The final frontier

There is something about watching videos that remind me of how small our planet is, and how impossibly small of a space we occupy in the universe, and how incredibly little we know about either planet or universe, that gives me that tingly feeling inside.

This week, I got tingly while watching The Known Universe by the American Museum of Natural History (via Gee Len on Facebook, who shared "This Link Leads You To The Entire Known Universe")

And that made me think of one of my favourite TED talks ever, wherein the delightfully cute Brian Cox talked about the CERN supercollider (before it was completed last year). The part I love is towards the end, from 10:50 to 14:35, in which he recites what he calls "a wonderful narrative --- almost a creation story, if you'd like --- about the universe, from modern science over the last few decades".

Mmmmm ... tingly.

When I was a kid, my first adult-like ambition was to be a teacher --- pretty much par for the course for any wee urbanite who's packed off to school where teachers wield all the classroom power --- but after that what I really wanted to be was an astronomer (which I've briefly mentioned before). Not doing well in physics, or really, in any science subject in school put paid to that vague dream, but I still get a kick out of reading or seeing astronomy-related stuff (the ones I can understand, anyway). The best non-visual link I've found recently is this lesson plan for "The Earth as a peppercorn" (via Slate's "Learning To Love the Moon"), which uses a "thousand-yard model" to help people understand the relative sizes of the planets and the distances between them.

In a nutshell: even if the Earth is represented by the size of a peppercorn, while the sun by a ball 8 inches wide, even then the distance between Pluto and the sun is, well, pretty damn far. Go read and imagine it for yourself.



Okay, so now we know it's called an iPad

Why you shouldn't let the cat too near the keyboard

(Image above of my old iBook used here for nostalgic reasons. Someday not too far in the future, I don't think we'll be wrangling with keyboards like this anymore.)

Now that it's been more than 24 hours since the announcement of the iPad and everyone's had a chance to freak out about all the functionalities it doesn't have and how it's not going to be the tablet-killer everyone thought it was going to be, let us remember a few things:
Me, I just wish they'd called it the iSlate instead because I'm old school that way --- I think the word "slate" has more resonance. "Slate" also makes me think of all the fun doodling goodness (literally or metaphorically) you could have with it, whereas "pad", once you get over the jokes about feminine hygiene products, merely conjures images of lined notepaper (perhaps even in that sickly yellow hue of legal pads) just waiting to be filled with, ugh, work.

Edited to add (10:48 am): Oops, except that I forgot about the HP Slate --- which I suppose tells you something about how much mind share it holds with me.

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I paid how much for SMSes?

My latest mobile phone bill informs me that I sent 907 local SMSes in the last billing cycle. That works out to about 30 messages a day, which is not inconceivable considering that sometimes one message may spill over into several 160-character SMSes.

Nonetheless, 907 is a lot considering that I averaged 500-600 SMSes a month last year. Plus it added about $20 to my monthly bill ($0.05 per SMS, which is also a lot considering that the cost of zipping all that data around is negligible with all the paid-up mobile phone infrastructure in place).

Hmmm ... more WhatsApp, less SMSing.



Don't ask me why it took six hours

Waiting for my iPhone
Taken by G-man

Things I did while waiting for my iPhone:
  • Stood in line for two hours
  • Text-messaged people who might be sympathetic to my plight
  • Text-messaged iPhone-expert friends for advice on which phone/data plan and which capacity iPhone to get
  • Updated Facebook and foursquare
  • Wandered around [email protected] with sangsara and determined that there was no good reason for us to return
  • Bought sangsara teh (tea) and kaya toast, in exchange for sitting with me to while away an hour
  • Pondered Xmas gifts for friends in Muji
  • Pottered around Guardian Pharmacy for toiletries
  • Had dinner
  • Finished reading Farish A. Noor's The Other Malaysia
I could tinker with the new phone all night, but now I'm going to bed.

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Neil himself

Neil himself

I didn't have a plan, but I had the kindness of friends and somehow everything fell into place, better than if I had tried to orchestrate it weeks ago.

The line I paused to scribble down in the middle of the session was Mr Gaiman's description of what it felt like to be in Singapore again:
People in Singapore are enthuasiastic – but you're all very enthusiastic in a quiet, polite and organised way.
We laughed, of course, but in an organised way.

Yesterday the planets were in alignment, the ineffable Mr Gaiman did a rollicking Alan Moore impression, and everything fell into glorious place, including the last few paragraphs of the essay I've been struggling to finish since September. I'll write more about its genesis when it's published, but for now I'm pleased that it's done.

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I forgot how much I hate Windows

... till I started using a HP Mini today.

The machine itself is great. I had it in my bag for most of this afternoon and evening, and didn't feel the weight at all. It runs pretty fast, and while the keyboard takes a little getting used to, that's mostly to do with the placement of my hands with respect to the touchpad; the size itself is fine.

Now if only these machines could run OSX. I also miss Adium. Miranda looks positively like ICQ circa the late 1990s.

But all in all, I ain't complainin'. The nice folks at Edelman Singapore were nice enough to rustle me up a loan unit for the next few months, so I can bring it to Korea and not have to lug the Macbook everywhere. The latter held up very well against the rigours of on-the-road travel in Vietnam, including being bumped in a backpack against some rocks during an unexpectedly steep descent at Cuc Phuong National Park and enduring the rough vibralto of many motorbike rides throughout the entire trip. But my back and shoulders will be grateful for not having its weight bear down on them every. Single. Day. of the next trip.

So now I have one sparkling white Macbook and one snazzy black HP Mini. And a white cat and a black cat. Can we say photo op?

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Out and about

I went to my first blogger PR event today, Hewlett-Packard's launch of its new dv2 entertainment notebook (don't ask me why "dv2" is in lower case). I didn't really give it a think before I showed up, except to make sure that Joan would be showing up too.

Note to self: next time, bring more business cards.

This is what I learned about the new notebook: It's lighter than my Macbook, thinner too and has a hard disk six times its size (500 GB). Like my Macbook, it comes in moonlight white or espresso black. Recommended retail price: $1,299 --- which, if you think about it, is just a couple hundred dollars more than the cost of a high-end cell phone (without a phone plan). Huh.

No, it's not a netbook, which is what I've been dreaming of since my Korea trip got confirmed, but it's a pretty darned nice machine for that price.

In other news, we've almost finished the endnotes for our book, I'm caught up on Dollhouse and I'm getting a little ovaried out on the music of Ivy and Jonatha Brooke. Also: still thinking about the Battlestar Galactica finale.

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Almost moved

The legendary Marine Parade view

I know it looks kinda murky here, but this is the view I get to work to from Monday.

Translation: I need to learn to use my camera better so that the view doesn't look so crappy. Also, moving went well, so I can move the cats tomorrow and begin living there.

