Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sony Cybershot H7

The next iteration of Sony's high end ultra-zoomers: the H7 is finally anounced, and will be released on Apr 27 in Japan.

The first that I thought when seeing this is: "Now, maybe the H5 would finally have a price drop, guess it's time to fetch up the H5." But then, I went on to see what's different in this upgrade:

  • 7.1 mega pixels upped to 8.2
  • 12x optical zoom bumped up to 15x
  • 3 inch LCD shrinked to 2,5 inch (that means less power use)
  • Support for hi-def picture output to the new hi-def flat screen TVs
  • Cool eye candy in the newly designed menus (Looks like the "cross-media bar" XMB interface used on the PSP and PS3)
  • Human face recognizer for better focusing and anti red-eye
And also, here's what really matters:
  • They changed the jog-dial from under the shutter button (the place that I prefer) to be a wheel around the 5 way directional pad (placing it here interferes with my steady gripping of the camera)
  • A new image processor (Bionz, the same one as on the A100 DSLR) that consumes less power
  • A new IR remote control is included with the H7!
  • And the 2 AA Ni-MH batteries are exchanged for a Lithium battery pack (Yeah! I've been waiting for that for years on the H series!).
Hmm. I like the H5 really much, but the H7 seems better with the battery pack. But then again, the H5 is still a little too expensive. OK, so if the H7 is priced at 17000NTD, there's no way I would buy it. If the H5 dropped from 15900NTD to 12000NTD, then I'm definitely going to pick it up.
After note:
I then realized that there is also a H9 to be released later, and the H7 is to be placed at the price point of the discontinued H2: about 13000~14000NTD, which is lower then the H5's original price. Hm... Maybe I should wait for the H7 if the H5 doesn't have a significant price drop.

But really, if I do get a new camera, I'd need a camera pack, another memory stick (maybe 2 gig?) and a spear battery, and these would likely bump the total cost to 20000NTD. To think of my salary for being a TA this semester is only 30000NTD, that really sucks.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007



看了看自己MSN的 best friends 分類開始找人,結果找到了:






  • 清明節假期 4/5(四)~4/8(日) 用掉這個,就不用參加社上的太平山了...
  • 端午節假期 6/16(六)~6/19(二) 搞笑,這個剛好是期末考前,我不相信有幾個人會像我這個死大四肯這樣玩...

Disconnect, unwire, going retro

For the past few years, we have all gotten used to the privacy and "shyness protection" of internet communications, such as instant messaging (IM) and e-mail. In the digitization process, Some form of the human feel is lost. Normally, we meet and talk, during which, the expression of ideas were transmitted through not only the language/word use, but also facial expressions, vocal tones and body language. Then came postal mail. Facial expressions, vocal tones and body language were all lost, yet other factors come in, such as the style of hand writing and choice of stationary, and most of all, having the mail man send your feelings to someone feels kind of romantic. And there's also telephone, in which the vocal tones were preserved. Yet, with the internet, utilizing IM and e-mail, the text is the only main form of communication. Sure, you could add all kinds of flashy graphics, yet they all seem so artificial and out of touch.

I am starting to like postal mail, always feels special to seal up your feelings in an envelope and throw it into the mail box. Also, I've heard that in requesting interviews for grad school applications, calling by phone gives you a bigger chance of success then sending e-mails. Maybe I should go retro :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007





Tuesday, February 20, 2007

PTT Food 板




Great Biking Blog: 中永 & 加菲 的生活點滴

最近泡在 Mobile01 (哈,號稱敗家小惡魔論壇)的時間越來越多了。本來只是去那裡看手機、PDA的介紹,結果後來發現還有討論車(房車、跑車)、和相機,就越來越常去。因為有很多圖是要會員才看的到(看有設計感的東西,像是 Sony 的隨身聽時,照片特別重要XD),就去申請了個會員,結果又更常去了。最近它改版了,多了個單車版,真是太棒了^^。常常會有一些圖文並茂的單車介紹,像之前就有很漂亮的 Louis Garneau SIX 的介紹,只可惜因為非會員不一定看得到,我當時就沒有跟朋友分享連結。

