Monday, April 8, 2013

English expat invents electronic chopsticks - Biz | The Star Online

English expat invents electronic chopsticks - Biz | The Star Online

Really. What would they think of next... Obviously April 1st material.

Almost had me at the headline.

Peeping tom sues neighbours | The Star Online

Peeping tom sues neighbours | The Star Online

Was this a real case? Seemed like a parody of the times - aptly enough it does say something about society. It made me remember reading as a child about the graffiti found from ancient Rome - some were whimsical and some were scandalous. But they were telling a story nonetheless about the days gone past.

In this piece, which I took in good humour, seemed as a critique by someone who in the United States might have claimed his right of expression - or something fangled like that.

Interesting times.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

MIMOS Celebrates 25th Year in Research & Development - Tun Dr. M awarded recognition

Today MIMOS celebrated it's 25th year in research and development for Malaysia. Starting from a pioneer team of less than ten people and RM5 million, MIMOS has certainly grown to great proportions.

The video is of Tun Dr. Mahathir's congratulatory speech to MIMOS, the recipients of recognition for IP contributions and for the pioneering management team.

The speech starts with Tun mentioning that MIMOS started with RM5 million, a small sum in comparison for today. Note: video has some cuts in between; not the full length. It doesn't have the part that Tun says "my job actually here is to congratulate them..."

Second video starts with Tun talking about getting funds for Proton to research on developing electric powered cars and comparing the minuscule budget to General Motors with a budget of $3 Billion. 

Third and final video starts with Tun talking about how family owned Italian companies can produce very professional prototypes at a very high price. It ends with a book signing,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Apple guy: great artists steal...

Now this is awkward. The saying goes that imitation is a form of flattery - or something to that effect and most certainly there isn't anything that hasn't been done yet. Sadly enough, that's the limitation of human existence. However there are some concepts and precepts which protect a creator or inventor - albeit in some countries for a limited time.

Recently, Apple sued Samsung for copying: 1. the iPhone and 2. the iPad. In the US sales statistics by ComScore show that Samsung by the way of Android made it's way as the smartphone of choice. Well no surprise there - the legal battles of the IT industry is rife with such claims and patent infringements.

Here's the Apple Guy:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Motorola Defy Dipped Served In A Glass Of Water For Your Viewing Pleasure!

What's that you have in your mug? That isn't a giant roach is it?

A few reviews past I did for a magazine, I had the pleasure of reviewing the rugged Motorola Defy! A nice piece of kit in terms of engineering and design department when it comes to hostile environments! Needless to say, this was one of the favourite Android devices I've reviewed in recent memory. Granted however it still runs Android 2.1 (upgrade to 2.2 promised by Motorola soon, but dunno when) and it stutters a bit in some departments but the Defy nevertheless delivers what I expected it too while running on just an 800MHz processor.

Now the serving in a mug of water part, isn't actually covered under warranty - It's supposed to be just WATER RESISTANT and NOT water proof! But hey! If you make sure all the seals are shut tight and the backplate cover is fastened correctly, the Defy most certainly can take a dive, a splash and a fair bit of mud slinging!

One reviewer on another site actually had his review unit submerged in water and made the mistake of not checking the locks and seals. The result? The battery shorted out. The Defy? Well it got dried off and kept on running on another battery! Shows you how well made this baby is from Motorola.

Lights on: Fancy A Motorola Defy in your mug?
Besides being dipped in water and having water run over it from the faucet, the Defy sure can take some abuse: in the guise of several drops. A 3 foot drop onto a concrete floor didn't faze it save some scruff marks- they look cute and give it character...Just like the dinks on my Panasonic Toughbook.

So fancy having a cuppa with a Defy in it? Read on.

A pretty faced rugged Android phone

The Motorola Defy unexpectedly surprises us where least expected and mostly delivers what it promises to.

By Zeeman

Rugged Expectations

First impressions would say that the Motorola Defy is quite an ordinary looking mid-range priced Android smartphone; one with a black and glossy outlook. Judging by the size and you would never suspect that the Defy is meant for seriously hardy conditions. In other words it doesn’t look like it’s been popping in steroids. Looks however can be deceiving: folks this isn’t just an ordinary smartphone!

