Monthly Archives: November 2011

Sony SLT-A77 v1.04 Compared To v1.03 Speed

So I’ve updated my A77 to firmware version 1.04, but the lagginess in certain menus is still there. We tested with William Leong‘s A77, on v1.04, and mine on v1.03:

Initially everyone thought that v1.04 improved the speed to switch between LCD and EVF using the Eye-Start Sensor but as it turns out, from a side-by-side comparison, that it was perceptual and random. Both cameras had no memory card inside, though we were not able to match lenses since nobody brought matching lenses at the gathering, oddly.

Even turning on the A77 was the same speed!

We were not able to fairly test turning off the camera, as we didn’t have matching lenses, and it would be hard to record a video showing the EVF going off (or the anti-dust mechanism whirring.)

We did not do any noise tests – that would be far more tedious!

The link to download the A77 v1.04 firmware is here:

Thanks to 8tvt whose A77 with the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 was used to record this video. Thanks also for uploading it for us!

Going Up To Genting For A Knight

…and that is a most Sir Reginald Kenneth Dwight-like title. So I went up to the Arena Of Stars to see the rocket man, the piano rock-and-roll star, Elton John!

Yeah I am not strongly familiar with his discography, but I managed to write down a setlist of what he performed (using audio recording to figure out Honky Cat and The Bitch Is Back – but otherwise the other songs are recognizeable.)

1. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
2. I’m Still Standing
3. Levon
4. Madman Across The Water
5. Tiny Dancer
6. Philadelphia Freedom
7. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
8. Candle In The Wind
9. Rocket Man
10. I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
11. Hey Ahab
12. Gone To Shiloh
13. Monkey Suit
14. Sacrifice
15. Honky Cat
16. Sad Songs (Say So Much)
17. Daniel
18. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
19. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
20. Bennie And The Jets
21. The Bitch Is Back
22. Crocodile Rock

23. Your Song
24. Circle Of Life
25. Can You Feel The Love Tonight

This is what I could see from the seats I could afford.

I am still heterosexual, despite his fabulous performance! So you may wonder why I was so keen to go up to see him – I would say that although I don’t know all his songs, I do feel very strongly about certain songs that have a most epic quality about them.

Unfortunately he didn’t play the Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding but he still did the epic Tiny Dancer (which is forever ingrained in every rocker’s brain, in the movie Almost Famous, when they all get on the bus, bedraggled and exhausted, but they sing along to this song on the radio.)

And, of course, Dave Grohl’s excellent cover.

Then, there’s Daniel – he played it like it was, a happier, gospel-ish tune. I knew the song first when Fuel covered it, making it emotional – which the song is, anyway, about a deceased war veteran who is the narrator’s brother. So was the original too happy? And if so, did Fuel just make a very excellent cover?

He didn’t pull out any stops at the song after that, Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word. Perhaps the emo was being saved for that.

His band, with Davey Johnstone having more than one double-neck guitar, and Nigel Olsson on drums. This was in fact the first time I’d ever seen a double-neck guitar in action, live.

After the show, I saw a bit of American Idol Season 10 Top 3, where the fantastic Haley Reinhart covered Bennie And The Jets in a most rockish way. What a coincidence! She did it very well, too.

This was her first performance of Bennie And The Jets. I can’t figure out which was better – this, or her performance of this same song after she was eliminated.

So it would seem, perhaps, that Elton John songs are pliable and can make great covers. The songs are sparse enough to add embellishments, and the chord progressions keep the songs strong however you’d cover it.

Another strong reason for me to go, was to see Rose Stone of the legendary multi-cultural funk band Sly And The Family Stone. She had a bright blonde wig on, a style she had when performing with brothers Sly Stone and Freddie Stone. She was beautiful as ever, as a compliment you’d give to someone’s mother (she’s 66!) Her daughter, Lisa Stone was also singing backup vocals for Elton John. She was demure when Elton was naming all the members of the band – and you can see her demureness in this video:

Not forgetting 2Cellos, which were the opening act, were also part of his band.

As it turns out, I’d seen this video before! They were discovered from YouTube.

Rubik’s Cube Blindfold Solving: My Method

This would have been an email to Edrei but I thought it would be good to share.

