Author Archive | Dejiki

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Sony NEX-5n

Recently, I sold away my NEX-5 to upgrade to NEX-5N. On paper, it seems that the NEX-5N only has a few changes: Touchscreen input, 16.1 Megapixels (up from 14.2) and a higher burst/consecutive shooting rate. Using the camera however, tells a different story.

NEX-5N + Planar 2/35

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Wicked: The Broadway Musical – in Singapore

Finally, Wicked is here at Singapore.

For those who strangely have no idea what I’m talking about, this is a hit Broadway musical that I have never expected to watch in Singapore. I have no idea who first introduced Wicked to me, but over the years, I have collected almost all cast recordings, read the original novel by Gregory Maguire and “watched” some performances with video recordings.

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Starbot Cafe: Human Refueling Center

Starbot Cafe is the latest F&B outlet at Universal Studios Singapore. Located at the Sci-Fi City zone, the cafe sits in nicely in the middle of two major blockbuster attractions: Battlestar Galactica: Human vs Cylon and Transformers: The Ride. It does not appear to be solely themed to Transformers (although the crew here wear NEST uniforms), but instead designed to be part of this bustling futuristic zone. Which is why this place is also commonly referred as the Transformers Cafe!

Starbot Cafe - Overview

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Transformers: The Ride

UPDATE: Transformers: The Ride has officially opened!


Transformers: The Ride started its technical rehearsals today at Universal Studios Singapore. I am pleased to say that it is an amazing ride, and you can read all about it right here! Where else, huh? 🙂

This extended entry features a photo tour of the pre-show elements, a detailed description of the ride elements and some technical bits, followed by my review of the ride.

Update!
LATEST: Differences between Hollywood and Singapore versions (see below)
– Recent changes to the ride added (under Technical Info)
– Preshow videos added!
– New section on safety instructions
– More videos added
– New section on preshow
– More photos – panoramics added!
– Correction: Transformers character names fixed
– Ride Transcript and On-ride Audio Recording now available. Check below!

Differences between Hollywood and Singapore versions

This entry is written with information from the ride at Universal Studios Singapore. Here is a comparison with the ride at Universal Studios Hollywood.

– Entrance to ride building is completely different. Hollywood version has a giant billboard of Optimus and Megatron in an explosive duel, and guests enter the building from the front (or extra switchbacks from the side). In Singapore, the actual ride building is obscured and guests enter the queue via a gate at Sci-Fi City.

– Queue layout is entirely different but similar rooms exist. Such as the Allspark Containment Chamber (which is larger in Hollywood).

– Crew members are dressed as military personnel, with combat fatigues in Hollywood. In Singapore, they are dressed as NEST personnel, but appear more like support staff wearing office dress.

– Hollywood version uses the new Infitec 3D glasses (also used in the recently updated “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man” at Universal’s Islands of Adventure). The Singapore version uses the – unfortunately older and cheaper – polarized 3D glasses.

– First scene in Hollywood has working bullet ricochet effect (the effect is out-of-sync and incomplete in Singapore).

– Finale scene in Hollywood has a burst of fog before the ride vehicle passes under Megatron.

– Unloading platform in Hollywood looks more “damaged”, with more areas, such as ceiling vents, being “ripped apart and destroyed” during the exciting parts of the ride.

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Universal Studios Singapore – Update 11/2011

UPDATE 2!
Transformers: The Ride is now open for technical rehearsal.
For the review/report and photos of the attraction, please go this entry.

UPDATE!
Transformers: The Ride
Previews for all Annual Passholders
On 25th and 26th November 2011
During Park hours (10am to 9pm)
No reservation is required.
All annual passholders will be able to visit both dates and enjoy unlimited access during park hours.

(For more info please click on Read More and scroll to the bottom)

TTR - The Poster!

This month’s update to the new stuff at Universal Studios Singapore include:
Christmas Decor at the Park
Transformers: The Ride Entrance
Transformers Supply Vault (Retail Store)

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iPhone 4S, Siri and Singapore

DSCF2003
Despite recommending that iPhone 4 users should stick with their devices for another year… I’ve changed to the iPhone 4S.

It’s a lot easier to get hold of an iPhone 4S in Singapore now (compared to the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4) as most telco companies, especially Singtel, did away with their messy and unreliable “queue” system for walk-in purchases.

The greatest motivation to upgrade? Since I’m reading Interactive Media this semester, I thought it would be enlightening to get a first-hand experience with conversational interfaces. Personal assistants and chatbots have come a long way since the Eliza – the pseudo-psychiatrist robot – spoke to bewildered new media majors, all struggling with their term papers on interactivity. Okay, that’s a lie. Hahaha.

DSCF2005

So anyway, what do you really gain if you upgrade?

iPhone 4 -> iPhone 4S

– Siri
– Dual-core A5 processor
– Dramatically faster performance for most tasks
– Speaker is A LOT louder
– Improved noise-cancelling for Microphone (clearer voice over calls, especially between two iPhone 4S)
– Vibration motor is very quiet
– Antenna is drastically improved (2-3 bars, when iPhone 4 can get only 0-1 bar)
– World phone
– Improved camera sensor + optics (f/2.4 optics)
– Captures 1080p30 video and 8 mega-pixel images
– Weaker battery life (drains more than it should, due to faster processor and some bugs)

iPhone 3GS -> iPhone 4S

All of the above and..
– Retina display
– Front-facing camera
– FaceTime
– Phenomenally faster performance for most tasks
– Slimmer design which feels lighter
– The updated Apple Earphones with 3 buttons (not that you should only use this…)
– A mandatory switch to microSIM

iPhone, iPhone 3G

You should definitely upgrade as these devices do not support iOS 5.

How good is Siri?

Anyway, the voice-recognition ability of Siri is astonishing. In the particular way that it can understand what I’m saying most of the time. There was no need for any accents, or at least, I just spoke normally in Standard Singapore English (NOT Singlish). I believe Siri will work for most Singaporeans with no problems. As long as you speak in complete sentences and enunciate words clearly, Siri will be able to recognise commands. However, special care must be taken when it comes to diction. Any awkward break, or “errrr/hmmmm/lahhh” sort of thing will throw the voice recognition off. If you happen to speak like this then there is no chance that Siri will work.

One thing to note, Siri requires an internet connection at all times for it to function. Voice processing (and finding answers) occurs at Apple’s servers – The Siri interface basically compresses your voice data and sends it to Apple. Eventually, Siri will learn the nuances and speech habits of its owner.

Siri will become more useful in 2012 when location-based search is available in Singapore.

Here are some of “My Siri moments”:


IMG_0173

Siri could interpret this sentence and run a conversion through Wolfram Alpha.


IMG_0171

Wolfram Alpha processes most of the questions. If you are familiar with its capabilities, then Siri simply acts as the voice-recognition agent.

IMG_0172

I’m not sure if Siri is made for people who have little time (or just plain lazy) to use Apps. While Siri does makes things easy (such as setting reminders and calendar events), it does get very tiring after a while to keep speaking to the iPhone.

And to test just how powerful the voice recognition engine is, I have this image to show, courtesy of my sister who first tried this out.
IMG_0170

Of course, Siri has a personality:

IMG_0175

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