Stephen's Ramblings on Life,Tech, Photography and other things...

Hero 336 - a cheap fountain pen

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Lately I have been having a fountain pen fetish. I keep looking at fountain pens in shops and on the internet. So it is with great surprise that I found the Hero 336 available at Mustafa Centre's stationary department for $1.20 SGD from this site. Who can resist this price! I promptly went and got one. When i got to Mustafa I looked around for the stationary department which was on the 4th floor. I headed up and wondered where was I going to find a $1.20 fountain pen? Was it going to be displayed along side the expensive stuff in the display cases or was it just displayed outside like any cheap pen? I was told there there were not too many pens left and the next time it would come in was in 10 to 15 days time.

This pen is made by the Shanghai Hero pen company, from what I can find out this pen was released during 1968 (2 years after the Cultural Revolution when Mao Ze Dong took power) a good 40 years ago and it's still being produced today. It was a low cost pen for the masses in China.

The pen was reviewed using the guidelines found at the Fountain Pen Network


Hero 336 - Cheap cheap


The Cap


Hero 336 with cap posted

The Nib

  1. First Impressions (7/10)It's a bit heavier than what I imagined it would weigh as the whole pen looks very plasticky. But what caught my eye was the gold cap and the price of $1.20 SGD/Singapore Dollar for a fountain pen.
  2. Appearance & Design (7/10) The Hero 336 follows a Parker 51 kind of design. The pen cap is gold in color and the pen body is in plastic. The filling sac inside is made of semi transparent plastic and is covered with a metal body. The nib itself is hooded like the Parker 51.
  3. Weight & Dimensions (7/10) The pen is about 12cm and with the cap posted 15cm. The pen feels more balanced if the cap was posted while writing. The pen does feels abit light for me when i write and i do tend to prefer a heavier pen.
  4. Nib & Performance (6/10)This pen writes with a fine/extra fine tip. It is not stated anywhere what size the tip is other than it's made of iridium. Filled it with Pelikan Black and Noodler's Eel Blue. The nib is quite scratchy and very hard. There were some postings on the internet that they used it as a dart in school!. It writes dryly, tried it ion normal printing paper and in my journal (A journal bought from Ikea) dosen't soak through at all. The nib size is small enough for me to do my morning paper's sudoku on my way to work.
  5. Filling System (7/10) - It uses a non removable Aerometric filling system that means you can't use carts with it. It takes probably about 10 squeezes to fill the pen. And with the sac being transparent, you can see how much ink is left in the pen. Nothing wrong of it as it gets the job done.
  6. Cost & Value (8/10) I brought it from Mustafa Centre in Singapore when I bought it there weren't that many left but when i visited about a week later they seem to have refilled the stock. So i guess that the supply is quite constant. The price is $1.20 SGD or about 0.83 USD.
  7. Conclusion (Final score, 5/6) - For 1.20 SGD it's great value for money and great as a knock about pen for use in daily work. They nib is abit scratchy, although i do hope some constant use would make it smoother in the long run.

Singapore Fountain Pen Faq
Blogger experince with the Hero 336
Some history about Hero
Stripping a Hero 336
Pen Shopping at Mustafa
Fountain Pens in Singapore

Times of my life blog

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Found this interesting blog about life in Singapore during the 60s to the 80s period while doing some research, but that's a topic for a separate blog post. There are posts about movie tickets, SBC, old school conditions and so on. A interesting read overall.

Merry Chirstmas !

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Here's a very Merry Christmas and hope that all your wishes do come true !

Mame on Ubuntu EEE

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Tried getting Mame up on my EEE Pc so that I can have some games to play. Turns out to be not so simple.

Tried sdlmame, xmame-svga, didn't work out too well. sdlmame was slow, no idea why and xmame-svga always pops up with a can't open /dev/tty error.

Finally tried xmame-x works like a charm. Just type sudo apt-get install xmame-x

To run the games create a roms directory and put your roms there. To start xmame just type xmame -rp

If the screen is too small you can add a -s to make the screen bigger.

Saw this post on slashdot and thought to share it here. Basically it's about some kid distributing Linux discs in his school and his teacher conficated the disc and told him that there is no such thing as Free Software. The teacher went so far as to comment that Windows runs on virtually every computer. Well... in my house currently there are 3 computers, 2 using Vista and 1 using Linux, I would say it's pretty safe that not all computer run on Windows, At least 33% does not :)

Finished my third Standard Chartered 10km run last Sunday, my advice don't run if you have a sore throat. I felt terrible after the run, and for the next few days after that also terrible. That explains the late blog post.

This year run's route was abit different due to the constuction at the Marina Bay area for the IR. We got a more scenic route this time round with the route running pass the Singapore Flyer (got a good all round view if you are not too tired), pass one of the F1 track places (where there are a lot of Ferrari's on display). The part where we got to run up the expressway to the Rochor Exit was simply painful and long.

My running shoe of 3 years finally gave its last during the run, the sole gave way while I was running and it's not just one side of the shoe but both and some more the same piece of sole from each side. So if you are along the expressway going towards Rochor exit or if you are near the F1 are (where there are currently lots of Ferrari's parked there now) and see a piece of shoe sole, it's probably mine.

Anyway for those that are interested my timing was 1 hr 7 mins give and take abit :).

Anyone game for 21km next year?

Here's a video on how to tie your shoe laces correctly.

Hitler and the D3X

Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

Anyway I am a Nikon man with no money for a D3X too.

Link to Ken Rockwell's site that he mentioned.

Just got my newest toy a ASUS EEE PC 1000H last sitex. Chuck away the Win XP and installed Ubuntu EEE.

Will write about my experience with the EEE soon, but first for those people who have another computer at home using windows and would like to share their data out to their EEE which is on
Linux. This is the post for you.

Share out the Windows Drive
First share out the Windows Drive (Here I am using Windows Vista, Win XP is about the same)

Put in the share name.

Make sure that you give enough permissions for people to access.

Install SAMBA

sudo apt-get install smbfs

Use smbclient to list out the drives that are shared on your windows machine. You need to know your IP for you windows box.

smbclient -L

Next to mount the drives.

Create the mount point.

Then use the following command to mount the drives.

smbmount \\\\ \\

Yes you are correct 4 \ for the first part and 2 for the second. This is due to in Linux and Unix \ has a special meaning so you need 2 \ to mean 1 \. So to Linux it actually sees it as \\.

One word says it all...

By Stephen Lee

Took a trip to the newly opened Marina Barrage last Saturday. I reached Marina Bay Mrt about 5pm and directions to the shuttle bus service upon leaving Marina Bay were clear and got to the waiting area without any trouble.

On the website it's stated that there is a 40 seater bus every half hour. The queue that I saw forming was definitely more than what a 40 seater could carry. As I waited I saw people slowly leaving the queue because of the long queue of people and the heat didn't help.

Finally saw the bus coming and along with it came a small 12 seater. But the two buses were not enough to carry everyone.

Reached Marina Barrage after a short 10-15min trip and the place was crawling with people.

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View when you enter Marina Barrage

Lots of people were there mostly taking photos, playing football, walking along the barrage itself and some were even trying to fly kites.

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People having fun

Soon it was night fall, the night scene at the barrage was beautiful and you can get a good shot of the flyer without using a long lens. Most of my shots were taken using a 18-70mm Nikon on my trusty D70 which translate to about 28-105 in 35mm.

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About 7:15pm I left the place and started joining the queue for the shuttle bus back to Marina Bay mrt. First thing that I noticed was that there were still many people strolling in, and there was a jam just outside the barrage. Cars were trying to go out and come in, and it didn't help that the roads at the place were single lane roads.

And the queue for the bus was long, and due to the jam I waited almost 45 mins before I saw the bus coming. Lucky managed to squeeze up the bus, and what's the worse thing was the driver shouted out to those still queueing that his was the last bus liaoz. And couple with the fact that there are no bus services in and taxis were quite unlikely to go in (abit remote lah), the possibility of walking the 3 plus km to the nearest mrt is almost a certainly. This is one part which i think PUB/whoever is running the place didn't take into account.

Like most new places in Singapore, during the first few weekends everyone will definitely be wanting to go take a look at the place, so they should probably take into account the demand and the fact that there is no public transport into the place. I didn't see anyone there who was directing traffic/managing the bus queue, hopefully they will sort this out soon and arrange for public bus services to the barrage during the weekends. If not the vision of having this park in the city will not be realised.

So for those going during the weekends, beware of the crowds and the bus timings :)

Walkabout 1 Nov 2008

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Some pictures that I taken while going for a walkabout last saturday. Went around Arab Street, to take a last look at the New Seven Story hotel (didn't take any really nice pictures of the hotel). Went around to Suntec City, to the Esplanade then finally walk through Esplanade Park to City hall.

All shots taken with my old and trusty D70 and process with DXO Optics Pro



Calendars and Organizers

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Just some links to share for those who are thinking of planning their next year holidays and some links for making your own planners.

Vertex 42 has some templates for printing out calendars, yearly monthly, weekly formats are avaliable.

Ministry of Manpower has a page with the list of public holidays in Singapore.

Pocketmod You can create a handy organizer of 8 pages from a letter size piece of paper, which you can easily slip into your pocket. You can fully customise what goes into you small little organizer. There are options for a full year small calendar, weekly planner, task list and so on. Give it a try.

D*I*Y Planner A site with many templates for creating all sorts of planners even a Hipster PDA templates is included.

Lecia Magic Moments II

By Stephen Lee

Went down to SMU Gallery at SMU (Where else !) for the Lecia Magic Moments II exhibition last saturday, 25th oct.

Brief extract.

Oct 23 to Nov 5, SMU Gallery

Presented by Leica, the exhibition MAGIC MOMENTS II consists of 40 original black-and-white photographs by well known photographers such as René Burri, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Inge Morath, Marc Riboud, Mary Ellen Mark and Sebastiao Salgado.

Opening hours are 11am to 8pm.

I reached SMU Gallery at about 2:30pm and went to the gallery, it was locked and the lights weren't on. I was like thinking did I get the date wrong? or they weren't opened on a saturday, and was thinking how silly that they were not opened on a saturday since that was when most people would be free to come and see.

Lucky when i went over to the security to inquire about the opening hours of the gallery. There was this guy that was walking behind me and came up as ask me if I was here for the Gallery. Turns out he was suppose to open the Gallery, he apologised and so I hanged around SMU while waiting for the Gallery to open.

The exhibition was great, these are real black and white prints (the ones you get by standing in a red light room and smelling "nice" chemicals fumes not off photoshop and a printer), and some of these prints are signed by the photographers themselves, so they are probably the original exhibition prints not a reproduction.

