Archive | November, 2007

Movie Review – Ocean’s Thirteen – Suprisingly Good

Ocean's Thirteen

What are the odds of getting even? Danny Ocean and the gang would have only one reason to pull off their most ambitious and riskiest casino heist — to defend one of their own. But they鈥檙e going to need more than luck on their side to break The Bank. Ruthless casino owner Willy Bank never imagined that the odds were against him when he double-crossed Danny Ocean鈥檚 friend and mentor Reuben Tishkoff.

I have to say I really enjoyed Ocean’s Eleven (7.5), it was a great and very original movie in terms of a criminal romp/heist kind of flick. Hadn’t see as anything as smooth as that since the old gangster flicks. Plus the chemistry between Clooney and Pitt just worked really well.

Suffice to say I was disappointed and very underwhelmed by Ocean’s Twelve (6.0).

I’d heard a number of people say Ocean’s Thirteen wasn’t that great…and strangely I hadn’t checked the IMDB score – if I had I would have seen it’s got a very good 7.1! Similar to the rating of the first.

I decided to watch it anyway, and I’m thankful I did. It was surprisingly good – noticeably better than the middle movie.

If you liked the first one, you’d definitely like this one.

Good acting, good plays, some funny gags, slick cons and interesting action all around.

The main trio were fantastic again (Clooney, Pitt and Damon) with the side characters being as charistmatic and goofy as ever.

Ocean's Thirteen

Matt Damon shows the depth of his acting, the way he plays Bourne then this character are oceans apart (pardon the pun).

It’s a very entertaining movie, if you haven’t caught it yet – I suggest you do! Especially if you’re a fan of the first.

I give it a solid 8/10.

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Continue Reading 7 CommentsMovies

Nikon D3 and D300 Hands on Preview at Nikon Malaysia HQ

So I got a chance to go to Nikon along with a few friends to try out the new Nikon D3 and D300 models set to be released later in the year. I don’t usually camera geek here as I have DigiSniper for my gearhead side…but this is too special not to mention 馃檪

I went to Menara PKNS on Friday afternoon to meet their technician and play with the new cameras. The new full frame Nikon D3 and my current cameras successor – the D300.

D300 & D3

The D3 is the first full frame digital camera from Nikon and has set the digital camera world on fire with it’s high ISO performance, usable croppable shots at ISO6400 with plenty of detail. You can read more here: Nikon D3 Hands on Detailed Preview.

My eyes are more on the D300 though, as the successor to my current camera (Detailed Hands on Preview of Nikon D300), with proper live view (contrast based AF) and super good high ISO performance…its’ definitely tempting.

Nikon D300

The monitor on the back is indeed a work of art, as seen on the recently released Sony Alpha A-700. It’s a beauty to behold.

Nikon D300 LCD

The white balance was a bit funky under tungsten lights, this is a problem with the prototype models. The hardware is pretty much finalised, but they are trying to perfect the firmware before release, doing extensive testing to make sure it works well under all conditions.

I guess they’ve had some challenges with the new CMOS sensor, apparently it gives better performance battery wise as CMOS draws less power than the previous CCD.

The megapixels are neglible, 12.3mp for the new D300 and 10.2mp for my current camera. Unless you quadruple the megapixels to effectively double the resolution, there’s not much difference.

The main difference will be pixel density and detail, especially detail retained under high ISO conditions. After testing the new D300 I have to say it is noticeably better than the D200 at least by 1.5-2 stops. It does expose a bit on the high side though compared to previous cams which tend to underexpose.

I do wonder if it’s set this way to give an impression of better ISO performance (overexposed images show less digital noise than those that are underexposed).

One thing about Nikon is though, it has much less ‘digital’ noise than some other brands. It has noise, but it’s more pleasant and more detail is retained.

I’ve always preferred it personally.

Anyway, I’d love a D300…but I doubt it’ll happen any time soon, I just can’t justify it and it’ll be around RM6k mark I guess.

I don’t have much to say about the D3…it’s just too fantastic for words and I have to keep my hands off it – less I get terminally poisoned.

The shutter sound for both is nice and sharp, ergonomically they are almost identical to the previous models (D2Xs for D3) apart from the addition of LV for Liveview on the command wheel.

The liveview works well with the contrast based AF, it’s pretty slow though. And in ‘tripod’ mode you can choose the focal point (and zoom up to 15x for those tricky macro shots), in handheld you have to use the middle point and you can’t zoom in so much.

The new D300 battery grip is sweet too (MB-D10), it no longer has the T shape design so with the grip the camera can support 3 batteries! (And it’s easier to store) And AA batteries (8 I think). Plus the new grip has a joystick like the back of the camera for proper selection of AF points rather than scrolling with the wheel. It can support the D2/3 series batteries as well for a higher frame rate (EN-EL4/EN-EL4a).

With EN-EL4/EN-EL4a & AA batteries it’ll give you a higher frame rate of 8fps and it’s magnesium alloy…so it’s set to be expensive.

