26 August 2013

Scarlett Angel

Scarlett came up to Da Hu to visit last week. We met up and took her out and about.

We were taking the subway where she stood directly under the overhead railings in the picture above.

I told her to pose under the "halo" while I snap an angelic portrait of her.

She was initially paiseh for about THREE seconds before she happily obliged.


Here's one for the fun photo archives.


- Voxeros

20 August 2013

Toys Of The Wrist - Part 2 of 2

Yesterday, I was talking about the bracelet on my right wrist. It gave me some kind of a weight balance against the weight of the watch on my left wrist.

Now that the bracelet was gone, I contemplated giving up the watch on my left wrist as well.

For starters, I don't have a large wrist to put on fancy watches like Franck Muller, Rolex or Panerai. It is just not my thing to be sporting one of these luxuries.

Besides, I find them kinda gaudy to be so big. It's almost like wearing a clock on your arm but that's just my personal distaste.

So anyway, the telling of time is a redundant function since we carry our mobile phones everywhere we go. We can always fish it out of the pocket, like a pocket watch of the old days.

Wearing electronics devices on my wrist in lieu of a watch wasn't really appealing to me when it first started. The iPod Nano with a Lunatik strap was a good idea but it's sucky battery life was a deal breaker for me.

Then there was the Pebble which was a significant improvement over the Nano-Lunatik but it still wasn't enough to convince me.

It was only just two weeks ago where I chanced upon HotWatch at KickStarter that I was sold on the spot.

The use of e-ink (they call it e-paper display ala Kindle) saves a shitload of battery juice which means you don't have to charge the watch every other day. Still, even with the use of low consumption Bluetooth 4.0 (or BTLE), the battery longevity is not going to be anywhere close to that of a regular watch.. Worse, if you are comparing it to a perpetual movement watch.

In any case, I like the part where you can just make a phone call using your palm. I am not so hot (no pun intended) on the other features like messaging on the tiny watch screen. I will probably frustrate myself to death with my clumsy fat fingers.

The watch is due to ship at the end of the year and it's my Christmas pressie to myself.

Merry Christmas to me.

- Voxeros

19 August 2013

Toys Of The Wrist - Part 1 of 2

It's time to retire my Q-Ray bracelet that I have had since the 90s.

It was the secret bracelet of the silent fraternity.

The golf fraternity.

Admittedly, I got caught up with the trend back then where it was acknowledged that any golfer would be spotting one of these.

The trend may have faded in to oblivion as the years go by but this little thing has been with me all the way until yesterday.

As you can see, the knobs have corroded to the extent that it is starting to scratch me. Actually come to think of it, the scratching has been going on for a couple of years but I ignored it coz it wasn't painful.

Just annoyingly scratchy.

Given the hot summer heat right now in the Da Hu, I was, throughout the day, constantly laminated by a film of perspiration.

Must have been something in the sweat reacting with the metals in the knob that it was leaving streaks of green oxide (Fe2? Ni? Cu?) on my arm as it slides up and down throughout the day.

Well, I guess it's time to call curtains on the bracelet that has accompanied me all these days.

Thank you and good bye.

*chucks into trash bin*

- Voxeros

16 August 2013

Jay And The Bean Sprout

I have a double-bowl sink in my kitchen and most of the time, I use only the right side.

Just today as I was washing up, I spotted something from the corner of my eye.

Something was sticking out of the waste outlet of the left bowl.

A closer look and it was a bean sprout!

The last I prepared bean sprout was two weeks ago when I was making laksa. A little sprout must have flown over into the waste outlet of that side.

Two weeks later, it manages to make its way out of the sink towards the sunlight.

Awesome little wonder of nature.

- Voxeros

09 August 2013

Happy National Day 2013

Happy National Day, Singapore!

In case anyone has already forgotten, the above clip was taken on 16 Feb 2013 at Hong Lim Park where a protest against Gahmen initiative to populate the island further to 6.9 million by 2030 (worst case scenario, they say).

