seconds (from release) before black screen clears, 6 seconds (from release) before red light clears. About 3 FPS if you continue holding down the shutter when it slows down.
6 megapixel Standard JPG = 13 shots before slowdown, 2 seconds (from release) before black screen clears, 4 seconds (from release) before red light clears. About 4-5 FPS if you continue holding down the shutter when it slows down.

Note that there is a variance where the black screen and red light may clear faster, or occasionally slower. Also, you are able to half-press to kill the black screen and resume shooting (usually) unlike how it was on the A55.

If you continue holding down the shutter, the FPS slows down or speeds up sometimes.

I also tried using the RMT-DSLR1 remote to trigger all three cameras with a flash in manual power mounted – the A900 fired first, followed by the A77, and the A55. So there is still a bit of flash delay, but not as bad as the A55. I haven’t done meticulous testing for this, but if the delay isn’t causing me to lose photos, I’d just leave it at that.

Picture of the A77 with F58 mounted in CTRL/CTRL2 mode, triggering the F43 and F56, not possible previously on a 7-series body!

As a crazy bonus, it seems that the camera totally supports wireless flash using the F20 on body, the F43/F58 in CTRL/CTRL2 mode to trigger an F56, which was only possible on the A850 and A900 before this!

So what about actual pictures from the A77? Well I’ve posted some before:
Jakling And The A77
A77/A65/NEX-5N Launch, Part 1

Jakling And The A77

I had a chance to try the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 thanks to Sony. We had Jakling, a model, work with us to get these shots. This would be a great opportunity to see what this 24 megapixel APS-C sensor camera could do!

The pop-up flash was used to trigger an off-camera HVL-F58AM flash in this one.

Thanks to Michael Chee, our tall Voice Activated Lightstand!

Wide, with the Sony 16-50mm F2.8 DT SSM.

These are all JPGs straight out of the camera.

I think this was the High Contrast Monochrome picture effect.

This, the Posterization (color) effect.

Posterization (black and white).

Soft filter. I love how it treats overexposure!

Smile Detection, with the LCD screen turned to face her so she could see herself smiling. 😀

Bokeh from the 16-50mm is, well, average. 28mm F2.8.

Top: Lens correction off.
Bottom: Lens correction on.

This feature only works for four lenses at the moment:
1) Sony 16-50mm F2.8 DT SSM
2) Sony 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 DT SAM
3) Sony 55-200mm F4.0-5.6 DT SAM II (note that this is not the same as the screw-driven Sony 55-200mm F4.0-5.6 DT)
4) Sony 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DT

Sony plans to add support for more lenses with firmware updates.

45mm F3.5 ISO100 1/250s.

I tweaked the levels slightly on this one. Note where the shadows are. This is also a portrait-oriented crop of a landscape shot.

This is a 100% crop of the above picture, not from the JPG, but from the RAW, processed with Adobe Camera RAW 6.5. (As always, ACR and Lightroom get the RAW support first.) I have intentionally pulled the shadows and restored the highlights so you get an idea how far a RAW file from the A77 can go. I could’ve pulled the shadows more but it would’ve looked very unnatural.

Sure, the shadows do exhibit some noise, but remember that I pulled it from pretty much black into midtone territory, making it no longer ISO100!

Moonshine, June 2011

Moonshine: A Homemade Music Show, June 16th 2011 at Laundry Bar. Here’s emcee Faiz!

Maharajah Commission with some off-kilter rock stuff.

Man I don’t know what this is – an electric banjo?

The Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8 on the A900 never disappoints for gigs in low light, like these.

The Carl Zeiss 24mm F2.0 on the A900 meanwhile, covers the wide end.

Next up – a hard-rocking band I hadn’t seen in ages!

This is Naked Breed.

Jack the shredder.

Justin in a hoodie, never once showing his bald head.

Rudy and friend.


Catchy rock in Malay.

Ajin, brother of Ajan the vocalist.

Hot chick soundwoman!

Ryan L.B. on drums for the last band of the night…

Darren Ashley!

