| Wednesday October 05, 2005|
| 21:12 PM - wymun|
|So the saying goes that "As we age, we start to pursue the finer things in life". So it was no strange coincidence, that in my PC depravation state, I slowly gravitated toward an intriguing appreciation of music, thereby starting a renewed quest for sonic perfection, and the Hi-Fi componentry responsible for it...|
After several rounds of auditioning sessions, coupled by continued coaxings and guidance from my audiophilic neighbour ("Thanks Kenneth - btw your 5-figure stereo speaker system is to die for!!"), I finally settled for the Cabasse IOs 5.1 system. This S$5K speaker system served as a good compromise, doubling up as a surround speaker setup for Home Theatre use in the living room, albeit endowed with a more musical flavour...
Strange and eccentric as these speakers look, audio reproduction is nothing short of excellent. The IOs boast ancestry from Cabasse's renowned Baltic line of speakers, who essentially pioneered SCS technology for audio production. With its spherical satellite construct, the IOs take on a fast, dynamic, detailed and 3-dimensional representation of its source. Backed by a highly sensitive 94db rating, these speakers can be easily driven by most amps...
Nothwithstanding its dimunitive size, Home Theatre soundtracks can easily attain even obscene volumes. Moreover, the bundled Thor subwoofer goes deep on the bass, and is punchy nonetheless. In fact, many reviewers' greatest gripe with the speakers, lies paradoxically, in its strength - which belies an overly detailed presentation. For good recordings, these get further elevated a notch and translate into blissful listening sessions. But for bad ones, prepare to ditch them aside, as thet then sound even worse than before.
This characteristic becomes even more apparent in Home Theatre soundtracks, which tend to incorporate sound effects, such as shattering glass, which then provides an even more "piercing" rendition than intended. But conversely, surround-channel SACDs and DVD-Audios sound extremely musical for the very same reason, as originally intended by its producers...
Guess the difference in the audiophilic realm, is the term "Balance", whereas in PC hardware, performance is more clear-cut, with higher clock numbers reaping better results.
Hmmm...More impressions to come. But for now, I'm pretty satisfied with my setup, though it'd mean living with 5 dummy surveillance eyeballs watching me constantly during my musical sessions...
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| Tuesday October 04, 2005|
| 22:00 PM - kan|
|It has been such a loooong time since I last posted on the site! Ha ha! Like what bktoh was saying, I guess we all moved on with our lives. Time indeed flies and reviewing/writing computer articles just seem like yesterday. For those of you who still surf to Hardware One, we appreciate you ‘patronising’ us all these years!|
Coming back to the editors - Wilfred is now busy flying first class on SIA planes, Bktoh is happy with his magnificent ride (car), Wymun is now a proud father, Kptan is now some big shot CEO somewhere and I’m still trying to earn my first pay cheque (sigh!).
Anyway, our resident coder Skaven is working on some exciting changes to Hardware One and this will dictate the future layout and style of this site.
| 21:54 PM - kan|
|This isn't new, but for those who are new to distributed computing, we have a small team running in the Folding @ Home project. The goal - to understand protein folding, protein aggregation, and related diseases.|
For those who are interested to join us (all for the fun), our stats page is available at here.
What are proteins and why do they "fold"? Proteins are biology's workhorses -- its "nanomachines." Before proteins can carry out their biochemical function, they remarkably assemble themselves, or "fold." The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, remains a mystery. Moreover, perhaps not surprisingly, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. "misfold"), there can be serious effects, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many cancers and cancer-related syndromes.
Happy crunching, especially to those who are fortunate enough to have dual-core processors!
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| Monday October 03, 2005|
| 22:06 PM - bktoh|
|To be honest, I haven't been keeping score but a random thread in a forum I frequented made me take stock and it is quite ridiculous how many MP3 capable devices I have.|
I guess the ipod Nano is already well documented below
This is in addition to my trusty old first generation Creative Nomad Zen 20GB, my NetMD Walkman that can "translate" MP3s to ATRAC3 format, and O2 XDA II mini and of course, my PSP once I loaded it with a 1GB MS Duo Pro.
But these couple of days, my MP3 companion has oddly been my phone, a Sony Ericsson K750i.
The K750i was really SE's first attempt at creating a proper MP3 phone.
But it was hampered a little.
First of all, the bundled headphones, while decent, just didn't cut it if you compared to what the ipod supplied, or just plain sucked when you compared to aftermarket ones.
But Sony tried again, and came up with the W800i, which was actually badged and branded as a Walkman phone! Fundamentally, though, it shared the same innards as the k750i save for cosmetic changes and a more "Walkman" like interface.
The good news for k750i owners is that
- you can actually "upgrade" your k750i firmware to the W800i firmware (unsupported of course)
- you can now buy the HPM-70, a new better headphone/handsfree kit that comes with the W800i for the k750i
I didn't try the first "mod" but the second mod was just awesome. The new earphones reminded me of another pretty decent Sony earphone, the EX51.
