Tuesday, February 28, 2006

YouTube having a break II

Everytime when Youtube needs to take its website down for maintenance or upgrades, it will put up a page to inform users to come back later. This time on the page, it uses a new photo which shows a guy trying to fix one of those DIY tables from Ikea.

Previous: YouTube having a break

Google Holiday Logos

All the Google logos commemorating holidays and events from 1999 till present can be found here. I like this one. It is a Google doodle on March 6 2003 to celebrate Michelangelo's birthday.

(Thanks jlye)

Firefox with 100 extensions

Firefox is the most stable browser out there. It is da bomb! Don't believe me? Check out this dude who did the unthinkable. He installed 100 of the most popular Firefox extensions into his Firefox browser.

I'm waiting for someone who will install all 1000 plus of them.

(Thanks Lord Kimbo)

Grocery bag and panties

A Flickr photoset showing women with grocery bags and their panties dropping to their feet. I think some of the panties are a little too big for these ladies.

(Thanks coolio46)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Jelly Condom Snack

Finally, a condom that you can actually eat! Presenting the jelly condom snack from Japan. Nao says that they are really yummy but they are not meant to be used during sex. I wonder what Japanese kids will be thinking when they buy one of these.

(Thanks Nao)

No bird flu in Malaysians

What a relief! Our neighbour Malaysia has ruled out bird flu in 10 people that were suspected of contracting the deadly H5N1 strain from infected chickens. From Reuters:
The 10 were hospitalised with flu-like symptoms after the H5N1 virus was detected in 40 chickens found dead last week in Malaysia's first poultry infection in over a year. "The test results on the last two patients were also negative and they have been discharged. There's no new admission," Disease Control Division director Ramlee Rahmat told Reuters. No human cases have so far been reported in Malaysia, which last reported the H5N1 virus in a chicken in the northern state of Kelantan in 2004.

New Vista will come in six versions

The new Operating System from Microsoft called Vista will come in six versions. Microsoft thinks that it is best to have the right set of offerings for different customers. From ZDNet:
Consumers will also be able to buy either Vista Home Basic or Vista Home Premium, in addition to the Ultimate edition, while businesses will be able to choose Vista Business or, if they have a volume licensing deal, they can opt for a higher-end Vista Enterprise edition. Microsoft also plans a Vista Starter edition that will be sold only on new PCs in emerging markets...

Microsoft did not disclose pricing for Vista, although Goffe said Vista Business will be priced similar to XP Professional, while Vista Home Basic will have a price tag similar to Windows XP home. Vista Ultimate will be the highest priced of the products.
You know what I really want Microsoft? All I want is a version that doesn't have so many security holes and one that doesn't hang and crash.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ministry Of Sound Singapore

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Ministry Of Sound Singapore

Gruesome knitting artwork

This gallery has some of the most gruesome art every made with knitting. Take a look at a cat with its intestines pouring out of its tummy, a crocodile eating a boy, a shark with a human leg in its mouth and a pair of scissors piercing through a girl's chest. Gruesome indeed!

(Thanks Fandric)

International Space Station transits the moon

Ed has been capturing the International Space Station (ISS) transits through his telescopes for many years. His latest attempt is most probably his best. The picture on the left is a composite image consists of 4 frames showing the ISS moving from right to left infront of the moon. It is amazing that you can see the panels and the shape of the space station so clearly! Go to Ed's ISS Transits Page to view the video.

Tammy is on VCD and DVD now!

The Tammy NYP sex video is now on VCD and DVD thanks to Malaysian porn vendors. From The Star:
A homemade sex video featuring a 17-year-old student of the Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) in Singapore, which had been circulating in the Internet for sometime, is now available on the VCD and DVD and being sold by roadside vendors for between RM10 and RM20 a copy.

Some “enterprising” retailers had downloaded two sex video clips, totalling about 16 minutes, of “Tammy”, an NYP cheerleader, and her 21-year-old boyfriend onto CD-Rs and DVD-Rs, which can be obtained at relatively cheap prices if bought in bulk from any computer accessories shop.
I don't know why would anyone want to pay RM10 or RM20 for a copy. I won't even pay RM5 for that lousy video.

The Tammy NYP sex video virus
Guy wants government to regulate blogs because of Tammy
Get your Tammy NYP merchandise, video and domain
Paris Hilton talks about Tammy
Don't do a Tammy

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Tammy NYP sex video virus

For those of you who are searching high and low for the Tammy NYP sex video, please do take note that there are reports of virus in the video file. You should be wary when you download the video from websites, forums and blogs that claimed to have the sex video. One email from a reader say that there might be attempts to spread the Tammy sex video with the virus via emails too.

There's one blog at tammynypvideo.bloggoing.com that is rather suspicious to me. I came across it last night after another reader told me to take a look at it. The blog has links to a zip file containing the video and love chat messages. It also has links to only the love chat messages in word document format.

Yesterday, the owner of the blog wrote to say that there is no virus in his files:
I would like to thank a certain blog let’s just call him bbbbbbbreport for reporting there’s a virus. However I think he doesn’t mean this site has the virus infected file. Or else all the computers in my jc would have been infected by now, since I had my friends download it. I even scan the files in the lab computer before I uploaded it. I would like to point out that he didn’t say the name of the virus and which file had the virus. Is it the doc file or the zip file. Or which website has it. Certainly it’s not my blog...

What is he doing? Some would think it’s misdirection. Shifting the blame by pointing the attention elsewhere. May be he could point out which site has the virus. It’s certainly not this site. Once people download the files and scan it. They will know.

Anyway if you are worry about virus just scan the files before you open it. Or if you are paranoid just sent it to your gmail or yahoo mail account. The antivirus software there is more powerful.
One fact that the blogger fails to mention is that zip files are dangerous. They can hide worms and viruses that may be destructive to your computer. This article from PC World tells more:
The .zip attachments were evidence of what antivirus experts say is a new trend in virus writing circles: using compressed .zip files to hide viruses and elude detection by antivirus engines...

While .zip files were occasionally used to mask virus payloads, the practice wasn't common in virus writing circles because .zip, unlike .scr and .pif files, required separate software to be installed on the receiving system before the files could be opened and run on ubiquitous Windows machines, he says.

All that changed with the release of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, which includes native support for opening .zip files. That allows virus writers to count on users being able to unzip their attachment and open the virus file stored inside, Shipp says...

The files have other advantages for virus authors, as well, says Vipul Ved Prakash, founder and chief scientist at antispam company Cloudmark of San Francisco.

For mass mailing worms like Mydoom, zipping the virus payload makes it smaller and enables the worm to mail out more copies of itself in the same length of time than it could with uncompressed .scr, .pif, or .exe files, Prakash says.

Zipping also changes the unique signature on the virus attachment, making it harder for antivirus engines to detect the malicious program, he says...

A recent security advisory from AERAsec Network Services and Security GmbH in Hohenbrunn, Germany, found that many antivirus engines are vulnerable to denial of service attacks from so-called "decompression bombs," in which gigabytes of data are zipped into very small files.

Antivirus engines that try to unzip these bombs often crash when trying to handle the huge amount of data stored in them, AERAsec researchers warn.

While decompression bombs have been around since the 1980s, many software products, including antivirus engines, still do not detect such attacks, says Harald Geiger of AERAsec.
I'm not saying for sure that the files provided by the blogger mentioned above contain virus and worms that will harm your computer. If he really wants to share the sex video, he could have provided the video file in its original format instead of zipping it. To the best of my knowledge, the original Tammy NYP sex video is in 3gp format (file ending with .3gp) which is a mobile phone video format. So if you find any video claiming to be the real Tammy NYP sex video but it is not in the 3gp format, you should think twice before you download it especially if it is in a zip file.

