Sunday, 23 December 2018

My Rotary Push Mower And Cow Grass

Toxic Air

When using a petrol powered lawn mowers, aren't we breathing in all the toxic fumes while mowing the lawn? That's the exact thought that I had one day about 10 years ago. Fearing for my wellbeing, I stopped using it altogether after that. Instead I started trimming my front lawn with tools that I had with my hands. A garden shears initially, then with a long blade after the shears got misaligned due to repeated use (more like abuse) by me. Hardwork most definitely, not to mention my aching back. Neighbours and passers-by must think I am mad too!

Falcon Rotary Reel Mower

Well, I am not getting any younger as the days roll on. Age is catching up. So this year I got about thinking of getting myself a rotary push reel mower. But will it work at my front lawn? Will it mow cow grass? Now that is the big question.

There's only one way to find out: go get one push rotary reel cylinder mower myself and try it out; and if it doesn't work get creative.

And that's exactly what I did this year in June 2018.

Falcon Push Reel Mower Delivery Box

A big thank you to Lazada Malaysia for having their "2018 Hari Raya Sale" then as I managed to get my mower at a very good discounted price of RM346.50 (can't remember the exact non-discounted figure but I think it was something like 400 odd Ringgit then). The brand name of this mower - Falcon. And it came in a big box (picture above).

Thursday, 20 December 2018

My Gifts And Rebates From Canon

Canon Battery Pack LP-E17

Super! I have received all my gifts and rebates from Canon Malaysia for my recent camera purchase 7 weeks ago. Took them about a month to have the Canon LP-E17 spare battery delivered. I received mine on 1st December 2018. To be honest, I had almost forgotten about it when suddenly it came out of nowhere via the local courier delivery service.

The all important RM 200 rebate arrived much later via electronic bank transfer - 12th December to be exact.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Camera Upgrade - My Best Bargain

Canon EOS 800D - Lazada Order Details

I have just bought myself a new (my first in fact) DSLR camera: a Canon EOS 800D/T7i. This was a deal that I just could not ignore. The price I paid was RM 2,649, sold by FS Store on Lazada. Compared to what other sellers are selling at about RM 3,198 on Lazada Malaysia, that's about RM 549 in savings. Imagine, getting a Canon EOS 800D for the price of a much lower-end camera, the Canon EOS 200D.

The package includes a free 32 GB SD card and a camera case. Also included is a free battery and a RM 200 rebate that I have to claim from Canon Malaysia via its online registration - a promotion that they are currently having until December 31, 2018. So this is not an import unit, as far as I could tell. Warranty is 3 years, if I am not mistaken.

But still I have to wait a couple of days more to confirm everything as I made the purchase yesterday evening.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Raptor Migration Over Ipoh

Raptors Flying And Gliding Over Ipoh

Something extraordinary happened at 3:50 PM 8th October 2018. I accidentally caught sight of a small flock of about 10 eagle-like birds when I glanced out towards my Northern bedroom window. In the past, the norm was to have no more than 3 birds at any one time. "This is unusual", I thought to myself. And so, I attempted to photography them.

Having failed to capture any decent shots, I looked around and waited hoping for this flock to return. Nothing happened. I looked out on the Southern side of my bedroom window and I got excited when I saw, which I thought initially was the same flock. After taking a few shots, I then noticed that there were actually more birds in the sky than what I saw earlier. A thought then popped into my mind: Raptor Migration!!

Sunday, 23 September 2018

My 100th Image On Dreamstime

GrabPay signboard - my 100th image upload on Dreamstime

After 19 months, I have finally made my 100th image upload to the microstock site Dreamstime. The date to mark on the calendar: September 16th, 2018. Lots of challenges initially but I seem to be getting the hang of it now. But still, there is a lot to learn.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Welcome Back Brown Shrike

Brown Shrike

It has become somewhat of an annual ritual for me. Come September of every year, I will wait patiently for the return of the Brown Shrikes. Two years ago in 2016, they were first spotted for the season on 16th September. In 2014, it was on 22nd September. This year it was 14th September.

