Le Tour De Langkawi

Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th.

So, its a Friday and it happens to be on the 13th. I still cannot fathom the superstitious believe of such things. But this time, it really happened. At first, I though that since Karpal Singh is going to the High Court, which I think, is in Damansara, I can detour from that route. Nevertheless, I forgot about the Le Tour De Langkawi which changes route every year. And because the signs says the LDP would be closed, it did not affect me. (I even checked on the route from their website which produced an oh-so-fucking-tiny-and-detailed map and as usual, lite any local website, its full of nice designs but little content, just like the undigestable fake diamonds that came out with the shit in the morning.)

Wrong.

As soon as I got out of the house and arrived at Jalan Damansara, the jams were already forming. Most of the routes leading to the LDP and Sunge Buloh were blocked. And I was very very late arriving to the office....

This is the jam that greeted me in Jalan Damasara. For once, the ITIS
board is giving the "correct" information. So, I managed to get out of
this and decided to try the Highway near Phileo Damansara.

Unfortunately, everyone had the same idea too since the road on the
left was not moving. Its the main artery leading to PJ.


At the toll gate entry, cars were detoured away. And so, I had to use
the NKVE route, taking the Damansara exit to Sg. Buloh.


At the same toll gates, it seemed empty and the bus is actually
contemplating reversing out of there like the other cars.

This is the ugly scene after the gates. I heard one driver shouting all over
the place (since my window was wound down) in the gridlock. The final
look I had, was a Policeman alighting his bike and heading towards the
source of the shouting with everyone watching. This is not good.

The route to the Highway is relatively free. But on the other side, its
not because these route have already been sealed off for the cyclists
to pass by.

Here, at the Sungei Buloh exit, there was a lot of traffic because the
route to Sungei Buloh is sealed off. But since I am going towards
Kepong, it is still moving.

By this time, its almost 0930 and I am in a slow moving traffic. On the
other side, there is no traffic. Then we'stuck. Even the cars at the U-turn
above could not move. So everyone just came out to enjoy the view and
also hope to catch a glimpse of these cyclists.

And then suddenly, they came past, whizzing in undreamt speed. I am
not surprised if no one cheered nor clapped. Everyone was too pissed
to do anything else but to hope they would fall down and crash. But
then again, this is Malaysia where everyone ignored signs until its too
late. They would selfishly try to undo what they have done at the
expense of others. It no point waking up early because this would only
mean i would be stuck in there longer.


Then throughout the day, as I drove to more places, I
come to realise why most roadswere tarred DAYs
before the actual event. Now, I know. Haih

The cassette tape

Metre long strands of tape coated with a magnetic sensitive layer. The cassette tape is the most important thing in our lives at that time. It's been used to store voice, music and computer data. We do not mind it it takes ages to FFW and REV to the song or segment we will be rewarded with the music when it comes. Technology made life easier when features such as auto-reverse and auto music skip/search came into being. Even the double cassette deck which allows tape to tape duplication was THE things everyone wanted. Then came the walkman. Then came the CD which the cassette held out without a scratch but killed the vinyl record instead. Then came the CCD and the MD in the format wars which failed to capture the Cassette Tape crown.

Then came the MP3 tecnology which spawned MP3 players and the iPod. By then, almost everyone has a computer which allows easy dowloads. And the cassette tape played it last song on the last cassette player.


Then came Kaelynn who messed up all our collections.....

NiuZeXui

I can't for the life of me, pronounce this place NZX. The words Ngau Zhi Sui, though was stuck to my mind, which literally means Cow Dung water instead of that Water Buffalo thing. And just as of yesterday, I found out where this place was.

Its a new commercial centre situated somewhere near the LRT Depot. And its quite a nice place, as if just outside/below your office are the kiosks and the almost vibrant atmosphere of an urban carnival. I was there because a customer has moved in an needs to have their PBX programmed.

And I must say, I am not impressed. But since its new, I have to give it some time before passing actual judgement.

Most of the kiosks are either empty, has meh stuffs on display
with no staff or have ok stuff on display and with staff. Weird
right? Its like walking into some rehearsal which is just about
a day away from the actual event. Everything seemed so
muted or subdued.


See what I mean? Maybe its the roofing which gave the overcast kind
of lighting. Oh yeah, all these photos were taken with my Nokia 5800

The funny thing is, most of the stuff on the shelves, apart from
food and snacks, are actually not sellable to the genera public.
Something funny is going on here.

And they way they put these things on the stage means its
only for showand not the show itself.

I know my MacFarlanes and most of the toys on shelves are not
the real
McCoy. In fact, all of them are MIC quality products.

Will you buy these plants? Or are they plants?

What I liked about the roof's air-conditoning system is that they
eitherlook like those harvesters seen in the film Matrix or an AIDS
virus. OK, you can even call it octopus if you like. In actual fact,
after talking to the customer, things are not what they seem to
be and how it came to be is because of *censored*

Electronic Candle with Flicker

When it comes to electronics, simulating a flickering burning candle can be achieve in a few ways. One could be via "old school" electronics where you stuff loads of off the shelf electronics components into a board. The effects can vary from downright amazement, "You call that flicker?" to extreme disbelieve, "Wow. Now, that is what I call a candle!". However, the downside it that the electronics alone would not fit into a normal sized candle.

