Geek Girl

Why I would buy the iPad 2

So the next incarnation of the iPad will be launched next week and already husband and I are fighting over it. Theoretically, there is no fight because a) I win, and b) the product isn’t even out yet, and c) there is a possibility that we will not buy it. But just for the record, here’s how the conversation usually goes.

He: iPad 2 is coming out!
Me: Yeah, I know. It’s going to be lighter, right?
He: Yeah. Who’s going to use it, you or me?
Me: Me.
He: (aggrieved) But why?!
Me: Because it’s going to be lighter! Surely you wouldn’t want me to lug around the heavier iPad when you are holding on to the lighter one?
He: …

(Aside: He’s actually been very nice to me, submitting our current iPad to my overall dominion. I bring it to work, I read during the commute, I use it when I am cooking, I surf the net in bed before I go to sleep…and he uses it during those other times when I am not.)

Jokes aside, I have a feeling that a second iPad will be joining our very large and very happy Apple family. Call it my sixth sense. Ever since we were gifted with the Paddy (very original, I know), it’s really changed the way I use the computer.

Back in the pre-Paddy days, I would automatically gravitate to my computer immediately after dinner. I subscribe to quite a healthy list of blogs and my evenings are spent reading these. These days, my poor Ingrid (yes, I name my gadgets!) has been sadly neglected. I now only use it if I want to edit my photos or blog. Most times, I’ll surf on the iPad or read one of my many e-books.

One of the reasons could also be the change in my reading habits. I’ve stopped following the blogs on my RSS feed religiously and have gone back to books. I don’t know which came first, it’s like the chicken and egg debate: did I buy the iPad and renew my love for books (thanks to the e-books husband got for me) or did my tastes change and I naturally gravitate towards the iPad?

Whatever the reason, the iPad hardly leaves my hands these days. A lighter iPad would be handy because, come on, holding it up to read on the train can definitely build some serious arm muscles. We’ve been tossing back and forth on the idea of selling our laptops and realigning our techie stuff (SO BUSINESS!) so we’ll see.

Watch this space.

Geek Girl, Little Miss Shopaholic

Epiphanie Lola

After three months of drama and immense frustration at Borderlinx, the Epiphanie Lola camera bag that I had ordered finally arrived!

I had placed an order for it in early September but it was backordered all the way till end October. Which was perfectly fine with me because I wasn’t looking to getting a new camera anytime soon. I had it arranged to be shipped via Borderlinx and what ensued was a whole month of drama that made me tear my hair out and swear off Borderlinx.

(If you want the story, let me know and I will share it with you.)

Anyway, thanks to Joel’s recommendation, I managed to get the package re-directed to the very sweet and helpful Rachel, who promptly shipped it to me with much less fanfare and stress. Phew. She even kindly waived her service charges for shipping the Lola to me after hearing about my harrowing Borderlinx experience.

Oh, did I forget to mention that I had gotten me a new Canon 60D? I got it at a sweet price, thanks to a well-connected friend and it’s been a smooth ride so far. Loving it!

This was delivered to my doorstep one afternoon as I was working from home:

Fished this out from the dusty box:

They have this in black and turquoise but I couldn’t resist the fire engine red:

The interior of the bag:

The bag is padded on the inside, ensuring that my precious camera is safe and snug. It also comes with velcro inserts that allow you to configure the compartments for your personal stuff, the body as well as the different lenses that you are bringing along.

The icing on the cake for a vainpot like me? Why, it’s this cute little bag charm:

I took it out on Christmas day and it was fab. There was space for the 60D with the Tammy 17-50mm lens attached, the 50mm prime lens, as well as my own things. It doesn’t hurt that the Lola in no way resembles a camera bag. I know, I could have gotten a Crumpler or something similar at a lower price but come on, isn’t this bag a thing of beauty?

Think I’m going to be bringing out the camera a whole lot more often!

Geek Girl

Mastery or tools?

I’ve been thinking about upgrading to a new camera body for a long, long time now. It’s not that my current Canon 400D is not working fine – on the contrary, it’s been a great road warrior for the past three years. Ever since I switched to my Tammy lens, I’ve seen a great improvement on the quality of the pictures.