Whether I update my blog after moving will depend on whether I can get the internet up and running. I failed today because, er, I was trying to grab a cable connection from a non-cable TV port and the pins on the cable-connection-cable quite naturally didn't fit.

Yes, I'm embarrassed.



A different kind of phone accessory

Very stylish, I know

Just for posterity, I thought I ought to show off my stylish N95. It's been wearing that Handyplast/Band-aid for close to a month now.

I've dropped the phone enough times that the battery cover won't stay on anymore, so in Vietnam I slapped on a piece of masking tape as an interim measure. That eventually lost its adhesive qualities, plus it was leaving some sticky residue on the phone, so I switched to this more elegant solution.

I thought I would have a new phone by now, but the one I want hasn't been on sale since I got back, so the N95 will have to do for a while longer.



What kind of a dork am I?

The kind of dork that spills coffee on her laptop AGAIN. And this time, neither cat was in the vicinity so I can't pini it on them.

One minute I'm saying hi to beeker online, the next minute there's coffee over half the table, and too much of it on the Macbook. And then the Macbook decides to go black as I wiping down the keyboard (while knowing in my heart from the previous experience that I'll need to take it in anyway, because any minute now the keys will start sticking together) and doesn't boot up anymore.

I hope it's just a short-circuited motherboard and not any hard drive damage, because I have 4,000 words of a new chapter of the book I'm co-writing in there.

4,000 words. Not backed up because I only finished it yesterday.


All right, instead of dwelling on my ownself-sabo-ownself troubles, let me tally the things I have to be grateful for despite this morning's clumsy little SNAFU:
  • Most of my data is backed up 'cause I did a backup just a few days ago.
  • Most of the un-backed up data is stuff I can either download again or pull off my Gmail, Google Notebook or some other web-based entity (thank you, sangsara, for introducing me to Google Notebook last week).
  • Lucian showed me this video (warning: geeky font humour) to make me laugh and feel better.
  • The person I'm meeting for lunch kindly rescheduled it to an earlier time, so that I can meet her, then take the Macbook in to get fixed, stat.
  • I still have the iBook, which still works well enough for what I need, so I'm not totally computer-less while the Macbook is in the shop.
I really hope I can retrieve that 4,000 word document.

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Get your geek on

Cast out

Monday's links were about reading, today's are more tech-inclined:
I promise that my next blog post will be an actual blog post and not just a linkdump.

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Feeling my age, redux

Is it scary that I clearly remember three out of Wired's selection of five obsolete storage formats? And for the other two (the 8-track and punched tape), the ex-boyfriend in the US used to make enough 8-track jokes that I feel like I know what they were, and who hasn't seen punched tape in some old spy thriller movie, eh?

As for feeling one's age in internet terms, there's always news about Yahoo issuing new Rocketmail accounts to trigger ye olde memories of an ex-student and an ex-colleague who had accounts there way back at the beginning of this century. The funny thing is that "Rocketmail" makes me think of, you know, something blasting off at high speeds, and the two people I remember having Rocketmail accounts were not what you would call explosive personalities.

Related posts: Spotted in a crowd, Not done growing yet, That time of life, Someone said ..., Feeling my age

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The charger won't charge

After its first jaunt overseas, the Macbook charger decided today that it didn't want to work anymore. Oh sure, it put on a good front this morning while I was clearing email and work, but after I got home from a lunch appointment, it flatly refused to do its job.

Fortunately, Wahj came to the rescue (again) and drove over to lend me his spare Macbook charger. Otherwise I wouldn't be blogging right now, nor could I have spent the evening choosing and editing some of the vacation pictures.

The unexpected thing about not being quite ready to write about the trip, is that hour by hour I can feel the experience slipping away from me, perhaps because Shanghai was different yet not so different from Singapore, so everything is starting to blur together, as if I'd never gone.

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New camera

Books, mags and people

This is not the first picture I took with it. The first picture was a completely embarrassing flash-enabled close-up of Darren, taken inside Cathay Photo as I was testing the camera out. I'm going to save it for fun, but I'm not going to post it here (it's more embarrassing for me than it is for him).

The camera, if you're wondering, is a Canon IXUS 860 IS, which has a lovely big LCD screen and enough functions that I can hopefully learn to take better pictures. The Contax is still around and good for taking stealth pictures of people, but its battery life is just shite and no good for vacations or any situation requiring more than an hour of battery life.

I have work to do tomorrow, but I really want to go out and shoot.


The prettiest picture of them all

A number of my friends are enamoured of the biggest drawing in the world (fake, by the way) but I'd rather have this picture of the Milky Way, please. Did I mention that one of my earliest childhood ambitions was to be an astronomer?

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Fine, you win

Cats don't need toys

I needed to charge my cell phone before going out for the better part of the day this morning, so I took out the charger from the cupboard where I safely squirrel it away from Sisu's imprecations and plugged it in.

The phone didn't start charging. I switched outlets. Still no response. I switched to a power strip in the bedroom. Zilch.

Then I noticed the frayed cable. I'm surprised it was still holding together.

Remarkably, even though it was before 8 a.m. and I had a mild headache, I did not yell Sisu's name loudly, even when she came sniffing around at the phone and charger.

The thing is, I do have lots of old Nokia chargers lying around. It's just that most of them come with a fat pin that plugs into older model phones, not the skinny pin that my N95 and many current models use. I used to have an adaptor with a thin pin, but I loaned it to a friend recently.

Meanwhile, my phone battery held less than half its charge, and I was going out for the better part of the day. I knew I should've bought that turbocell charger when I saw it at the Singapore IT Show.

Fortunately, today's meetings put me in the vicinity of Funan Centre, where I picked up an original adaptor thingie for $15. I suspect I might've gotten gypped, but I didn't have time (or remaining charge on the cell phone) to quibble over it or hunt for a better bargain.

Sisu, that $15 is coming out of your allowance, you hear?

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Radio silence

I haven't had a call or SMS on my phone since 4:15 pm, which in itself isn't unusual. What's unusual is that I didn't notice the dearth of contact until right now, as I'm packing up to hit the sack.

I've barely chatted online with anyone all night too. Maybe I'm not as much of a communications junkie as I thought I was.

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Too much sci-fi

I dreamed of Cylons and Terminators --- or rather, of robots that looked like Cylons but behaved like Terminators. Which made for a confusing moment in the dream when the room we were hiding in was discovered by Cylon-lookalikes, and we froze, thinking they were going to kill us all --- but they merely looked at us, decided we weren't part of their mission (in Terminator: The Sarah Chronicles, this is an important distinction) and moved on.

This is what comes of watching
Terminator: The Sarah Chronicles before bed, while having Battlestar Galactica on the brain.