The photos were great, most of the prints were roughly around 8r to 12r. It does show off what leica lenes are capable off, and what great printing to do to enhance it. But what is most important is probably the photographers vision and skill. I couldn't really find the listing of the pictures (even after searching great Google). I did however found a small picture of Mother Teresa by Mary Ellen Mark on ther website (I think that the picture that was on the website is quite a poor scan of the original).

After seeing the exhibition, all would wish that they have leica's hanging off their necks and magically great pictures like the ones displayed woul follow.

alas we all know how untrue that is.

POTD - Cheapest Fine in Singapore

Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

Cheapeast Fine in Singapore

This must be the cheapest fine in Singapore, taken at Hougang Mall

POTD - Shelter from the sun

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Waiting for traffic light to change

People sheltering from the hot sun waiting for the traffic light to change

What does love mean ?

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Copied it from some website and found it meaningful.

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does ‘love’ mean?’

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

‘When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore.
So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love
Rebecca- age 8

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth
Billy - age 4

‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other
Karl - age 5

‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’
Chrissie - age 6

‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’
Terri - age 4

‘Love is when my mummy nakes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving to him, to make sure the taste is OK.
Danny - age 7

‘Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.
My Mummy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss
Emily - age 8

‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen
Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

‘If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,’
Nikka - age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)

‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.’
Noelle - age 7

‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’
Tommy - age 6

‘During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.
He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared any more.
Cindy - age 8

‘My mummy loves me more than anybody
You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.
Clare - age 6

‘Love is when Mummy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’
Elaine-age 5

Love is when Mummy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’
Chris - age 7

‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.
Mary Ann - age 4

‘I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’
Lauren - age 4

‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’ (what an image)
Karen - age 7

‘Love is when Mummy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.’
Mark - age 6

You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it,you should say it a lot. People forget
Jessica - age 8

This wins for me too
And the final one — Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge.
The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.
When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry’

POTD - Everland, Korea

Posted In: , , , . By Stephen Lee


Interesting photo I took in Korea at the Everland Theme park.


Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

Site to create your own flickr slideshow for embedding in ur blog or website.

Korea Trip Photos

Posted In: , , . By Stephen Lee

My Korea Honeymoon photos, to see the Flickr webpage click here.'

Just note that the slide show sequence is not very correct.

Back from my honey moon

Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

Hi to all of you who reads my poor little blog (think i have less than 10 readers). I am back ! Actually i am back since Sunday, but the past few days was spent visiting my in-laws and cleaning up the house abit.

Will post more stuffs about my wedding and korea trip later so stay tune !

Just a week to the big day, so what am I doing.

Spent the morning fixing up a small ikea beside cupboard to double up as a small dressing tableThe parts lying around
1 hours later !

The rest of the day was spent mopping the floor (my usual saturday routine). Now I am planning my dinner sitting arrangements as I am typing this blog. Later I will be bring my Creative Zen to get it fixed (has some problems with the lock key function).

For those who are coming to my wedding, note that It's just a week away ! Don't forget ah !

Interesting read for people who are using TrueCrypt hidden volumes, the OS and even installed applications might give away clues to the hidden volume.

The report only covers Windows in general, but it does show how Windows and related applications like word processors can compromise the hidden volume.

What's on my mind these days?

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Well what's on my mind these days?

Wedding, Wedding and Wedding.

From morning events to church reception to the wedding dinner. Even at work also thinking about it. From Invites to Mass Booklets to Guest List to what clothes to where to cleaning up my room to really trying to see how to put the rest of the stuff that can't really fit into my new room (really need some dynamite here) to what clothes my brothers should wear to what clothes my parents should wear to what is the sequence to jing char to what time my brothers should come to what time i must reach the brides house to what time i should get to the church to who to invite given that i don't really have the biggest banquet hall in the world to actual day music to video montage to caterer to tidying up my house to trying to keep it clean and much much more.

Am i complaining? Not really. Am I stress, abit abit lah. Okies maybe not so abit, but still ok.

Am I looking forward to the wedding, Yeap looking forward to it and if possible hoping to enjoy it as best as I can! and of course hoping to enjoy married life also haha !

I have been cleaning up my room in anticipation of new furniture for my new room (It will be coming this saturday). I will be taking my mums room to stay in with my future wife till my new house is ready, my mum will take my room. To complicate things abit my mums bed will go to my room, my bed will go to my father's room and my father's bed will be given away.

So on Sunday i clear out the stuff beneath my bed, my bed is on of those where there are slots to put stuff and also shift the stuff out to my living room. End of day 1

On Monday, went to Ikea to change a broken light bulb and have dinner, End of day 2

On Tuesday, i started dismantling my bed after work, when i bought this bed from Ikea i took 4 hours to fix it up, now i took about an hour to dismantle it. Shifted the pieces all around the house. End of day 3.

On Wednesday after work again, took apart my dad's bed, lucky it was a simple bed. Shifted parts around the house again, started to fix up my bed, took about an hour plus. End of day 4

On Thusday, didn't feel too good, slept early been sneezing the whole day and having a headache. Had an early night.

Today will be resting again haha

Sat will be moving my mum's bed, cleaning up and shifting a few small items around.

