Key to a good session of music listening

January 21, 2008 4 comments

How I wished that someone could have told me that the key to a good session of music listening is a pair of good headphones.  It’s funny that my dad who is a fan of classical music for years couldn’t have told me that.  He tried to invest in a good sound system within his means.  A pair of good speakers, matched with an amplifier and CD player, but it’s no match to a good pair of sound isolating headphones.

So save your efforts and money in trying to create a sound room with expensive setups.  Jump straight into a good pair of sound isolating headphones.  A pair of headphones is going to cost just a fraction of the money that you’re going to spend if you embark on that journey to setup a good sound system.  Anyone who has been to a sound equipment shop will know what I mean…

With that headphones, you’ll be able to tell the difference between a good and badly produced songs/music, be it from the quality of the encoded MP3 to the quality of the hardware used to reproduce the song/music.

Now I’m embarking on a journey to re-encode my CDs into MP3 with a 256 bit rate.

Just one reason for not buying Epson CX6500

January 20, 2008 5 comments

I can honestly say why you shouldn’t get a Epson CX6500 simply because I bought one 2 years back.  Since I see that it’s still on the market, this blog entry may still save you from the agonies that I went through.

The main problem with Epson CX6500 (and I’m not sure if it applies to all ink-based models from Epson) is that when one ink cartridge runs out of ink, all functions of the printer are suspended and it will just keep on prompting you to replace the empty ink cartridge.  You won’t be able to scan.  You won’t be able to copy or print in plain black.

If you do not use the printer frequently, then chances are you’ll face clogged ink nozzles, which you’ll have to waste a lot of ink in order to clean them up.  Which means, the cartridges will run out of ink with low frequency (hence low volume) printing.  Which means you are likely to face the same situation as I did.

I’m dunking ink-jet printers for now.  Color laser printers are cheap now, so I’m going to try that out.  Anyone with bad laser printer experiences?

Categories: Review Tags: ,

Audio on Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 sucks

January 19, 2008 1 comment

It took a Shure SE420 headphones to find out that the Azalia codec that comes with the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 sucks. Ok, now I think my Sennheiser HD595 is tad poorer in performance compared to the Shure SE420. I’ll talk about that next time.

Recently, I managed to get my MP3 encoding to work on my Ubuntu 6.10. Hey, I’m busy too. So I started to rip some of my CDs through my Linux box. When I listened to the music on my Shure SE420, I thought that the music was hallowing. At first I thought my Shure headphones were faulty, and started this whole exercise in trying out my headphones through a standalone CD player, an amplifier, my MacBook, my MP3 player, and finally MP3 music encoded through different computers.

It was the different encodings through the computers that finally helped me to isolate the problem down to the Linux box.

So I tried different CD players on my Linux box, and I found out that 2 of my old CD players are spoilt. Hmm… hardware don’t keep well if you don’t use them for a long time. Finally, I stripped out an old Creative Soundblaster 128bit sound card and slotted it onto my Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3, and disabled the Azalia codec through the BIOs setup. Remember to connect the audio in-out cable from your CD player to the sound card. Oh glorious music!!!

Creative Technology delivers! Back to re-ripping some of my CDs, and nursing of my aching back… testing of hardware is a tiring job.

Categories: Motherboards, Review Tags:

Shure SE420

December 29, 2007 1 comment

After 4 grueling months of work, I just consoled myself with a new pair of Shure SE420 headphones. Not that the work gave back me deserving returns, though I hope that’s coming in the future, but I’ve been thinking of getting a good pair of headphones that I can move around with. My Sennheiser HD595 was difficult to bring around due to its size, and ambient sounds leak through when I travel on the train. I’ve been eying Shure’s headphones for the past 2 years. So when Shure launched it’s latest range of sound isolation headphones, I thought it’s a good time to get one.

After using it for a week, here’s my verdict. It’s a good pair of phones. Mids and highs are clear and crisp. Very good for vocals and instrumentals. You could feel guitar strumming messaging your ears. Lows might be a tad weak, if you’re used to stronger lows. After switching between my Sennheiser HD595 and Shure SE420 just to test out the differences, the Shure SE420 sounds more balanced across its lows, mids and highs. With the SE420’s frequency range between 20Hz and 19kHz, I didn’t experience low rumbles and trailing highs that could lift my emotions higher. Shure says that they manufacture headphones to reproduce sounds as close as possible to original recordings. I wonder if the previous experiences with my music was more of an artificial one with impressive technical engineering. Prolong use of the SE420 will probably tell.

