My twitter Updates

Meteorite 'photographed' hitting Earth

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Australian scientists were last night studying what could be the first photograph of a meteorite hitting Earth. The photograph was taken by keen amateur photographer. The meteorite, which could have been as small as a grain of sand, would have been travelling about 30,000km/h and hit the top of a 20m lamp post which could be seen clearly in the photograph.

Imagine, the chances of an impact being captured on film are millions to one. :)

I'll be going for a long holiday beginning this Friday for 2 weeks. This time, I'll be covering Taiwan, HK and Macau. As usual, I hope to blog my journey as I go and try to upload it via Pocket Blog. :D
posted by Ivan, 3:31 pm | link | 0 comments |

The Apprentice Computer

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Was watching the Apprentice and did any else notice that computer with the massive LCD screen they have in the loft? Well it turns out that it’s the Tek Panel 300 from HY-TEK, an all-in-one PC with a built-in 30-inch widescreen LCD, 2.4GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 120GB hard drive, and TV tuner for recording TV shows. It’ll only set you back about US$6,495. Ouch..!

posted by Ivan, 2:24 pm | link | 0 comments |

Game review: Halo 2

Monday, November 22, 2004

I've finally finished Halo 2 over the weekend and I would say that it lived up to my expectation of a first person shooter and it's the best I've played to date! Here's my take on the great game.

The story picks up where the first Halo left off, with Master Chief enjoying a hero’s welcome back on Earth while the leader of the Covenant forces is branded a failure and sentenced to death. With this, the Covenant have vowed to make the humans pay. The Covenant then launched an invasion and managed to brake through Earth's defenses and now the population is facing annihilation. As usual, it's Master Chief’s job to save everyone.

There are loads of new features in the game, significantly the dual viewpoint approach of the game whereby you get to play the Covenant force as well. This actually dominates the games' storyline and I would say it actually gives depth to the game. The other new feature is the dual-wield where you have the ability to hold two weapons (AKA Chow Yuen Fatt style). The other useful feature is vehicle stealing. Now it's much easier to kick your enemy from those annoying 'Ghost' that shoots you and attempts to run you over.

In this game, almost everything is interactive. You can see barrels and crates flying around during battles and sometimes you can use this to your advantage. The enemy AI is really good with them dodging shots, jumping away from grenades, sneaking at you from behind and trying to surround you to get a better shot. As for your allies AI, they are pretty impressive as well. They don't simply run in to battle and thus, blocking your line of fire. IMHO, they do make a difference in battle. However, they do need to improve on their driving.

The game locations are incredible! The scenery are so detailed and breathtaking with grand looking structures for you to behold. I've actually stopped and took a look around at the scenery.

There are other multi-player features in the game which I haven't tried but it does looks cool. You can play the campaign in a co-op mode in split screen format or have a death match with 3 other friends or via X-Box live. Overall, an excellent game with fast paced action and excellent storyline to keep you captivated. BTW, there will definitely be Halo 3. :)

Ratings (Scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest)

Graphic : 5
Sound : 4.5 (Excellent soundtrack but game effects drowns the dialog)
Gameplay : 5
Storyline: 5

posted by Ivan, 12:25 pm | link | 1 comments |

World Record: Fastest SMS

Friday, November 19, 2004

A high school kid in Utah. USA broke the world record for fastest text messaging yesterday (again!), key-pressing the official sentence provided by Guinness to judge these things. ”The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human" (no predictive text or QWERTY keyboards allowed). He keyed this on his mobile in just 57.75 seconds. I've tried this using my mobile and had trouble remembering the spelling of PYgocentrus and Serrasalmus hahaha.. took me a little over 3 minutes to complete the sentence. Give it a try and see how you go. ;)

Previous world records:

- SMS speed record sets Guinness World Record - A 23-year-old Singaporean woman appears to have set a world record for sending text messages over a cellphone on June 28, 2004.

