Friday, July 30, 2010

Nearest Circle Line MRT station to Marina Square

Seems like the Marina Square link to Esplanade is up and running for quite some time. The nearest MRT to Marina Square is now Esplanade MRT. The entrance/exit to the Circle Line station is next to Gain City on level 2.

Death kneel for City Link? I've seen quite a number of shops closing down along that route.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

iPhone 4 Prices are all out

The iPhone plans are out for M1, Singtel and Starhub, just in time for the 30 July launch. You can take a look at the individual plans if you click on the above links.You can also take a look at my previous post here on the pricing direct from the Apple Store.

Apple is continuing the tradition of putting the previous generation of the iPhone as the lowest cost model. However if I recall correctly, all the prices seem to be cheaper than when the iPhone 3GS was launched. Hope this continues every year. :)

Based on the pricing, Starhub seems to be the most expensive, other than the Apple Store. That is surprising as the telcos will usually match each other's pricing to prevent churning. M1 and Singtel prices are almost the same, with the exception of the iPhone 3GS price (Singtel is slightly cheaper).

Starhub no longer interested in market share?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So weird. It's user friendliness that will attract

Just read something interesting. Apparently, someone has compared Ubuntu with Windows & Mac and said that Ubuntu is much better because of its
  • Security Updates
  • App-store like interface that allows you to install other applications

Seriously though, what attracts users to use a system is never about security updates or ease of installing applications. Will you use a system that prompts you:
  • to edit configuration files to change some options
  • to mount drives if you wish to plug in external devices
  • some weird error codes that only a geek can understand

Well, I guess not. It's always user friendliness that will win the most users. I have not yet use Ubuntu and my experience is limited to Fedora Core. However, I do know that Linux problems are yet to be resolved. Problems with user friendliness. Linux is still a geek OS. :) Agree?

Can't find a reason to get an iPad

For someone who already has an iPhone and a Mac, I find it very difficult to convince myself to get an iPad. I've spent some time in the Epicentre trying out the iPad on the date of the iPad launch. While trying out, I was trying to figure out how will I use it.

My conclusion? There is nothing that I fancy that is available in the iPad, but not on the iPhone / Mac. However, I do see a market for enterprise customers like I have previously indicated in my post here. After playing around with Numbers, Pages and KeyNote, I do find that it's a useful tool for minor editing / approving documents on the move.

Need to modify your presentation deck slightly before the presentation? Need to look at some numbers that you've churned out previously in your spreadsheet? How about approving a word document sent to you for approval? iPad is good for that. Other than that and the obvious multimedia usage, I do not see anything else that excites me. Maybe games no longer appeal to me. Oh well.

Apple Online Store selling iPhone 4 this Friday

Apple has announced that the Apple online store will sell the iPhone 4 for $888 for the 16GB model, and $1048 for the 32GB version this Friday. Free bumper cases will be given out together with the iPhone 4.

Finally they are taking steps to address the insane queues? Oh well. At least that means the phones will be unlocked. Interesting that all the telcos have yet to announce their pricing. With Apple's announcement, iPhone 4 may be sold cheaper by the telcos.

However, the white iPhone 4 may not be available as there are rumors that it is facing production issues. This may also mean that the iPhone 4 will not undergo any major design changes for it's antenna problem as it does not make sense to continue selling a product that you are going to change.

Clarity is always good for the market. Good for us.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Life Balance

I quote from Brian Dyson:

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them - work, family, health, friends, and spirit - and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends, and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.

A short paragraph from the ex-CEO of Coca Cola that describes the importance of balance in our lives.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Questions that you do not ask will come back to haunt you

Today I realised that you should always ask all the stupid questions you can think of when you purchase an aircon. Today I spent half a day figuring out what was that stupid green indicator light that came on suddenly for my indoor unit and how to reset it.

Case in question? My Hitachi System 3 Inverter aircon indoor unit. Below is the image that caused me half a day of trouble.

