Cha Tra Mue Soft Serve @ Don Mueang Airport

The craze over the Thai Milk Tea ice cream produced by the famous local brand Cha Tra Mue is real – to the point where it broke the ice cream machine at the Terminal 21 outlet. But does it live up to the hype? I had the opportunity to find out on Friday.

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The Cha Tra Mue outlet in Don Mueang Airport is located at the waiting area sandwiched between the international departures section and domestic departures section, at Level 3. (It’s not together with the food and beverages section at Level 4!) Took me a while to find the shop, so if you’re there, do look for the blue seats and white tiles as seen from the picture above.

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Being a fan of their Thai green milk tea, I opted for the mixed flavor. I loved how the soft serve retains the strong flavor of the tea leaves and the shiokness normally experienced when drinking the original tea. Furthermore, the ice cream itself isn’t overly sweet – so I guess there’s less calories! (I hope.)

However, I do recommend getting the individual flavor instead of the mixed version, as I couldn’t distinguish between the two flavors through the later part of the ice cream experience when they are mashed together – which was a letdown.


If you’re arriving at or departing from Don Mueang Airport, at 45 baht and without the nasty queue at Terminal 21 there’s no reason to try the Cha Tra Mue soft serve and pamper yourself a little. And a little tip – flag down a taxi at the departure dropoff instead of the normal arrival taxi waiting area for a much shorter queue!

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macOS Sierra: Disable Mouse Acceleration with SteelSeries ExactMouse

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The Acceleration panel, one of the solutions on the internet that didn’t work for me. Photo credit: osxdaily.com
Do you hate mouse acceleration? I do. Coming from decades of Windows use, the steep acceleration curve that macOS defaults for mice has always been intriguing to me – the inability to have precise control over my pointer movement actually decreases my productivity. It might be because of the fact that I’ve used a Razer mouse (with acceleration turned off via software) for years, but still, I would really appreciate a way to switch off acceleration.

Up till last year, many users have used SmoothMouse to end their mouse acceleration troubles, but the release of macOS Sierra rendered the software incompatible due to the removal of system calls necessary for the software to work. Another reliable trick is via the terminal command (followed by a re-login or restart):

defaults write .GlobalPreferences com.apple.mouse.scaling -1

This has worked for me until the latest Sierra update (10.12.4) along with Command Line Tools 8.3 – which somehow broke the ability to retain changes in the Tracking Speed setting in System Preferences –> Mouse. It’s really frustrating because the pointer speed now slows to a crawl. The exact problem is described in this StackExchange question. The author mentioned that updating Xcode solved the problem for him, but I didn’t even have Xcode installed!

I was really frustrated due to my inability to continue doing my work in the office properly. After long hours of Googling, I finally found an easy solution – SteelSeries ExactMouse.

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Switch to “On” to fix your woes.
It was as simple as installing and launching the software. Ta-da! My pointer is now acceleration-free. And you don’t need a SteelSeries mouse for the software to work.

(I’ve noticed that it does screw around with your trackpad acceleration as well though, so you might want to switch it off when not using a mouse.)

While the command line solution definitely works better as it doesn’t conflict with the trackpad’s acceleration (which, ironically, I find necessary for the best experience), the ExactMouse tool is your best bet before Apple fixes the bug.

Hope this helps!

Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch

With the unorthodox console launching in less than two weeks’ time, many console gaming outlets in Singapore have opened up pre-ordering for the Nintendo Switch, the Japanese company’s new attempt to get back into the next-generation console market after the not-so-stellar performance of the Wii U. I was initially extremely excited about the revolutionary design of the Switch, but the worrying details of the whole launch campaign has gotten me to take a step back to re-examine the Switch’s viability to shake the market up.

Console Design

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The controllers are pure beauty. Photo credit: Nintendo

The very reason that got the entire gaming community raving, the Switch definitely broke new ground when it comes to its modular, extensible and partner-inclusive design, in the form of its portability and the adorable Joy-Con controllers. The ability to break up (pun intended) for partner play any time is very enticing as portable console gaming has always been an individual activity when not in a deliberate gaming meetup context. It’s like sharing a tasty pie with your friend when you’ve only got one.

What I am hoping for is for the game developers to execute the “switch” strategy well – that is to transition from a single player using both Joy-Cons to play the game to a two-player setting; each using one. In games like Super Bomberman R, having a second player join immediately would definitely spice up the atmosphere, but it all boils down to how smooth the game handles the player addition. And hopefully, there will be games that actually support hot player addition, as the Nintendo Switch definitely seems designed for that purpose.