With its Ear Canal design, the sealing of the foam buds onto your ear canal will create an environment that seals out a lot of outside sounds, but amplify your own body’s sounds. So it’s not good if you walk, or jog with the phones in your ears. Chewing will definite kill your music. If sealing of the foam buds are very tight, you can even hear your own heartbeat. But if you just use it while you are sitting down, it works better than those active noise-canceling headphones.

The wires are thick and some may feel that it’s stiff. For me, it doesn’t affect me much because the quality of the sounds produced are my higher concerns. But the stiff wires will rub against your skin as you loop it around your ears (as recommended by Shure on the proper method to wear the headphones), and the sounds will amplify into your ears.

That’s my contribution to the review of Shure SE420. Other reviews have covered quite a bit, and you can read it all of them on the Internet.

Yes, I am happy with the SE420. I think it’s worth the money, although I wish it could be cheaper. I’m itching to try out the SE530!


My problem with weak bass was with a problem I had with my Linux box used to encode music.  After resolving that, I’m happy to say that my Shure SE420 headphones is able to produce tight strong bass.

Categories: Review Tags: , , ,

December 2007

December 28, 2007 Leave a comment

It has been a few months.  I almost forgot my login to my blog.  It has been busy and tiring, but work has been gratifying and satisfying.  I have a great team of people working together with me now.  Boss is supporting, patient and willing to get involved in the work.  It’s a wonderful end to the year.

Just got a slight breather to post a belated Merry Christmas, and best wishes to you in the coming New Year!

Categories: Chatter

Just some updates

August 10, 2007 2 comments

It has been weeks since I last wrote.  I tried to write 2 weeks back, but wife wanted to talk to me because there was so little time to talk.  That was about 7am in the morning that I tried writing!  Sad, isn’t it?  So we talked, and I lost my feeling for writing.   After which, I was back in working mode, and writing took another back seat.

So I’m writing now because I’m stuck at where I’m developing.  Stuck between business flows, application designing and schedules.  “How to fit that in?” is the question that I’ve been grappling for the past few days.  So what’s new?  Definitely nothing in the realm of software.

I’m back into application development using Java, with this company that deals with payment transactions.  Using AppFuse, Spring and Hibernate, it has been an interesting ride so far, for I’m learning new things.  Although these frameworks have been around for some time, but that’s the downside being in management.  You know that they exists, but you hardly get to touch, smell and taste them.

So how was your National Day?  I spent it over at my mum’s place in the afternoon, and back at my home with our own-cooked dinner, watching the NDP 2007 over dinner.  Dinner was good, but the NDP was boring.  The theme for the performances was some half-cuckoo idea associating Singapore with the 4 elements, Mother Earth and into the future.  Some age-old ritualistic believes interleaved with space-agey designs and dances.  It didn’t work for me.  What a pity that it was an opportunity to come up with good performances against Singapore’s city skyline, but it was wasted.

The fireworks were too much… so much smoke was generated that the later half of the fireworks were blocked.  The camera angles had to be switched over to the camera-in-the-sky to capture the brilliance of the firework from the side.

Same old songs… One People, One Nation… Together Singapore… to close the NDP.  Yawn!

So I’m just a Singaporean that’s getting jaded from the annual NDPs.

Categories: Chatter

Moving on to a new job

July 3, 2007 3 comments

Yeah, I have moved on to a new job. The previous one is put on hold, until things are more confirmed. It wasn’t moving in some ways, so we decided to get on with new jobs now. Hopefully we’ll be able to pursue our ideals at a later phase in our lives.

So it has been 2 days since I started at the new company. It has been so busy that I haven’t had time to set up my office computer, access emails and Internet, nor write anything. It has been meeting clients and attending internal meetings for whole days, gearing me up to speed. But being busy is good. I need to get used to it after months of working from home.

Now, I am handling the research and product development. We’re building up the infrastructure for mobile payment. I wouldn’t want to go into details, it’s not the right time for that. But I would say it’s a real interesting idea with good business model.

I hope I’ll have more success to show for. 🙂


I’m looking for people who can do Java programming, involving product development.  Anyone interested in working with me again? 🙂

Categories: Chatter, That's life!