Lessons learnt.
My Room during cleaning up
  1. Don't subscribed/buy too many magazines. They take up a lot of space esp if u have a subscription.
  2. Too many text books, I have a lot of text books from my uni days, abit reluctant to get rid of them since I always thought i would have a use for them, well its been about 6 years since i graduated and I didn't really refer to them once. Look for your answers with google instead, or try to get ebooks of the books which you think might be useful. Although I will agree, nothing beats the feeling of flipping a real book.
  3. Don't have too many hobbies. With too many hobbies you tend to have too many things lying around. Make a choice as to what do you really want to do. For me, I had too many hobbies, Photography, Scale modelling, a limited toy collection. Resulting in too man knick knacks here and there. Need to trim the inventory abit :) I also have a golf set lying around, have not been playing for a year. Probably not for the next few years too. Until they build a driving range near my house., without a car, it's simply too much of a pain to travel.
  4. Boxes from stuff that i bought, I tend to keep too many boxes of the stuff that i bought, the boxes are mainly of photography equipment, with the idea that if i ever sell it i can give the boxes too. Now i have too many of these boxes around. Need to sell of some of my inventory.
So the key to having an uncluttered room is not to buy too many books, magazines and not to have too many hobbies !

I just managed to get back the soft copy of my bridal shoot photos on Saturday, haven really seen them yet (other than the time we went to select photos). Nope not going to post them online, if not people who are reading this and attending the wedding will have nothing to see liao.

But that got me thinking, should i print my own small photobook for the photos or just print normal 4r using Snapfish since i do have some free credits there and put them into a nice photo album?

Well let me go through the various sites and think about it. With more and more such sites coming, and with people getting more proficient in using photo editing software, there are some great opportunities of creating lasting pieces of memories that simple album will not do.

Anyway haha shall I inflate my own ego and "publish" my own photo book of my "greatest" works for sale haha, anyone wants to buy? Drop me a comment if you are interested!

Below are some of the photo book sites that deliver to Singapore.


Photobook Singapore

Photobook Malaysia


My Photo Ideas


Congrats Jingshun and Candy

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Today I have the honor of being the "brother" for my good friend Jingshun's wedding, as with all Chinese weddings it started off early in the morning with the "brother" troupe setting off and getting the bride. There was the "tekan" session, singing, pampers wearing, wasabi drinks, wasabi snacks, some poem composing by our groom. Afterwhich was quite normal with bride and groom going to the groom's house and then back to the bride's house. The only spoiler was the rain which causes abit of a worry because the event was held under a tent by the poolside. Lucky that the rain cleared up abit later so the weather was nice and cooling for a nice wedding lunch.

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the event with me since I was one of videographer and didn't really have time to take personal photos. The only pictures that I have are the ones below, where you can see me and the "brother" party.
The "brother" gang
Jingshun and Candy, Congrats on your wedding day. May you have a long and wonderful marriage ahead !

blogging from the E51

Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

hi all anyway this is a me of blogging from my new E51 phone at tan tock seng hospital. Its not as easy as from using a pc of course but at least they do resize the screen so tat u can see wat u are typing, no need to scroll back and forth.

Anyway will prob give a review of the phone sometime soon haha at least it gives me some thing to play with while waiting for my fiancee to get off work

Busy Busy

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Been's abit lazy in updating my blog. So a one shot update of what has happened between then and now.

Wedding: Didn't do much on this front, haha will need to step up the tempo liao. Soon it will be me and my dear's big big day. Still need to choose cards, settle guest list...

Entertainment: Well I caught a few movies: Iron Man, Made of Honour, Indiana Jones. All were quite good, except for Made of Honour, the ending was ok but somehow the way he managed to get to the castle was quite suspicious. Indiana Jones the story towards the end was not quite "Indy" style.

Saw Macross Frontier, think it's one of the best anime I saw in a while. The Macross Quarter ship was simply amazing, much more agile then the old SDF-1 from the very first Macross. Story and drawings were all good. Songs and music was good too. Looking around for the sound track.

Tech side, Did some J2ME programming, tried using the S60 SDK from Nokia, Debug mode didn't work in Netbeans, Emulator startup was also quite slow so in the end use the original Sun Java Wireless Toolkit that comes with Netbeans. Seems like Erricson one not too bad and it has a JUnit library for Unit Testing.

So that's what has been happening so far.... nothing exciting haha

Gundam RX-78

Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

After watching a lot of Keroro and being affected by his Gunpla fever. I decided to get a ready painted Gunpla to play around for the weekend. This is what I got a RX-78 at 1/200 scale. As model is already painted so all you need to do is just to fix it together. It even comes with a base for you to display! Quite worth it at 17.95 SGD. Did it up in around 2 hours, did the minimum just cut from the sprue clean it up and join together. I didn't even use plastic cement.

What could be improved? I intend to do some black linking along the recesses to bring out the detail (probably do it with enamel paint). Paint the base? (Grey parts when you cut them out tend to leave a white mark behind, not very sightly). Paint the feet where the color is red, when you cut the feet out, there are some parts where the red color is rubbed off. (You guys can't really see it from the picture cause I artfully hidden the areas where the paint came off).

Hot Day

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Time to talk about life abit. What a hot day yesterday.... almost sweating the whole time even though I had a fan blowing at me at my gf's house. Haha I kept complaining how hot the room is, how the back of my knees are sweating and so on..

We did manage to get some wedding stuff done (ok just one thing done), time is running short though, just about 4 plus months to the big day. Hopefully my July bonus is a good one, maybe can bring my dear and me to a short trip, abit worried about the reports that world wide the economy isn't doing too good and may go into a recession.

For those that are going to Vista and having a old printer or old devices where there are no Vista drivers, you can bring life to it by trying to install XP in VirtualBox, set the USB support to USB 1.1 instead of USB2 you should be able to use the device in VirtualBox. I tried it with my printer it works, next I am going to try with my old scanner and see if that works too. I probably put up some instructions since I managed to get it to work.

Till the next time ..

Lone Wolf: Project AON Free Gamebooks

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

How many of you guys played with game books when you were young? I did to some extent, there were the Fighting Fantasy series, DND series (yes DND did came up with some game books). For those who don't really know what game books are, they are basically fiction stories but with the addition of letting the users make choices as to how the story would proceed.

In between the pages there are usually some sort of combat involving either rolling dice or using some sort of table in the book. They were not as involve as the traditional DND style role playing games since all you need most of the time was just one person and you are set to run off to some exotic fantasy place to fight monsters and rescue maidens.

One of the more well known (or better written) in my opinion were the Lone Wolf series that was written by Joe Dever. From wikipedia he has kindly released his books under Project AON for free and now more people can enjoy them.

For those who are interested in a more interesting gamebook concept look at White Warlord and Black Baron. A interesting kind of duel to the death in the dungeons using gamebooks and the books themselves are linked so you will need a friend to play with.

Projecy AON

This might be useful for people who are thinking of buying external hard disk enclosures.

I think most of you guys would have known about my switch in PC after my old one CPU fan died. So there was this problem, my new PC takes in SATA but my old disks were IDE disks, and there are no IDE/ATA slots in my new PC. So what to do buy a casing right!

Contents of the R-Driver III with the lousy PSU and the great adapter

R-Driver III
That's when my troubles started, I got this R-Driver III at Challenger for $28(after seeing some people at my office use it), it has SATA,3.5" and 2.5" connections. Thought it would be good since there were no casing, just plug in a few cables and ur set to transfer your files off your old hard disk Wrong ! I fiddled with it for a few days, reading forums on why such things don't work and so on.

I tried running on different OS, (Vista, XP, Linux), didn't work. Making sure it's the only external HD present (Linux detected it for a short while but while reading the disk it hanged). Plugging the thing in different ports, didn't work.

I finally found out that some problems with these devices is that sometimes their power supply unit don't pump out enough juice to get the hard disk running properly.

Vantec Nexstart 3
So yesterday after work, I went to the techies paradise in Sim Lim to take a look at proper external hard disk enclosures. After shopping around, the cheapest I found was at this shop called Best Buys on the 5th floor (it's quite neat the escalator, can't miss it) compared to the other shops the enclosures are cheaper by quite abit. I got a Vantec Nexstar 3 because it's the cheapest, and looks the best out of all the made in china boxes.
The Vantec Nexstar 3

I bought a nice blue box, I put in my hard disk and viola! It works ! Vista was able to detect the hard disk and i spend much of my night transfering files from my old disks.

So if you ever see the R-Driver III in Challenger and are looking forward to using it don't get it. Although the adapter design is good, but the power supply leaves much to be desired.

The R-Driver III is a compact little kit that would be useful if you just want to transfer data from harddisk quickly however the 3.5" capability I tested didn't work on all 3 hard disks I have from my previous PC. However the 2.5" inch adpater works probably due to the fact that 2.5" don't really need the power supply unit. I didn't test the SATA portion of it.

List of Harddisks from my previous PC that I used to test:
  1. Maxtor 20GB from the year 2000
  2. Seagate Barracuda 80GB 7200rpm 2004
  3. Seagate Barracuda 160GB 7200rpm 2006

God Mars

Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

Wonder how many people remember this anime called "God Mars"? I certainly did not remember it by that name. But when I saw this in HLJ, there was no mistaking the small robot near the end of the page "GAIA". I sort of the remember the anime was about some kid that could control the robots, and when GAIA came flying to him he would be suck up into the center part of the chest. Brought back some memories, although the first feeling was whether i got the budget for it. (It cost about 220+USD). It consists of the 5 robots + GAIA who can be combined to form God Mars. Can't wait to see how much it would cost in Singapore. Think those cut throat dealers in such toys would proabaly put it at around 350 - 400 SGD.

GAIA the hero's main robot

I got my new Dell PC on thusday at about 9:15pm, first impressions was, wha... fast fast haha but today ran into some problems with the internet connection.

Seems like I can ping the various websites but can't seem to display them in Firefox/IE. Finally found the problem, I have McAfree Sercurity Center on my PC, even though the firewall is configured correctly, go to the "Manage Network" part and click "Trust this Network" and all will be fine.

Internet and Firewall page

Similary if you are using VMWare player and using the NAT/Host only network settings you might find that you might be unable to ping the host pc. Go to "Internet and Firewall" on the home page of the Sercurity Center and select "Configure" and then at the "Firewall" portion select "Advanced...", on the left side you should see an option named "Trusted and Banned IPs", put the network that you want to allow into the list and ur vm should be able to ping your host.

So if you are using Dell and having the McAfree Sercurity Center software, you might want to take note of the above

Saw this amazing guy who builds half size panzer tank! Check it out it even has a working air cannon.

Wonder if we are able to do something like that in singapore, wonder how many permits we need and how many agency's approval before we can get it on the road.

