Saturday, March 31, 2007


I thought hard for over an hour before deciding to skip QotW again. That means that I probably won't be able to skip anymore after this, but well, I've got too many things coming together at once. Getting a running nose really isn't helping either.

This is not an excuse by the way. Think of it as a journal record, for memory's sake.

Of how bittersweet this semester was.


Hopelessly swamped with work... I dunno whether I can make it out of the weekend, much less the end of the semester....

Friday, March 30, 2007

Technologically April Fools'

Cool Idea on’s Blog - Enter and Vote your fav tech April Fools Prank (Digg Style)

Swap Their Mouse Buttons by Wired News

Set left-click as right-click and vice versa. This one is so simple, it’s best reserved for the truly helpless. To make it a little more annoying, slow down the double-click speed while you’re at it.

Set. I'll do that to my brother. Watch out for the update on how it went. :D

About that smoking ad...

南洋之子: Singapore anti smoking TV ads receives bad review

So here's my (family's) take on the new smoking ad.

It's unbelievable.

If you can gross people out and make them stop smoking, then I say play it on all channels in 4 languages at 7:30pm sharp. And make her drool blood as she speaks too.

The fact is, it is disturbing, but without effect. How would rotten gums and sore-ridden lips persuade anyone against smoking? For one the poor actress who did this is slurring as her character. I mean yeah show the oh-so-horrifying effects of smoking and mouth cancer (or gum cancer I forgot the exact body part), but remember it is an advertisement. It is as easy to lose attention as it is to gain. Who enjoying their dinner or walking around the house or even with a remote control would bother to listen to a nauseating looking girl slur???

Also, like my mother promptly commented, totally unaffected, the make-up was just so exaggerated. Now you may say wtf you retard that's what really happens you smoke and see whether exaggerated or not la dickhead. I agree. I won't even put down an opinion on whether that really happens simply because I dunno. And I'm not going to try. But the fact remains that my mother's and my reactions were so, that it was exaggerated and unbelievable. The facts can smoke their faces black - the ad's failed because we believed it to be unbelievable. The message didn't reach us. Smokers will continue puffing. Non-smokers won't be anymore dissuaded from lighting their first stick.

This isn't the first time for Singaporean PSAs. Remember the drink-driving campaign? Drinking shatters lives! Get the picture?!


Thursday, March 29, 2007

OhmyNews: YouTube Under Attack

Media giants team up with Microsoft to take down Google.
YouTube, the famous video sharing Web site founded in 2005 by two 20-year-olds and recently sold to Internet giant Google -- also founded by 20-year-olds, in 1998 -- rose quickly and with almost no competition to be, like Google, a worldwide reference on its market. With over 100 million daily views, and videos ranging from Mexican gang brawls to sports company commercials, the Web site created its own market and presented a new way of interacting with videos that people simply hadn't thought of. ...

Well well well! I never thought my prediction on would come to pass that fast!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Adobe Premiere

Another day spent meeting new people, experimenting with new programs, venturing into unfamiliar waters, and essentially doing nothing useful.

Just got off my first encounter with Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0. Like the first time I used Photoshop, I was fumbling around, accidentally slicing off audio from the video clip, clicking in a million places, and so on. However, experience with Photoshop, a fellow Adobe product allowed me the advantage of knowing how Adobe designs their interfaces, and that saved me alot of time.

Any decent Photoshopper out there would tell you how terribly addictive it can get. Even if it wasn't addictive it surrounded you in its terrifyingly invisible capsule and shuts you off from all humans animals and aliens. So imagine how it would be once I familiarize myself with the streets and alleys of Premiere. There'll be no end to it once I start.

And as I half-expected, it lags on my computer. L-a-g-s.


Starting a Second Life

Dropped by 536 to say hi to Kevin today. Previously he floored us all (most of us listening anyway) by announcing that he had SIM install Second Life in their computers. Today he advised us to get an early start on it, since the QotW would involve immersing yourself in the game. And indeed we came up with some big plans to build SIM in SL's Lion City. But that's for later.

So an excited Cheilla mailed me an invite after she got home. Except I was running through other things and by the time I remembered SL I searched it up through Yahoo and forgot about Cheilla's invitation. I did put her SL name in under 'recommendation' though.

So I registered. The transition to the next page after I submitted my registration never happened, it sort of froze there, but I got the welcome email, so I just closed the frozen page in the end.

I was rather apprehensive since Andrea reported her SL program crashing each time she tried to start it. And even if it didn't crash on mine, my computer isn't lightning-quick, and I was afraid of what it would do to my computer. I ran through the preferences before even signing in, just to ensure as much as possible that I won't blow my CPU up once I enter the world. And then I clicked connect.

And until now, I'm still waiting to log in.

They did put a message saying 'Logging in... Second Life may appear frozen. Please wait.' So I wait lor.

But for how long sia?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What the Buck?!

Haven't posted videos for a long time so here's something. This guy is a popular Youtube comedian who puts up videos making fun of celebrities and the latest news in Hollywood. He reminds me of Greg Proops, and equally funny as well. Here are two of his clips.

How would I know?!

Well this is terribly disappointing.

