Monday, December 09, 2013

Fixing the wrong spot

The bus was late today on my way home. One bus missed the schedule and caused me to wait for another half hour for the next bus. Then the bus came and surprisingly it's brand new.

Anyway, I think the transport company should fix the schedule system rather than putting new buses because I think all the passengers traveling with me in that new bus will agree with me.

Blogger app test

I'm going to permanent delete this app if this post stuck in publishing.

Looks like this app is safe from deletion. However I found out if the post comes with a picture then it will stuck at publishing. So, only text posting from now on when using the blogger app. :-(

Monday, October 21, 2013

New faces

Today the new train schedule has started and new faces in the train that I always ride to work. New schedule made 6 minutes difference on my schedule but affected my time arrived to work for about 10 minutes late. I'm still on time to get to work but the usual faces I met on my travel to work has changed and somehow I gonna miss them. Just don't ask me why.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Cyanogenmod 9.1 for Galaxy Tab p1000 review

The main usage for my tab was music, videos, web, email, news, feeds, books and magazine. There wasn't any thoughts off changing the stock rom(gingerbread 2.3) since it performed without much lag, until there was an app called Greenify. This app will automatically hibernate apps if you assign those apps that seems unimportant into the hibernate list. Eventually, the OS runs smoother and saving more battery because it cuts down apps running constantly in the background.

It has been a problem on gingerbread where the apps start to slow down after launching multiple apps and closing them. Those apps silently running at background waiting for notification and sometimes task killer wasn't able to help much. I had Greenify running in my Galaxy Nexus phone for a couple of weeks and I love it how it improved my phone performance. But there is a problem. It only supports Android version 4.0 and above and this leads to a thought of upgrading my tab to Cyanogenmod 9.1 stable version.

There are a couple of hiccup when trying to install the ROM through the website instructions. The first pitfall was the recovery ROM wasn't able to install at all. I have gone thru xda website and what I found was the overcome gingerbread fresh install rescue. This approach was to reset everything in the tab to the stock version and do a fresh custom ROM install.

Cyanogenmod 9.1 stable

First was to install the overcome cwm recovery. In the process, the overcome recovery ROM will upgrade the file system to ext4 so Cyanogenmod can run on top of it. The whole installation can be found in the link below:

After I loaded Cyanogenmod 9.1 using the overcome recovery and boot up the tab, lo and behold, the tab now response much smoother and fluid than stock gingerbread. Flipboard flips without any lag and apps for android 4.0 can be found in play store and install with no issue.

After a month of use, nevertheless, some apps do not work well with single core CPU device. Chrome browser and Google Current is laggy. However, those apps can be replaced by Flipboard and default android browser (lacks in feature but performs rather quick in opening website). Due to 512mb of Ram, I got rid of widgets and limit to one homescreen to improve app launching performance. Video (depends on hardware acceleration support, if the format not supported, it's going to be jerky.) and music (comes with DSP manager, which includes the voodoo sound fix) works flawlessly. Wifi and 3G internet connection has no issues. Camera is working alright but not stable sometimes. I don't use the camera much on my tab so, it's not much of a fuss for me. Web, feeds, news, kindle, books and magazine is a joy to read using the new rom (with fancy transition) and the supported apps. There is no frustratingly slow down and lag that hinder the reading experience.

Battery life is about the same as in gingerbread but occasionally there are battery drain if the tab stay for too long without reboot. Mind you, I was using smartassv2 cpu government which is provide the best experience for performance and battery life saving ratio. That being said, the Cynogenmod 9.1 stable is not without flaw (can be fixed with reboots).

Finally, I have not tested the call quality and phone stability so I can't comment on that (sorry for the P1000 owners that use it as a mobile phone). However, as far for the 3G mobile data connection, there are no unstable data connection or lousy mobile reception. I gueess it should be fine to use the P1000 as a mobile phone.

In summary, I would recommend the Cyanogenmod 9.1 stable for Galaxy Tab p1000 owner who got bored with the gingerbread stock rom and missing some Android 4.0 and above supported apps. Give it a try and you'll find the P1000 is like a new toy again.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ebay Cmoy Amp (rechargeble) home user review

The problem
I have been listening using my Galaxy Tab 7 plus Shure SE215 for more than 6 months now. Recently, I found out that Galaxy Tab 7 has overly high output impedance (25.73 ohm) which will affect the sound of my SE215, which only has impedance of 20 ohm. According to this article, headphone/earphone work best 1/8th of the source output impedance. In this case, SE215 should work best with 20/8 = 2.5 ohm output impedance.

The solution
Cmoy headphone amp has a reputation of working well along with headphone impedance from 16 ohm and above (depending on the amplifier chip and current). SE 215 has impedance above 16 ohm which fits well with this amp. From Ebay, I bought a Cmoy with OP2227 chip and powered by one 9v battery. Similar, to the famous JDSLab Cmoybb but a lot cheaper (plastic case and rechargeable battery setup).