Links page

My New Dell 530 PC

By Stephen Lee

Well old pc (an Athlon XP 2600 1GB) was getting really unstable after the fan failed. With an auto shut down setting of 70C in the bios, the pc was shutting every 10-20 mins. Not a really usable scenario.

So i tried under clocking by about half, that makes it about 1300+Mhz, temperatures were climbing to about 70C then went down and stabilised about 56C.

So finally deciding to spend the money (which i don't have much of since i am preparing for my wedding), decided to head down to Dell to get one of their customised PCs, I did not go for the Sim Lim PC option as buying parts from all over the place and having to grapple with multiple warranties wasn't too appealing to me.

What did i get from Dell?

  1. Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad Processor Q6600
  2. Pre-Loaded Genuine Windows Vista(R) Home Premium OEM Version
  3. 3GB (2X1GB/2x512MB) NECC Dual Channel DDR2 667MHz SDRAM Memory
  4. 320GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive with Native Command Queuing
  5. 16X DVD+/-RW with Dual Layer Write Capabilities
  6. 256MB PCIe(TM)x16 NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) 8600GT w/TV-Out & Dual DVI


Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

A promising image management software much like Picasa or Lightroom. Best of all it's open source. Amazing what one can do wth Netbeans

Original Site review

Singapore Motorist are very busy

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Read this morning yesterday's "My Paper" about some motorist suggesting that the Traffic Police allows motorist the flexibility to go through the crossing when there is no pedestrian. (i.e when the pedestrian crossing light is green and the traffic one is red). And in today's "My Paper" a reader commented that that is very dangerous and what is more important a person's life or a person's time.

Now my own observation of how things stand. There are 2 kinds of scenarios, One is where the road is straight, not at a junction and the other is where there is a junction.

I think his reasoning applies to a straight road kind of crossing where there is the possibility that no one could be crossing and his light is red and the pedestrian side is green. I think currently the traffic light allows more time for traffic then for pedestrian. So in a sense he is already given more priority (since he pays road tax and I don't).

Next is the one where there is a junction, where there is a possibility for cars turning right that their side of the light is green and the pedestrain side is also green. This i think its where drivers should be more cautious. During morning rush hour, on many occasions while pedestrians are still crossing, drivers at the slighest gap available will try to drive through. This applies both to cars and motorcycles, with motorcycles more likely to do so.

Place of Incident Marked by a Flower (From

I had a rather bad experience around the Singapore Flyer on Saturday. On the above map, the location marked by a flower is where a junction with a pedestrian crossing happened to be. So the light went green both the the pedestrian side as well as the traffic side. So me and my gf was trying to cross when the lights went green. And suddenly all the cars sprint to pass in front of me and my gf. There was this driver on the extreme left hand side who stopped but he looked at me as if I own him lots of money, then he looked right and saw the pedestrian light was also green. I think that crossing was rarely used and so drivers are used to just turn and go. With the Singapore Flyer there and some upcoming developments in that area, it seems like sooner or later if the drivers are not paying attention, an accident is just waiting to happen. Perhaps a look into allowing the pedestrian crossing light to light first then followed by the traffic lights will help?

This makes me wonder why all these drivers are so anxious, are they sending someone sick to the hospitals, then our health minister might want to look into more hospitals since every morning there are so many sick cases.

I think ultimately it's the drivers that need to realised that they are not the only users of the road; just like people who cycle must realise that perhaps sometimes they can give way to pedestrians walking on the pavements. scarce country.

Laptopn or Desktop

By Stephen Lee

I have been pondering over this question for some time, ever since my dear old computer's cpu fan died on me.

Currently it's working fine with a few exceptions. I set the motherboard to shutdown at 70C and the only time I have been able to get that to happen is when i try to start more than one app at a time(staring Firefox and Outlook together always shutdowns down the pc). So if i just take things slowly it should be ok for now.

So now the big question is ... do i get a Laptop or a desktop...

Below I come out with some Pros and Cons for Desktop vs Laptop

Pros :

  1. Uses less power (more green)
  2. Portable (although i already have another laptop with my gf)
  3. I will get two screens! (Together with my 22" that i already have)
  1. Harder to upgrade (most likely change only the ram and harddisk)
  1. Most powerful
  2. Easier to upgrade
  3. Take effective use of my 22" monitor
  1. Bulkier
  2. Not so Green
What do you guys think ?

My Wedding Photo shoot

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

On Tuesday, I went for my photo shoot. Boy was it an interesting experience. We arrived about 10am, the make-up artist started make-up for the missus first. Well it took some time (haha roughly about 2 hrs?). The make-up artist also put some foundation and also do up my hair a bit.

I thought my hair looks a bit high and a bit weird since i dont really style my hair at all, but my dear one looks fabulous that day.

So we started the photo shoot, I don't have the pictures as we haven go choose yet. But i won't post the pictures anyway, give those who are coming to the wedding a surprise.

So the studio shoot was mostly about sticking out your neck and looking down and smiling a lot. And basically trying to follow the photographer's instructions.

We ended the shoot about 4pm, while i went to buy nuggets for our dinner (Eat finger food won't mess up the make-up too much). Our outdoor shoot was probably more fun, we took photos between trees (where there are ants), sit down on floors, kick water, try to run along the beach, throw flowers and hold balloons. And all these time trying to stick out your neck haha (Let me explain why you stick out you neck lah, its to reduce the "double chin" effect that you might have).