And yet the one thing that is holding me back is my self-perceived lack of skills.

I don’t think I am a great photographer and I keep wondering if I deserve to splurge $2K a high-end camera like the 7D (husband is convinced that the 50D is not worth the money). It always boils down to the question of skills versus tools. Undoubtedly, a good tool can only be fully utilised if the hand holding it is skillful. Otherwise, it will never achieve its full potential. Do I have the necessary skills or knowledge to handle such a solid piece of equipment?

On the other hand, can a tool help to improve the owner’s skillset? Will I become a better photographer with a good camera in my hands? I had the same conversation with my photographer friend Alwyn and his take is that with a good camera, even if your pictures turn out to be crap, at least they are good looking crap. Well, that’s one way of looking at it, I guess.

I have never thought that my so-called good pictures were due to skills or technique; they were simply borne out of luck. One of my favourite pictures taken at Haji Lane, for instance, was taken when we were leaving the place. I turned around, stuck a camera up and snapped without thinking. I didn’t think about lighting or angle or composition. I just clicked the shutter. For every nice picture like that, there are probably 15 duds that I never bothered to process.

I’ve asked myself several times: did I become a better baker after we got the KitchenAid? I’m not sure – but I do know that I started to bake more and I became a more efficient baker.

I highly suspect I will continue to be stuck in this dilemma for a while longer. Come back here in another six months and I will probably be still hemming and hawing over it. Well, blame it on my Feeling preferences. It’s been proven that I decide with my heart, not my brains!

Irreplaceable
Geek Girl

Hipstamatic

Ever since Mr Thick bought the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone, we have been having loads of fun taking pictures.

This clever little app mimics the unpredictability and effects of those cheap toy cameras that I love so much – light leaks, desaturation, graininess etc. And the developers are clever enough to come up with different film, lens and flash packages for suckers like us to buy so that we can come up with different effects depending on our permutations.

And guess what, it worked! Because Mr Thick bought every single “supply” up for sale at the Hipstamart. Ka-chink! And I wondered why the credits of his iTunes account dropped so drastically. But it’s okay since I get to enjoy the frivolity of Hipstamatic too.

My photographer friend Al The Awesome (yes, he really calls himself that and yes, I do have friends like that) says, YOUR PICTURE IS STILL SHIT EVEN WITH THE HIPSTAMATIC EFFECT. Obviously, he wasn’t referring to me. At least, I don’t think so. But I politely disagree, I think all pictures look super cool with Hipstamatic.

I mean, look at mine, I think they are fabulous! But I may just be biased and a little narcissistic. They may look like crap after all. Oh well.

Macha latte at MOF - looks good, tasted bad
Sunset over the Pinnacle@Duxton
Mango gelato at Frigidarium - Gelateria Italiana (#01-40 Market Street Car Park)
Geek Girl

Isabella iPhone

Warning: this is a geekoid post.

!(imgcenter)http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3559/3291625987_6ce729e88f.jpg!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/3291625987/

When August 22 arrived, neither Mr Thick nor I bought the iPhone. Oh, it’s not that we did not want the slick piece of perfection to come into these willing arms. Being StarHub users, we (rather, he) were not keen to let go of our phone-internet-cable TV Hub package and move over to the red camp. To be perfectly honest, I was more than happy to switch operators; afterall, I had deliberately not re-contract with Sparky’s owners just for the iPhone. The other reason was due to the fact that the data plans offered by Singtel were not enticing at all and I was not interested in doubling the cost of my price plans just for that sad 1GB of data.

I was literally dying inside to buy the phone. I grabbed onto Trevor’s Froth every chance I could get, cooing over his Rabbid themes with adoration. Yes, I was that sick. We contemplated buying the phone without a contract but stingy ‘ol me refused to pay $1k for a phone, even though it is the Jesus phone. The answer came to us late last year: his friend, who is a Singtel customer, wanted a HTC phone (??) that was only available on StarHub and was willing to trade. With me! Hurrah! Poor Mr Thick is still under contract so the deal fell onto my all-too-willing lap.

And that’s how Isabella iPhone came into my world last month.

