It's nothing personal. I'm just…

“It has been said that to write is to live forever. The man who said that is now dead.”

Month: March, 2010

Every Boy Needs A Toy

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”

* * * * * * *

A toy is defined as something you play with. & I’m not discussing anything remotely close to what males usually play with upon puberty, so let’s cleanse our minds please.

One of my first toys was a yellow model car that you could actually sit in & “cycle” around the house (see figure below to get an idea). I was about 1 that time. Then I became obsessed with those little green soldier figures you see in Toy Story. I too had a particular fetish for bulldozers & tractor models, before moving on to “accelerating” tiny car models around imaginary tracks, complete with the closest imitation to Ferrari revs I could muster with my tiny inexperienced lungs back then.

Vroom vroom. Colours are for display only & may vary from actual model.

How times have changed. The definition of toys, for this generation, has widened.

When most people started having electronic toys (i.e. cellphones & playstations), I was one of those, fortunately in many ways, who were protected from such technologies, thanks to higher powers (haha). Instead I stuck loyal to my most dependable toys; the piano, the guitar, & occasionally the violin (only because playing the violin alone can be quite depressing at times). Not your most conventional toys; you actually gotta work hard rather than simply toy around with them. If not, well, just imagine the violin being played the very first time. The sound would cure constipation.

But how long could you avoid being sucked into the world of the latest gadgets & technologies? During the period when my ambition was to marry a hot air stewardess, toy-wise I couldn’t resist the iPod Nano the second it came out, & I remain with it despite many generations  of Nanos later. Now, while I try hard to not get distracted by iPhones & HTCs & whatever kinds of berries out there, there will come a day when my work & personal needs necessitate a venture into such electronic “assistants”. Indeed, while the “woody” pianos, acoustic guitars & violins remain irreplaceable, you can’t say the same for the poor typewriters. Now, even fixed line phones are a thing of the past.

So today, from the big yellow plastic cycle-able car model 23 years ago, I’m pleased to announce the latest addition to my toy list…

Audi R8 5.2L V10, topping at 518 bhp & 530Nm torque, with a 0-100kph time of 3.9s.

Riiiggghhhttt.

At the risk of subjecting myself to a massive anti-climatic potong-stimness of herculean proportions, I am actually referring to my Asus A42Jr notebook.

Why an Anus you say? I mean Asus.

Well for starters, getting a new lappie was never in my 2010 resolutions. My previous Acer, which drained me of 5.2k (man,those were the days), had served me exceptionally well (by usual Acer standards) for 5 solid years, handling all my gaming (physical & mentally), CAD, MatLab & Ansys requirements, before its motherboard fried end of last year. I then borrowed temporarily my mom’s new HP Compaq, which deprived me of my usual games due to its miserable lack of a dedicated graphics card. As if lady luck was not on my side, a calamity occurred a few weeks back when its LCD panel cracked. So yea, fark you HP. For 5 years I’ve subjected my old Acer LCD to much more gory & violent  unnatural acts that involved loads of pressure, impacts, black coffee, vanilla coke & even drops of my roommate’s pet iguana’s urine, yet nothing has ever happened to it. This brand new Compaq – I don’t even really know what happened aside from the fact that I closed the lid, & the LCD later awakens with multiple coloured lines in spider-web form. So yea, double-fark you HP. Make that upside-down too. Because HP/Compaq makes pussy notebooks.

Okay, before any of you guys start getting any ideas of how to sue me for brand defamation, I’m just letting off steam here, so let me off the hook will ya.

Thus off I go searching for a compatible budget notebook. This time, I was only willing to invest half of the 5.2k I spent for my previous Acer, since that amount was adequate to get a decent notebook with a sufficient graphics card. Yea, this time it’s all about budget! If it would have been about style, I would have gotten a Macbook Pro, if money was not an issue, I would have gotten maybe an Alienware. Nevertheless, I’m not too brand conscious, so as to be expected, when doing a comparison solely based on specs+value-for-money package, Acer always comes out tops. The first model that caught my eye was the 4736G, but I soon found out it was too popular, & the model ran it’s course, to be replaced by the equally attractive 4740G. This gives an i5-430M processor, with 2G DDR3 of RAM, a 500GB hard disk & a GeForce G310M card, all packaged for RM2499. So, while I flirted with the idea of Dell’s Studio 14 (with a customization peaking at RM3600), I made up my mind. Digital Mall, here I come.

Acer Aspire 4740G

With Alan & Kianu assigned as my wing-men, we surveyed the mall only to find out that, well, 4740G was too popular as well (& apparently there was a shipping issue), so gotta wait for new stock to come. What is with Acer & Malaysians?! That was when, the anus, in the form of an Asus, caught my eye. Talk about pulling something out of your arse.

