Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve and its almost all quiet. I can still hear traffic on the NKVE from my apartment buzzing by. Maybe some people going home after some late night Christmas Eve party.

I just got back from a Christmas Party too. There was turkey and some normal fare like Hokkien Mee. I ate more of the Hokkien Mee and fried rice instead of the Turkey and leg of lamb. I never really liked turkey. I think the first time I had turkey for Christmas was when Paul and Sue West invited me over to their house with a few other international students for a Christmas dinner. It was so kind of them to do that. We all sat around their dinning table and we had a wonderful dinner with turkey. I have to say I never got used to the smell of the meat.

Thinking back, I never really liked Christmas, I always found it too pretentious and commercialized. I'm not a Christian so I don't see it as a religious holiday for me. I had a really bad Christmas experience once and from then on I hated Christmas for a long time every time I think back about it. It was my first time in the US as a student (I arrived in winter). It was Christmas break and it was really cold and the campus was empty. I didn't have any food so I took a long cold walk to the supermarket nearby to buy some TV dinner. When I got to the store after trudging along in the bone cold winter, I found a sign on the door that said they were closed for Christmas.

I stood there staring at the sign and it hit me how lonely I was at that point. No food; it was cold; and I had no one around. I guess that kind of screwed up my perception of Christmas.

The next few winters after that, I avoided Christmas. The only good memory I had was that one Christmas dinner I had with Paul and Sue. I remember their kindness in sharing.

So today, I don't hate Christmas that much anymore. I still think its over commercialized, too many retailers putting too much pressure on the shoppers to buy things. Sometimes we end up with things we don't need.

Merry Christmas everyone

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My adverture with technology

So what have I been up too lately? Well, I've been spending time with technology.

Lately, I got me a new notebook. I never owned one before but I sure have meddled with quite a few. When I started out in the IT world, I started of with a desktop. I liked the Desktop because notebooks were small and dinky. However as time when on, I saw the benefits of owning one (like being able to facebook in private on a larger screen than my Iphone in the office).

I've been installing and uninstalling software on it. Just when I thought I got everything right, I formatted the whole damn thing because of a glitch. Good thing it was so easy to start up again now that I've backed up all the stuff onto my external Hard Drive.

Actually right now I'm on the notebook writing this on my sofa at home. I could have done this from my Iphone but using a keyboard sure is faster.

So what notebook did I get? I got the Benq S41. Okay, most people are quite surprised when I mentioned that I got a Benq. Those who know me know that I love technology, most would have assumed I would have gotten a HP or a Dell. Actually that was my first choice but after some indept research, I found that the Benq S41 was a better deal. First of all, my priorities are for gaming and video editing. So the most important thing is a good video card and decent processor. The rest can all be upgraded.

The S41 came with a Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0MHz processor. That's pretty decent mid-range processor. The best part of course is the NVIDIA GeForce Go 8600M video card. Normally, for a mid-range video card the most powerful I could find was a 8400M. Not much of a difference but when it comes to rendering video, it does save me a lot of time. I upgraded the hard disk to 300G and boosted the RAM to 4G. So my mid-range notebook can probably out run most beginner top range machines out there.

I got a Windows Vista score of 4.8. Doesn't say much but it is an indication of its processing power. Heck, this machine got a higher score than my desktop. My desktop is handicapped at a 3G RAM, too lazy upgrade the ram to 4G right now.

The other IT stuff I've been playing with was my Iphone. I took a big risk to upgrade the firmware to V2.2.0. It's quite nerve wracking upgrading the firmware by yourself and jailbreaking it.

It was all going fine and I was using the phone for a month until I dropped it a few days ago. I was going to put it on the sofa but it slipped and fell onto the floor. When I picked it up, a small corner of the LCD had streaking colors. It was a sign there was a leak in the LCD panel, over time two thin lines grew all the way across the screen. It was a like a cancer growing and growing. That just so pissed me of. The damn thing is still under warranty actually but I got to get it back to London so its just not worth the hassle.

I did the next best thing. I asked my wife if I could use the same identical Iphone I got for her. Hers was just sitting in the drawer as she never used it. So upgraded the firmware and jailbreaked it and the best part is... I could back it up and now the phone is almost identical to my old phone. Damn I love this backup feature on Iphone.

The new firmware is missing a few key features compared to the old firmware. In V1.1.4, there were softwares I could download like WeTool which let me send contacts and forward SMS. I don't have that in the new firmware. Kind of sucks.

Actually, right now I'm just glad I have spare Iphone lying around for me to use. Otherwise, I'm stuck with a phone that has a hole growing larger and larger over time.