Finally ended everything about 7-8pm. To be honest with you guys it was fun, its not normally that you get to wear nice clothes and take photos outside, and to be doing it with the one you love makes it all the more special.

So for those who are planning to go for such a shoot probably some things you might want to think about.

  1. Think of what type of a shoot you like (Indoor or more outdoorsy)
  2. Look up some pictures from the bridal saloon, or from other sources and think of what type of place you like to go. (Trees, lallang fields, beach)
  3. Casual shoot?
  4. Props (Balloons, toys)
And most importantly pray for good weather, a beautiful sunset. (mine was half half type of sunset lah) and enjoy yourself.

Devi Wiki - First Look

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee provides free Devi Wiki hosting.

Simple to setup, just provide a name for your wiki and an email address to mail the admin info to you and your done!

The UI is quite friendly and the you don't really have to mess with markup language like in MediaWiki. Still playing around with it though.

From the webpage seems like you will be able to do some sort of mashups with google and yahoo.

The free version provides up to 100megs of space while the pro version gives you 10 gigs and cost 10USD a month.

Comparison between Free and Pro

Parents leaving Kids at book stores

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Read in the Straits Times (Lifestyle) today that parents are leaving their kids at book stores while they go and do their shopping, facial etc etc etc, and its increasing prevalent during the school holidays that are happening now.

I don't really think that the phenomenon is only restricted to the book stores, I think Toy shops, or even the toy section of many department stores are also becoming mini kids drop off.

If you read the article, you will see that the store workers sometimes need to entertain to these kids (like having to bring them to toilet, some even did it in the store), some destroy books, some take sticker books; tear out the stickers stick them nicely in the book for the next person to buy so he/she no need to stick anymore (what a mouthful haha).

I mean is it that hard just to spend a week with your kid while he/she is free from school? Is it that urgent that the parents have to do their "important" stuff that week. Have we become so busy that they can't spend time with their kids when they go out together? It's just plain weird to me.

Like going to a department store, shouldn't the parent also spend sometime in the toy section to see what the child likes nowadays, see what his interests are?(Besides playing computer games and reading comics).

Anyway I am no parent (as of now), but I do hope that when I have time to go out with my kid I will not leave him/her alone someplace so that I can enjoy myself. But rather I would want him to enjoy himself/herself.

Fan died !?!

By Stephen Lee

Well my CPU fan's condition not too good, its starts on and off and I am worried that my CPU would get fried. Tried playing around with the switch, sometimes can hear the fan spin up after sometime it would spin down again.

Think its time to get a new PC ? This one has been with me for sometime liao (Athlon 2600+ 1GBDDR Ram).

Think will go and see some Dell models (Currently interested in the Dell 530), see whether can get one without a monitor cause I already have a 22" Lcd liao.. Haha pray that my CPU can survive till then.

Lots of data to bring over also.. hiah.... My so called bonus some would be spent on the CPU liao.. hiah...

Genting part 2

By Stephen Lee


In Genting there are only a few things that you can do; Casino, Theme Park, A bit of shopping, watch a movie, eat.

There are I think 2 casinos in Genting, the main difference is the size of it. As we reached Genting quite early in the morning, our rooms were not ready yet and most of the shops were not open so there was really not much you could do there except eat and play at the casino.

I have never been to a Casino in my life so far, so it was an interesting experience. The first thing that i noticed were that the people working at the tables were generally quite young. And apparently in Genting they provide accommodation for people who works there so they can cut down on the commute to work (its about an hour just trying to get down from the hill).

That made me think about the IR that Singapore is going to have in a few years time, will it be staffed by mostly young adults? There is no doubt that the IR industry is going to take off in a big way in Singapore (Just look at the courses that keep appearing in the newspapers that advertise diplomas in IR management). Food
Well there is a quite a variety of food here from fast food (Mac, KFC, Burger King) to slow food (Food courts, Kenny Rogers etc) and coffee places (Starbucks, Coffee Bean). Quite a lot of stuff available here.

There is a mushroom farm, located about 15 mins walk down the hill, from First World go out towards the bus terminal and just follow the road down hill, u will see a cluster a zinc roof houses, that is where the Mushroom Farm is. Alternatively, the farm does have transport avaliable, think you need to call ahead to book it, pick up at First World hotel.

The food there is typical "Zhi Cha" with the exception that they do have quite a variety of mushroom dishes. They also sell mushrooms like the straw mushroom, oyster mushroom etc. Food is not bad, and cheap. But the climb up is quite tiring though. You can get a ride u the hill just wait outside the restaurant there should be a mini van that could take u up for free.

Theme Park
During the period we were there, we were plague by small pockets of rain now and then. The queue for the rides were long (We were there on a sat), they do have some interesting rides like the vertical drop kind, a superman kind of ride where u lie horizontally like a superman and you feel like you are flying (sort of like a roller coaster), roller coasters (2 of them) and lots of kiddy rides too.

Overall Genting was probably a nice place to go, but the limited activity you can do there makes for a short stay there probably not more then 2nights or it could get really boring.

Genting Highlands

By Stephen Lee

Last weekend (29 Feb 08 to 2 Mar 08), my friends (4 of them) and my wife to be friends (3 of them), all nine of us went to Genting Highlands for some R and R.

We booked from Transtar opting for their "Premium" service bus, basically 24 seats, single deck to Genting and 33? seats double deck on the way back.

So the day arrived, I prepared by trying not to drink any tea or coffee and trying to keep water to a minimum (There are no toilets on the bus and its a seven hour trip).