Now, the midrange in my music came much more alive and the bass was much punchier.. so much punchier that I had to turn off the MegaBass.
The best part is, if you didn't like the HPM-70 earphones, you could just unplug it and plug any other standard 3.5mm jack earphone of choice.
Now all that remains, is to get a new 1GB MS Duo Pro especially since they are a lot cheaper than when I bought them for my PSP
| 21:36 PM - bktoh|
|Wymun hinted that most of our team had been distracted by other diversions in the last couple of years, so I guess it is only fair to explain what happened in the interim, at least in my case.|
So what have I been tinkering with?
I got my driver's licence more than 15 years ago, but cars were always just about a mode of transportation, like any other, albeit, one that gives me far greater freedom and reach. Sure I went to garages then, but it was never out of choice. If anything, I hated those periodic servicing cycles because it'd disrupt my daily schedule.
So I blame my current obsession on a few people, really. The first was Kan, our resident chiobu
He told me a couple of years ago about this great Japanese cartoon that was awesome and kept pestering me to watch it. The cartoon (now I call it anime) was Initial D, and I got hooked. It reminded me so much of the time when I first read Feist's Magician.
The second guy responsible was Tan. He drives an orange Celica and you probably might have seen his ride about town a few years back, though he seems more comfortable as a Dad and husband these days. He taught me a lot about cars and I guess I got interested to find out more on my own. I even changed cars in this endless pursuit for more power.
For those of you interested in a primer for automotive technology, I highly recommend reading this.
I guess if you really get down to it, modding cars and modding PCs appeal to us geeks on the same intrinsic level. Striving to get more performance, more juice, more oomph than what the manufacturer originally intended.
The main principles for modding are pretty much the same.
If you really want to mod, be prepared to spend money on upgraded components, that can take additional stress. In PC-dom, that means better memory component, better cooling, better casings. With cars, you need to upgrade your fueling, your intakes and exhausts to have better flow and you need better brakes to stop faster
I guess the pitfalls are pretty much the same too.
You sacrifice stability and longevity for PC components that are overclocked hard. With cars, engine reliability and day to day usability can suffer if you go beyond a certain threshold. With PCs, you sacrifice more power consumption for the added power. For cars, well, your fuel bill just keeps adding up
And I guess the satisfaction is still the same.
When you tweak the heck out of your PC and get it running just the way you want it, or getting your car to perform just the way you want to.. the satisfaction is just incredible Being able to pressure a Continental sports coupe that costs more than twice as much in an el cheapo Japanese 4 banger.. HEH!
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| Thursday September 29, 2005|
| 09:37 AM - bktoh|
|Guess you all read about it.. the infamous Nano scratches.|
And yes, it is true.
Like all of you, I guess I was just as paranoid.
So when I unwrapped the Nano from the box, I never removed the front sticky film intact until I could find something good to protect the surface.
Even with the transparent film, I still kept the ipod in a pouch in my shirt pocket.
Until I was at Apple Center in Bishan yesterday and decided to pick up the transparent clear film to protect the front and rear of the Nano.
I guess I should have been a bit wary when no one at the Apple Centre (there were about FIVE of them) was willing to help me put the film on.
So I tried to do it myself.
And guess what? The bundled microfibre cloth for cleaning the Nano actually SCRATCHED THE NANO!!
Granted it was only observable at certain angles, but there was one long scratch across the surface that I just couldn't remove.
Should have done my research a little more
I can confirm that simply lightly touching the case with a finger or micro-fiber cloth leaves a trail of fine, smooth scratches.
In the name of science I have wiped the case in 6 spots with different materials - here are my results. pics to follow tonight.
1. dry finger : smooth scrathes and smudges, most of which are removed easily with a microfiber cloth.
2. microfiber cloth : all intelligence aside - this microfiber cloth scratched the crap out of the nano, I mean swirled the plastic and made a spot on the screen that is just a blur.
3. damp microfiber cloth : same result, after the area dried it was not in good condition.
4. cotton t-shirt : whoa. don't do this. really messed it up. bad scratches and much deeper than with the microfiber.
5. paper towel : actually, not too bad. better than the microfiber, which is really odd.
6. paper towel with Honda plastic polish for motorcycles on it : no marks or scratching at ALL. clean and clear.
At least I can't see the scratch now that I covered it with the transparent film. But I was never really good with my hands, so there are still a few pockets of air bubbles.
The good news is that after your first scratch, you tend to stop being so anal
And you just get to enjoy using it. And to love it.
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| Wednesday September 28, 2005|
| 16:49 PM - phonecow|
Nokia recently announced the repackaged 6630 in red, with a "large" 256MB RS-MMC memory card. 1GB would be more appropriate imho, for a "music edition phone".
If you already have a 6630, here's where you can download the updated music player.
The updated music player is nothing spectacular, it has features that come with most mp3 players - you can easily manage your mp3 collections, search for your mp3 by artists, title, albums etc. You can use the 6630 directional button to play,skip or pause songs and increase/decrease the volume.
Hello New User!