Schools Holiday …

This morning was freezing. I was like a chimney. As I walked to the bus stop, I saw a guy whom I never saw before, waiting for bus. The bus came minutes later. Upon getting onboard, the people in the bus were not those familiar faces whom I had seen before. I was even thinking that I am in the wrong bus.

When I alight from the bus, the town is quiet. As I walked to my work place, I missed all the familiar faces which I would normally see everyday. I was thinking again. Did just a weekend change everything in the town? Am I in a drama kind of thing? The next thing I saw was a lady driving a Volkswagen crashed into a van stationed at the side of the road. When I walked past it, the Volkswagen suffered a serious damage compared to its victim. But the lady was fine, just sad.

Luckily, I saw my familiar colleague in the office. The first thing she asked me was whether I had notice something different today. I said yes and she told me that it is school holiday this week. HAHAHA … If I tell this to Mee, she would have stopped me from watching movies in the future. I do realize that I get a lot of inspiration from movies and drama.

I am happy today as I talk a lot with my colleague today. Not really a lot, but more than my usual self in the office. In fact, I like talking anyway.

It’s hot now, and we have our air-con in working right now. It’s funny that one moment it’s freezing cold and hours later, it’s baking hot. Just had our training today postponed to don’t know when. I would have thought to spend my rest of the day training rather than thinking.

While I was having my lunch, I saw two news that have my attention. One is about the population of the Earth is to many and we will have to find ways to reduce it; if not, it could be very serious. Another thing is that Virgin Media has offered free upgrade for its users from 4MB to 10MB connection. FOC. Mine is 2MB and obviously, I don’t get such offer. Anyway, since mine is cheap package, I will just stick to it first for the rest of 9 months. In addition, Virgin Media is going to introduce a whopping 50MB connection soon. Imagine download a song with just a click.

Need for Speed: Carbon – The Fourth and Seventh Day …

I finally managed to install Need for Speed: Carbon. First, I had problem with the antivirus where it tried to scan the file for viruses and it took such a long time that it disable itself and windows become standstill for some moment. As I am using normal user account, it requires administrator permissions in order to install games but the UAC never prompts and the system was busy all the time.

Tired of waiting, I just opened up task manager and force the system to run consent.exe which brought up UAC prompt eventually. Well, at least 2-5 minutes of waiting. After that, the installation went smoothly. Even though the installation windows were in German, but it’s quite the same as with other games which is to click the Next button all the way.

Another hurdle was to change the language from German to English. There’s a registry file provided together with a batch file. The batch file operates by change the entire movie files with a word German in it to English and then run the registry file.

It was not that successful and simple. I believe my version of NFS Carbon is European as I checked through the registry key. And the registry file provided is actually changing the language to English US. Even so, I still changed it to English US in the registry, hoping that it will work. However, the game crashed upon loading. After fiddling a while, I managed to figure out that I should use English UK since it is a European version. I tried only English but it doesn’t work either. So, from now on, I will start my car career in NFS Carbon.

Test Drive: Unlimited is limited for me until I got my own steering wheel.

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I done all of the above on the 15th February 2008. As I was getting hot to play NFS Carbon on Saturday, it turned out that the game just crashed after playing movie files. I googled for some similar user problems and come to a solution which is to use Vista Compatibility mode and set it to Windows 98; only Windows 98. To my surprise, it really works. However, no more than 5 mins. And the game lagged a lot.

I spent almost 1 hour by changing the registry and the compatibility mode and finally, came to a solution.

  1. I changed the registry key to English UK and en-uk rather than English US and en-us as US will make the game crash
  2. Disable the compatibility mode
  3. Rename the movie folder to something other than that

I have been playing NFS Carbon since Saturday and had conquered the southern part. For now, I considered it to be fairly an easy game compared to NFS Most Wanted. However, I love the drifting part and the muscle cars selections. And I also found out that NFS Carbon has some similar key controls like Test Drive: Unlimited such as the clutch and gear customization. They would be for the steering wheel but the control in NFS Carbon is much enjoyable than in Test Drive: Unlimited.

PoV: SkypePhone – The Eighteenth Day …

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I have learned once more. Mee and I had been criticising the day we got our hands on it but I have totally changed my point of view since I used it from 29th January 2008.

At the beginning, the very next day we signed a contract with 3 and saw the logo Amoi on its manual, I started looking for comments on forums and blogs. My first thought was that I should have googled before deciding to choose Skypephone. I had very less confidence in this phone and thought that those reviews praising this phone were rubbish. I had even posted a comment on one of the site.

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January 17th, 2008 2:31pm myi4u

First of all, I agreed with John Smith.

I’ve just signed up for 3 yesterday and chosen the Skypephone. At a first glance, I thought it’s not a bad phone. When I tried putting in the battery, sim card and mmc, I felt that it is fragile and plastic.

The battery cover doesn’t fit properly, I believe it is due to the mechanism where there’s a magnet at the bottom of it. When I read the manual, I saw a Amoi logo and I have a feeling that I had made a mistake.

I regret for not making research on the internet. I regret for not trying out the display phone. Well, anyway, no one to blame but myself.

I am just wondering how long it will last and how long it will take for the usb port cover to break.

Personally, even 6630 is a better phone. Yeah, I am talking about an old model which I am using it now as my alarm.

