Thursday, 30 April 2009

I'm a pro!

Feels kinda weird but awesome to abuse my online spending power at last.

Got myself an edu copy of Master Suite. £450 after student discount
from Adobe AND, get this, I bought at a retailer here, Cancom, that
cuts the price by another 5% off the original Adobe student price. so,
£450 instead of the normal £500+! WOOT! Just waiting for my serial to
be emailed to me now...

Aside from that, I'm a Flickr Pro member now!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Rock the beat! It's another Music Chart!

It's that time of the [insert time period here] again that I make another music list!

Why now? Because there's some new awesome tracks I must talk about!

Now, instead of the normal numbered list, I want to drag this post a little longer. So, you shall be tortured with this little essay! MUAHAHAHAHA!

As many of you probably know by now from reading my older post, I just got myself an iTunes gift card (2, actually). So now, I'm able to buy music by the track rather than the entire album.

(BTW: off-topic, but I'm switching to after my iTunes credit runs out. iTunes is more expensive.)

The first track I bought was James Morrison's "Broken Strings", featuring Nelly Furtado. An emotional duet. Not the newest of tracks, but it's been on many charts for a reason - it has a nice blend of thumping staccato beats and legato parts, and yet it's so expressive.

Next track is Lily Allen's "The Fear" and "Not Fair". Bought them because I've been hearing these song on the radio, and it's been ringing in my ears ever since. You thought these songs were vulgar? Well, you probably didn't buy the rest of her album (I did), because when you get on to the track "F**k You" (That's the name that was submitted to Gracenote), your heads will shake throughout the 3 minutes and 43 seconds of f-bombs. No, this is not just a publicity stunt on the back of her album cover in the CD store. Well, maybe it is. Because this song is actually "dedicated" to the former US President George W Bush and how he screwed up his life as a person who's just trying to impress his father. 

"Love Story" (Taylor Swift), "My Life Would Suck Without You" (Kelly Clarkson) and "I Hate This Part Right Here" (Pussycat Dolls) are some other tracks that you may probably have if you follow other charts like the Billboard 100s. In fact, with the exception of F**K You, all the other tracks I mentioned did appear on the Billboard 100. So, let's move on to the more obscure songs.

This is a very old one, but a timeless classic that I'm sure you heard before, but don't know the title or artist. "Mad World" by Michael Andrews & Gary Jules is the soundtrack for the movie Donnie Darko from 2004, but it's been used in countless movies and TV shows since then. Andrews & Jules aren't the original writers of this song, but their version was definitely the one that brought the song to greater popularity. Do a wiki search on it if you're curious.

On a close note, I just discovered this song on the UK iTunes Chart (I can't get the US Chart. Dang it.). Leona Lewis's "Run". Very moody but motivational song. Maybe a replacement for "Eye of the Tiger" for those Nike+ runners out there?

Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" is another track not unfamiliar to the charts scene, but it's definitely developed a fanbase for its pushy beats that certainly makes me dance and move my shoulders about (that's about the only "dance" I can do whilst seated.) Of course, her other songs, such as "Paparazzi" and "Just Dance" are also awesome dance tracks. I'd love to hear these songs fill dance floors all around the world, or make the place where these songs are broadcasted dance floors.

From banging on George Bush to loving the new Basketballer President,'s "It's A New Day" celebrates the Obama Presidency and, well, for me, a new day. This song is now my iPhone's alarm tone! Yes, it's a new day, now wake up you lazy bum and celebrate this day!

This is a new one for me, but it's catching on me fast. "Don't Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go)" by Noisettes was a track I just heard on the TV yesterday, but I would say this track could go under the same category as Lady Gaga for being catchy and making you want to dance. Noisettes is like Mary J Blige meet Lady Gaga. And that's a good thing.

