Farewell, little pig – Shuttle K45

Posted by Madbot on Jul 25, 2011 in Madbot Madness, Techno


Madbot says:

A sad day.

Moved the little pig out of the server room “cabinet” a few weeks ago into the study to help its temperature during this hot Tokyo summer.

Discovered yesterday the Shuttle K45 (lovingly nick named The Little Pig) was powered off. Attempts to power it on were in vain. Power would kick in for a second to spin the fans and flash a few LEDs, then nothing – powered itself right off.

Today, changed the PSU but the same result. Unplugged the hard disk, ram, etc but all the same. Dug around the net to see the K45/K48 had been suffering a high death rate at around 18 months of age. Mine was around some over 2 years and looks like the MB gave in.

There is a lot of talk on the bulging or venting capacitors that cause K48 deaths, and one on the board does look somewhat like me after a good feed of curry.


So looks like the only thing left is to salvage the parts. Opted to replace it with a QNAP TS-419P+ instead of another PC. The mini mac will take over some of the home server duties.

Farewell little pig. You are a beautiful machine. Sad to see the manufacturer failed you.. You will be missed.


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Why the Lion natural scrolling feels ‘unnatural’ – for now

Posted by Madbot on Jul 22, 2011 in Madbot Madness, Techno


Madbot says:

I was apparently one of the 1 million people who downloaded and installed OSX Lion on launch day. This was, in fact, the only OS I installed on launch day other than OS/2 2.0 back in the day.

After the 10 minutes of download and the 30 odd minutes of installation, I was baffled by the natural scrolling of windows on the touchpad.

Don’t get me wrong – I get it. In fact, I previously pondered about why Apple didn’t reverse it to match the iPad and iPhones scroll direction. After using Lion for an hour running different apps including Parallel to make sure Win7 still works good – it finally clicked.

That’s the key, you see? I still use Windows. For work and private, I am still attached Windows. For work, we are a windows shop. Too many things we rely on at work are Windows only. For home? Yes, I use OSX for browsing and the odd music, but for emails and for serious stuff from home, I still run back to Windows via Parallels. Live Mail remains the only emailer that can access all my gmail and, most importantly, Hotmail. My password holder is in Windows (yes, there is a Mac version but I have to buy again). Office, visual studios, and even some games, are Windows only.

What’s the problem, you say. Lion runs Parallels just fine and bootcamp is still there. But ya see – Windows still scrolls the old fashion way. I have no problems scrolling on iPad and iPod where content is ‘touched’ directly. But in OSX and Windows, we touch the trackpad not the screen. We use mouse and its scroll wheel to scroll. I may get used to the natural way in OSX but it’s reversed as soon as I teleport back into Windows. Bam! Brain gets unwired. With more time spent in Windows than OSX, it just isn’t ‘natural’.

No doubt Lion paves the way for more touch devices for Apple. iPad running OSX in the future, MacBooks running touch screens and so on and it will all make sense then. But until I can move away from Windows, it’s back to the inverted scrolling for me.

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Frappuccino – Taste of heaven on a hot summer day

Posted by Madbot on Jul 17, 2011 in Japan, Madbot Madness


Madbot says:

Had to run around to do Visa renewal at immigration office and update the alien registration card at the ku office.

It was some 33 degrees Celsius outside and it was much more sweaty than the number implied.

Took the new bike on this run. Took an hour of “people watching” at the immigration office to get my new 3 year visa – the place was packed. Enjoyed a quick lunch at the favourite Taiwanese restaurant and a rest at a park on the usual bike trail. All the kids were at school, most salary men were at office or their lunch place. Just me and some oyaji at the park hanging out.


The water fountain was turned off I guess in an effort to save energy. The park was quiet and peaceful.

Then off to the ku office to update the alien registration card. 30 minutes ride later, I was drenched in sweat. The girl staff smiled friendly at me but I wisely kept my distance so she wouldn’t think all gaijins stink like the salary men on the train. Wouldn’t have mattered either way I guess.

Got outta the ku office in less than 15 minutes, grabbed a fresh bottle of water and back on the bike heading home.

Reached the Starbucks just before the big hill on the final stretch home. Looked at the tempting shades and gave in. Parked the bike and ordered myself a mocha frappuccino. Sat outside (in the shade) enjoying the breeze and sipping on the frappuccino. Life is good.




The new steed – Trek 7.3FX 2012

Posted by Madbot on Jul 11, 2011 in Madbot Madness


Madbot says:

UPDATE 2011/08/31 – Received a postcard from Trek office. The bolt securing the seat is apparently faulty. Post card said to bring the bike in for the first month maintenance and they will replace it free of charge – and that’s exactly what they did.

My other birthday present. The good wife shared the cost. It’s a real tough decision now – should I take the Marin Muirwoods or the Trek?

This is the 2012 model apparently freshly launched in Japan. Not much info out there on other web sites. No discounts on the 2011 model but the shop is instead offering 10,000 yen (approx US$120) of freebies. Opted to go with the newer model instead. It’s also cheaper than the 2011 model. Go figure.