I was quite surprised to see his musical direction now – it was all flashy dancey rock with a dose of electronica.

Large crowd!

You gotta listen to his stuff:

Initially I wondered why he started dancing like Justin Bieber but then I should rephrase it – perhaps more like he had moves like Jagger.

Though I doubt that people who listen to radio know what Mick Jagger’s swagger is like.

Sound and lights!

Yeah they turned on the colored flourescent lights behind, and it was amazing!

He has always been blowing away people’s minds with his multiple talents, like beatboxing, rapping, singing in Chinese, and funky fingerstyle, becoming a one-man band… formerly known as Two Hand Band.

I wonder what’s with the wardrobe change though.

He used to be decked out in white shirts.

Gotta love the flourescent light! Too bad they removed it.

The big ensemble.

After the show.

My Apple Story

I am admittedly an Android fanboy, but today I shall tell you the stories of Apple and my close encounters with the tech giant.

Steve Jobs passed away from pancreatic cancer on the 5th of October 2011. The Internet was abuzz with stories of how they loved Apple and Steve Jobs. The Internet, just the day before, was abuzz with Apple lovers and Apple haters all trolling the underwhelming iPhone 4S. I resisted the urge to troll because really, I did have respect for him, although I never agreed with any of Apple’s products. I understood why they were made that way, but I also knew that they didn’t work for my way.

When I was a kid, I first saw my cousins playing Karateka on their computer. Years later, I found out that it was actually an Apple clone. Remember back in the days when computers were either made by IBM, or “IBM compatible”? Yes, other companies made Apple-compatible clones back then, legally. Of course, Apple no longer allows this.


When I was about 12 years old, I learnt BASICA from my dad’s IBM-compatible XT computer. It loaded off a diskette. I learnt how to write my first HELLO WORLD program from books that he had photocopied and binded.

10 CLS
30 END

One Chinese New Year, I met my uncle (not related to those cousins) and he told me he studied Computer Science in the United States. He programmed in BASIC, too… but not in BASICA. Instead, he programmed in Apple BASIC! When he told me this, it was as if he had come from an alternate parallel universe! He pulled out a book about Apple BASIC and I read it. Whoa, what weirdness is this? I thought.

It is interesting to note, that BASIC brought Microsoft and Apple together many years ago, when Steve Wozniak was making a BASIC interpreter for Apple, and he just never got around to making it support floating-point numbers. (I find it weird that Steve Jobs didn’t then dictate that it would not be, and that decimal points and real numbers don’t exist.) And so, Apple turned to Microsoft, who had made a BASIC interpreter that supported floating point operations, and asked for help.

Throughout my high school life I was surrounded by IBM-compatible PCs and Microsoft Windows. Quake was the rage, and I brought my computer to school so we could all play Counter-Strike 5.5, I think.

Jam Hari-Hari

It wasn’t until I was in college, when I would hang out at malls, that I’d bump into Jamhari, my old schoolmate, who was working at Machines, 1 Utama. They had an electric guitar there, and it was plugged to a Power Mac G4 (I think) running Garageband. It was then I got a feel of the mouse that had no right-click. It was slippery and weird. Why couldn’t I just maximize a screen, dammit? Worse of all was that when I turned on an effect of any kind, there would be a delay between what I played and what came out of the speakers. I can’t remember if the delay was there when all effects were off. And often, it would crash.

So yeah, I had a good idea of how ‘stable’ Mac products were.

At home, I had built my own PC, and put in a SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 card, with a microphone input. I borrowed (another) cousin’s electric guitar and plugged it in. The SBLive! card allowed you to tweak EAX effects and add distortion, autowah, flanger, and so on, all in real time, with no lag!

So again, I gave a big meh at the big shiny metal Power Mac G4. What a load of overpriced, underperforming crap it was, I thought.