I was serving at Children's Church today and just before second service started I was hanging around the outside of the room, behind the admin people to (very nicely) show kids to their 'zones' in the room. I think it was the first time that Praise Kids I and II were having combined praise & worship, so there were 200+ kids playing their PSPs DS Lites YuGiOh etcetcetc. Some at least stick with a book. A paper book, not e-book.

SO (I ALWAYS digress...) I was waiting outside, and I had my back turned. Suddenly I heard this.

We'll need your child's birth cert number, we didn't get it in the registration earlier.
Wh... why do you need his birth cert number? I don't remember his birth cert number!

I whipped around, incredulous.

Well, does he have his student pass?
No! Of course not! Why should he? Why should we carry his student pass around?!
Er...So there's no way of getting his BC no..
No! Why are you asking for this you've never asked for it before!
We do. We need it. Can you bring the information next week?
Ya of course.
Right thank you. [to child] Primary?

And I brought him in after that.

I think the child was Primary 3, but I wonder if he would be hurt if he had really understood his mother's words. Forgetting at that moment is forgivable, surely. But not bothering to remember it and snapping at other people for that? Haluo??!!

My parents probably remember half the figures, or jumble them up. This makes me appreciate even those mistakes even more. Any parent of someone my generation would probably have bought 4D or Toto with it. My father probably permutated all possible combinations on his auto-calculate Excel spreadsheet (you'd think it's stupid, but beyond the pointlessness of it all I think it's really genius 'programming'. My dad's one of those keep-track-of-everything kind). To say so loudly and angrily that you effectively can't be bothered remembering your child's BC no., you might as well disown him right there and never come back. One of the admin was saying he was tempted to ask whether she was really the mother, but decided against it in the interest of politeness.

Apa najadi sial.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ol' Chums

One of my friends recently got shirty with me, and to my dismay, he later attributed his tick-off to the fact that everytime I talk about my parents, aside from getting gifts and birthdays, I'd be bitching about them.

Which, well, is sadly true. Just half a week ago I was bitching again. I was a little miffed because now everytime I bitch I feel so conscious and guilty and condemned about it. Eh cartharsis is important you know. Don't bottle up then later I go mad kill people I tell you.

So here's the bitch of the day.

I met a primary school friend while on the way to join my parents and cousin's family at a nearby restaurant. He invited me to join him, another friend, and my best friend (which actually I just met yesterday) for supper nearby. I said I'd call later.

After dinner, which was within walking distance from my house, we adjourned back to our apartment for durian. And then my best friend called to say that he was on the way. I promised I would set off as soon as possible. That was 1030pm.

My mom refused to let me leave. I had no choice to wait until my cousin's family went off, because that's why she's making me stay. Out of politeness.

They left at 1130.

It's not like my friends were specially waiting for me, but what the hell! I mean I was just sitting there trying to watch Bulletproof Monk above the conversations smothering the dialogue (which wasn't much la I was watching the action/effects). I wasn't even talking, at most laughing at an occasional joke. I hadn't seen my cousin in a year, but damn it I haven't seen my friends in three years! By the time my cousins left my friends were to be leaving shortly anyway, and I had to forfeit even getting a glance at them. I was pretty sore about it, my lip was actually curling uncontrollably, to my mild surprise. I only do that when I'm really agitated.

One good thing about it all is that very shortly after I threw myself into the chair in front of this computer, cool wind started flowing through my room. Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled, and soon the unmistakable sigh of a heavy shower could be heard. I wouldn't have minded getting a little wet to see my friends, really, especially since I was sticky and all from the stroll back to my apartment. That's how humid the freaking park was. 10min walk, and my skin felt like I'd trekked Bukit Timah Hill. Sickening... I wouldn't have minded getting wet, but it's still inconvenient and all all the same.

Anyway, I've already made initial arrangements for another meeting. I hope I'll get the timing right. My friends are all getting their postings, and probably going for training everyday at their respective centres.

Till then ol' chums.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Stupid Comp

Welcome to a new level of shittiness. My computer is so lousy I can't even play Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory without it lagging.

Muhhhhhhhuhuhuhuhhhhhhhhh........ T_T

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


A conversation with my friend turned towards the subject of how we've all changed. Our first couple of semesters in UB-SIM were as combined classes with the other major, BscBA. So we did everything together - classes, lunch, pool, BBQ. If you found one of us, chances are you found the whole group. Other cliques were torn apart by internal conflict, but we, the 'Mostly O-level' clique, come to think of it, were superglued together. With a triple coat of paint to seal the joints. And we were proud of it.

So many things happened to us - we went not just up and down but left and right as well, as I observed to my friend. We had a conflict, but we threw one person out instead of split up. Nasty business, but point is we found ways to keep ourselves together.

I'm easily the most emotionally-swayable person in our clique, so I dunno how the others feel, deep down. But when the inevitable split-up began to invade our togetherness with differing classes, or worse, differing time tables, I hung on desperately, hung on desperately to keep the group together. I've had my share of mockery and gang-ups, but never have I had such warmth and cohesiveness in a clique. At least for me, it was a first. An unforgettable, memorable first. It seemed well like a first to the others also, if not my way then in other ways unique to themselves. Unique and equally unforgettable.

