25 Dec 2006

white christmas in australia!?

the age reports that of all places that may have a white christmas, tasmania and victoria are getting snow on their ski slopes. for those who don't know, they're having their summer there at the moment. weird!

 Ffximage 2006 12 25 Buller Cfa Wideweb  470X305,0

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21 Dec 2006

avoid seat row 11 on BA 757 flights

we sat in row 11 on a BA flight from london to prague and the window seat was not a window seat. it had no windows.

seatguru does not have this type of plane for BA some i'm posting it here. avoid row 11 at all costs for any plane that is a 757.

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20 Dec 2006

orange payg unlimited gprs

i just got back from a much needed break from cambridge. now catching up on email from all fronts, probably close to 10,000 emails unread from my 4+ email accounts.

unlimited orange GPRS for £1

one interesting thing, orange uk pay as you go has an interesting deal where you can use unlimited GPRS for up to 24 hours. it only costs you £1 (compared to £10 for 3MB or whatever crazy rate they charge) and is a life saver if you can't find any free wifi. it isn't very fast though, even though GPRS is supposed to get up to 300kb/s, i could only really get around 30kb/s and the ping times were around 700ms.

cool thing is after following this GPRS for Mac guide from Tao of Mac about how to set up my nokia, mac, bluetooth and GPRS, i was able to check mail and even do an svn checkout.

however, after playing around with GPRS for a while, my bluetooth modem connection on my mac stopped working after it complained about /dev/cu.Bluetooth-Modem as "resource busy." restarting the mac, the phone and re-adding the bluetooth device all failed to work.

the summary of trying to get it to work on a nokia 6600:

1. add the GPRS details on your phone, either get your provider to send you an setup SMS or punch in the details manually. i did it manually, like a man.
2. make the GPRS "access point" default on your phone.
3. add the bluetooth mobile phone in the "Bluetooth Preference Pane".
4. go to the "Network" in "System Preferences" and enable "Bluetooth" as a network device, then put in the number "*99#" and choose the script "Vodafone VC701SI"
5. Open "Internet Connect" and dial out.

yahoo mobile sucks?

orange has a deal with yahoo mobile search on their "front page" if you use the default homepage on your mobile browser. unfortunately, it took me 2 minutes to figure out that all search results that were returned was a yahoo server error page. meah.

free wifi on coaches?

one final thing, i was on the coach from london to cambridge, and apparently there is free wifi. however, it didn't work, the network was there, but no DHCP or outside access. it is supposedly managed by a company called Telabria. however, i went to their webpage on my mobile, and noticed that they just got bought out by some other company a week ago.

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09 Dec 2006

macbook pro arrived

wow, my macbook pro arrived only a little over 24 hours after the order was processed on the online apple store.

only thing i really had to do was plug in my firewire drive, select transfer items from my old computer and my account was setup and ready to go. the only things i had to do was to get rid of some PPC only preference panes and applications and reinstall xcode.

everything is just much more snappy, and i don't have to listen to the my hard disk grind every two seconds when i switch applications!

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07 Dec 2006

powerbook really dead now

i guess i spoke too soon. not long after my previous blog post, my a/c adapter blew up. proper black smoke coming out of the adapter probably due to a short somewhere. so i broke down and ordered a macbook pro 15". i couldn't deal with any more crap coming from that powerbook.

it was only just celebrating it's third birthday two weeks ago. sigh. i might end up buying a new adapter for it later and turn it into some headless drone, or some neat hack project when i get some more time.

right now i'm looking forward to spanking fast macbook pro! i was holding back and waiting till macworld on 8th january before laying down the cash. since every year there are rumours about an apple ultra light pro laptop. it might really come true this year, although with the pretty solid rumour about the iphone, possibly launch of the apple itv and new ipods, i would be surprised if a redesigned pro laptop will also be released.

the honest truth is that i'm just trying to self re-enforce the idea that it isn't a stupid move to buy the macbook pro now.

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06 Dec 2006

powerbook back, sans hard disk

i've bought my powerbook back to life by taking it apart and ripping out the drive. so now my powerbook is back with a missing hard disk.

probably contrary to what i initially thought, i think the smoke that came out of my a/c adapter was actually from the vents right next to the hard drive. they were pretty close together so i couldn't quite tell where it was coming from.

the hard disk just makes a clunking sound an an interval of a 1-3 seconds continuously as it sounds like the drive head is trying to get out of the parking position but hitting something.

turns out, i have only lost around half a year worth of photos -- emm, all my germany photos that i hadn't uploaded to flickr or my website. damn it.

now the powerbook is back up and running but requires an external firewire drive to boot. i have three external hard drives and the only one free was a usb2 only. powerbooks do not boot off a usb2, so i've had to spend the day shifting files around to free up my external.

for now, my powerbook won't be as portable as it used to be, but at the very least i can do stuff on it. that means i'm in the market for a 80G 2.5" hard disk.

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03 Dec 2006

powerbook in critical condition

early this morning, white smoke started emanating from my powerbook a/c adapter. i quickly started doing a full backup for around 50G of data. when it got to around 40G, the hard disk started the omnious click of death routine. i might have lost the sources to my website (although i have a backup of it 6 months ago) and possibly alot of my photos since 2006 that i hadn't backed up. i'm waiting for the battery to charge up again so i can switch it into firewire mode and see how much more i can recover.

seems like i won't be able to wait till next year for a macbook pro. i'll have to go get one some time this week.

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14 Nov 2006

skype out to united states toll free numbers

so apparently you can call US 1-800 numbers from skype out for free. i tried it, and it sucked.

anyway, the story goes is that the US VISA card apparently got "hacked" (maybe related to this story), or was involved in a compromised database. so the issuing bank reissued my VISA card. but the problem is that i'm not in the states, so i only just received the card and i need to activate this new card otherwise both my old card and new card will be cancelled. the implication is that i won't be able to buy things on itunes US. that would be a disaster!

there are two ways to activate the card, use it at an ATM or do it via phone banking. so i had to call this toll free number for phone banking. i decided to try it out from skype out. it turns out it misses the first 20 seconds of the call every time for some reason. and i turns out i miss out the language selection and the rest of the call is in spanish. hmmm...

maybe it is some weird interaction with the bank's automated phone system with skypeout, but i eventually just called it with a proper phone and got that damn thing done.

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10 Nov 2006

heroes is the new lost

a lot of people are complaining that this season of lost is bad and it has been losing it's story continuity. but if people were listening last season to the producer's podcasts and interviews (ok, i'm a lost freak, so that is why i listen to these things), then you could remember that they said this season will be much more about the relationships between the people rather than the mystery and action of the last two seasons.

i thought season 3 episode 4 and 5 of lost were very good episodes. certainly up there with alot of the season 2. but i agree that the captivity story is getting a bit long, i hope they either get back to the island soon.

i've started watching some episode of heroes after listening to quite a bit of buzz about it, and it really is the new lost. it has a similar formula, a whole load of seemingly unconnected people who share a common fate, the fate that is they have super powers. and in some way they are connected. lots of hidden clues, lots of mysteries and even time travel thrown in for good measure.

i guess while lost is on a break until next year, that will be my replacement.

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09 Nov 2006

ubi-aircon

mitsubishi combines a air conditioner with an infrared camera to create the ubi-aircon. (via fareastgizmos, techon)

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it detects whether someone is in the room and adjusts the air conditioner accordingly. now someone just needs to plug in that ethernet cable into the air conditioner and you can start uploading videos on to youtube.

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