.: allrite's blog
The other day I took a look at the much hyped Asus Eee 4G, recently released in Australia through Myer. I was interested in how well it compared to my Sharp Muramasa CV50F mini-notebook PC (more information). I bought the Muramasa second hand in Japan and it's now out of production. However, it's proved to be a fantastic tool for use on the train, when travelling or even just lying in bed. Would the Eee work just as well?
The Muramasa is longer than the Eee, but thinner and lighter. Like the Eee, the LCD screen has a bezel, but the Muramasa's exquisite screen displays 1280x768 pixels compared with 800x480 on the Eee. That's high definition in 7.2"! At least you don't need a proprietary cable to connect an external monitor to the Eee. The Eee's bezel holds the unit's stereo speakers which are surely better than the Muramasa's mono sound.
Processor wise I'm not certain which wins, but I suspect the Eee's 900MHz Celeron is better than the Muramasa's 1GHz Transmeta Efficeon chip. These are not heavy duty games machines though. The Eee comes with more RAM (512MB cf 256MB) by default. It also uses solid state storage while the Muramasa has a 20GB hard disk. This is probably one reason why the Eee should boot up a lot faster. The Muramasa includes a feature which allows you to hook it up to another computer as a hard disk when powered down.
Battery life should be comparable (3.5 hours), though it was possible to install an additional battery for the Muramasa.
Bit angry tonight. Came back home to find some of our mail scattered on the ground for the second night in a row. It looks like somebody is messing with out letterbox. Identity or cash thieves? The same idiot young guys who throw their rubbish all over the street and our garden? It's a violation of our property. I'm going to look at replacing the lock on the letterbox.
Also a bit tired tonight. I was up late the other night trying to get SoundFlow working on the Vaio Type M computer we brought back from Japan in 2005. SoundFlow automatically plays music when you fold the keyboard up, also displaying a clock and animation. It's rather cool and can be controlled with the remote, making it useful for those time I just want to lie back and listen to music.
SoundFlow was preinstalled on the computer but was not available on the new English Windows partition. I copied over the SoundFlow directory to the English Windows partition, but no luck as no graphics appeared. You need to also copy the all Users\Application Data\Sony\SoundFlow directory to the corresponding English partition.
The next step is to get SoundFlow playing mp3's and other music on the system. I read somewhere else that you need to use SonicStage, but my copy is in Japanese, so I'm still waiting to get that part running.
Wow! That might have been the best concert I have ever attended. Both the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and John Williams celebrate their 75th birthdays this year and to mark the occasion the SSO performed a selection of Williams' orchestral hits in a concert at the Sydney Opera House under the baton of Arnie Roth.
The music was mostly loud and exciting, yet Roth ensured that nothing was lost by any part of the orchestra with even the most subtle underscoring well defined. Only in the theme to the Lost World did the sound get a little muddy. A couple of pieces were just a little too fast, but really, that's all I can complain about.
I was concerned about what the Duel of the Fates and Battle of the Heroes would sound like without a choir, but the former may well have been the standout piece. Schindler's List almost brought a tear to my eyes with its delicate performance while the Imperial March is still stirring no matter how many times I have heard it. I was back in 1980 all over again!
I do wish that the orchestras would play the Main Title and Finale from one of the other Star Wars movies other than Episode 4 as I have heard them quite a few times. I suggest the finale from The Empire Strikes Back due to the other themes enclosed in that piece. However, the performance of both was grand and I especially enjoyed the Force Theme passage in the Throne Room sequence.
While waiting for Mamak to open B and I wandered around Chinatown yesterday evening. There is something fundamentally ugly about Sydney's Chinatown. It looks rundown, but not in that evocative Asian style. I guess that many of the buildings are just plain ugly, as are many of the shop signs. It's a pity, because there are some great restaurants and shops in the area.