I tried to keep well in touch with those from the other course online, sometimes invading a little too much of their space with my determination to not let the bonds rot to utter waste. As the semesters passed, reason defeated emotion, and one by one I reluctantly gave my friends space for themselves. I reluctantly left them to their own activities as differences in schedules changed from a matter of hours to a matter of different days altogether.

Now, some of them are getting themselves tied with preparations to go to Buffalo in Fall. The group will be split even further.

I only hope that we may be seperated, but that we will never forget our experiences, if it means anything to my friends in the first place. I hope that even as we go through NS, go out to work, rise in the corporate world, and make a million other new friends, that this clique will remain special to them. I take hope in the fact that it's not impossible. Not to me.

I hope... I hope that we will be able to take this picture again. If not every year, then at least before we all leave SIM. Just to remember, if not the way it was, the way it used to be.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Westernized ≠ Gaining Western Tastes...

At least not with food.

Recall: I already had one whole bag of Ruffles to myself, and a Coke.

Even after I burped myself gasless I was still feeling bloated. Then my dad came back with the KFC two-piece meal, with Cheese Fries instead of coleslaw.

I shouldn't have taken my dad's word for it that we were sharing the meal. He said we were because he was taking a long stroll to Ikea Tampines later to check out plastic bins. After an eternity with us of use and abuse, our plastic bin is cracked and worn. So he said that he would share the KFC with me, then go get Ikea food.

He didn't share. He took a drumstick and a few cheese fries. I was already more than satiated by the time I was done with the KFC meal, but of course I didn't inform him that I already had Ruffles for lunch. The Friday before the Chinese New Year break I already did that and he let it pass. I don't want to put myself in the open for a lecture.

Some time later he called me and asked how much food he should buy back. I tried to make things easier for my cover-up by saying that 15 meatballs, 12 chicken wings and another shitload of fries were way too much for three (my mom was eating out because she had a hairdressing appointment). Then he mumbled and jumbled abit, and we hung up. Even at this point I still was feeling real full.

He came back with 10 wings, 15 meatballs, and one packet of fries.

Years of practice allowed me to keep an indifferent face. But my mom wasn't home to help me if I wanted to stop, my dad would do his usual tropical storm over all the food (wolfing a few mouthfuls then moving on), and my brother is unbearably obsessed with weight loss/maintainence. Not that I shouldn't be more concerned myself, but he's behaving like a fucking anorexic dammit. I knew I had to put up some resistance if I didn't want unwanted food mashed in my face.

I must say, the fact that the food was rather nice kept me going for awhile. I mean like who can resist the meatball sauce? But after like two chunks of half-potatoes 4 meatballs some fries and 2 chicken wings (which were rather big), my breathing was already labored. After my dad attempted to get me to finish the last 4 meatballs in addition to my share of 4 wings, got declined, and got declined by my brother, he turned to me again.

'If not like that la you eat 3 wings and then finish the rest of the meatballs. Otherwise waste.'
'Then why did you buy so much?' I said peeved.
'Ngahhh... can finish one la you so big.'

And this is the same guy who tells me about the terrors of NS and the 3-month extra intensive physical training if I don't shape up. I decide to lapse into my sullen mode. This is usualy the cue for my mom to step in and tell me it's ok to stop, and to chide my dad for egging me on like that. But she's... not... here........

'Of course, if you could finish the meatballs and 4 wings that would be -'

After I finished the meatballs he threw the fries at me. 'Have it with the meatball sauce. If not waste.'

I ignored the meatball sauce, but after a few fries I felt my blood rushing to my stomach, which was enduring a major overclock, and asked if we could save the fries for later, when mom came back. At least I'd have time to digest abit.

'Finish it now laaaa, later she come back see the fries she'll gua gua jiao (grumble, make noise, kao peh, whatever you're familiar with).'
'I can't.'

Now this was where he drew his sharpest sword. Unfortunately, circumstances and his own folly sharpened and reinforced my blade far more than his, and I cut his final move into half with one clean slice.

'Haiyah, next time go out I don't think of you anymore ah huh.'
'Don't be ridiculous,' I snapped weakly, feeling my face growing more and more pallid by the second, 'I already told you not to buy so much, and you still bought so much food, and now you're blaming us for not finishing it?'

With no weapons left, he returned to cajoling.

'Ahhhh abit of fries only lahhh.'

I'm still suffering now from the grease of it all. I won't mind if this kept me off Western food for awhile. All the better for my body. Guhh.


I was about to commence my Grand Plan today.

I was about to go to the gym. I was about to work out. I was about to make myself sweat. Considering that my previous sweat-proneness seems to have greatly lessened, that couldn't be further from the status quo (did I use that correctly?).

But I was thwarted. Thwarted thwarted THWARTED. By whom?! My dad! He messaged me to inform he that he was on his way home, so out of convenience I included my intention in my reply. I also asked him if he had a jacket because it was going to be really cold (some blank looks, some rofling), and then he called me back and asked if I'd ever been to the gym before. When I replied in the negative, he asked me how I knew it was that cold that I had to bring a sweater.

... -.-"

But anyway, I hope to make it a regular routine, since I have two come-back-early days (Tuesdays and Fridays). Might as well make use of it to prepare for NS, and for the benefit of a healthy lifestyle (NTR BANZAI~!), instead of sitting at home laughing my ass off at anime and eating Ruffles (CHEDDAR CHEESE BANZAI~!) and Coke for lunch.

Like I did today. I'm sorry man, it's addictive!

Just Call Me 'Love'

Yesterday over a Macdonald's supper (I was hungry la) my father told this story.

Many of you know that my father is a business school lecturer. 'Business school' is the keyword here - he doesn't earn millions, nor does he have three Lamborghinis of different colors awaiting my pick. Business schools not only teach business, they do business - dirty armtwisting business at times. And my father's seen a general cut of per hour fees to about 2/3 the sum offered when he first started teaching. Maybe even less.

So anyway he was meeting a new class for the first time. And he probably was either taking attendance, like Elaine, or was getting to know students by referring to the register... like Elaine. When he came to this innocent-looking Vietnam girl, he had trouble pronouncing her names, what with all the Tringhs Throngs and Trungs (no offense... I mean it's true). So he looked up and said, 'Is there any other easier name that you have?'

'Yes. Just call me Love.'

My father was taking a sip of tea and he swore he very nearly choked big time.

'What's that??'
'Love. Call me Love.'
'What love?'
'Love! L-O-V-E.'

My father then did something a little imprudent, and remarked, 'I can't call you that, you know. I only call my wife that.'

The whole class laughed, but she visibly wasn't too amused.

If you want to try your hand at doing away with some old, hopefully un-dirty man, you know what to do.

Just call me Love.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

EA Play '07 - Talk on Game Publishing and Distribution by AsPac Head of EA Publishing Chris Ng

Out of the 3 talks given at the Gamers' Sympozium at EA Play '07, held at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) on 16 March 2007, this talk was the first and most interesting one. The second was by senior manager Jason Teo of the Media Development Authority's Community and International Relations department, discussing the direction Singapore is taking on gaming, and career opportunities, and the third was by Associate Professor Willy Susilo from the University of Wollongong discussing Multimedia and Game Development. We'll just talk about the first one. The following is a summary of Chris Ng's talk.

Chris discussed how with the usual way of things, a game went through creation, publishing/packaging, distribution, retail/publicity, and then purchase. With the boom of the Internet however, especially high speed access, games are experiencing a phenomenal leap from creation straight to purchase. He however, will be concentrating his scope, as mentioned in the title, on publishing/packaging and distribution.

So first after the game is presented by the creator or developer, the acceptance and negotiation occurs. One of the first things then done is localization for the various markets. We don't experience localization much in Singapore because the gaming market of youths and young adults speak proficient English. Places like Korea and Japan require localization, which is basically translation and the necessary language pack issues, to reach out to the market.

After that is the pre-press, comprising of package design and copy-writing, I'm guessing both the manuals and the text on the disc box. As an interesting note, Chris mentioned later about how consumers very ridiculously didn't take to the slick DVD cases of games on the PS2 and xBox because they felt that it wasn't worth their S$79.90 (US$49.90). Publishers solved this with the frankly insulting solution of 'mocking-up', which simply meant slipping the slim DVD case inside a thick fat preferably shiny and essentially empty box. Retarded? The consumers bought it.

Then there is the marketing, by building communities online. Not much of this was discussed but it ties in with the next point, which is advertising. Advertising is crucial in the gaming industry, because games have only 3-6 months shelf life. Games move very fast, because gamers want to be on par with others, if not with their direct community, then competitively against the rest of the world.

After that as the product moves on to distributors comes channel management, the pricing structure, coverage, and product visibility, basically the 'P's of marketing. Although as Chris said, it's not just the 5 Ps anymore. There are many many more P's now. Financial management is when the middlemen start saying that while they want to carry the products, they don't have enough capital to return the cost, that they need to have some units moving first before they can payback. That's where the credit system comes in to negotiate a balance.

Product sales, then product promotion, driving the products straight to the consumers. I asked the question why we don't see TV spots for game ads, and Chris answered that basically, calculated the costs, it was financially more sensible to just shoot it straight through the Net and gaming magazines. Less is gained than spent on TV advertising. Then after product promotion, technical support must be maintained.

An interesting question asked when the floor was opened was if the download model of distribution would work. Chris answered that certainly more and more people are looking towards it, and that the day will come to pass when it matures and people would start using it. For now though, he said, he feels that on a global scale the Internet isn't sufficiently penetrated, and that also they are still working the kinks out with the DRM issue, that it's better to stick to discs in that aspect. The question is, as privately posed by Kevin, aren't CDs and even DVDs a breeze to crack nowadays? The fact is that no matter how many walls you build around your structure, it takes only one genius to find and remove that one bolt that will send everything falling down like paper on a rainy day. And I assure you, that genius will always be there. Kevin felt that it was only fair, that a portion of the market buys the game and has access to full features, and another portion goes for piracy and gets... almost everything. With Warcraft III for example, pirate users have been provided with the server to play. So we still get to experience online gaming, but what we'll be missing is the higher standard found on the actual Eurobattle, anyone who plays knows (unless you're one yourself), has as many idiots, leavers, noobs, and spammers as good players. Not that doesn't, but you'll find less there.

And finally the mindset has to change that, gaming is no more a leisure activity, but a lifestyle.

So that's it for the summary of this talk, Game Publishing and Distribution, given by Chris Ng, Asia-Pacific Head of Electronic Arts Publishing, at EA Play '07, held at the Singapore Institute of Management, on 16 March 2007. If you're interested in the games exhibition, stick around or check back, that would probably in my next couple of posts. Got videos of Burnout Revenge and Battlefield 2142, as well as pictures of Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.

Friday, March 16, 2007

QotW7: Birds of a Feather Flock to Twitter

The thing about Twitter is that it has come to serve an unintended purpose. Originally it was just meant to tell your community what you activities you were engaging in – boring stuff at first glance. There are plenty of other ways to do that without having to sign up to a website, then log in and enter your activity information. And there’s that hassle of digging up your whole community from the whole pool of the Web, or inviting friends if you are all that serious about it.

As communities grew, people must have seen an interesting activity on someone else’s profile, or more accurately an activity of interest to them, and used their text box to enter a comment about their friend’s activity. One can imagine how fast that trend caught on – probably faster than you can say tweet. :)

It was the same with the COM125 class community. And by now, you might have deduced that I agree that Twitter is an online community, albeit an unintentional one. We all signed up for it as instructed, rather skeptical of the uses of such a site. Early birds (hurhur) sent invitations to their closer friends. And in just half a week, as the class community started to build up with more people signing up, it started to look more like a web-based messaging client than a what-I-am-doing-now site. Having discovered the code for replying (@[username]), we were joking and laughing about the most silly things, flooding newcomers with welcome messages, and even communicating discreetly during another class held in the computer lab. We have held discussions on what to do the next day, and input suggestions and instructions on how to complete assignments. We do that all the time on MSN Messenger, or should I say Windows Live Messenger now, but rarely with as many people at once, and such a sense of togetherness as felt on Twitter.

Wellman and Gulia in their paper Net Surfers Don’t Ride Alone identified a few researchers warning about the dangers of making affliations with strangers on the Web in a virtual community (1996). One thing about Twitter is that the virtual communities there are most likely to be communities where members know each other, with the exception of users with a more popular status such as Singaporean blogger mrbrown. The COM125 class community, of course, knows everyone else at the very least by face. So perhaps we get to know each other more, instead of the usual scenario of interacting with total strangers across the world. The activities of a gift community, like giving aid or reciprocation of help, as discussed by Kollock (1999), looks to be enhanced, as compared to a forum or community of strangers.

Fernback and Thompson commented that "communities seem more likely to be formed or reinforced when action is needed" (1995). With the, for lack of a better word, forced formation of our Twitter community, it seems that we have reversed the process and found ourselves a purpose, or indeed purposes, for the existence of our community. With this function that the Twitter users decided for themselves, namely that of using it as an asynchronous messaging service, Twitter has become a prime site for virtual communities. Technically, it could be considered an online community with its original function, but there is only so much fun in seeing what your friends are doing, and I doubt it would have taken off as it has if people had stuck to doing that.


Fernback, J. and Thompson, B. (1995, May). Virtual Communities: Abort, Retry, Failure? Retrieved March 15, 2007, from

Kollock, P. (1999). The Economies of Online Cooperation: Gifts and Public Goods in Cyberspace. Retrieved February 9 from

Wellman, B, and Gulia, M. (1996, April). Net surfers don't ride alone. Retrieved March 15, 2007, from

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Music Review: DIMMU BORGIR - In Sorte Diaboli

Dimmu Borgir's newest offering, In Sorte Diaboli, has been highly publicized as Dimmu Borgir's first concept album. According to Krv on (Feb 14, 2007),
'In Sorte Diaboli' is DIMMU BORGIR's first concept album and a treatise on modern-day political and social abuses of organized religion. An epic tale set in medieval Europe, this first-person account of an acolyte is told through his own journal entries, depicting his personal struggle with the teachings of the church. Experiencing a life-altering epiphany, he abandons the church completely, and his spiritual victory is won through his rejection of the concept of god.

The promo was ripped, and released early Thursday morning. As expected a huge excited swarm descended upon it, allowing the download to be completed in less than 10 minutes. The promo did not include the North American bonus track, The Herectic Hammer.

So far, I've only seen one actual review of the album. Which makes me very reluctant to generalize, but I wonder if people are forcing themselves to think it was good.

As an aside, the review mentioned that many complained about the triggered drum sound on Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, but to me, both in terms of sound production and music composition, I think it was the best album they've produced. It sounds like Nick Barker really stretched the skin on the snare, because its crisp hard sound was orgasmic! As for the triggers, I have no problem with it, and I think it helped to bring the music together by accentuating the drums. I know all instruments are vital, but it somehow feels that the drums, in PEM at least, plays an extra important role in the success of the album.

