Archive for August, 2006|Monthly archive page

Problem with Volume

In OS on 31 August, 2006 at 7:48 pm

Microsoft took a big knife and chop away the old audio architecture in Windows XP.  With that gone, they came up with a new audio architecture from ground up, aiming to make audio in Windows Vista less affected by any sudden peak in CPU usage.  When they are at it, they also make audio easier to use by changing the perspective from devices to end points like speakers, and headphones.

All these changes should be all well and good for users of Windows Vista, however, it make the job of audio application developer so much harder.  For example, in the midst of all these changes we lost the ability to change the master volume.  At first this seems to be OK, as Windows Vista implemented per-app volume and any application that is changing the master volume through the MMSystem API, Windows Vista will route it to the per-app volume.  However, it turns out that for certain media stream, this is not working, which is especially true for MIDI.

After several days of hard work, I’ve finally managed to chop up my application and make the old master volume into a brand new volume that truly affect only my own application.  But I’ve decided not to take part in Vista’s per-app volume eco-system; My argument is that since this is a feature that is being push by Microsoft, they have the responsibility to make it work for all application.


They hear us

In Software on 25 August, 2006 at 4:00 am

Internet Explorer 7 RC1 has just been released.  Supposing to be leaner and meaner, but can it take on the all so popular FireFox?  I’ve been using the Beta 3 of IE7 ever since it came out, so far I can say it is definitely better than its predecessor, the IE6.  Since my company’s network is not that compatible with FireFox (I believe it might be the proxy server that dislike FireFox), I can’t really make a comparison on whether IE7 is better than FireFox.  However from the look of it, if IE7 can’t win FireFox, it also won’t be too far away.

“We heard you you wanted it easier and more secure

I really hope malware can really be decrease to a minimum, at least for some time, if not forever.  We shall see.

What is a Hybrid car?

In Car on 22 August, 2006 at 3:00 pm

A car is considered a hybrid if it satisfy 3 conditions:

  1. Not using the main engine while idling
  2. Able to recycle the energy use for braking back into the charging of the electric motor
  3. While accelerating, the electric motor will be able to assist the main engine

The car has to satisfy all 3 conditions because only with all 3 mechanisms can the car be able to save enough petrol so as to be substantial enough to be considered as a “Green” car.  This is especially true when newer technology actually allows certain car to achieve the first condition.  This kind of car, though without any electric motor, makes use of an added Lithium-ion battery to power the car while it is idling.  This unfortunately does not translate into substantially more saving of petrol dollars.

Current hybrid cars are still making use of Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries as there are some problems when trying to make large Lithium-ion batteries.  Large Lithium-ion batteries are prone to combustion and thus are not ideal to be placed in an automotive vehicle.  If this and other problems can be solved by the industry it will herald in a new era for hybrid or even pure electric cars.  With Lithium-ion batteries, hybrid or pure electric cars will be able to get great efficiency, acceleration and range, all at the same price or even cheaper than today’s conventional cars.

The Pride of Japanese

In Personal on 21 August, 2006 at 3:00 pm

In Japan whenever a tour coach leave the hotel, the staff of the hotel will always come out to bow and wave to the tourist.  They will keep waving to the tourist even though the coach was already very far away.  This also happen at the Otaru Seafood Restaurant.  This is really the pride of Japanese and the epitome of Japanese hospitality.

When I came back to Singapore, my family went to a local seafood restaurant.  My mum accidentally spills her tea, a waitress saw it, but she pretends not to and just walks away.  Service DNA?  I think we still have a long way to go.

My Third Aunt

In Personal on 20 August, 2006 at 3:00 pm

My third aunt is a cheerful lady.  She always tries to use our way to communicate with us.  My generation was educated mostly in English, so she will try to use some English to amuse us, to make us laugh when we greet her.  Although I seldom see her, it was always a joy meeting her.  She is also a very strong lady, who single handedly brought up 3 children, at a time when Singapore was still not as prosperous; All 3 of my cousins grown up to be successful in their own way.

She passed away last Wednesday at the age of 79.  After paying our respect yesterday, my family accompanied her on her last journey this morning.  I will miss her laughter and her cheerful smile.

Cash is King in Japan

In Personal on 19 August, 2006 at 3:00 pm

When I was in Japan last July, one thing really puzzled me: Why is it that most places in Japan don’t accept credit card!?!  This is especially true in their restaurants, which are all on cash term only.  So to treat a group of 10 people to a good meal, you need to bring along hundreds of thousands of yen so that you can pay the meal in cash!  This is so outdated!

Microsoft still targeting November

In OS on 18 August, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Seems like Microsoft will be releasing their up and coming OS, Windows Vista, this November after all.  After several votes of “no-confidence” from online journalists, beta testers and die-hard supporters, Microsoft has instead crank up the gear and shifted into fast speed.  July saw the coming of the July CTP at the end of the month.  Then 1 week later, interim build 5483.  Another week later, interim build 5492.  This thursday, we saw the coming of interim build 5520.

So… Yes, they are definitely in the fast speed lane and November is the goal they are heading for.

Singapore turned 41

In Personal on 10 August, 2006 at 4:00 am

Yesterday was Singapore 41st National Birthday.  Happy Birthday Singapore!  Yesterday was also our National Stadium’s last National day, it will be demolished and a new stadium will be build at the same site which will be ready in 5 years time.  Thus yesterday National Day Celebration was a special one, with lots of fireworks, not only after the Grand Finale, but also during interval of certain presentation.

Happy Birthday Singapore!  Our Global City, Our Home!

Bye Bye Hour Glass, Hello Blue Circle

In OS on 5 August, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Windows Vista July CTP (Build 5472) springs a surprise.  The “Busy” hourglass has been replaced by a revolving blue circle.  If you have tried out the Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3, you will be familiar with the new “Busy” or “Working in the background” animation of the mouse cursor; the “Busy” animation while a web page is loading is also using a revolving blue circle.

Seems like the Windows Vista is really getting a “wax and polish” for each version that came out after the Beta 2.  I believe that more changes will be coming our way.

Ouch! You mean that was an April Fool’s joke?

In Personal on 4 August, 2006 at 3:00 pm

There I was telling people that Apple is going to make a portable gaming device come this end of year, never knowing that it was all a hoax!

Several months ago (can you believed it I was fooled for several months) I picked up a copy of Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM), in there was an article talking about Apple making iGame. It never occur to me that an April issue of EGM might contains an April Fool’s joke!  Thus I fell into the trap and kept on telling people that Apple is going into portable gaming market; and that they will be struggling to fight giants like Sony and Nintendo.

Oh well, I’ve to admit that EGM is really creative and they got me on that one.  Ouch!