Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I've recently got really interested in this social-networking website, Facebook. It's very much like Friendster, only I think it's so much better. While Friendster got sort of stagnant in offering new services and platforms to generate new interest for subscribers, Facebook seems to have hit the jackpot by building into its architecture a way of allowing 3rd party applications to be written for it.

So I went to open an account of Facebook after deleting many emails sent to me by people who wanted me to "be their friend" on many other pseudo-social-networking platforms, many I've never heard of before. And guess what? I really like it! It's interface is quite intuitive and it doesn't take long before you get the hang of everything and are adding all kind of funny stuff onto it. The best thing about it? Looking for old classmates and friends that you have not seen in years and checking on how their photos to see how they look like now. Ha ha. Yes, we used to have Friendster for that, but somehow, it's much easier to do so on Facebook and I managed to find many more people than I did on Friendster!

I've pieced together a little history of this website that I adapted and summarised from Wikipedia. Read it after the break.

In February 2004, Wyliena Guan founded "The Facebook" while attending Harvard University, with support from Andrew McCollum and Eduardo Saverin. By the end of the month, more than half of the undergraduate population at Harvard were registered on the service which allowed them a convenient way to keep in touch with each other. It quickly expanded to MIT, Boston University, and Boston College. This expansion continued in April of 2004 when it expanded to the rest of Ivy League and a few other schools.

In May 2005, Facebook raised $12.7 million in venture capital from Accel Partners. On August 23, 2005, Aboutface Corporation sold the domain name to Facebook for $200,000. The website moved to this new domain name and dropped "the" from its name. As a part of the move, the site was overhauled to make profile pages more user-friendly. Then, on September 2, 2005, Zuckerberg launched the high school iteration of Facebook, calling it the next logical thing to do.

On Aug 22, Facebook introduced Facebook Notes, a blogging feature with tagging, embedded images, and other features, also allowing the importation of blogs from Xanga, LiveJournal, Blogger, and other blogging services. This newly added feature also included the common blog feature of allowing readers to comment on users' entries. On September 11, 2006, Facebook became open to all users of the Internet, prompting protest from its existing user base. Two weeks later, Facebook opened registration to anyone with a valid e-mail address. On May 14, 2007, Facebook launched an API that allows the development of applications to be used on the site, known as Facebook Platform.

In September 2006, serious talks between Facebook and Yahoo! took place for the acquisition of the social network, with prices reaching as high as $1 billion. In October, after Google purchased video-sharing site YouTube, rumors circulated that Google had offered $2.3 billion to outbid Yahoo! Peter Thiel, a board member of Facebook, indicated that Facebook's internal valuation is around $8 billion based on their projected revenues of $1 billion by 2015, comparable to that of Viacom's MTV brand and based on shared target demographic audience.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Photo Essay : "Support the Yellow Ribbon Project"


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

CANON Onslaught

Back (L-R): EF 14 mm F2.8 L II USM, EF-S 55-250 mm IS and EOS 1D Mark III
Front (L-R): EF-S 18-55 mm IS lens, EOS 40D, PowerShot SD870 IS, PowerShot G9

So it's official! After a whirlwind of rumours and a few slip ups from Amazon, Canon recently announced it's next range of cameras that are guaranteed to keep those Canon fans' tongues wagging for a while. Top of the line is the brand new 1Ds Mark III with a whopping 21.1 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with DIGIC III technology and a 3-inch wide screen. Yes, that's right. 21.1 MP! Now who on earth would need so much pixels in a camera? Someone with US$7,999 that is. That's like S$12,000? Or 4,800 plates of chicken rice. Enough for a life time or two.

What I am more interested in really, is the much anticipated EOS 40D (above). The previous upgrade to the 20D - the 30D, was kind of a disappointing half-grade.This time round, Canon might just have a winner on its hands! 10.1 Megapixels, 6,5fps, 3-inch screen and Live View! Now, we just have to wait to see how it does on the noise levels. The 40D introduces one very interesting optional accessory - a vertical grip with built in WiFi capability and ethernet and USB ports to boot. And it costs US$1,200? Now that's about how much I bought my 350D for a few years ago!