- Txt chmpn - James Trusler, 30, from Shoreham, West Sussex, beat his previous world text messaging record by nearly a minute. James has been confirmed world text champion by the Guinness Book of Records since September 2002

- Lindsay's fleet fingers win texting title - A 16-year-old girl from Wigan is the UK's fastest texter (November 28, 2001)

posted by Ivan, 9:58 am | link | 1 comments |

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Vs. Halo 2

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Ugh, was reading the sports news this morning and read that Kuwait TRASHED our national team 6-1. How embarrassing and this came after the government increased the budget for the sports. :P Our soccer team never fails in showing the Malaysia MANA Boleh spirit eh?

Anyways, if you haven't heard, here's a newsflash: Videogames are a huge business. It's bigger than this year's US box office for movies and major publishers are spending millions to promote feature titles. Last week, Microsoft and Take Two Interactive released the tow most anticipated titles ever, Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA:SA), respectively. Now get this, preorders for Halo 2 topped 1.5 million in the US. However, preorders for GTA:SA were not disclosed but said to be 'very substantial'. Both games are available exclusively for the X-Box and Playstation 2 respectively.

So, what's the match-up like? Put GTA:SA's Carl Johnson up against Halo 2's Master Chief, CJ couldn't come close to 10 feet of Master Chief. In numerical terms, Halo 2 is predicted to overshadow every other game on X-Box, including the long-running number one hit on the console, Halo, which sold more than more than 4 million units worldwide. Here's the math, if you calculate the pre-orders of Halo 2 and do some funny math with European numbers, and of course, skip Japan (because they'd rather play Hello Kitty than Halo 2), well, Halo 2 could sell a many-illion copies. Now the question is, will it outsell GTA:SA? With PS2 almost triple the installed base of the Xbox, there is little chance that Master Chief's upcoming shooter will out perform GTA:SA. GTA:SA predecessor’s GTA III and GTA: Vice City sold more than 11 million and 13 million worldwide respectively. Thus in terms of sale, looks like GTA:SA will win this hands down. However I reckon, Halo 2 will actually generate more console sales as compared to GTA:SA for the PS2.
posted by Ivan, 1:44 pm | link | 2 comments |

Lesson for the Day: Corporate Structure

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Back after a long weekend. :) It's nice to see the roads in KL empty for a few days. It's still not back 'normal' yet. hehe.. Anyways, here's a something for those working after a long weekend.

Leaps tall buildings in a single bound.
Is more powerful than a locomotive.
Is faster than a speeding bullet.
Walks on water.
Discusses policy with God.

Leaps short buildings in a single bound.
Is more powerful than a switch engine.
Is just as fast as a speeding bullet.
Walks on water if the sea is calm.
Talks with God.

Leaps short buildings with a running start and favourable winds.
Is almost as powerful as a switch engine.
Is faster than a speeding BB.
Walks on water in an indoor swimming pool.
Talks with God if special request is approved.

Barely clears a Quonset hut.
Loses tug-of-war with a locomotive.
Can fire a speeding bullet.
Swims well.
Is occasionally addressed by God.

Makes high marks on the wall when trying to leap buildings.
Is run over by a locomotive.
Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury.
Dog paddles.
Talks to animals.

Runs into buildings.
Recognises locomotive two out of three times.
Is not issued ammunition.
Can’t stay afloat with a life preserver.
Talks to walls.

Falls over doorsteps when trying to enter buildings.
Says ‘look at the choo-choo’.
Wets him/herself with a water pistol.
Plays in mud puddles.
Mumbles to him/herself.

Lifts buildings and walks under them.
Kicks locomotives off the tracks.
Catches speeding bullets in his/her teeth.
Freezes water with a single glance.
Is Invincible.
posted by Ivan, 1:43 pm | link | 0 comments |

Game review: X-Men Legends

Friday, November 12, 2004

Just laze around during the Deepavali holidays (haven't been doing that for quite some time) and managed to spend some quality time with my X-Box. :) Didn't do any visitations this year. Anyways, was playing X-Men Legends and here's my review.