There was a green indicator light below the grid-light icon. After digging out the manual, I realised that this indicates that my air filter is due to be cleaned. Apparently, Hitachi has added this feature where the indoor unit will remind you to clean the air filter after 100 hours of usage. Okay. Fine. Not a problem. I vacuumed the air filter and fixed it back.

Now the problem came. How do I get rid of the green icon? According to the manual, the green light will disappear if you power off and on the indoor unit. The problem is where is the stupid power switch? After searching high and low, I finally found the main power switch at the aircon ledge. Switching it off will power off the whole aircon system apparently. Fine.

The problem? The green indicator light disappeared after I powered off but it came back on again once the power is on. The manual is in-accurate! Grrr. So the next course of action? Power on my laptop and search for a solution.

Finally, I found a line indicated in another Hitachi aircon unit that to reset this air filter lamp indicator, you'll need to press the louver switch on the remote when the aircon is off. That finally resolved the problem!

This stupid problem delayed my house cleaning schedule by almost 3 hours. Have to cancel all my plans for today. And I haven't had my lunch. :(

Inflation is up 2.7%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2010:
January: 0.2%
February: 1.0%
March: 1.6%
April: 3.2%
May: 3.2%
June: 2.7%

Transport and Housing are leading the pack instead, rising by 10.3% and 2.3% respectively year on year. Inflation was surprisingly tamer than last month, due to the decrease of Recreation & Others due to the Great Singapore Sale and lowering of the Transport prices (cars & petrol).

The lowering of the Transport inflation (compared to 15% previous month) is surprising as I thought the COE prices will cause the inflation to rocket sky high and the oil price has been fairly stable. Not really sure how the inflation is being calculated now for Transport. However, since I was not in Singapore for quite some time in June, I reserve my comments. I may have missed out on some news. :)

Inflation for July may be slightly lower due to the Distance based charging that came into place. However, COE prices have also been shooting up this month. Hard to say which direction it will go. I feel though that the Distance based charging will cause the inflation to dip slightly.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kin is Finally Dead

Seems like 2 months after I posted some thoughts about the Microsoft Kin here, Microsoft discontinued sales of this phone. As I have indicated in that post, idea is good but in reality, it is not feasible due to the EDGE/3G performance.

Seriously, why would you get it if Android already provides something similar? Why copy instead of innovating?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another problem with Android Market

Another danger of open-source has revealed itself in the Android platform. Being open-source, anyone can create anything that they want and according to CNet, there are apps in the Android market that already make calls and sends text messages without any action from the user.

Just imagine if a developer creates an app that automatically sends SMSes to a premium number. You do not need to imagine the charges you'll automatically rack up. As I recall, this is virtually impossible on the iPhone unless it's jailbroken. At least it was true for the iPhone OS3.

Of course that doesn't mean that an app containing malware will not be available in the iPhone AppStore. However due to the restrictions on the iPhone APIs and the approval process, this danger is greatly reduced. In the Android Market, there are no such safeguards. It really depends on the developer.

Main reason why I never try to jailbreak my iPhone.

iPad is coming to Singapore on 23 Jul

Updated 20 Jul 2010: Price List for the different versions

Apple iPad is coming to Singapore starting at S$728 from 23 Jul, available at Apple reseller shops. The price from Apple is as follows:

iPad 16GB WifiS$728
iPad 32GB WifiS$878
iPad 64GB WifiS$1028
iPad 16GB Wifi+3GS$928
iPad 32GB Wifi+3GS$1078
iPad 64GB Wifi+3GS$1228

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Monday, July 19, 2010

We are all imperfect

I quote from Thomas Carlyle:

Imperfection clings to a person, and if they wait till they are brushed off entirely, they would spin for ever on their axis, advancing nowhere.

Never stop just because it's imperfect. We all are. Advance, learn and most importantly, improve.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Why did Apple missed the Antenna problem?

It's quite obvious why Apple did not realised about the Antenna problem. If you have followed the news from Gizmodo, Apple used an iPhone 3G case to enclose the iPhone 4. Therefore during their tests, it is not possible for them to detect this problem.

