Entries for June 2007

Concept: Transparent toaster

The concept of a transparent toaster is one of the best inventables in my opinion. No longer will you have a burned toast on the breakfast table.

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Lighting a match under a glass in a microwave

Day ride

It has been a while since I last cycled and this afternoon, I finally had the opportunity to meet up with my cousin for a ride to somewhere further and not within the good old Bishan Park where we usually hang out. Since he had this cool new mountain bike which cost quite a bit, I was able to ride on the other cheaper version and test the limits of it.

We set off from his home and started cycling to our intended destination, which happen to be Lower Seletar reservoir. Honestly, I was in a state of mixed emotions as it was my first day ride and the distance that I’ll be travelling is much more than what I usually clock. I was excited and a little worried as I’d need to pay attention to the road conditions and terrain. The feeling is similar to driving a vehicle except that it is safer to ride on the pavement with little traffic.

During the journey, my cousin was taking the lead with his powerful bicycle and I tried to keep up with his pace. It didn’t take too long for me to realise that cycling on a cheap bike as compared to the better ones makes a big difference. The amount of energy exerted and distance covered is significant on a low end model. Just before we turned into the road leading to Seletar airport, my bike decided to quit on me. Apparently, it had enough of my high speed cycling and the gears extension derailleurs dislodged. Luckily, we were near some private estate neighbourhood and managed to borrow the right tools from a family to fix the bike. Speaking of this, I think Singaporeans are generally helpful and friendly (of course I’m not judging from this incident alone) when one is in need of help.

So off we go and continue our journey after the little misadventure. From here, I dared not test the limits of the bike again and decided to slow down the cycling speed. It didn’t take too long to arrive at lower Seletar Reservoir. We managed to stop by the side to catch a breather and enjoy the magnificent view but it wasn’t too long before we decided to head home as the sun was scorching. I managed to test ride his bike during the journey back home and it feels great. The ride was smoother and the amount of energy needed is much lesser.

Overall, it was a great “sight seeing” experience and workout. I would not have realised the remote areas of Yishun and appreciate the beauty of the surroundings if not for this day ride trip.

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Lego aircraft carrier

I’ve always been fascinated by Lego models and this Lego aircraft carrier is one of the most detailed model I’ve ever come across.

Update: Whoops, I’ve missed out the links earlier.

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Robert Krampf's science experiment videos: water absorbing heat

A video illustration of how effective water is at absorbing heat. Here’s many more of Robert Krampf’s science experiment videos worth checking out. (via kottke).

Unlocking your car with a tennis ball

I’m not so sure how accurate this is but here’s a video of using a tennis ball to unlock your car doors.

Photo Galleries

Over the last two years, I’ve managed to travel quite a fair bit. Be it to the United States for my intern-ship program or to Australia for my flying training, there are many fond and precious memories. So when one travels, meets people and visit places of interest, one would be busy snapping on the camera and eventually upload these photos to the internet — either for sharing or safekeeping.

With hundreds of photos currently stored in my computer and only available for off-line viewing, I’ve decided to create photo galleries and upload these photos for viewing on the internet. However, I’ve not been able to find a photo gallery service that satisfied my needs. Thus, I decided to hunt for one that hopefully can be integrated with the Movable Type weblog that I’ve been using. It didn’t take too long before I chanced upon Doug Bowman’s photo gallery templates which he has since made available for download.

Great, now that I’ve downloaded the templates, it’s time to get my hands dirty. I read through the well documented documentation and after spending endless hours customizing and changing a few template codes to my needs, I’m finally ready to launch the photo galleries section. For the moment, I’ve only managed to feature three albums though there’s more to come:

Note that each gallery page is limited to 25 photos display. You may change this setting by using the dropdown menu at the side of the gallery page. Also, you will need a standard compliant browser to view the photos though it known to work on Internet Explorer 7 as well.

For those who are still hungry for the technical details, you may want to continue reading. As I’m not using a Mac, what I’ve done is to import all my photos into Google’s Picasa, which I use it to manage my photos. Unfortunately, Picasa does not really live up to iPhoto’s features as described in the documentation and I had to switch between a few applications. I used Adobe’s Bridge to batch rename the file names in the form of YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSS so that there’ll be no duplicates. Then, I exported the albums using Brett Discoll’s picasa export templates for movable type. As Picasa currently lacks a few features such as titles labelling for individual photos and date/time formatting, I had to manually edit the text file before importing it into movable type. This is indeed a tedious process and I hope that either Picasa would be able to add the missing features that I’ve mentioned or I’m able to get hold of a MacBook.

Guess this should be about it on the gallery. Feel free to leave comments or thoughts pertaining to the photo gallery.

Update: Photo gallery is no longer available on the main site due to redesign of the site. However, you can still view the archives.

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What happens when 30,000 matchsticks are lighted at the same time

Guided iPhone tour by Apple

Here’s a guided iPhone video tour by Apple.