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I failed to pack the coffee

While the movers were impeccable in hauling furniture and 30-something boxes up to the new place, I failed to give clear instructions to my mother regarding the coffee --- which means it got left behind and I only realised it this morning when I woke up in the new place and couldn't find it.

Fortunately, the only thing I had to do this morning was to make sure the Starhub guy got the broadband and cable access set up alright. By 11 am, I was online and things seemed to be falling into place.

Except for the unpacking.

Unpacked (sorta)

As I've told several people today, the place looks like a cross between a second-hand book store and a furniture leftover storeroom. Or as Ondine suggested --- albeit without seeing the place --- a thrift store. I desperately need to declutter, and a book sale might be in the works (a travesty, I know).

In the meantime, I live amidst boxes and stacks of stuff, and the cat is whining from disorientation. But hey, at least I bought new coffee today.


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Packing: Day Two

Among the things I tossed out today:
  • Half my bags: handbags, messenger bags, document bags --- some I'd forgotten I owned, some unfashionable now, some that I got for free when I bought something, some that made me wonder what the hell I was thinking when I used them and some that I simply don't use anymore because of lifestyle changes.
  • More than half my winter clothes, mostly because they're too big on me now.
  • Boxes and manuals for a bewildering number of devices that have passed through this household: an iBook and a Powerbook and a Macbook, four models of Nokia phones, one Palm, one Clie, one Fujifilm camera, a Motorola cable modem, a Linksys router, a Netgear router and one Creative SoundBlaster.
By tossed out, I should clarify that I don't mean all of it went into the trash. Those that can be recycled or reused by someone else, will be.

My new household rule: if something new comes into the house, the corresponding old item has to go out. Or I'm going to be playing this game of clear-up catch-up for the rest of my life.


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The perils of living with an animal

Alternative titles for this blog post: "Why I didn't sell my old iBook after getting a new Macbook" or "Why my cat is in the doghouse".

Under the table

I thought it was going to be a nice, quiet, productive morning: wake up at 7 am, put in a couple of hours' work, then head out at 9ish for an appointment.

Except that first, I overslept by an hour. That severely curtailed the amount of time I had to do work. Then the new coffee tasted not-as-nice as I'd hoped. But hey, the cereal looked pretty good when I laid it out on the table beside the coffee and the Macbook.

Except that the cat, in the middle of one of his bouts of madcap streaking from room to room, abruptly leapt up onto the table ---

Upsetting the coffee ---

A quarter of which spilled all over the left side of the Macbook keyboard.

So then there was shrieking (me) and fleeing (him), and I was so discombobulated it took me a few seconds to figure out that I should start mopping up the coffee that was on the laptop (instinct drove me at first to the spillage on the table). And even though I managed to continue clearing email and surfing for a bit, within half hour the keyboard decided it'd much rather switch to special character input instead. So my emails started to look like this:
... this week is already jam-packed for me, and this morning my cat made things worse by spilling coffee all over my new laptop! I'm going to have to bring it in to be serviced as the keyboaå®∂æß∫∫≥ç≈πΩøçΩ≈π纖∆£∑´…®µçµ
So I had to forgo work for the entire morning and drop off the Macbook at the service centre. Thank goodness the old iBook's still serviceable and I didn't yield to the temptation of selling it for a few hundred bucks. Also, it's a good thing the cat is still awfully cute, or he'd be out on the street.

To top it all off, the button on my favourite (and only) pair of jeans has come off, leaving me wondering what I'm going to wear for the rest of the week whenever the weather gets cold (the monsoon's still in town).

Ironically, of course, all this happened less than 24 hours before Steve Jobs is due to announce the latest in Macbooks ...


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Random is ...

Random is running into Torrance when I went to collect my passport on Wednesday. Or rather, him running into me --- he came over to see who was tapping away at a shiny white Macbook in the crowded collection hall.

I'd foolishly assumed from my previous experience of making a new identity card that I would be outta there within half an hour. Instead, the number I drew at 2:01 pm was the 200th in line, so I settled myself down to do some work. When Torrance showed up 20 minutes later, his number was 40 after mine, so he flipped open his PSP to pass the time. Yes, we are geeks.

(More importantly, I got my passport after a total waiting time of about 1 hour 20 minutes, so now I can make travel plans again!)

Random is also watching teenage boys try to solve Rubik's Cubes while on the MRT trains. I saw one with a 3x3 cube on Tuesday, and a few others with two 5x5 cubes the day after. Are they making a comeback, just like all things '80s? It was very surreal to watch them strategise in Mandarin how best to twist the puzzle next.

For the record, I suck at the Rubik's Cube. An uncompleted Rubik's Cube taunts me from a high shelf in the living room, to remind me that I have neither patience nor the pattern-recognition skills for it.


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I love Leopard but ...

Toggling between Spaces gives me motion sickness.


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What to do while the MacBook is loading the data from the previous Mac:
  • Panic about the fact that the MacBook expects the process to take 3 hours and 38 minutes --- and I'm supposed to be at Packrat's birthday dinner with the family in an hour's time.
  • Heave sigh of relief that the MacBook keeps revising downwards the estimated time needed --- except that it eventually stalls at the point where I'll still be at least half an hour later for dinner.
  • SMS family to say I'll be late.
  • Fold laundry.
  • Refill jug of cold water (yes, Packrat, I mean cold water).
  • Attempt to watch videotaped episode of this week's The Amazing Race.
  • Curse the fact that something's gone wonky with the VCR's programming and it taped an hour of black static instead.
  • Check on MacBook progress --- now it looks like I'll be an hour late.
  • Channel surf and watch Christiane Amanpour talk to the Russian nouveau riche.
  • Think about hand-writing notes for this blog entry, since there are no free computers to blog from.
  • Use the VCR to keep an eye on the time, since there are no free computers to check.
  • Decide to leave the computers on and head out to dinner.
  • Get dressed for dinner.
  • Check on MacBook progress --- the transfer's sped up again, so maybe I'll just sit down and wait for it.
  • Watch the lovely Megan McCormick talk about Vietnamese food on Discovery Travel and Living.
  • Attempt to count down the last 20 minutes of the data transfer --- except that the process keeps speeding up, slowing down, speeding up, slowing down ...
  • Learn that there are Vietnamese versions of the Philippines' balut (a duck embryo eaten straight from the egg). Megan McCormick has great expressions when she's eaten something truly foul yet she's trying to say nice PC things about it.
  • Make a note to eat banh xeo the next time I'm in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Rejoice that the MacBook's finally all loaded up.
You'd think that my next words would be, "And then I went off to dinner," but no, the MacBook had to be online to complete the setup process, and then I thought the wireless router didn't want to play nice with the newcomer in the house, and it was only after dinner that I figured out I was being the doofus, not the technology ---


Anyway, it all seems to work nicely now *knock on wood* and I'm already getting cat hairs on the screen.