Apple's secrecy has turned against them in this case for the iPhone 4. I guess Apple did not realise that the new antenna technology will cause such a major problem. Is there a way to resolve this problem for the iPhone 4? Of course not. It's a design issue. I'm curious on how Apple will resolve this problem next year for the new iPhone.

For now, I guess you have to get the bumper case to resolve the antenna problem. Even though I'm right-handed, for some reason I use my left hand quite regularly to use the iPhone and my hand do cover the lower left hand corner of the iPhone.

Oh well... No iPhone 4 for me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Legally Transfer your Apps to other iPhones

Recently I found a way to legally transfer your apps to another iPhone. Some software licences allow you to install the software on 3 machines. For the iPhone, all your apps can be installed on a maximum of 5 iPhones. This is how you can do it.
  1. Ensure that the apps you wish to transfer is in your iPhone
  2. Run the iTunes (mine is v9.2) you wish to transfer your apps to 
  3. If you have not authorised the computer, Go to Store > Authorize This Computer and key in your iTunes credentials (Note that you can only authorise up to a maximum of 5 computers including your own)
  4. Plug in your iPhone. You will see your iPhone on the left hand side. 
  5. Right-click on your iPhone and click on Transfer Purchases

That's it. This will transfer all your current apps in your iPhone into that iTunes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Zealand Food!

Surprisingly, there is a wide variety of food that I've found during my New Zealand 12 day tour. Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Chinese. You name it, and most probably that particular type of food is tucked away in some corner.

Cost of breakfast can be as little as NZD5 for 2 sandwiches. Breakfast can be easily bought from the many convenience shops that are scattered around New Zealand. The more common ones that I've seen is the Night and Day foodstore. Cost of lunch varies and it can cost up to NZD13, depending on your choice. However, I did notice that there are always set lunches sold for a special price of NZD10. Dinner wise may set you back by about NZD25 per person, depending on what you eat. I've tried their beef steak and it is delicious. Coffee is provided free of charge from the hotel but if you wish to order it from outside, it's about NZD3.50.

Below are some of the photos I've taken on the western food that I've tried.

Cost NZD36 (Queenstown) and consist of Wild Southland venison, lettuce, bacon and cranberry, roast kumara

Fergburger from Queenstown. Cost NZD10 and contains Prime NZ Beef, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli & tomato relish 

Moose Meat Loaf from the Moose Bar at Te Anau. Cost NZD19.50

Sticky Date Pudding from the Moose Bar and costs about NZD9.50

Steak and Cheese pie from the Royal Albatross Centre cafe. Costs about NZD10.50

Stone-grilled beef from Lake Tekapo. Cook your beef in any way you want on the hot stone. Costs about NZD19.50

Steak set lunch from Sir Edmund Hillary alpine centre. Costs between NZD10 to NZD13 (cannot recall)

Salmon Quiche from Sir Edmund Hillary alpine centre. Costs below NZD10 (cannot recall)

I think its a Venison pie from Arrowtown bakery. Cannot recall the price.

Hot and spicy chicken pie from Arrowtown bakery. Cannot recall the price.

Double scoop ice-cream from Wendys. Only cost about NZD4.20

Cute Yellow Eyed Penguins!

One of the tours conducted by the Monarch Wildlife Cruises in my New Zealand 12 day tour is visit to the yellow eyed penguin reserve also known as the Penguin Place at Dunedin. While in the reserve, a guide will lead you on foot through a unique system of covered trenches into viewing hides that allows access to the living areas and breeding grounds of this shy penguin, which provides the opportunity to witness and photograph undisturbed activity at close range.

Within the Penguin Place, there is also a small hospital that cares for injured penguins. When I visited the place, there is a penguin being treated for abrasions to its leg. Below is a picture of that injured penguin.

Fiordland crested penguin (I think)

We also had a chance to see the penguins beach themselves from the sea. Below is a picture of such a penguin.

Yellow-eyed penguin approaching the beach

As the yellow-eyed penguin is endangered, some help was given to the penguins in terms of providing shelter and breeding grounds. Below is such a wooden shelter being built to aid the survival of the penguins.

