Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nokia N82 Preview

After more than a year with the Sony Ericsson W810i, I've upgraded to a Nokia N82 for the added functionality of GPS and WiFi. Improvements are the 5MP camera, S60 operating system, and Xenon flash. The drawbacks are lack of LED flashlight, large camera focussing area, and questionable macro photo quality.

A reflective front that smudges easily:

A glossy back that's slippery to grip:

The impressive 5MP Carl Zeiss with a great feeling spring loaded shutter:

Dreadful keyboard with a spongy feeling D-pad:

Transferring maps via old school data cable:

One handed operation:

More indepth review to follow...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Alternator Ricochet

Based on the characters from Transformers G1, Takara and Hasbro have brought new life to old familar names like Smokescreen and Trunks by re-creating them using existing car models.

Here we have Ricochet being re-built as a Subaru Impreza WRX:

The flames are starting to look a bit tacky to me:

Look at the details

Robot mode:

The flames don't look too bad in robot mode.

Close up:

With a bit of alcohol (mouthwash) and a lot of patience:

Robot mode without the flames:

A cleaner car mode:

No more tacky flames for me!

A great looking (after removing the flames) mold

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Masterpiece Optimus Prime (missing photo)

The leader of the Autobots from the 1984 Transformers was Optimus Prime.

For 2004, Hasbro/Takara have crafted the Masterpiece version of Optimus Prime to commemorate the 20th year of Transformers:

You wouldn't defy him after staring into those eyes: (missing photo)

His not so perfect truck mode:

The transformation is a bit tricky and non-obvious for me but some of the little transformation tricks are very clever. This is the most cartoon accurate Optimus Transforming toy ever created. He even comes with a mini-megatron gun and the matrix of leadership.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Masterpiece Starscream

One of the main villians from the 1984 Transformers was a robot that transformed into a F-15 Eagle named Starscream.

In the McDonnell Douglas F-15 mode, he looks surprisingly accurate:

From behind:

In robot mode:

This is the most accurate Starscream transforming toy ever created. Faithful to both an actual F-15 and the cartoon Starscream. You better believe it's amazing!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Transformers G1 Booklet Scan

Sometimes we think of things from our past. One little piece of it was Transformers.

I decided to scan my old 1984 Transformers toyline booklet. Click on each picture for a larger version.

Cover art:

Toyline catalog:

What was I thinking when I scribbled on this booklet?

*Sorry I had some image hosting problems so I had to borrow these photos from Unicron until I can recover my images*

Here are some more G1 booklet scans that I pulled from TFArchive until I get the chance to scan my own booklets from home.

1985 Catalogue:

1986 Catalogue:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mitsubishi Lancer GTS (missing photo)

Watch out! Mitsubishi is going to shake up the compact car market with their redesigned Mitsubishi Lancer.

My original plan was to test drive the new 2008 Honda Accord at Markham Honda but I didn't feel comfortable with them insisting on keeping a copy of my license for their records.

I was disappointed not to test drive a car so I thought of test driving the new Mitsubishi Lancer at the nearby Mitsubishi dealership:

Markham Mitsubishi
4611 Highway 7
Markham, ON L3R 1M6

(missing photo)

I was greeted by Dominic Chow as soon as my car pulled into the dealership parking lot. I told him I was looking at the new Lancer so he gave me a brief overview of the car. You need to test drive a car before you buy it (unless you're getting a super car). He quickly brought me to the back to the test car as soon I mentioned test drive.

A red Mitsubishi Lancer GTS with sun package

The side view of a white Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

It looks fast. But with a 2.0L inline 4-cylinder running at 152HP @ 6000rpm and 146lbs-ft @ 4250rpm on a 1410kg car, you're not going to get anywhere fast. I wanted the paddle shifters so I could keep the revs high for better acceleration so the GTS is the only trim I would consider. The engine is harsh and not very smooth but shifting is smooth but a tad delayed. The best aspect of the car is the handling of the car with a tight turning radius and confident pose at high speeds. There is reasonable wheel feedback and with supportive seats. With a low base price, the Lancer is priced lower than a similarly equipped Honda Civic.

If you're looking for the high powered Impreza WRX STi fighter, then you'll be sad to know that this year's allotment of 500 cars has already been sold, according to Dominic:

We can only dream.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


An overhyped hot phone.

  • Thin and elegant
  • Two finger navigation works (Zooming in Google Maps and flipping through albums)

  • Warm at the back of the phone

  • Slow web browsing

  • Slow camera photo capturing

  • Crippled Bluetooth that can only handle headsets

  • Touchscreen UI involves too many gestures

  • Lack of back navigation forces users to frequently go back to the Home screen

  • Little multitasking ability except for the iPod functionality

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ford Mustang

The Mustang has a powerful and smooth but thristy V6 engine. Interior is very basic and laid out in a simple fashion. Handling is predictable with a decent turning radius.

