Year: 2009

Hipstamatic – a new iPhone toycamera app

I was going to write about this on PositiveMachine.com, but decided to contribute a properly useful review to the iTunes store instead. I am republishing it here for those not using the Singaporean App Store, in the hopes that it brings some attention to this rather exciting new camera app. My one sore point: it is sooo very close in execution to an iPhone app I wanted to have built earlier this year. A different concept, but maybe someday I’ll convince the guys at Synthetic Corp to take it up. —- Hipstamatic I discovered this app by accident whilst absentmindedly searching for the keyword “Holga”. The preview screenshots in iTunes don’t do it justice. It’s also the first camera application I’ve seen with in-app purchasing, which made me quite wary of this being something I might become tempted to sink a lot of money into, unnecessarily, over time. Everyone else gives free updates with more features, why should this be any different? The answer might be that the app itself is very different. It features …

On taking holiday photos

Back from Japan and already making plans to learn the language and move over. Only half-kidding. I don’t think I could take the grind of commuting to a crushing office job every day, even with the weekend salve of maid cafes and pachinko. It’d have to be a work from your tiny home sorta job. Since I left talking about cameras, I’ll come back to the subject. The Sony WX1 held up really well and I took more photos with it than with the Panasonic Lumix LX3. Having it just two seconds away in my pocket at any time made all the difference. I think it’s my new favorite camera for casual street use. It struggled under tricky lighting conditions though, and couldn’t really handle park/nature scenes with shadows and subtlety. Comparing it with such shots from the LX3 really shows up its weaknesses. I usually have a two camera limit, but the iPhone’s camera complicates things, and I bought a Digital Harinezumi 2 from the Superheadz Camera Cabaret store in Shibuya (truly fantastic little …

Going to Japan

Leaving for Japan tomorrow with a couple of friends. It’s a trip we’ve talked about for the last two years but never got around to actually booking until now. Long-time readers will remember that I set up a wiki on this domain back in 2007 for notes on things to see/eat in Tokyo. I think we cancelled for a number of reasons, one of them probably being that I’d just left my job and wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Coincidentally, one of us going on this trip has just quit his. Some people like to go on long, liberating holidays after quitting. I’m far too conservative with money for that. Oh did I mention that I’ve just bought a new camera for this trip? I really didn’t need it, because I’ve still got my Panasonic Lumix LX3, which is by far the best non-SLR digital camera I’ve ever owned, apart from being a bit of a fatty. The Sony WX1, on the other hand, is as small as my Canon IXUS 80, but with …

M1, StarHub, and Apple’s iPhone exclusivity

Using network growth to fight Android’s ubiquity Earlier today, StarHub announced their plans to offer the iPhone before the end of the year. Set aside for a moment that feeling of deja vu, when it does happen, Singapore will be one of few countries (if not the only?) to have the iPhone on all its nationwide carriers. I’m not interested in the telco strategy here, which is obviously to prevent bleeding customers over to the other guy with the iPhones. Apple seems to be doing this all across its international markets. In the UK, O2 lost its exclusive rights after about two years, and you can now get the smartphone from Vodafone too. AT&T loses its three-year rights next June. I see that as the deadline for these expansion plans. Apple appears to be expanding its reach in anticipation of June, which will likely bring a new iPhone model that could possibly work with another major US carrier’s network. Or two. The iPhone’s current greatest weakness isn’t the lack of a physical keyboard, camera flash, …

Void Deck Checkers/Draughts

Walking around Toa Payoh, I came across an area where groups of old men apparently gather to play checkers quite regularly, drawing audiences. I suppose it’s the local equivalent of playing chess in a park. I talked to one of the regulars who, as far as my limited Mandarin suggests, told me that they were playing for several hundred dollars a game, and wagers used to run as high as $1000 in the old days. I didn’t see any piles of money by the board, so there’s no way of knowing if he was just kidding me. These two men had the largest crowd of spectators, and continued playing long after the others had packed up for the day. —- A couple more photos from earlier that day:

PositiveMachine.com – iPhone app reviews

I’ve had a lot of fun writing my iPhone app reviews over these past few weeks, and many of you have said rather kind things. Most surprising of all was the number of developers who wrote me to say how much they enjoyed my comments, but could not publicly link to them because they were too crude or awesome or whatever. Well, the price for encouraging me is always a terrible one. Today, I’m putting out a new site (PositiveMachine.com) dedicated to iPhone app reviews. All the previous ones have been republished, and new ones will no longer be appearing here and getting in the way of more important things, like what fattening crap I’ve eaten or who I got into a fight with online. There’s a new write-up of RunKeeper up now, if you’re into fitness. Even if you’re not, you might want to take a look. It’s not like you have anything better to do. I mean, dude, you’re reading my blog. Thanks again to Yi Jun for the lovely robot. His name is Optimist …

Burger King Whopper Bar Singapore opening

Photos from tonight's launch. Open to the public from tomorrow afternoon. I have to say I'm extremely excited about the opening of the world's third Whopper Bar right here in Singapore, after the ones in Orlando and Munich. Ordering can be a little tricky, but you basically start from a 1-3 patty burger, and add on your choice of 24 condiments and premium toppings. Examples include nacho chips, fried onions, steak sauce, several kinds of cheese, cut chillies, and jalapenos. They're also the first such restaurant here to serve beer, with a can of Tiger only costing an additional $2 on top of a value meal. I had a Double Sweet Mexicana Whopper, only to be told later that it was designed to appeal to women. BK needs to do a little more market research because I don't know any women who would eat that. I'm appalled that it was even served without an ambulance standing by. Anyhow, I ordered another custom Mushroom Swiss Whopper approximation after that to wash down my two Tigers. (I …

iPhone app review: Ramp Champ

(This iPhone review and others like it have been moved to my new app review site, positivemachine.com. Why not have a look?) Ramp Champ (Game) Price: $1.99What it is: A carnival of sadomasochism. Every retirement home has one old man who used to be a championship boxer, tough enough to still knock out two young men bigger than him. Likewise, every group of cowed nerds has among their numbers one who will eventually arm up and shoot up the school in a black trenchcoat. Ramp Champ has a lot in common with these people. It lives amongst the feeble pursuits most call “casual games”, a candycoated term cooked up by executives to describe alternative entertainment for normal people – those don’t play first-person shooters and airplane simulations eight hours straight at a time – or as we like to call them, “games for pussies”. But don’t be fooled by the company it keeps. Ramp Champ is a prison-hard motherf*cker. I suspect it broke out of hardcore gaming prison and into casual gaming prison just because …

Peanut Butter & Condensed Milk Thick Toast

From a Hong Kong-style cafe we had a late dinner at tonight. It’s been awhile since I made myself a peanut butter sandwich, and I’ve never plastered on as much as they did here. It makes for a saturated taste sensation, like melting a block of great chocolate in your mouth after a glass of whisky, except this probably had a thousand calories from being finished with lashings of condensed milk. It was like a post-apocalyptic PB landscape turned into a nutty archipelago by tidal waves of artery-clogging dairy effluence. I say that now, as I sit here with heartburn and the weight of a distended belly on my lap, but it was really good at the time. Posted via email from sangsara’s posterous