Toys and Gadgets

February 18th, 2005

Notmad Explorer


Sick of the crappy music organizers that comes with Creative MP3 players? Well, check out NotMad Explorer, a software companion for Creative Nomad, MuVo, Zen etc.

It is not iTunes but it probably make it easier to live with a Creative MP3 players.

By posting this, I dunno if I am helping Creative or slaming their bad software. But Sim, your hardware are great (I love ripped out your 4Gb CF) but maybe invest a bit more usability if you are serious into consumer products?

I mean, just look at some of your customer feedback: “I will never, ever use PlayCenter again” “this app is what Creative’s PlayCenter should be” “PlayCenter … is all rather tiresome”.

I am surprise they haven’t figure out that you don’t win the MP3 market by features but by making it fun, cool and easier to use,. Make your customer love you :- it is not about brand – it is about lovemarks.

So please, go buyout the company and start shipping with your MP3 players. Maybe, just maybe you stand a chance against iPod.

ps: I am not affliated with Notmad in anyway.

February 7th, 2005

Feedback on Virtual Keyboard


vkb-mac.jpgFinally got my hand on the Virtual Keyboard I mention two months back.

The manual said it does not work with Mac/OS but I managed to get it to pair with my Mac anyway. Just go to the Bluetooth setup Assistant and instead of selecting “keyboard”, choose Other Device, and the proceed to pair them up. Just note that when you are asked to enter a key to pair up, don’t use something long like ‘92749273921’ and instead choose something strategic like ‘1’ because you have to retype the number on the infra-red keyboard without knowing what you type.

Of course, ‘1’ is insecure but it does not matter because you probably wont want to use it for long. Nope, I have no problem typing on the table, even though it sound kind of werid, I feel quite natural with it. The problem is the finger sensor (see the black patch below?) is overly sensitive – if you bring your finger low enough, it triggers. Of course, this means with some training, you could literally type without touching the table!

But for now, it is too sensitive and it detects key stroke which I didn’t meant to hit or the keys i hit multiple times. Heck, I couldn’t even use it to finish typing this entry.

Nevertheless, It’s still pretty cool. But it is not good enough for daily use yet.

Note: The infrared keyboard is big and clear even though it does not seem so from the picture.

February 6th, 2005

DualPhone, Taiwanese version

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dualphone-redux.jpgRemember DualPhone which I got so excited about? Several people also email me to ask me what I think about it. Sorry for the not replying but that’s because all I get from DualPhone is ‘Sorry, we don’t ship to Singapore’.

Anyway, Taiwanese manufacturer Sysgration gave this new cool Skype device ASG-300. The way it works is the same as DualPhone except you have to plug in your own phone.

As the saying goes, if you make it, Taiwanese will make it cheaper and better :-)

January 12th, 2005

iPod Shuffle & Mac Mini


MacWorld just started and as usual, Steve announced two new product: iPod Shuffle and Mac Mini.

ipod-shuffle.jpgiPod Shuffle, a even smaller version to iPod Mini which comes with 512Mb or 1Gb for your MP3. Sure, there are similar product out there (e.g. Creative MuVo), but hey, it is an Apple, with its ubercool design and best of all, at only US$99 which is incredible affordable. I would seriously consider this if I have got my iPod.

mac-mini.jpgNext is the Mac Mini, a SFF (Small Form Factor) Mac which also have a small price tag, US$499 :-) It is Mac Cube redux, it is Mac version of Shuttlebox (or mini-ITX), and above all, it is Apple answer to all the PC-iPod user: Buy a Mac box which cost only as much as your iPod which can replace your dell machine!

I would like to see a bigger harddisk (80Gb don’t cut it) and perhaps with a TV tuner card so I can run my MythTV PVR on it. But hey, this is good enough for me: It runs silently which means it is a perfect MythTV frontend! (Yes, MythTV runs on MacOSX). It is a super cool box that I can put beside my DVD player and hide my MythTV box in my rack. Heck, forget the DVD player!

So when will we get to see Mac Shuffle? :-)

January 11th, 2005

Linux on iPod


ipodlinux.jpg One of my guys, Arvind, took the 3rd Generation iPod I bought in US yesterday. Today, he return my iPod with a Penguin on it :- Linux on iPod :P

What can it do? Well, other then playing MP3 (which strangely is bit slower), I can play some of the Linux games like tetris, pong, etc. Pretty Cool. Now, I am praying he can revert this back to my normal firmware even tho it is dual boot.