The X-Men are one of the most popular comics' mutant teams. Going back all the way to the 60s, and with two box-office movies, they have generated some sort of cult-following. However, their history in video games has been umm.. mediocre at best. In fact, the only memorable game to date is the 'appearance' in Capcom’s popular Street Fighter “Vs.” series, in which Cyclops’ turned into a fireball-spitting Ryu-clone and Juggernaut a Zangief wannabe. So, is Legends any good?

X-Men Legends is an action-RPG, which starts off with Brotherhood (made popular by the movie) members Mystique, Blob, Avalanche, and Pyro attempting to kidnap a young girl named Alison in broad daylight. True to any X-Men story, the government sends an anti-mutant attack squad to deal with it. As usual, the X-Men’s hero Wolverine shows up to save the day. After the first mission, the game shifts focus to Alison, point of view and in between missions, Alison is given the freedom to explore the the X-Mansion and talk some of the X-Men scattered throughout.

For each mission, the game allows you to select up to four X-Men from the list of Wolverine, Magma (Alison), Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Rogue, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Jubilee, Colossus, Emma Frost, Beast, Iceman, Psylocke, and even, Professor X! Each character have their own strength and customizable/upgradable mutant special mutant powers which is suitable for some missions and not for some. The missions themselves range from simple ten minute find this person or item to rescue missions or attack raids that may take an hour or two to complete.

IMHO, the most outstanding thing about this game is the engrossing storyline which takes its' plot from comics produced over the years. The gameplay itself is so-so and more of a no brainer beat-em-up with a dash of RPG flavour allowing you to upgrade your characters as you gain sufficient points. Besides that, missions get repetitive as you just go around bashing up enemies. Your enemies range from the Brotherhood, the Morlocks, the anti-mutant armies and the Sentinels. As for the graphics, the characters are cell-shaded in a 3D environment which in a way makes the characters stand out over the rendered background. Pretty well done I would say. Overall, a great game for X-Men fans and if you're not a fan, the arcade-styled game play would still appeal to you.

Ratings (Scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest)

Graphic : 4.5
Sound : 4
Gameplay : 3.5 (up to 4 players simultaneous)
Storyline: 5

OVERALL : 4.25

Ohh.. long weekend coming up! (Yay!) Happy holidays and Selamat Hari Raya!
posted by Ivan, 1:52 pm | link | 0 comments |

Watch Towers in Malaysia Highways

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Whoahh.. here's what I gather:

Objective: So that police can more easily spot negligent drivers in a crackdown on accidents that kill about 17 people daily. (Pak Lah: 95 per cent of road accidents are caused by negligent drivers.)

Method: To be built every 20km, thus enable police to zoom in quicker on errant drivers. The structure will be built on high ground at all straight stretches of the highways.
(Pak Lah: So that the drivers can clearly see the police monitoring them and thus comply with the traffic rules.)

Alternative Method: Police may also use heavy vehicles cruising at legal speed limit to force other vehicles behind them to follow the law. (Pak Lah: Motorists who overtook the police cars would be fined.)

Hahaha.. Malaysian highways are becoming more of a prison with the watch towers and police petrols. The cost for this project will be quite massive if structures were to be built every 20km and not forgetting the manpower used to man the tower. IMHO, it's a good idea to contain errant drivers but knowing our beloved country, how long will it take before the towers will be abandoned, thus making it an eye-sour.

Happy Deepavali one and all..! Drive safe and have a good long weekend!
posted by Ivan, 12:37 am | link | 3 comments |

The Incredibles, Malaysian Sports and the punctuation

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Wow, Pixar's The Incredibles took in US$70,467,623 in the US Box Office this weekend and took the second-best premiere ever for an animated film, behind Shrek 2. :) Heard that the cinemas' in Malaysia will be having limited releases (from 10/11)for The Incredibles this coming long weekend. :D See you at the long queue.

Saw from the Star this morning and eight sports have been identified by the government to receive special aid to achieve excellence on the world stage. :O

Sports identified (Scale of 1 to 5, with 5 bieng the best pick)
Badminton <- 5
bowling <- 5
gymnastics <- 3
aquatics <- 2
hockey <- 4
squash <- 5
athletics <- 4

Wait, there are only 7 sports here.. further down the article..

