Monday, January 22, 2007

bottletree park

what a unique name for a park in boring singapore. at least it is not named after a road. ;)
nestled in Chencharu Road, or being visibily prominent from a MRT ride to the Khatib station, this is a 7ha park that just recently opened. quite easy to locate if you walk from Khatib along the MRT lines towards the stadium (in the direction of Lentor Road).

it offers a large fishing pond, prawn pond and also an enclosed shallow water area for kids to try out "kampong" style catching of small fishes.

we brought lucas there to catch prawns in the salt-water enclosed pond. with a rod and some bait provided at the premises and a little bit of luck, lucas managed to catch 3 prawns within half an hour. the other half hour was spent playing with the fishing rod in the water...

if you are there, do check out the really huge fresh water fish at the little wooden bridge near the washrooms. they are really huge... you won't want to fall into that pond accidently...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

murphy's law & DIY audio

seems like an inseparable part of life... one day it works fine, and the other it does not. worse, you have no idea what went wrong.

i was trying to hook up my 5687 preamp to the rest of the system that i intend to partner with, but somehow, the power supply of the preamp was giving me problems...

i have a switch capable of warming up the heaters first, and then switching in the B+ on the second toggle. somehow, at the first toggle, the rectifier let out a glow, meaning that something is wrong... powering it off, i measured 120vdc from the capacitors. this does not discharge even when i switched in the rest of the circuit.

maybe one of my crocodile clips on my temporary power supply are touching each other. don't have the mood to troubleshoot after i spent around 10 minutes to figure it out. i then took apart the supply and started work on laying out the components on a hammond chassis that i had on hand.

think i will retry the psu when i have the time, but this round, i will make use of my 22uF GE 97F oil capacitors. i have 4 of these which were used in paralleled configuration on my previous build of the DRD amplifier.

Monday, January 15, 2007

cram them in like sardines

that is what our public transport operator for the mass rapid transit (mrt) trains have in mind. according to them, the mrt is not utilized fully even during peak hours. there was a straits times report which had people actually agreeing to that...

strange... why is it that i always get the crowded train? i find that the north-south line tend to have commuters that don't give up their seat to the elderly, pregnant or those with young children. the north east line (nel) commuters are more gracious. usually giving up the seat upon seeing people who need the seat more than themselves. my wife thinks that this is because the people staying along the nel where we board the train at seng kang station, are usually the younger crowd. they would be those who bought flats in seng kang or punggol, living with their spouse and probably without a kid.

well... i guess when the nel population increases especially with all the condominium developments in areas such as kovan, woodleigh, potong pasir starts packing in the crowd, our train operators would be the ones who win.

anyways, i just wanted to post this youtube clip that i took of Lucas falling asleep on the train between novena and toa payoh station along the north-south line. one nice commuter gave up the seat seeing that i was carrying Lucas and his bag.

since we are on the topic of trains, i might as well mention that i happen to take one of the new trains about a month ago. it was pretty spacious, and had aircon that is blasting away. i guess this would be useful in peak situations to prevent commuters from fainting due to body odur, bad breath, the occasional farts, etc...

i happen to be on one of these "new" trains today and it was completely deviod of air conditioning... luckily i was onboard for a stop or two. i also noticed that the metal platform between the cabins was rather old... implying that the "new" trains could have been retrofitted or upgraded from an old platform. well... guess the mantra of "retrain, reskill, rehire" applies to trains as well as the workforce.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

why would you even bother to DIY audio equipment?

well... one reason could be cost... perhaps?? for example the wavac sh-833 monoblock amplifier would cost a cool USD350k in july 2004. ok... it might be technically close to impossible to clone that amp, but it might be possible to clone the wavac he-833 monoblock amplifier, similiar to the bigger wavac, but minus the elaborate power supply and at a much cheaper retail of USD47k... still no peanuts... or could be peanuts to some.

at least the DIY route will enable some enthusiasts to achieve the 833 single-ended sound in their rooms without breaking the bank for it.

one other reason is to be able to build equipment that uses lesser used or commercially unavailable components or design topology. in the case of tube amplifiers, there are tubes aplenty that are not used in everyday commercial offerings from big name audio companies... why is that so? well... i would think that they are not keen to sail in uncharted waters.

my motivation for DIY audio is the satisfaction of being able to build something that, when made to work, will bring joy to myself. also, i will not be able to sell these hand-crafted creations as easily and thereby curbing my cravings to repeatedly "upgrade" my audio chain. this is not to say that i will not build more amplifiers if i already have one though... maybe my place will end up being a storage for DIY audio equipment...

even in DIY, there seem to be an "accepted" norm to do things... take a preamp based on the 5687 double section indirectly heated triode that i am building right now. most people run this tube at a higher plate and bias voltage that i do. my design requires them to be operated at just 115v, -4v bias, producing 25mA per tube. this puts the tube in one of its' most linear regions as far as the datasheet shows. why then, would other DIYers run them at a much inferior curve? is it because of the herd mentality? because they have tried and tested all possible operation points and proved to themselves that the generally accepted parameters are indeed the best? or is it just because of conformance to the general rule?

why would you bother to DIY if it is not because of the ability to freely reign in design?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

where are the pics?

technology still does not make life any simpler...

take pics in RAW, go thru workflow, develop into jpeg, export pics, upload to flickr with measly monthly limit and 5mb per pic limit, post via blogger... WTF??... isn't there a one stop shop anymore? whatever happened to consolidation and M&As? what? the next step is to have disparate golems?

it takes forever to upload pics to flickr... even transferring pics from my Sandisk Extreme II CF card warrants a coffee break. i still remember the time when i was surfing the texternet using a 2400kbps USR modem and it was not too bad a wait. maybe things were less complex then. you just wait with bated breath to see the text that renders in front of your eyes in EGA colours. 512mbps adsl modem is just not enough for internet usage nowadays... and i'm no longer the avid gamer that i used to be... just imagine what LAN gamers feel when they experience a matrix glitch... next thing they know, they are looking at their corpse in 3rd person mode.

if my work is plagued with such unproductiveness, i'd be in deep shit... forget about the quad cores... give me super bandwidth anytime... and make sure it is a true mesh network... least we suffer another taiwan earthquake.

ok, enough rambling... check out this flickr set of Lucas at his childcare outing to the Singapore Birdpark.

Friday, January 12, 2007

welcome to the blogosphere

once upon a time, i was interested in everything new. technology, consumer devices, internet and all it's failings, etc... then came work, then came life... then it became how 24hours is portioned for all these, while still allocating some time to leisure and R&R.

so, now i'm looking for something that will enable me to post the nice pics of Lucas without having to maintain the website that i created for that very purpose. it's tedious work updating all those pics... just imagine one roll of pics from my EOS350D every outing to some where of interest... not to mention the casual shots with my Minolta Dimage X... and those quickie shots with the mobile phone. at the same time, i would like to publish stuff on my DIY audio projects, which could be of interest to fellow DIYers.

let's see how this new means allow me to do the above in an easy fashion. it's like outsourcing... now i don't want to code my website, but i want to focus on content, so i turn to this to handle all the time consuming coding... somehow, not sure if it is due to my safari browser, i only see spell check and add image on the top of the bar. even the CTRL thingies does not work. i still have to include HTML syntax as i type this... WTF?