One last bit: A special mention to AR Rahman & PCD for "Jai Ho!". I thought this was just the movie soundtrack with an overlay track recorded by Nicole Scherzinger and pals, but it turns out to be a pretty different flavour.PCD meets India, sounds weird, and I'm a bit uncomfortable with that idea, too, but hey, sometimes, things you don't like can mix together to create a good blend. It's like an airplane and a sofa. Mix those, and you get Business Class seats 30,000 feet up in the air!

Ok, you know what, I'm feeling generous today, so above the above post (that's such an ironic statement), I shall add a music chart. No, these songs are not strictly from the passage above, it's completely irrelevant.

Music Chart for the moment!

1. Beyoncé - Halo
2. Metro Station - Shake It
3. Lily Allen - Not Fair
4. Lady Gaga - Disco Heaven
5. Take That - Up All Night
6. Ar Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls - Jai Ho!
7. Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You
8. Noisettes - Don't Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go)
9. Flo Rida feat. Ke$ha - Right Round
10. The Pussycat Dolls - I Hate This Part

P.s.: Late-breaking news: I just bought my 3rd album. Pointing back to my love for Christ, I bought Parachute Band's album, Technicolor.

So, let's see. I bought...
Lily Allen's "It's Not Me, It's You",
Lady Gaga's "The Fame", 
and now, 
Parachute Band's "Technicolor".

That's 3!

That's one item off my bucket list! w00t!

BTW, for those who have no clue who's Parachute Band, they're this NZ-based Christian Rock Band that performed during Festival of Praise 2008 last year at Singapore Indoor Stadium. Awesome band, and they just came out with a new album last October, and I just sampler some of their songs, it sounds good, so I bought the album!

Also, CCC (the church that was founded, I guess, Pastor Phil Pringle) has songs for sale on the UK iTunes Store, too. who knew? iTunes Plus, £0.79 (not 59p. Aww...). Who knew!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Madame Tussaud's

As I said before, I went on an excursion to London today.

Due to the London Marathon, quite a lot of roads were closed off or restricted. So, let's just say things were quite interesting.

Anyways, we, the tour group (random plug: was the tour service that I used, because my school has a deal with them of some sort.) got to a few places - we were outside the Buckingham Palace, then we went to see the Big Ben, after which we went on a river cruise, followed by lunch at MacDonald's (very rushed schedule. 25 minutes to find food, eat, and run back to the bus, so not much of a choice.). I must say, MacDonald's here is not as scary as I though. The fries is still crap - nobody can deny that. The drink, let's not talk about the drink, shall we? But the meat and bun here actually LOOKS half-decent. Then again, you can't see what the effects of the chemicals are until you look beyond the kitchen.

After lunch, we were off to Madame Tussaud's. BTW: I saw the Regent Street Apple Store. that store has so much empty space around the glass stairway and in front of the entrance, it's just so weird.

That's all I can say about my trip to London, really. We didn't see everything in London, but we saw the maximum possible given our constraints: road closures, 5.30pm leaving time (2 hours between London Regent Street and Brighton/Hove.) But I'll definitely want to see more of London. Maybe a rail trip some time next month?

Anyway, I'm too tired to type anything else. need to sleep. In the meantime, check out the photos from Madame Tussaud's. I also took a photo with the Obama figure, but it's in hard copy, so I'll have to find some way to put it up another time. But just so you know, there's a photo of me with the man.

Link: my photos from Madame Tussaud on Facebook.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Post #1,000. And the content can't get any crappier.

Ok, I know I promised you a new blog was going to be announced in this
post (see post #999.)

Well, that plan's on hold.

Because I have no plan of what that new blog will have. My initial
idea was a reviews / tourism blog about a student in Brighton. Sounds
nice, cool, and professional, right?

Well, I realised that I won't have much to post there.

So, yes, that plan's been temporarily shifted to priority #21957.

Anyway, there's been so much information flying around, where do I

Ok, first thing - Congrats to the SASS B Div ruggers! After 2 years,
they finally pounced back and avenged for the last two years of
disappointment! The B Div cup's back in the village! Nothing more I
can say, other than "congratulations."

