when you stare at the abyss, the abyss stares back at you


Making the move to Tumblr with a new website “Travelstorytotell”…

…I have started a new blog that lets me talk specifically about travel.

For both work and play, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel rather frequently over the last 4-5 years and collected lots of experiences, memories and photos.

There have been times I asked myself “Hey,wouldn’t it be nice to know what a location holds?” or “Wonder what the hotel room looks like?” and “Is there anything to do there while traveling for work?”, before I actually reached the destination. Of course, Tripadvisor happened and it was like a breath of fresh air. Within minutes, I could now check on location-specific information before travel!!

In fact, my 2009 holiday to Hong Kong was planned with Tripadvisor, from before booking flights, to selecting a hotel, to choosing restaurants and places to visit. Wasn’t too bad an experience as well, to be honest.

My most recent trip to Chiang Rai was in August this year and I hired our guide to bring us around the Thai end of the Golden Triangle by looking at the forums on Chiang Rai in Tripadvisor.

All said and done, as a portal, Tripadvisor’s great. However, I still felt slightly unsatisfied. Not at the portal, which I re-iterate, it’s great, but that I am not contributing anything back to the travel community at large. I thought about being a frequent forum contributor or even a “country expert” but the consistency and frequency of posting would be a challenge given my travel schedule for work. I also want to retain the right to be refreshingly candid and honest vs. being politically correct and moderated by other people.

Experiences are subjective and they deserve to be treated as such. Bloggers are not journalists; as a blogger, I can express an opinion vs. a position and choose to share emotions rather than logic (especially when someone at the destination screws me over figuratively).

So I went ahead and bought the Travelstorytotell domain. Do continue to support me (and my blogging) as I share write-ups and photos about my travels and my thoughts about the bits of culture and life that I encounter when being mobile as well as my observations about Singapore where I am currently based.

Travelstorytotell will also cover interesting developments in the world of travel, sharing news on technology, culture, travel industry and F&B.

See you at Travelstorytotell!


Solution for iPhone 3GS not being recognized by Win 7 found!

Okay. I have tried this solution and so far,  it’s been working for the past 3 times I sync-ed and back-ed up.

For those wondering what the problem was, in summary, every freakin’ time I tried to sync my iPhone 3GS with my new Win 7 Lenovo Y550P machine, iTunes would do one solid back-up afterwhich it will refuse to recognize the iPhone again. The frequency of recognition was about once every 20 or so times I plug and unplug the iPhone from the cable that’s connected to the PC.

It was literally wasting my weekends since I would be huddled in front of the PC trying to trouble-shoot the damn iPhone.

Anyhow, I found the solution through one of the older forum posts found here and here.

In summary, I flashed the bios on the Y550p and so far the iPhone has been recognized as both a phone and a camera device. I have been able to do backups without losing data and I can finally change the songs on my playlist. Thanks to Lenovo for providing the update.

Still no credit as all to Apple for ignoring this issue and for making the iPhone so god-damn freaking difficult to use.

Social media will one day be normal media; where will you be then?

In this day and age of so-called social media, it is encouraging to read an article that tells us to take a step back, reflect and think about the basics.

Forget about how fast you respond to a tweet or how creative you are at coming up with some inane line (this I am guilty of frequently) to a FB (that’s Facebook just in case) status update. Sometimes in order to cultivate a relationship, you need to do it the old-fashioned way and send an email or pick up the phone.

Read this from an article by Pete Blackshaw on Advertising Age titled “Our Un-Social Social Media” that I agree with:

“Remember, volume doesn’t always translate into intimacy. Speed doesn’t guarantee meaningful connections. Retweets don’t necessarily confer respect. Friending doesn’t always signal friendliness”

Think about the relationships that you are nurturing online and whether they could be so much better with a dash of well-intentioned polite-ness that took you some time to compose or the thoughts some measure of consideration.

Remember birthdays even though you send the well-wishes electronically; but mean what you say.

At the end, I really don’t think anyone is going to measure you by the amount of online content you created, but more what you did with the content that you are.