Update: tammynypvideo.bloggoing.com is now suspended.

Guy wants government to regulate blogs because of Tammy
Get your Tammy NYP merchandise, video and domain
Paris Hilton talks about Tammy
Don't do a Tammy

Guns N' Roses in the charts!

One of the three leaked tracks from Guns N' Roses yet to be released album Chinese Democracy is receiving so much airplay in the US that it enters the Radio & Records Active Rock National Airplay chart at number 49 for the week ending 24 Feb 2006! Not bad for a song that isn't officially released yet. IRS and two other tracks called There Was A Time and Better have been leaked to radio stations and websites. Here's the Maxim radio leak part 1 and part 2. The Guns N' Roses management has ordered the stations and sites not to distribute or play the songs. I have heard all the three songs and all I can say is that they are pretty good. My strong feeling is that the album will be out in the coming months. Let's hope so. Dear Axl, can we have a press release real soon?

Previously: Chinese Democracy out this year!

Friday, February 24, 2006

How to create an iPod

For all iPod and Photoshop fans and those who want an iPod but have yet to get one, here's a tutorial teaching you how to create an iPod using Photoshop. The final product looks like the real thing. Really!

(Thanks TimTam)

Guy wants government to regulate blogs because of Tammy

The award for the Dork of the Month has to go to this Singaporean guy who has been living in the United States. He wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister of Singapore on why blogs must be regulated. From Google Groups:
Dear Prime Minister Lee,

I am a Singaporean living and working in the U.S.A. Not many news about
Singapore are usually reported here unless it concerns Americans or other
Westerners. However, to my great surprise today, I came across a story of
great interest that is about Singapore.

It is not about Singapore being any hub, but the infamous story about a 17
year old sex video has been spreading on the internet like wild fire. Such
story is hardly a compliment to Singapore's squeaky clean image.

Upon further look, I came to realized that this wild fire has been fanned by
the interconnected blog sites that have posted the story and linked to the
video. This is a clear example of the government's need to regulate blog
sites. These blog sites act as quasi-news reporting media, but unlike the
main stream media of reporting stories by professional journalists, these
blog reporting are done by individuals, based on hearsays and rumors. There are no fact checking before a report is being published. However, the reader reach of these blogs are in nowhere less when compared to the main stream media.

It may be a sex video story today, however the threat of fundamental and
radical politicians who can exploit these blogs sites to create unrest is
obvious. Thus, I urged the Singapore government to implement laws to
regulate these local blog sites according to the media laws immediately.
The Tammy NYP sex video virus
Get your Tammy NYP merchandise, video and domain
Paris Hilton talks about Tammy
Don't do a Tammy

Asian Aerospace 2006

Blogger Chuang Shyue Chou braved the human traffic at this year's Asian Aerospace to bring us several photos of the planes and other military hardware at the exhibition. The picture here shows the F-16D Fighting Falcon which belongs to our airforce. Since the photos are spread out in many entries, do look through his blog to view them.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Malaysian commandos got lost in Thailand

Six Malaysian commandos that were detained by Thai authorities for a border incursion have been released back to Malaysia. The commandos said that they were lost and wandered across the border accidentally. From The Nation:
Thai police were alert by local villagers in Sungai Padi district about the presence of the commandos-clad men armed with rifles and machine guns in a rubber field in the district.

Fourth Army Region overseeing the areas sent about 50 soldiers to the site.

Confiscated from them were six rifles, machine guns and rounds of ammunitions. Found with them were canned food and tents.

A police source quoted one of the men as saying that they just got lost because their radio broke. They said they had no intention to invade into the Thai soil. The men then were brought by a helicopter to a headquarter for further interrogation.
The commander of Thailand's Fourth Army Area Command said it best after he released the 6 commandos. From Bangkok Post:
Lt Gen Ongkorn Thongprasom, commander of Thailand's Fourth Army Area Command, and chief of the Southern Border Provinces Peacekeeping Command (SBPPC), said the repatriation took place in a friendly atmosphere after investigators found the soldiers simply became lost while patrolling the border separating the two neighboring countries.

He said the six soldiers were only low ranking army personnel who have little knowledge of maps.

They were arrested by police in Sukirin district in Narathiwat Monday evening.

''They are definitely not spies," Lt-Gen Ongkorn said.."If they were, they would not have worn uniform.''
Malaysian commandos with little knowledge of maps! Hahaha! At least he has a sense of humour.

The best 50 robots of all time

Wired Magazine has a story about the best 50 robots of all time. Stanley, the Stanford Racing Team's autonomous vehicle is at number 1. Astroboy and Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity take the 2nd and 3rd spot respectively. My favourite robot, Optimus Prime is also in the list! From Wired:
Robots are cool. Robots that turn into giant trucks - way cool. Robots that turn into giant trucks and command a fleet of autobots - now that could change pop culture history. Such was the impact of the Transformer when the toy line was introduced in 1984, spawning decades of TV shows, movies, and comic books.

Get your Tammy NYP merchandise, video and domain

Tammy is now an international superstar! Someone is selling Tammy merchandise such as t-shirts, tongs and dog t-shirts. There's even a guy who is advertising his services on eBay to help people find the infamous Tammy sex video. And there's a tammynyp.com domain too. Currently it goes to a page with an advertisement. The domain owner is planning to sell it to anyone interested. He can be reached at tammy-nyp-for-sale@tammynyp.com.

(Thanks Jul, ace)

Update: More Tammy merchandise can be found here and here.

The Tammy NYP sex video virus
Guy wants government to regulate blogs because of Tammy
Paris Hilton talks about Tammy
Don't do a Tammy

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

How to clean your keyboard

Is your computer keyboard dirty? Here's a step by step guide on how to thoroughly clean your keyboard with some simple household items. From The Tech Zone:
First, shutdown your computer and unplug the keyboard. Remember which socket you unplugged the keyboard from so that you can easily plug it back in. Next, I suggest you find an open area to work; one that is not crowded.

Now, take a picture of your keyboard or write down where the keys are located. You will need this as your reference when putting the keys back in the keyboard, unless you have a photographic memory?
(Thanks Babbs)

The Brick Testament

A Reverend is using Lego to tell the stories in the Bible. He calls it The Brick Testament. Biblical stories such as the Garden of Eden, the Burning Bush, the Crucifixion are all retold in a fun and compelling way with the help of Lego bricks. The above is a scene from the Last Supper in which Jesus tells his disciples that one of then is about to betray him.

(Thanks Hugh Martin)

Sunset over South China Sea

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Sunset over South China Sea

Send your ashes and mementoes to space

Space related services will be the next big thing. Previously, I blogged about the Spaceport that will be built in Singapore. Spaceport Singapore will provide suborbital spaceflights for public. I believe space tourism will take many years down the road to be popular because of the high costs and risks associated with sending tourists to space but some companies have already started other space related services such as sending the ashes of the dead and mementoes to space. From Forbes:
The planned launch sometime in March of a rocket carrying the ashes of actor James Doohan, who played chief engineer Montgomery Scott on "Star Trek," and Mercury program astronaut Gordon Cooper will give a fitting send-off to two men who helped popularize human space exploration.

