Saturday, February 21, 2009

A meaningful and good read...

Got this in my Mail inbox today and I thought of sharing it with whoever is reading this post... something for us to reflect on life :-)


I arrived at the address where someone had requested a taxi. I honked but no one came out. I honked again, nothing. So I walked to the door and knocked. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets..

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, and then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated'..

'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice'.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' she asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said.

'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


You won't get any big surprise in 10 days if you send this to ten people. But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending it on.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

Cheers to you


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Engineering Books for Sale!

Am helping a friend to sell some used Engineering textbooks - all in good condition and original books, not photocopied ones :-) If you are looking for some Engineering reference books or you know of any friend that are looking to get some or you just want to expand your knowledge and want to learn some Engineering stuff, fell free to drop me a comment or just leave a message on my Chatbox :-)


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine?? What Valentine??

Well, it's the time of the year again for chocolates and flowers and soft toys. And my MSN-mates have been bombarding me with "How are you spending the day/nite?" and "Where are you going?" kinda questions.

Well, honestly this would be the first time in years that I spent Valentine's Day alone at home...not that I spent it with any girl before this, but rather with my great buddies :-) And since we have less kaki-s this year with YW in China and CS would be spending the night with my Aiya-Ah-Sou :-p So I might as well just stay at home and work on my thesis. After all, the first draft should be ready early next month :-/ So for this year, I spent the night at home, where mom made steamboat and the family got to get together with some nice sentimental Sally Yeh songs playing in the background.

Come to think of it, it was also the first time in years since I've celebrated V's Day with my family :-) It was fun, seeing that it was the third homemade steamboat in a week! (2 during the final days of CNY) haha And mom and dad took the opportunity to interrogate me on this girl that I am 'supposingly going after' or have been very close to lately for the past few months - "Where is she from?", "How is her personality?", "What Chinese ethnic is she?", "A good girl or not?" and the list goes on :-p

Anyhow, V's Day at home with my beloved 'wife' (my MacBook that is), studying and working on stuff like this...

Hope you had a sweet Valentine's Day this year :-)


Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Dedication to 老表 Yuan Wu

This post is dedicated to a great buddy of mine, YW who's gonna leave the "Cheras TalkCock Gang" (although one of the members is from Ampang :-p) for China, carving his career path there and maybe also his future *ahem* life :-p

A great thanks to him for being there all this while, for being a great friend throughout these 12 years. How time flies eh YW? hahaha Though I dislike him as much for being a constant latecomer and also for being foul-mouthed :-p But nevertheless, being a good buddy means accepting him for what he is YW, you're forgiven la....hahahahhaa

Wish you all the best in China and please please please do grab yourself a good and decent girl while you are there....for all our (CS, CM, Henry, your mom :-p etc.) sake... :-p And all the best in your work alrite? Take care man!

It's been such a long time since I've written any poem, but seeing you such a good friend, I break the rule for once la (was actually reserving it for my girlfriend if I ever manage to find one :-p)


Within the garden of my heart
Friendship flowers grow true
Blossoms of remembrance tell my thoughts of you
Flowers will always bloom
Whatever be the weather
Their fragrance is the memory
Of the days we spent together

Woi, 老表! Are you touched or not??!!! hahaha Cheers mate! Will catch up with you when you come back! :-)

From the Craptrix :-)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ClearCam for iPhone - A Personal Review

*ClearCam is now on the AppStore! Latest review (2010) can be found here.


If you have constantly been let down by the quality of the 2MP camera on the iPhone (of which I think is not too bad and is even better than some of the higher MP cameras on some other phones), fret no more as Occipital has released an app on Cydia.

The app is called ClearCam and what it does is that it is able to enhance the 2MP pics that you take on the iPhone into 4MP ones, with less noise! Cool eh?? Basically, ClearCam will take 6 pics consecutively in a matter of a mere 2.5 secs . It will then align all the 6 pics together and create an enhanced version of the pics with higher resolution and with less noise.

When you first run the app, you'll notice that its interface looks just like any other camera apps that you have.

Once you've gotten the object within the viewfinder of the camera (means the object that you wanna capture is on the screen :-p), just give the round button at the bottom a tap and ClearCam will take the 6 shots mentioned above.

Once you have done that, you can then head on to the Photo Queue (that's the folder-like-icon on the bottom right in the figure above), where you can then enhance your pic.

Just tap on the pic in the Photo Queue and it'll lead you to the 'Align and Enhance' (that's what I call it) interface. Notice that on the top right corner (below the battery level indicator) of the screen is a button 'Align'. Tap it and it will align all 6 pics together. Once done, The 'Align' button turns into the 'Enhance' button where once tapped, the app will begin converting your pic into 4MP quality.

While doing all this, you could also save the current pic shown on the screen into your Camera Roll or show the sharpest pic of the 6 by tapping onto the 'Export' button on the lower left. But I would suggest that you save the pic after you have enhanced it. The total time to process the alignment and the enhancement would be bout 30 - 40 secs, depending on the pic. As shown below, after you have enhanced the pic, you can choose to view either the 'Original' or the 'Enhanced' version of the pic by tapping on the selection on the top right (there's no button over there now, just a toggle kinda thing). You could zoom into either version of the pic to compare the quality of it, before and after enhancement.

I took a shot of my laptop screen. The one on the right is the enhanced version of the pic and it can easily be seen that the shot is much clearer and has less noise compared to the original.

In addition, here are the actual saved complete pics of both versions (Ori on top and Enhanced at the bottom). You can try to save the images individually and zoom in on each of them to see the difference for yourself. Note that none of the pics has been edited with any imaging tool/software. I think a good spot to compare would be the top of the window on the right of the screen capture.

Original version (2MP)

Enhanced version (4MP)

So this software looks good so far, but what's the catch? Well, for one it's not free. The full version costs $9.99. However, you can always activate the 15-days free trial to use it with all its full features. As for me, I didn't even begin the free trial option, just using the app as it is. The full paid version of it offers another feature of the app is called "QuickShot", which automatically takes 4 shots and save the sharpest into the Camera Roll. Besides, that the full paid also allows unlimited "Photo Queue" size, as opposed to ONLY ONE if you stay on the locked but free version. Which one you choose, to buy or not to buy, that's up to you :-)

Overall, not a bad app at all!!