I dream in colour too, or do I?

June 27, 2007 1 comment

During my last meeting with a group of friends involved in puppetry, we touched on a topic on whether we dream in colours.  Most of them said that they dream in colour, except for my wife, who dreams in grey scales.

Honestly, I couldn’t remember whether I dreamt in colour or not.  Usually the dreams that I remember are those with fear, being victimized, highly-charged with emotions.  Something like being chased down a dark corridor, and waking up with a high beating heart rate.  For dreams like that, everything seemed to be happening very fast and blurred, like a camera taking a fast-moving object.  For dreams occurring in very deep sleep, I could not remember those dreams.  I usually am conscious of dreaming, but I don’t remember what they were.

Just 2 nights back, I remembered a dream.  I accidentally dropped my black mobile phone.  After picking it up, and tried using it, I realized my phone had turned to this bulky old generation Nokia candy-bar phone.  The colour of the phone had turned to silvery-grey.

Hey, I dreamt in colours!  Or did I?  Mulling over it, I also realized that silvery-grey can be considered to be part of grey scales.  So did I dream in colours?

Categories: Chatter

Review of Miessence products II

June 21, 2007 8 comments

My wife and I have been using Miessence’s organic personal care products for the past 1.5 months. So here’s my continuing review of the Miessence products.

We’re only half way through the shampoo and the facial cleanser. They do last quite a while. Although they cost more than the typical off-the-shelf non-organic products, but they are starting to work out to be quite alright when you put benefits and quality into the equation.

The facial cleanser worked so well that my wife bought the facial conditioner and moisturizer to compliment the cleanser. She has a pimple problem on her forehead for the past 2.5 years, and it’s finally clearing up when she started using the organic facial products. We had spent about $1000 on western and eastern doctors, and medications, prior to using Miessence, and none of them worked. One thing my wife noted about the moisturizer is that it can be oily, and works better if used the conditioner as the base. Her routine is to wash her face with the cleanser, followed by applying the conditioner. Allow the conditioner to dry first, and then apply the moisturizer on specific dry areas, instead of the whole face.

A friend of mine tried out the Intensive Body Cream, and she said that it worked better than the other skin lotions that she used previously. The lotion stayed on longer between hand washes. We haven’t tried this out ourselves because we do not have dry skins, but I thought this information might be useful.

My wife has gotten used to the scent of the hand wash, and what do you know… she’s starting to like it too! The eczema on certain areas of my hand is starting to clear up too. I wonder if it’s a fluke. I’ll update everyone again after an extended period of use. Sometimes eczema does come back. I also found out that the anti-bacterial agent used in soaps and hand washes is a nerve-damaging chemical! So I wasn’t wrong when my fingers felt numb when I was still using those anti-bacterial hand washes. You can read the article at

We are just finishing the mint toothpaste. I have gotten to like it so much that I could feel like swallowing the toothpaste when I’m brushing. Our bad breath and dry mouths went away after we started using the organic toothpaste, and it stayed away. We’re trying out the lemon flavored toothpaste next once we finish the mint toothpaste. So far the lemon toothpaste smelled refreshing.

We are also going to try out the organic body wash, the facial mask, the Ambrosia essence, and the Mivitality’s In-Liven Probiotic. So stay tuned to my blog!

One Group (manufacturer of Miessence) is green in many ways. The foam used in filling up the empty space in the packaging is made of maize. I used that to fertilize my potted plants now. 🙂

If you liked my reviews and found them useful, please do consider buying from my website at I’m a genuine user bringing you the reviews, but it does help to pay some bills. Thanks, and good health to you! 🙂


I knew I left something out. A friend of mine used the deodorant. She didn’t like it because it has a sticky feeling late in the day. I don’t think deodorants work that well in the tropics due to the heat and humidity. If someone manufactures a deodorant that works well in the tropics, I think it will sell very well. 🙂

Citibank’s cute girls

June 21, 2007 Leave a comment

Did anyone notice that Citibank’s Consumer Banking’s branch offices have cute counter staff?  I have been visiting their Dolby Ghuat branch office regularly to deposit cheques, and I realised that all of them are cute to a certain degree.  Much better looking than SIA stewardess, and they do make the queue time seem shorter.

Ah well, when they end their service with a smile and “Thank you, and have a nice day.”, I already did.  🙂

Categories: Chatter, Citibank