Martian Skies

You know, after having played through Mass Effect and with the recent image release of the new Mars Phoenix Lander and its quest to find ice and water, i came across this website.

It showcases some of the most beautiful and stunning images of Mars and its martian skies. After looking through it, i can stop but wonder. What if in 50 or 100 hundred years time, when man is able to colonize Mars and built a small space frontier, is this what its gonna look like when youre in Mars? The barren wasteland full of red sand and rocks and the orange sky fascinates me in a way that this is totally different from the Earth’s sky. Its so surreal that we are now able to look at skies totally different from Earth and gives me a very alien feeling to it.

Some of the images showcases the orange sky, while others have the sun in the sky as well as the night sky, with the earth and moon visible. The latter is very striking. Imagine you are on Mars as part of the group’s pioneer colonist, and you are looking right towards earth, rather than the other way around. Its such a different feeling.

My call has been answered

Sometimes, you have no choice but resort to really unconventional methods to really wish for a better life.

The laws of attraction, while i was doubtful at first, is starting to mysteriously work in my favour.

Anyways, alot of things happened this week, and it took turn for the better, which i hope it would maintain it that way for the coming months. Life here is improving bit by bit and im getting used to my new conditions. Now im really grateful for all the things that have happened and all the things that have been granted to me. I shall remind myself daily how grateful i am.

On a sidenote, this quote is starting to make sense:

When im a kid, i have time and energy, but no $$.

When im an adult, i have $$ and energy but not time.

When im old, i have time and $$, but no energy.

My little sanctuary. Needs more improvement!

So with the new computer that i bought 4 months back and the PS3 3 months later, i realised that my computer table is a little tad small. The table was bought during Chinese New Year, the time where you would usually do spring cleaning, which in this case involves buying a new computer table. (The previous one was horrendous)

So i wanted something small and simple. I didnt want to spent too much on a piece of furniture, so long as everything computer related would be able to fit onto the table which i chose. But the problem now is that after the addition of the Playstation 3, its getting a little squeezy and cluttered. Ive always imagined having a personal space of my own, something of a sanctuary that i would spent most of my time on when im at home, be it work or play.

Squeezy huh? Just a small table in one corner of the room. Its cosy, but i dont feel the warmth to the space that was created for the computer. There is no personality to it. Maybe its because of the walls? or the labyrinth of wires behind the tables? Nonetheless, you can see both my CPU and the Playstation 3 on the table. The monitor is shared between the computer and the console. Thankfully, the LG widescreen display has 2 video inputs. A VGA and a DVI. It would be better if i had 2 DVI’s though but i had to sacrifice the one DVI for the console and resorted to VGA connection for my computer. Besides i cant see the difference in visual quality between an analog and digital connections. My 5.1 surround set up is still going strong. By now, it would have undergone at least 3 generations of DIY computers and its still very much useful to me. Id never sell the set. Its extremely rare these days.

When the console is on, i can switch the visual inputs of the LCD to display whatever is being displayed from the console. I have the HDMI to DVI cable and its pretty nifty. The visuals that appeared are bright and gorgeous looking, thanks to the LG’s high contrast ratios LCD monitor.

Its only a 20 inch monitor, but im more than glad because at least its HD Ready. Most games for the PS3 are set at 720P and a 20inch monitor is sufficient to support that.

You can see that the Playstation 3 is a behemoth. However, its extremely quiet, as in ultra silent. Im suprised at that especially when such a powerful console is able to cool the processor without generating fan noise. Despite playing for hours on the console, it is still silent, very very silent. And stable too. Kudos for Sony in designing such an efficient console.

OK so now im going to switch to PS3 fanboy mode. Bear with me on this one but i think these ads are pretty cool. You can view the rest at http://www.playb3yond.com/

Playstation 3, all hail Blu-Ray.

So with all the hoo-haa about the Hi-Def format wars coming to an end, i’ve “kinda” decided to get myself a Playstation 3. Yeap thats right. All hail Blu-Ray. Its about time the format wars coming to an end. Ive been getting tired of having to wait and see which format would come out the victor. Seriously i dont think it makes sense to have both format out on the market when some of your favourite movies are released in one format or the other exclusively. It just hurts the industry in the long run.

In my opinion, i think that Sony made a rather risky yet strategic move to implement Blu-Ray technology in its latest Playstation 3 console. Its general direction of having the console as the hub of all your visual and audio entertainment needs in the living room have finally starting to pay off. I can still remember last year the harsh criticism given to playstation 3 about the feasibility of having such advance technology, such as the Cell processor and Blu-ray to the general gaming consumers. And with the hefty price tag, it makes the investment a real risky one indeed.

And yet if you look at it from another perspective, the market penetration of next gen gaming console, coupled with next gen Hi-def video is quite a brilliant move by Sony. The ability for the company to penetrate 2 different products to the masses actually tilted in Sony’s favor. Even now with the success of Blu-ray, it is not because of the Blu-ray players that gave it a significant market share, but rather the consoles bought by gamers which incidentally give the edge needed by Sony over Toshiba’s HD-DVD in terms market dominance.

As of now, the cheapest Blu-ray player you can get is the PS3. And thats not all. With the PS3, you can obviously play video games, listen to your favourite music, playback various videos, surf the next and engage in online gaming activities. The All-in-one concept is really starting to work for Sony. Lastly the PS3 is a dynamic, ever changing piece of hardware, made possible by software updates which is able to update its software as well as firmware for the Blu-Ray player, making it future proof for many years to come.

When Warner Bros. made a bold move to desert HD-DVD, it was the beginning of a domino effect on the fall of the format. Soon after, retailers and online rental companies such as Best Buy, Netflix and Walmart finally gave in to support Blu-ray exclusively. This finally tip the scale and caused Toshiba to fall out and made the inevitable of stopping its support and manufacture of HD-DVD. The format war is finally over.

What whats in store for Blu-Ray now that HD-DVD is no more? We shall see. But for the Playstation 3, 2008 might be an interesting year for the console. Will it make a roaring comeback to the gaming scene? Will games developers and publishers have another look at the PS3 as a potential piece of gaming machine of the future and start developing games for the console? Im sure that game developers would study this latest event closely and determine if the time is right to fully exploit the processing power of the Playstation 3 and create incredible video games in the years to come.

Meanwhile, do enjoy this video clip. 🙂

2008!

Okie, i know some of you must be ranting at me for not updating my blog for so long. This is not the first time that i went on hiatus either. As always i have to find my urge and inspiration to write. If not, ill just put this blog at the back of my mind.

Let me just give a general update on what’s happening.

My BMT is over. It was a wonderful experience. Many highs and lows during my 3 month training, but looking back, im starting to miss my platoon mates and life in BMT. It was tough and regimental, but even with those annoyances, life was pretty simple back then. After P.O.P., i had a 2 week break before getting my posting to my new unit, but during that time it was fun and relaxation… a well deserved one.

I did quite a number of things. Watched lots of movies, like The Golden Compass, Stardust, I Am Legend and many more. I finally finished my Raymond E Feist’s Novel, Prince of the Blood. It was merely ok. I had to go trudge through 3 quarters of the book before there was any real action in the plot. Even so, after completing the book, it was somehow kinda lacklustre.

I also got a new computer! Yes, after about a week of crash course on whats the hottest computer parts out on the market, i decided to get a totally brand new PC. Of course i must thank my buddy, Alex who is an expert in this field and provided me with a wealth of information on whats the “in thing” about PCs. Without him, i would surely have made alot of wrong choices in choosing my mainboard, graphics card etc. Thank you sooo much! I feel that my PC is really worth it.

So here are the specs. For SGD1300, i got:

MSI K9a2 CF, phenom processor ready and crossfire supported motherboard.

AMD Athlon 64 Dual Core 4400

2GB Ram

Powercolor ATI HD3850 (256mb) Graphics Card

250GB Hard disk

Black Casing with 600W psu

LG 19 inch widescreen LCD TV

I used my old:

BenQ DVD drive

2 Harddisk, 80GB and 160 GB

Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS

Its looks sweet and im enjoying it. Though its not top of the line gaming pcs, but with the mobo that can support up to 2 graphics card, and phenom quad core processor ready, this mobo has ample room for future upgrades. I can inset an additional graphics card, ramp up more ram or go quad core in the future. This really extends my invest on the pc in the long run. Furthermore, the mobo has received rave reviews regarding its performance to price ratio, making it the cheapest mobo to have crossfire and phenom processor support.

Now i get to play all the games that i have missed as well as upcoming games such as Dragon Age, Assasins’s Creed, World in Conflict, Call of Duty 4, Bioshock, Neverwinter Nights 2, The Witcher, and many many more.