You should read this first, to get a good idea of how to do a cube blindfolded:

As of time of writing, I have not ever solved a regular 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube blindfolded (definition: you get to look at it once, then when you look at it again it must be solved, and the cubes are all equal size, texture and shape to avoid differentiation by touch. The Rubik’s Mirror has cubes of different sizes and I can solve that blindfolded.)

I was hospitalized for contact dermatitis – I’m fine don’t worry, and I’m out of the hospital already! So I took the time spent there to learn how to do it blindfolded.

I use the Stefan Pochmann method as described in the link above, where you swap two pieces at a time, and remember which pieces to swap. I would either solve all edges first or all corners first.

Each corner sticker is given a letter. Each edge sticker is also given a letter. Since there are 24, it seems right to give each one an alphabet!



This assumes you have a proper Rubik’s Cube where the yellow is opposite white, red opposite orange, blue opposite green, like in the picture. You can choose any method of distributing the letters on the stickers.

There are only two formulas to truly learn – the T-Permutation and a (modified) Y-Permutation. The T-Permutation works on the edges while the Y-Permutation works on the corners.

The T-Permutation and (modified) Y-Permutation are actually made of 2 same sequences!

Sequence 1 = RU R’U’R’ FR
Sequence 2 = R U’R’U’ RU R’F’

The T-Permutation is Sequence 1 then Sequence 2.

The Y-Permutation is Sequence 2 then Sequence 1.

The T-Permutation swaps UL and UR edges, and UFR and UBR corners. UR is the source piece, so move the target ‘slot’ into UL in any way you prefer on the condition that you not displace UFR and UBR!

The Y-Permutation swaps LUB and DFR corners, and UL and UB edges. LUB is the source piece, so move the target ‘slot’ into DFR in any way you prefer on the condition that you not displace UL and UB!

So in an example cube, I would do the corners by looking at the corner with Q first, then seeing what is the corner piece with the V sticker, and determining where it should go. An example sequence:


Then I would work on the edges, for example:


There was a closed cycle, which is why it took longer – on a good day you’d only have to remember 10 letters. For some reason, remembering them on my fingers seems to help. Remembering is not the problem – screwing up on one of the sequences, or doing the wrong reversal steps e.g. moving edge T to position in B via the back face and reversing the steps via the front face!

I have done a complete edge-only blindfold solve (very hard) and a complete corner-only blindfold solve (less hard since there are less corners than edges.) I have yet to commit to memory both a edge letter sequence and a corner letter sequence. Ah, there is so much to practice!

Urbanscapes 2011!

16th July 2011: Urbanscapes 2011, down at Padang Astaka!

Bumped into ex-colleague Sook Rong…

…and her friend. Ultra-wide perspectives from the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG on the full-frame Sony Alpha 900.

This makes for real easy camwhoring…

…and random grab shots.

It was muddy all over. Reza Salleh smartly came in boots!

Jon YKT, from the back!

Liyana Fizi, from the front!

The weather was nice for a picnic.


Water-conducted beats.

More deco for Publika, a new, very artsy shopping mall in Solaris Dutamas.

Cable rolls have a second life.

The sun was unrelenting.

Sheena! She was spitting rhymes and spoken word. First time I’d seen her do this!

Nearby, you could register to vote. Which you should, anyway.

The original Polaroid SX-70?

One of the few air-conditioned places. This was notably different from KL Performing Arts Center, where you could retreat into the air-conditioned halls and freshen up in the toilets. Instead, at Padang Astaka, we got portable toilets, nowhere as comfortable.

Reza Salleh performing on stage!

Perhaps, suntan tattoos are in.

The Moonshine booth.

A collection of Moonshine posters.

Malaysian records, sold at the Moonshine booth.

Graffiti artists and fans.

So yeah I was saying, picnic…

Which, ironically, Guitar Hero was not. I played against two different people in two different booths, at Hard difficulty.

Now I admit that I do play Expert difficulty most of the time except for extremely technical metal songs… so I was expecting to win both rounds. Instead, I found myself neck-to-neck with my contenders, often trading first and second place! (I ultimately lost both.)

This made me happy somewhat, to know that the level of Guitar Hero-ship has greatly improved.

Sheena, one such secret champion. She admitted to playing Expert, sometimes. Good game!