Showing posts from September, 2014

Iceland personal tips

Iceland personal tips

Iceland is place of great beauty and has been featured in many movies. 
It's not crowded and with a few friends it can be a place to spend a week. 
Most people speak English and are friendly. No French here ;)
My suggestions:
Spend about one week or a minimum of five nights if possible. 
Rent a car for moving around the island. The roads are easy, hardly any cars but get a GPS.  Signs are easy to follow and there's one main highway - Route 1 - that goes round the island (note: official speed limit is 90 km/h on the highway, and between 30-60 km/h when Rte 1 passes through cities and towns). 
For northern lights it's probably better to join a tour as they know where to go. We went with Gray Line which was about SGD 70 per head Call ahead to ask if they have a tour departing…

Million dollar arm - movie review

For all mixed culture and Indian movie fans, as well as those who like a good sports yarn I highly recommend this movie.

There's nothing like a sport movie about people winning against the odds and throw in a little fish out of water and cultural pot Porri thing into it and well you have a million dollar plot. And yes, you do get a bit of that million dollar slumdog bit too.

Based on a true story about how a couple of boys from rural Mumbai go for baseball tryouts in USA. It's more than just a basic baseball show and in fact much of the pitching isn't really great.

But it's far more about the human element and our priorities in life that make the difference. There are loads of this in the movie and the cast is certainly up to the task of showcasing this.

The main actor Jon Hamm is well selected as the sports agent and his two Indian protégés are also well cast.

Everyone comes together although Bill Paxton is given too little to do. Subtle performers by Ray …

Hotel Grand Budapest - movie review

Having seen his previous work like the Royal Tennenbuams I wasn't sure about it but I read a raving review of this movie and decided to give it a shot.

First thing is what makes it good. The plot is quite original and the casting is exquisite. Again Wes Anderson uses some of his regulars and they come together well, almost like a family reunion. Their familiarity works in their favor and the tone as well as the editing will be familiar to his fans.

The buts are more personal in nature and I don't feel the F bombs or the sex scenes were necessary.

The hotel used is well chosen and certainly apt, bringing out the full flavor of the movie and period. It reminds me of that used in The Shining.

The show is about an elderly writer recounting his stay at the hotel and listening to the adventures of the owner Zero Mustafa and how he came to own the hotel. Set in the period just before WWII it's a well paced movie with many flashbacks and a wry sense of humor, ala Wes Ande…

How to shop abroad and bring it home...

I will be talking about issues of shopping in USA and other countries, and what items to buy, as well as other such issues.

Here are a few pointers:

- know what you want, and check the prices.
Is it worth the trouble to lug them back?
Will it run locally - 110 or 220V or universal
- understand the risks of internet shopping, and that you may not be able to claim warranty
- weight limits
check with your airlines for the baggage allowances - most major airlines allow 2 bags weight 22.5 or 23 kg each - that means a total of up to 46 kilos of goodies!
- Tax and GST
- fragility
can you check the item in? IF you remove the boxes, it can be less bulky but you may end up damaging the items
- how long are you in USA
shipping can take a while and it is best to give some allowance
- do you have an address
 most hotels will keep an item for you before you arrive, but check first
- begin shopping early
there is no reason to wait til you are in USA, start placing items in the shopping cart fir…

4k, or ultra High Definition Anyway? - where's the material?

Whilst those videophiles who may read my website are trying to push the frontiers of mega/ultra/super Hi Def.. the irony is that the rest of the world are still stuck on SD...
A point observed by another today... that we have diminishing number of BR rental shops, and the idea of Hi Def for many others is watching free to air programs in HD...

So whilst TV sales of HD, 4k etc have been pretty healthy, there is a real dearth of material to watch and the HDMI 2 / HDCP 2.2 problem may not exist since there is scant amount of material on the ground to watch anyway...


 I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Estimating cable runs when building your home theatre system

The key is planning ahead. If it's rear cables, avoid buying separate runs and making your contractor work with them. Buy a large roll instead, or let your contractor sort it out.

The amount of cable depends on how many speakers you place, the size of your room, and also whether you build in any redundancy..

Eg, one may measure from point to point, that the distance from the front feature wall to the speaker, and determine that it's 5m. But your electrician may run things differently and have to go to the side wall, then upwards and down.

You will also need to have spare amounts at each end to allow for flexibility for placement.

Also is Atmos the last word? Certainly not, there can be new formats, eg Auro is just round the corner, so if you are building something plan for more if you can. Just run the cable and place it into the false ceiling, and cut it out later..

As to what cables one should use, a rule of thumb is to use larger gauge cables. Eg, I used In-wall s…