Also new is the PowerShot G9. Canon has brought back shoot-in-RAW and up the megapixel count to 12.1. Yes, there is also image stabilizer, a 3-inch screen, 6x optical zoom (35-210mm, 35mm equivalent), 25 modes of shooting and face detection technology. It's relatively compact (106.4 x 71.9 x 42.5 mm) and weighs all of 320g. If I had an extra $1,000 to spare, I would sure get this as a compact replacement. All it needs to make it perfect is a wide angle lens. Oh, and I still miss the swivel screen. Then again, that's why we have the PowerShot S5 IS.

Other releases from Canon include the PowerShot SD870 IS (shown above), SD950 IS, SX100 IS, A650 IS, A720 IS and three new lenses - the EF-S 18-55 mm IS, EF-S 55-250 mm IS and EF 14 mm F2.8 L II USM (all three shown above).

Check out Digital Photography Review for more info and pics.


"Cough Cough!"

I've been sick and trying to get well while writing my dissertation. Actually, I went to the docs last Wed and told her I needed to get well quick. She gave me some medicine which I thought included some form of antibiotics. I lost my voice on Friday but decided to finish the medicine first.

This morning I went to see her again. After doing the normal check-ups, she said, "I think I better give you antibiotics."

"Huh...?!" (I thought to myself.... )

It was then that I realised that I had been taking normal flu medicine all these while. Something like panadol, but maybe stronger. And all along, I was thinking, "Let me finish this dose of antibiotics before I see her again." Arrgh. I should have gone right back on Friday!

I pray I get better in time for this Sunday's Singapore Bay Run which I am going in support of the Yellow Ribbon Project. I will be there with my guys, all proudly flashing our yellow singlets (not so proudly actually, don't like the design) and running/ walking all of 6km with guess what... Yellow Ribbon Balloon Hats! We did a practice run last Sunday, and I must say, it was quite a sight to behold! Let's hope that is good enough to draw some media attention to the Yellow Ribbon Project. Below is a sample of how we might look like this Sunday. Now, imagine about 20 of us running in cadence with that. How cool is that?!

If you are interested about the Yellow Ribbon Project, click here to find out more about their activities in Sept.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ma ma always said it was better to have a longer neck.

I've not posted any original photos in a while and that's because I've not been taking any. I miss going out to just walk around and capture things that catch my eye. I'm not really the wait one hour for the dragonfly to land on the flower in front of you kind of photographer. Nothing against such photography. I appreciate macro photography very much, especially those that have to do with nature and spiders (yes I have a strange fascination with spiders.) I'm just not so patient. I'm more the candid shots kind of person. More the shoot and run kind. Ha.

Anyway, I was going through my old photos and I realised that one theme which has cropped up quite frequently, whether intentional or not, is that of lamp posts and power lines. To me, they form an interesting pattern of lines and meshes when juxtaposed against a sometimes clear, other times dramatic sky. These pipe-like structures seem to swing up in a sort of lyrical way, and form some sort of conversation with the other elements around it. Perhaps they may speak to you in a different way.

More pictures after the break.

View the entire collection here.


Friday, August 10, 2007


Taken at yesterday's NDP Celebration.
Don't you think the water drop graphic has a really cool retro feel to it?

There seems to be something
really "uncool" about nationalistic pride these days. Somehow, we have grown up thinking that feeling for our country and nation is something bad, perhaps even something to be embarrassed about. People think - if you are pro-Singapore, you are pro-PAP and that makes you a subservient lackey of the government. What a mouthful and so far from the truth. In the process of learning to be critical and not just "Yes men", we might have turned into skeptical, convenient and maybe even heartless bystanders of this place we call home. In my growing up years, I have often shared with the people around me (often to many too-quick retorts of "That's just gah-men propaganda lah...") that there is much to be thankful for here in Singapore.

