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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Lelong! Lelong!

I've listed a few items for sale on my website. These are things that I've bought over time, thinking that I would want to keep them, only to find out that they're useful for collecting dust. So I'm selling them off (and maybe earn some pocket change too).

Currently, I have a few books, comics and music items for sale. More stuff to be added, so watch this space! Or subscribe to my website updates newsfeed.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Volunteering

This year is going to be a fun year. And by fun, I mean filled with things to do. I'll probably have much less "me" time in 2006. No, it's not work that's filling my time. Rather, I've decided to take up volunteering.

I've committed to two organisations: ECO Singapore and Transient Works Count Too (TWC2). In both cases, I'll be helping out in their websites. For ECO, I'll be working in a team that's revamping the site. For TWC2, I'm the sole guy and will be doing some maintenance and updating.

There's a third organisation that I approached, but I haven't decided if I want to commit yet. See how first.

And then there's the opportunity to work on a film.

I had thought of helping my church's Boys' Brigade, but I think that'll be overloading my body and schedule. Plus, it's on a Saturday morning and I want my beauty sleep! Haha, okay, lousy reason.

So yup: hello, ECO and TWC2!

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Monday, January 23, 2006

I'm on iTunes Music Store!

iTunes Music Store podcast
I just wanted to note that my video podcast is now listed in the iTunes Music Store (iTMS).

Subscribe to my podcast through iTMS

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Chinese New Year parody song part 2

Last year, I wrote about a parody of a Chinese New Year song. And I contributed verse two to it. I ended by saying: "Hopefully, I can be inspired to write another verse in 2006."

It's Chinese New Year 2006, and I'm back with verse 3. Here goes:
Gave a diamond to my girl.
She said she would rock my world.
Speeding towards a night of fun.
Didn't see the tree in front.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.
I had started thinking about the lyrics about a month ago, but it was a long and tedious process. I had the last line down, then the first two, then I needed a word to rhyme with "front". It wasn't until this evening that I got the third line.

Now I know how songwriters and poets feel.

Incidentally, with this verse, I wanted to move to a new level. The first verse was pure silliness, the second was an experiment in songwriting. Now, I wanted a more story-like, romance tragi-comedy theme. Something that would make you go "haha" then "oh, damn".

What do you think?

Podcast

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Please iTunes, come to Singapore!

The Composers and Authors Society of Singapore recently announced the setting up of a one-stop centre for music digital distribution. In other words, instead of going to the individual music publishers (Warner, EMI, what-not) to clear the rights, digital distributors can now go to this centre (or so the theory goes).

While most of Singapore seems focussed on the "$1,000 for 10 songs for bloggers", I hope this announcement means one thing: that the iTunes Music Store finally opens in Singapore!

While Apple has made huge strides forward in its music store in the U.S., Europe and even Japan, it's avoided Singapore (and the region) like the plague. I think it's because of the fear of piracy and the difficulties in obtaining rights.

Fortunately, Singapore has been hailed as a bastion for intellectual property protection. Now with this one-stop centre, I hope Apple finds it easier to sell music locally. We have SoundBuzz and ;Play (among others), but these use the Windows Media format. Aargh, Microsoft technology!

Please, please, please! Our iPods demand music!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Say hello to iLife '06

iLife '06
Macworld has arrived and Steve Jobs unveiled quite a few cool products. New software, new computers...

Of all the announcements, I am especially taken in by iLife '06. And this is for one-sixth of the package: iWeb. Based on the demo, it looks really easy to create a website complete with photo gallery and blog entries and podcasts. Especially podcasts.

Yes, my video podcast is still ongoing. (Look out for the next episode around Chinese New Year.) Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a free PHP-based video podcast script to simplify adding episodes/entries. So right now, yes, believe it or not, I'm updating it manually. Which is a pain. I wrote my own script, but got through about half or one-third of the way.

Needless to say, if anyone knows of such a PHP script, please point me in the right direction, thank you very much.

iWeb seems to simplify that whole process. Drag-and-drop, type in some stuff, publish, and boom, it's live. And iMovie HD and GarageBand seem to make it really easy to create podcasts (video and audio, respectively). I'd love to play with the new iMovie animated transitions!

Having said that, I do not intend to put down $158 for it. Primarily because iWeb is a version 1 product. As cool as iMovie HD and GarageBand are, especially for podcasting, I cannot see myself buying the package if it includes iWeb ver. 1. When it comes to anything computer-related, never, never, never buy the first version of anything, whether it's hardware or software. I've been burned before, e.g. first version of PowerBook G4 -- big mistake (but I needed it for its DVD drive).

So, no Apple software for me this time, I'll make do with what I have. Even if it means hunkering down and getting my blasted PHP script to work.

