Posts about review

Review of Sex and the City 2 by someone who doesn’t know anything about it

First off, ladies, I get it. It’s your Star Wars. The opening credits make your tummy tickle the same way the Star Wars theme, to this day, gives me a boner. I understand. A pair of expensive shoes worn by Carrie is just like a metallic bikini worn by Princess Leia.

Tim SiedellWriter certainly said it well.

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2009: A year in review

As I rewind and reviewed bits and pieces of 2009, I was amazed at how it arrived without any anticipation and past at the blink of the eye. I realised that I did not even write any resolutions for the year though I survived unknowingly. I thought that it was a relatively smooth ride for me having achieved a couple of milestones and achievements.

For one, I’ve finally realised my childhood dream of being a pilot and earned my aviator wings and began my career as a military pilot after 3 years and 2 months as a trainee. To top it off, I was granted my choice of platform that I’ve always wanted to fly and the opportunity to return to the states for short stint training. Before I knew, I was being re-stationed to the states once again, this time for a good 2 years!

Not forgetting the advancement with technology and the numerous gadgets I have acquired over the last couple of months. I’ve finally took the leap onto the Apple wagon and this includes being a proud owner of a 15″ MacBook Pro and an iPhone 3GS! This has got to be one of the biggest and fruitful changes after being a loyal fan of the PC for almost 20 years!

In short, I’m thankful to have sailed through 2009 peacefully with tremendous support from my family and a bunch of great friends whom I have met along my life journey thus far.

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2008 — A year in reading

It’s the time of the year again with the release of 2008 year in reading list as well as a compilations of favourite list of book covers.

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Coffee beans and perfume

While shopping around Harbour Town a few weeks ago, I came across this perfume store and decided to drop by to check out the fragrance collection. As I picked up a test stripe on the counter, I saw this glass of coffee beans and a few others being placed around the shop. Curiosity kicked in and the mischievous side of me decided to experiment a little to find out the real purpose of the coffee beans.

I dipped one of the test stripe covered with perfume deep into the coffee beans for a few seconds. Upon retrieving it, I smelled it and to my surprise, the stripe is now covered by rich coffee aroma. A search on the internet confirmed my little experiment.

Findings: Coffee beans enables on to reset the sense of smell after sampling a perfume, thus allowing you to continue sampling other fragrances without the previous smell lingering around.

Interesting indeed.

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Year of blessings

This year seems to have come and past in a flash. I recalled that it didn’t seem too long ago when I choose to leave my engineers’ officer cadet training to join the air force as a pilot trainee, departed to Tamworth, Australia and successfully completed my air grading course before returning to OCS for my Air Force Service Term. Then, I dread of touring the Brunei jungle once again but eventually survived.

Before I knew, I managed to obtain my first and only silver for my physical fitness test (IPPT) before going for my eye surgery. It was then that I realized the convenience and wonders of life without spectacles. After due considerations and with a little effort, I’ve managed to take the first step towards obtaining a driving license. Then came the wisdom tooth surgery I had to go for due to work requirements. Fortunately, it quickly went by but I must say it was one kind of an experience.

Looking back at the resolutions which I’ve set in the beginning of this year, I glad to say that most of it has been accomplished with the exception of one, which is getting certified as a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). Indeed, there were many tough challenges along the route but it has also been a great year for all the luck, blessings and wonderful “gifts” that I’ve received from my family, friends and most importantly, god.

A year of ever revolving life changing experience indeed!

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Mom, there's a new bus service

Recently, the service operator that provides bus service in my neighborhood launched a new service. I came to know about it when I saw a poster being advertised at the bus stop promoting the new service. As it provided little details on the actual route it would serve, I decided to check out details of the bus service using the bus service guide to help determine if it’ll be convenient for me to travel home from my workplace.

On the day the service launched, I boarded the bus from my usual bus stop. To my surprise, it seemed that many others were “trying out” the route as the bus was relatively packed. Less than 5 minutes into the journey, I began cursing under my breath for being too smart on deciding to try out the new bus service. Throughout the journey, I managed to observe a few interesting but annoying scene though.

First, the new bus service came with a newly qualified bus driver. How am I able to come to this conclusion? It’s simple — because he was driving at a speed of between 30 to 40 km/h and he never fails to stop at every bus stop, regardless if anyone is boarding or alighting. Then, he had to refer to his notes when passengers asked about the bus fares. To make things worst, the driving skills is simply bad because he has bad judgement and decides to filter into the appropriate lane too early, thus further delaying travelling time. I’m not trying to insult or look down on new bus drivers but I think its unacceptable service.