Football has also been included in the list because of the mass appeal and support the sport enjoyed.

I think we've already spent too much on this Monkey team. IMHO, more money doesn't mean better quality of football. Look at Iraq which did rather well in the Asian Football Tournament recently. I reckon, the government should start changing and educating our atheletes with the right mind set and right attitude. Only then will we be able to excel in the World stage.

Anwyays, on a lighter side here's a good one.

An English professor wrote the words:

"A woman without her man is nothing" on the chalkboard and asked his students to punctuate it correctly.

All of the males in the class wrote:
"A woman, without her man, is nothing."

All the females in the class wrote:
"A woman: without her, man is nothing."

Punctuation is powerful.
posted by Ivan, 1:03 pm | link | 0 comments |

Movie review: Shark Tale

Monday, November 08, 2004

Managed to get tickets for Shark Tale over the weekend and it is interesting to note that Dreamworks beat Pixar to the big screen in the animation-movie battle. The incredibles would be released in 2 weeks time. Shark Tale marks the Dreamworks fourth animated feature (following Antz, Shrek, and Shrek 2). Anyways, here's my take on the movie.

The story practically begins when Oscar (Will Smith), a working-class fish with fame and fortune on the brain, owes his boss, Sykes, big time. Deep in debt, Oscar is taken out to pasture by Sykes’ Jamaican jellyfish goons (hilarious guys!). Enter Lenny, a vegan shark out on a mission to be toughened up by his brother Frankie on behalf of his shark mob boss dad, Don Lino (Robert De Niro). One thing lead to another, and suddenly it appears as if Oscar has slain Frankie. Consequently, all of this brings Oscar the fame and fortune he desires, but at the cost of his friendship with Angie (Renee Zellweger), a fish who wants to be more than just friends. Complicating matters, Lenny comes looking for a place to hide from his father, and Oscar is compelled to help to keep his secret safe.

Most audience will be compeled to compare this movie with Pixar's Finding Nemo. This movie however is totally different in the sense that it is geared more towards mature audiences. Kids will love the eye-candy of the underwater universe with it's coral recreation of New York's Times Square and its' population of colourful school of fishes. The quality of the animation is pretty good but not to the par of that of Shrek or Finding Nemo. One thing to note however, the animators put in alot of 'Easter Eggs' such as Coral Cola (Coca Cola), GUP (GAP) and more.. look out for it. There's nothing much about the storyline as it is pretty straight forward and predictable which should keep the more younger audience entertained. Yup, this show has a little of everything for everyone, Mafia Shark's humour, lovable fishes, moral lessons to learn, and entertaining characters.

IMHO, this movie is a letdown for me as the storyline does not have the depth to it. The audience does not have the sense of connection to the main character like other animation has (e.g. Woody, Shrek...). The writers should have dwell abit more time with the characters. The lack of depth lead to the missing 'special' something that audience feel in other Pixar movies and makes this movie 'forgetable'. In comparison, Shark Tale lacks way behind other animation such as Toy Story, Shrek, Bug's Life... but comparable to Ice Age. Overall, an entertaining movie for those who wants a quick laugh and a light movie session.

Ratings (Scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest)

Cast : 4
Sound : 3
Picture : 3
Storyline: 2.5

posted by Ivan, 1:18 am | link | 3 comments |

What is Hello Kitty Online World?

Friday, November 05, 2004

Ugh, I don't like Hello Kitty but this actually caught my attention with it's colourful and 'cute' looking player characters. Looks like the Japanese have done it again. Hello Kitty Online World is an online game platform featuring the iconic Japanese Hello Kitty characters from Sanrio.

Hello Kitty World will allow thousands of players to live and participate in Hello Kitty's magical online world. Players will be able to roam the streets of Kitty Kingdom, XO Federation, and Melody-land. Enjoy the beautiful landscape and architecture of Puroland or Badtzcity and participate in numerous puzzles, story lines, or adventures lead by the worldwide community of Hello Kitty World subscribers. Players can even have a successful career, open different shops, earn and spend Sanrio Dollars in bank, buy a house, and trade with other players around the vast game world. Other than that, platers will be able to build their dream house, create player characters, raise pet and teach them tricks and skills... yadda yadda... IMHO, it's like Star Wars: Galaxies + The Sims.

Muahahaha... it's the weekend! What an eventful week it has been. The drama of the monkey's re-election, the rollercoaster ride of oil prices, the leaks of Malaysian exam questions and flooding and more flooding!! Whatever will happen next? Planning to watch Shark's Tale over the weekend to slow things down. :)
posted by Ivan, 1:49 pm | link | 1 comments |

It's everywhere, BUSH, Man Utd wins.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Here we go again as predicted earlier, George W Bush has won four more years in the White House. projected Bush to win Ohio's 20 electoral votes, giving the president 274 (270 needed to win re-election). The latest results showed Bush with about 51 percent of the vote to Kerry's 48 percent, marking the first time since 1988 that a candidate has won more than 50 percent of the popular vote. I guess the 3.7 million vote margin can't be wrong. Oh well the drama is finally over, oil prices are up again, KLCI is down, hostages taken in Iraq, SARS spotted in HK... back to normal. :P

At least there's an up point today, Manchester United destroyed Sparta Prague 4-1 in the Champions League this morning, with van Nistelrooy netting all 4 goals. Great! Hopefully, they will maintain this form when they meet Man City this weekend. :)

posted by Ivan, 3:08 pm | link | 0 comments |

Mr Bush and the Beetle Red Smarties

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Looks like Mr. Bush is gonna win the US Presidential election if the electoral voting trend contines. According to CNN, Bush leads Kerry, 237 to 188 e.v and Bush just needs another 33 to win. It's a rather tight battle with Bush and Kerry neck to neck on % votes. Bush has 51% while Kerry 48%.

Anyways, was browsing for news and found this interesting article by Dan Parkinson. For me, it'll make me think twice before touching another red smarties. haha..

According to the author, the red Smarties get their bright colour from a dye made from dried and crushed insects. While that information may make the most devoted fan a little squeamish, it has left vegetarians with a particularly bad taste in their mouths. They claimed Nestle, which makes the candy-coated chocolate buttons, should consider an alternative for those unwilling to indulge in animal by-products.

The red dye used to colour Smarties is processed by crushing dried female cochineal isects, which are collected in central America. It results in the colourant cochineal, otherwise known as carmine or E120.
posted by Ivan, 1:22 pm | link | 1 comments |

Survey Result:Top 3 functions used most frequently on a mobile

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

After upgrading my mobile from N6510 to SEK700i, I've managed to do more with my mobile than before. Namely, MMS, checking 'live' soccer results, play 3D games, go online, take pictures, listen to mp3, use MSN messenger, check email, read novels, download RSS news, and reading the Bible. All this are made possible with JAVA technology which are now embedded into most of mobiles' today. So, what do you use your mobile for?

Anyways, here is a survey portraying the top three functions used most frequently on a portable device.

posted by Ivan, 12:52 pm | link | 3 comments |

Easy Solutions

Monday, November 01, 2004

What a weekend! Man Utd was beaten by Portsmouth 2-0 at Fratton Park. Altough Man Utd dominated the first half with several chances, the home team took the lead in the 52nd minute when Unsworth converted a penalty, which resulted from Man Utd's Heinze pulling down Fuller. Portsmouth sealed Man Utd's fate in the 72nd minute when Yakubu scored. Oh well, looks like the win over Arsenal last week just went down the drain. Bummer!

On a lighter side, here's something for you guys who are looking for a certain solution to a complicated problem.

One of Japan's biggest cosmetics company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soap box that was empty. Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. For some reason, one soap box went through the assembly line empty.

Management asked its engineers to solve the problem. Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soap boxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent whoopee amount to do so.

But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem, they instead came out with another solution. He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soap box passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.

posted by Ivan, 1:50 pm | link | 0 comments |