Thoughts about the new laptop, MacBook Pro. I think that's a tongue-twister, especially for non-native English speakers. But Apple wants to move away from the "Power" nomenclature with its transition to non-PowerPC Intel chips. So that got me thinking about names for forthcoming products:

PowerPC --> Intel
iMac G5 --> iMac (as announced)
PowerBook --> MacBook Pro (as announced)
Mac mini --> Mac mini (no "Power" or "G-something" in its name)
iBook --> MacBook?
PowerMac --> MacMac? (haha!) Mac Pro?

On another note, I am tempted to go down to an Apple Store to test the new MacBook Pros. These supposedly have a magnetic catch for the power cord to prevent accidental yanking. I want to go to each and every MacBook Pro and yank out the power cord to see if the laptop flies... as long as I don't have to buy it if it does indeed fly.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Move over DVD, here comes Blu-ray Disc!

Blu-ray Disc logo
Just when I've saved enough money to buy a DVD/HDD recorder as a VCR replacement, along come Sony and Pioneer to announce Blu-ray Disc (BD) players/recorders, targeted for early 2006 release. That is one reason I didn't splurge on a DVD/HDD recorder during the Christmas sales. In general, I will purchase an electronics item only if I am sure that it can be used for at least two years with minimal obsolescence.

(The other reason is that the prices of DVD/HDD recorders still seem quite high.)

Of course, by the time these BD players/recorders appear at a cost that I can justify to my wallet, Holographic Versatile Disc players/recorders would be just around the corner, maybe only a year or less away. And then the cycle begins anew.

Anyway, I'll wait and see how the BD players are in the local market. They'll probably be prohibitively expensive. Then it'll be down to the two-year-justification plan. As for DVD/HDD recorders, I think I'll just wave buh-bye to them.

Oh, and as for HD DVD, I say "*pfft*!" Lower capacity per disc, fewer supporters, won't even appear in Microsoft Xbox 360. And China's Enhanced Versatile Disc is just Chinese nationalism at work. Yeah, I'm with Blu-ray.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Church youth barbeque gathering

Chicken wings and sausages
I was invited to a barbeque with a few other church peers. The original plan was to have about 40 people at someone's house. In the end, it was whittled down to about 20 at Adrian and Ruth's house with a government-provided barbeque pit.

I was in charge of drinks, so I bought six 1.5-litre bottles: two Coca-Cola with Lemon, two 7-Up Ice, two Iced Lemon Tea. In the end, I brought back one 7-Up Ice, one Iced Lemon Tea, and one-third bottles of Coca-Cola with Lemon and 7-Up Ice. Moral of the story: one bottle = five people's servings.

It was raining when I left home, but thankfully it was dry in Bishan. I thought I'd be late. Silly me, this is Singapore! I was the fifth person there 10 minutes after the arranged time of 6:30pm. Others trickled in till about 7pm, when it was dark and the charcoal still wasn't hot enough.

After saying grace, we tucked in to fried noodles, fried rice, salad and satay, while chicken wings and sausages were barbequed. Given the low light conditions, it was difficult to tell when the food was done just by looking at it, until I suggested that they poke the chicken to see if blood trickles out. Yay, me, haha.

It was about 9pm when Adrian's "legendary" sting ray was barbequed. The "legend" itself was kind of a joke. When the gathering was being planned initially, he (or someone else) had suggested that he would barbeque sting ray. Somehow, we thought that it was his speciality, and then it grew into a "legend". So he bought two huge sting rays, cut them into 20 pieces, and marinated them with sambal chilli. While waiting for it to cook, we joked about whether it would remain a "legend" or be consigned to history.

In the end, the sting ray was pretty good, though it would've tasted better if the sambal had been applied after cooking. While the fish was being barbequed, the sambal had apparently dried up!

At about 10:30pm, we started cleaning up. We noted that all of the girls save for two had gone to Adrian and Ruth's house, leaving us guys to deal with the mess! But we made quick work of it, then went up for dessert -- homemade tiramisu!

Victor's tiramisu
But all of us were stuffed, and there were three boxes (about the size of ice-cream boxes) of tiramisu. Finally, between a few of us, we finished one box over a game. It goes like this: someone chooses a number between 0 and 100 (i.e., 1, 2, 3..., 98, 99). Then we go around the circle, with each person guessing a number. The number-chooser then gives the range that his number falls in. Whoever guesses the number has to do the forfeit, which in our case was to eat a piece of tiramisu.

E.g. my number was 77. Someone said 90, so I said between 0 and 90. The next person said 76, so I said between 76 and 90. The third person said 77. Bingo!

Out of about 10 rounds, I ate once. Someone ate four times!

We finally left at about 11:30pm, tired but satisfied.

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