Anyway, 離題結束。前陣子在 Mobile01 發現一個人的自介中有 Blog 的連結,就進去看了一下。雖然 Blog 的標題還頗閃的,但內容都是出去騎車的事情。尤其作者還有玩攝影,遊記中的照片都超漂亮的。就介紹大家去看嚕。(當然,不介意申請帳號的人,Mobile01 是個討論單車、攝影、汽車、科技產品的好地方 :) )

Monday, February 19, 2007

8 day family trip to Japan

Just came back on Saturday. OK, it's been a while already. Why post so late?

Well, I was tired and lazy on Saturday, uploaded the photos the next day to (I wish I could upload them to Flickr, but a free account doesn't allow up loading 288 photos within a month...). OK, so now I was waiting to post the photo link. Uploading about 300MB's worth of photos took hours. And then Zoto's site went down (interestingly, Flickr's site is also down, now...). So I waited until Zoto's site is alive again, and that is now, finally, whew!

Here's the link to my photos, enjoy the sunshine, the crows, the sea, the dears, and much more of southern Japan.

Oh, yeah, the details of my trip?
I went to (in order):
JAA flight to Kansai (関西) airport, connection fast boat to Kobe (神戸) airport, JAL express flight to Kagoshima (鹿児島).
Then we went to Sakurajima island (桜島) which is next to Kagoshima, and toured the Kagoshima city also.
It's then another JAL express flight to Osaka Itami (大阪 伊丹) airport, then a bus to Kyoto (京都).
After that, it was train back to Osaka (大阪).
And train to Nara (奈良).
Subway around Osaka, then train to Wakayama (和歌山).
Finally a train to Kansai airport and another JAA flight back.

May I say all plane tickets were free from JAL's mileage bank campagn? :D

Stories? See if I'm in the mood and have that much time, I've got an awful lot to tell.


Oh, yeah. Seems like Zoto is switching to a paid subscription only business model next month. And I don't have the money to pay them the fee each year. So that photo link is valid till next month only.
Good bye to my free photo space... T_T (I haven't found any other site where I could upload more then 300 MB of photos in one day...)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

MacBook: first taste of Apples

As a blogger, I really owe everybody a review of my new MacBook. After half a year of procrastination, here it is. Since I have already used it for half a year, I think my views here would be more accurate then a "first thoughts" review.

First of all, here's the details of my machine:
-I got the first batch of MacBooks for Taiwan
-13.3 inch glossy screen
-Processor: Intel Core Duo 1.83 GHz (Not the newer Core2Duo)
-Memory: 2 strips of 256 MB (I upgraded to one strip of 1 GB RAM)
-HDD: 60 GB
-Graphics: Intel integrated chip, shared RAM with main system
-CD drive: CD/RW read/writer & DVD reader combo (can't burn DVDs)
-Color: white
-USB ports: 2
-with built-in web cam
-built-in Bluetooth and WIFI (802.11b/g)
-Price: 38900 NTD + RAM upgrade to 1GB (about 2000 NT) + AppleCare (about 4000 NT) 3 year extended warranty

Included in the box is:
-The MacBook it self
-A remote for controlling music and movie playback
-Power block with 100~240V input (means you can plug it in in any country)
-A power extension cord
-Booklets, papers
-Mac OS DVD discs*2
-Apple logo stickers

Here's photos of the first time I opened that box at the Apple store:

When you buy this notebook, you should first be surprised by the beautiful welcome animations of MacOS X. Then it lets you set up your username, password, account photo (It actually takes a photo of you with the built-in webcam!!), and preferred language (Unlike Windows, where you buy different versions for different languages, there is only one universal release of Mac OS, which lets you choose the language you like).