Amazing masterpieces using LEGO

A gallery of amazing masterpieces build using LEGO. This includes the Disney’s main street, Mos Eisley Spaceport and Ferrari models.

Update: I’ve also posted another Lego gallery some time ago that featured the New York City.

Solving mazes with Photoshop

Collection of video demonstrations of 20 magic tricks

31 different ways to lace shoes

For those who wants to demonstrate creativity on your shoes, here are some different ways to lace your shoes.

Overdue refresh

I’ve been working on some long overdue refresh to the site and have rolled out some of the updates today. To start off, the search feature on this site is now being powered by Google instead of an internal search engine that was previously being utilized. I realized that Google was able to return close to 90% of the search results accurately and thus the changes.

Next refresh affects the webscan section. I’ve added a permalink for each entry and it can be accessed either on the sidebar on the front page (by clicking on the date of the entry) or through the webscan front page and monthly archives. This should resolve the issue of users not being referred to the specific page that was searched.

I’m still working on a few more tweaks that will provide a better user experience. As usual, if you encounter any problems/bugs or even constructive suggestions, do drop me a line.

PS: Not seeing the changes that I’ve mentioned? Hit CTRL+F5 (PC) or CMD+F5 (Mac) to update the style sheets.

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Coolest way to get on-board a helicopter

One of the coolest way to get on-board a helicopter, without using a winch. I suppose it can only be done on a Chinook platform.

Reason why Australia lacks unlimited internet plans

A good informative article on why Australia lack unlimited internet plans.

15 household uses for table salt

15 household uses for table salt. I didn’t know salt can be used for defrosting.

Safari 3.0

Apple has released a beta version of the popular browser Safari for Windows. Now, I can view if a page is being displayed as it should while designing sites.

Update: Seems that Safari is unable to display the HTML formatting buttons in Movable Type!

Collection of favicons

Smashing Magazine has compiled a list of creative and beautiful favicons of various sites on the internet. Beautiful indeed.

Top 10 highest monuments around the world

Ushiku Daibutsu, Buddhist statue of Guanyin, Statue of Peter I, Statue of Liberty, Buddha of Bamyan are some of the highest monuments around the world.

Safari 3 for Windows

Safari LogoDuring the World Wide Developer Conference last week, Apple officially announced the availability of Safari 3 beta for the Windows operating system. It seems that the Mozilla’s prediction which I posted at the beginning of this year came true. With the release of Safari for the Windows mainstream, this marks the beginning of yet another browser war. I decided to download a copy to test and see how it compares to Internet Explorer 6 and Firefox 2 on my machine.

When I first launched Safari 3 on Windows, I was amazed to see the amount of effort that went into making the experience as similar as possible to that on the Mac OS X. Even the browser was skinned to look like the Mac OS X Safari but I find that it looked a little too dark and dull on Windows. I was also surprised to find that the browser window can only be resized from the bottom right corner of the window. The typeface is also not as sharp as compared to that on the Mac OS X.

broken text formattingApart from the interface design, I also ran into a few keyboard issues and page rendering problems. On Firefox, I’m able to rotate through tabs by using Ctrl + Tab and Ctrl + Shift + Tab. On Safari, this key doesn’t work and instead, one has to use Ctrl + Shift + [ and Ctrl + Shift + ]. I’m not sure if this would be a permanent feature or if the keyboard mappings can be configured in the final version but I certainly hope the developers will look into this. I also encountered some issues such as being logged out after posting an entry in Movable Type as well as the HTML formatting buttons not appearing in Movable Type. Besides this, Safari lacked a few other features such as selection of the entire URL in the address bar as well as a keyboard shortcut to the address bar.

Though there are many flaws in the browser itself, there are also plus points. One of the things that I observed through using Safari is that the start up time is faster and it renders pages faster. On average, it takes about 1.6 seconds to complete loading a page as compared to 5.2 seconds in Firefox and 5.9 seconds in Internet Explorer respectively. You can take a look at the bar chart that I’ve created.

browser load time comparison

RSS featureSafari has also incorporated a built-in RSS viewer which I personally like it very much. It displays every headline and article summary right in the browser window and allows one to adjust the article length, sort-by style as well as filter the contents based on a time line. The search feature is also refreshing as Safari makes it really easy to spot the matches highlights by dimming the current page and showing the currently selected match with a hard-to-miss orange background.

Overall, it is a good browser especially for the unique features it offers. It is also useful for web developers to test their design without the need to get a Mac. For now, I’ll probably stay with Firefox until Apple decides to release the final version of Safari.

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Everything was better when you were twelve

How Adobe Photoshop was born

How a Swiss bank account works

An interesting read on how a Swiss bank account works. “It’s not like how you thought it was from movies or books.”

Pescetarian

I was reading the papers few days ago and came across the word Pescetarian, which means vegetarians who eats fish and seafood. What kind of vegetarian is this suppose to be?