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How to be a walking Mac cliche

Read Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak's autobiography iWoz on the train while carrying a brand-new Macbook and an Epicentre shopping bag.

I didn't plan it, I swear. I started iWoz a few days ago, before I consulted Wahj on the finer points of buying a Macbook and well before Epicentre sent me an email about its SITEX offers. And I only bought the book at the last Kinokuniya sale because I've recently taken a shine to reading biographies and personal histories.

For the record, I haven't started using the Macbook yet. I'm in the midst of crunching text for a Very Important Deadline on Monday and I only get to open the new laptop when that work is done. Yes, yes, I've received many incredulous reactions to this, but just watch me, truly, I will be that disciplined.


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Dropping in at Comex

Comex, one hour before closing

It was one of those days, when one spends most of the day faffing about doing nothing --- then at the end of it comes a mad dash to Comex one hour before it closes, to suss out the prices of PC desktops and external hard disks (for a friend, not for me).

I rightfully expected it to be a madhouse and it was, except for those uncanny pockets of emptiness where half-hearted salespeople were trying to move units of software (people go to Comex to buy software?). There were at least two very loud and enthusiastic booths pushing units of what I think was called an iMuse: an MP3 player, camera, address book and two other applications (maybe one was for playing games?) built into one device. For me, the "iMuse" moniker is what killed it --- it made me think instead of iPods or other Apple-engineered devices with more brand cachet.

Over at a cell phone retail booth, the sales guy was yelling rhythmically into the mike: "I give you discount of 50% ah! Unbelievable ah! Only five units left ah!"

And then there were the ever-popular Stuff girls. As we wove our way through the squeeze in front of their booth, I overheard a man asking one of them, "So the magazine, it's monthly, is it?" He must read it for the articles.

We walked out of Comex five minutes before closing and there were still hordes of people pouring in. The cab stand outside Marina Square was, as I'd predicted, a darn sight less messy than the one at Suntec, plus it had the advantage of being located beside a 7-Eleven. While selecting my drink from the fridge, I thought to myself, "Drink something you won't be able to get for the next two weeks," and selected a can of Pokka green tea.


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Did you know ...

... that the first CD ever produced was The Visitors by Abba? So says BBC News, as the "Compact disc hits 25th birthday".

I've never been a real musichead so I don't think I started buying CDs till the early 1990s. When I graduated from university in 1997, CDs were still something you bought in a music store ("CD store", though they didn't sell blank ones), while data storage to the average person meant 3.5" floppy disks or Iomega zip disks with a whopping 100 MB capacity.

I don't remember the first CD I bought (though I remember that the first cassette tape was a 1983 compilation of Grammy Award-winning songs). I do know that I did a double-take after seeing Discmans for sale in Ho Chi Minh City last week (alongside pirated music CDs, no less) and I almost wished I hadn't given my mother permission to sell mine some years ago, otherwise I could add it to my growing Collection of Obsolete Technology.

When I cleaned house a couple of months ago, I accumulated at least 100 used CDs for recycling. My mother now hangs some of them outside her windows to scare the birds away. How far we've come.


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Playing with Jajah

(Note: Not Jar Jar Binks, whom I still loathe with the vengeful fury of a thousand suns.)

Is anyone else out there successfully using Jajah to bypass their cell phone service provider's rates and has never looked back? There are all these promises of free calls if both phone users are Jajah members; even for calls to non-Jajah numbers, the rates for Singapore-to-Singapore numbers are lower than what my provider (M1) can offer.

If you're one of the people I regularly chat with and you're on Jajah, let me know. Let's see if I can't save more money so I can take more frequent vacations.


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I'm going slightly mad

After all, I've spent the last three days staring obsessively at the top right-hand corner of my laptop screen, pondering the mysteries of why the battery/power icon keeps changing whimsically from one to the other --- charging, not charging, charging, not charging --- even though I didn't touch the charger cable. This, even after I gave in and coughed up $144.40 to buy a new charger.

Needless to say, it has been impossible to do any real work. All I do is jiggle the point where the charger connects to the laptop and swear a lot. And yell at the cat when he decides that's the best time to start doing mad dashes under the table. And pray fervently to some unnamed deity when the icon switches to a "charging" symbol that it will stay that way. And swear more when it doesn't.

Fortunately, Wahj is coming to the rescue by loaning me his spare iBook, so that I can still keep up with work when I send this one to the shop. I was hoping to wait till I was on vacation to send it in, but it looks like I'll have to make that trek up to Yio Chu Kang this week. The bloody thing has refused to charge this morning, except for a few tantalizing seconds when it flickers to the "Calculating..." symbol, and now I am down to my last two hours of battery.


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In with the new, out with the old

Pre-party preparations

I was going to blog about reactions to the iPhone (over in the US) and the closing of the National Stadium (here in Singapore) --- but then there was the weekend with parties and prosecco, and then I forgot that I owed a client some work, so I spent Sunday catching up, albeit at a leisurely pace.

Anyway, when I talk about the iPhone (without being able to get my hands on one in this country), people don't seem to take me seriously when I point out the lack of MMS and a better camera (2 megapixels is so 2005, not to mention that there also seem to be grumbles about the camera quality). Plus ringtones are limited to what Apple packages with the phone --- that's so 2000! I appreciate the functionalities it got right, but even so, maybe I'm not really the market that Apple's targeting at the moment ...

With the National Stadium, what more is there to say, I guess? Except to quote the line from Alfian's play Homesick: "How can we build a national identity if we keep tearing down everything with the word 'national' in it?"


Related posts: In memoriam

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An afternoon at Geek Terminal

When Adri first told me she wanted to check out Geek Terminal (first seen --- by us, anyway --- at theory.is.the.reason), my initial reaction was: Great concept, but couldn't they have come up a name that was more Wired and less Hackers? Then I said, "Oh, I'm not usually in the Market Street area."

And then at 3 pm today, I found myself at Chulia Street with several hours to kill before meeting Little Miss Drinkalot for dinner. So I ended up at Geek Terminal after all.

An afternoon at Geek Terminal

The verdict:
  • The decor --- Futuristic-ish. A bit too much silver and a few too many plasma screens for my personal liking, which is why I ended up sitting in one of the red chairs and stared at my own laptop screen instead.
  • The coffee --- Illy! I approve.
  • The wireless - Free and fast on my laptop. However, my Nokia N95 didn't get along well enough with the cafe's wireless network to be able to upload an image directly to Flickr. Oddly enough, the usually more patchy [email protected] did the trick instead.
  • The Eubiq power plug system --- Very cute! And idiot-proof.
The only downside is that the table height is a little awkward for short Asian people like me. If I lean back into the (comfy-but-stout) armchairs, I have to raise my arms a little to work at my laptop. I imagine that could get tiring for anyone who needs to do some major typing.