The craft also will hold the ashes of 185 others, including a telephone technician, a nurse and a college student.

Their families paid $995 to $5,300 for the flight, being conducted by one of a handful of growing businesses hoping to give a space experience to the common folk.

Teen Blogs Exposed

A study of 68 randomly selected blogs written by teenagers aged 13 to 17 finds that teen bloggers often willingly reveal their actual names, age and offline locations, putting them at risk for cyberstalking and cyberbullying.

In "Teen Blogs Exposed: The Private Lives of Teens Made Public," David Huffaker, a Northwestern University researcher finds that half of all teenage bloggers link to other bloggers, and often include a "friends list." Sixty-seven percent of teen bloggers provide a comment section in order to get feedback from readers of their blogs.

Blogs according to Huffaker, play a positive role by offering teens a place to construct narratives and share stories. "These activities are important to identity exploration which is one of the principal tasks of adolescence," he says. "What's more, the mechanics of these online diaries, with their opportunities to link to and get feedback from peers, also aid teenagers in creating and maintaining social ties."

The randomly selected teen blogs - equally divided between male and female teens and with a mean age of 15.47 years – were examined for content and amount of personal or private information revealed.

Seventy percent of the teens disclosed at least their first name, 67 percent revealed their age, and 61 percent provided their contact information either in the form of e-mail (44 percent), instant messenger name (44 percent) or a link to a personal home page (30 percent). Fifty-nine percent of those who provided contact information disclosed the city or state in which they reside.

"Studying teen blogs highlights the fact that blogging is not an individual pursuit in the way teen diaries once were. Instead, blogs are used by teens to form a small or large community," says Huffaker.

On the positive side, blogs give teens an opportunity to share their stories and feelings. "They provide a venue in which they can reflect upon their experiences," says Huffaker. "The ability to create a community online also bodes well for future social development."

Almost half of all the blogs included discussions about boyfriends, girlfriends, or attractions to someone in the form of a "crush." Seventeen percent of those who wrote about their own sexuality discussed homosexuality and their experiences of "coming out."

Not surprisingly, 71 percent included commentary about school-related topics, such as grades, homework, high school, college or college pressure. Almost half of the online diaries discussed aspects of music, including use of MP3 players, songs, lyrics, favorite bands and concerts.

Huffaker found that the positive effects of blogging on verbal and digital literacy and social interaction to be accompanied by some negative effects sich as sexual predation by adult strangers and the bullying by peers.

Unlike the tattered, leatherbound teen diary of old, blogs can be read not only by members of the family "sneaking a look" but also by strangers with questionable intentions.

Huffaker says that a study found that 2,500 children aged 10 to 17 years of age reported being harassed or threatened online. In another study, one in five teenage Internet users said they'd been approached or received a sexual solicitation within their last year of Internet use. One in 33 reported being aggressively solicited by predators who asked to meet them, called them on the phone, or sent them letters, money or gifts. According to the surveyed teens, they seldom report such incidents to their parents, school administrators or other authorities.

Huffaker says some of the negatives of blogging can be thwarted by blog software packages that offer the opportunity to make one's blog "friends-only" by including password protection.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Paris Hilton talks about Tammy

Reader Kant informs me that Tammy made it to US blog Metafilter yesterday. The best part about the post on Metafilter is the person who posted it. It's Paris Hilton! Yup, the lady who knows best about homemade sex videos and lost/hacked mobile phones. From Metafilter:
Tammy NYP Was the #1 search today on technorati.com. Who or what does it refer to? A girl named Tammy who attends Nan Yang Polytechnic in Singapore, and who's camera phone was stolen by a "a rival cheerleader, jealous of her popularity" who promptly uploaded a 10 minute video of her having sex. Is Tammy the next dog poop girl? The consequences could be a little worse, as the school may kick her out of school, and the average sentence for an 'unnatural sex act' is one year in jail, according to this moralizing (and oddly worded, but grammatically correct) blog entry.

posted by Paris Hilton
Maybe Paris can give some tips to Tammy.

(Thanks Kant)

The Tammy NYP sex video virus
Guy wants government to regulate blogs because of Tammy
Get your Tammy NYP merchandise, video and domain
Don't do a Tammy

Don't do a Tammy

Some advice for those of you who love recording yourself and your partner while having sex. Don't! Unless you wanna do a Tammy.

Tammy is a Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) student who is making the news in Singapore because of video clips featuring her boyfriend and her engaging in various sex acts. Ghost describes the video:
For the curious souls out there, the original clip is 10 minutes long and about 5 MB in size. It started with Tammy giving a good blowjob, she really seemed to be enjoying it! Frankly, its very stimulating and I got a little aroused too (a female reader who saw the clip confirmed she felt likewise too). The subject proper (read: love making in missionary position) followed next. After sometime, they changed position (Tammy sitting on top) after he put on a condom. The last scene had it that the boyfriend inserted his rod into her other hole (the one where waste matter exits).
Apparently she recorded the clips on her mobile phone and it was stolen/lost one day. Whoever got her phone then decided to post her sex clips online. Her polytechnic has seen the clips and is investigating but won't kick her out of school yet. I've also heard that some NYP students have been approached by reporters who want Tammy's contact.

The latest is that her clips hosted in forums and blogs have been taken down. So if you miss them, well too bad. Oh wait. Still want to view them? Hmmm. How about these?: Part 1 and Part 2. A word of caution. These two videos are extremely R-rated.

Update: Ghost's blog at Bexafraid.com is now down. It says, "This account has been suspended. Either the domain has been overused, or the reseller ran out of resources." Ghost previously described the video and posted some screenshots of it on his blog. It is not known if it was suspended or taken down because of the previously mentioned or because of heavy traffic. (Thanks Nude Rudd)

Update: Bexafraid.com is back online. Blog was taken down because of high traffic. (Thanks Ghost)

The Tammy NYP sex video virus
Guy wants government to regulate blogs because of Tammy
Get your Tammy NYP merchandise, video and domain
Paris Hilton talks about Tammy

Sex is better when men get older

A study finds that men in their 50s are happier than younger men when it comes to their sex lives. From Telegraph:
Despite experiencing more sexual problems than someone 10 or 20 years younger, the average 50-year-old male was more sexually satisfied, researchers found...

They found that men in their 50s were more satisfied with their sex lives than those in their 30s and 40s, who suffered greater work-related stress.
Looks like I have to wait another 20 years or so till I get more sexually satisfied. Ahem. I guess it's like wine. It gets better with age.

(Thanks Mr Big)

Dark chocolate protects smokers

Good news for smokers. Researchers have discovered that dark chocolate helps prevent heart disease in smokers. From Channel NewsAsia:
Smoking is thought to cause blood clots and damage the endothelial, the layer of cells that line blood vessels.

The researchers found that dark chocolate "significantly improved flow-mediated dilation, a measure of the function of the endothelium, for eight hours".

Platelet activity, which is associated with blood clots, was reduced almost by half.

White chocolate had no effect on endothelial cells, platelets or antioxidant levels, the study found.
Go grab your dark chocs now!

SunWorks art contest

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory or SOHO has been sponsoring a monthly art contest called SunWorks for students and adults as part of its 10th anniversary celebration. Artwork must include the Sun as an important element in the submission. Check out all the entries and winners here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Space tourism coming to Singapore

Singapore may not have a space program like neighbour Malaysia but very soon it will have an integrated spaceport that will offer suborbital spaceflights, as well as operate astronaut training facilities and a public education and interactive visitor center. Spaceport Singapore will be developed by Space Adventures, a company that has launched private explorers to space and a group of Singapore companies.