I was disgusted by the apparent weakness of it all when I first listened to it. The great Dimmu Borgir + the uber great Hellhammer = this crap? All excitement ended after the second song, and that was only because for 10 seconds near the end of the second song Hellhammer showed his pedalling prowess by kicking up a double-pedal storm. And at 43min, this album is so short that commuting from one end of the island to the other was more than enough to finish the album (for our foreign friends and fiends, Singapore where I live is an island city. A complete ride from the first to last stop of our public train service's East-West line takes just about an hour). What happened to Death Cult's 1h5min timing, or PEM's 1h9min, or at least Stormblåst's 59.5min?

It started to get abit better as I gave it a couple more chances. Mustis did not disappoint with an introduction that is majestic, with a dark overshadow. It's really hard to believe that it was all done on keyboards - seems that no mixing expense is spared when it comes to perfecting orchestral ambience. But it still turned out that the initial verdict wasn't all that far from the truth either. Repetitive riffing and drumming made the album no more than background music useful for blocking ambient noise out when you need to concentrate.

Has this got something to do with Nick Barker leaving? Cradle of Filth fell after he left, Dimmu Borgir suffers after his departure...

Who will he destroy next? ;)

2/5 skulls for the effort and good intro. Come on Dimmu you can do better than this.

You have to. >:)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Movie Review: Hannibal Rising

3/5, or 6.5/10.

Since Hannibal Rising reveals the beginning of Hannibal Lecter's cannibalistic tendencies, people who have never watched a single Hannibal film, such as me, should be able to get it. And that indeed is what the people behind the scenes try to achieve, although it is clear the full impact of revelation will only be felt by those who have followed this cinematic series faithfully.

23-year-old French actor Gaspard Ulliel plays an equally young Hannibal. His performance per se was excellent, conveying a bitter hateful darkness in his smirking eyes. That said, the characteristic of the cold, cool killer, has become quite a stereotype in such thriller films (I don't understand why people put it under horror. There not one single jump scare, nor hair-raising moment. It's more gore, where people stare open-mouthed in speechless horror, but I believe the "horror" used in this sense carries a different meaning to that of the genre).

Gong Li, as usual I must say, is abit stiff. It's probably not her bad acting, that's probably her style. Not a very good style for an actress to have, but well, she keeps the show running nicely, complementing it at times.

That said about the two main characters, I find more flaws with the script, chiefly the slow pace. Even with someone taking their sweet sweet time to exact revenge, there could have been more action. Munich is a good example, although they didn't have all the time in the world like he did. The sub-climaxes had us cringing from the gore (not too sick but deliberately and gleefully slow), not sitting on the edge of our seats neglecting our popcorn. Another thing is they first show that his younger sister of 5 or 6 was killed and eaten to survive during the World War 2 when German soldiers hid in their house, thus, we infer, sparking off his fetish for human flesh. The whole show, however, seems to focus on him exacting revenge on the 4 soldiers who killed his sister for food, with cannibalism as more of a foreshadowing theme. I feel they weren't clear enough on which aspect they wanted to focus on, or if they had wanted to do both, they failed. Would have been better to concentrate on one if they couldn't handle both. If these two points have been fixed, or even just the pacing had been fixed, I believe this film could easily hit an 8.5 on my scale.

Pity. But it was a good attempt anyways.

Software Review: f2ko's Audio/Video-To-Exe Converter

Kenny was the one who found this originally. How he did I'll never know. But this is one hell of a priceless gem made free for all on the Net.

Fatih Kodak, otherwise known as f2ko, has written several programs and put it up on his website,, for zero cost.

What turned out to be a last-minute savior (and a good quality one at that too) was this primitively simple-looking program, which either converts video or audio files into other formats, or an executable file, hence the name. And don't you ever let the blandness of the interface fool you into thinking it's some cheap program. Apart from several terms of use including prohibition of modification or even reverse engineering, the use of this product is virtually unlimited.

Formats supported include, taken straight from the website, "3gp, aac, ac3, exe, flac, flv, gif, mp2, mp3, mp4, mpc, mpg, nut, ogg, ra, rm, swf, vob, voc, wav, wma, wmv, wv,..etc.". You have at your hands the power to change any of the above formats into any other one. That's an amazing number of 171 combinations you could possibly play with!
The only thing I see missing here was pointed out by Ryan, which was the MKV format.

But here's the clincher - this program works STANDALONE, meaning there is absolutely no installation needed, and no registry values input into the system. It runs straight from wherever it is, saving a whole lot of time and electronic effort. What happens is the file downloaded from the website is an extracting executable, which just pulls the program out into the same folder, and we're ready to go. How nice is that? Just bring this application around in your thumbdrive - you'll make alot of new friends and possibly earn a couple of idolizers.

You may get the application from the link above in the second paragraph, which is the English version of the website (he's German). It's the first one on the list. Enjoy.

Oh. 5/5. And a bonus point for doing us all a hell of a huge favor.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Trying to get back on track

This week in particular, I have been inexplicably tired out. I thought it was the exams and the stress and staying late, but exams are over (so is my life and probably future...) and I just woke up from a fitful doze-off in front of the computer.