Asus A42Jr

Basic specs:

Intel Core i3-350M 2.26GHz Processor
Pre-installed Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
14″ LED HD
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 with 1G DDR3 RAM
2GB DDR3 RAM (I added another 2G for RM160)
500GB SATA HDD
8x Multi-Dual DVD ROM
2-years Global Warranty
Price: RM2699

As far as I know this model arrived here around February 2010 & was sold out too, before this new stock arrived recently. I was mildly impressed at first look, & it seemed to meet all of my requirements. As compared to the 4740G (aside from the fact that Acer’s cheaper) basically it’s a slight step-down CPU-wise, with an i3-350M compared to Acer’s i5-430M. I’m still a little muddy on this new Intel branding of these latest-released i3 & i5 cores (as well as the previous original i5 & i7 cores), but I know the i3 does not support turbo-boosting as opposed to the i5 cores. On the graphics side, though a class lower, the ATI HD 5470 scores a little higher on the 3D Mark 06 average score as compared to the GeForce G310M (4028 & 3567 respectively), & the ATI does come with a higher dedicated 1G of RAM, so that should do the job. I’ve run 3DMark05 on my notebook & it gave a 6421 rating the first time. Both compared graphics cards are entry-level, & I’m not asking for much in this department anyway. I immediately bought another 2G Kingston stick to upgrade my RAM to 4G, so the total price swiped was RM2859. Good thing is Asus includes a 2-year Global Warranty compared to the standard 1-year period by other manufacturers, so that’s a plus point.

3D Mark Ratings: ATI Radeon HD 5470 (left) & Nvidia GeForce G310M (right)

However what surprised me the most was its design; it looks sublime-slick. I love the streamlined patterns on its LCD back. Though it weighs heavier than I would have preferred, it is definitely thinner than the bulky Acer 4740G or the ugly Studio 14. I too adore the spacious feel of the “chiclet” keyboard, though the “originals” from the Vaios & Apples, or even the HPs, seem sturdier. In terms of construction, the 42Jr humbles the miserable 4740G for sure, but that’s nothing really to shout about, since Acer’s built is always questionable. Oh, the Asus model comes in a 15-inch (A52JR) too, with the exact same specs for the same price, but these days mobility is of additional concern for me, so a 14-inch serves me well enough.

I’ve never really been taken by Asus, but from the minimal knowledge I have I know they manufacture a lot of their own hardware. What surprises me was, through a brief look-about online, I discovered several 09/10 articles that statistically compared the reliability of notebook brands based on malfunction rates of samples taken. Asus came out top as the most reliable manufacturer, followed by Toshiba, Sony & Apple. Dell stood somewhere in the middle, with HP (hahahaa, pussies!), Gateway, Acer & Lenovo most unreliable. I pray these statistics are not over-optimistic, & will reflect the true nature of my own notebook’s life.

Source: Warranty firm SquareTrade

So far the lappie has surpased my initial expectations. The Altec Lansing in-built speakers suck balls, but it’s not like I ever use them anyway. Just to be safe, I’ve gotten myself an external USB keyboard to suppress my suspicion of the “chiclet” keyboard’s survival rate subjected to intense Fifa physical torture.

So yea, my latest addition to my toy list is a new notebook. An Asus, surprisingly. This type of toy, a notebook, has been the most depended-on toy in my university life. Haven’t you heard? We UTPians wake up & power up our computers before we brush our teeth, that’s assuming we actually off our computers before we go to sleep the night before, or that we actually brush our teeth at all. For the past few months, I’ve experienced the extreme trauma of not waking up to an adequate notebook, a void that was not able to be filled by my other toys (guitar…& fantasies about hot stewardesses). So I guess it’s not just about having a toy, is it?

Yes, every boy needs a toy, but we need the right toy too.

Unless you are Tiger Woods. Hmm hmm.

KV’s previously-temporary ambition to marry a hot air stewardess has been challenged numerous times over the years, but KV remains steadfast. Put that hot air stewardess in an Audi R8 V10…now that’s what I call a fantasy.

She, Is The Only Exception

Update:

I didn’t bring in a decent camera to Paramore’s concert, but these gorgeous pictures by Aloysius Lim (Warner Music) do absolute justice. Check out the rest & the review at blog.mtvasia.com.

Paramore, Live in Singapore 2010!

HELL YEAAAAAAARRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Sigh.

I miss Hayley.

“& I’m on my way to believing…”

There is a lot to say about Singapore. The horrible pushing. Falling. The pushing again. Uncivilized locals. Lost shoes. Bent spectacles. Horrendous sound system. The wtf-is-she-trying-to-do lead singer from the opening band. Absence of Josh. The shockingly short performance. & one particular hilarious loser.

Still.

Paramore was utterly breathtaking.

Those moments during “The Only Exception” & “Brick by Boring Brick” will forever hold a special place in my memory, my heart.

(..even ridiculously behind an iron mask, she still looks awesome!)

All pictures courtesy of paramore.net & blog.mtvasia.com.

%d bloggers like this: