Avoid M1’s Broadband Service

Just found this disturbing news via cneil’s twitterstream: M1 Broadband passes all requests through a proxy that serves up low-quality images. In order to see the original images, users have to mouse-over the pictures they want and wait a few seconds. Obviously this involves a javascript code injection into all webpages, and could completely screw some sites.

Without exception, I would encourage anyone to avoid an internet service that interferes with the data they’ve requested in this way. Of course, all pages in Singapore are filtered against a blacklist of pornographic/political/hate sites, but aside from that which cannot be helped, no one should pay for anything less than a pure, direct connection.*

Previously: Singapore and Mobile Internet Data Plans

* Singtel offers two internet configuration profiles for mobile phones: One is named IDEAS WAP and the other, IDEAS INTERNET. The former passes through a sort of proxy server (supposedly) optimized for websurfing, while the latter is the direct connection that you should use – it also allows traffic on other ports, such as those needed for FTP, email, P2P, etc.

Guitar Hero 3 widget

It’s not quite the same thing, but if you love Guitar Hero then here’s an official version you can play in the office browser! If you hold your keyboard upside down, it’s pretty close to the real thing (at least on the new aluminum Apple keyboards). See below.

I love that I don’t have to start up my Xbox for a quick fix now!

Photo 35
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Singapore and Mobile Internet Data Plans

I’ve noticed that more than a few of my local Twitter contacts update via text message to the UK, which is a pretty inelegant way of doing things, seeing as how the mobile web interface allows you to do so for far less money (and more geek cred).

It is a sadly little-known fact that all 3 Singaporean cell providers now offer near-unlimited data plans for very low prices, and there’s no reason why anybody with a fairly modern phone (that is to say, equipped with GPRS/3G/HSDPA connectivity and a web browser) shouldn’t be hooked up with one. The providers have done a pretty good job of obfuscating the availability of these plans – i don’t know why, perhaps to protect their margins from consumer overuse, or just because their marketing departments suck – but they are there if you know what to look for.

Part of the problem is that they sell these services as meant for use with portable computers, along with HSDPA modem dongles that plug in via USB. But they are fully compatible with phones too, after all, these ARE cellphone service providers.

Singtel calls their service “Broadband On Mobile”, and plans start for about SGD$22/month, giving you 50GB of bandwidth. That is a lot for any phone. I’ve been unable to use more than a couple hundred megabytes a month myself, and I am constantly on my phone. Note: They claim you need a 3G-enabled phone to use this service, but that is rubbish. I used it fine on my old Sony-Ericsson K750 with GPRS.

M1’s offerings are even better, giving the use of unlimited bandwidth at similar price points. They call theirs “M1 Broadband” to one-up Singtel on the confusion front. It’s easy to see why people don’t associate it with their mobiles; it sounds like a purely desktop internet solution. Starhub’s “MaxMobile” plans are the most expensive, with the unlimited coming in at about SGD$70/month, but so-called Hubber customers can get 50% off that by signing up for cable TV and internet with them.

There’s a lot that having the internet on your phone can do for your life, if you like to be as constantly connected as I do. You can use IM networks like Gtalk and MSN with apps like ebuddy, check your gmail, update Twitter and Jaiku, browse Facebook, and of course, catch up on your RSS reading while on public transportation. “M” subdomains aside, if you have a good enough browser like Opera Mini, or the S60 Webkit browser that comes on high-end Nokia devices, you can pretty much visit any of the websites you’re used to. That the iPhone really shines when you have a mobile data plan goes without saying.

Snickers from China are wack yo

I’ve been sick and too busy catching up on movies and blowing snot out my nose to complain about as many things as I’d have liked to, but here’s one. Can I? Can I just b&w in a childish petulant fashion about the state of Snickers candy bars in Singapore? They’re all made in China now, you know, and they really suck. I mean they’re crap. They’re shit. They’re not the same (preceding sentences for the benefit of search engines only).