I wasn't at all hungry, so I didn't try the menu. But if the cafe's raison d'etre is to serve neo-nomads like me, it seems to be on the right track. There's even a Nokia Nseries/Eseries display where customers can wander over and fondle new phones.

We'll see what Adri thinks when she gets here.


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Prophetic much?

Who said this in 1970?
Life is not just eating, drinking, television and cinema. ... The human mind must be creative, must be self-generating: it cannot depend on just gadgets to amuse itself."
Well, obviously, I'm screwed.


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The day when everything went wrong

We used to get assigned to write school compositions with that title and whip up impossible feats of coincidence to satisfy its demands. Who knew that real life could be just as churlish?

I dreamed that I stabbed Ink accidentally and had to rush him to the vet's emergency room. (The dream was this morning, around dawn, so it counts as part of "today"'s calamities.)

I woke up to my cell phone alarm and the cell phone was fine --- but after charging it for an hour or so (which I do everyday), the screen went on the fritz. I think I'm going to have to get a new one, but that means paying more than I'd like for the Nokia N95 because I can't sit around and wait for the price to go down. I just hope I can still trade this one in for something.

Putting on my contact lenses just now, I managed to flip the case into the sink --- and the lens I hadn't put in yet vanished into thin air. I peered all over the sink and absolutely could not find it. On the bright side, I had one last pair of lenses I could switch to, but that means I need to order more lenses stat, too.

If all this had happened yesterday, I'd be a sobbing (and sodding) heap. Good thing it all waited till today. But still: poo.


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I, the neo-nomad

I recently came across the BBC's "In search of the neo-nomad", which picks up a San Francisco Chronicle definition of neo-nomads as:
... people who turn a laptop, a wireless connection and a cafe into an office and work wherever they happen to be ... distinguishe[d] from traditional freelancers because of their close engagement with technology and use of the latest generation of web-based tools in their working lives.
Laptop --- check.
Wireless connection --- check (thank you, [email protected]).
Cafe --- check. Coffee tastes best at Starbucks or tcc (German blend). Less satisfying is The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's, and overpriced is Coffee Club's. Epicurious and Toast also have yummy coffees (and unbeatable iced teas). Not that there's anything wrong with indigenous kopitiam coffee, but sometimes in the afternoon it's too hot to sit in a non-airconditioned environment.

Close engagement with technology --- I think so. Did I mention what's in my bag? Nowadays, the list includes a laptop (usually with charger), although I only have one cell phone now and no more security pass.
Latest generation of web-based tools --- check. Gmail to manage 5 work-related email accounts, Flickr, Adium for MSN/Yahoo/GTalk/AIM, blogging software (Blogger/Movable Type/Wordpress) all. Plus I recently got sucked into LinkedIn.

I'm going to put down "neo-nomad" the next time I fill out a job that asks me for my "occupation".


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Who's calling, please?

All the calls I've received on my cell phone today have been from people I know calling me from phone numbers I don't know. Mostly, it's people calling me on their office line when I only have their cell phone numbers punched into my contacts list. Which means that the opening of the conversation generally goes like this:
Me: Hello?
Friend: Hey, Tym.
Me: Yes?
Friend: Eh, it's me.
Me: Er, okay ... (while I try to figure out who it is)
Except that nobody calls me "Tym" in real life. Of course.

Time was you never knew who was calling you till you at least heard the voice at the other end of the line. And my parents never had caller ID even when it became available, so it wasn't till I acquired my first cell phone that I got used to the idea of knowing who was calling before I even decided to answered the call.

In the almost ten years that have passed since then, I've come to regard with mild suspicion any phone call from an unidentified number. In fact, I used to summarily not return missed calls from unidentified numbers, but that changed when I started freelance work --- you never know when it's a potential new client calling. So now if it's an unidentified number, I pause, mull over who it could possibly be, sometimes ponder which part of Singapore they might be calling from (if it's a land line), then answer.

Maybe I should just go back to my pre-cell phone habit of just answering the damn phone already.


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You know, this could be mathier

I was just freaking Suzie out recently with the admission that while I studied predominantly arts subjects in junior college, I actually enjoyed the mathematics that we were compelled, more or less, to take as a fourth 'A' Level subject. I mean, it was a subject that involved zero reading, plenty of rote work and no essay-writing --- the perfect break after hours spent labouring over a biography of Robert Lowell or parsing the difference between certain rock formations.

Having said that, I will admit that I clicked on this BBC News link with some trepidation: "248-dimension maths puzzle solved". And after reading it twice, I still have no idea what it's about.

Clearly, my geek cred needs a little help (even with a plus-10 boost).


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Let this not be my destiny

Where would I be without Urban Dictionary? Today's unbeatable word of the day:
technosexual n. A person, male or female, who is so deeply enthralled with technology they discuss it with a level of passion that most people reserve for sex. Not always a geek or a nerd, but generally someone who has the latest and greatest everything.
I don't have the latest and greatest everything, but I often wish I did. I don't discuss technology with a level of passion that most people reserve for sex, but I do write for Popgadget. I cannot deny that I'm somewhat enthralled with technology.

Oh dear.

Edited to add (8:55 pm): Entirely by coincidence, mrbrown blogs about a completely different definition of technosexual that Calvin Klein's trying to exploit.


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I feel old

I thought I was hearing things, but no, it's true: one of my colleagues just had to explain to another (younger) colleague how to use the auto-reverse function on the cassette tape player in the office.

My Walkman didn't even have an auto-reverse function, man.

However, I am too young (or perhaps my family was just not so technologically in-touch then) to know about 8-tracks.


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I have plus 10 geek cred

I like Urban Dictionary's word of the day. Sometimes it's silly, sometimes it puts the finger on that very term I've been looking for (as it did with the recent "tune wedgie" or last month's "mancation").

And sometimes it's just hits. The. Spot.

Yesterday's word of the day was "geek cred", the meaning of which isn't too difficult to parse. But it was one of the illustrative examples they provided that killed me:
"You have the un-edited original trilogy ripped from the laser discs? That's like, plus 10 geek cred."
I have the un-edited original trilogy (Star Wars, in case you weren't following) ripped from the laser discs, thanks to the kindness of the ex-boyfriend.

I have plus 10 geek cred.

Thank you, everybody.


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Reason #507 why my cousins rock my world

DVD booty

Because they (Packrat and Ondine, to be precise) got me this!!

Macross and Southern Cross and Mospeada --- all in one 22-disc package!

They found it in Sembawang Music Centre and the first thing they did was to get it for me!!! (Plus they thus avoided paying some exorbitant price at Amazon or something.)


