Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Moonlight Carries The Message Of Love

We've been rather late in discovering YouTube Downloader. Prior to YouTube Downloader we've been kickyoutubing any videos we were interested in (not a lot), but when we found ourself occasionally heading to watch Lady Gaga's whacky Telephone music video, we thought it best if we kept a copy handy on our iPhone instead.

Beyonce's 'bad girl' line never fails to crack us up.

Then there were the parody videos, our favourites being Sherry Vine's take on Bad Romance...

...and the Key Of Awesome's Telephone.

YouTube Downloader made us a very happy man by making it hassle-free downloading the vids! Then, of course, iTunes had to inform us that some of the videos that we downloaded weren't able to be copied over to our iPhone. It happens. No biggie. We'd just use iTunes to convert it to an iPhone compatible format.

Leaving it overnight to convert as it was rather late and the file wasn't small, we sync'ed it the next day and what do you know, when we watched it the resolution was compromised. Bloody disappointing. Then we recalled reading the review on YouTube Downloader (we think this was a review on about YouTube Downloader being able to convert files as well, so we thought, what the heck, might as well give it a go.

Not only was the conversion much faster, but it kept the original resolution!

Finally, something that made putting videos on our iPhone much easier. Then there were the Gag Che videos that, while in Cantonese which meant we understood less than one third of what is talked about, were still funny (thanks Little Prince for introducing!) and so we snagged everything.

That led us to editing all the information so that it doesn't just clog up our video's section on the iPhone, but is categorized under TV Shows etc. Our iPhone videos section now looks much neater!

After all that, we decided to try using the YouTube Downloader for one more experiment: converting Real Media files to Quicktime format.

And so, we now have the entire Sailormoon Sailorstars season on our iPhone! Happiness is us! No more waiting to use the telly, making supper, then proceeding to slot in a DVD to watch an episode! Now all the episodes can follow us wherever we go! Joy! The moonlight carries the message of love!

Too bad we only managed to convert the Sailorstars season. The first season of Sailormoon were in a slightly different Real Media format, .ram, while the Sailorstars season were in .rm format. YouTube Downloader couldn't convert .ram to .mov as far as we tried, hopefully in the future this will be improved on!

Monday, May 24, 2010

This Is A Triumph

Recently we've actually picked up a slight interest in Portal (after listening to Still Alive and watching some of the Portal YouTube clips admittedly) but never did get around to borrowing the game from someone - for one thing first-person shooters give us vertigo, although alakazen tells us that since Portal's very much a thinking game rather than running and gunning the vertigo shouldn't be so bad, and for another we wondered if our PC could support the game.

What really got us intrigued about the game was GLaDOS. Not the thinking using portals and definitely not because it was a FPS.

Then just last week, we got word that Steam was releasing Portal for free!

Hence no need to wait to borrow from anyone. And we'll be owning an original copy.

So far, we've only found time to play the game twice, and both times we could still feel the vertigo come on (although not as fast as, say, when playing CounterStrike or Left 4 Dead!) and we're quite happy that Portal runs smoothly on our PC...when the video settings are set at the bare minimum. That's fine, since GLaDOS kept us entertained with her exclaimations and the game doesn't really need to be played in high-end graphics to be enjoyed.

Our only gripe? Playing via Steam meant we at first spent the entire night and following morning downloading the 5GB game, and then finding out after that that we need to be connected online to play! We're not sure if we need to maintain the internet connection while we play, like for Command & Conquer 4 or Assassin's Creed 2, but we don't like the internet dependency as set by Steam.

What happens if something happens to our connection, like our modem getting fried?

At least with Good Old Games we can download and play anywhere anytime. At least Steam chose a good game to lure us in. Otherwise we might just forgo the download (and getting games from Steam in the future) and just borrow Portal from a friend. For now, we'll be busy exploring the depths of Aperture looking for cake.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ad-verse Reactions

Now we pretty much could have made do with using our old modem, but there was one particular thing that had us got us looking for a new wireless modem router.

See, it all started when William mentioned about playing Scrabble with SK, now that they've joined the ranks of iPhoners. That caught our attention, we never paid much attention to that app in the iTunes Store as we never fancied playing with AI, whatmore needing to pay USD4.99 for it. Asked him and it turns out to be a free app, so we jumped onto the bandwagon for some gametime.

And this pretty much happens.

Prior to playing Words With Friends Free, our data usage mid-April was some 250MB. We'd never really hit 500MB with our Maxis data plan and thought 500MB was a comfortable limit for us, we could Facebook, email, surf, navigate via Maps and not really worry about hitting 500MB. So when we started Words With Friends Free, every time it was our turn and we were free to play we would be looking for word placements. And it being the free version instead of the paid version, advertisements featured heavily in the game, especially after every move we made, an ad will pop up.