There should be stock in the market in Malaysia by mid-late December for both models, how much stock…I don’t know.

And what the price will be? That doesn’t seem to have been decided yet.

Pics taken with Fuji f31d at ISO800 馃檪

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Continue Reading 17 CommentsPhotography

Life’s Little Jokes

Strangely enough a day after writing about Corruption in Malaysia, I got stopped by a ‘roadblock’ on MRR2 at about 1.30am.

It didn’t look particularly official and I don’t think they even had a speedtrap set-up, they were just fishing for bribes.

I thought this when I pulled up, but it was soon confirmed..

The first guy came to me…looked at my white face and walked of summoning his colleague (in BM of course) “Eh come here la, I don’t know what to say”.

Then another guy came over, then finally the more senior guy came up. Luckily I wasn’t going particularly fast anyway.

Eventually he managed to ask me how fast I was going…it was something like this..

Him: “Your licence?”
Me: (Passes him license)
Him: “International license?”
Me: “Yah”
Him: “You from where?”
Me: “Bandar Sri Damansara”
Him: “You er….”
Him: “You how?”
Him: “You er…how ah?”
Him: “You how long?”
Me: “Huh? Do you mean how fast was I going?”
Him: “Yah yah, how fast?”
Me: “Around 85-90km/h”
Him: “Speed here, 80km/h on bridge 60km/h”
Me: “Ok fine.”
Him: (Leaning into car) “So you want summon?”
Me: “Yeah sure, give me a summon”
Him: (Looking puzzled) “Er ok…”

Then he ciaoed, got on his bike and rode off.

I waited a while whilst another few officers inspected me, my car, my license and hung around, asked me some more stuff – mostly the same questions again. Where am I from, where am I going, how fast was I going, had I been drinking etc..

One even breathalyzed me.

And eventually said I can go, ‘last warning’.

They obviously were doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing and were just fishing for bribes.

So in the end I drove off without paying anything, why? Because I’d done nothing wrong.

Everyone else around me was paying their hard earned 50 bucks for no reason, other than to support corruption. When you pay the bribe you can’t be sure if they were really going to summon you or not.

Accept when you do wrong and pay via the proper channels, don’t let them push you around 馃檪

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Continue Reading 22 CommentsSerious Issues

Happy Divali/Deepavali/Diwali/Deepawali – Festival of Light

Happy Divali/Deepavali/Diwali/Deepawali – however you want to spell it or name it – to all my Hindu/Jain and Sikh readers and friends.

Happy Festival of Light!

May the lights and lamps uplight the darkness and signify the victory of good over evil within you all.

Ganesh

Goddess

You can read more at Wikipedia here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali

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Continue Reading 4 CommentsGeneral Nonsense

Corruption – You bribe too DON’T YOU – It’s all YOUR Fault

Now this is an interesting topic…and it comes back to the same old subject again sadly. Malaysia hypocrisy and apathy.

It’s a fairly serious topic, but one that comes up fairly often. It’s somewhat confusing as a foreigner in Malaysia, especially at first, trying to comprehend the Malaysian mind-set.

At first Malaysians seems like patriotic people who are passionate about their country and want to see positive changes in the bureaucracy and governance of the country. But later you realise they just like to talk about it, and aren’t actually willing to do anything on a ground or grass-roots level to make the changes.

My case in point today is corruption.

You’ll often hear someone or other whining about corruption especially with this $27 million cop splashed all over the papers, and even before that they’ll moan about corrupt cops, corrupt politicians and corrupt business practices.

All you have to do is ask them…when you get stopped for a traffic offense do you bribe the police to get away?

95% of the time they’ll say “Yeah of course la, what else to do?

Which makes them just as bad as the people they are complaining about, it’s their fault corruption still continues and is so blatant. I hold all people that pay police bribes on the street accountable for the corruption in this country.

Me? If I do something wrong, I take the summon and pay it like a good citizen. If I didn’t do anything wrong, I won’t allow the police to harass me into paying them just so I can get away easily.

Stand your ground if you didn’t do anything wrong, don’t pay just to get away faster. You are just making things worse and opening more doors for them to do it in the future.

If you did something wrong, accept the summon and pay it through the proper channels. If you get a discount in the police station that’s fine. But don’t bribe the man on the street.

When the police ask me if I want to settle I offer them RM10 – just to insult them and ask for them to hurry up writing the summons.

In a way you can blame it on the government for paying the police such pitiful salaries, they ‘need’ to collect kopi duit to survive…apparently.

And from what I know corruption on high levels exists in some form in every country in the World, according to the local cultural practices.

Business has opportunity cost as well which even in UK or US might have some kind of ‘gift’ associated with it.

It’s just not so blatant and it doesn’t effect the people.

The problem with the police on the street being corrupt is you have no faith in them solving important crimes or looking after the citizens, their first priority after all is collecting YOUR money – which YOU are allowing them to do.

It effectively removes the whole point of having a police force.

No doubt in UK the government is corrupt at high levels, but the man on the street be it a bobby walking the beat or a traffic cop is 100% corruption free and you can trust that whatever their interest in a given situation it’s not according to money, bribes or sweeteners.

This makes you feel safe.

Stop bribing and the corruption will stop, the police will have to start doing their jobs properly and they will eventually get paid properly.

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Continue Reading 20 CommentsSerious Issues

Hot Chicks & Cold Beer

Hmmm fluffy white outfits and free flow sub zero Heineken beer!

Heineken Babes

What a deal.

They sure know how to make us happy 馃檪

More soon of course.

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Continue Reading 8 CommentsParties & Gatherings

Checking out Hypp.TV – Local Video Content Finally!

I recently found out about a new initiative from TM called Hypp.TV. Basically it’s a new site delivering free and premium video content on a local platform, which is great for people who are into the whole rich media scene of Web two point oh. I managed to get a free trial and checked it out.

Hypp.TV
https://www.hypp.tv

With everyone addicted to Flickr and Youtube, Malaysia needs more local content as our International peering is slow, loading from US or European sites is troublesome and sometimes nearly impossible. Even accessing specialised IPTV services such as Joost can be tough.

This is where Hypp.TV hopes to come in, it’s starting off by offering content focused on football, mainly from the EPL (Barclays Premier League) where subscribers can log on and watch match highlights, exclusive round up videos, special themed clips and such.

The site layout is pretty standard, quite graphics heavy, but that’s expected for a rich media site.

Hypp.TV Site

You can find the news channel here:

Hypp.TV News

And free content from the local scene here:

Hypp.TV Local Scene

The premium content such as the football media is very affordable at RM9.90 for Streamyx subscribers and RM14.90 for non-subscribers per month. You can find the full rates here. With the cost of registration at only RM89.90 for a year, that’s a measly 25 cents per DAY!

Hypp.TV Premier League

The videos buffer fast and the picture quality is definitely better than Youtube, it seems to have some problems streaming the high quality version though.

They also currently have a contest going on where you can win a 3-month subscription for top Barclays Premier League Content absolutely FREE!

All you need to do to win a 3-month subscription to top BPL videos is answer two simple questions and complete the slogan, you can find out more and enter the contest at:

Hypp.TV Contest

Fans get it!

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Continue Reading 1 CommentAdvertorial, Internet & Tech

Sometimes I HATE PR and Events People

I’ve written about this before some time back, it’s happening less frequently I have to admit..but it still happens.

Remember 鈥淵ue May Not Mail Me Anymore鈥, well another occurence happened today. Even worse they had my real e-mail address as I have dealt with the agency before.

The agency incidentally who likes to poach jobs from other people by undercutting, then getting inexperienced staff to do the work – professionalism? Appropriate? I’ll leave that up to you.

Anyway I’ve been to some events by this company, and they were decent..unfortunately their standards seem to have declined and whoever they have approaching bloggers now is a complete fucking tool.

Picture this:

Subject: Urgent. Please Get Back to me

Content:

Hey,

I’m from RetardedAgency and we will be having an event soon. Could you please help us feature this event on your Blog. Hope it isn’t too much hassle. Would really appreciate it. Please contact Dumb Fuck (03) 2xx3 2xx7 for further information. Or you can just reply my email. 馃檪 Thanks a blast. Hope you response asap.

_______________________________________

Etc etc standard press release about the event.

The funny thing? I tried to reply to her to tell her what a dimwit she was….as it was so urgent, and it BOUNCED – can you beat that!

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

Stupid.Dickface@my.retarderdagency.com

Technical details of permanent failure:
PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 13): 550 5.1.1 is not a valid mailbox

Anyway back to the original mail, do you notice the lack of name, lack of introduction, lack of personalisation?

Does it smell like spam to you? Sure does to me.

Can you miss the retarded English?

Thanks a blast. Hope you response asap.

Darling that should be thanks a bunch and hope you respond ASAP.

And the tone of the e-mail, do I look like a push web site for your shitty press releases? There’s this thing called an ADVERTORIAL ok, if you want your shitty event on my site you can PAY like everyone else.

Or if it’s interesting, I’ll write about it anyway for free.

If not you can fuck off to https://www.prweb.com and publish your shit there.

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Continue Reading 25 CommentsRanting

Not Posting Today

In protest of no-one commenting on my entries…….NOT ENOUGH COMMENTS PEOPLE!

Come on you should know bloggers are comment whores, we thrive on comments…even though I see the page views, the unique visits….you are here, you are reading, watching, stalking..

Stop being silent, say something, say my post sucks, my pictures are bad….anything.

Anyway if you have something to say, anything to say – just comment. Don’t be shy, I’d love to see at least 10 comments on every post.

Give me some feedback, let me know if I’m boring you, if I’m posting stuff that interests you – or otherwise.

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Continue Reading 41 CommentsSite News