+ peripherals +


Latest update

Snap...snap...snap...snap into 2!

Snap...snap...snap...snap into 2!

At a dilemma as to whether I should purchase another extended battery for my current Samsung notebook. The laptop’s reaching close to 4 years & apart from a few knick-knacks (earphone jack doesn’t work consistently. AGAIN, LCD screen hinge has a lot of play, VGA port’s pins ain’t snug when an adapter’s plugged in, wireless switch’s gonna breakdown any time soon. AGAIN), it isn’t running all that slow. Still “usable”. However, the once wonderful extended battery (which I purchased separately for over a hundred bucks & lasts over 4-hour sessions from the get-go) can only managed to give me a max of 2hours on Wi-fi nowadays. With school re-opening soon and my study to last another 2 semester, I’m tempted to purchase yet another piece of extended battery to reduce the hassle of lugging around a power adapter anywhere. The only issues are:

  1. As far as possible, I do not wish to spend a dime more on this definitely-obsolete & possibly-replaced-some-time-in-the-future laptop.
  2. The extended battery costs $100+ & I realised for better internal cells, it’s another $50 more.
  3. Lead time for the new battery is a month, & the longer I hesitate, translates into a possible lesser time I’ll get to enjoy it before my laptop conks out.

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The Transport

The Vaude Wizard Air 24+4

The Vaude Wizard Air 24+4

Let’s begin with the latest, shall we? I transport my gear in this new backpack, the Vaude (German-brand) Wizard Air 24+4 backpack. Costs me $105 from Bonkers Link to serve as a replacement for my previous Rip Curl bag (which gave way to the weight & irregular-shaped items that I throw at it). I decided to forgo a sling-bag form factor because of my back. The materials is made from tough Corduroy, unlike the latest Deuter. It, as well as the zips are water-resistant; should there be a torrential downpour, a rain-cover is also included at the bottom of the pack. Currently, the folded rain cover just serves as padded protection for when I land this pack on the floor. there is a zip that runs along the perimeter of the bag which u can release to expand its capacity even larger, much like my ol’ CamelBak Blowfish (which is a nice bag in its own right). Of-course, it is hydration-system-compatible.

This gap is adjustable. Note the torso-length marker in the background.

This gap is adjustable. Note the torso-length marker in the background.

The pack also comes with the ice-axe loops on its back, compression straps on the sides & a hip-belt at its bottom (in other words, it can be counted as a true backpack & not your typical casual haversack, where even a proper adjustment will result in the weight of your load still resting on your shoulders). The pack has a frame that is highly adjustable to fit any torso-length (within reasonable range), and as you can see from the photo above, even the gap between the mesh and the main pack can be adjusted. Frankly speaking, these are what won me over from the Deuter: the material (I must say, the fabric of the Deuter model I was eyeing, is really light, but in the end, toughness prevails), the adjustable gap (the Deuter model I was eyeing has a non-adjustable gap; so supposedly the curvature of the gap has a large gradient, u slot a laptop in there & somebody in the subway lose his balance and falls on you, causing the screen of your laptop to be flexed against the “apex” of your pack frame…u see where I’m going with this, don’t you?), the adjustable frame to fit your torso length, the more subtle color?

Does take me a while to adjust for my fit, but I suppose this is true of any versatile equipment.

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The Communicator

the Nokia E71

the Nokia E71

My current cellphone is this lovely Nokia E71, which I dare say, is so fine a phone, that it leaves its predecessor, the E61 a mile behind. In a cloud of dust. Extremely tough real metal construction (dropped thrice so far, twice from table height & once from pocket height onto a concrete bus stop bench. NOT a dent, or a scratch. Camera lense & screen UNmarred). It’s a Nokia S60 device which runs on Symbian 3rd Ed. Feature Pack1. Which means I can install an extremely huge amount of apps to expand the phone’s functionality. The screenshot in the photo above is one out of three pages of apps I have installed on my device. Noteworthy apps include Opera browser, Nokia Sports Tracker (which I use to map & record my runs/treks), Crash Bandicoot (nice racing game), Garmin MobileXT (the definite standard for mobile GPS osftware), Nimbuzz (which I use for instant messeging as well as VoIP calls). Email and calendar scheduling are natively solid, as of any E-series device.  Comes with Wi-fi, GPS and an auto-focus camera (granted, the poor white balance & noisy sensor makes this more of a novelty, but AF is rare on an E-series device) & expandable memory.

