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Got my hands on a copy of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and here’s a brief hands on review. Check out the video yo!

The slate is set to be launched with Celcom Broadband very soon, stay tuned. 😀

I’ve always have a special place for Proton Saga in my heart. It is in fact, the car that I learn to drive with back even before I was old enough to have a license, I remember we were in some light industrial area on a Sunday when my late dad decided to let me have a go at it, and the “wtf are you serious” face it had on my mom.

A few mati engine incidents later, I was able to manipulate the clutch and gear and drove for some 10 minutes. It was pure joy, a moment I never forget.

Proton Saga FLX front view

There was another incident where I hit a car’s side view mirror whilst riding bicycle before, and it turned out to be my dad in our Proton, I blogged about it here.

That Proton Saga was with our family for quite a number of years, a 1.3 liter manual version that was dark brown in color. When the new saga came out, we helped mom bought one too, and it has been serving her pretty well for the past 2 years or so.

Proton Saga FLX with CVT
Proton Saga FLX with CVT

Fast forward to today, and there is another iteration of the venerable Proton Saga – the Proton Saga FLX.

Instead of just a mere facelift to the “new” Saga FL model, the Saga FLX has so much more to offer, with the biggest selling point being CVT, or Continuous Variable Transmission. A feature usually found in cars of much higher price point.

CVT explained

Unlike conventional Automatic Transmission, CVT allows the vehicle to always be in optimal power band. The gearbox shifts without any shift-shock or loss of power, this allows the engine to have less wear and tear and thus improve its durability.

The other trick under CVT’s sleeve is it’s ability to simulate a 6 speed automatic gearbox when you are up for a little bit of spirited driving.

Proton Saga FLX's SAT Switch

Simply press the SAT (Stepped Automatic Transmission) to engage the function. This brings the familiar feel of most automatic car to the driver, but with 6 speeds instead of the usual 4.

interior of Proton Saga FLX

The Saga FLX with CVT is rated to consume 6 liter of fuel per 100 km running at 90 km/h. Theoretically you can drive from KL to Penang with only some RM 40 in fuel (at RM 1.90 per liter), that’s pretty good isn’t it?

The design of the car’s interior is improved too, and many will undoubtedly be pleased that the power windows in Proton Saga FLX comes with life time warranty, glad to see that they have addressed this issue.

proton saga flx with ABS and EBD

There are still more features packed into this car. There’s now ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) in the Executive models.

These are safety features that allows much better maneuverability during emergency braking, features that can save lives.

Proton Saga FLX with rigid body and airbag

Other than that, the body shell is also built stronger and stiffer to maximize protection. Then there’s the dual airbags too (Executive models) for extra safety.

Immobiliser, central locking, keyless entry and reverse sensor are now standard features across all FLX models.

Then there’s the size and practicality that comes with having a full size sedan with a big boot space. The Saga sits 4-5 adults comfortably and still able to swallow 413 liter of baggage. That size is equivalent to the big refrigerator I use at home!

A  getaway,  weekend shopping with the whole family, and those occasional IKEA trips will be easier with the Saga, compared with a super compact.

Proton Saga FLX rear view

There are too many features that found their ways into the Saga FLX to be listed on this site (MP3 player, USB jack, etc). To find out more, check out now, there’s a video there too.

If you’re looking for a car, especially a first car, make sure you give the new Proton Saga FLX a look. You definitely won’t get a car with more features and space at this price point. Best value for money if you ask me.

It’s been a while since this blog featured a movie review, with the last one being Inception some 10 months ago. I guess there just wasn’t a movie I like enough to be writing a review since then.. until I managed to catch Source Code a few days ago.

Source Code movie poster

The movie currently score a pretty good 7.9/10 on IMDB, pretty good for a relatively low budget scifi. This movie sort of took Jake Gyllenhaal back to his Donnie Darko roots after the semi disaster that was Prince of Persia, Like Donnie Darko, this is another sci-fi film that has something to do with alternate history/universe theme. Something that the geek in me love seeing on big screen.

This is the second full featured film from Duncan Jone, the other being Moon, which was another sci-fi film with an even lower budget, but a must-watch if you’re a fan of hard scifi instead of space soap opera.

This review is going to have some spoilers/discussions, so for those who hasn’t watch the film, go watch it now!

source code train scene
the co-star is pretty cute!

Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, Captain Colter Stevens wakes up in a train and found himself looking at a “stranger” female who clearly knows him, and when he went to the toilet, the person in the mirror wasn’t himself.