Right. Next thing: I'm going on some student immersion trip to London
this Sunday. Hope to take great pics and enjoy myself there. Haven't
been taking photos since I landed in the United Kingdom because of the
recent news about some Brit villager attacking a Google Street View
van that passed by his house.

Speaking of Google Street View, I saw one drove past Brighton Station
on my first day of school. So, when Google Street View for Brighton
goes online, you know where to find me! And it's a pretty iconic
place, too. Brighton Station. The train station that links this area
to London and the rest of the South East.

Also, report on the Apple Store Brighton: I found it, it's still not
ready, but at least I know where it is. 2nd floor of Churchill Square,
opposite HMV, next to the "Make-a-Teddy Workshop" store and above
MotherCare. Apple can't pick a better place to prepare the next
generation of Apple Fanboys. Like, what the hell was Cupertino thinking?

Oh, Singlish report - no more. I know no Singlish. The only good thing
I love about Singapore that still sticks to me like a symbiote is
unlocked iPhones. Gosh, I love my iPhone. It tells me my bus leaves at
8.15 or 8.21am every morning. Google Maps, people.

And by the way, did you see that 1,000,000,000 (read: billion) app
downloads countdown ticker on the website? Impressive, don't
you think?

And on the topic of iTunes, I purchased Lady Gaga's album, "The Fame".
It's ok, a few awesome tracks that makes me want to dance (so not cool).

Ok, that's all for now, need to download more apps. US$10,000 iTunes
Gift Card + 17" MacBook Pro + Time Capsule + 32GB iPod Touch, here I

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Post #999: Life so far...

It's been 4 days of school, and I've finally come to my first real
weekend here.

I said 'real' because now, I actually know how to do stuff here, like
how to buy a bus pass. Or how to get on the train from Portslade to
Brighton. (Hint: If you come to the UK, the nearest train station to
my house is Portslade. But make sure you book accomodation elsewhere -
you can't stay with me.)

I opened up my bank account, so if you want to send money, you may
contact me for the numbers and stuff (jk).

I dropped 85% of the Singlish-ness in me. Still find myself saying
"larh" and "erm..." (the non-Singlish way is "Umm...", like good old
Billy G. That's Bill Gates, to the rest of you.). That's a shockingly
small amount of Singlish, mind you, for someone who lived in Singapore
for 10 years, hanging out with nobody else other than Singaporeans
(which has its pros and cons, the biggest con being Singlish. It's

Oh, Ren Yuan, I'm running my MBP in High Performance mode at last.
Feels the same to me, although windows that are playing videos don't
fizzle when I move them around, as if you ran them on a projector.

Speaking of videos - I rented Dark Knight. One of those movies that
got raving reviews, but I didn't watch.

Anyway, let's talk about school. How was you school/JC/Poly?

I've been through enough lessons to get a feel of what school's going
to be like.

I have a Psychology teacher that's very nice, but sometimes, she talks
quite fast. But nonetheless, the lessons are interesting. Currently,
we're learning about Experimental Techniques, such as lab, field, or
natural experiments. Then, we learnt about IV, DV, and EV. IV =
Independent variable, D = dependent (back to Mr Goh's Physics class!
lol...), EV = Extraneous Variable (that's new.).

Then, I have a Math teacher whom I feel is covering the lessons only
because his boss asked him to. You see, the Mathematics A Levels here,
especially what they call "C1 to C4 modules", are basically Add Math
at O Level in Singapore. Not sure why, but that's the fact. For the JC
guys in Singapore, can someone echo to me if the Mathematics A Level
there is the same as Add Math O Level? It's starting to bother me, but
UCAS and LSE both say A Level Mathematics is required if you want to
avoid taking extra Math classes in Uni. Oh well...

Anyway, I have a pretty strict Accounts teacher, but she can be nice
at times. Not much to say, really, except that Raymond's notes really
helped me get an advantage, since I know a bit more about Accounts now
than I did before, even though I just casually breezed through his
file (info overload, larh).