Snickers Dark and Snickers Almond are STILL perfectly alright. That’s because Dark comes from the US, and Almond from Australia – traditional origin of all low-cost, Singapore-bound chocolate. The regular Peanut variety is made in China where apparently the caramel is way too sticky and sweet, and the nougat is so dense you’ll tire your jaw out from chewing on it. Dark and Almond are lighter with a more pleasant mouth-feel, and I believe the industry standard term is that the nougat is more highly “whipped”, although I wouldn’t repeat that phrase in public.
Sadly, the Dark and Almond bars weigh in at about 50g each, give or take, while the Chinese-made Snickers Peanut bars are 60g for the same price. But honestly, I’d rather have 50g of good old Peanut Snickers wrapped in milk chocolate with light nougat and caramel that doesn’t pull a long string out from my mouth like it was fucking mozzarella cheese, made back in the first world, and I’d pay good money for it. Goddamn you MARS CORPORATION INC. for screwing with my only late-night-working source of sugar!!!

Foggy’s dead, again

It looks like Ryan Adams has quit blogging again, and one of the last things he said on Foggy (about 21 posts overnight) was this, which I can understand, I think:

The Sad Truth Is This Blog, It’s What Happens When One Day You Don’t Have That Person You Talk To Everyday Anymore. They Leave. Any You Get Desperate. And Pathetic. And You Don’t Know Who To Talk To. Life Goes On Without You. That Is What This Is. This Is A Horrible Loneliness. I Hate It. I Hate It So Much I Do It Every Fucking Day.

Embarrassing fanship post

A couple of days ago, Ryan Adams pretended to quit blogging – or perhaps be was serious but he’s come back now – and left a video clip as a parting gift to his fans. In it, he performed a rough version of a song he had earlier announced as having just written for his next album and so honest that it could be his best ever. It has since been taken down, but not before I heard it.

Adams is one of few performers I know that can sit down and perform a song straight to mic and have it sound good enough to go on a CD I’d willingly pay for. Maybe its because his sound works best when a little ragged around the edges, but that doesn’t change anything. Funnily enough, Prince, whose prolificity is most closely rivaled by Adams, is another such performer. But whereas I’ve been let down by Prince before, Adams has always delivered incredible music, even in the hundreds of outtakes from the shells of unreleased albums he’s littered all over the Internet (I think there were at least ten albums last year).

Anyway, back to the song. I’m writing this on my iPod touch which might not last much longer.

It was called “Crossed-Out Name”, and beautiful despite the raised expectations. I wish you could hear it. I might post a rip later on my Muxtape. From what the gossip blogs have been saying, his last relationship didn’t end too well, and in the two weeks that I’ve followed his blog, he worked like a maniac writing several songs a day, making short films, and posting to his blog like ten times a day. And then one night he said he was going to try and write some flat-out honest songs and came back with “Crossed-Out Name”. It’s an analogy that should make me cringe, but instead it just kills.

I wish I could tell you just how I felt
I don’t pray, I shower and say goodnight to myself
And when I close my eyes
I feel like a page
With a crossed-out name

Anyone who’s ever been left or broken up with has got to feel a line like that.

Bad Curry Favor Ad

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Curry Favor Bad Ad, originally uploaded by sangsara.

“Hey boss, I’ve got an idea for that ad you wanted to run!”

“Hmm? Oh, do you mean the one that I said should explicity address the small group of people who know they dislike Japanese Curry? And offer them a number of clear and indisputable reasons why if they were to just try OUR Japanese Curry once, they would immediately change those mistakenly conceived preferences?”

“OH, you wanted REASONS! Nevermind then, I’ll come back later.”

“Now now, give it to me. I’m sure it’s perfect.”

“If you say so, dad.”

Charlton Heston DIES, in life!

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Charlton Heston DIES, originally uploaded by sangsara.

The Straits Times sure knows how to typeset a classy obituary. From this day onwards, I can do little else but live in the hope of receiving this level of respect (and drama) at the end of my life.

It’s almost as if the editor was shocked about it. Like it was the last thing anyone could expect Charlton Heston to do at the age of 84, after years of battling Alzheimer’s. I imagine they were probably in the midst of preparing other possible “Charlton Heston _______” headlines when the news came in over the wire.

“Oh my god, I just heard…. he’s DEAD! Pull the ‘Charlton Heston Breaks Motocross Jump Record’ story, now!”

“But what will we use for a headline!?”

“Good god, man, just get it out there! This is no time for craft!!”

From Here to Miami

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From Here to Miami, originally uploaded by sangsara.

Depending on your generosity, and how cheap your camera is, it’s entirely possible to see all the way to other cities.