Tuesday, 28 November 2017

My First Sale On Dreamstime

I sign-up on Dreamstime sometime at the beginning of this year. Nine months and 40 uploads later (and not to forget many, many hours of learning Gimp and Lightzone from scratch), I finally have my first sale; this photo of a squirrel in my garden:

Plantain Squirre Chewing On Mango © Chuah TC 2017 - Buy this picture

Thank you buyer. Thank your squirrel. Thank you mango tree.


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Crested Goshawk - My Lucky Day

A Crested Goshawk On The Lookout For Prey © Chuah TC 2017 - Buy this picture

29th September 2017 9:45 AM: It was just like any ordinary morning. Nothing unusual, nothing out of the ordinary, I thought. But when I glance up the rambutan tree, as I would do from time to time out of habit while having breakfast, I noticed something odd, something peculiar: a long big tail sticking out from the tree tops. Sitting up and taking a closer look, to my amazement I noticed an eagle-like bird - a Crested Goshawk. Only one thing to do: grab my camera - and fast.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Resuscitating My 40 Year Old Clock

40 Year Old Transistor Clock

Good thing my father wrote down the date of purchase behind this transistor clock. Otherwise, I wouldn't know how old this clock was. I still vividly remember the day when my father purchased it some 40 years ago from a shop selling clocks and watches at Ipoh old-town.

This clock has been working fine all this while. But last month it stopped suddenly. Replacing the battery in the clock with a new one didn't work. The balance wheel in the clock (which is visible from behind) did move for awhile but then it just stopped a few seconds later. The first thing that came to my mind was that the clock has come to its end-of-life-cycle, destined for the bin. My initial guess was that its electronic components have gone bad after 40 years.

I put it aside for a few days feeling lost. My missus did take it to a local clock shop for repairs but was told to purchase a new one instead since a new (massed produced?) clock costs about RM5 (about US$ 1.50) each in a local DIY store. I suppose the costs of labour exceeds the price of of a new clock and it is just not worth the repair man's time.

Repairs

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Lineated Barbet Up Close

Rictal Bristles On A Lineated Barbet © Chuah TC 2017 - Buy this picture

Finally I have managed to capture a decent picture of a Lineated Barbet. This is something that I have been trying to do for quite a long time now. Even better this time, an up close shot. The picture above is a cropped out from a larger 4608 x 3456 sized image (which is available for sale at Dreamstime). I actually took four shots, handheld, and this picture was the best of the lot. Because of my excitement two pictures came out blurry. The bird flew away almost immediately after the fourth shot was taken when it noticed what I was doing. A distance of 15 feet between us is a bit too close for comfort for this bird I suppose.

I am quite sure I have never seen this bird before while growing up in my neighbourhood. Or perhaps I was just not observant enough while I was younger. Anyhow, as far as I could recall, I only became aware of this bird some 3 or 4 years ago. My first impression then was "what a rather ought looking bird with some rather interesting looking plumage around its head and neck". In fact, at one time I had even assumed that it belonged to the Kingfisher family of birds (which it is not, by the way) because of its rather large beak.

Note the rictal bristles, i.e. the 'whiskers' around the base of its beak. This is the second bird that I know of that have them. Brown Shrike is the other one.



Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Pied Triller Settling Down In My Neighbourhood

A Lone Pied Triller (Male)

Pied Triller - I can't recall ever seeing previously. But something changed beginning mid-July 2017. A pair, a female and a male, was first spotted. Later on, the only the female bird was seen. I could easily tell because of the different plumage between the male and the female of this bird species.

Two months later, things have gone the other way round now. The male bird is regularly spotted, and the female hardly.

With such regular sightings, I guess Pied Trillers must have made my neighbourhood their new home.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Black-naped Oriole And Its Mango

Upside-down Black-naped Oriole Feeding On Mango

Yummy! Mango! Mango! It will make one's world go upside-down.