The focal point of the proposed Spaceport Singapore will be suborbital spaceflights. As each suborbital vehicle reaches its maximum altitude of 100 kilometers, passengers will experience up to five minutes of continuous weightlessness, all the while gazing at the blackness of space set against the horizon of Earth.

Spaceport Singapore, in addition to providing suborbital spaceflights, will offer a wide range of space and high-altitude experiences for those who wish to experience various aspects of astronaut training. These include parabolic flights that will allow passengers to experience the thrill of weightlessness, G-force training in a centrifuge, and simulated space walks in a neutral buoyancy tank. Visitors can fly in a variety of jet aircraft, enjoy the exhilarating flight simulators and interactive exhibit experiences, or simply learn about the history and technology of space travel.

The managers of the Spaceport project have been working with various Singapore agencies to make space tourism in Singapore a reality. One of them is the Singapore Tourism Board. It has been involved with the project for the past three years, facilitating technical discussions with other agencies required for this project and bridging negotiations over possible land sites for the Spaceport. The final location for Spaceport Singapore will be in the Changi Airport vicinity. The area will house flight operations as well as the Visitor Center and Training Facility. Spaceport Singapore managers have also met with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, to begin the process of obtaining the necessary approvals to introduce jet fighter, zero-gravity and suborbital spaceflights to the public.

Space tourists at Spaceport Singapore will be travelling in a suborbital space transportation system designed by Myasishchev Design Bureau, a leading Russian aerospace organization which has developed a wide-array of high performance aircraft and space systems. Called Explorer, it will have the capacity to transport up to five people to space and is designed to optimize the customer experience of space travel, while maintaining the highest degree of safety. The system consists of a flight-operational carrier aircraft, the M-55X, and a rocket spacecraft.

Besides Singapore, Space Adventures are also setting up another Spaceport in Ras Al-Khaimah, the northern of the seven emirates that form the United Arab Emirates. The UAE Spaceport will be localted at the Ras Al-Khaimah International Airport, only an hour drive from Dubai.

History of heavy metal

Heavy metal's rise and fall as documented by a blogger. From A Shroud of Thoughts:
I suppose of the causes of heavy metal's decline in popularity is debatable. There are some who have theorised that metal's fall in popularity may have largely been due to the emergence of grunge, in the form of such bands as Nirvana and Pearl Jam. While I suspect that the rise of grunge may well have been a contributing factor in heavy metal's decline, by no means do I think it was the only cause. An equally important cause, perhaps more imporant, was the fact that as the Eighties became the Nineties many of the older, established heavy metal bands either broke up or changed personnel. In 1991 vocalist Rob Halford left Judas Priest and the band never quite recovered. Throughout the Eighties, Black Sabbath had changed personnel to the point that the only original member left was Tony Iommi. With no new heavy metal bands that could quite fill the void left by legendary groups, it is perhaps no wonder the genre went into decline.
History of heavy metal part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5

Chinese snow leopards caught on camera

The secretive snow leopards in western China have been caught on photographs thanks to a study funded by the Snow Leopard Trust and the Wildlife Conservation Society to find out how many snow leopards are left in China. Snow leopards are an endangered species. Only 3,500 snow leopards are left in the wild. For the study, 48 cameras are placed in the remote Tien Shan mountains near the China border. The cameras, which are triggered when a warm body moves past their built-in infra-red detector, remained in the mountains for about 14 weeks. So far, the study has been a success with more than 53 snow leopard photos taken.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2006

It's here again! Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2006 featuring 26 superstar models in their bikinis. The highlight of this year's Swimsuit is definitely 19 year old Russian tennis superstar Maria Sharapova. She traded her cute tennis outfit for some hot bikinis for the Sports Illustrated photo shoot.

(Thanks adrian)

Friday, February 17, 2006

The evening's crepuscular charm II

Today on my photoblog, Katoomba Syndrome: The evening's crepuscular charm II

It should be IN not IS, AFP

Yahoo News is carrying a news report by AFP with the headline US risks 'loss of leadership' is space exploration. Do you see something wrong with it? Look closely and read it out loud. Something ain't right with the headline aye. It should be "US risks loss of leadership in space exploration". Funny how AFP/Yahoo News can make such a mistake.

Dude photographs himself everyday since 2000

Noah K loves taking photos of himself. He has been taking portrait shots of himself everyday since the year 2000!

(Thanks crazy.guv)

BBC Climate Change experiment

BBC needs thousands of people to help them in their climate change experiment. Using a technique known as distributed computing, they are hoping to harness the power of thousands of PCs around the world to predict climate change. From BBC Climate Change:
Taking part is easy. All we’re asking you to do is download a simple programme, which doubles as a screensaver. Once you’ve installed it, your computer will take care of the rest. You don’t have to send us anything. You don’t have to enter any data. In fact – if you decide not set the programme as your screensaver, you probably won’t even notice it’s there.

However, if you want to, you can follow the progress of your experiment on a 3D spinning globe.

The experiment works by making use of your spare processing power. All you have to do is use your computer exactly as you normally would, and the programme will run calculations in the background. When it’s done, it will send results back to scientists in Oxford, who will combine everyone’s results. The more people who take part, the more complete their predictions about the future climate will be.
Download the experiment here.

Amazing Race Asia made in Asia for Asia

The hit US reality TV series The Amazing Race is coming to Asia thanks to the folks at AXN. They will be producing an Asian version of the show and they want you to be a part of it.

The Amazing Race is broadcasted in one-hour episodes in which teams of 2 or 4 race around the world in competition with other teams. AXN's made in Asia for Asia version of The Amazing Race will contain a total of 10 to 12 teams. Each team will be made up of two people with a pre-existing relationship.

If you're interested to be one of the teams in The Amazing Race Asia, go to the official website to download the application form. You and your partner will also need to make a video and tell AXN why you think you’re perfect for the race. Contestants should be working or living in Asia, be 21 years old and above and have driving licence. The Amazing Race Asia is not open for those in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Middle East. You will need to send your application form and the audition video before March 15, 2006.

The producers will look at the application forms and videos and select the lucky applicants for interviews. There are two parts to the interview process. First is the semi-finalist interview. Applicants selected for this interview will have to pay for their own trip and expenses. After the semi-finalist interview, the producers will then narrow down their selection. Those who made the cut will go to the second round which is the finalist interview. This time around, the producers will pay for the trip. At the end of finalist interview, the producers will have selected all the teams competing in the first Amazing Race Asia.

During the actual race, teams will be travelling to numerous locations around the world lasting approximately 30 to 40 days starting in mid 2006. Participants must be prepared to abandon their jobs, etc and leave for the race at short notice. They will not know where they are going untill they are on the race itself. The public and media will also not be informed on where the race is going untill they watch the show on TV.

The winning pair in The Amazing Race Asia will get the US$100,000 prize money. That's one tenth of the prize money offered for the US version.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The world's richest football clubs

Spanish club Real Madrid is the richest football club in the world according to the latest Deloitte Football Money League. Manchester United who has been the richest club for the past eight years takes second place. From BBC:
Real Madrid's income has doubled in the past five years, as players such as David Beckham have boosted shirt sales.

...the appeal of star players such as David Beckham, Ronaldo and Raul have helped boost the club's merchandising efforts. It has used the appeal of these players to boost sales of shirts and other merchandise, particularly in Asia where David Beckham has a huge personal following.