Anyway I was abit worried that the customs check might take abit long due to the escaped prisoner Mas Selamat.

Sitting comfortably/dear posing with Transtar blanket

So the 9 of us set off at 1030pm for Genting, the bus was comfortable, better then some airline economy seats that I have been on. And as expected, the customs point at Singapore was jammed. We took about 2 hours just to get past the check point.

We stopped over at Yong Peng at about 2:30am for a small break and reached Genting about 6-7am in the morning, about 1 1/2 hr later then schedule (the schedule was to reach at about 5:30am).

On the way up to Genting, u can really start to appreciate Singapore roads, the streets were mostly unlighted and on the winding road up, there were no lights and u can see the oncoming lights of the cars whizzing by.

To be continued...

Scheduled Weapons

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Just today there has been news of someone wearing belts with buckles looking like a Knuckle duster being arrested and charged in court, although the charges were eventually dropped, I think there is a need to inform people in Singapore on what scheduled weapons are.

As extracted from the Singapore Statutes.


1. Any knife, sometimes known as a flick knife, which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife.
2. Any knife, sometimes known as a gravity knife, which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force and which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever or other device.
3. Any whip manufactured from bicycle or motor cycle chains or from any similar kind of chainwork.
4. All kinds of knuckledusters.
5. Any blade or other instrument attached to or forming part of a bicycle pump, metal-pipe or stick, and concealed therein, which is capable of being used for cutting or stabbing.
6. Any sword, machete or parang, axe, sickle, bearing scraper, spear, bayonet, iron rod, and the nancha-ku (segments of wood or metal joined by a chain, leather strap or cord).

So I think that's why Swiss Army Knives and Multi tools are exempted since they don't have a mechanism for flipping the blade out.

Below are some links to new stories and the Singapore Statutes.

Harsher penalties and fines for scheduled weapons in S'pore (The Electric New Paper)
Singapore Statutes (Look under Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act)

Found it off a link in Wikipedia while reading about mainframes. Looking at this video, for those who studied some form of computing will remember their lecturers telling them about the good old days where they use punch cards and teletypes.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Quite a good blog post, describes my job very well and yes, I do not fix computers at work.

Lego turns 50!

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Happy birthday to Lego,Happy birthday to Lego ...

Lego turns 50 today! I think many of us will have fond memories of those small bricks and panels where if we have enough we could built almost whatever we wanted. Never mind if they are a mishmash of different colors cause we don't have enough of the correct color. They were still fun to play around. When a new idea comes, all the bricks are undone and a new creation is born again.

I still have some of the Theme sets like Sabre Island from Lego Pirates and a Camouflaged Output from the Castle Series from Lego

Legos were certainly loads of fun. I hope kids nowadays still play with Lego though.. much better than some computer games and certainly environmentally friendlier.

Haha I still hanker for some Lego though, espcially those from the Star Wars range, if someone is kind enough a Mindstorms NXT kits would be nice !

Gizmodo (Has a graphical timeline for Lego)
International Lego User Group Network

Tiring day

By Stephen Lee

Well this morning was a tiring morning.. as with all Saturday mornings, the first things of the morning was spent on vacuuming the floor and mopping it.

The next part was the dismemberment of my fathers bed, changing from his current Queen size to a single bed, so out came my trusty Leatherman Pulse and took it apart. Then came the brining out of the seperate parts so that the cleaners can come remove it. Then came the cleaning up, taking out things from a book shelf, moving the book shelf back in the room, fixing up the new bed, changing the bed sheet. And finally all was done.

Totally shack out man...

Anyway my latest Youtube fetish revolves around watching Survivorman ! However today after work, i looking forward to watching another episode of it, they were all taken down liao!

Just a small intro, Survivorman is this guy call Les Stroud, who goes to places like the swamp, desert and so on and tries to survive with what he has (which is usually very little) for seven days.

The interesting thing is that he has no camera crew so he to carry about 20kg of camera equipment so that he can film himself. He usually tries out some new survival equipment like wire saw, flint and so on.

Think i may need to buy the DVD from ebay, since i really can't find the show in shops in Singapore. I surfed around and found that it probably cost around 28USD shipping included.

Anyway for those who are reading this, if you guys saw the dvd anywhere leave me a note will ya!

Video: Extra-less Film

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

A interesting video about how 3 guys and a video cam in 4 days recreate a Normandy Beach Landing.

Link to the actual post: Here

WiiRemote HeadTracking

Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

Cool Youtube video showing using Nintendo's wiiremote to do head tracking.

Johnny Lee (The guy in the video)
Managed Library for WII Remote

Eye e City 2007 Photos

By Stephen Lee

Emacs Color Theme

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Although i should be blogging about the new year, i feel i should just share this tool for people who uses Emacs.

In a short line, it adds Color Themes to ur Emacs editor, sometimes it's abit hard to customize emacs such that you get the colors that are most pleasing to your eyes, with this its abit easier since they have about 50 color themes inside for you to choose from, when u are done just add it to your .emacs file

Color Theme Website
Emacs Wiki Color Theme

It's 2008 !

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

It's the new year and boy was it a busy one, entered the Eye e City photography competition and was totally tired out liao... walked around the whole day trying to document something interesting for 2008. Anyway now finally back at home, will wait for tomorrow to chose the photos to submit... Blog about my experience when i have rest and recovered haha....