Now, come May we checked our usage and saw we were close to the 500MB mark. We weren't really sure how much but thought we were safely within the limit. But our Maxis bill told us otherwise - from the RM100 average to RM150ish! Overshot.

That got us to slow down playing Words With Friends Free unless we're in a wifi area, and so no playing at home.

Until now, that is! Currently we're on par with William, derek, carpe diem, poor SK keeps opening up opportunities for triple word and double word scoring, and Legolas is absolutely trashing us!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wireless Belkin Breeze

Now sometime late last year to the start of this year our Level One ADSL2+ Modem Router sort of gave up on us. Couldn't figure out why we couldn't connect online with it. All the light lit up and all, but we couldn't connect to the web-based manager. Thankfully we still have the old modem supplied by Streamyx, so we switched to that.

Trust us not to realise the simplest solution available, not until we brought it to Computer War for a diagnosis: "kena thunder".

Anyways, there wasn't any urgency for us to get our wireless modem router fixed, since we've not been playing our Wii for quite a while (sadly), neither do we go online with our DS, and we've a mobile data plan for 500MB now.

We were hoping that it was somehow salvageable but we expected it to be otherwise. Better yet was when the guy at Computer War told us that our model only had a 1-year warranty, and that since last year Level One started a lifetime warranty policy on their newer products. Had to start looking at a new wireless modem router, then.

And when we started looking around, we were a bit confused. Prior to our visit to Computer War we had a look at a few other stores, and generally wondered at the difference in prices. The way the products were named didn't help. And yes, while we're fairly capable in techy things we've never been able to follow every bit of techy stuff there is. Like, we're able to fix up our wireless modem router, but get slightly lost when they ask us if we're using PPPoE or PPPoA and what is our encapsulation etc...

And shopping for a new wireless modem router wasn't any easier at first. You see why we're calling it in full? Because all this time we just thought 'router', thinking that all routers would have the functionality of a modem, a router, and wireless networking. The first router we saw was priced about RM60ish, and that led us to think that prices for routers have gone down. Then we saw another router that went for twice that price.

So we started paying a little more attention to what the words said on the box, and got lost reading about G Wireless, N Wireless, N+ Wireless etc. After asking around it was clear that the cheaper ones were just routers without a modem, our previous wireless modem router was a G standard and that N standard meant stronger wireless signal strength. And most brands don't call it a wireless modem router, they term it ADSL/ADSL2+ Wireless Router.

Now we know.

Back to when we had ours diagnosed at Computer War.

Technician says ours is fried, we think, okay, it's time for a new one. The only two brands that offer lifetime warranty are Level One and Belkin. We ask the technician if he has a Level One current model that is similar to what we have. He checks and tell us that there's no more stock at the moment, and offers us the next best thing, a model with the N Wireless standard at around RM250ish. How about the Belkin? There's a G Wireless standard at RM200ish.

The Belkin looked aesthetically much more pleasing compared to the Level One. And based on our experience with the G Wireless standard, we didn't think we needed something faster. Plus, we're not connecting wirelessly to our pc, that's still via network cable so the wireless standards don't apply. And it actually says G Wireless Modem Router on the box! Nearly plain English!

You can pretty much tell which we chose, heh.

And to cap it off, even installation was much easier! The installation CD definitely had the laymen in mind as everything was asked in plain English. And now we're wireless once again!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's 4am...

...when we woke up. After coming home and falling asleep on the couch last night when we got back from our movie. Then we showered and set our iPhone up to sync. After that, we couldn't go back to sleep, try as may. It couldn't be because of the movie we watched, The Descent 2, because we never thought about the movie again after we'd watched it.

There we were, lying in bed thinking about how we missed Glasgow and partly our school days, and how we wouldn't mind reliving some of those times but with present knowledge. Then we remember about homework and projects and assignments and then we give a shudder at how it probably wouldn't be as enjoyable reliving those days.

It's also not because we found out that Glee's third soundtrack, Showstoppers, is out on iTunes and we were tempted to get the Lady Gaga songs.

Perhaps it was because we decided to leave the table lamp on for once, but we never had trouble sleeping with the lights on as we tend to fall asleep with our bedroom lights on before.

By 6.50am we gave up trying to catch forty winks and got up, got shocked at our slightly-haggard appearance and sunken eyes, watered the plants, wiped off the morning dew off Aidan, had our breakfast, showered, and prepped for work.

And am now subsisting on coffee to get us through the day.

Friday, May 14, 2010


So there was this time three years ago when we actually voiced out our thoughts about the iPhone, and wasn't too keen over it because of how it lacked quite a fair bit compared to other phones (yes we will say it still lacks quite a fair bit even now).

Then we played around with a friend's iPhone and what woo'ed us was Safari. Surfing was a bliss. That sold us onto the iPod Touch, being a tad more affordable (compared to the iPhone, that is).

