Year: 2013

Reviewed The Humans by Matt Haig

As a story, the way it moves is unlike anything I can remember reading. Laugh out loud funny at times; very insightful about life and love; peppered with sentimental, inspirational schmaltz; and also a fast-paced page turner. It’s some kind of sorcery. It’ll make you sad and lonely, but also take you to a place where it doesn’t matter. Reviewed The Humans by Matt Haig.

Shuttered Out

At a recent office balcony party, I spoke to a colleague who’s also into photography (by which I mean he’s also afflicted by the coin-draining hobby of buying cameras), and realized that maybe I’ve made some progress. My last purchase was the Sony RX-100, which he also bought, and then sold, and then bought a Fuji X20, and then sold, and then bought a used Fuji X100S (pictured). The urge has not visited me lately, unless you count the $200 Q Camera which no amount of money on Earth can buy at the moment because they’ve only made one sold-out and poorly handled batch. I’m doing really well on just my iPhone 5S and excellent apps like the new Mattebox (do try my Velvius filter), and Cortex Camera. You can also explore all my posts tagged ‘Photography‘.

ArtScience Museum, Nov 2014

Some iPhone photos from a recent visit. I’d been meaning to see the Eames one for months, but it’s always a bit hard to get out to the Marina Bay Sands because there isn’t a lot to do afterwards if you’re not in the mood for an expensive meal or drinks. There are quite a few pieces in the Eames area, including some original interactive activities from an educational exhibit they designed, although the gallery layout leaves a little to be desired. A roughshod detail here, an odd pathway there, and lots of furniture out of reach, labeled “do not touch”, leaves you empty;  it’s only at the very end when you sink into a permitted Ottoman that you feel the humanity of their designs. The Chanel Black Jacket photo exhibition is much more enjoyable to explore, because there’s nothing between you and the content on display. •••• Here are the official exhibition summaries: Explore the life and work of Charles and Ray Eames, the most famous couple in design. Most known for their timeless …

Cortex Camera is your best bet for quality iPhone photos

It’s hard to believe that you can get different results from the same hardware—the same smartphone camera—just seconds apart. The first photo was taken with the iPhone 5S’s built-in camera app, which employs some impressive software techniques to improve most photos. In this case, a low-light scene forced an ISO sensitivity of 1000. The second photo was taken with Cortex Camera, which takes a series of images over 2 seconds or so (you don’t have to keep your hands perfectly still, but still-as-possible helps). These are then combined for far less noise, more accurate colors, and higher resolution (12mp on the iPhone 5/5S, which normally take 8mp images). The default Camera.app also combines up to four captures for better photos, but is optimized to work for all situations. For any scene without moving subjects and where you have the luxury of time, Cortex delivers better results. The shots above are 100% crops from the same scene. Note that the Cortex Camera version is both larger and more detailed. It has more potential for processing, and …

Tandoori Corner

Tried out an Indian restaurant near work today on the occasion of a visiting coworker’s farewell (amusingly, he’s going back to India and another Indian coworker felt it appropriate to suggest this place for lunch — we suggested he was feeling homesick himself). It’s on Boon Tat street and quite good, although it’s probably best to come closer to 2pm; we stood outside for close to half an hour. I had the chicken tikka which was mildly spiced (if you’re a wimp like me and like to avoid discomfort).

Fixing Battery Life Problems on a Kindle Paperwhite

If you’re noticing that your Kindle’s battery life isn’t what it’s supposed to be, or are looking for information on how to solve the “Books not yet indexed” problem, this post may help you. I bought my Kindle Paperwhite while on vacation in Japan, where they are significantly cheaper thanks to a campaign against the entrenched Kobo readers in that market, but noticed it wasn’t living up to stated battery life claims. My previous Kindles didn’t either, but the problem was less noticeable because I used them more at the time, and thus charged them more frequently. I recently left the Paperwhite alone during a busy stretch of two weeks and was shocked that the battery had gone nearly flat. After poking around online, I discovered that the Calibre software I use (a popular open-source ebook manager) causes a feature of the Kindle to misbehave. When idle, the Kindle tries to index your ebooks so you can perform word searches quickly, but if the file is corrupted or in some way fails to conform to …

Tokyo Snack Stash #2

I’m eating yesterday’s Italian Curry cup noodle right now and I was right, it’s a mildly spicy tomato sauce with mystery meat and capsicum bits. But tasty enough to eat way too fast at 2am. I really like that they realized people are gonna drink the soup from the cup and wrapped the whole thing in shrink-wrapping to keep it clean while on the shelves. Anyway snack stash video #2 is up.