Actually, I have been trying to photograph this rather common bird in my neighbourhood, a Black-nape Oriole, ever since I came to own a digital camera. But it has been elusive. A rather shy bird and it will scoot once it caught sight of me. Or perhaps it's because my looks does not look appealing.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

LightZone

Screen capture of the LightZone editor

I have been busy over the last couple of days getting my hands dirty with this open-source software called LightZone . It looks interesting, a bit unconventional compared with most photo editing software that I am aware of. But processing my 16 Mega-pixel photo on my 1Giga Byte RAM PC can get a bit clunky. If only it was compiled into native computer code and not running under the Java Runtime environment.

Monday, 24 July 2017

A Rather Persistent Pied Triller Sighting Lately

It must be my lucky week I suppose. I first spotted a pair of them initially about a week ago - one male and one female. Quite easy to tell them apart as their plumage is quite distinctive between the sexes. I tried photographing the two of them then. But they flew away once they realised that I was pointing my camera at them. Bah!

Getting Lucky

Female Pied Triller - On A Durian Tree © Chuah TC 2017 - Buy this picture

But as luck would have it, I have had this female Pied Triller come visiting my home almost every other day after that. It is almost impossible to miss it. First that distinctly call, "kraw.... kek-kek-kek". And with minimal effort, usually I should be able spot it, on two occasions photograph it. Lucky me!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

My Contribution To The 2017 MY Garden Birdwatch Survey

Oriental Magpie Robin - Female © Chuah TC 2017 - Buy this picture

I usually conduct two surveys and pick the ideal result for submission that I think would closely reflect the local bird ecosystem in my neighbourhood. Unfortunately, I could only manage one this year as I did not have much free time. The yearly MY Garden Birdwatch Survey was held this year on the 17th and 18th June 2017. I did my counting at my home, as I would normally do, on the 17th June 2017, time 4:10 P.M. You will find my count results below.

A rather wet counting session this year as there was some rain. Not sure if this affected my results but I feel like the outcome is a bit different from previous years. As usual, there are some birds that is common in my neighbourhood but not seen during the survey time duration.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Alipay, Now On Lazada Malaysia

Lazada_AlipayMalaysia.JPG

I just made another purchase at Lazada Malaysia today. Looks like Lazada Malaysia has ditched IPay88 and is now using AliPay instead, as far as payment via online banking is concern.

Just my opinion: The IPay88 system is more responsive. The screen will refresh almost immediately once payment is made - taking me to the order confirmation page. With AliPay, I have to wait quite a while - screen above. Maybe they will improve on this in the future. Well, let's hope.

MBRWizard

I didn't mention it in the update but my restore from Ghost backup actually messed up my PC's Master Boot Record (MBR). I panicked when Windows wouldn't boot - it choked half way after struggling for a minute or two. Luckily though, Ubuntu Linux did boot up. However, I soon noticed that none of my Windows partitions were visible from within Ubuntu. I panicked again.

I started fdisk to see what is in my partition table. What I saw gave me a shock - there were something like 50 partitions, some overlapping, defined in the MBR. Only one thing that I could do - delete those nonsensical partitions.

To cut a long story short, what saved the day in the end was some scribbled down notes that I have from fdisk of the starting and ending cylinders of the partitions that I have on my hard disk. I just used this to bring some sanity back to my hard disk again. It works - Windows rebooted without any problems. All Windows partition recovered. No data was loss. Phew!

Friday, 12 May 2017

PCI TV Tuner Gone Kaput

"What am I going to do with the analog TV Tuner that I have in my computer?"

That was the thought that I had some years ago when the Malaysian government announced that the free-to-air local terrestrial television broadcast will be going digital in the future. And the future is now set at 2018, tentatively.

Well, I do not have to worry about this question anymore. My analog KWorld TV tuner has gone kaput. Yes, I have had hung PCs and a couple of half captured TV programs over the last couple of days. I never thought it was a hardware problem initially. I kept thinking it was memory constraint instead as I had just installed Avast and have been using Gimp quite a lot lately. Guess I assumed wrong.

Blank Screen In Virtualdub Because Of A Faulty TV Tuner

Now what I get when I start my TV recordings or viewing in VirtualDub is just a blank screen. Intermittently though, I do get some video and audio if I am lucky, but it only lasts a few minutes. Likewise when I tune in to my local FM radio stations.