And there's the Economics teacher. Probably the scariest-looking
teacher that I have, because he looks pretty darn strict. But his
classes are always interesting. He makes us do activities in classes
to help us relate to the things we learn. For example, for
"Opportunity Cost", he asked us to list 3 things that we want to do if
we had £50, 3 possible subjects we wanted to study if we were allowed
one more A Level subject, 3 things we wanted to do that night, and 3
things the UK Government could do with £50bln in tax revenue. From
this we learnt that due to scarcity, we have to allocate resources,
and sometimes, that means choosing one thing at the expense of the
best alternative. So, the opportunity cost is actually the best
alternative sacrificed or forsaken.

There's the Learning Skills and Tutor Group teachers too, but I think
this post is long enough, so I won't get too deep into those.

I think I'm quite happy with the choice I made. Hopefully, I'll cope
with the pace of things over here. What about you? TAG! BLOG! FB! I
want to hear!

By the way, this is post #999. I have something prepared for post
#1,000. Be prepared for a whole new blog. But you won't hear about it
till the 1,000th post! so Watch this space!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Hot for Word?

Raymond asked: What's the difference between Alligators and crocodiles?


a large predatory semiaquatic reptile with long jaws, long tail, short legs, and a horny textured skin, using submersion and stealth toapproach prey unseen

a large semiaquatic reptile similar to a crocodile but with a broader and shorter head, native to the Americas and China

So, it's mostly cosmetic. Check out Wiki, if you want more info.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Finally settled down, started school, and all that.

Today was day 1 - induction (aka Orientation, for the folks in the
other side of the planet). Got my student pass, met with other
students. All from China except 5 Europeans/Mid-Easterns, 1 Thai, 1
Viet, 1 Indon (me) doing A Levels in Bellerbys. Rough stats, but
that's what I saw.

Confirmed my subjects. Mathematics, Accounting, Economics, and, drum


Could have taken Business Studies, but I chose Psychology. Even the
Programme Manager (kinda like a HOD in Singapore) said it'll be an
interesting subject. Why not? Besides, I don't want to bore myself.

Oh, by the way, (I'm dropping the number of times I use 'btw' in my
blog posts, but that's not the point. Let's get out of this bracket.)
I bought an O2 SIM and a couple of iTunes Gift Cards for myself. So,
to call/text me, use this number:

+44 75 47-14-135-0

ignore all spaces and hyphens. I added them so that nobody can Google
my number with EASE. Security/privacy.

Do note that I'm on a Pay&Go (Prepaid), so use restraint. Email me! I
have unlimited internet on my phone for £10 a month off my credit.

Oh, about the iTunes Gift Card, I'm going to set parameters as to what
counts as an album bought (look at my bucket list).

An album will be defined as a collection of AAC files and a PDF made
in a single purchase or through "Complete my Album".

So far, under this definition, I've bought one album - Lily Allen's
"It's Not Me, It's You".

Alright. That's all. Approaching post #1000. This is post #997.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

A New Home.

I'm finally home at my Homestay parents' household in Hove.

Over the past few days/hours, so much has happened, I felt as if I was
some foreign dignitary at a G20-like summit, meeting people left and

It all started when I flew back to Singapore on Wednesday. Met my
guardian's mother, already in her 80s. Somehow, she still remembers me
even though she's getting pretty bad in her memory, and I'm not even a
direct relative. Quite surprised that she figured out who I am in the
first instant that she saw me. Though she doesn't seem to remember
that I don't speak/understand dialect, it was quite heart warming to
see her still happy and all.

Day 2: On Thursday, I closed down my POSB account, and went to collect
my SGC + O Level Cert. Met Zexun, Ian Ng, Andrew Fong, John Sng, Chee
Yang, Matthew Ho, Chen Lin at Macs. Also saw a lot of SASS friends (as
in those still studying there.) Then in the evening, Met up with
Ernest to see the choir. Had to leave early, though, because Ernest
had something on, I had dinner and I need to get my new laptop
(remember? I didn't bring my old one, but I brought my Time Machine
backup drive, and I feared it would take 16hours to get the transfer
done. Well, it took around 4, and even more to get my first Time
Machine backup of the new Mac.