"Real Madrid have been more successful in turning their international support into revenues than most other clubs including Manchester United," Deloitte's Paul Rawnsley said.
My favourite club Tottenham Hotspur is at number 13 in the table.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Penis enlargement surgery is of no help

Doctors say that men who are dissatisfied with the size of their penis should not go for a penis enlargement surgery. Instead, the better solution is psychological counseling. From MSNBC:
“For patients with psychological concern about the size of the penis -- particularly if it is normal size -- there is little point in offering them surgery because it makes no difference,” said Nim Christopher, a urologist at St Peter’s Andrology Center in London.

Christopher and his colleagues, who questioned 42 men who had the surgery, found the dissatisfaction rate was very high. Often the men requested another surgical procedure.
(Thanks Mr Big)

Biggest collection of cigarette packs

Igor Sergeev most probably has the world's largest collection of unopened cigarette packs. He has been collecting them since 1976 and currently has more than 16,000 cigarette packs. He posted photos of more than 5,000 cigarette packs on his website. You can view some of the common ones like Marlboro and Davidoff and even strange brands like Bali Star, Zorro and Dove. Looking at them makes me want to light up and puff.

Atomic blast photos

Extreme high speed photography of the first few microseconds of an atomic bomb upon explosion. Amazing how something so destructive can look so beautiful.

(Thanks Iggy)

Companies using blogs for internal communication

Companies are finding out that blog technology is ideal in improving their internal communication. Blog software is cheap, interactive and easy to deploy making it an attractive choice of communication for companies. From Business Week:
Over the last month, Cannondale has opened its corporate Web site to 15 of its sales and marketing staffers. Each one now has the tools to file his or her own updates, press releases, photos, and news about the race teams Cannondale sponsors, says Janet Maurice, the company's Webmaster.

It may not seem like they're blogging. They're simply using software to send information. Sometimes they do it from remote Internet caf├ęs. In time, they'll be able to file from cell phones. But each mailing, technically, is a blog post. And the program will expand to a host of Cannondale staffers and affiliates. "We're transferring our corporate content management system to blogs," Maurice says.
Step aside corporate intranets!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

McDonald's McGrand Japanese Ad

Take a look at these two Japanese TV ads for McDonald's new McGrand burger. Watch the female version and the male version on YouTube. If you ask me, I would recommend McDonald's Japan to use Jun Ji Hyun for the female ad. Dress her up as a sexy/sweet/cute female Ronald McDonald and I promise you she will sell lots and lots of McGrand.

(Thanks fuserex)

The Clothed Kamasutra

Kamasutra like you have never seen before. With clothes on! Presenting The Clothed Kamasutra photoset on Flickr. Can we have a swimwear kamasutra set next please?

(Thanks jenfr)

The dance of Saturn's moons

Pete Lawrence took 34 shots of Saturn and its moons through his telescope and then created an animated sequence consisting of those 34 shots. Saturn is visible in the western part of the sky roughly one hour after sunset. Here's a guide to observing Saturn through a telescope.

(Thanks Pete)

Jack Bauer's Friendster profile

If Jack Bauer from the hit TV series 24, has a Friendster profile, it will be something like the following. From McSweeney's:
To my enemies: If I need information from you, seconds count. So apologies in advance if I have to break your thumbs or threaten to kill your family; I empathize with you. Believe me, I've been tortured plenty of times myself, and I know interrogation ain't no picnic. Please listen to me very carefully: I will DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to stop this assassination/nuclear bomb/horrible karaoke.

P.S. Feel free to add me to your friends list! Send me a detailed message first (preferably encrypted) with your full background information and a recent photo. I will reply within 24 hours with instructions as to how to proceed from there. Understand that if you deviate from my orders in any way, I will be forced to place you on the "Ignore/Block User" list. Are we clear?

Shoot the quail, not the man Dick!

Imagine that you are the Vice President of the most powerful nation on Earth. One fine Saturday afternoon, you and a bunch of your mates do some quail hunting. You see a couple of quails flying infront of you, get excited, then pull the trigger and only realise later that you have shot one of your mates infront of you. So what do you do?

a)Attend to the injured dude and immediately come clean to the public about the accident.


b) Attend to the injured dude, then tell a private citizen, the ranch owner that she should be the first one to break the news to a local newspaper while you and your office keep silent about the accident for nearly a day.

For US Vice President Dick Cheney, he took option b. TIME has more on how Cheney broke the number 1 rule of hunting. Shoot the quail, not the man Dick! And to see how difficult it is to shoot a quail, try the Dick Cheney Quail Hunt flash game.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Wiki History of the Universe

This dude tried to summarise the history of the universe in 200 words or less with the help of Wikipedia. Some of the words used are Dinosaur extinction, Mammal expansion, Glaciation, Homo sapiens manifestation, Animal domestication, Food surplus production, Civilization, Innovation, Exploration, Religion, Warring nations and Empire creation and destruction. Oh, Terrorism is also included.

(Thanks psy369)

Eddie Fuck found on Google Maps

Those aliens are too much! First, they vandalised the crop fields on Earth with huge geometric patterns called crop circles like this one found on Google Maps UK and now they have stepped up a gear. Also found on Google Maps UK, is a huge message most likely carved out by those aliens that says, "Eddie Fuck". God knows what they are trying to tell us but I think most likely, they are pissed off with Eddie. The problem here is that they do not leave any surname for Eddie so that means all Eddies in this world should beware. The aliens are coming to get you!

(Thanks Murph)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Singapore Idol 2006 begins

Dream a lil Dream took some photos of the crowd at Singapore Idol 2006 auditions yesterday. The photo above shows three Idol hopefuls.

Yuhui reports that the Singapore Idol queue stretched all the way from *scape beside Cineleisure to the junction of Orchard Link and Grange Road where the ERP gantry stands. Form Yuhui's Blogger:
I went down to *scape at 8am... and what a sight greeted me! Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of Idol hopefuls! They queued in a barricaded area standing on nothing more than plywood boards. The line snaked left-to-right and right-to-left about 20 times. Almost everyone looked like they were in their teens, though I spotted a few young adults too. Those who were at the front of the queue held on to their Singapore Idol "survival kit" (comprising of T-shirt, poster, water, etc.) (with a huge Channel 5 logo on it).
K now, sing with me!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Google for your domain

Google is testing a new service with schools, corporations and organizations by hosting Gmail accounts with their very own individual domain addresses. With Gmail for your domain, you can give Gmail to every user at your domain. Google is now accepting domains for this limited beta test. Gmail for your domain comes with the standard 2 gig of storage, search tools and control panel.

(Thanks Andy Longe)

Update: One of the schools testing out Gmail for your domain is San Jose City College. You can view the login page here.

(via The Unofficial Google Weblog)

The evening's crepuscular charm

Today on my photoblog, Katoomba Syndrome: The evening's crepuscular charm

New tomb in Egypt pics

Yahoo News has a series of photos taken by Reuters of the new tomb discovered at the valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. The tomb contains five mummies possibly members of a pharaoh's court.

(Thanks Ron)

Helping Chinese see banned sites

There is a growing number of companies started by Chinese expats to help their fellow Chinese back home to surf websites that are banned by the Chinese government. One such company is started by Bill Xia, a member of the banned Chinese sect, Falun Gong. His company, Dynamic Internet Technology Inc even has human rights organizations using the technology to evade Chinese censors. From Business Week:
The simplicity of DIT's approach belies its effectiveness. The company distributes software, called FreeGate, which disguises the sites a person visits. In addition, DIT sends out mass e-mails to Chinese Web surfers for clients such as VOA, which is banned in China. The e-mails include a handful of temporary Web addresses that host off-limits content and springboards to other forbidden sites...