Friday, 31 August 2018

GIMP Scripts For Dealing With Blue And Green Fringe

My Canon Powershot SX530 HS suffers from bad Purple, Blue and Green chromatic aberration when taking pictures in high contrast area. I use Darla's Purple Fringe script for GIMP to deal with Purple chromatic aberration - some limitations but that's the best solution that I can find.

I could not find any GIMP scripts for dealing with Blue and Green chromatic aberration. So I did the next best thing: I rolled my own.

The code for the scripts are below. Once installed, it will appear under the "Script-Fu / Enhance /" menu. And one more thing: the same limitations apply as with Darla's Purple Fringe script.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

My Contribution To The 2018 MY Garden Birdwatch Survey

A Pair Of Scaly-breasted Munias

The yearly MY Garden Birdwatch Survey was held this year on the 2nd and 3rd June, 2018. About 2 weeks earlier than usual when compared to previous years, as far as I could recall.

I did my counting at my home, as usual, on 2nd June 2018, time 7:30 A.M. Yes early in the morning as I was afraid I might forget. You will find my count results below.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Upgrading My Android x86

I have had my Android x86 version 4.3 installed in my VirtualBox since April 2014. With software upgrades being released by the day, I think its about time I have this operating system upgraded to a more recent release.

Version 7.1 r2

Version 7.1 r2 looks like a good bet, out since May 2018.

But after spending something like two hours downloading the installation ISO image, it looks like it wouldn't work with 512 MB RAM in VirtualBox - that's all I could afford in my 1GB RAM computer. There is lots of disk activity alright; it doesn't seem to stop. After waiting for something like 20 minutes and not seeing the home or setup screen, I gave up.

Installation was a breeze though. It zip right through in about a minute.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Raynox DCR-250 - Adding Value To My Canon Powershot SX530 HS Camera

This Raynox DCR-250 clip-on lens - there's only one way of describing it: Amazing. No that's an understatement, make that Super Amazing. To show you what I mean, just looks at this picture that I have taken with my Canon Powershot SX530 HS in macro mode, uncropped but scaled down to fit in this page:

Wasp Moth shot in Macro mode Canon Powershot SX530 HS

The subject, a Wasp Moth, barely fills 1/9th of the frame. Not much details to look at I must say. Cropping doesn't help much either.

Now compare the picture above with the following picture below. The same camera but with the Raynox lens attached, again uncropped but scaled down to fit in this page:

Wasp Moth shot in normal mode Canon Powershot SX530 HS but with Ranox DCR-250 lens attached

See why I am so excited with this lens now? A magnifying glass for my camera with the insect now filling about half the frame. The fine details, the furry bits around the insect, even the flower's pollen on the insect's feelers can be captured with my low-end prosumer point-and-shoot camera. A perfect value-add accessory to my camera.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Attaching My ProocamSXC67 Filter Adapter

I bought this ProocamSXC67 filter adapter a few days ago for my Canon Powershot SX530 HS. The price: about a third of Canon's FA-DC67A. A much more budget friendly alternative, that's for sure.

Now mounting it on my camera: that's proves to be a bit of a challenge. Much force is needed to twist the adapter into place, but will this cause any irreparable damage to the lens optics?

I had a look at my Canon's Powershot SX530 HS manual. Sad to say, it is of not much help.

Izzy of Digital Goja showing how to mount the Canon filter adapter

Thursday, 7 June 2018

ProocamSXC67 - A Cheaper Alternative To Canon's FA-DC67A

I love it when I get a great bargain.

The official Canon filter adapter FA-DC67A for my SX530 HS costs something like RM120 here in Malaysia. No doubt, it must be of high quality and reliability. But it's a bit way off my budget.