This is a a piece of solid construction, running on a solid platform, with solid hardware features as well as solid apps to boot. The only thing that can kill it is the upcoming Nokia E72 😉

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Entertainment on-the-move

a Generation 1 iPod Touch. U aint gonna see one any longer.

a Generation 1 iPod Touch. U ain't gonna see one any longer.

This is a generation 1 iPod Touch. Meant to replace my previous Sony mp3 player, it has done more than that and became my main Internet browsing device. The large, wide LCD screen has facilitated hours of movie-watching on long train rides. It is this iPod, which is also my 1st iPod, that introduced me to the podcasts subscription capability and infinite scalability of the AppStore, both functions of iTunes that granted me limitless content for hours on end. I still can’t imagine it’s only 8mm thin the 1st time I held it. Granted, the primitive processor of the gen1 is no longer handling some of the newer apps due to their graphics and complexity. The recent jailbreak applications, even the basic Winterboard, also takes it toil on the device (the apps crunch it, not the other way round! Haha!. to add insult to injury, even launching the “Settings” panel which is a native component of the firmware, is jerky and slow. But nonetheless, still a very decent portable media player + Wi-fi-capable device that I’ll probably use till it fails completely.

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Timekeeper (a.k.a. my daily beater)

Seiko 5 SNKE03K1

Seiko 5 SNKE03K1

Ever since my AstroBoy mechanical passed on, I have been looking for a replacement ticker. No more quartz watch for me from now on…they are just so, “soul-less”? Sorry, the peizo-electrical regularity of a quartz watch just ain’t doing it for me. But mechanical timepieces, on the other hand, restricts me to a very limited range when my budget is at the far bottom end of the economy. In the end, the solution, as very expected, is a Seiko 5.  Got myself a SNKE03K1 on my own money, not that it is very expensive at $155. Took a liking to the PVD coating and red second hand. Other than that, it’s a very “tame” design, which I suppose, can serve as my mundane, working attire watch in the near future. Hasn’t experience the accuracy fluctuations an entry-level movement such as this is “supposed” to exhibit, which is a good thing. Power reserve is rather “capped” though. Gotta send it for polishing soon, what with all the scruff marks and a tiny scratch on the glass.

See-through case back, to exhibit the movement

See-through case back, to exhibit the movement

Although it doesn’t have the “open-heart” of my Astroby, but the see-through case back should suffice, for now.

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Sound Vibes

I have so many tales to tell, but not the freedom to tell them. Devoid of air, oppression is the stench that fills the void between you and the Truth. Yet ones mind cant help but weaken, before he crosses that barrier.

"I have so many tales to tell, but not the freedom to tell them. Devoid of air, oppression is the stench that fills the void between you and the Truth. Yet one's mind can't help but weaken, before he crosses that barrier."

Man this is gonna be a lengthy one…here goes…

the AMB Mini3 amp, assembled by A from HoHoDIY.

the AMB Mini3 amp, assembled by A from HoHoDIY.

Internal components of the amp. Maha Powerex was an aftermarket upgrade.

Internal components of the amp. Maha Powerex was an aftermarket upgrade.

Have to find some way to enjoy the musical goodness that pumps out of my iPod. I have a portable amplifier; it’s the AMB Mini3 built by a friend of mine (A 😉 ) over at the local “distro”, “HoHoDIY”. Bang-for-buck solid design & construction, i.e. adequate space between I/O jacks, as you can see below. Space is important when you use jacks that are way wider than normal. A lot of low-end China-made amps always has this issue of “cramped-ness”. Metal body with easily-removable rear faceplate due to 4 thumbscrews (gifts from A again). The OP-AMP inside is the LT1364. Overall, this amp widens the soundstage of the output, tightens the bass without making it overwhelming & hence tiring to listen for extended periods. Again, lotsa low-end amps simply crank up the bass, delivering “quantity NOT quality”, resulting in warm but muddy, dull bass. Lastly, vocals are made slightly clearer with this flavour of OP-AMP, which makes listening to ladies’ voice that much sweeter.

Line-out Docks. Front one is the silver core. Rear one is the Mogami 2549.

Line-out Docks. Front one is the silver core. Rear one is the Mogami 2549.

