My toe nail

This is the problem of wearing boots for long periods
of time, I think. Now it has nails under the nails. Last
time, it was green because, I think, there was fungus.
Now, its double toe nails.....


SFTPMS SMM '11

Today is a special day at Hobby HQ because of SMM '11, organised by SFTPMS. This is the day where all models, after months of hardwork, is submitted and judged. This is also the day which is, the day after yesterday, which was, the day I wanted to come over, which is, Saturday.

I had helped a member in lighting up his Titanic model but because he comes from the North and needs to go home on Sunday, my golden opportunity to meet him was gone. But nevertheless, it was a very good eye-opening day.

The first thing I saw, apart from
other human beings there, was this
rapid prototyping machine.

It was printing a scale model of the Starship Enterprise

And the amount of detail produced was amazing.
Unfortunately, the member responsible was not
around as he was manning a booth at ITEX.

There were a few models which caught my eye. One
of them is this garage diorama. Its just so realistic.

There are lights for this and they are located on the
wooden beam. Unfortunately, when it was switched
on, the batteries got very warm which indicated there
was a short somewhere. But because the owner was
not around, we decided not to touch his diorama. I
also wished the fan in the beam could turn too...

Then there was this tank which sunk into
the bog. Its very nicely done too.

And it looks very real. However, at this stage, I
need to remind you that you really had to be
there to appreciate the models since the pictures
even from my n8 does not justify the end result.


Another model which I liked was this Harrier. Not
because of its size but the amount of details put in.

Just looking at the engine, ou'd never believe it
was a scale model.

When it comes to planes, the only part that I loved
was the cockpit. And just
because of this view, I
was very very
tempted to get the same kit and do
up
the seat.

But then again, I would never be able to accomplish
such feat since knowing me, I would just read the
instruction sheet and then complicated thoughts
such as "what if" would come in and then I would
mess everything up.


Another model of interest here is this model
where it is in 'disrepair'.

I really love this shot because he even detailed the
interior compartment and it looks so realistic.

No,your eyes are not deceiving you

It actually is a bird's nest

Then, the Pizzas arrived and well, no need to
ask anymore. Just dig in!

And this is also another reason why Domino's
are much better than Pizza Hut. Just look at
the quality of the pizza's base.


And a certain Mr. enghui also brought his cake.
Which, was not only delicious, but well, you just
had to be there, la.

The weathering on the Land Rover was amazing.

And this, folks is how a Falke looks like and looking
at it, mine is just well, going to be an uphill struggle.

The entries this time was very very good and so, the
Judges had a very tough time awarding
the points. By
now, HHQ is getting very stuffy.
Someone became a fan...

Vince won a lucky draw prize

Judges announcing winners of the Lucky Draw.

The winner of SMM '11!

For me, the real highlight of the day was actually
this rapid prototyping machine. The member
came back from the fair was there was enough
time for him to demonstrate the whole setup.
What you see here, is the machine on the left
and a Notebook controlling it.


The results that came out from the printer is
very precise. Here is a small pill box sample
where
the cover fits into it snugly and the
material used is ABS.

After a few minutes, the chosen model to be
'printed' is almost finished.

Never ever touch this part as it is very hot. The
white substance protruding is actually
ABS.

There is a reason why it needs to be scraped off
the platform but I cannot tell you here.

Because this is the product from a certain model,
the end result is very rough and therefore, you
need to clean it up a bit. The orientation of the
model is very important and needs to be set
prior to printing or you will end up like this.


The Green Lantern ring was finished seconds before
HHQ had to close up for the day. Unfortunately, it
was big enough to fit into my... pinky. Still, this is
a very interesting route that I might venture into.

Nokia Beta Labs Panorama

Do you know what is better than a Nokia n8?

A Nokia n8 running on Nokia Betalabs's Panorama App, that's what.


I have downloaded this program a few days ago from the OVI Store. In truth, I was actually looking for a *free* HDR App but this was the next best thing. Like the name implies, the software takes control of your camera, get you to pan around and it will stitch/join/rotate all the captured images to give you a nice panoramic picture. I know the shots look small because they're expanded horizontally. But to get a bigger picture, just click on the image.