Both the Muirwoods and the new 7.3FX are good looking bikes that have earned a special place in my heart – but the Trek is actually my size. It’s unbelievably comfy when my knees can stretch when riding. Ride quality wise, Marin feels a smoother ride but the Trek is still being broken in. Only some 30km on the Trek so far so we will see.

Wife has now officially taken over the Muirwoods (it’s actually her size). I think she’ll love it.


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Birthday present

Posted by Madbot on Jun 25, 2011 in Madbot Madness, Techno

Madbot says:

After all these years, finally gave in and bought a MacBook pro. Yup it’s pretty. And yup, bootcamp + parallels + Win7 is awesome. The extra 4gb RAM, now 8gb total, makes the whole thing run smoothly.

No idea how some of these Japanese online stores do it but they were having some serious bargains. Almost 20% of the list price. Apple shop discount doesn’t even come close. Made me a happy birthday boy though. 🙂

Bit too large and heavy to take on trips and it’s probably just as well. Wouldn’t want to spend too much time glued to the computer while holidays.



Nice cake

Posted by Madbot on Jun 25, 2011 in Madbot Madness

Madbot says:

That time of the year again..



Visiting family

Posted by Madbot on Apr 24, 2011 in Human Observation, Madbot Madness


Madbot says:

Made a short hop to Taiwan to visit families that I have not seen for many years. Not a long trip compare to going to Australia but was only able to stay 2 nights.

Traveling is getting more tiring but gave me some quiet time. The trip made me realize how nice it can be to have families, and to see them again.

I may be somewhat tired physically (not looking forward to going to work tomorrow) but feel recharged emotionally.



Fail! Asus Eee pad Transformer tablet cannot connect to adhoc network

Posted by Madbot on Apr 24, 2011 in Madbot Madness, Techno


Madbot says:

(Update 2011/8/30) Reader Tom reported EEE pad transformer can now see ad-hoc network. This has been confirmed on my transformer running the firmware as at 2011/8/30.

In Taipei for the weekend and picked up an Eee pad transformer. It was the only shop that had stock (along with the slightly jacked up price) but no keyboard. Nevertheless, figured I would give it a go and make it my first Android experience.

Got back to the hotel, setup a adhoc network on the laptop to have a chat with the missus on the iPhone over Viber, then pulled out the Eee pad transformer to give it a spin.

Oh what? Androids cannot see adhoc wifi network. WTF Google? And it’s been like this for the past 2 years?!

Dead as a dodo. Now I am sad.

Update 2011-04-25: What!? Android also does not handle NTLM? As luck would have it, Firefox 4 on Android has caught up and does support NTLM while native Android browser does not. The eeepad transformer hardware is worthy and clever – but the software is not yet up to scratch beyond the home user level.

Update 2011-04-26: fully appreciate why Apple didn’t go with wide screen with iPad. The Eeepad IS long.

Update 2011-04-27: Google map is fun, definitely better on the Android. YouTube, on the other hand, is choppy compared to the iPad. That was a surprise.

Overall, the Eeepad feels “cheaper” than the iPad – and it is but I still have high hopes for the keyboard when it becomes available.. It is also definitely easier to hold without a case than the ipad.

Despite the Android shortcomings, I still love the Eeepad. But I find myself going back to the iPad to do what I need to do.


“Alerts to Terror Threats in 2011 Europe,” by John Cleese


After all the serious news related to the disasters in Japan, here’s something that gave me a good laugh. From master John Cleese.

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s Get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French Government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

The Italians have increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.” The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

The Australians, meanwhile, have raised their security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be Alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is canceled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

— John Cleese – British writer, actor and tall person


Mar 13, 2011 – Tokyo Blackout

Posted by Madbot on Mar 13, 2011 in 2011 Japan Earthquake Tsunami Nuclear Diary, Japan, Madbot Madness

Catch up blog 9:

Tepco starts powerdown schedule – and surprised everyone.

Silly thing – they announced it at around 9:30pm, released the information at a press conference ON PAPER. No one has an electronic copy of the schedule. Panic spreads. Frantic calls on what to do with servers at the office. 3 hour rolling power black out..? Surely it can’t be hitting all areas of Tokyo. Tepco web site down due to the high volume of traffic. There are 5 groups? Who is in which group..?? What about us and the office..?? Eventually information start to come out. Reporters fax & scan the paper out to their distribution channels. Some TV stations jump on it straight away by reading the paper with the camera pointing to the paper. Some stations type it out.

Oh wait, some suburbs are duplicated in the different groups? What? What does that mean..? Wifey calls her dad who has no idea there’s even going to be a power out. When is it going to start? 6am tomorrow morning..!?!?! Less than 10 hours??

Wifey managed to filter through the geek sites to find the scanned PDF document. Added it to the blog and linked it around to share the information with friends and colleagues via Facebook. Lucky central Tokyo isn’t included in the blackout areas.

Hope for the best.

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