One thing we noticed was how many Japanese style clothing boutiques there are in the area, selling cutesy clothes. Hairdressers advertise Japanese hair styles and treatments, though the staff may be Korean or from Hong Kong. B had a hair cut at one in World Square while I admired Sony's Panel PC's in the Sony Shop. Not quite Yodobashi in Shinjuku, but I wouldn't mind having one!
We tried out the new Malaysian restaurant Mamak in Sydney's Chinatown last night. The restaurant opens at 6pm and by 6:30 there was already a long queue which continued until after we left at around 8:30. That said, the actual wait wasn't that long.
The staff are genuine Malaysians - you can tell by their accents - and the food is what you might get from a few Malaysian hawker stalls rather than cafes. The prices are pretty reasonable too. We tried the roti canai (flat bread, served with curry sauces. Note that the 'c' is pronounced as 'ch'), roti telur (with egg) and roti telur bawang (with egg and onion). Sadly, I have to say that I was underwhelmed by the roti and the curries. The roti was good, but not great, and the curry sauces were lacking some, possibly coconut milk. We both thought the plain roti was best.
The chicken satay was different - it was the best I've ever had in Sydney and up there with the finest of Malaysia. The satay sauce was rich and peanutty, obviously freshly made. The quantity of meat on the skewers might be small, but that's what you get overseas as well. Red onion and cucumber are also supplied, but no compressed rice cubes. The prices, $6 for 6 or $10 for $12 are okay for what you get.
Finally, my Milo tariq was really good and sweet. Teh (tea) tariq is made by pouring the tea from up high between two containers to give it frothiness. Condensed milk is also used. I've never had Milo tariq before, but Malaysia Milo ais (iced Milo drink) i one of my favourites.
All in all, it was pretty good Malaysian food for Australia and we are certain to go back for more.
.: Wolli Creek
For part of our journey to work the train line follows the path of Wolli Creek. The creek begins somewhere near the rather dreary suburb of Narwee, where I once worked in the post office. It is but a concrete lined stormwater canal, running besides the M5 East motorway, behind playing fields and factories, then bland houses and fields. At Bexley North, it meets with the railway line and becomes a real creek at the base of a bush covered sandstone escarpment. But the creek is choked with weeds and willows, lianas covering the trees like a tropical jungle.
I imagine now punting down that creek, like an explorer through the deep jungle. I doubt if it is possible through the vegetation, am afraid of what I would find if I delved too deeply into the waters polluted by a city's run-off.
A bit before Turella the creek turns away from the railway tracks at 45 degrees, then makes a remarkable 90 degree turn back again, carving an isoceles triangle out of the land as seen from above. Where it meets the tracks again, just before Turella station, there is a large tin clad building. It looks old, abandoned, but through the unglazed windows I can see fluorescent lights. I wonder what they make or repair in there?
Again the creek runs behind industrial sites, then it emerges into a tall mangrove and parkland area. At the bridge bisecting the stations of Wolli Creek and Tempe the creek meets the Cooks River and it's last stretch as they flow towards to the sea.
The Alexandia Canal branches off before the outflow into Botany Bay. It would once have served the industries towards the city, now replaced by container stores. The old Hilton Hotel, now a Mecure overlooks the river and the adjacent airport. Should you sail out into Botany Bay from the river you would hear the roar of jet engines. At this point my journey could be to anywhere in the world.
We have decided now to go to Malaysia rather than Europe early next year. The timing and costs for Europe just didn't work out and we found a cheap Jetstar deal for Malaysia. Also thinking of visiting Thailand as part of the trip. I came across a remarkable video of a Thai market located literally on a train line:
Also on YouTube a mini Doctor Who episode, Time Crash, produced for a BBC charity show. I miss Doctor Who - it was the best show on TV this year. Can't wait to buy Murray Gold's soundtrack to Series 3!
My gut tells me that we will not have a change of government after tomorrow's federal elections. At lunch today we discussed hijacking the work Christmas Party cruise and seeking asylum overseas if the Libs are returned.