Using this App is very simple. All you have to do is
to point it at an area of interest, press the shutter
button and then pan the n8 around. At a certain
spot, it will ask you to hold still while it takes the
picture. But sometimes, if you pan too much, it will
lose the tracking. However, 80% of the time, you can
'recover' from this. When you think you have all the
shots you need, just press the shutter button again
and the n8 will stop taking pictures.

While you wait and let other photo ops pass by, the
Panorama will start manipulating all the shot images
and form them into one long panoramic shot. But,
here's the stinker: It depends on the n8's PHONE
memory. And so, if you say, took 180º shots, it
will mostly give you an error message when it is
80-90% completed. Yep, the phone's run out of
RAM. Usually, rebooting the phone helps but you
will be the only idiot standing there for ages to get
the shot you wanted. Here is an example: I took a
shot of a busy Jalan Raja Chulan and well, it got a
lot of error since there were a lot of moving targets
and so, tracking is a problem and in the end, it failed
to get a nice Panoramic shot for me.

One thing you cannot control is the flash. So, when
it is
really necessary, the n8 will fire off the flash and
this is
the result you will get (whitish on the right)

And most of the times, you cannot control the white
balance setting either. So some photos look surreal
and as if it was pasted together. This was taken
during 2011 Wesak Day.

And sometimes, the scenery looks very nice but at
the same time, you can see some errors. Look at
the two goal posts in the middle. Also taken during
2011 Wesak Day.

Results are not predictable. Here, there are four
people moving about. The third was blocked by
the lady dressed in pink. By right, it should not
even be a success shot but amazingly, it did!



I repeated the process but it was hard due to the
moving targets. This one took me almost 30 mins
to get a 'nice' shot. There was another but it failed
and that took me ages. Plus, as the lights was fading,
I had to let that one go.

Surprisingly, this one worked well.

And so did this one. Its as if I got a fish-eye lens
for my Nokia n8.

And sometimes, the App does not 'freeze' between
shots, you can really get a good shot quickly. OK,
so I missed the MRT train....

But if you're too ambitious, the shot might not turn
out too well since the App will try to merge all the
shots but you'll be missing body parts....

Since this is minimal moving targets, it worked

I think it works best for scenery

And sometimes, if some people are moving too fast,
you get 'twins' that comes complete or one that
really defied Nature.....


Just to confirm scenery is great. People are not.

Twist your n8 around and you can
then take vertical shots. This is the
Chute in The Empire.

This was taken during SFTPMS SMM2011. Note the
two headed monster on the left.
.

Now, see the missing shoulder on one of the member.

This is an almost 180º shot of the Hobby HQ shop.
See the ghost on the left examining a model kit.

Overall, the Panorama App is fun to use but it does have its moments:

Insufficient RAM
The problem with the Nokia n8 is that it has only 256Mb RAM. Not 2Gb. Not 1GB. Just 256Mb RAM. This is not a problem until you use Apps such as Panorama. Then you will really start to notice the lack of RAM during image processing, When the image is being processed, the App will show you the progress and the status of each shoton the screen. However, once it reaches about 80% onwards, it will give you an error and the whole process is aborted. However, there is a recovery mode of some sort in where you can save that multiple shots in a folder which you can then manually use some stitching software instead. The only solution is to restart the phone to free up more RAM and pray that it does not abort. It would be nice if the App can use the n8's internal 16GB as RAM...

Inconsistent Delay
What really bugs me are the delays between each tracking shot. Sometimes, it is just one second. Other times, it could be more than 10 seconds. I suspect it could be trying to free up more RAM?

About the HDR...
Yeah, I know this App is free but I want to push my luck hereby asking if these Panoramic Photos can be converted to HDR or even 3D?

Overall, this is a really nice App even though sometimes it gives you missing body parts or something 'extra' in the shot. Yep, go download it. I have yet to try this on my old 5800, though.