Monday, December 10, 2012

Giant Boulder 29er 0

I aim to lose 10kg by February 2013 so I invested on a Giant Boulder 29er 0 bicycle. I did a 9km trial run yesterday and it was really fun. Hopefully, with the right gear, body sores will go away.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

iPad (4th Gen) Wi-Fi 64GB White


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Read/Write Speed

Crucial M4 SSD 256GB

Migration to 256GB SSD

After 11 months of use, my Crucial M4 64GB SSD which I used as my main drive was choking as it only had 3GB free space remaining. So I migrated to the 256GB version.

My OS is Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium. For the migration, I used Acronis True Image Home 2012 (Update 2 Build 7119).

Using Acronis' Clone Disk feature, the migration was so painless that I find it so... "disturbing".

Anyway, the migration task itself only took around 10 minutes max. Here are the steps for your reading pleasure:
  1. In Windows 7, create a Rescue Media (aka Boot CD) inside Acronis True Image; this is inside "Tools and Utilities".
  2. Shutdown PC then disconnect all drives except optical drive (where you put the Rescue Media disc) and source SSD. This source SSD is the drive that you want to be replaced.
  3. Connect your target SSD. This is your new SSD and normally has a larger capacity. In some cases, migration is used if old SSD is not working 100% and has to be replaced.
  4. Go to BIOS and set it to boot from your optical drive.
  5. Reboot PC with Rescue Media disc in optical drive.
  6. Then you should see this -

  7. Click on Acronis True Image Home, then go to "Tools and Utilities" -

  8. Click on Clone Disk then select "Manual" -

  9. Select source SSD (the drive to be cloned) -

  10. Select target SSD -

  11. Then select Proportional as move method - 

  12. A summary will be presented. If you're happy, click on Proceed -

  13. You can have a tea break now. This takes around 7 minutes (in my case, anyway).

  14. My new SSD during this stage -

    Yeah, hanging temporarily outside PC case.

  15. Once cloning is done, turn OFF computer (unless you selected "Shut down the computer when operation is completed).
  16. To confirm successful cloning, disconnect old SSD and use that SATA port (previously used by old SSD) to the new SSD.
  17. Change BIOS to boot up from the new SSD.
  18. PC should boot to Windows 7 like nothing has happened.
  19. If you're planning to sell or give away your old SSD, the go to the next step. Otherwise, reconnect disconnected drives, close PC case, and you're done. Good job!
  20. Disconnect the new SSD.
  21. Go to BIOS and change boot to optical drive. Yeah, make sure Rescue Media disc is in the optical drive.
  22. Reboot PC and when you get to Acronis True Image Home window, select "Acronis DriveCleanser" in Tools and Utilities -

  23. Select the old SSD (the drive which will be cleansed of your dirty, evil, vile files)

  24. Accept default data destruction method then click on Next -

  25. A summary will be presented. Are you sure? Are you really, really, 100% sure? If yes, click on Proceed -

  26. Say farewell...

  27. Once done, disconnect and remove old SSD which is now empty and its old data 100% unrecoverable. Your scandalous personal videos are safe......... for now.
  28. Move new SSD to its secure mounting location. Connect data and power cables to it. Reconnect other disconnected drives and then close PC case.
  29. You're almost there - go to BIOS and change boot to your new SSD drive.
  30. Enjoy your new SSD drive!
  31. End.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Starving student's dSLR movie rig

I bought this cheap, simple movie rig from eBay. It's widely available and averages around US$70.

Anyway, after spending some time with it, I can say that it's a good buy. It's cheap and makes you mobile (compared to using a tripod). It can be configured in many ways but to minimize shaky videos, it's best to use shoulder mount configuration.

Depending on shoot environment, I have now the choice to use a tripod, monopod, or this simple rig. No more handheld shots, D800+lens is way too heavy ;-)

For a quick comparison, click HERE.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

System Temperature Readings

Quick Test: Rode Videomic Pro

Youtube LINK.

Nikon D800 with Rode Videomic Pro

Nikon D800 with Nikkor 50f1.8D & Rode Videomic Pro fitted with Deadcat wind cover

Comments on this external microphone:
  1. Lens focus motor operation is inaudible, surprisingly. So for casual shoot with autofocus enabled (& good ambient light), audio is useful. UPDATE: motor operation is audible but lower compared to the onboard mic.
  2. Rubber bands indeed look flimsy. Use with care!
  3. Pretty light. Well, with camera-lens that weighs around 2.5kg, mic weight is not significant.
I'll do a test video soon!

Read/Write Speeds

Crucial M4 SSD 64GB

Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB

Tool used: CrystalDiskMark

Thursday, September 06, 2012

After Effects freezing when importing Nikon D800 video

I recently realized that my Nikon D800 is also a powerful HD video camera; with proper use, outputs can be used professionally.

So I downloaded a trial copy and started learning about Adobe After Effects (AE). Importing a .MOV file produced by D800 will instantly freeze AE. Scouring the web, I found that the solution is just to simply rename the extension filename from .MOV to .MPG.

You're welcome ;-)

Friday, August 17, 2012


Bought a Dyson DC38 Multi Floor vacuum cleaner... this should remove the annoying sock lints in the carpet. Let's see...

update: it works as advertised. happy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Notes: Gigabyte GTX 570 (SLI) to Yamaha RV-367 AV Receiver

Gigabyte GTX 570 (SLI) to Yamaha RV-367 AV Receiver

- GTX 570 Card 1 DVI-D port is connected to Dell U2711 27" 2560x1440 Monitor
- GTX 570 Card 1 HDMI port is connected to HDMI input of AV Receiver
- No connections to GTX 570 Card 2
- AV Receiver HDMI Out is connected to HDMI input of Hisense HL81V68P 32" 1920x1080 HDTV

To send HDMI audio to AV Receiver, go to Windows 7 sound properties and enable HDMI audio.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

World of FX

Last Friday the 13th, I finally joined the FX world.