ProocamSXC67 - Canon FA-DC67A alternative

So off I when searching for a third-party alternative at Lazada Malaysia. And this is the cheapest that I could find, and eventually bought: the Proocam SXC67 adapter. A piece of metal ring (well it felt and sounded metallic) with 67mm diameter that costs me RM34.44. It would have been around RM40, but I got it off the recent Lazada 2018 Raya sale, and hence the cheaper price. Quite sturdy and well built in my opinion.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Good Old XVID

There is this problem that I have with my 7 year old Panasonic Viera LCD TV - it just can't play certain MP4 movies. The video and audio CODECs (usually H264 for video and AAC for audio) are all compatible with what the TV supports, but it just won't play.

ffmpeg - Running Within The Command Prompt

The problem, after much digging, is that this particular Panasonic TV model only supports playing video files that are in certain video standard resolution - 360p or 720p resolution, for example. It took me many attempts, but one workaround is to convert the video CODEC into XVID/DIVX. The size of the output file may be larger, but hey, it works.

I use ffmpeg to do the audio and video codec conversion. And this is the command that I use:

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Google's goo.gl - Slowly Fading Away

The announcement about the turning down of goo.gl by Google

Looks like another product by Google is going the way of the Dodo. The official announcement by Google can be found here. I have since moved my only goo.gl link to Bitly. Good thing I didn't have many as it would be a nightmare to move them off goo.gl, one-by-one.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

My Opinion On My New 32-bead LED Lamp

Items Included In The Box

Should I get the 16-bead, 32-bead, 36-bead, 49-bead or the 64-bead LED lamp for my still-life and wildlife macro photography? Will the lighting be adequate? There's only one way to find out - just go out (or online), buy one, test it out and see how it performs. And that was exactly what I did last week. Shown in the picture above is the lamp that I bought - a 32-bead rechargeable LED lamp from Lazada Malaysia. It arrived last Friday, 6 days after placing my order. Not too bad, considering that the item was shipped overseas from Hong Kong, China. The price: about US$10 (including shipping charges) which is quite reasonable since I didn't want to spend too much on something that I know nothing of.

My Opinion

So did it meet my needs? Well, not exactly.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Getting More Sales - My First Google+ Collection

Sitting quietly and waiting for things to happen, I don't believe that is a prudent strategy. When it comes to sales, marketing and advertising I think this is what they say: More Publicity = More Sales.

My First Google+ Collection: "Ipoh Wildlife"

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Undelivered Registered Postal Letter

Tracking Log Of My Registered Postal Mail

Above is the tracking log of a registered postal mail that was supposed to be delivered to my home. To say the least, it didn't come after waiting for something like 2 weeks. I collected it from the General Post Office (GPO) in the end, which is not a problem since I was given the tracking number by the sender. I was told by the officer at the counter that the letter arrived at the GPO on 8th February 2018. But as can seen from the log above this is just not true.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Test Image Upload To PicasaWeb Via Raven+

There has been some problems with uploading images to PicasaWeb via Raven+ since January 23rd 2018. A peek into Raven+'s log says this:

[ZUploadContentPrePublishHandler] Failed to upload file 1 of 1 (F:\Temp\TEST_RAVEN.JPG)
[EXCEPTION][ZUploadContentPrePublishHandler] ZBlogAppException [Failed to upload file 'TEST_RAVEN.JPG'.([500, 'Internal Server Error', 'Internal error, try again later'])].

What does it mean? I am absolutely clueless.

Well anyway it seems to be fixed now - some 2 days later. I just managed to upload this picture a moment ago.


I'm not too sure what happened. I didn't change anything on my side, that's for sure. No official announcement from Google either.

Arrogance like Microsoft some 20 years ago? Or IBM some 30 to 40 years ago? Who knows?

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Selfie On The Roof


Cool. Real cool. But mind your steps mister. We want you back alive. That's a 3 storey drop there.

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