At one point, I even heard a young girl yelling to her mum about the new bus service at one of the bus stops. It was then that I noticed most people did not even know or bother to read the poster promoting the new bus service. Whenever the bus pulls into a bus stop, most would glance at it curiously before rushing to read the poster. What’s worst is that the bus is bound to stop at stops for a long time as the driver tries his best to entertain those who ask for route directions. All of these add up precious time and cause great frustration!

From this incident, I can conclude that it is not wise to try out a new bus service for at least a few weeks after it has launched. Although it will help to save cost and cut down travelling time, it may seem otherwise initially. This incident has also made me wondered why many simply can’t be bothered to find out more about the service if they intent to board in the first place. Would this be the kind of attitude and mentality our society will adopt? I’ll leave it for you to think about.

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Firefox 2 reviewed

I’ve finally found time and am convinced to upgrade my firefox browser from version 1.5 to 2. Actually, I couldn’t resist the temptation to give it a try even before it was officially released and I ended up installing the RC3 build, with the 1.5 version running in parallel. In short, here’s the list of top most wanted features that made me want to make the switch:

  • Built-in spell check function
  • Stability and memory management
  • The improved tab browsing experience
  • Better management of RSS feeds

Since version 1.5, I’ve been using the Tab Plus Mix add-on to enhance my browsing experience. Initially, I thought I could do away with it now that version 2 has improved tab browsing features but I soon realized that the former were still better in terms of features and control. One thing to note is that I’ve to part with Google Toolbar for FireFox as it constantly caused my firefox browser to crash for no apparent reasons. I’m still patiently waiting for Google to release an update. Apart from this, the browser runs well with a couple of add-ons which I think are great to have. I’m trying to keep this list to the minimum but here are some of which I’ve installed:

  • Cooliris
  • UK & US Dictionary
  • FlashGot
  • Tab Mix Plus

Overall, I would rate it as a must upgrade software item and I would strongly recommend this browser to my colleague and friends. It’s so much better off than Internet Explorer but I would suggest that one keep the IE browser in order to view sites that doesn’t support FireFox.

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Public transport service

Recently, I came across this discussion about our Singapore public transport service both on television and from reading the papers. Apparently, the government has came up with a 10 year outlook for our public transport service and this includes various means of upgrading that includes adding more railway lines, providing better service — all comes with a possibility of increased fares.

If you were to observe closely, one would realise that our public transport fares are affordable and convenient to a certain extend but the rates are climbing slowly by a few cents during each increment. Many would agree that due to many factors such as upgrading of buses, higher oil prices etc warrants the increase of fares in order to stay profitable. However, we all know for the fact that the annual turnover for these operators turns out to be millions of dollars. This makes me and many others wonder if the fare increase is justified.

Next, it is noted that the rider-ship on public transport have continually declined over the years and more people own their own vehicles. As much as the government tries to implement measures such as the infamous Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), Certificate of Entitlement (COE) etc to discourage people from driving, many are still able to own one and lead a comfortable life. This makes me wonder if all these measures indeed serve its purpose.

In my personal opinion, if the government seriously wants its citizen to switch to public transport, perhaps it should first review its own policies. We cannot compare our fare structure (most affordable) with others parts of the world as cars are so much affordable as compared to ours. This in turn caused their public transport prices to soar as there’s generally lesser rider-ship and this would in turn affect the operator’s turnover. Apart from this, there is a need to improve the services provided or even realign the operator’s mission and values to a less profit orientated organisation. After all, they are providing a service that can be considered essential in one’s daily life.

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Windows live messenger

Microsoft finally released the final version of Windows Live Messenger today. My first impression when I heard about it was that it is related to the infamous Windows Messenger that came with Windows XP. However, after reading from various websites, it turned out that Microsoft is simply renaming the product and moving away from MSN Messenger. Most of the other Microsoft products that will be released in the near future will come under the “Live” idea.