Let's not forget that I am the person whose name still appears on the alt.fan.robotech FAQ, even though I haven't gone near the newgroup or FAQ since the mid-1990s.

So far, Terz and I have watched about six episodes of Macross and we're stunned, stunned at how tacky and choppy it is. I will say, in my own defence, that it was the Jack McKinney books rather than the American animated series that got me hooked onto the series, though. And of course, it was Packrat himself who, many moons ago, first passed me those books ...


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Still tapping away here

It is entirely apt that as the clock chimes 1:28 am and I start on a final piece of work (deadline: tomorrow), my iTunes on shuffle mode selects New Order's "Working Overtime", followed by the Postal Service's "The District Sleeps Tonight."


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A little birthday fuss

For my grandfather's 89th birthday today, I gave him an ang pow (red packet with a gift of money inside) and taught him how to answer and disconnect calls on his cell phone. Although I tried to simplify things by saying "press green to answer and red to hang up the phone", I realised that part of the difficulty was that the buttons on his phone are way too small for the coloured symbols to be easily identified by someone of his age --- which makes me think that cell phone makers better start thinking about geriatric-friendly versions soon (bigger buttons and screens, with fonts, symbols and buttons that are easy to read), or at least continue to produce chunkier versions of their top-of-the-line models. My eyesight may fade when I get older (actually, it's already fading now) but I'm still gonna want my many-megapixel camera and internet capabilities, dammit.

While we didn't have a birthday cake, my grandfather had a celebratory ice kachang and the aunts (his daughters) tried to sneak the little cookies that came with our coffees onto his plate --- perhaps reckoning that with his hale and hearty constitution at the age of 89, he might enjoy the extra sweet treats more.

Now some of us grandkids are thinking we ought to throw Gong a big bash for his 90th next year. Any suggestions on what makes a great nonagenenarian birthday party?


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Thank goodness for nice people

Like the folks at the Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlet at Raffles Hospital, who rescued my cell phone for safekeeping after I'd stupidly left it on the table after finishing my teh, and who were therefore able to return it to my grateful and contrite self when I came hurrying back about five minutes later.

I was convinced it'd be gone, really, given Terz's recent blink-and-it's-gone experience. Even as my friend and I speedwalked back to the cafe (and she beat me by half a mile, even though it was my phone that'd been left behind), I was thinking about all the information I had on the phone and whether it was backed up elsewhere. And kicking myself because just yesterday, after beeker suck(er)ed me into installing Agile Messenger on my cell phone, I'd been keying in my IM usernames and passwords, and thinking about whether I needed to be worrying about security issues.

The answer to that last question, of course, is yes --- yes, I do. But the broader lesson from today's near calamity is to not be such a careless spaz and to pay attention to my stuff even when I'm out having a good time with friends.


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I don't type good

While I type fast (110-120 wpm as at September 2005, according to Typer Shark), I sure as hell don't claim to type accurately. Here's some typos I've had to teach Microsoft Word to autocorrect:
  • abnout, abonut, abotu, actualyl, againstt he, agian, ahppen, ahve, almsot, alterantive, althoguh, alwasy, amde, amke, antoher, approrpiate, askt he, aws
  • baout, bcause, beacuse, becasue, befoer, beofre, bve, byt he
  • certian, Chiantown, commnunist, commuity, compelx, coudl,, cpoy
  • deatils, develope, dispaly, doign, donig
  • efel, ehr, enw, erally, esle, especialyl, evn, ewre, exchagne, eyt
  • finalyl, fora, foriegn, foudn, frmo, fromt he
  • goign, grwo
  • haev, herat, hismelf, hlep, hteir, htey, htink, hvae
  • idae, ihs, importnat, indenpendence, indepdendence, int hat, int he, inteh, itneresting, iwth
  • jsut
  • konwn
  • leran, liek, loev, lookign
  • maek. marraige, matierals, menat, minsiter, minsitry, mkae, mnuch
  • nad, nbut, nkow, nothign, nver, nwe, nwo
  • oculd, oft, oft he, oging, ohter, omre, ont he, onyl, opf, otehr, owrk, owuld, oyu
  • palce, parenst, parlimanet, perhasp, preisdent, proabbly, propser
  • questoin
  • realyl, recrod, reisdent, religous, respomd, reult, rfom, rpely, rwite
  • saidt he, shoudl, Singaproe. Singpaore, sitll, smae, smoe, sohw, soical, somethign, somewaht. sot hat, soudn, specificalyl, stnad, strentgh, suprise
  • tahn, taht, talkign, tath, teh, tehre, tehy, tgat, tgheir, tghis, thansk, thatt he, them ost, theri, thge, thigsn, thna, thne, thnig, thsi, thsoe, tihs, timne, tkae, tlaking, togehter, tongiht, tot he, towrad
  • udnerstand, understnad, undert he, univeristy, unliek, usch
  • waht, whihc, whta, wiht, witht he, wlel, wnat, wrod, wtih
  • yera, yuo
(For the record, it took about half an hour to manually transfer the above list from Word and format it for Blogger.)

Obviously, without the autocorrect function, I'd spend most of my time backspacing rather than typing ...


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No love

The fallout from leaving my phone at home this morning:
  • 3 missed calls: 2 work-related, 1 from my mother
  • 8 SMSes: 1 voicemail message, 2 work-related, 2 personal, 2 from Terz who messaged me even though he knew that my phone was at home, and 1 from my mother.
No love, guys. This is like the other day when I had no internet access all day, and got home at 6 pm to find that I had only 5 new emails.

The prize for the best SMS of the day goes, clearly, to my mother, for the following cryptic missive:
Smith st hawker ctr, c'town close fr sat. Move 2 outram pk. top up medisave? Get tax relief
Obviously, she knows my love for Chinatown Complex and that I don't read the newspapers.


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An all-points bulletin, of sorts

I forgot to bring my cellphone with me today, and didn't even realise it till I'd walked to the train station, boarded the train to town and then heard someone talking loudly on his cellphone.

Anyway, if you're looking for me, try IM or email.

This should be interesting ...


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Armed with my camera again

Back in January, my Contax went kaput.

After almost six months away, including a sojourn in Japan by way of Hong Kong (because they don't fix this brand of camera locally), it's finally come home, which means I could finally retrieve the last photograph it took before its little implosion.

Last look

Granted, it's not the best photograph that exists of The UnXpected, but it's not so bad that it should've sent a digital camera into kaleidoscopic convulsions, right?


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Why Gmail is a handy-dandy application

Because if you have your mailbox set to show snippets, you can scan the first line of an email from a potential client that reads, "Thanks for your interest in the project ..." and know that it's a rejection email even before you click on it.

I'm sure this applies to many other forms of bad news sent via email.