Yet despite being outmanned and outspent -- Xia has a tiny staff, an annual budget of about $1 million, and relies mainly on volunteers -- DIT's customers say it has been remarkably successful. Xia's staff monitors the success rate of the hundreds of thousands of e-mails they send out each day. If one gets bounced back, the language must be scoured and the offending words detected and added to the company's blacklist. Workarounds are often developed, much like spammers finding holes in a corporate e-mail filter. For instance, an e-mail that contains "VOA" might get squelched, but one with a zero substituted for the "O" could get through.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Royston Tan's 15

15 is a film by Singapore film maker Royston Tan about five teenagers on the fringe of Singaporean society. You can watch it on YouTube. It is in Mandarin/Hokkien.

(Thanks Lancerlord)

Plush Fetus

Someone made a pop-out plush toy of a six week old fetus for embryology class. What a way to illustrate the various features of the fetal membranes!

(Thanks K. Lin)

Vampires are product of kabalistic magic

I've been reading some of the letters sent in by readers to the wacky tabloid Weekly World News. This one caught my attention. It was written by an expert on vampirism. He said that vampires are not evil and not a menace. From Weekly World News:
The first double-spirited men -- now known as vampires -- were created by kabalistic magicians during the inquisition as a means to fight the inquisitors. Although they had to act in secret, their fight was largely successful. The fact that vampires were originally created to fight a corrupted church also explains why vampires are so easily upset by the appearance of crosses.

The reason that vampires now have such a bad rep is that if the magic that binds their second spirit to them is not periodically renewed, their mind begins to age, even though their body remains young forever. This leads to a specific kind of madness, often expressed in unnatural desires (e.g. for blood). Fortunately, someone with experience in the particular kind of kabalistic magic needed to create a vampire can restore a vampire to sanity. If we could encourage this, vampires would once again be a force for good.
Now, if only he can show us some real vampires. That would be great!

Update: For real blood sucking action, take a look at this National Geographic video showing "vampire birds" in action.

Astro talk next Tuesday

I'll be giving an astronomy talk to a group of school kids next Tuesday. It will be a basic entry level astronomy talk in which I will attempt to cover everything from the Solar System to the stars and to basic stargazing. I will also be showing them some videos of my stargazing activities back in Australia and slides of some of my astrophotos. Hopefully we will be able do some observation of the moon and planets if the weather permits.

I'm quite excited because it has been awhile since I gave a talk on astronomy. It is always nice to be able to introduce someone to astronomy and help them appreciate the wonders of our heavens. I will be checking with the organisers if they allow some members of the public to attend. I know some of you might be interested to learn more about astronomy and see me embarass myself infront of school kids. Ha! I will update once I get the organisers' green light.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pilot made a video of his trip from Boston to Paris

A Boeing 767 pilot with American Airlines took a video of his 3 day trip from Boston to Paris to show his daughter how a typical day at work looks like for a pilot. He must have been a cool dad especially with his choice of song for the video - U2's Vertigo!

(Thanks Derrick Ng)

Hong Kongers are having more sex

Hooray for our friends in Hong Kong! A survey finds that Hong Kongers are now having more sex. From Yahoo News:
Residents of the Chinese territory are now having regular sex, and doing it in more places, with more people and in more ways, the survey by HK Magazine found.

More than 10 percent of respondents said they'd had sex with so many partners that they had lost count. More than half of the men said they had paid for sex, while that figure for women was 2.4 percent.

The survey of 1,500 people, which also took place in the Bangkok and Singapore, found Hong Kongers were more prepared to have sex to further their careers and that an equal number of men and women -- around 86 percent -- like to talk dirty
(Thanks ritmo)

T-Rex ancestor found in China

One of the most famous dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex or more commonly known as T-Rex now has a great grandfather. Researchers have found fossils of a dinosaur they called Guanlong wucaii in northwestern China. They say Guanlong wucaii is the oldest primitive relative of T-Rex. From BBC News:
The researchers hope that the find will reveal more about the primitive phase of tyrannosaur evolution.

"Guanlong shows us how the small coelurosaurian ancestors of tyrannosaurs took the first step that led to the giant T. rex almost 100 million years later," Prof Clark said.

Most of the tyrannosaur fossils that have been found date to the latter years of tyrannosaurs' existence, and there are very few early specimens.

Prior to the discovery of the G. wucaii, the 130 million-year-old feathered Dilong paradoxus (D. paradoxus) reported in 2004, was the oldest tyrannosaur known.

McDonald's fries have more fats

It is now being revealed that McDonald's fries have more trans fats that previously thought. According to Ban Trans Fats, trans fat is far worse than saturated fat and is created during the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oil to provide the oil with a longer fry-life. From MSNBC:
McDonald's said that after using a new method to test the level of trans fats in its fries in December, the level of trans fats in a portion of large fries was 8 grammes, up from 6 grammes previously displayed on its website and printed on nutritional literature.

US dietary guidelines call for consumers to keep their intake of trans as close to zero as possible. Trans fats have been shown to raise levels of harmful cholesterol, contributing to heart disease.

The disclosure comes at an awkward time for the world's largest fast food operator, which has been attempting to rebuild trust among consumers in some markets – notably the UK – in its ingredients and food preparation methods.
Now you know why their fries taste so damn good.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I wanna work for Google!

A dude who works in Google, takes photos of the food he eats there and posts them on his Flickr photoset called Google Food Photo Blog. Yummy! Now I know what Google is feeding their people. Dang! I wanna work for Google! Check out their snack room too. I asked my friend Cindy who used to work in Google. She said that the food served in Google's cafes are delicious and best of all... they are free for all staff and their visiting friends! Cindy now works in HP Singapore and misses Google's free food.

A photoblog minus the photos

I call Unphotographable a photoblog without any photos because it only has text accounts of photos that the blogger did not take. For example, in the latest entry, he says:
This is a picture I did not take of a woman smoking crack, or her red jacket, which was hanging by its hood on a red pole (tall as a person) sunk in red brick, isolated and perfect, or how she wanted me to pay her, saying, "everything costs in America" while pulling her coat away, nor is it of a large man in a tiny t-shirt, loading a child's tricycle onto an empty bike rack on the front of a bus, while a man in a coat and a "Fast For Survival" t-shirt flashed me (and his friend) a butcher knife that he was concealing up the sleeve of his winter jacket, nor is it of the man in a wheelchair across the street, attempting (and failing) to roll-up a ramp, and nearly falling backward while being yelled at by another man approaching, shouting, "man, you gotta Slow Your Roll!"
You can almost visualise the photograph developing infront of you. Now, who says you need a camera to capture such moments?!

Q&A with the Danish Foreign Ministry

The Danish Foreign Ministry answers some questions regarding the Prophet Muhammad cartoons that have angered so many Muslims around the world.

Q:Why did the issue of the 12 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad arise?

A: On 30 September 2005 the privately owned Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims around the world have – understandably – felt hurt and offended by the newspaper’s drawings of the Prophet Muhammad. Moreover, governments and parliaments in several Arab and Muslim countries as well as the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the Arab League have in declarations criticised the caricatures and deemed the response of the Danish government insufficient.

