Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Codebreaker Alan Turing

Alan Turing

Jun 7 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of Alan Turing's death.

All computer science students should know Alan Turing, he is generally known as the father of computer science. Alan Turing is a mathematician and computer scientist. The Turing machine created by Alan Turing for computing is the very first prototype of today's computer.

Alan Turing is a genius and a very smart mathematician, he helps the British and Alliance to decode the encrypted code from Germany during world war II. Winston Churchill said Turing make the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in WWII against Nazi Germany.

Alan Turing was prosecuted for homosexual activities in 1952, the British old society forbidden for such activities. He accepted the chemical injection (chemical castration) as alternative to prison.

Alan Turing died at 41 years old (year 1954), from cyanide poisoning. The incident was determined as suicide case, but his mother believed it was accidental. At year 2013, the British Queen granted a royal pardon to the code breaker hero who has contributed during world war II. Late is still better than none.

Queen pardons wartime code breaking hero Alan Turing
Why Alan Turing is the father of Computer Science

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Day Out With Lowepro CompuDay Photo 250

This is just a simple review of the Lowepro CompuDay Photo 250 camera bag. This is not a new model, just happen that I got one to try out, I write a short review of it. I am not sure when Lowepro release this model, could be as early as year 2011.

I have used Lowepro Fastpack 200 before, but I should get the Fastpack 250, because Fastpack 250 is a notebook and camera bag. The Fastpack 200 just like Fastpack 250, but without the notebook compartment.

I like the Fastpack design, I can easily take out the camera from the side of the bag. If you think it is insecure, you may look for those camera backpack open from the back and not from the side.

I am looking for a bag for camera and notebook, I am eyeing on Lowepro fastpack 150, it is smaller but cheaper than fastpack 250. I happen to found another Lowepro bag which fit my needs, the CompuDay Photo 250.

By looking at the model name, you know this is a camera + computer bag, is used for a day out. After I have tried the bag, it is just nice for a day of casual traveling around the city. Before this, I was using a sling camera bag and another backpack for a sweater and a bottle of water.

Sling bag is not good for me. I pack everything in to this CompuDay Photo 250. After a day out, I am quite comfortable with it. This is what I packed into the bag, mainly a camera, a sweater, a 500ml water plus a few other gadget and accessories.

You can pack with plenty of things

The camera is placed at the side of the bag. Can fit in a full frame dSLR and a medium size lens (according to the sales). I am using it with a Nikon D90, it fit in tight with plenty of space for a larger lens.

The notebook compartment, I put in an iPad. It can fit in the 13-inch MacBook Air, or a 15-inch notebook.
Notebook compartment

More compartment

Rear view

Fit into the handle of the luggage. Not perfect, but it fits.

This is ideal for:
A casual day out. I will carry my dSLR more often with this bag.

This is not for:
If you are carrying extra lens, extra battery, battery charger. It still can fit in, but you may consider Fastpack 150 or Fastpack 250.

Lowepro website has a bag finder, help you to choose the right camera bag for you. I can find Fastpack 150AW, but unable to find this CompuDay Photo 250.

Note. This bag doesn't came with rain coat cover.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Beatbox S10 Review

Beatbox S10

You should heard about Beats Electronics as Apple to acquire Beats for USD3 billion.

I only found out recently that I have a Beats product, a portable speaker model Beatbox S10.

This is a portable, battery powered, bluetooth personal speaker. Very similar with the X-mini speaker, but the Beatbox is much cheaper. Amazon selling at less than USD20.

Packaging.It came with a small box, contain the speaker and charging cable. Very simple packaging.

Bluetooth.Bluetooth connection is easy, but I experience some difficulties to reconnect to the speaker, after disconnect.

Standalone player.It use microSD as memory storage. Since the speaker use the same button to control the volume and skip songs, I have some difficulties to adjust the sound volume. Press and hold control the volume, press and release to skip songs.

Battery life.After used for some time, I find the battery quality is not so good as company with X-mini. I am referring the quality as play back time and durability. The battery is not replaceable.