The. next election is 2016. Nairmind. We wait.

- Voxeros

08 August 2013

National Day Songs - From Good To Bad To Awful. Simply Awful.

This above is not an NDP song but would have made a good one if it were. Chanced upon this oldie by accident. This song was written back in the good old 新谣 heydays.

Once you are done enjoying the song above, let's go into the topic proper.

Just when we thought last year's NDP song was awful, we hit a new rock bottom with this year's, which I am not even going to bother to put it up here lest it xia suay my blog.

You can check out all the NDP songs above dated back from 1984 to present. I notice a trend or a certain subliminal message in some of them.

In the beginning, we have all the feel good, "We've made it! Look at us now! We're No.1!!" kind of tone.

The 1998 song "Home" by Kit Chan seems to say "Uh oh.... people are starting to think about leaving the country to go elsewhere. Mai lah. Don't go lah. Here more better!"

Then again by Kit Chan in 2007, "No Place I Rather Be" is machiam like sequel to "Home" and it's saying "Walau eh! You guys really gone ah. Come back leh!!"

In the same year, there is another NDP song "Will You" and it sounds like it is addressed to all the new people who recently stepped ashore telling them to "Come! Come! The doors are wide open! Come in! Please stay! Don't go! I beg of you!!"

People started to complain the song of grovelling and in the subsequent years, the NDP songs went back to the more normal normal pattern.


It was all downhill from there.

Last year's "Love At First Light" was "Simi LJ song is this?" and this year's "Whoa-oh-oh-OH!-song is "Simi LJ song is this? - Part II"

For the record, there are only THREE "Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh" songs that are acceptable OK!

Well, at the very least, it's how I felt about all these recent NDP songs.

You may or may not agree.

Limpeh don't care.

Speaking of "Limpeh", even this cheeky song below (very well done if I may add), would make a better NDP song although it is kinda hard to sing along at the national day parade itself.


- Voxeros

06 August 2013

Summer Heat In Da Hu

It is said that this year's summer heat is the worst in 140 years.

We are talking about mercury above 40 degrees Celsius.

This is becoming a common sight in subway stations where people from outside the station all come in to seek air-conditioned refuge from the scalding heat.

With people peppered all over the place, it could easily be mistaken there was an air raid going on above or a typhoon just swept through the city or Godzilla decided to pay Da Hu a visit above ground.

News have reported over 20 fatalities so far and there was even a case of an elderly gentleman who was on the ground for a couple of hours when he fainted from the heat, resulting in second degree burn on 22% of his body and third degree burn on 2%.

The old man got teppanyaki-ed.

It seems that the summer heat is not letting up with no rain in sight either. We are looking at temperatures above 40 for a long time to come as August is the peak of the summer months.

We are only at the beginning of August.

Oh dear.

We did have a couple of surprise rain in the past 4 weeks but they were quickly evaporated off as soon as the rain clouds dumped their load.

No help there.

Just earlier today, I was standing out on the street waiting for the bus under the sun. You can feel the burn on the skin as if you were standing too close to the campfire or BBQ pit or having your hairdryer on the same spot for too long or <insert your own scenario>.

I am counting down to Mid Autumn Festival (19 Sep 2013) as this is the day, according to the lunar calendar, the temperature will start to fall (no pun intended), marking the end of summer.

- Voxeros

02 August 2013

Flight Tracking Software - Part 3 of 3

In this last segment of the 3-parter, I will teach you how to use the combination of software to allow you to have fullest control of your itinerary.

First thing to do. Get rid of FlightTrack (Pro/Free). It is an irrelevant software in Asia-Pacific. I will fall short of saying that it is totally worthless as who knows? It may just be the bestest software for North American passengers.

So without further ado, let's get this tutorial started.

1. When you are about to book a flight, key in the flight details in 航班管家 and it will show you the punctuality record of this particular flight.