As for these couple of weeks starting from the CNY week, I've also lost my blogging fingers. I see so many interesting things, take so many photos that would serve no other purpose than for commentary (or bitching) on my blog, transfer it out onto my computer. After I prove my own hypothesis right by successfully uploading a 3GP video clip onto Youtube, I bought a 1GB miniSD card, giving myself over an hour's worth of video recording time, or an equivalent capacity of 2000 over photos. But it's just not there anymore. And when I don't have the drive to blog, forcing myself to do so is, I kid you not, worse than forcing myself to get down to doing assignments.

Then again, seems I'm starting to get it back. Maybe my engine just requires a little revving.

I have been using the more efficient method of torrenting anime by series (torrent all Kanon eps, finish then torrent Ghost Hunt eps, etc.). This is particularly useful when you're a big time follower of multiple series, and experience a backlog in torrenting.

I'm not tooting my horn, but I follow 26 anime series, and although I enjoy doing it, the administration of keeping up with the latest episodes requires effort, and I think a bit of dedication. Some of you would know that I reformatted my computer around the beginning of this term and stupidly caused myself unnecessary trouble by having to set everything again, as well as somehow destroying the previous stability I had with the wireless connection system. As a result I only recently settled myself into a more familiar routine once more, as well as figured out the kinks of the system, and my torrents have been running at an acceptable speed.

Before, even with a backlog of 31 files, I would open the flood gates and turn all 31 files on at the same time. Then I discovered that if there were 31 running tasks, 5 of which were running at decent speeds and the rest of which were stagnant, turning off the stagnant tasks would dramatically increase the download speeds of the 5 active files. So recently I decided that rather than wait an eternity for 81 files to be watched at the same time, I'd rather clear the tasks series by series, so that I can have a heck of a time watching.

And have some sense of achievement.

Just to make the post not so long, I'll stop here. Photo posts coming up.

Movie Review: Happily N'ever After

Sucks. Virtually no plot. Voice actors were unconvincing. Not even plain slapstick. Not even the CHILDREN were laughing in the theatre. Animation looked more like polished plastercine.

Don't waste your time. 0/5.

QotW6: Watching Each Other

Although my frequent use of the Internet started at a late age compared to my friends and peers, I nevertheless started at the age of 15 or 16. I was 7 years too young for a credit card, not to mention that working was just about the furthest thing from my mind then. Consequently, I’ve never been all that cautious about revealing my personal information on the Net, since there was no financially-related information to be stolen. The boundaries between personal information that can be revealed and personal information that must remain private fleshed itself out as I felt my way around the Net and gradually got used to the culture and environment.

I actually started my blog as a fad. I saw the success that my friend’s blog enjoyed from my class and his circle of friends, and since I prided myself on being able to write well (enough), I figured I’d just start one as well.

Blogger, like any decent interactive site, has a profile page for users to fill up, should they choose to, so that visitors can read more about the author, or more importantly, find a way to contact him, email address or otherwise. Anywhere I go, and anywhere I reveal personal information, I am not worried about physical privacy. I know I haven’t been hacking into CIA, so I cannot imagine anyone out of Singapore trying to find me. And interaction on my blog has led me to believe that hardly anyone outside of my circle of friends reads my blog anyway, more so because I know my content is specific to my current life. In 2004, I blogged about what went on in Victoria School, and in my class 4H. Since last year, most of my posts have something to do with UB-SIM. As such, I feel comfortable revealing more than my usual amount of personal information, since anyone who reads it are likely to already know those details anyway. For example in my Blogger profile page I reveal myself to be staying in Tampines, Singapore. Most of my friends know that, if not all. Anyone new to my blog who even bothers to read the profile page can contact me if they are interested to find out where I live, and I can then assess their intent in finding out my exact address.

Jeffrey Rosen, author of The Naked Crowd, writes that we are in an age where many are watching many, “even though no one knows precisely who is watching or being watched at any given time” (2004). As I begin to blog about a wider scope of subjects, I am gradually increasing my caution on revealing personal information, in anticipation of (hopefully) higher traffic to my blog and an increased range of audiences. Bob Sullivan’s comment that “a simple Google search can reveal what you think” (2006) rings a painful bell as I recall the flame war I recently engaged in as part of my flamers study. I carelessly neglected to create a pseudonym for myself and risked my own privacy. This was revealed to me when the flamer tried to one-up me by posting 10 links to my identity on the Net. It was true that half of those links were dead, remnants of my presence on Web 1.0, and that none were sensitive information that I particularly cared for, but still, I was severely reminded of the possible danger I had put myself in.

As I commented in my Bonus Mission post, we the users of the Web cannot afford to be careless about what we say, or in this case, reveal anymore. Everyone is watching everyone else’s move, and as Professor Alex Halavais commented in the article elaborating on the word he coined, panveillance, “there is the assumption that some form of the video is likely to find its way out onto the web” (2007). We should adopt that assumption with anything we put up on the Net in any medium, and think twice before we reveal anything on the, let’s face it, vicious Internet.


Rosen, J. (2004, July 19). The Naked Crowd. Retrieved March 10, 2007 from

Sullivan, B. (2006, October 17). Privacy Lost: Does anybody care?. Retrieved March 10, 2007 from

Halavais, A. (2007, March 1). Panveillance. Retrieved March 10, 2007 from

Bonus Mission #1: Omnipticon

Quite frankly, I've been on a desperate lookout for unfortunate people whose actions would be immortalized through the eye of my camera phone. The award goes to this uncle on the 151 bus I was taking with Graham.