Motorola is however notorious when it comes to staying current with Android: the Defy runs Android 2.1 Éclair; but we’re willing to make some concessions here. Even if Éclair doesn’t support the off loading of apps to external microSD storage, the Defy has 2 GB (1.2 GB available) internal shared memory.

To top that off, Motorola actually made some very good enhancements and tweaks to the Android 2.1 flavour the Defy runs. Motorola will of course eventually offer an upgrade to Android 2.2 in due time.

First looks:
What surprises most people when they see the Defy is how unremarkably ordinary it looks like; not that it’s ugly. It’s actually quite elegantly designed or even dainty at just 118 grams to be a rugged device. What surprises them more would be the old dunk test where the Defy is served (with screen on) in a glass of water! Even if the Defy is only ‘water resistant’ and not totally water proof, it lives up to its name in this regard pretty well.

A closer look will tell you that the chassis was meant to take on the brunt of hard use, or even extreme conditions: the black metallic banding around the bezel complete with 9 torx screws, snug water resistant covers for both the 3.5 mm audio jack (rubber-like) and the microUSB port (harder plastic like), the rubber lined gasket in the battery compartment and the latch secured back rubberized plastic back plate. One note about the audio jack: when connected to an earphone, the connector doesn’t go in all the way in.
The display is  a 3.7 inch WVGA, 480 x 854 pixel screen which is fine for reading small text as long as on a direct angle. One thing you won’t notice is that the glass is Gorilla Glass from Corning which is supposed to be pretty scratch resistant and tough.

You don’t see too many physical buttons on the Defy: there are Android standard touch buttons at the bottom of the screen (menu, home, back and search). On the top is the power button and on the right side is the volume rocker switch. On the back: top-left are the 5 MP and LED, what seems like a tiny microphone hole, a slide lock mechanism and what seems to be a cleverly designed speaker hole.

Screen time!
The Defy’s 3.7 inch WVGA, 480 x 854 pixels screen is actually quite decent for most purposes. Legibility is good except at odd 30 degree angles from the sides. When put to maximum brightness, the screen is quite readable outdoors compared to some other brighter and superior screens.  

The touchscreen actually works very well. It’s however not responsive when submerged (not recommended, remember it’s only supposed to be water resistant, not waterproof). In fact, after fishing the Defy out, the capacitive multi-point screen is a bit unresponsive until you wipe it dry. So you can’t use it as a camera while underwater, although switching on video record before plunging it into water might work!

The innards
The processor doesn’t look impressive at first: a Texas Instruments’ 800MHz OMAP3610 processor, but playing around with the Defy proves that it’s serves well. There are however some episodes of lagging when switching between apps, but that’s quite occasionally. Overall, the processor seems to be able to handle scrolling very smoothly. Pinch zooming works well too.

Perhaps what helps in the hardware department is the built-in 2 GB internal shared memory (1.2 GB available), the 512MB of RAM which improves performance and the extra 2 GB SD card (which sits behind the battery).

The Lithium-polymer battery rated at 1,540 mAh seems to be quite well suited for the Defy that is if you don’t stretch it too much with streaming media. It has enough juice to last the entire day for normal geek usage (music, some YouTube, Tweeter and Facebook usage). You can also turn on the data saver function to limit not only the data usage; it also saves some power as it turns of photo downloads for social media. Tweaking on the frequency of your Gmail, Tweeter and Facebook updates will also save a lot on data and power usage.

User Experience
The user experience on the Defy is actually good with a few minor niggles. How can you complain about a phone that takes punishment and abuse and keeps on ticking? Test dropped (at a height of 3 feet) several times on the office floor and bare concrete plus several dips into glasses of water did not phase the Defy one bit. Some scuff marks aside; this is a phone you don’t have to worry about!

One issue that propped out would be the touchscreen’s quirk when playing Angry Birds. When zooming in and out a lot, it tends to become unresponsive; i.e. you can scroll and all, just that you can’t launch your birds. The Twitter app works fine but Tweetdeck seems to stutter a bit and then closes by itself. Granted however that these could just be game incompatibility issues (this is after all Android 2.1), but it’s annoying.