I've picked Shenzhen Airlines ZH9815 from Shenzhen BaoAn Airport (SZX) to Shanghai HongQiao Airport (SHA) to illustrate this.

As you can see, this flight is delayed by more than an hour, 72% of the time. It is really a crappy flight which begs one to wonder why they even bother to schedule this?

So. You have a choice here.

You can choose to book this flight and run the risk of getting delayed or perhaps if you feel lucky that it would fall under the 19% category of on-time departure that particular day?

Roll the dice?

Or perhaps you are better off booking another flight?

2. OK. So you decided to go ahead and book this flight anyway. What you can do next, if you are really kiasu or in my case really boh liao, is track this flight for 5 consecutive days prior to your actual day of departure. From there, you can see a trend in the departure time. Bad weather like typhoon may affect the flight schedule over several days. Or perhaps there is a military exercise occupying the airspace that coincides with your flight path during that particular week? Or perhaps this particular flight punctuality is JUST THAT SHITTY?

3. Now we come to the day of the actual flight.

Switch over the 飞常准.

The app has a way of calculating the probability of a punctual flight that day.

To be honest, this doesn't really do much for the passenger except that it mentally prepares you ahead of your pending flight.

To add salt to injury, the numbers changes (in either direction) as the time of departure draws nearer.

You only get a good feel of the flight by regularly checking back and spot the trend if the number is descending or ascending.

The next point is actually a better option but this particular one nevertheless deserves a mention.

4. This feature is available in both apps. It shows you your flight from the previous sector i.e. where your plane is coming from.

In this particular case, the plane where you will be boarding is actually Shenzhen Airline ZH9812 from Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG).

Track this particular flight as well and you would be able to know if your flight will or will not be delayed. Simple logic. Your plane comes in late, you depart late. Your plane comes in early or punctual, you depart on time. Well. Most of the time that is.

With that information, you can choose to reach the airport accordingly without wasting too much time waiting around the airport or you may want to hit the airport early to see if you can catch an earlier shuttle.

For the sake of further illustration, let say we decided to stick to the flight.

As you can see, the flight from the previous sector took off 2-1/2 hours later than scheduled. That however does not mean that your flight will delay by the same amount of time.

The new time of arrival, as a result of the delayed departure, is estimated to be changed to 16:16.

A flight turnaround is approximately 45 to 60 minutes (ground crew need time to clear rubbish and flush the toilets before you board).

That means that the estimate time of departure for your flight would be around 17:00 to 17:30. Given that the original time of departure was scheduled to be 16:50, you should be looking at a slight delay of about 30 minutes, discounting any other disruptions.

For me, anything within an hour is still considered on time. Yes, I have set the bar THAT LOW for QQLand domestic flights.

Two things to note here.

First, the screen cap here is the same flight but different day from the earlier image (depicting 68.59% punctuality probability). I thought I mentioned it here lest people get confused how a 2-1/2 hour delayed flight still has a 69% chance of taking off on time.

Secondly, we are making the assumption that the incoming connecting flight will be the plane that you will be boarding. For flights with severe delays, there is a possibility that the airline will deploy another plane to take over the flight. So do be alert as it will likely be a new boarding gate if they decided to switch planes.

Bon Voyage.

- Voxeros

01 August 2013

Flight Tracking Software - Part 2 of 3

Now that we are done with the introduction of the three flight tracking software, let's put them head-to-head with each other and see how they do.

For the first test, I've picked a QQLand domestic flight, Shenzhen Airline ZH 9920 from Shanghai HongQiao Airport (SHA) to Shenzhen BaoAn Airport (SZX).

First up, let's goto 航班管家 to take a look.

This particular flight, on that unfortunate day, was delayed and it was something that was hardly surprising for QQLand domestic air travels during the summer months.

It was a 16:40 flight which was re-scheduled to depart at 20:00. At the point of taking this screen cap, the flight schedule was still pending changes, if at all.