Setting up

Then, within seconds, you are presented with your desktop and you and start using. Will, kind of. I don't like the default settings for many things, and so I dig into the preference panels for a long time. Most important of all, I have to setup the behavior of the touch pad: tapping the pad to emulate a mouse click is defaulted to "off"; the new features where you can scroll with 2 fingers on your touch pad, and use 2 fingers to tap to emulate a right click are all turned off. Moving the mouse cursor to corners of the screen can show you the desktop, or show you all running windows (wow!): this is also defaulted to "off". Anyways many of the fancy yet extremely useful features of a Mac are hidden in the preference panel, so you need to take your time setting up. In this since, I really don't agree with the Apple fans who say that Macs are easy and trouble free. Every thing is smooth after it's set up to your liking. In this sense, it's quite similar to Palm OS, yet the default settings in Palm OS is much better.

Ease of use
I feel that Mac OS X is much easier to learn then Windows for these reasons:

  1. Most functions are logically placed in the places that you would expect it to be; unlike in Windows, where you know every thing is somewhere in the "Start menu", yet it's hidden in layer after layer of menus that you have to dig into.
  2. It's simple in that it works the way you expect a machine would, the engineers at Apple gave a lot of thought to the little things that make up a good experience. For examples: When you shut the lid, it goes to "sleep", a power-saving standby mode; when you open it, it awakes. When you plug in headphones, the volume is automatically turned in half to protect your ears; when it detects a usable WIFI internet connection, it connects automatically, ready for your use; plugged in USB thumb drives, CDs and other disks automatically shows up on your desktop; and those drives are ejected when you throw them in the trash... etc.

Getting used to
Since I have been in the PC camp since 6 years old, going from DOS through Windows 3.0, 3.1 and each other consumer version to XP, there is much getting used to when switching to a Mac. One important concept that's different from Windows is how you use "drag and drop". You drag the icons around as if you would move around things on your real desk. You throw anything you don't like to the trash, you drag anything you want to move to anywhere you want. You can also do all this under Windows, yet most people rely on the "right click menu" to move things around, which isn't as fluid. Under Mac OS, drag and drop is the main way to move things around, and the "right click menu" isn't as functional.

Another difference is that closing a window doesn't quit the application. I find this quite annoying at first, because I have to quit from the context menus on the left top corner of the screen, way clunkier then the big "x" on the right top corner of windows in the other OS. Yet, after learning to quite applications with the key combination "cmd+Q", it gets much better. But I still think there must be a less geekier way of quitting apps.

I once wanted to print something. I don't have a "Mac driver CD", despite the fact that HP claimed that the printer supports Macs. So I plugged it in, and clicked on the print button, and it did start printing!!! I even get a window showing the HP printer manager! I thought, "where did that software and driver come from?" Turns out that most printer drivers were built into the OS, wow!

Something else that was built-in the OS is a dictionary: the Oxford American dictionary, which gave really good definitions. And also, this dictionary is used for system wide spell checking, that's right, spell checking is usable everywhere.

Also, Apple provided a utility to let you install Windows on Macs. The utility helps you do a hard disk partition, and burn a driver CD. Well, after the familiar Windows setup, I put in the CD, and it started installing the drivers automatically, all at once. With most PCs, you get a CD with a menu of all the drivers, and you have to install them one by one, while rebooting after each install. With this Apple driver CD, you install all drivers once and for all, reboot once and you're done. What a surprise that the Windows experience on a Mac is also a little more pleasant.