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Why you shouldn't let the cat too near the keyboard

Why you shouldn't let the cat too near the keyboard

Because he gets excited watching the mouse symbol skid across the screen, and in his enthusiasm to pounce on it, ends up pulling the 'L' key right off.

Oh well --- my fault, not his, for trying to introduce him to the computer age.

Now to find out how much it will cost to replace the keyboard, not to mention the downtime involved, and to see if it's worth it or if if I should struggle on for a bit with having to poke just that particular spot without the aid of a key.

Edited to add (6 June): My helpful MacHead friend sends me this link of a kitten vs. Frontrow, which aside from being all cuteness and entertainment, makes me wonder what kind of person would let their pet unsupervised near a brand new MacBook Pro in the first place??


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Free wireless hotspots in Singapore

I have yet to find a definitive online list of free wireless hotspots in Singapore --- other than this helpful, if now extremely long, thread over at SPUG Forums --- so I thought I would start my own list. It's mostly for my own reference, since I'm frequently out of the office and in need of a place where I can check my email without having to pay for it.

Places where I've successfully connected to a free wifi network
1. National Library
2. Funan Centre (caveat: it worked in March, but not in April)
3. Brewerkz, Riverside Point
4. Mamma Lucia's, Robertson Walk
5. Book Cafe, Mohamed Sultan Road
6. NYDC, Holland Village (I haven't checked the downtown NYDC locations to see if they have free wireless)

Places I haven't tried, but I hear they have free wifi
1. McDonald's outlets
2. Changi Airport
3. Day Bed Bar, Mohamed Sultan

Any other suggestions? Please leave a comment. The only criterion is that the network must be a free one.


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Not a geek

Taken by by Mussels.

I can programme a VCR.

I can Skype my cousin in Paris (though, whoops, I haven't lately).

I can chase down the meaning of syair online.

But it took me twenty minutes to figure out how to dial a Tokyo phone number.





Married, attached, single or --- ?

So after one of those conversations the other night, the single guy friend I was with laughed and said, "Now you're really not going to introduce any of your friends to me, right?"

To which I protested that it wasn't anything he'd said that would deter me, but that I didn't have that many single female friends in the first place --- or single friends at all, I thought out loud.

So today I decided to count them.

Out of 265 contacts in my cellphone:
  • 109 are attached (either married or seeing someone seriously),
  • 14 guys and 22 women are single,
  • And there are 12 that I'm not sure of their current status.
The rest are work acquaintances (35), who don't count because I don't socialise enough with them to introduce them to friends, and contacts for restaurants and other services (55). (I realise the numbers don't add up to 265, so I must've miscounted slightly somewhere.)

So about 70% of my friends/relatives are not-single and about 23% are single. I always had the impression that I knew more single guys than women, but it turns out that the reverse is true.

Now I'm wondering, is all this "normal" for someone in my demographic?


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Some days, my Flickr contacts page is a veritable snapshot of everything that's going on right now.

My Flickr contacts page

Babies being hatched left and right, tech toys galore, beer and good music, art and creative expression and ways of seeing, colours of Singapore (past and present), glimpses of Vancouver, passion, meditativeness, heart.

What does your Flickr contacts page say about you?


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Tuning in

I've spent the better part of my working hours these past couple of weeks listening to audio recordings of lives and times gone by. Some voices are Singaporean, others are sojourners who were here at some pivotal moment in history. Many, I can't help but realise, are probably deceased.

Mostly, this task entails listening to cassette tapes. Nothing transports one more instantaneously back in time than re-encountering a piece of technology from one's childhood.

High-tech, low-tech

Technically, I think I was already a teenager by the time I acquired my first Walkman. It was pink --- not by choice, despite my current predilection for that colour, but because it was the only colour that the sale item came in --- and it was more advanced than the current model I'm using at work in that it had both fast-forward and rewind functions. (The one at work lacks the latter, not to mention its fast-forwarding speed is painfully slow, or maybe that's just the impression I have because it also lacks a counter.)

That first Walkman was probably the combined size of the PDA and iPod I use today. It ran on AA-sized batteries and played cassette tapes well enough, but it couldn't record anything. I wonder what ever happened to it. I seem to recall coming across it in the late '90s after I moved back from the US and I thought my packrat of a mother would certainly save it for some kind of imagined rainy day slash salvageable use, but she doesn't have it either.

But that's okay, because not having it gave me the excuse to borrow this cool number from Little Miss Drinkalot's brother.

High-tech, low-tech II

Way before Apple made the sexy listening devices, there was the Aiwa Walkman, and hot damn if this model isn't sleek enough to outsmoke the iPod: clean lines, contoured surfaces for the different buttons and an elegant black casing. In some ways, the aesthetic hasn't changed very much in the twenty years (or more) separating these two little beauties.

My parents didn't exactly believe in splurging on toys like a Walkman when I was still dependent on them for pocket money, so I never had the resources to get something as nice as this. So when LMD passed it to me last week, I was a little blown away that I finally had one of these babies in my hands --- and a little jealous that it still wasn't mine.

Listening to oral history recordings never felt so cool.

Oral history fun find for the day: Can you say the following in under 6 seconds?
" ... comprising the states of Johor, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu Terengganu, Perak, Melaka and Penang".
I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I had to listen to it at least five times over in order to get all the names of the states down (good thing they never quizzed us on that in school), but I still can't recite the list that quickly. Maybe if I had 54 years' of practice ...


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Can't win 'em all

Some days I am geek girl. Other days, like today, I need to download a video in order to figure out how to remove the cover on my cellphone so that I can reset it.


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I just thought you should see what I see everyday.

It ain't a QWERTY anymore




Dead end

I just realised that the script I've been working on is nothing more than an excuse for the two characters to take turns playing the Exposition Fairy for this particular story. Pah!

Perhaps even more disturbing is that I have, of late, acquired an unholy prefernce for the font Times New Roman.


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Just for V-Day

We don't do V-Day, but if you do and you like classic Star Wars, you might want to take a look at Something Awful's A Very Star Wars Valentines (link via Boing Boing).

Oh all right, this entry is just an excuse to link naif aka Alfian bin Sa'at's short story in ten parts, "This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary". The best love story I've read recently.

This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary (Part 1)
This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary (Part 2)
This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary (Part 3)
This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary (Part 4)
This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary (Part 5)
This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary (Part 6)
This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary (Part 7)
This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary (Part 8)
This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary (Part 9)
This Was Where: Weilong and Derrick: A Topographic Diary (Part 10)


Related posts: The Straits Times asks, I answer, Getting into the spirit

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Because it's Friday

Check out Live Science for the real dirt on the most popular myths in science (link via By The Way). It's like Myth Busters, only compressed into a paragraph instead of a half-hour TV episode.

I don't think I can completely abandon the 5-second rule, though...