Travel tip for QQLand domestic travelers: Do not believe the schedule until it's wheels up. You may be fooled into boarding on time or even push off on time but as long as the wheels are still touching the ground, you aren't flying just yet.

What I like was that they took the initiative to recalculated the estimated time of arrival due to the rescheduling.

Next, we look at 飞常准.

As you can see, there isn't a new flight time as opposed to the first app that we just saw.

Like I said, the flight schedule was still pending changes at the time I captured the screen.

Perhaps this app is more conservative with regards to publishing new departure timing.

This is good and bad at the same time.

The bad thing is that as a passenger, we don't have a new timing to hang on to which can be unsettling, especially if one has a connecting flight to catch.

The good thing however, is that it prevents passengers from having false hope for a flight time that may or may not change again.

Lastly, we look at FlightTrack (Pro/Free).

The information published was utter bullshit. It said that the flight left the gate at 45 minutes later (Note: Left gate may not necessarily mean take off. You could be stuck on the tarmac for all you know).

The flight didn't take off until after 8pm that evening i.e. the 20:00 new estimated departure by 航班管家 changed again subsequently and 飞常准 was right after all not to have jumped the gun with the new departure time.

Now this. FlightTrack (Pro/Free) published rubbish information to put it bluntly.

If you look at the Chinese notes at the top of 飞常准's screen cap, you would have noticed that the incoming connecting flight was only scheduled to land at 19:18 (hence the departure delay).

So how is it possible for the flight to have left the gate at 17:25 when the plane was still in the air approaching?

FlightTrack (Pro/Free) lied.

* DING! DING! End of Round 1 *

And so I thought perhaps an ang moh software like FlightTrack (Pro/Free) has an unfair disadvantage handling QQLand domestic flights.

So I decided to pick an international flight for good measure.

Cathay Pacific CX 751 from Hong Kong Chap Lap Kok Airport (HKG) to Thailand Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).

Again, we shall start with  航班管家.

For this particular the flight, it was punctual.

Bless CX's little heart.

Granted that it was late by 4 minutes, it was still considered to be on time since it is a very small insignificant percentage of the total flight time.

Besides, the pilots could easily make up that lost time with a heavier foot on the throttle during flight.

Again, the estimated time of arrival as been recalculated to reflect the change in departure time since my earlier mention of heavier-foot-on-throttle was mere speculation on my part.

Take note the actual departure time here before we proceed to take a look at the next candidate.

Here's the screen cap of 飞常准 and you would have noticed that the departure time differs slightly from 航班管家.

I can only speculate, from empirical evidence, that the latter starts the stopwatch when the plane takes off while the other app starts the clock ticking the moment the plane pushes off, in accordance to commercial aviation rules*.

* This is a tactic deployed by airlines to kelong their On-Time record by pushing off the gate as scheduled. They then spent all that delayed time sitting on the tarmac since actual time of arrival does not affect a flight's punctuality record.

In any case, the difference in their respective departure time isn't really that significant since they were just mere minutes apart.

Like the former, this app also recalculates the new time arrival, after factoring in the slight change in departure time.

Finally, we returned again to FlightTrack (Pro/Free) where the information published was again a total disaster.

The plane was already in the air and yet the red note said that the flight has yet to depart.


To add yet another layer of bizarre to it all was its recalculation of an earlier than expected landing.

So let me get this straight.

It claimed that the flight was delayed and yet it calculated an earlier arrival?

Hello? Logic? Hello?

* DING! DING! End of Round 2 *

Summary: Both 航班管家 and 飞常准 performed satisfactory on both QQLand domestic and international flights.

It was a tie between the two of them as each covered the other's shortfall. I like 航班管家 easier  user-interface better but it fell slightly short when it comes to searching for international flights a few months ahead. Fortunately, 飞常准 covered this aspect nicely and so my advice is to use both app together.

As for FlightTrack (Pro/Free). Don't waste you time on it. It is rubbish. I believe this is more geared towards those who fly US domestic routes and not so much for the passengers from the rest of the world.

- Voxeros