But there were also unpleasant surprises. Most of all, I got the first batch of MacBooks, and these were really hot. I don't mean hot as "popular" but as in "high temperatures". After 20 minutes of use, you feel more like holding a grill then a laptop, and when it over heats, it shuts down with a "click", without warning, vaporizing every unsaved file. And if you try rebooting before it cools down, the "click" and shutdown happens even before you get to enter the OS. Other then that, my palm rest (the piece of plastic around the touch pad) was all yellow and looks oily after only 2 months of use. Nothing that I tried could clean that off. Turns out that there were flaws of the first batch out of the factory. I sent it in for changing the heat sink on the main board, and changing that piece of plastic. After that free service and a system update, my MacBook is now much cooler, no longer shuts down randomly, and has a brand new plastic casing around the screen and keyboard :)

Other then the shutdowns, I seldom encounter a crash that looses my data. Lags and crashes are all seldom seen. Yet, unexpected crashes still happens. I have Microsoft Office and Firefox 2 on my Mac, which are the 2 main unstable apps. Yet I just fixed the instability of Firefox with a clean reinstall. All this seems vague, but let me put it this way: Apple fans say that Macs never crash, this is not true. Mac OS X is much stabler the Windows XP, yet not as stable as Palm OS. Yet, to be fair, Many Windows PCs are built with conflicting hardware: systems that aren't optimized for stability, so you see all the blue screen of deaths. If you get a truly optimized XP machine, I believe you could experience a stability close to a Mac. But what really sets Windows and Mac apart is the flaws and viruses. There are many flaws in Windows such as in efficient RAM(causing "insufficient memory" crashes) and HDD space management (requiring frequent HDD de-fragmentations); there are also the back doors and other holes that we all know are present in Windows. Sure Mac OS has it's flaws, but not as much, and as there are more Windows machines, they are more logical targets of virus writers.

Also, I sometimes experience some weird behaviors such as unresponding USB ports and a system stuck in sleep, unable to wake up. These occur with a frequency of about once per month. But rebooting always fixes them. I still don't know what is happening.

Overall feel
I like the eye candy of Macs, not just the modernized look and the animations, but better looking fonts. But in the end, you get used to all the eye candy, and it is the little things that improve the usability that counts. In most cases you can trust it to give you what you expect, as the system was designed logically and intuitively. And also, in Windows, you have to allocate have of your work time to problem solving. While you type your report, you have to also deal with viruses, crashes, frequent system patches that require reboots, and even absurd "authentic Windows validations". Switching to a Mac relives me of most of that time waist, and I can get things done efficiently. Now, as most things are so smooth, what I need to deal with is no longer error messages, but rather, the temptation to read more news, see what's on Youtube and procrastinate doing work.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


實驗做完,並跟學長討論完 data 後,心情很愉快,去逛逛吧!


* 明日博物館

第一站,就是我之前在 Yahoo blogs 上偶然看到在介紹的 "Museum of Tomorrow",現在正在展出的示來自丹麥的 "theFLOWmarket".




館中很空曠,有一個很大的休息區、一個小小 cafe、一個超貴紀念品販賣部、一個空曠的演講廳、和只佔整個場地面積一小部份的這次的主題超市。

theFLOWmarket 是個來自丹麥的奇怪「超市」,賣著各種象徵一些抽象概念的空容器。是個設計師搞出來的,整個還滿有質感的。(上圖中是超市外面的海報)


超市內掛著各種宣傳 a better tomorrow 概念的海報。

商品櫃上百著玲郎滿目的商品。有超大罐的「家庭價值」、針筒裝的「沒有包袱」。另,我很喜歡那個 turn off TV 罐頭,不過好貴 >"<
這是我最喜歡的 "bicycle only" ,一罐 1kg 裝,跟 "Turn off TV" 同樣 100NT。不過這一個我卻忍不住拿了一罐。

"a lack of exercise killers"似乎賣的最好,果然很適合台北人。


瓶裝的 "no politics" 和一盒一盒的「新鮮空氣」都需要冷藏保存。



恩,到休息區去幫我買的那一袋"bicycle only"拍個照。

逛完,滿足的離開。下個展期 "Happy living" 3/22 才開始,到時再看看要不要回來參觀吧!