My First Opposition

At that time, I’d listen to MP3s on my MP3 player, that doubled as a USB thumb drive. I could just copy songs in, and copy them out, with nobody getting in my way. The iPod, however, would only let you copy songs in, but not out, and only through iTunes, and it could occasionally wipe out your songs if you hold it the wrong way. Nah I’m just kidding about the hold-wrong-way part. 😉

Plus, I never understood the whole click wheel navigation. So I thought the iPod was gay. To own it back then, you’d either have to be gay, or a musician. That impression of mine continued on to the hipsters lugging Macbooks around.

I understand why the iPod did that, to protect the music industry. However, that was none of my business – I just wanted to get my songs from home to office and back.


It was around then that I was frequently chatting with Mystery Wolf on MSN. I remember that she had an iMac, and MSN for iMac was missing a lot of features like voice chat. I remember us thinking how sucky it was to have a Mac back then, to have lousy software support.

I also remember the Machines shops, because they were the only places that sold games for Macs! Again, I laughed and felt pity for them when I saw a small shelf of games. Quake 2 was there. In the PC shop next door, they’d sell Quake 3 for Windows! It was quite a while after that I noticed Quake 3 for Mac. Which is funny, since I have the impression that John Carmack and company liked Macs, but understood that the market was with the Microsoft platform.

Powered By Mac

Meanwhile, at Digital Five where I worked, a new Creative Director was hired, and he was all into Macs. So he bought all the designers Powermac G5 workstations! The developers were just like me – what, program on a Mac? No way. So we chose to get souped-up Dells instead.

I remember that whenever a designer asked me for help and I took that (again) slippery mouse, I ended up being frustrated when I just wanted to click something on the side of the screen and I end up teleporting to another screen. Dammit, stop flipping already!

After a year, some of the Macs weren’t in such good shape and were crashing. Some designers were not enamoured at all by the end of the experience, and would rather use a PC.

When the iPhone came, but in Malaysia, amongst the people I knew, nobody knew about it.

Then the iPhone 3G came. Again, nobody.

It wasn’t until the iPhone 3GS that I knew of two colleagues, both designers, who secretly desired the iPhone 3GS but would not admit it. So they both secretly went to order it. I was there, I touched it, but I wasn’t enamoured – I didn’t like the idea of touchscreens then, as they felt slippery to me. Typing on the keyboard, to me, was like playing Super Mario and running all the time – you’ll slide off the edges and fall into holes! I didn’t like that feeling at all.

And then, Apple really took off in Malaysia. I’d say the level of fanboyism multiplied greatly as of the iPhone 3GS. Before this, could you ever get annoyed by someone who loved his/her iPod? Not likely. The iPhone 3GS however, amplified antisocial behavior at dinners and parties. If anybody started playing with their phones and annoying their company, it was the iPhone 3GS owners first.

Somehow, Blackberry owners never got any flak, because we knew Blackberry people were attending to serious business, while iPhone owners were just playing games!

It seemed around the same time, that Macbook owners started coming out. I’m sure people owned Macbooks before this, just that they didn’t express their love as openly as they did before. So I’d see someone I knew with a Macbook and I’d think, “eh, I didn’t know you were gay!”

Then of course came the iPad, iPhone 4 and iPad 2. I still resist the urge to ask people which contest they won their iPad 2 from (this punchline was stolen from Yauhui…)

In my opinion, iOS was always missing some big feature, be it MMS, 3G, Bluetooth, multitasking, good notifications, voice recognition, that would only be introduced in the next version. I always thought iOS to be incomplete, compared to mature OSes like Symbian.

A modern smartphone is made of:
– a CPU
– a 3G/4G radio (radio meaning wireless modem, really, not a AM/FM radio)
– a touchscreen
– one or more cameras
– an external, removable storage slot
– internal storage
– a Bluetooth radio
– a WiFi radio

Every smartphone OS before iOS allowed full interoperability between each of the above components.

I could take a picture with my camera, put the micro SD card in the phone, and upload it via 3G or WiFi, or even Bluetooth it to a friend.

Heck I could take a picture and Bluetooth it to a friend. Or send a contact via Bluetooth.

I could have a 3G video call, involving the 3G radio and the camera.

I could run a WiFi website from my phone, so my computer could access all its files wirelessly, including the songs.