So, the only solution would be to use microprocessors to do the job. Mind you, when it comes to using them, you have to remember the the age old computer adage of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). this means, how well the candle flicker works depends on how it has been programmed. The simples way would be for the processor to run through the numbers in an EPROM or memory. And the other is to create a random number or someting similar, which is not simple because there is no feature to generate random numbers in a code. You have to build it up. But since I am not going to waste my time on this, I looked to ebay for my solution. This is because of time and money saved. Don't believe me? Try this:

To create the candle flicker, first you must know which microprocessor to use, their programmer to to buy and also, the programming language to learn. Once you have done that, you have to design your own circuit board and hope that everything goes well when its all soldered. After the first prototype, you have to miniaturise it. Easy or not? Yeah, so, instead of years and thousands of ringgit (really), ebay solved my problem for Rm32.39 and three weeks, my solution arrived on my desk. Ha ha ha ha!

[Note: A fellow programmer is NOT a GIGOLO as in GIGO-lou, la)

This is a battery operated candle which can flicker. How well it flickers,
well, all I can say is, "OK, what" since I am too lazy to compare it to an
actual lighted candle. Knowing me, I could burn the house down in the
process as well. I did buy a local version but all the stupid thing would
do was to use three 1.5volt batteries and use a simple Red/Blue/Green
led which rotate the colours. Ever seen a candle cycle its flame colours
from Red to Blue to Green? Yeah, weird, right?

This one is better as when I opened it up, there is the white
LED and a small COB (Copper On Board) black gob. And it
uses only one battery, so, I can now remove it, power it via
another set of battery and connect the white LED to another
circuit which will flier about 12 LEDs at once. Ha ha ha ha ha!

I don't believe I am doing these at four in the morning.

3.5" LCD screen and reverse camera

OK, I found this on my table yesterday morning and boy, am I excited! The first items are the 3.5" LCD screen and an IR camera, while the second item is the set of six flickering candles (more on the next post). With no one else in the company except for the clerk, I quickly took them to the car in case everyone asks questions. I hate people asking me questions when I am doing something. And so, about two in the morning, with everyone sleeping, I was free to test them out.

The LCD screen and the camera is for my own project, where I am developing my own set of tools for testing CCTV points. It was due to the last two customers who made me realise that my current CCTV tester is inadequate. It would be good for testing the cable conditions and the power but that's as far as it got. Now, I will develop the MkII so that one person can attend to a CCTV service call instead of two. This would save time and money for the company in the long run as long as the tester is in good condition.

Hooray! And no one dared to ask me what was in the packages.
And I had to wait for more than 12 hours before I can start
opening them!


Testing the camera
Setting up them up for testing is easy because everything is already pre-wired and all I needed was some crocodile clip cables and a 12volt DC power supply. So, what am I testing here at so early in the morning? Simple:

1) The qualityof the LCD's image, and
2) The quality of the camera la.

OK, everything is set up. I have the LCD screen, the camera and yes,
the International unit of Internet measurement, the Coke can. I
purposel chose the small screen and not those 7-inch versions as I
presume they would fit neatly into the casing which I have ordered
locally from China (and not through Internet, OK?)

Not only that, the screen has not much control except for brightness. I
did not want the ON/OFF switch or any other switches. I will control it
via power to the unit. Great, isn't it? And yea, the whole system is PAL
so again, there is no PAL/NTSC switching. I do not mind if its auto but
I suspect its not. Still, this has not deviated from my requirements.

How to take the stand off, I am not sure but I know it cannot be snapped
off incase it breaks.So, I would have to void warranty (duh) and remove
the screws to do this, I suspect. The whole thing is made of plastic and if
I really did put this onto a car, the heat from the sun and from the inside
would have baked and warped the casing, cracking any electronics in the
process too. In the long run, the LCD would have died as well. Or will it?

The camera is quite big and not as compact as I have imagined. But
then, I was too excited to note the measurements from the Internet.
Still, its a nice design and very different from the ones I have seen in
the local shops here. FYI, I am holding it upside-down.

And this is the correct way of using the camera. You will need to make
the holes and then screw it in under some ledge or parts of the car. In
other words, you have to mount the camera upside-down.


Here is the setup for the test. One Coke can to the LEFT and HALO fig
to the RIGHT. The came will be pointing at the two objects inches away.

At first, ifyou're not familiar, you would notice the COKE can being on the
RIGHT and not left. And when you turn the camera around, the COKE
can is now in the correct orientation but its upside down........

So, you turn the camera back the right way and you notice the image is
flipped. This is weird. Maybe there is something wrong with the camera.

With a spare camera, I replaced it and tried the test again.

This time, the image is correct. The flipped image is not caused by the
LCD screen by by the camera. This is because, the camera automatically
flips the image so that what you're looking at, is a mirror image. You
would not understand this until you put the camera behind you and the
screen in front, just like in a car. Now, do you understand?

OK, here is another test, this time, we pretend as if you're reversing
the car to this wall, about 9 feet away. I took this image from my
Nikon D50 to show you the "actual" scene. To camera claims to have
a 120ยบ viewing angle. This means that it would show a lot of things and
then lens is going to be giving an almost fish-eye type of images.


Again, this is using the new camera. Notice the images, especially the
door and the green box. So, when you reverse your car to the wall,
you can literally see a lot of things and not back into something or
someone. Which is great. The only problem now is to disguise the
camera because as Wife stated before, if you have such things in
the car, people would think there is something valuable inside...

With a normal camera, the image is "right" way round this time. But its
not as wide. I hav aimed the camera as close as possible to match the
new one by adjusting it to point betwen the door's 3rd & a half square
and the clothes rack. The limited view angle is very obvious especially
how problematic it is for me to make sure the green box is still visible.

So, now I have the LCD screen for my project but I am not going to use the reverse camera. Maybe there is a switch in there to set it back to show the correct image but this means I would have to open it up. Still, I could always install it in the car but then I would have to save up for another LCS screen, this time which must come as a rear-view mirror. And that, would have cost quite a bit.