What the heck we doing this? Well, that’s something I cannot say here but hey, it is something fun so why not? Anyway, the reason Arvind asked for my iPod is because after combing the whole Sim Lim & Funan, it seem there are only iPod Photo & mini left in Singapore’s store. Not even 4G (which btw can’t do this) … iPod selling that well huh?

ps: I didn’t have digital camera with me so I stole the iPod picture from here. But that’s how it looks.

December 18th, 2004

Virtual Keyboard



After waiting for nearly 2 years, the innovative virtual keyboard (called BTVKB) finally arrived in Singapore stores! Guess what I am getting for christmas? Ho Ho Ho!

Update: Damn, it does not work with any of my current portable gadget/phones yet :P

December 14th, 2004

Mobile Phones


moto-razr.jpg SonyS700.jpg treo600.jpg blackberry.jpg
Moto Razr SonyEricson S700 Treo 600 Blackberry

After tolerating nearly 12 months of werid stares from bystanders with my Nokia N-Gage, enough is enough. So shopping around in the last two days, I shortlisted my selection to the above four.

Surprisingly, Nokia wasn’t even considered – This is from a loyal Nokia user of at least three 3650, five 8850, two 8890, two 7650 and one N-Gage over the last five years. I actually waited 12 months for Nokia to come out with a decent phone that will save me but no, the latest 7260, 7270 and 7280 are disappointing :-( The glory days of Noka is 8850 but it has been downhill thereafter *sigh*

So anyway, I am still debating which one to go for.

In terms of design, Moto Razr win hands down! The coolest phone I have seen in the market since Nokia 8850 (see how many 8850/90 i got?). But the lack of memory expansion turns me off – 5mb isn’t going to be sufficient for me :P
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November 22nd, 2004

3G/Wifi Phone

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Okay, after the Skype DualPhone, we have 3G/WiFi phone (via Richard Stansty):

NTT DoCoMo and its regional subsidiaries are now offering business subscribers a dual-network 3G/VoIP handset that works as a 3G mobile phone, VoIP (voice-over-IP) terminal, or both simultaneously. The N900iL is based on a Linux-based 3G mobile phone software platform developed jointly by NEC and Panasonic…When used in wireless LAN mode, the N900iL supports call hold, call transfer, and other standard phone functions, the company says.

This isn’t funny anymore. I can’t keep up buying all these stuff…wait, I cant even buy them here in Singapore :-( And yes, for our dear friends who is in Japan (yes, Adam, you!), you can laugh all you want while I drool on.

And also, Joi has a related entry on NTT Docomo isn’t using Microsoft for their phones. Could it be due to this? It certainly does not inspire confidence regardless the accusation is true or false. But hey, I have my fair share of such experience …

November 21st, 2004

Skype Dualphone

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skype-dualphone.jpgIntroducing DualPhone (via VoIP Watch)

The Cordless DUALphone is a cordless telephone that can be connected to a normal telephone socket and a USB port on a PC. The display shows whether your friends who also use Skype™, are online. If they are, you simply have to press the appropriate green button and talk to them for free – no matter where they are in the world. If their PC is switched off, or you want to call someone who doesn’t use Skype™, you simply press the other green button and call via the standard telephone connection.

I am ordering it right now!

October 25th, 2004

Sharp Zaurus C3000



I want this!!! (via Slashdot)

This is so much better then the Zaurus C760 I have now! It has the best resolution for a PDA (try beating 640×480) and now with build-in Wifi and 4Gb diskspace is everything I wish there is on my C760. Okay not everything but almost … (I also hope to have build-in Bluetooth & GSM/3G :-)

My Zaurus is the best little gadget I have and I bring it with me almost everywhere, especially when I have to travel a long distance. With a 512Mb SD card, I can watch nearly 5 hours of Xvid movie (and with enough battery to do some perl hacking).

Why am I so excited? It is almost functional computer at handheld size, running Linux and hackable to boot, and probably the first of its kind. Sure it is not as powerful as a full-fledge notebook, but if you study enough disruptive technology history (I did), then the same could be said of first generation portable-computer. Wanna bet where this will be in 5 years time?

ps: I always wonder what the hype is about Creative Zen. What’s so cool about a crippled device compared to a hackable Zaurus?