The result (Pros)
  1. Sound improve with more detail, less noise, quieter background and soundstage widen (music sound like injected with more air).
  2. Analog volume control rather than digital from my Galaxy Tab, hence more fine control on the volume.
  3. DIY amp allows swappable electronic component such as the amp IC chip. (However, I won't put my time on swapping the amp chip.)
  4. Built in rechargeable battery circuit. Save time and money on getting a separate battery charger.
One problem solved, more problem pops up (Cons)
  1. Battery life - max 6 hours. Recharge is required for every fourth day (2 hours used everyday).
  2. Separate amp unit - not pocketable. (I put my player and amp into my backpack, not really a con for me.)
  3. Battery not swappable due to enclosure is screwed tight. (I might want to switch to Lithium Ion battery for longer hour listening in future)
  4. Plastic case - no radio frequency/EMI blocking. The amp is mean for a portable player, not for cellphone. My bad for not paying attention on this one.
  5. Low build quality (depends on bad luck) - loose audio socket after 3 weeks of used. Popping sound and lost of volume with a slight movement on the cable. However, it still work well as a desktop amp. Update: I have sent the amp back to the seller for repair and hope the problem will be fixed permanently. The seller repaired and returned my amp back after a week and I'm happy with the result. The volume is much better now and there is no more loose audio socket.
The summary
I bought the Cmoy amp + shipping cost almost AUD 60 (same setup for JDSLab CmoyBB cost more than AUD100) and the bottom line question, is it worth it? Frankly, I would say NO based on the problem I listed above. For people who is getting a Cmoy Amp because of limited budget, I would recommend saving a little more and get a better quality amp (e.g. Fiio E11, Fiio E07K, CmoyBB).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Currently listening...

House Mix music and work best with DJ headphone.

Boning a chicken

Bought one whole chicken on Sunday and try to bone it based on online video tutorial. It came to my mind when I saw Martin Yan (search his name in YouTube) bone a chicken within 18 seconds and New York Times also release a video on how to bone one.

My first try wasn't going well as I couldn't get the wings bone location right. But I manage to get the drumstick, thigh and breast cleanly off. Nevertheless, practice makes perfect and I'm looking forward on the next chicken to perfect my skill.

After separated the meat, the remaining bone was used to make a chicken soup for dinner and it really taste much better than using chicken meat.

In short, it's cheaper to buy a whole chicken and worth more value than buying chicken meat separately.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Second gathering

It's good to be back to the same bar and same table again. However, this time we're joined with more member from classmate. One just finished his wedding with everything goes well for him. One is expecting a child this coming October. The rest hasn't change too much since we last met.

Well, one thing for sure everyone is enjoying that night and looking forward to the next meeting.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Hino truck on adventure

Created a Hino truck using the paper origami from company magazine.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gathering with classmate

It's been 6 months after graduation at skillmax and one of my classmate has decided to organize a meet up in the city. Although most of them didn't turn up but it's nice to catch up with two friends.

We all talked about career, finding jobs and family. I'm glad they all are doing well and nevertheless, we all agree that finding a job in Australia is still hard. The weirdest part of our conversation is about staying with mother-in-law and some thoughts about hiring a hit man to solve the problems. :-D

I hope they all are doing well for the coming years. No doubt the road ahead is full of challenges and hardship, we agree that in the end, it's all worth it. I'm looking forward for our next meeting after another 6 months and hope more will join us.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Creative Aurvana Live home user review

I have a Koss Portapro and Shure SE215 (upgrade from my Sony stock earphone) and I bought Creative Aurvana Live (CAL) a month ago (from Amazon) to isolate traffic noise for home listening. After having a pair of Shure SE215 and listening to Koss, which has some detail missing, I find it's about time to upgrade the Koss.