Next, we have the Line-out Docks. I bought 2 from A again, as they were simply works of art. In fact, the Mini3 portable amp & these 2 LODs were the final items I collect before I retreat from the “nonsensical audio scene” (PM me if you wanna know more). The one with the clear tubing is a solid silver core (re-twisted by A to enhance the sound quality) while the one with the blue cable strand mixed in, is composed from the famous Mogami 2549 cable. The difference between the 2 is the silver one really really tightens the bass extremely while the Mogami-based one gives what I called “incredi-bass”. In other words, when using it I feel that bass “rumbling/vibrating” instead of hearing it. All these ain’t placebo & I have in fact, the songs to verify it:

  • How the silver LOD tighten up the bass, boost clarity of vocals & widens soundstage: 梁静茹 – 天灯.
  • How the silver LOD reveals the details: Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (During the intro there’s the King actually snapping his fingers in the background. Without the silver LOD I can’t discern this).
  • How the Mogami-based LOD delivers bass: Timbaland – 2 Man Show (the rumbling…the rumbling of the low frequencies! Can’t get this effect on the silver LOD. Tested many times.) | Timbaland – Way I Are (a good track to demo the continuous wham of the bass without the muddiness).

Westone UM1. Essential for my running sessions.

Westone UM1. Essential for my running sessions.

These pair of Westone UM1 allow me to listen to my podcasts while jogging & doing other sports. They are extremely low profile (subtle) and durable. Accumulated sweat may have caused the cables to stiffen a little but it has the toughest cables I ever known. There was once where I stood up from a bus stop bench and rushed forward to flag a bus & the cable snagged on the sharp, flat handle of a public garbage bin. No damage to its integrity ‘cept for some scuff marks on the exterior. No deterioration in SQ whatsoever. Besides, UM1 are among the top few “entry-level” in-ear monitors. Clear sound with not-so-fantastic bass, definitely adequate for daily abuse and utilization. It is currently coupled with my previous Sony mp3 player for unrestrained activities.

C3 triple-driver custom in-ear monitors by Hearyourself. Upgraded with custom cables from Ultimate Ears.

C3 triple-driver custom in-ear monitors by Hearyourself. Upgraded with custom cables from Ultimate Ears.

Lastly, stars of the show. My Hearyourself C3 custom in-ear monitors. They are my upgrade from my previous Ultimate Ears Triplefi 10 Pro. These C3 deliver a sound that is quite warm, more “Shure SE530 than TF10p”. Which is very good for focusing on the vocals but not as good if you prefer those light, airy, wide soundstage. Which is why I have upgraded the cables to the cables that Ultimate Ears use for their custom in-ear monitors. This new cable brought the soundstage back with an increased tightening of the bass. So now I have got the best of both world. & when I throw in the Mini3 amp as well as the LODs…wow.

You can actually se the 3 drivers inside.

You can actually se the 3 drivers inside.

Anyway, I choose ruby red & amethyst purple for my customs as these colors make them look like precious stones. The right amount of transparency allows one to awe about the innards without exposing too much messy details (it also allows me to check that I have about the right amount of drivers: 3 each side!) Black faceplate was chosen to be the best background to imprint my Green Lantern & Sinestro logos on (each faction representing extremes that demarcate a sense of polarity). Colors of both factions were alter as the original GL green is unable to glow in its full glory when scaled down to such a size and in the end I choose to match the color of the logos to the color of the bodyshell to create the effect of the body (of the earphones) flowing  through the faceplate to etch out the logos…I suppose not many will comprehend this effect as the final product ain’t “bright” enough to mimic glowing.

UPDATE: just had a flash of brillance. I *should* have used these 2 logos(of course, with some touch-up in a more stylized fashion) to decorate my faceplates:

Absolute silence while I enjoy my music. The no noise may serve double purpose to represent a quality recording.

"Absolute silence while I enjoy my music". The "no noise" may serve double purpose to represent a quality recording.

Keep quiet while I enjoy my peace

"Keep quiet while I enjoy my peace"

Oh well…still, the vibes ebbing out of these will keep me decently happy for a while. More photos to follow:

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Memory Capture

Photo taken using my E71. Pardon the lack of quality.

Photo taken using my E71. Pardon the lack of quality.

All photos above courtesy of my lovely Panasonic Lumix LX3. Fantastic camera that has enough manual features to keep me very, very entertained. The rest of the Internet will enlighten you on how versatile this digicam is. I will only say it’s worth every penny spent. Interestingly enough, the LX3 is one of the 2 gadgets I owned that has its price increased some time after its official launch. The other being my Nokia E71.

I have received interest in the leather strap I used for my LX3. It’s hard finding a cheap leather wrist strap that compliments this compact snapper, isn’t it 😉 Managed to get mine from a Korean (or was it Japanese) stationary shop at the basement of the new wing of Jurong Point shopping mall, for $11.70. Made me very pleased as previous alternatives were either boring or couldn’t slot through the metal eyelet of the LX3. Inscriptions on the strap are very befitting too 🙂

Smile for me. Smile for you :-)

Smile for me. Smile for you 🙂

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