Unlike the earlier announced versions of the Defy, this one for Malaysia, besides missing some apps it also doesn’t have the word MotoBlur etched on its back cover plate. MotoBlur streams social network conversations, friends and favorites into your Motorola phone. Some argue that Blur isn’t really necessary given the better and newer social networking apps available. This isn’t a big issue.

Very surprisingly, one of the strongest features is the Connected Music Player. It plays your music, internet radio, music videos (library, YouTube, GoTV), connects to the TuneWiki Community and has Sound Hound sound identification. The music player is way better than the default Android version and besides playing your tracks, it also retrieves the cover art, lyrics (some songs have a karaoke-like lyric support), allows you to share on Twitter, search for related Music Videos and even view a Google Music Map to see what other tracks are being listened to in your nearby area! Besides that you can stream your media to DLNA supported devices if you happen to have any.

Browsing even in multiple tabs works fine and thanks to Adobe Flash Lite 3, you can play Flash video like from YouTube within the browser itself. You also get the option to open the YouTube app as well.

For user input, Swype is already the preset. It’s quite dandy to use once you get the hang of it. Altrnatively there are the Moto input method (includes handwriting recognition for English and Chinese) and Multi-touch keyboard.

Besides giving their own version of the Android soft keyboard (which is quite accurate), Samsung also gives you the option to use the Swype input method. Swype is supposed to make it easier by allowing to type without raising your fingers off from the screen. It traces the path and gives some educated guesses. In landscape mode however, this can mean a lot of distance in between letters.

The Defy can also be used as a mobile 3G hotspot. To connect to your Windows PC or Mac, you can use the USB or WiFi Motorola Phone Portal function which allows access to the Defy’s contents via a Web browser.

Snapshots and video
The 5 MP camera is not a strong point for the Defy. It isn’t really bad but using a soft-button on the screen tends to make it harder to take fast paced pictures; even if the ‘sport’ mode is selected. Try taking a picture of a toddler in action and all you get are blurred images.

Among the features are geo-tagging, scene modes (portrait, landscape, sport, night portrait, sunset, macro, steady shot, and auto) and some effects.
Pictures can be pretty decent with adequate lighting as seen in outdoor daylight shots. Indoor shots are similar, which is where having the LED flash helps.

For video recording it can get up to 30 FPS at a VGA resolution. For pictures and video there’s an instant sharing capability via Bluetooth, Email, Gmail, MMS or YouTube.

The verdict?
Although Éclair is getting pretty long in the tooth, the Motorola has a few trump cards of its own added to the Defy’s Éclair Operating System. Motorola promises eventual Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) upgrades and a step up to Android 2.2. Otherwise the Defy performs reasonably well in spite of the mentioned quirks.
If you’re into rough and tumble activities and don’t want to be worried about the kit you’re carrying in your pocket, the Defy should definitely be on your list. ‘Peace of mind’ for this price, is well worth it.

Price: RM1,599
Standard Package: Motorola Defy,  USB cable-cum-charger adapter, stereo hands-free.

Size/Weight: 107 x 59 x 13.4 mm, 118g
Connectivity: microUSB connector, WiFi (b/g/n),A- GPS, e-Compass, Bluetooth A2DP, 3.5mm audio jack
CPU: TI OMAP 3610 800MHz Cortex-A8 processor
Battery life: 1,540mAh 
Network: EDGE/GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, HSDPA /WCDMA 900/2100 MHz
Camera: 5 MP, autofocus, LED Flash

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"That Crazy Bitch Stole My _____!"

This actually made me really LOL at the office! I don't want to spoil the ending as some of you guys might not have watched it yet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ubuntu 10.10 GUI Updated

Overlay Scrollbars in Unity - implementation from Canonical Design on Vimeo.

Ubuntu has just gotten a nice tweak - yep it's just some scroll bars but still a nice tweak nevertheless. One must also see if the graphic adapters are supported by Ubuntu 10.10. Your's truly has been having issues with the Panasonic CF-29 Toughbook since it has an embarrassingly mundane graphic adapter - one of those older Intel Graphics ones.

I still love my Toughbook anyway!