Shelter for the yellow-eyed penguin

Below are some of the photos that I've taken around the reserves. It is possible to spend the whole day with them without getting tired of their unique calls and weird walking behaviors. :)

Yellow-eyed penguin walking towards its shelter

Yellow-eyed penguin taking a rest

One of the penguins climbing up a hill

Weird walking style of the penguin. :)

Wildlife Cruise from Wellers Rock

One of the tours conducted by the Monarch Wildlife Cruises in my New Zealand 12 day tour is a Wildlife Cruise from Wellers Rock at Dunedin. In this cruise, you will take a boat out to Taiaroa Head; the only mainland nesting place for Northern Royal Albatross in the world, and home to New Zealand fur seals, and many other bird species. Interesting place if you have an interest in seeing wildlife in its natural environment.

Below is the boat that took us out to Taiaroa Head.

Monarch Cruise Boat

In this boat, the crew will give you a running commentary of the different wildlife you'll see while on board. Binoculars and warm overcoats will also be provided if you require them. In this boat ride, we saw a variety of birds and we even saw a yellow-eyed penguin out in the sea and a Wandering Albatross. Some sea lions (I think) were also playing with us by the boat.

As it is winter, I believe we're not seeing the full range of bird species in that area. I guess there will be more during spring. Below are some of the photos that I've taken in that cruise.

One of the birds swimming out in the sea

Some Spotted Shags

Spotted Shag strutting its stuff

Stewart island shag (I think) in flight

A bird in flight

New Zealand Fur Seal and its pup

New Zealand Fur Seal pup wandering around

Sea lion (or fur seal?) getting ready to go into sea

Sea Lion (or Fur Seal?) playing with us by the boat

Royal Albatross Centre @ Dunedin

One of the tours conducted by the Monarch Wildlife Cruises in my New Zealand 12 day tour is a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre at Dunedin. The Royal Albatross Centre is a protected reserve that has grown into an established colony with a population of around 140 birds.Visitors to the reserve will be briefed on the Royal Albatross lifecyle. Below is a picture of a part of that lifecycle from chicks to adults.

Royal Albatross Lifecycle

After which, they will be brought to a enclosed area where there will be binoculars to allow you to view the Albatross chicks around the reserve. I did not get to see any adults around the area. If I recall correctly, the guide says that they will be back around September.

If you wish to take photos of the chicks, be sure to get a long range lens as they are quite far away. I took the photos using a 75-300mm lens. Below are some photos of the chicks.
Royal Albatross Chick

Royal Albatross Chick

Royal Albatross Chick spreading its wings

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wildlife @ Otago Peninsula Inlets

Updated 13 Jul 2010: Added Seagull pictures

One of the most interesting sights in my New Zealand 12 day tour is the Wildlife tour conducted by the Monarch Wildlife Cruises. A short section of this tour will bring me near the two tidal inlets, Hoopers Inlet and Papanui Inlet. In these 2 inlets, you'll find a variety of wildlife and the tour guide will run you through the different kind of birds that you'll see. Binoculars are also provided to allow you to see the birds up close. Pretty interesting and it's quite cute to see the wildlife in their natural habitat.

Below are some of the photos that I've taken. It may be a little blur as I took it from a distance.

Shelduck walking around the inlet

Pukeko. Looks and acts like a chicken

South Island Pied Oystercatcher trying to grab a bite

South Island Pied Oystercatcher (I think) having a splash

Spur-Winged Plover (I think)


White-faced Heron

Pied Stilt


Seagull landing

Seagull landed

Seagull landed

Seagull flying off

Curious sheep. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Scenery around Dunedin

Dunedin has some interesting architecture around the city and in my New Zealand 12 day tour, I had some free time to walk around. I do wish that I had more time at Dunedin as there is quite a lot to explore, much more than Queenstown.

Below are some of the photos that I've taken around the Dunedin area.

Scenery around Dunedin

Scenery around Dunedin

Scenery around Dunedin

Scenery around Dunedin

First Church of Otago @ Dunedin

Central Fire Station @ Dunedin
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