  • 蘋果優仕光華店

其實店內的空間給人的感覺並不大,因為整個是狹長型的。不過幾乎你想的到的蘋果電腦、iPod相關商品這裡都找的到。剩至還有 Wacom board 專區耶。但個人覺得蘋果優仕的最大特色不在店面本身,而是店員的服務態度。這裡親切的服務態度是全台別的地方找不到的。跟一般連鎖店那種帶有商業氣息而有點做做的「親切服務」態度有所不同的,這裡會給你一種「家族」的感覺。大家都是蘋果愛用者,互相好好的對待,那種感覺。

二樓有咖啡廳,開幕期間提供免費咖啡。桌椅都很乾淨漂亮,牆上貼有歷史上各個不同年代的蘋果電腦照片。因為最近在實驗室都在喝來自加拉巴哥群島超高級的淺培龜島豆,所以我很識相的不在此點黑咖啡;而點比較像甜熱飲的拿鐵。叫了一杯熱拿鐵,坐在舒服的沙發椅上,透過漂亮的玻璃窗看看外面的世界。坐在有質感的咖啡廳中看外面的宅男天堂,還真是不同的世界呢。這裡似乎可以帶自己的 MacBook 來上網喝咖啡,這才叫做真正的網咖嘛。(哈我今天只有帶Sony 的 PDA,沒帶 MacBook,所以也就不好意思去問無線網路的密碼了)話說回來,咖啡還真好喝呢,應該有中上等級吧。(至少我覺得比某些外面要錢的咖啡好很多)
  • 坐捷運回站前商圈


  • 九豐記牛肉麵



  • Aftermath


IFA 終於結束了!!!


我的螢光染色實驗終於告一段落了,有了不錯的 repeatable data 可以幫學長的 paper 加一段^^


Monday, February 05, 2007



  • 一個晚上組了60台箱裝新車(當然有別人幫忙)後,組車功力大增
  • 在需要教小朋友的壓力下,快速學會了拆裝踏板,還拆裝得超順超快的,連要拿15號阪手都記得清清楚楚
  • 因為每一台新車的胎壓都只有 20 psi,人本準備的腳踩式打氣筒又狂漏氣;用自己的攜帶式打氣筒打氣打到手軟。總之,我現在可以非常迅速的用我那支打到 60 psi (之前打到 40 就累的要死了)
  • 幫別人調安全帽也變熟練了
  • 發現車社那種調高座墊之後要學的上下車法可以在 3 分鐘內把小朋友教會 (囧)
  • 發現剛學會騎車的喜悅可以讓小朋友摔的全身傷痕累累還笑得很開心
  • 從小護士學到說用優碘消毒時要塗完優碘馬上用生理食鹽水洗掉,重複3次。我之前都把優碘留著,難怪傷口爛的更慘,還留疤...
  • 原來紅豆加燒仙草可以作成「羊羹」...orz
  • 發現帶小朋友出去騎車比帶社上的活動還輕鬆。一上路,剛學會騎車的小朋友各個嚇到,再皮的都自動排成一排,一個接著一個成一路縱隊前進,好像火車一樣。甚至過叉路都不用留人反正就把「火車」帶過去就是了。於是我們平安達成了 4 個大人帶領 17 個小朋友騎 10 公里的創舉^^
  • 發現后里是個漂亮的地方
  • 發現在阿倫需要花350元換的變速線在后里只要150(還附一組新的前輪快拆)。也許是鐵馬認識老闆的友情價吧
  • 慶功宴上練就比車社更強的搶食功力,別人用鍋蓋攻擊時還可以輕鬆寫意的用筷子擋掉繼續夾菜XD
  • 回基隆時,上火車前達成 6 分鐘拆車裝進垃圾袋完成,算是一夜60台箱車的成果展現 :P



結果,整個西門町除了 Hangten 這種大眾化平庸品牌外,只有一家店能夠吸引我進去認真逛。


Sunday, February 04, 2007

台灣新生兒性別嚴重失衡 20年後 20萬男人找不到老婆-Yahoo!奇摩新聞

台灣新生兒性別嚴重失衡 20年後 20萬男人找不到老婆-Yahoo!奇摩新聞