It’s been a wonderful experience and the iPhone is so easy to use that I didn’t have the usual teething problems I had faced when reviewing crap Korean and Finnish phones. Of course, there were some missing functions that I used to get from my trusty Sony Ericsson – 3G video calls, MMS, copy and paste, Bluetooth, message forwarding – but so far, none of these have hindered me greatly. The best thing is, Isabella (she’s in pink!) has become more than a phone to me – I can now write blog posts while on the MRT and email it to myself when I get home, I can watch videos on a larger screen as compared to my StaRPod ver2.0, I can tweet (!) whenever I feel like it, I can take pictures and upload them immediately onto my Flickr account…you get the drift.

Thanks to Popartgirl’s generosity, I was gifted with a US$25 gift card for my birthday and the first purchase of the day was Sally’s Salon, a disgustingly addictive game that kept me up till 3am. With the card, I now have an US account (which is much more comprehensive than the sad local platform offered to us by Apple) and have been buying tunes (Ingrid Michaelson’s live rendition of Creep is pure awesomeness), apps and games with glee. Yums.

Anyway, if you are a girly user like I am, here are the top 12 apps/games that I really like using:

1. Sally’s Salon (US$0.99) – It’s similar to the old Nintendo game that I used to play, where you have to run to each bar aisle and catch the empty beer mugs that patrons discard. Except this time, you are facing a horde of disgruntled customers who want to do their hair, nails and tan and they want it NOW.

2. Saturday Night Fever (free!) – I love the cool graphics and retro music! You tap and glide your fingers according to the beat amid a backdrop featuring a dancing man with a bouffant hairdo that can rival Kim Jong-Il.

3. Polarizer (free!) – Turn the photos that you take into Polaroids. Most of the pictures taken in previous posts have been processed by the Polarizer. I love the effect!

4. NYTimes (free!) – When I am lazy in the morning and refuse to get out of bed, I switch on Isabella’s wifi and read the news with my head on my pillow.

5. Style.com (free!) – Get all the fashion news from Style.com while on the go!

6. Tweetie (US$2.99) – Read everyone’s tweets in a user-friendly format. Posting pictures was a bit of a pain, though, and it took me three tries before it was uploaded successfully.

7. Facebook (free!) – I swear it, I am addicted to Facebook and update my status at least once a day.

8. SG Wireless (free!) – Sign on to the dreadfully temperamental and laggy Wireless@SG with just a tap. That reminds me, I gotta get my password sorted out and stop filching Mr Thick’s account.

9. NetNewsWire (free!) – See NYTimes. I live in my bed.

10. Darkslide (free!) – Take pictures and upload to your Flickr account.

11. Tap Tap Revenge (free!) – Relive your para para days and tap your fingers to the music! The best part is, you can download free tunes to update the playlist.

12. AllRecipes (free!) – I haven’t really tried any of the recipes but I really like the DinnerSpinner feature. The users’ feedback offers different ways of updating and improving the recipes.

(PS: Isabella is named thus because my MacBook, her surrogate mother, is named Ingrid. Go figure.)

Geek Girl

Clickety click

!(imgcenter)http://img.skitch.com/20080813-xhn3ipps95fws2uk6a1hx9658e.jpg!

Call me paparazzi! New cameras alert!

Well technically, I have had my Canon Powershot A590 for more than a month now.

Why, you ask, do I need another Canon when I already have my trusty DSLR? Because the 400d is bulky and wouldn’t fit into my daily handbags. Why do I carry my camera around everyday? Because I just do. Anyway, I have been pretty chuffed with its performance – it’s a great little gadget that delivers sharp, crisp pictures with vivid colours. Its manual function allows me to change everything from the white balance to the aperture so it appeals to the inner geek in me.

As for the uber fabulous fisheye lomo with built-in flash, I have to say a big THANK YOU to You’e and Ash! They sprung a surprise on me this evening during dinner, handing this to me as a wedding gift. What are the odds? The boyfriend and I have been wanting to buy one for ages but were put off by the price. And coincidentally, we had just been ogling the Lomos at Peninsula Plaza the day before. It’s destined, I tell ‘ya. Clever girls!

Don’t you just love the retro chicness of the Lomo? Now all I need is the Holga and the happy camera family will be complete (lenses not included)!

Guess who will be going trigger-happy during her wedding?