You must be wondering what’s so great about it that I decided to make the switch. As compared to MSN Messenger 7.5, Windows Live Messenger has better memory management. On my 2.4 GHz computer with 1GB of RAM, it utilised about 32MB and this was further reduced to 1.8MB when minimized to tray! Next, it has built in nickname and contact editor that enables me to better organize and rename my contacts — without the need for a third-party plug-in. What’s more, I heard from my colleague that the changes made to the contact list (including renaming of the contacts) are saved to the messenger server. This means that I will not have to stare at a few unfamiliar contacts nickname and trying to “match make” the email address with the contact nickname when you access Messenger on public terminals. I’ve yet to try it personally but I think it’s a cool feature!

Having said so many good things about the new messenger, there are downside. One of it is that the messenger team have not worked on improving the chat logging feature. I actually had to rely on the Messenger Plus! Live plug-in to keep my logs organized and secured. Next, once you have decided to rename your contacts, there’s no way to view their original nicknames. Previously, I was still able to view my contact’s original nickname by simply moving my mouse cursor over their names. Apart from the above, there are many other features which I do not really utilize. Overall, I would give it a grade of 4 out of 5, mainly for better interface design and improved memory management.

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Read for life

Finally found the urge to start reading again. The last time I seriously picked up a book to read was in the beginning of this year when I was motivated to read this book titled “The Da Vinci Code” as I’m curious to see how much the movie that is expected to be launch in May, would differ from the novel.

Reading can be fun and it helps one to imagine better. I used to dislike reading but I was sort of influenced by my cousin during primary school. He’s the sort who loves to read and you never fail to see him with a book wherever he goes. My reading collection includes the famous Enid Byton, The Hardy Boys when I was young till the now John Grisham, Dan Brown and many other collections. I realized that I tend to read more thriller / science fiction novels but that has since revolved into a wide variety of reads.

I remembered reading an article from the newspaper which mentioned that every year, a few thousand books are being published. Yet, there are 52 weeks in a year. Assuming we are only able to complete reading a book once a week, that’ll be about 52 books out of the thousands out there. That’s only less than 0.52% (assuming 1000 books are published a year).

On the side note, I’ve always wanted to start a book section on this site. Works are in progress while I figure out the best approach to design and present on this site books that I’ve read, waiting to be read and other recommendations.

Just as the government actively promotes a healthy lifestyle with the slogan “Keep fit for life”, I would love to add the following: “Read for life, knowledge and fun!”.

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Indecisive

My contacts list on both my cell phone and MSN Messenger is growing rapidly. I’ve been scrolling through each name now and then and have been wondering if I should delete those I seldom contact. I don’t like the idea of deleting numbers from my cell phone unless I’m absolutely sure the number is no longer in use since this will save the trouble of looking for the person’s number someday.

When MSN Messenger first introduced grouping of contacts back in version 6, I thought that was a great idea as I can now group my contacts accordingly. Recently, I realized that many of the contacts within a group are those whom I do not really speak to and those contacts whom I frequently contact are all over the place — in various groups. This can be troublesome as I have 150 over contacts on my list and had I expand every group on my list; it would have defeated the purpose of grouping them in the first place!

Now, I have to resort to using the old method — sorting by online and offline status. Fortunately, there is this great add-on that allows me to rename my contacts. This helps to organize my contact list and saves time as I do not need to search for personal nicknames or email address every time I need to talk to someone. Even then, I find that of these contacts online, there are about 20% of which I do not really talk to. Perhaps, I’ll be less-reluctant to delete contacts if there is a better alternative or when things start to get out of hand.

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Importance of data backup

While reading an article on the importance of data and weblogs backup in today’s Straits Times, I suddenly remembered that it has been a while since I last bothered to perform a full system backup as well as export my weblog settings and entries. You see, during the dial-up era, I have set up an exact configuration of my website on my machine for testing out as well as acting as a backup. Thus, all site entries and development templates would be posted there (this is so as to save on my dialup charges) before duplicating a copy online.

Now that I’m on broadband, it is as simple as logging on to my website and posting directly off here. As such, the offline entries on my computer are outdated and I would’ve been in a loss should the server’s hard disk crash and could not be recovered. I think the issue many computer users face today is the hassle of having to go through tons of unwanted files and purging it and to configure the system for data backup.

Fortunately, I managed to figure out a solution to solve my woes (not exactly but it’s better than nothing) — that is to use the in built Microsoft Backup program (not one of the best backup program) and task scheduler and to configure it such that it’ll automatically perform backup on selected folders and files. I’ve also yet to find a reasonable method to manage my backups, which can significantly amount to a few gigabytes of disk space.

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