He attempt to get to know what happens, but 8 minutes later, the train to Chicago blew up, killing everyone on board…… and he woke up in a bunker strapped on a chair with a woman name Goodwin on the screen trying to explain to him what happened.

Apparently Colter Stevens was in the Source Code, a program that puts him into someone’s mind over the last 8 minutes of his life. In this case, 8 minutes in the train that got blown, his job was to find the bomber.

The plot is covered on wikipedia, so I guess I shall not repeat the story.

source code experiment room scene

While started out a little slow, the pace of the movie worked out pretty well at the end. I love the premies of the story even though it was as almost as far fetched as space aliens hanging out with human breathing the same atmosphere and being able to have hybrid children.

The one part that I wish to be different is perhaps the way the film ends. I think it would carry a little bit more of an impact if the movie ended at the freezing frame where everyone was laughing on the train listening to Russel Peters with Stevens and the girl kissing.

While the ending in the movie works well on the many world interpretation quantum mechanics postulate, it left a bit too sweet a taste and a bit too Hollywood for me.

This is a must watch movie for all geeks, and while you’re at it, get a copy of Moon and watch that too!

NBA playoffs 2011

For those of you who are following the NBA, the playoffs are finally here!

First round Eastern Conference would be Indiana vs Chicago, Philadelphia vs Miami, Atlanta vs Orlando, New York vs Boston, and Western Conference match ups are Memphis vs San Antonio, New Orleans vs Los Angeles Lakers, Portland vs Dallas, Dallas vs Oklahoma City.

I am gonna admit that I like the Miami Heat and want them to do well. I watched Lebron James live in Washington DC while he was  in a high school all stars games. The second round match up could be Miami vs Boston, and that’s gonna be mighty delicious!

I think Miami or Chicago’s gonna come out from the East, and Lakers might represent the West again, though I hope OKC or San Antonio (might be too old) can spoil it.

The problem with basketball games is that often time it is only interesting at in the last half an hour or so, and that American time zone isn’t very compatible with the one we’re in either, so Astro B.yond PVR to the rescue!

I’m gonna record all the games and make sure I don’t miss the important moments!

I’m a pretty enthusiastic photography hobbyist, and a little bit in videography too.

I’m one of the earliest adopters in digital photography, with my very first digital camera a 3.2 megapixel Kodak model that runs on 4 AA battery with 32mb internal memory, then a Canon Powershot G3, Canon 400D DLSR, Canon S90 compact camera, and the Olympus E-PL1. Haze and I also have a couple GoPro HERO HD super compact camcorders.

Sony SLT A33 camera

The last toy I have to play with (at least for a couple weeks anyway) is the new Sony SLT-A33L A-mount camera. A 14.2 Megapixel SLR system that with 18-55 kit lens.

Calling this camera SLR might be slightly misleading though, for it is has a pretty nifty trick tucked in its sleeves – the SLT, or Single Lens Translucent mirror Technology.

Traditional SLR usually comes with a prism and has a mirror that needs to be flipped up whenever a picture is to be taken, while some 4/3 systems such as the E-PL1 do away with the mirror and hardware autofocus to have a reduce the size of the camera (while also using a smaller sensor).

In the latest SLT lineup from Sony, a translucent mirror is placed just before the sensor, reflecting 30% light to the hardware autofocus system and 70% to the sensor. This achieve several things:

  • auto-focus as fast as any DSLR
  • smaller size than traditional DSLR
  • much quieter shutter
  • very fast burst mode (SLT-A33L can do 7 fps, with SLT-A55 shooting 10 fps)
  • ability to use any Sony A-mount, Minolta, Konica-Minolta AF lenses and strobes

Sony SLT A33 rear view and LCD

The camera feels solid and well constructed, I particularly like the flip down (and turn-around) 3″ LCD screen, it’s crystal clear with 921.6k pixel resolution and makes it not only easy for some of you to camwhore, but very handy when it comes to taking photos or videos in crowded area or when you want to get that macro shot close to ground level.

Anyway, here’s the brief spec (full specs here)

  • 14.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • 7fps Continuous Shooting with Auto-Focus
  • Quick AF Full HD Movie Recording
  • Liveview with Quick AF
  • 3D Sweep Paranoma
  • Electronic Viewfinder (invaluable in places where LCD is distracting to others)
  • 15-point phase-detection AF array with 3 cross-type AF points
  • ISO 12800 sensitivity (with Jpeg only at ISO 25600)

That’s some serious specs for something with a suggested retail price of RM 2,399 including a kit lens.