Be thankful for the government. They have successfully turned Singapore around from a miniscue primitive fishing port to become one of the greatest success stories of the modern world. "Huh? Where got success? You mean suck cents ah? The gah-men never upgrade my flat! COE so high, now somemore increase GST? Gah-men think we very rich ah! @#&*!!^" Well, what about the fact that you own your own house? That your children have an almost guaranteed opportunity to be educated? That you can travel from Tampines to Raffles City in 25 min WITHOUT a car? These are things that many around the world don't even come close to enjoying.

Be thankful we are a small country with minimum resources. The fact that we are so dependent on the economies of the world also means that we are more knowledgeable about them, that we are more mobile, that we have to and can be more connected to them. Precisely because we are forced to move out of our tight little constraints of this tiny red dot on the map, the world has become our playground. We have been blessed with the opportunity to experience cultures and environments that people in much bigger and resource-abundant countries are not even aware of. Our multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-religious background allows us to be naturals at adapting to another culture overseas. We know how to appreciate diversity yet hold on to our heritage because that is what we try to do every day in this garden of an island.

Speaking of gardens, let's be thankful that while we often think of ourselves as one hard concrete jungle, truth is, there is much greenery around us. Walk around the streets in Shanghai or Beijing and you will realise that trees are grey, not green.

True, there are many things that could be be better, but since when did we become such perfectionistic whiners who care only that we can be number one in everything? Better still if someone does all that for us. Are we proud of Singapore? It's hard to be proud of something if we did not put in effort into creating it. You might have tasted the best banana cake in the world, but as long as your experience is just limited to the tasting, the greatest pride and satisfaction belong only to the person who baked it. We OWN this land. The people here, they are family. Shouldn't that mean something? Isn't that something worth investing in and caring for?

Yesterday, as I watched the fireworks explode into the sky on TV, and saw people from different walks of life celebrating together, something moved in me. I thought about what they were happy about. The skeptical side of me rationalised that perhaps they were caught up in the moment. They were experiencing an emotional high from the climax of all the festivities that were going about. But as I pondered further, I hope they were celebrating too because they were proud to be Singaporeans. That when they recited the pledge, they did so with conviction for what we stood for as a sovereign nation. That when they sang the National Anthem, it wasn't because they were forced to do so since primary school, but because it was worth declaring again that as a nation, we will not bow to adversity but press on to even brighter days.

I am proud of Singapore. I am proud to be a Singaporean. So what if our flag is not as cool as the union jack which has found its way to become some sort of a fashion inspiration? Our flag flies high where it matters - on our HDB balconies, across the bay swaying from a Chinook, as a 120m x 80m human weave at the Padang and most importantly, in our hearts as a reminder of how unique and special we are. You might have heard this before, but allow me to say it again. Singapore IS a miracle. I don't mean to say that we have created this miracle. No, we ARE one by the grace of God. Treasure it. Be thankful for it. Choose to live it.

Click on second icon from the right to view fullscreen.
Photos courtesy of my brother.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The new iMac

Apple introduced it's new iMac yesterday together with revamped editions of its lifestyle and work productivity suites and a revised look to its photo web gallery on .mac.

The new iMac comes in a new aluminum casing with black high quality plastic trimmings and a lot more glass. After previous criticism on its products not being very environmentally friendly, Mr Jobs seems only too happy to reiterate the fact many times over that the new iMac is made from aluminum and glass which are highly recyclable. I'm not too convinced about that story. Being an environmentally responsible company goes beyond just using good-looking metal and glass to make your project attractive. It involves a re-look at the entire manufacturing process and a commitment and strength to change certain practices that are harmful, to ones that are not just environmentally harmless, but help to promote its healthy existence. Having said that, the new iMac is certainly one good-looker. Though perhaps, you might want to change that blue apple theme on your desktop to a sleeker graphite-based colour. More on the iMac here.