In some contexts the issue has unfortunately been portrayed as if the drawings were part and parcel of a smear campaign against Muslims. In the Arab press the image is sometimes erroneously given that Denmark is Islamophobic. This is naturally not the case. The Danish Government respects Islam as one of the world’s major religions. It has no wish and no agenda to insult, mock or in any other way behave disrespectfully towards Muslims. We do not in any way support or orchestrate a smear campaign against Muslims.

Q: Will the Danish Government apologize for the 12 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad?

A: On 30 January the Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen on public television stated that he respected other people’s faith and that he would personally never depict the Prophet Muhammad in a way that could insult other people. He was very pleased with the unequivocal apology of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. It was an important step that he hoped would contribute to a constructive solution.

The Danish Government is not in a position to apologize for decisions made by editors of an independent newspaper. This would simply contradict the spirit of the Danish constitution and the emphasis put herein on freedom of speech, but the Prime Minister has on public television stated that he respected other people’s faith and that he would personally never depict the Prophet Muhammad in a way that could insult other people.

Q: Have the 12 drawings been published in a children’s book?

A: The 12 drawings have not been published in a children’s book and this has never been the intention.

Q: Is Denmark rewriting the Koran?

A: The Danish Government respects Islam as one of the world’s major religions and no Danish authorities would ever initiate such a disrespectful project.

Q: Is it correct that the Danish Queen Margrethe has made statements critical of Islam?

A: No. This is not correct. The Queen has in her New Year’s Address 2005 stated: “The Danish society is open and democratic; it is based on mutual respect as humans and on the respect for each other’s opinions”.

Q: Is the newspaper that published the drawings state-owned?

A: The newspaper Jyllands-Posten is a private and independent newspaper that is neither owned by, nor affiliated to, the Government or any political party in Denmark.

Q: Will the Danish Government make a movie about the Prophet Muhammad?

A: The Danish Government has no such plans.

Q: Is it correct that the Koran will be burned in Denmark?

A: With reference to the rumours of burning the Koran circulated on SMS the Danish Police has warned that participation in demonstrations, where such acts take place, can be criminal and led to a prison sentence.

For more Q&A, please refer to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Wikipedia has more on the cartoons.

*Please do not leave any comments to this post. Thanks.

Play the McDonald's videogame

Running a big corporation like McDonald's ain't easy at all. I played the McDonald's videogame (in flash) a while ago and just realised that it's tough trying to make money all the time. In the game, you will have to create pastures, rear your cattles, slaughter them to make burger, hire and manage your crew, do lots of advertising and marketing and please your board of directors. There are also a lot of dirty work to do such as bribing the politicians and environmentalists, cutting down forests and clearing human habitat. All these for McDonald's to the rule the world. Tough job but someone has to do it.

(Thanks jesty41)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Buddha Project

The Buddha Project invites people all over the world to submit photographs that depicts the images of the Buddha. It aims to build an online collection of Buddha related photographs. Currently, the project has over 120 photos. Go ahead and send yours today.

(via MeFi)

Garden of Eden found in Indonesia

A group of US, Indonesian and Australian scientists have discovered several new animal species and rare wildlife in a tropical forest untouched by humans located in a remote part of western New Guinea. From Conservation International:
The team captured the first photos ever seen of exotic birds such as a male Berlepsch’s Six-Wired Bird of Paradise (Parotia berlepschi). It also found a new large mammal for Indonesia – the Golden-mantled Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus pulcherrimus), formerly known from only a single mountain in neighboring Papua New Guinea.

“It’s as close to the Garden of Eden as you’re going to find on Earth,” marveled Bruce Beehler, vice president of CI’s Melanesia Center for Biodiversity Conservation and a co-leader of the expedition. “The first bird we saw at our camp was a new species. Large mammals that have been hunted to near extinction elsewhere were here in abundance. We were able to simply pick up two Long-Beaked Echidnas, a primitive egg-laying mammal that is little known.”
Here's another press release from Conservation International regarding the discovery of the missing Bird of Paradise. From Conservation International:
With an international team of 11 scientists, the majority from the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), Beehler conducted the first thorough survey of biological diversity in the Foja Mountains – the largest nearly pristine tropical forest in Asia. There they uncovered a trove of new and "missing" species, among them the mysterious and legendary Berlepsch's Six-wired Bird of Paradise (Parotia berlepschi). On their second day in the forest, the team became the first outside scientists to observe a male bird of paradise, finally putting to rest the mystery of the origin of this species.

"We stood in awe as the male romped about in the saplings around our entrance trail, flicking his wings and white flank plumes, and whistling his sweet two-note song for the female-plumaged bird," says Beehler. "I was too spellbound to go get my camera."

The future of the iPod

Wonder how the iPod of the future will be like? The folks at ShortFlip take a look at some of the features that we're likely to see in a future iPod. One of them is the integration of the mobile phone into the iPod. That's what I want! From ShortFlip:
While the iPhone is more of an inevitability than pure speculation at this point, look for Apple to integrate a phone into most iPod lines over the next few years, as features and convergence of portable personal devices become an ever increasing probability. In fact, analysts at Morgan Stanley predict such a device this year with sales revenue in the $1.2 Billion dollar range.

Given the nature of cellular phone use and the popularity of the iPod’s click wheel, Apple could make good use of such a transition. Since cell phone users generally dial friends stored in a contact list, a click wheel seems a much more effective method for quickly accessing the number of a friend than the standard up and down arrows. With text messaging becoming increasingly popular amongst cell phone users and touch sensitive gestures likely being integrated into the iPod, text messages could be sent much faster in an iPod phone.

Japanese earthquake survival products

Earthquake survival products are selling very well in Japan. This one, a home survival kit is one product that you may need if you are staying in the earthquake prone country.

Looking for a Japanese girlfriend?

Looking for a Japanese girlfriend? Wear this T-shirt, then hang out at Japanese restaurants, shopping malls, schools, anywhere that has Japanese girls. Pray and hope you get lucky. The Japanese words on the T-shirt say, "Now accepting applications for Japanese girlfriends". Oh, it also helps if you have a Japanese sounding name like Mr Miyagi.

(Thanks Mr Big)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Bowl XL Commercials

Over at Google Video, you can watch all the commercials that aired during Super Bowl XL. Some of the big names that advertised in this year's Super Bowl are Burger King, Pizza Hut and Toyota. I especially like the commercials by domain registration company, Go Daddy. I'm sure sales will skyrocket for them during the next few days, weeks and months.

(Thanks Sade)

Cowboy Caleb interviews IZ Reloaded

This was originally posted in my old Tripod hosted blog. It's an interview done by Cowboy Caleb on September last year. From Cowboy Caleb:
He has been slashdotted, boingboing’ed, nominated for 2 Asian Blog Awards and was runner up for best Singapore blog in 2004 - ladies and gentlemen; the one and only IZ Reloaded. His blog is a phenomenon, providing a plethora of links and information on topics ranging from sex, gadgets, news and local happenings every day of the week.

Also interesting is his female fanbase, affectionately dubbed “IZ Rabid Fangirls” although from the photo above, it’s quite easy to see why he attracts the opposite sex (the dude is rather hamsem, right?). I personally have been following his blog for some time now because IZ is not only good at finding new and interesting links, he’s also a marvelous writer and a fantastic photog.

In this interview, we learn more about the man behind the blog...