Impressions, so far:

  1. I need uber-fast CF or SD cards, stat! I'm currently using a Class 4 SD card and it's so slooooowww! It's like 15~20 seconds write time per image, ewww!
  2. I need to improve my hand-holding skill. 36MP easily shows blur at pixel level.
  3. Thank, God, all my FX & non-FX lenses focus good/sharp with this camera. None of the focus horror stories I've read in forums. However, Tokina 11-16 is not recognized as non-FX.
  4. The manual seems lacking so I got Tom Hogan's guide; digesting it now. So far, so good. Highly recommended.
  5. Images at ISO 6400 are very usable, insane!
  6. Having a USB 3.0 memory card reader is recommended. Looking at eBay now...
  7. I'll shoot RAW uncompressed (75MB/image).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's that time of the year again...

Annual registration/insurance renewal & servicing:

CTP Insurance (NRMA) - $481.34
Comprehensive+ Insurance (NRMA) - $1,350.50
Rego renewal (RMS) - $459.00
Annual servicing (Lander Service Centre) - $629.95

Total: $2,920.79


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM II

100% crop comparison at f2.8

Note: on tripod, VR off, and both at same settings (ISO/f/s/l). Also all images are straight out of Nikon D90. No post-processing.

Reference images:



Other reference images:

Sigma at 200mm f2.8

Nikkor at 200mm f2.8 (VR Off)

Conclusion: Nikkor's image quality justifies its almost 3x price compared to Sigma HSM II (well, 1.5x for build quality and 1.5x for image quality).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Desktop PC Cost (2011)

CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K, $319.00
Cooler: CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ CPU Cooler, $33.00
Motherboard: AsRock z68 Extreme4, $215.00
Display: Dell U2711, $764.15
Display Calibrator: Spyder3Pro, $160.00
GPU: 2x Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 1280MB Overclocked V2, $738.00
RAM: 2x G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3, $138.00
SSD: Crucial M4 SSD 64GB, $145.00
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB WD10EALX, $65.00
ODD: LG CH10LS20 10X Blu-ray DVD Combo Drive, $75.00
Card Reader: Scythe Kama Reader 2, $29.00
HDTV Tuner: Leadtek Winfast PxDVR3200 H PCIe, $64.00
PSU: Silverstone Strider Plus 850W, $169.00
Case: CoolerMaster Storm Enforcer, $99.00
Extra Case Fan: CoolerMaster MegaFlow 200, $35.00
Headphone: Sennheiser HD 448, $149.00
Speaker: Audioengine 2 (A2), $268.00

Total: $3,798.15

NAS: Synology DiskStation DS211j (2TB), $400.00
Wheel: G27 Racing Wheel, $499.00
Controller: Logitech RumblePad 2, $--
Shipping costs: ~$250.00

Citizen Eco-Drive CA0210-51E

From CreationWatches.Com

Start: Thursday, 16-Feb 6:30pm
Delivered: Monday, 20-Feb 4pm

Thursday, January 26, 2012

TAG Heuer Men's CAH1110.BT0714 Formula 1 Chronograph Quartz Watch

Start: Thursday, 26-January 10pm
Delivered: Monday, 30-January 10am

Exposure Time = 1/40 sec
F Number = F14
ISO Speed Ratings = 200
Focal Length = 150mm
Flash with Softbox at right

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Audioengine 2 & FiiO E10 DAC

For the past few months, I've been listening to my FLAC/320kbps MP3s using iTunes or Winamp (both at EQ flat), onboard mobo audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), and Audioengine 2 (bought a couple of weeks ago). And I was pretty contented.

Then curiosity got hold of me and I bought a FiiO E10 desktop DAC yesterday (I got bored the other day so I browsed thru various boards...)

People are saying the latest mobos nowadays have pretty decent audio chips that there's no need to add a dedicated soundcard or external DACs (entry-level types). Oh, how pretty wrong those people are!

After a brainless FiiO E10 setup, Audioengine 2 and DAC are ready to go within 10 seconds. And the audio output is just awesome!!! It's like I got a brandnew set of ears! Mozarts, Dire Straits, Queen, Radiohead, Acoustic Alchemy, etc seem to come alive in our PC desk. I'm thinking now of taking a day off tomorrow.... too much songs to digest again!!!

So if you're just using your mobo's onboard audio and you want to hear pure "music", do yourself a favor and buy a dedicated soundcard (internal or external). For entry-level, go for those at least AUD80 and avoid the dirt-cheap ones....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Invicta Watches, ASICS, & Crocs

Amazing discounts offered for Invicta watches & shoes so placed our 4th & 5th orders with this evening...

Start: Friday, 13-Jan-12 9:30pm

Delivery: Monday, 16-Jan-12 4:00pm

Start: Saturday, 14-Jan-12 9:15pm

Delivery: Thursday, 19-Jan-12 4:30pm

Audioengine 2 (A2)

Edifier M1350 is lacking so I moved it to our office and brought Audioengine 2 in at home. A2 is way better that M1350, as expected (well, A2 costs 5x than M1350).

A2 output is "full", clear, and more natural especially at EQ flat or off. PC audio is now more enjoyable.

Highly recommended!
"He's called Dr. J because, on the court, he operated on people." - Nate "Tiny" Archibald on Julius "Dr. J" Erving