Prata cravings

Prata’s got to be one of my favourite Singaporean local foods.

It ranks together with the other ‘yummys’ such as char kway teow,laksa,fried carrot cake and hokkien mee. These foods all encourage debate amongst Singaporeans about which hawker,roadside stall and cafe cooks it most deliciously.

This photo was taken of two egg (Malay: Telor) pratas eaten at Spize, Simpang Bedok,near Tanah Merah.

iTunes refusing to recognize iPhone 3GS and forcing a restore? Read on…

…and I hope this works since my weekend troubles with my iPhone 3GS is starting to become too much of a routine.

I start the weekend syncing and backing-up my iPhone 3GS with iTunes. It does 1 good back-up and refuses to recognize the iPhone 3GS later. It will verify and ask me to restore from the back-up (lucky I get one back-up done for that morning). I will do all sorts of layman-technical acrobatics for about 2 hours before giving up and restoring the iPhone 3GS from the “now” 2 hour old back-up.

I will continue to spend an hour syncing my apps, making sure my contacts (sync with Google contacts) are merged before I step out to welcome and enjoy my weekend.

If you are wondering, this sucks big-time! It makes me want to call someone from either the Windows 7 team at Microsoft or an Apple technician and yell at them so much and follow up by swearing off both companies. 5 minutes later, I calm down and recall that I need the content saved in my iPhone 3gs and instead I do technical acrobatics.

Mark my words though, I am looking at Android and once a form factor emerges that I like, I will switch. My weekend routine makes me strangely supportive and protective of Google. What an irony but so true. At least they are goofing up less and by ensuring that Google apps, contacts, calendar and Gmail works, they have gained a supporter in me.

Anyhow, in case anyone else is suffering from the same problem, the solution that worked for me is published here.

The idea is not to take or sync any photos that wasn’t taken with the iPhone 3GS camera and save it in the photo album in the iPhone 3GS. BTW, the only means to delete these photos is to restore your iPhone 3GS from a previous version, go to your phone interface and sync photos from a designated folder but be sure to remove any non-iPhone 3GS taken photo from that folder first.

Why would this not be possible? I have no idea. Why can’t I save all these wonderful and beautiful photos taken with all my other better camera devices such as my Panasonic Fx and my Sony A330 is beyond me, but (enough banging of head against wall) I recognize the verification problem will not be resolved as long as I harbor hope that I can share awesome content with my community and still hope to use an iPhone 3GS.

Also, if you are syncing your contacts with Google contacts, remember to access your contacts through Gmail and merge the duplicates. Otherwise, you will have multiple copies of the same contact list.

In case, you are still wondering, I lay all the blame on Apple and the iPhone 3GS. Yes I can choose whether or not to use them and while I was foolish enough to cave in to the hype and go on a 2 year contract with my telco, I will continue to use them. Refer to several paragraphs above though and you understand which OS my future smartphone will use.

I should also add another category for this post titled “Wasting time”.

Just a couple of random (lomo) shots over the weekend

The Vivocity POSB ATM lobby. Seems rather crowded even with multiple machines; maybe the bank should install more machines or open another branch.

Catching the Holland-Argentina World Cup match at Peppermint Bar, St James on Friday evening.

Giving the car some TLC on Saturday morning at Autobacs

Watching the Spain-Paraguay match at a 24-hour kopithiam along Tampines Road. Opposite the Shell station and the church, if that makes sense. Lucky we were all Spanish fans that early morning.

Lazy Sunday afternoon beer at Brozeit, Raffles City. What a way to spend (and end) a weekend.

Shooting with a Lomo app can be fun!

I always wondered about this Lomo camera fad,used to think maybe it was one of those things that would come and go,and the world wouldn’t miss a skip.

Well,thanks to a Lomo app “Morelomo”,I get to try this out without having to get a physical Lomo.

Authentic?Probably not but the snaps are really cool.Maybe there’s something to look out fo with a Lomo afterall.

Here’s two snaps-one of the National Library in low-light and another of a bowl of noodles.