The iPhone, of course, could not do any of that! Why do I have to email an iPhone user a picture, when their phone is right next to mine? What if we can’t get an Internet connection and we’re at a restaurant underground where there is no 3G reception?

That is why I say the iPhone is a smartphone, but it’s not smart enough.

Sure, you can jailbreak the iPhone and hack it to your heart’s content, installing Android-style notifications and Android-style “Live Wallpapers”… but an un-hacked Android still is a lot more capable, out of the box. Heck you can’t interact with the fake Live Wallpapers on jailbroken iPhones. On Android you can click the Live Wallpaper (or tilt the phone, or cover the light meter, or talk to it) to interact with it.


I see why Apple did what they did. Why they left out so many features. They wanted each feature to be perfect in their view, and it’s quite likely that a feature that could not be completed by a certain date would be pushed to next year’s release.

I am also begrudgingly thankful to Steve Jobs for killing. He killed the arrow keys! The first Macintosh didn’t have arrow keys so that people were forced to use the mouse. Of course, the keys came back in the next Mac, and we all eventually got used to the mouse. Eventually.

He also killed the CD, with the iPod, and the iPad, that won’t accept CDs!

He killed resistive screens, for which I am thankful.

He killed buttons with the iPhone. Though some may view the 3 compulsory buttons on Android and Windows Phone 7 to be old-school thinking, I disagree. The Back, Home and Menu buttons make multi-tasking on Android far superior. (Pressing Back on Windows Phone 7 when at Home loads the last loaded app, which is really neat, because it undoes a Home press!)

You may say hey, doesn’t iOS have multi-tasking? Sure, but you can’t flow between programs as easily. An example:

You’re playing Angry Birds, and you waste a bird and want to restart the level. Then you see the ad for a fluffy Angry Bird collectible. You click on it.

It loads the Android Browser. You want to share this with your friends on Facebook. So you long-press on the URL and click Share page. Android shows you a list of applications that you can use to share URLs with.

Like so. (Yes, I have an unreleased Twitter app.)

I choose Facebook, and Facebook loads a dialog that lets me post the URL. I am now in the Facebook app! So I shared it, and I press Back, and I am back in the Browser!

I can then long-press the URL again, and click Share page, and choose to share it over Google+, or ANY app that I have installed on my Android, that is capable of sharing!

So yeah, where was I? Angry Birds. So I press Back, and the Browser window closes, and I am back playing Angry Birds.

Angry Birds -> Browser -> Facebook -> back to Browser -> Google+ -> back to Browser -> back to Angry Birds

Note that I did not have to press the Home button (like on iOS) to get back to the Browser or Angry Birds. I just press Back.

This also helps if I am doing something important, and I get distracted by an incoming message. I reply the message, then I press Back, and I get to continue whatever important thing it was that I was doing!

Meanwhile, iOS doesn’t let an app launch another app. They’d rather you open a link in a browser window, within your app. You also cannot share to any program you like, so you’ll have to wait a while before your favorite apps let you share with Google+ or LinkedIn or Flickr etc.

If you’ve taken a picture on Android, you can Share the picture with any app that can share pictures or edit them! So I don’t have to load the PicPlz app and take another picture just so I can use a PicPlz effect on it! Or a MyTubo effect. Or a Paper Camera effect. Or a Flickr effect.

And so I wonder where Apple is going, seriously – they seem to be listening to what people want, or what other people have, a bit too much lately – look at iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S! How much of that is anything as nefarious as Steve ripping the arrow keys out and forcing people to use the mouse, or ripping out the right-click, or removing the floppy disk drive, or?

Nothing has been forced on the customer in 2011. In iOS 5, users have the option to set notifications to drop down from the top (banner), pop-up in front (alert) or not show at all. I don’t see any of Steve’s trademark, radically changing and forcing users to learn something new. How will users migrate then, if it is optional? Who is going to tell you that you’re holding it wrong?

Yeah, I guess I would miss someone like that, telling people that they’re holding it wrong. Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.