  1. Superior sound quality. Balance sound with bass is tad more compared to the mid and high without overpowering. Bass able to go to much lower note compared to my Koss Portapro and has more rumble. Great for pop and dance music. Furthermore, the CAL has more surround sound feel and I was able to pick up more details, which my Shure was not able to do so (especially bass detail). Furthermore, no EQ required.
  2. Affordable price. I bought the CAL at AUD 60 from Amazon and it falls in the price range that I wish for a home user without breaking the bank.
  3. Light and acceptable comfort. The headphone clamp force is gentle enough for listening up to an hour and sit comfortably on the head. However, don't expect it will hold on tight and try to use it for sport, it will fall off easily. The acceptable comfort rating for CAL is due to the earcup size, the CAL fits as on-ear rather over-ear (I guess I have larger ears) and hence the reduced comfort for very long hour listening. The ear cushion is plastic leather and will get hot eventually (around half hour listening)
  4. Some noise isolation. Works well with home listening to block out some noise (fan, traffic, etc.) but not enough for public use. Definitely better isolation than the Koss, which is an open-headphone.
  5. No amplifier required. Easy to drive just using the portable player alone. This helps to save some bucks on getting a dedicated amp. Although the CAL looked bulky however, portable player and smartphone able to pump up the volume easily.
  6. Rubbery and stiff cable which may help reduce tangle and improve durability.
  7. A pouch and an extended cable accessory included. Always come in handy when I need them.
  1. Ears might get sore/sweaty after long hour of wear. This is very common even for leather pad headphone. Consider getting on-ear/open back headphone rather over-ear/closed which allows more air flow. However, expect to lose some isolation.
  2. Flimsy plastic construction. However, the good side is it has much lighter weight.
  3. Small earcup that end up wearing the headphone as on-ear instead of over-ear. People with small ear may able fit in nicely as over ears. For me, my ear lob was on the pad rather in the cup, so it was kinda semi-on-ear headphone to me.
  4. Not able to rest it around the neck as the headphone will clamp together and strangle my neck. Sometimes I want to check out what's happening in my surroundings and this is not possible with the CAL unless I put the headphone down.
  5. Not portable and not foldable. The ear cup, in my opinion, is too bulky. There is no folding mechanism to store the headphone nicely.
  6. Not recommend for public use due to isolation is not that great. Plus, not as good looking some modern headphones.
  7. Non detachable cable and replaceable part. Replaceable ear pad but no parts sold from the Creative website.
A great upgrade from Koss Portable and the CAL has been highly recommended by most reviewers on the internet. I always enjoy my music in lossless format (e.g. flac) and have been looking for a closed headphone (to block out some traffic noise) with affordable price for a while. CAL fits to my needs perfectly and I highly recommend for home users who looking for some noise isolation with great sound.

My Nikon 55- 200 mm VR lens has crippled.

The lens was kept a for long time and wasn't being used. About 2 years. I pulled it out the other day just to do some cleaning and testing. Unfortunately, the VR of the lens has stopped working. Focusing still working alright but the VR, which is the main feature of why I'm getting this lens, has died.

Well, guess I have to used pair the lens with a tripod to make a close up shot or else I'm going to get a blurry shot.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Unforgettable experience on getting my driving license in Australia..

I have passed the road knowledge test in August 2012 and I have been longing to get the driving test done. After some push from my wife on getting it scheduled and some determination, today the driving test has come (at Hornsby).

With my wife driving (I'm using her car for the driving test), I got to the center half hour earlier than my booking time and started my exam around 11am. With butterfly in stomach and some diligent, the examiner passed my result. (The secret? Read "The Guide to Driving Test" online pdf book and take 2 hours lesson from an instructor.)

The unforgettable part is not the exam road course but rather getting my license printed process. The visa stated the name in my passport does not reflect firstname and surname (Well, that's how Malaysia passport looks like with only one field for the name). The receptionist said that her supervisor unable to ID me according the name stated in my Australia visa (which I was told later that Aus Immi just copy whatever info in my passport exactly) and she can not issue my driving license. No matter how I and my wife try to reason with her, the receptionist still won't budge.

My wife got her driving license without this issue, plus her Malaysian friend who has just got his license back in December 2012 also does not have this issue. I suddenly couldn't accept the fact that I was so close getting my license and my wife was not happy about it. The receptionist told us to go to Aus Immi to get the visa name fixed or go to "Dead, Marriage and Birth department" for a cert with name that has firstname and surname (a.k.a name change). And I think, "Seriously?"

We went straight home empty handed but not defeated. Calls are made and internet search has been done to find out what we can done to get the situation fix. Name change is not a valid solution because it requires me to stay in Australia for at least 3 years before I'm eligible. Therefore, this lead me the only option is to go for Aus Immi to have my visa name fix.

Fast forward in what happens at Aus immi center. After around 30 minutes of 20km driving to Parramatta, we got there took our waiting number, talk to the staff, show to the staff that we have check VEVO (Aus online Immi Visa info and status check) and the name does not have a firstname, staff heard our story and said the road department is stupid (I agreed), we want the visa sticker replaced, staff said require AUD 70, we agreed and paid and finally, we got out from the Immi building with a fresh new Visa sticker in my passport (around 3.20pm).

Guess what? We still have time to go back to Road Department center (will close at 5pm) and so we did. We got there around 4pm and re-submit everything. My account were block by the earlier receptionist (That Bitch!), who was not there at that moment, and the on duty receptionist was willing to fax all our document back to the HQ and telephone to get my account unblock, get the documents stamp, signed, get my photo taken, laminate my license and finally handed it to me. 

The whole story took almost 6 hours of my life just to get the driving license done.

In summary, if you're going for a driving test, try to avoid the Hornsby branch and go to the other branch instead. It might saves you a lot of time, trouble and money.