As of today, these are the cars I've rented this year (with the number of times in brackets):

  • Chrysler 300 (3)

  • Chrysler Crossfire (1)

  • Chrysler Pacifica (4)

  • Dodge Caravan (1)

  • Dodge Charger (2)

  • Dodge Durango (1)

  • Dodge Magnum (1)

  • Dodge Nitro (1)

  • Ford Mustang (1)

  • Honda Accord (2)

  • Jeep Grand Laredo (1)

  • Jeep Liberty (1)

  • Lincoln Town Car Limited (1)

  • Nissan Murano (1)

  • Toyota Sienna (1)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Look Both Sides Before you Cross

An early morning picture of China town in San Francisco. Click image for panoramic view.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

BMW 328xi (missing photos)

I've read a lot about the BMW 3-series being the best sports sedan in the market but I've never had the chance to test that out. I took a day off from work and this was going to be the highlight of it.

I had originally went to Town + Country BMW but was appalled by the poor service - or the lack there of. I was greeted by reception but stood for close to 5 minutes while she shifted around the floor "looking for a sales representative". Only when I approached a sales representative (who was busy stapling papers together), she came back and told me they were busy and to wait. I asked her for a brochure and received a couple papers stapled together. I insisted on a real brochure and was told there were out of supply. I'm in the middle of 2007 and they don't have a sales person or a brochure. So we just left. I would avoid this dealership.

I was about to go by the Honda dealership across the street since a Honda Civic is also on my short list of potential cars or drive to the Volvo dealership nearby for a test drive of the S40 T5 but recalled a bunch of dealerships in the Steeles and Yonge area.

My drive brought me to:

BMW Autohaus, Map It
480 Steeles Avenue W
Thornhill, ON L4J 6X6
1 888 485-6633

Unlike Town + Country, I was greeted, my information taken, and promptly brought to a sales representative, Henry Lam. Henry quickly showed me around the 328xi in the showroom, looked around the show floor to give me a feel for the synthetic hoistery (Leatherette), and gave me some MSRP numbers on his computer. Before I'm going to buy a car I'm going to see if I like the drive so after a quick photocopy of my license we were off for a test drive with key in hand.

A titanium silver BMW 328xi for testing

Those rear tires look a bit small from the side

I prefer the exhaust on each side of the car instead of together

A great looking BMW that's the right size for me

The car had less than 500km on it so it might not feel exactly like a broken in one but I loved what I felt. It had strong stiff breaks, a super smooth and powerful inline 6-cylinder, and a very confident feel. Henry even let me take a detour and drive into a parking lot where I took the car for a short slalom around the parking islands. In a rainy condition, I wouldn't have done this with an Acura TSX because of tire slippage and not even on a Lexus IS250 AWD because of lack of feel.

I can only fault the cheap 80's looking interior. It has frontal cup holders that are far from the driver and go into the passenger’s space. The rear features a cheap arm rest that feels like, given the right amount of weight, it'll break off. Without the performance option I won't have power seats and a moon roof that I've grown accustomed to.

The BMW 3-series really stands up to all the positive reviews its received. I'm glad Henry had given me the opportunity to really give that 328xi a good spin so I would highly recommend asking for Henry Lam at BMW Autohaus. For those of you out for a sports sedan, the BMW 328xi would be the car I highly recommend getting.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Saturday, June 30, 2007


Been flying on this airline for so long that I've forgotten my real citizenship.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Chrysler Crossfire

Priviledged to drive a diverse array of cars.

As of today, these are the cars I've rented this year (with the number of times in brackets):

  • Chrysler 300 (3)

  • Chrysler Crossfire (1)

  • Chrysler Pacifica (3)

  • Dodge Charger (2)

  • Dodge Durango (1)

  • Dodge Magnum (1)

  • Dodge Nitro (1)

  • Honda Accord (2)

  • Jeep Grand Laredo (1)

  • Jeep Liberty (1)

  • Lincoln Town Car Limited (1)

  • Nissan Murano (1)

  • Toyota Sienna (1)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wii's Killer App: YouTube

I managed to get my Wii online. If you're having problems (error code: 51330) connecting it to your wireless router and you've already properly set the SSID, encryption type (WEP, WPA, or WPA2), and the password, remember to set your router to 802.11b only or mixed mode (802.11b/g).

I found out that the firmware in most Nintendo Wii's only support 802.11b out of the box. When you successfully connect to the net, the Wii will prompt for a firmware upgrade and that will enable 802.11g. So after the upgrade, you can set your router back to 802.11g only and you should be running fine.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Lexus IS 250 AWD (missing photos)

Scarborough Lexus Toyota

A showroom desert sage metallic IS 250 AWD

Angry eye rear lights

The road test black IS 250 AWD

A great looking Lexus that's small, easy to maneuver in the parking lot, travels smoothly over the potholed roads of Toronto, and has a fairly smooth V6 engine.

Sore points are poor steering wheel feedback, unbearable delay with gear changes made with the manumatic mode, and questionable interior quality like the cheap plastic roof opener switch.