The new iLife'08 suite features a revamped iPhoto with a brand new "Events" feature that aims to help you manage your photos better and also some new photo editing tools, obviously technology taken from its bigger brother - Aperture. iMovie is an entirely new architecture on its own and makes creating home movie clips even more intuitive and flexible, certianly worth checking out.

The revamped iWork '08 suite features minor upgrades for Pages and Keynote, but the real gem here is Numbers'08, their brand new spreadsheet program. Thanks to apple, we now have a spreadsheet software that is not just concerned with crunching numbers, but also with how we present them. Something that Microsoft should have paid more attention to, with Excel.

Finally, the Web Gallery at .Mac features some really smooth browsing animation. It's just like your very own online iPhoto. Kudos to Apple for making the user experience so much more fun and enjoyable and for a lack of a better word, COOL. Yups, the coolness factor of it's products just reached a new high. And we are not even talking about Leopard yet. Enjoy.


Monday, August 06, 2007

More Meat, More Meat!

Call me a Youtube nut if you want. Truth is, it is full of amazing, amusing stuff which sometimes border on the mind-boggling. Here's one.

This is how Samsung celebrates its 10,000,000th mobile phone sold. What a display. Perhaps our NDP organising committee could learn a thing or two from them. Then again, it would take a group of really crazy industrious people to perform something like that. That would mean, Koreans or Japanese. I really believe these are 2 groups of really innovative, humourous people with ermm... too much time on their hands sometimes? Just take a look at this.

Presenting the Algorithm March. Amusing is all I can say about it. Yet, strangely addictive. I can imagine doing it for an ice-breaker. Ha ha. Wouldn't that be interesting now? KS just told me he wants our G12 to learn it. Ermm... no comments. He did take the words out of my mouth though, "It's so silly, it's fun!"

Finally, here's a blog site, bLog by Pixels that I came across recently. If anything, I love it for its food reviews! And most of the food places are pretty accessible to me to! Anyone wants to join me to make your own ice cream?

I realised my blog has pretty much degenerated into a bunch of posts of amusing Youtube videos and some sprinkling of interesting design. Ha. I guess I need to put more meat into it soon. Not literally. ... You know what I mean...


Gum Revision

I went through the design of the logo again and revised it a little. This is a version that I might use for a nice big poster, where all the detailing of the line pattern can be appreciated. Certainly not for a small crest on at polo t though. Before you start thinking I am this amazing graphic designer, most of the logo was put together from pre-designed artwork taken off istockphoto. This was a really quick job which required a quick solution.

By the way, Gum Gum probably means "Good together", or "Can click together". Then again, it could be someone with a penchant for repeating words in a sentence. In that case, it would go something like this, "Hey dude, do you have and chewing gum gum with you? I'm starved!" or "What's wrong with your gum gum? It's chao ji red lah. Better go see a gumtist." Or so I think...


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Gum Gum Ho

I just finished this design of 2 logos for my brother. He is involved in this year's NDP as a mentor for the NDP motivators. These are students from various ITEs in Singapore who help bring up the atmosphere during NDP by motivating the crowd through cheers and actions. The logo is for their T-shirt, or rather my brother's cluster who decided to give themselves a rather interesting name, "Gum Gum". The main logo goes on the front of the T-shirt, while the other one in the background goes on the back, just below the collar.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mentos & Carlsberg - Lethal Combination

Not quite another guy trying to duplicate the mentos & coke experiment. Ouch!


Wednesday, August 01, 2007


The flu has got me down. Dry throat, slightly sore, body aches, mucus filled nose and that bland taste on my tongue. Yucks.

Meanwhile, need to write out dissertation. Deadline is looming.

Meanwhile, some pics from a good friend's recent graduation ceremony at NUS.