There was one thing that i regretted though. I should have bought the computer earlier. If not for the posting notification, i would have bought it immediately after finishing BMT. But now it doesnt make much of a difference anyway. Im getting used to staying in camp during the weekdays and booking out on the weekends. And my vocation isnt that bad either. I am now undergoing a course at Sembawang Camp as a Transport Supervisor. Its a 5 month course and it seems that it would be a good experience for me to go through it. As an added bonus, the camp is so close to my house! Without revealing any more details, let us just say that im blessed to be in that camp. So far ive been in there for about a week and things have been going smoothly. That im grateful, truly. For the first time in a while, i actually looked forward to a brand new day while serving NS and its not a bad thing after all.

Now, after putting a bomb in my wallet and literally blown to shreds after buying my new rig, i have to work hard towards my rank. I really need to rebuild my coffers, 1 cent at a time to get back to a safe financial level as before. Im running dangerously low on funds right now.

Spring Cleaning…. sort of….

On friday, i had the sudden urge to clean up my wardrobe. Not the clothes, but the immense number of books and textbooks above my wardrobe. So much mess on top of it that it almost looked like a mini attic.

There were tons of books, from my dad’s management books, to children books that ive keep for some unknown reason, to even my secondary school textbooks. I dunno why i still keep it. I though that it might come in handy one day when i got to poly, but it had proven otherwise. I had all the subjects’ textbooks all rotting up there.

So i started sifting out the books that were useful to those that were considered junk. This was the result after an hour of filtering.

All those books piled up! Gosh! It was not until i actually cleared it up, did i realise i actually kept that much junk! Even the ten year series from almost every subject can been seen from the image above! There were even children’s science and fact books that i still kept all those years. Well they arent useful now.

Throughout the process i was pleasantly surprised to find some sentimental items that i thought i had lost them forever. The first item that i came across was this dreadful 10 year series O-level maths book. I decided to keep that. In it however, contained a drawing, or a series of drawings on almost every page of the book that my best friend drew. He drew it such that if you were to flip the pages of the book rapidly, you can actually see a small animation taking place. I considered that a true work of art done by him, no matter how amateur looking it was. It brought back good memories during my secondary school days.

Another item i came across was a photograph taken of our class as a whole during our trip to Malacca for a geography field trip. It was during secondary 2. It was a great photograph that i thought it been had lost forever.  Other items include birthday cards from my friends that i still kept it, and an inspirational message from our math teacher.

Now, our math teacher wasnt exactly our favourite, but she was the single most important teacher for me. She was the one that brought my F9 math grade that i got in secondary 3, to an unexpected B4 grade for my O-levels. I really couldnt believe it. All those practice and scoldings I got from her it really paid off. Seeing this kinda makes me sad, because i dont really remember a moment where i actually thanked her sincerely for her efforts. I think she is still teaching at the same school. Nevertheless, whereever you are Mrs Ho, whether you read this or not, THANK YOU.

So i cleared all the books from up there, gave it an antiseptic clean using Dettol, and even gave a general wipe to all those books that would be placed back then. It looks soo much better now… and lots of extra space too!

Night Safari

Of all the major singapore attractions that ive been to, there is one attraction that ive never visited my entire life till last week. That was none other than the Night Safari.

It was quite an unforgettable experience and i knew somehow in what makes Night Safari a major tourist attraction. Sure i’ve been to the Zoo and it was fun, but that was like 15 years ago, since then ive never visited again. Night Safari on the other hand was a pleasant night experience.

Though the entrance ticket, to my surprise was more expensive than i thought, we paid virtually nothing when my dad redeemed banking points in exchange for the tickets. We went on a weekend, and it was packed with tourists, more crowded than i anticipated, but with a major tourist attraction like that, it was quite a pleasant experience, from the ticketing counter to the trails to the tram rides. Throughout the entire period, the show ran extremely well and efficient. It kinda made me proud especially when i as a Singaporean enjoyed the experience. No doubt the tourists from all walks of life are having a time of thier lives.

Though I’m not an animal lover, but it was kinda exciting seeing the animals so close to your in most of the animal exhibits. My favourite has got to be the flying bats. The sight of bats hanging by the branches mere inches from passing tourists as they walk the wooden planks into their habitat was something i wouldnt forget. Not to mention those numerous deers all along the tram road as the tram passes by, so tempting in touching and cuddling them, which was blatantly reminded by the tour guide that it was prohibited and can be dangerous.

The shows were kinda entertaining as well. From the animal shows, to the tribal dances and fire eating performances, it was a good distraction while waiting for your turn to purchase your entrance tickets. All in all it was a satisfying night, and it is definitely one of the many, must-see attractions for tourists.