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Haha … now I am regretting for making that comment and would like to apologize to those who made the reviews. Don’t be mistaken. I am not bribed by anyone.

I should point out that the quality of the make is indeed fragile than other mobile phones in the market. And I would not pay £49.99 (the current price) for this phone.

First, the battery life is quite amazing. I had only charged it thrice (29th January, 7th February and yesterday) since I first used it. When it’s on the 12th February, the battery level has only consumed 25% – 30% (estimated). I must admit that I did not make much calls myself and mostly texting. However, I had previously used SE W850i and Nokia 6630 which lasted about 4 to 5 days the longest. I believe part of the reasons lie on the screen saver and brightness. The screen saver is plain and simple, with the options of time and date, or a picture. The unit does not illuminate until I unlock it where Nokia and SE tend to illuminate when any buttons are pressed.

The screen resolution is terrible. The 2.0mp camera without flash is standard. Pictures do not look good on the phone itself but they are still good when uploaded to computer. The keypad is quite cramp too. The menu is simple with only 9 plain icons and the only animation is just glowing of icons when selected. The front menu buttons are not customizable as shortcuts or goto functions, thus the only way to access applications and such is to drill in to the menus.

The user interface could have been better. Some of the options when chosen, there are no indication whether the options are saved. On some rare occasions, notepad and messaging exited while I was still typing.

The memory card sits underneath the battery which will be considered a bad point for most phones but not this one, though. It can be easily connected to computer as USB mass storage and its connector for pc connection and charger is the same USB connector. It comes with Bluetooth connectivity as well.

As the name suggests, SkypePhone, connecting to Skype is effortless and a button is created specifically for launching Skype is right at the middle. Mee had tried connecting to Skype effortlessly on Chinese New Year’s eve and chatted with her friend in Edinburgh for more than an hour while experiencing 3 disconnections. However, I believe that it could be owing to low network coverage in our area. 3 network is also offering free MSN based on fair use policy and MSN comes preinstalled. There are only two trial version of games; Tetris Pac-Man.

Other than that, it also has notepad, calendar, profile settings, alarm and calculator. The sound quality is acceptable and louder than the mobile phones I had before. One thing which I should also give credit to is the easiness of typing SMS messages. The T9 prediction is standard but the response between each button pressed is fast.

Overall, it is quite a fast phone when typing messages and manoeuvring the menus. I would say that it’s just a standard but light-weighted phone. I would rather not have the camera but improve its functionalities and quality of the phone.

UPDATE 210208 1517

There is one nifty feature which enable the SkypePhone to navigate to the main menu without closing applications such as Notepad, Calendar and the likes but not MSN. In order to switch between the open applications, there is a button on the right with 5 squares engraved icon on it.

Lunch with principal …

Well, it’s been a long week. Just had lunch with the principal. Sounds great isn’t it? Not that great, though. The principal always organizes lunch to welcome new staffs to discuss their opinions and suggestions as well as comparing the current work environment to the previous work environment. I didn’t talk much; just mentioned to her that the IT procedures here are not clear, in fact, they were not even explained. Can’t be blamed because the IT is outsourced.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. My colleagues are 95% females and they were all talking about gifts they received. However, only one received a bracelet while the others only flowers and dinner. I gave Mee a card, that’s all. I wanted to have dinner at the Lime Leaf with her but something had her bothered.

As I mentioned that we will be looking out for a juicer on Wednesday, Robert Dyas did not have the £30 juicer in stock and eventually, we went to Argos and purchased a Philips Juicer. It’s not a whole fruit juicer though as a whole fruit juicer will be very huge and we don’t have much space in our room. Anyhow, Mee is quite happy with it and she used it that night and every morning thereafter.

The better juicer …

Just had training on Union/Staff Association which lasted not more than 15 minutes which was supposed to be half an hour. Well, I guess there isn’t much to talk about as the association is about protecting fellow employees. People will normally wait until something happens before they would consult anyone.

Well, just happen to know that Mee and her friend is discussing which is the better juicer. She has been targeting for a juicer for quite some time even before Christmas 2007. And now Robert Dyas is selling one for £30 only which is really a good bargain. Hmm … I will go and have a look at it after work and Mee will be joining me.

It had been foggy this morning but as usual, it’s hot in the afternoon and cold again at night. I received a message from my dad saying that they had reached home.

Test Drive : Unlimited – The Fifth Day …

As I mentioned that I had installed Test Drive: Unlimited, and it is truly about real driving experience. It offers clutch option for gear changing and small details like windows up and down. There’s also cockpit view and the sound details will change like I am sitting inside the car. It’s easier to lost control when driving high speed. However, car damages will only be seen on normal traffic cars but not on racers’ cars. The GPS navigation is similar to PSP with the female robotic voice. I can’t seem to get the radio working and I think that it had been stripped by the uploader.

Until now, I am able to access amateur races and I am particularly interested in one of the game features in which I will need to pick up models and etc and help them to reach their destinations within a specific time. In addition, I will get coupons for each successful mission which enables me to exchange clothing. Furthermore, there is also a transporter mission that normally does not incur time limit and it is very lucrative but I will have to compensate if I am not able to accomplish the mission.

All in all, Test Drive: Unlimited offers a lot of missions and it is a much slow-paced game compared to Need for Speed.

After four days of playing, I managed to acquire a house and two cars and had a pro status.