Friday came. Good Friday. I met up with Raymond, Matt Sia, and Isaac
Wong at City Hall for lunch. Came across Chia Zhe Min (my ex-PA
junior) and Choon Zhe. Well, both of them have stuff going on with
others, so Ray, Matt, Isaac, and I went to eat at that Marché-like
Japanese/fusion food place at Raffles City Basement. Had a long chat
in there, but nobody chased us out, since the place wasn't so empty
anyway. Went to buy J.Co, window-shop clothes and cell phones, and
left. I left straight for Church. There, met with another long list of
people. The drama production was, as usual, stellar. The sermon was
about the good news of Good Friday. After service, I followed Zexun,
the SAJC flautists (including Chen Lin), and Eugene to Fish & Co. next
to Park Mall. Apparently, it was one of the girls' birthday (Joi, if I
remember/spell correctly.). So, yeah, b'day celebrations at Fish&Co!

Saturday, went with my Guardians to school to get back my keyboard
protector (Zexun borrowed it before we started to eat, and I think you
know the rest of the story. Well, sometimes, people forget. Both him
and myself.) at school, and then we jetted to Changi T3. Ate Dim Sum
at Kopitiam T3, and I went in after that. Cancelled my Green Card /
Student Pass. Flew on the A380 to the UK. Awesome aircraft. A giant
bird, with in-seat universal-pin plug across all 3 classes, and the
screen was big, at 10.1". I still wished there's iPod/iPhone
connectivity like on the A330s/A340s, though. Also, I can't type / use
the trackpad on my MBP without bending my hands around the little
space I had before my neighbours feel cramped... Darn centre seats. I
need to insist on Window / Aisle seats next time.

Arrived at Heathrow, 16ºC. Only slept for an hour on the place, coz we
were flying in daytime throughout the 13h. We were basically chasing
the Sun rays throughout the flight, so there was no darkness. Arrived
at Heathrow, 16ºC, 7.20pm. Went through the custom formalities, got
out, found my transport, and reached my homestay parents' in Hove
1.5hours later. Dozed off from 9pm to 4am. I must say, it's really
cold here when you're wearing just jeans, an Adidas Polo-t, and cotton
socks, with the heater at 3, but at least my MBP is under 40ºC (That's
absurd!) with the laptop on my bed, insulated.

No, I don't miss my portable heater / chainsaw.

Typed on 12 April 2009 at: 5:53AM UK time, 4:53AM UTC time, 12:53PM SG
time, 11:53AM JKT time. It's the daylight saving


Friday, 10 April 2009

The New MBP - the review thus far.

I know it's quite early for a review of a thing I just bought, but the
Unibody MBP is awesome.

I mean it.

Where do I start? The first thing that caught my eyes is the gorgeous
display. Yes, it's a glossy glass display, but so far, in the
conditions I've been using this laptop in, I did not find problems
related to reflection. (I didn't buy any display film, nor is there
any attached.) The colours really pop, as Apple execs often brag in
the keynotes. I never believed in how true this was, till I glanced my
eyes at this laptop.

I placed this MBP on my lap, and it didn't burn. Hallelujah! (Speaking
of which, it's Good Friday/Easter Weekend!)

One gripe I have, which I never thought of till I tried plugging in my
Time Machine drive - Why the heck are ALL the ports on the left, and
so close to the MagSafe Connector? If you RTFM (that's Tech support
speak. Not telling you what it means, go look up on Urban Dictionary.
You'll be so happy you did.), you're not supposed to place any
magnetic-sensitive objects, like CREDIT CARDS (please read this if you
iPod Classics, Hard Disks, etc. (Flash Drives are fine. But I don't
dare to say the same for the really old CFs, though.) Other than that
magnetism issue, I realised that I, coming from a MBP with a USB port
on both left and right, and a FireWire on the right, have to redesign
the way I do things, all thanks to a design change. Oh well, at least
the insides have been reported to be much cleaner and well-organized.