Here’re some shots:

test night shot with Sony SLT A33

I set the camera to P mode, disabled flash, and with Auto-ISO, snap, and got the above picture. The Sony Steady Shot came into play and is really a bless, I could have never taken a photo at 1/15s shutter speed so effortlessly.

sony SLT A33 test shot at night

With the full suite of SLR capabilities including aperture priority, shutter speed priority, and full manual mode, you can do quite a lot with this camera. The above picture is taken at 1/15s with aperture priority at ISO1600.

cendawan the Bengal cat

This picture of Cendawan the Bengal cat is shot at 1/100s in ISO 3200, I set the camera to full auto mode. A slow camera can only take blur pictures of an awake cat, or sharp pictures of sleeping cat.

A video to amuse you, Cendawan the Bengal cat playing fetch, shot in Full HD

Hong Kong street food (tai pai tong)

I also took the STL-A33 along to Hong Kong (more posts on that soon), this photo is taken we had dinner at a road side “tai pai tong”. Shot at ISO 3200, f/5.6, 1/320s. The food was very good by the way!

Disneyland fireworks

Fireworks aren’t the easiest scene to capture, but this camera does a very good job by just setting to Auto with no flash.

Mongkok, Sony SLT-A33 and A55 advertisement

Finally, a shot taken at the busiest spot in Hong Kong – Mongkok. Notice the poster of SLT-A55 and SLT-A33 on display?

note: all photos shown above are straight out of the camera, resized, with no additional edits.

The last time I did a movie review on this blog was almost two years ago. Every once in a while there is a film that’s good enough I thought I’d blog about it, but inevitably always change my mind. In the world of Twitter, facebook, and all it’s instant short feedback capability, movie reviews sorta took a back seat in this blog.

That is, until a movie like Inception comes along.

Inception, movie poster

Ever since I first heard about Inception, the mere knowledge that is is directed by Christopher Nolan and lead by Leonardo DiCaprio. I know it is something that shouldn’t be missed. While I expected a good film, the movie delivered way more than what I had expected.

If you’re familiar with Nolan’s work, I can only summarize Inception as having the twists of Memento, the drama of Prestige, and the spectacle of The Dark Knight.

While I could never pen down the intricacy and complexity of the movie on this blog, for those who does not want to have the slightest spoiler, you should stop reading now, and immediately make sure you get the tickets to the next screening.

Don’t miss it!

Ken Watanabe and Marion Cotillard in Inception

In essence, Inception is an original sci-fi film with a heist theme, but I’m doing injustice to the multi layered plot and all it’s intricacies here.

DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, the Extractor, a man who specializes in subconscious security, invading dreams and stealing ideas in corporate espionage. In his team there’s Gordon-Levitt as the Point Man, who researches the target. Ellen Page was recruited as the Architect to create the scenes in the dream. Then there’s also a Forger, and a Chemist.

Inception building bending

Ken Watanabe plays Saito, the client who hired Cobb, but instead of stealing ideas, Cobb is asked to plant a new idea in the target – Robert Fischer (by Cillian Murphy). The difficult part is of course, ideas has to be original, and when it is not, you always remember the origin.

It is with this premise that the movie develops its multi layered plot that demands and ultimately rewards 100% concentration to every details and development in the entire film. The last hour or so of the movie is nothing like I’ve ever seen before, the climax that never ends. (reminds me of pigs’ orgasm)

While the visual effects (with computer graphics only when absolutely required) are spectacular, it was never blowing things up for the sake of blowing things up. Everything shown is necessary and every aspect of the film adds up to make a viewing experience unlike anything else.

The excellent cast and sound track definitely carried out the story beautifully. Leonardo DiCaprio did not need to carry the weight of the movie, but delivered an excellent performance yet again, Ellen Page and Michael Caine sorta did their usual roles, and Marion Cotillard must have left one of the strongest impressions while not having that much screen time.

Gordon-Levitt in Inception

Just when you think the movie industry is void of creative ideas with studios seemingly only keep investing on sequels, prequels, and reboots, Inception is definitely a very strong reminder that all is not lost.

I hate to sound like a fanboy, but Christopher Nolan really did outdone himself in this one. I haven’t yet manage to find a weak point in this movie, and will definitely watch it again. Right now it’s a 10/10 for me.

p/s: Got the screening tickets from Nuffnang, thank you Robb!