Sound quality.Sounds good, but I am not sensitive, so not much comment.

Usability.It is heavier than X-mini speaker, but very portable.

Average comment. With the price USD20, is a good buy, but don't expect it to last very long.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Taipei travel card service with roaming

from flickr

Taiwanese travel card, the EasyCard company is aggressive. After the announcement of working together with Singapore EZ-Link travel card, EasyCard to work with Hong Kong Octopus travelling card. One travelling card can be used in 3 cities (Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore) in the future.

The idea is like telco roaming. You can use local register mobile phone in other countries, with roaming feature enable. With the "roaming" service, travellers don't have to get extra travelling card when they go to other country. There should be some technical issue to be solved, but the technical issues are not that difficult compare with the business decision.

The travelling card can be used for city train system (LRT, MRT), busses, parking or even used as a cash card to purchase goods. The payment are normally micro-payment. Malaysia has Touch'n Go card, Singapore has EZ-Link, Taipei has EasyCard (悠遊卡) and Hong Kong has Octopus card (八達通).

Malaysia Touch'n Go card can be used for parking, toll, LRT, Monorail, RapidKL bus, KTM train and ERL Train (train to KL International Airport). Touch'n Go card is not used for other payment system. In other countries like Hong Kong, Taipei and Singapore. The traveling card can be used as

Is convenience for consumer to travel by 1 card. As the travelling card can be used as payment card and cash card, there is still a lot of potential with travel card.

悠遊卡搭香港八達通 有譜了

Thursday, June 12, 2014

University of Malaya to stop issue hardcopy certificate?

Just read a news reported that University of Malaya (Malaya Universiti) has implemented the e-Scrolls digital certificates, will stop issued the official hardcopy of the certificate for the graduates. The students can apply the official certificate by paying certain amount of processing fees.

I always support using the information technology to simplified our work, but the university should always produce an official copy for the students. Is not the time for 100% using electronic documents yet. The processing fees for getting a official certificate should be reasonable.

Is good that the owner can printed out their own certificate. Most students will like to keep a copy of the official certificate. Most companies and university will not accept the electronic certificate, it troublesome for the graduates to apply job or further studies.

If you win the FIFA World Cup, you will like to keep the trophy and not just the photo of the trophy, right? I really hope they are not going to implement this that soon, think twice or more than twice.

Oriental Daily.  马大以电子文凭取代纸本文凭 一纸文凭50令吉
Sinchew. 馬大7月起發電子文憑‧索紙本文憑須付費50

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Apple WWDC Keynote 2014 Summary

This is just a dummy guide for WWDC14 keynote.

WWDC 2014 keynote is about preview of Mac OS X 10.10 and iOS 8.

Mac OS X 10.10

It will be name as Yosemite (Yoo-se-mee-tee). It will be available for free (the previous version Mavericks is free too).

What's new?
- Change the graphic user interface, more iOS look and feel. Integrate better with iOS too. Changes includes notification centre, spotlight move the the centre of the screen and more.
- iCloud works more like Dropbox, can sync as a folder on OS X.
- Safari browser with better performance in speed.
- Desktop can pick up phone call to your phone. (More than just picking up phone calls).

iOS 8

- QuickType with improved auto correct and prediction typing.
- iOS get into enterprise market.
- Share account with family members. Will asked for permission when purchase using the same credit card account. (A simple but good implementation)
- Improvement and localisation for China market.
- HealthKit for health application, HomeKit for smart home application.
- A new programming language, Swift. Swift can use existing Objective-C/C runtime.

Every time Apple introduced new software platform, there is a long list of improvement and added features. New iOS will be expected as new iPhone will came out every year. I don't expect Apple refresh the desktop OS (Mac OS X) so soon. The improvement on software like Safari browser and performance will be welcome.

Full keynote is available on Apple website, or you can take a look at WWDC 2014 keynote in 10 minutes.

Another good summary from The Verge YouTube channel.