Oyayubizoku!, redux

The world's first fastest SMSer (read: text-messaging freak) has been dethroned by another Singaporean. The new record is 43.24 seconds for punching in the following text without spelling aids or predictive text:
The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.
I took about 90 seconds on my first try ever, and I should point out that this was the first time I'd ever tried to key in such a long message without using the T9 dictionary and that my Nokia N70 doesn't have the most ergonomic buttons for entering text in the first place.

My theory is that as long as the test doesn't change, all it takes is a good phone for SMSing --- i.e. one of the older, chunkier Nokia models that had generously sized and truly touch-sensitive buttons --- and some diligent practice to be able to break the 60-second barrier. After that, it's just a matter of giving into one's inner oyayubizoku obsession and practising practising practising ...


Related posts: Oyayubizoku, Thumb culture

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"We hate blogses."

Because Aussie bloggers enjoy a little LotR humour too: A Socratic debate for the new generation (link via the 2006 Australian Blog Awards).


Related posts: Help me, Peter Jackson, you're my only hope, Burp, LotR tidbits

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On writing

I can stare blankly at my laptop screen for half an hour


I can head out to meet a friend for lunch and, in the ten minutes it takes me to walk there, come up with everything I needed to write, punch it into my cellphone so that I don't forget the exact words and transfer it all to an email to my colleague as soon as I'm back from lunch.

Damn this writing process.


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Should've spent more time roleplaying

i am a total geek

What are you? Take the Geek Test (which admittedly needs some updating as it doesn't make reference to Star Wars Episode III or Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King).


(Link via By The Way.)



All worship the Whedon

The thing about the Serenity DVD finally arriving in the mail is that I have to sit down immediately and watch the entire movie. Then all the extras. Then the entire movie again with Josh Whedon's commentary.

All in one night, by the way.

There is the slight possibility that I may be late for work tomorrow, but I worked overtime today, so I think I'm entitled to go in, er, half an hour late.

To quote Princess Ann from Roman Holiday: So happy.


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First day

To let you know the kind of place this is, observe that I arrived at work just after the stipulated starting time of 9 am, and I was the first one in. In fact, technically I was the second one in, because I didn't have a security pass and so had to wait for someone else to show up and let me in.

The other thing is that this is the kind of place that doesn't specifically proscribe the installation of software on its computers --- which is how I come to be using Thunderbird (instead of the dreaded Outlook) for email, hurrah! Also, immediately after setting me up with an email account, the boss's next question is, "So, do you use MSN?"

At lunch, one of my colleagues pronounced me "gadgety" after admiring my 3G phone. I suppose this comes as a result of him also drooling over my Contax last week and nodding approvingly of my iPod some months ago.

The best word I found in the (online) thesaurus today: boodle n. counterfeit money or bribe.


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Of phones and things

As Xmas Eve crept past midnight and officially became Xmas proper, my cellphone remained silent. The only SMS greeting I eventually received chimed in at 1:46 am, and it was from my Pilates instructor, whom I haven't seen in about three months. It seems that everyone else I know had wisely decided not to bother with the typical barrage of SMS greetings that battle with each other for the limited airwaves at midnight --- hurrah!

At about 6:30 am, my cellphone rang rang rang loudly, and I practically fell out of bed trying to get to it.
ME: (very warily) Hello?"
Caller: *indistinct words*
ME: Who are you looking for?
Caller: *more indistinct words* [or maybe I just wasn't awake enough to comprehend the sounds]
ME: (more testily) Who are you calling for?
Caller: (abruptly completely intelligible) ... Melanie. I'm calling from Melbourne and trying to reach Melanie and the number I have is XXXX-XXXX.
ME: You have the right number, but it's my number. There's no Melanie.
Caller: Oh, I'm sorry about that. *click*
And I crawled back into bed and tried to fall back asleep.

At least he was polite about it.

Merry Xmas, everybody!




Off to see the wizard

I'll be away for a bit, leaving behind half a dozen incomplete blog posts in disarray and Xmas decor not yet put up (or, in the case of an Xmas tree, not yet purchased, although this will be our sixth Xmas in this apartment).

On the flip side, the iBook and iPod are making their first overseas trip!

Is it a bad sign that I've packed my wheelie almost to the brim for a six-day trip --- but I haven't yet squeezed in my toiletries?

Internet access may be dicey where I'll be, so mayhaps this blog will only be updated on 1 Dec. Be nice to Terz and feed him while I'm gone, eh?


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I have a new printer. Specifically, this one.

When I try to run a test print, it repeatedly spits out blank sheets of paper that haven't been printed on at all, even though I can hear the printhead chugging down its guide and the ink cartridges are all installed properly. It's done this four times now.

What am I doing wrong?




New record

You know it's time to cut your fingernails when:
  • It's getting difficult to type on a laptop.
  • Every time your hands are free, you keep flicking at the corner of a nail, any nail, because you can't get over how long and unbroken they are (except for the little finger on the left hand, which broke about a week ago).
  • You can't close the wooden folding door properly because your fingernails get in the way of seizing the narrow door handle.
For the record, my nails are extremely clean. But they are much, much longer than usual, and it's been much, much longer than usual since I cut them --- 1½ months, to be exact, since the manicure I got for K's wedding.

Okay, I'm going to go cut them now.


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Well, now.

After I bought my new PDA and transferred most (but not all) of my information to it, I put the old one aside and told myself that I'd play around with the new one for a few days, then come back to the old one to complete the transfer of miscellaneous information.

Then, surprise, surprise, I procrastinated.

This morning, it occurred to me that given how long the old PDA's been sitting in that particular corner of the dining table, it would probably need to be recharged, especially since its battery didn't have very much of a life anymore. And it occurred to me that mayhaps the battery had fully discharged to the point that all the data on the PDA might've been lost.

I recharged it anyway --- all day, in fact --- and just turned it on just now. Indeed, the loud and annoying greeting tones confirmed my worst fears: it was responding as if there'd been a hard reset, i.e. as if it was being turned on for the very first time. (Insert your own "Like A Virgin" joke here.) A couple of taps of the stylus later (dirty!), it was obvious that I was dealing with a blank slate. All the programs remained but no data.

The main thing I lost was all the calendar/datebook entries prior to August this year. So if anyone asks me what I was doing at such-and-such a time in the past few years, I'm going to be stumped for a response. A lot of it was mundane shit --- meeting with so-and-so at some-boring-venue-or-other, remember to bring something-or-other, send out car payment, that sorta thing --- but what's life without such minutiae, right? For all the good moments, we have our memories and maybe our blogs. For the mundanities, I had my PDA, in case I ever wondered what I used to do in previous jobs or wanted to look up the last time a friend from overseas was in town.

I feel a little pang.


Related Posts: They won't throw me in jail for my birthday, I procrastinate, therefore I am

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