Yahoo and AOL wants you to pay to send email

This is probably the most ridiculous idea ever thought up by Yahoo and AOL. Both companies want to charge email senders a small fee to guarantee that their emails reach the recipient's inbox and not the spam folder. From Business Week:
The plan, while it's optional and would apply to only a fraction of people sending e-mail, amounts to a reversal in the economics of the Internet because it would charge message senders rather than those receiving them. The current model has led to the proliferation of spam and so-called phishing scams because the people perpetuating them can turn a profit even when only a minority of recipients respond, analysts have said.

AOL and Yahoo said the program, which is being offered through a company called Goodmail Systems, will target banks, online retailers and other groups that send large amounts of e-mail. In exchange for a payment and a pledge to contact only people who have agreed to receive their messages, the companies would be ensured their e-mails aren't diverted to spam folders or have images or Web addresses filtered out.

The Moon meets Venus and the Tree

Today's photoblog entry: The Moon meets Venus and the Tree

Sakae Sushi in The Star

Popular japanese food chain, Sakae Sushi is profiled in Malaysia's The Star. From The Star:
Similar to another popular sushi chain here, Sakae serves sushi from a conveyor belt. However, thanks to Singaporean innovation, the restaurant is one up on its competitors as it provides personal computer screens on the dining table which enables customers to place their orders through an interactive menu. You can view the picture, drop the order into your “shopping cart” and then click on the mouse to confirm. Service is also faster because the order goes straight to the kitchen. Only one technical glitch here though – in my friend’s case – her four-year-old happily clicked away and she ended up with extra food that she didn’t know about.

Microsoft says banned blogs can be read by other countries

Microsoft has changed its policies regarding blog censorship. It now says that MSN Spaces that are banned in one country can still be read by anyone outside the country. From BBC News:
Brad Smith, Microsoft's senior lawyer, said it would now remove blog entries only if it gets a "legally binding notice" from the government of that nation. Entries will also be removed if they break the MSN Spaces terms of use.

He added that only people in the nation where the entry breaks local laws will be blocked from seeing the controversial comments. In all other nations access to the entry will be unrestricted.
Previously: Microsoft took down Chinese blog, Scobleizer dissapointed with Microsoft

Irrawaddy dolphins near extinction

Awful news regarding my favourite animal, the dolphins. The rare Asian dolphin, the Irrawaddy is now feared to be nearing extinction after 10 of them have been found dead in Cambodia's Mekong River. From Reuters:
The deaths mean a 10 percent drop in the number of Irrawaddy dolphins living in the Mekong, previously thought to be between 80 and 100. They are restricted to a 190km (115 mile) stretch of the river in the Cambodia/Laos border area...

The WWF said that at least one of the dolphins drowned after becoming entangled in fishing gillnets, the biggest threat to the Mekong population. But other factors such as pollution may be responsible as eight of the 10 dead dolphins were calves, it said.

A guide to getting started in Astronomy

Sky and Telescope magazine is offering its Getting Started in Astronomy flyer as a 10-page, black-and-white Adobe PDF file. It is an easy guide to exploring the universe. There are two versions. One is for northern hemisphere observers and the other is for southern hemisphere observers. For those living in equatorial countries like Singapore, download both versions because we are able to see both the northern and southern hemisphere stars. The guide also comes with a nice moon map. Email me if you need help with the guide.

Blogger having a problem

I will re-post Saturday's entries because they were all wiped out when I began posting the previous story (Ban the light bulb). I believe this is due to a major problem that Blogger is facing. From Blogger Status:
As many people will have noticed, we've had significant hardware trouble over the past couple days. We have tried to keep all of you informed about the status of the service and our efforts to correct the problems. Unfortunately, today's problems were widespread enough such that we were unable to provide ongoing updates.
My apologies. It's Blogger's fault!

Ban the light bulb

The traditional light bulb should be banned to solve the problems of rising energy demands, rising costs and climate change according to a BBC article. It says that traditional light bulbs waste so much energy that it is highly unlikely they would be allowed onto the market if they were invented today. From BBC:
It has been estimated that if every household in the US replaced just three of its incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving designs and used them for five hours per day, it would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 23 million tonnes, reduce electricity demand by the equivalent of 11 coal-fired power stations and save $1.8bn...

In reality, few people seem to be prepared to pay the higher upfront cost of an energy-saving bulb, even though they have much lower running costs; while many seem to feel they are entitled to pollute the Earth's atmosphere without worrying about the consequences.
The author of the above story also runs a blog cum online campaign called Ban The Bulb.

(Thanks Sir Thomas)

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Lego Suicides

The Lego Suicides photoset contains a series of photos depicting people in suicidal situations. The weapon of choice for their suicide: Lego! The picture on the left shows a guy with a Lego gun and Lego blood.

(Thanks fredgoh)

Robot chimpanzee bust

I don't know why anyone would want to buy a fully robotic, life-size bust of a chimpanzee that looks and behave like the real animal. It can see, hear, feel and interact intelligently with people. It has soulful eyes that can track movements using infrared vision. It has ears that have stereoscopic sound sensors and skin that reacts to contact with touch sensors all around. It even has four emotional moods. Scary!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The things I'll do for you

I'll drink your tea anytime.

I'll eat with you and play with your food anytime.

I'll sing and make cute faces with you anytime.

I'll club with you anytime.

I'll dance with you anytime.

Beware of Starforce

StarForce is a copy protection system used in some computer games that is known to cause undesired side-effects and dangers to one's computer. Boing Boing reported that someone from StarForce has threatened to sue them for criticizing the product in a posting. From Boing Boing:
Yesterday, I posted about StarForce, a harmful technology used by game companies to restrict their customers' freedom. StarForce attempts to stop game customers from copying their property, but it has the side-effects of destabilizing and crashing the computers on which it is installed.

Someone identifying himself as "Dennis Zhidkov, PR-manager, StarForce Inc." contacted me this morning and threatened to sue me, and told me that he had contacted the FBI to complain about my "harassment."
Similarities.org has a list of known games that contain StarForce. It is wise to becareful when playing these games.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Chinese New Year fireworks videos

Watch the following videos of Chinese New Year fireworks taken in Genting (Malaysia), Kuching (Malaysia), Hong Kong (part 1 , part 2 and here's another clip), Shanghai and Singapore (here and here).

The best UFO pictures ever taken

The UFO Casebook has compiled some of the best UFO pictures ever taken from 1870 to 2006. I think this one on the left is one of the better ones. Now, you be the judge if these photos are real.

(Thanks kasb5)

Internet Explorer 7 Beta is now Live!

For those of you who are fans of Microsoft's Internet Explorer and those who do not want to move to the Firefox browser (why not?!!!), you would be happy to know that Microsoft has released a beta version of its new Internet Explorer 7. CNET reviews the browser's new features such as its RSS tool. From CNET:
New to Internet Explorer 7 for XP SP2 beta 2 is a complete Really Simple Syndication (RSS) substructure. Currently, when you use a third-party application to receive and read RSS feeds, the app must load a complete RSS rendering engine. Microsoft has created its own and adds it to the Windows XP SP2 operating system (hence, you'll have to reboot when you install the new IE 7 beta). However, the payoff is nice. When you subscribe to an RSS feed, you'll no longer see a page of HTML but a fairly basic representation of all the current feeds for that page, plus any categorizing the site has done regarding specific topics. Also, Microsoft has joined with Mozilla in using the same icon from RSS, making it easy for users to switch between Firefox and IE 7.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 Beta is only available for Windows XP (SP2) users. You can download it via the official website. There's also an Internet Explorer 7 blog written by the developers.

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