Thinking about it, I have no problem with people who clip their nails discreetly. Because to be brutally honest, I don't care that the nails fall onto the bus floor. It's a public bus. We don't lick the floors of private buses, let alone public buses. And the driver does a sweep at the end of each round anyway.

I know I'm bad.

More importantly, he was doing it blatantly, and... 'enthusiastically'. It was a 3-in-1 clipper, so our friend dug dirt from under his cuticles with all his might, clipped his nails with all his might, filed with all his might, and blew at his nails with all his might. Moreover, his nails are thick, and dirty (smoker, I think). The problem I have with this strange factor relates to a personal experience.

Once, I was clipping my toenails outside my house, sitting on the staircase landing. I was waging a world war with my big toe nail because it refused to be clipped, stopping the almighty power of the nail clipper halfway through. I twisted and rattled the nail clipper, and that stupid big toenail taught me a big lesson by sacrificing itself.

Before I could react, half the nail snapped off, and boomeranged towards my face. It missed me in the end, but I froze in icy fear as it passed by my ear, or more accurately BUZZED past my ear. That's right. It was spinning so fast from flying off that it went vvmmm as it shot past me. I knew then how it felt to have bullets missing you by an inch - how it felt and how it sounded. That thing could have sliced my eyebrow off!

Now. Return to the uncle in the bus. The bus was relatively empty, but what if there had been people behind him?! Or in fact, as you can see I was to the slight bottom right of him. The clipped nail could have flown up down left right, and hit someone. If it doesn't cause physical damage, at least stop to think of the psychological damage caused by pulling a cut nail from your hair.

Rosen very aptly coined a new word in his article The Naked Crowd. 'Omnipticon', 'in which the many watch the many, though no one knows precisely who is watching or being watched at any given time' (Rosen, 2004). This uncle has the luxury of not worrying about this, unless he has an affair with...... which looks unlikely, in any event. But we, the users and wielders of the Internet, of Web 2.0, have to consider and consider again our every move and action. A racially biased joke meant to be kept within a small community of friends has a million ways of being leaked to the wrath of the whole world, we've seen instances of that happening so many times. In these times, we cannot afford anymore to be careless or frivolous about what we say or do, online, or offline.


Rosen, J. (2004, July 19). The Naked Crowd. Retrieved March 10, 2007 from

Sunday, March 4, 2007

In the name of Science?

It's been some time since I've blogged. Simply because I have no motivation too. I love blogging, but I don't see the point of forced spontaneity.

I should get this off my chest.

It was a huge mistake for me to have put details of my Youtube flamer study up here. The whole damn world can see it, what was I thinking? Right now all that's left for me is to take it as a lesson and, like Jeremy who brought us the Yishun MRT suicide video (taken down in consideration of the victim's family), think twice before putting ANYTHING on the Net. Anything at all. It's so ironic that just the other day I was so enthusiastically telling my mom how once stuff is on the Net it can never be fully taken off, or else near impossible to do so.

That however is not quite my primary concern. My concern is what this study is doing to me personally. Again, I didn't have the prudence to set up seperate accounts for this study, and blindly used my personal Blogger and Youtube accounts to execute my plans. The problem is when the flame exchange turns personal, as it almost inevitably will - mother father sister's vagina - you know, the whole lot. I'm not some SM freak who likes to tell the world my weaknesses and let them throw eggs at me and mock me, but fact - I AM emotionally weak. That's the simple truth, and yet such a powerful weakness. I used to be not much harder than water last time. I'm better now. But it's still a major weakness.

Obviously, if I'm let's say smart enough to have ideas of conducting a study, or at least an amateur emulation of an academic study, I can distinguish for myself the boundaries of my split personalities. Mr Hyde is only activated (to the best of my ability anyway) when I'm composing a counterflame. I can clearly feel the difference, the dark thrill when I'm constructing the hardest insults, and the composed scientific musings when I'm looking through and analysing the records of my exchange with the flamer I've targeted. Some words, however, do a damn good job of flipping my switch. And guess what? When the big tough guy gets real pissed, he doesn't power up. He curls up in a corner and cries. -.-"

Like I told Ryan, don't think for one moment I pride myself on being sensitive. Perhaps it helps in empathizing with others, but I'm far from happy to have it. It's a blessing to my friends and a curse to myself. Now I know why fiction, especially science-ficiton, stereotypes scientists as cold unfeeling creatures. Because you have to be one. He could call you a piss drinker. You could call him Omdigr, Martian for he who smears excreta on his face and then licks it up with relish. It is WORK, and to you, it is not personal. It cannot be. If you want to be pedantic about it even your 'personal' insults have to be well thought out to engage maximum probability of a fireback. Or whatever.

Problem? I can't stop it getting to me. I'm too susceptible too personal attacks, excluding those I know is merely friendly teasing.

This is why I don't play chess. I don't think before unleashing my queen. I really need my generals with me.

Sigh. Feel a wee bit better. Thanks for reading. Later~