But a bit of an oddity that I just found out a moment ago. Gnome Radio on Ubuntu Linux could still pick up the local FM radio signal (the STEREO/MONO indicator changes when I scan the airwaves) but there is no discernible audio. Maybe there is a bad connection on the TV Tuner's PCB board somewhere. I don't think it is bad contacts between the TV tuner and the PCI slot like I had previously as Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux could still detect the the TV tuner. Watching Youtube videos are working fine by the way, so that rules out any problems with my computer's motherboard.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Lazada Malaysia's Best Sellers

Not sure if this is updated in real-time, but here is Lazada's Malaysia's best selling items, sorted by categories.

See anything that you like? Do click on the advertised product to find out more.




Automotive & Gadgets

Cameras

Clothes, Shoes & Bags

Computer & Laptops

Health & Beauty

Monday, 20 March 2017

Problems With My MS .Net Framework 2.0 Setup

The MS .Net Framework 2.0 library on my PC got corrupted a few days ago. I am not sure what went wrong. I did suffer an NTFS file system corruption on the Windows system C: drive before that though. What caused this? I do not know. This is something that I have been trying to nail down since 2013, without much success unfortunately. My previous suspicion was with my anti-virus software Avira, but after uninstalling it (and replacing it with Avast) the problem is still there.

Symptoms

These are the symptoms that I encountered after the .Net Framework 2.0 got corrupted:

  • My VirtualDub scheduler, V2CRS, does not launch anymore. Instead a pop-up message saying that "mscorwks.dll could not be loaded" (or something similar; can't remember the exact words) greeted me.

  • I keep getting a pop-up error message saying that "Reader_sl.exe: Application failed to initialize properly (0xc0150004)" every time when I boot-up Windows.

  • None of the MS Office 2007 applications (Excel and Word in particular) work anymore. They just fail to start.

A Possible Fix

I could have just restored from my most recent backup to fix this problem. But then I would have to reinstall Avast (and uninstall Avira) again. No. Not more work for me if, I could help it. I'll keep that as a last resort for now.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

For Sale: My Photos At Dreamstime.com

My First Picture Upload To Dreamstime.com

My photographs, they are up for sale now at Dreamstime.

I have always thought that it was tough to get into this business of selling pictures online. It was not until I read a comment from someone saying that he was doing it with nothing more than his Sony Xperia. A Sony Xperia: that's a smartphone isn't it? Well, I have a Canon Superzoom a Powershot SX530HS; that should be good enough. But is it? So, the only way for me to find out is to upload a test (sharp and with minimal noise) photograph to Dreamstime and see what happens.

An voila, my photo was approved 5 days later.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Running Google+ App On Android-x86 (Virtualbox)

I have finally found a use for my Android-x86 (Version 4.3) system, running under Oracle Virtualbox on my computer. I have had it installed for something like 3 years without actually using it all this time.

The problem with Google+ desktop running within my desktop web browser over the last couple of days - that's what prompted me to try out the Google+ app on Android-x86. This is what I always see every time when I access Google+ on my desktop web browser over the last few days:

Google+ Error From Desktop Web Browser

I get a similar error message with Google+ Mobile too. I am aware of some changes that Google is making with Google+, but getting a broken link is the least of what I would expect. After all, aren't they a leading technology company these days ?

Friday, 13 January 2017

DroiHealth Alternative That Works

Fit Health.jpg Fit Health 2.jpg

Having problems getting the DroiHealth app working with your new band smartwatch? Do give the FitHealth a try. It works for me anyway. I am quite sure the two apps have identical DNA since they were developed by the same developer zhwuba.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Lone Asian Glossy Starling

Asian Glossy Starlings On A Rambutan Tree Branch (click to enlarge)

A black coloured bird with blood-red eyes - that's the Asian Glossy Starling.

Rather common in my neighbourhood, but of late I tend to find them darting across overhead at high speed rather than perching nearby around my home. TV antennas and electrical pole appears to be their favourite places if they do come by visiting. You can always hear them when they do.

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