Then from being just a mobile surfing and email device with only web apps you could bookmark on Safari (which required a wifi connection to access), Apple introduced apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, the ability to rearrange icons, cut-copy-paste, and a fair bit of updates, our iPod Touch became more of a PDA than our phones ever were.

The main reason? The speed and the fast response rate. For example, the time we take to mark an appointment on our iPod Touch calender, we'd only be halfway through typing it on our Nokias.

We've been a loyal fan of Nokia but over the years it's been losing out when it came to the smartphone market...after our Nok7710 there weren't any other touchscreen models, and when everyone was on to capacitive Nokia was still on resistive...and we'd played around with the Nokia X6, and sadly it didn't seem a joy to use at all. Not to mention, program loading times were still bad when you're used to instant loading speeds. Nokia's OS no longer does it for us, unless we're opting for a simple phone just for calls and messaging (but even then we love the threaded messaging that iPhone has!).

Anyways, we were thinking about the iPad.

Would you be getting one?

Our initial reaction? Nope.

There's no camera, or a port for a keyboard, and the price of the iPad or apps for the iPad won't be cheap, all this don't really make the iPad much different from an iPod Touch except for the size and the interface (Mail reminds us of Outlook now).

What would really have made the iPad much more appealing to us would be the ability to play DVD movies and audio music. Rather than having to convert our DVD movies and tv shows to a compatible format, all we'd need to do is to pop in a DVD into the drive and watch our shows on the go anywhere we want. Now that would certainly make it much more worthwhile!

Hmmm we've ripped off a few DVDs to watch on our iPod Touch, but those videos take up anywhere from 500mb to 1gb, limited to how much space we have available (our best moments was having all episodes of BBC's Pride & Prejudice ripped and copied onto our iPod Touch, then having the iPod Touch hooked up to a mobile stand and FM transmitter, so we could watch the series when stuck in heavy traffic). If they included an optical drive in the iPad we could enjoy watching Spartacus: Blood & Sand while lazing in bed without even having to first synchronize the files from pc to iPad!

Never mind. Save money and wait for future generations of iPad to get better. Or perhaps by then we would get a MacBook to do the job instead.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We Know We've Been Going Less To The Gym...

...when we find ourselves totally doing easy options in both BodyCombat and BodyJam when it comes to moves pertaining to jumping (except sometimes for old BodyJam tracks and for the jump knees in BodyCombat's Muay Thai track) because we kinda feel the twinge in our knees;

...when into the second track of Jam/Combat and we feel a stitch in our sides and our stamina is shot;

...when we don't seem to be hanging out so much sweaty dri-fit clothes to dry before washing;

...when, and most obvious, our shampoo and body soap runs out far more faster when compared to three years back when we used to go to the gym about three times a week and shower there.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Castles & Towers

First we had Angry Birds to occupy much of our time. Not only did the game had many green pigs to kill and birds to launch, they do a pretty good job getting us to come back to the game again and again, first to finish all the stages, then to score three stars for each stage, and with the recent update, a new episode with more stages and a new type of bird.

Now that that's over with, we're waiting for more episodes from Angry Birds to occupy our time. In the mealwhile, we've found two other games that tickle our fancy:

First up was Babel Rising. Was free for a while back, looked simple yet interesting for a god game, and so we figured no harm trying and downloaded the app. We had a good laugh with this, as we visited all sorts of divine retribution against the heathens building the Tower of Babel. Very addictive app, and after a few games we gave in and bought the (in-app purchase) Campaign and Fury Modes.

The Campaign Mode allowed for slight variations in gameplay (ie, the tower begins half built, a level is added to the tower at the following stages) and allows abilities to be upgraded, while the Fury Mode has the workers being invulnerable to certain abilities (blue workers cannot be electrocuted, for instance). In fact the longest we'd played on a single stage was in Fury Mode (normally somewhere within 10 minutes the workers would have overwhelmed us) was just over 30 minutes! The battery drain we faced!

Then we were introduced to Crush The Castle. Admittedly when we first saw this app on the iTunes Store we weren't impressed. Only recently we got around to trying the Flash version online, and it's sort of a mix between Angry Birds and Babel Rising. Instead of birds on a catapult attacking pigs, it's a trebuchet launching stones at castles with people in them. Kings, knights, maidens, all must be killed to clear the stage. Blood splatters everywhere as they scream when rocks fly, walls shatter and everything plunges and crumbles.

Using the trebuchet isn't as easy as the catapult but that doesn't stop us from now trying to score gold for every castle!

Now, if only there was a free version of Canabalt for the iPhone. We find ourselves singing Erasure's 'Always' when we play that. Oh yes, and there's also Canabalt Typing Tutor to try as well...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Unker 'Vier

And it's official.

We have a niece!

You can start calling us Unker Janvier now, while we start thinking of stuff to do and get, like a craft album for our sis for photos of Little Kay. Or baby stuff. Or toys. Or clothes.