Another gripe: Apple is such a capitalist. They switched to Mini-
Display Port, and so I had to buy a VGA adapter. They switched to
FireWire 800, so I had to buy a new cable for my Seagate FreeAgent /
Time Machine Drive, which has FireWire 400. This thing no longer comes
with the Apple Remote. Like, WHY?!

And worst of all - The warranty. I ponied up the extra S$600+ (S
$534.65 after 15% discount. Thanks, EpiCentre! But you have to admit,
$530 is still a lot to pay for what I'll call "a necessity",
considering how much the laptop costs, and the failure rate of
laptops.) for 3 years of tech support. I figured, I might as well if
this machine is so powerful and if I'm going to use it for 3 years -
around the same length of time my previous MBP lasted before it went
to the crappers. Let's hope nothing happens, but if something does, I
know there's an Apple Store opening in Brighton, where I'll be
studying, so I can go to the Genius Bar and get this puppy fixed up in
no time.

Other than that, this machine rocks. Awesome design,

Oh, I just realised this, so I'll say it: The speaker has good vocal
sounds, but other than that, it's crap. Maybe it's the lack of a
woofer, or the new "holes", but crap is crap.

K. that's all I'm going to complain about this MBP. minor gripes, but
ones that I can live with. Besides,

1. I don't ever use the in-built speakers when listening to music -
only for when I'm on-the-go.
2. I'm going to a new place, so I can start a new layout of where what
3. I got a gefty discount on the warranty. Not the most possible, but
it's good enough.
4. I don't need an Apple Remote that badly.
5. I love this thing just by the fact that I can put it on my lap
without screaming in pain. SOLD!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Corny issue.

Deci: "hoho, i saw your ever so detailed summary of the differences between a muesli and a granola bar! haha. Now how about cereals and cornflakes."

In response to Ernest's question, here's the answer!

Cereal: a
 grain used for food, such as wheat, oats, or corn
Cornflakes: a breakfast cereal consisting of toasted flakes made from corn.

So, conclusion: 
All cornflakes are cereals, but not all cereals are cornflakes. "Cornflakes" are a 'corny' subset of "cereals".

Hope that clears things up!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Prior Art Starts here, Trademarks offices!

My Status update on Facebook, 7 April 1:38pm GMT+0700h.

Ronald Liong listening to more emo songs. Why? No idea. I thought I should be celebrating. Doing a little jolly dance or something. Also, if you're wondering why so many status updates, I can't get to twitter, so FB is like my substitute tank for my "thoughts publication".

"thoughts publication". How do 'ya like that?

Just so that I can clarify myself so anybody who trademarks that phrase must refer to me as prior source,

Thoughts Publication |θ·ôt·s ·ˌ pə·bli·ˈkā·sh·ən|
Thoughts Publication is to be used to describe tools and services, typically found on the internet, that allow users to record their thoughts, either through writing or digitizing using an electronic equipment such as smartphones and computers. These thoughts or ideas, once recorded, are then published or broadcasted via a medium or a plethora of mediums, such as a personal profile page, SMS updates, emails, or even an over-the-air signal. Following the broadcast, closely-related people are able to view this idea. Specific examples of thoughts publication include Twitter, Facebook, Windows Live Messenger, the various advertising platforms, art (ranging from literature to music, photography to videography, paintings to sketchings, 1-dimensional to 4-dimensional, etc.) and blogs.

I know. going a little broad and off-topic from my Facebook status, but hey, that's what makes this phrase more trademark-worthy, right?

Thursday, 2 April 2009


Just wanna say "Congratulations, SASMB" on the Gold with Honours in
the 2009 Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging Competition.

Brilliant. Great job, guys!

Now, let's wait and see how the Choir and Drama fare.