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Erm, can you already see how awkward that feels? Photo credit: Engadget

Which brings me to my next concern – the ergonomics and the capability of the Joy-Con controllers. Due to the way the Joy-Cons are designed to support both single player mode using two controllers and split player mode with each player holding one, the Joy-Cons end up being asymmetrical when separated – the joystick on the right side Joy-Con is a little further inwards as compared to the left side Joy-Con. Furthermore, the ergonomics and comfort of using the controllers in dual player mode is questionable due to its small size, and the limited amount of controls and buttons on the separated Joy-Con raises concern on the type of games that can be designed for play in this mode.

Launch Lineup

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Photo credit: GearNuke

Seriously, the launch lineup is very disappointing. 10 games is not something to even joke about, and it doesn’t seem like any of the titles that are more enticing to the general audience would be coming anytime soon. Heck, even Mario is still busy plumbing his pipes till summer.

Oh, and did I mention that quite a few of them are titles that were available on the previous generation consoles (hello, Skyrim and World of Goo)? I seriously hope the innovative console won’t be limited by our raised expectations towards its potential, like the Wii did.

Price

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It’s gonna cost you quite a bit to play 3D Zelda on the go. Photo credit: CNET

Normally it wouldn’t have been a problem for the Switch to bear a high price tag as a next generation console; however, the aforementioned issues does not help to justify the Switch’s US$299 pricing strategy. For that, you get a console, and nothing else. Not even the 1-2 Switch, which seems like a set of mini-games that should be bundled in the console anyway. Here’s hoping that Nintendo will release some special editions of the console, or at least one that’s bundled with its flagship titles. Who wouldn’t want a Switch with Link printed on it?

(Update: Geek Culture has updated us about the exorbitant cost of the Nintendo Switch in Singapore; albeit bundled with two games, the cost is still much higher than the current next-gen consoles.)


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Super Mario Odyssey is definitely one of the titles I’m most looking forward to. Photo credit: CraveOnline

Here’s hoping that the demand for the Switch exceeds enough expectations for game developers to develop more titles and make the console one of the more unique tech products of the year. But maybe before that, we’ll see some much needed accessories for the red-blue device, such as a portable battery pack.

(Shopee has a great deal for the grey Switch + Zelda here!)

(Featured photo credit: Nintendo)

I Miss Android

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Zenfone 2 with CyanogenMod 13. Photo credit: xda-developers

I miss being able to adjust the speed of the phone’s animations. The iPhone might present its interface in a fancy, elegant way, but after a week or so they often felt like intentional delays to hide the phone’s inability to keep up with my mind. I would like Android’s ability to adjust the animation speed (after turning on Developer Options).

I miss the ability to change my launcher. To be able to position my most frequently used apps on the main screen and keep the rest stashed in the app drawer. It’s the equivalent of stowing away your less frequently used junk away in the cupboard, instead of needing to spread them over a long, wide springboard.

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Material Design. Photo credit: material.io

I miss Material Design. A consistent language in user interface creates a unified, pleasing experience on the smartphone, the one device that the average person checks 54 times a day. A streamlined and standardized user experience that reduces the time required to learn how to use new apps. An enriching feeling that you are part of a huge ecosystem.

I miss the seamless integration of Google Services into the operating system, and its better implementation of its core apps on Android. Hangouts suck on the iPhone with its non-responsive buttons. Google’s one-touch sign in did not require me to switch apps on Android. Rapid backups and processing of my photos on Google’s photos app.

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Photo credit: techrepublic

I miss OK Google. The entire process of using my voice to create reminders, do searches, launch apps and call an acquaintance is much better implemented in Android. Siri’s voice recognition is lackluster, especially in noisy environments where it thinks the ambient noise is my voice. And honestly, Google’s calendar and notes implementation trumps the folks at Cupertino, especially if you don’t own everything Apple. (For the record, I am using a MacBook and an Apple Watch.)

I miss how I can launch customized apps from one another to share rich data, instead of being limited to a standardized small scale data sharing implementation. Launching Pocket to save an article from Feedly. Using the actual WhatsApp app to share a screenshot instead of a half-baked, restricted interface. Being able to actually choose which browser I want to use, which is not Safari.

I miss Android.

This is purely an opinion from a user who’s very comfortable with Android and Google, and any suggestions to improve the experience on iOS are welcome.

Featured photo credit: android.com

If You Find A Wallet On The Street, 2016 Edition

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Photo credit: cellardoordreams.com

Step 1

Look for an identity card with the person’s name on it.

Step 2

Search on Facebook for the person. The identity card found in Step 1 should help you to pinpoint the exact person (occupation, school, etc), in case of name conflicts.

Step 3

Facebook message the person and / or any mutual friends.


This is arguably the fastest way of getting in contact with the person in need, without all the red tape involved in police reports or official channels. Assuming he or she has Facebook, of course – or it can be replaced by any other social media channels.

Or you can keep the wallet. Shame on you, scum!

This post was inspired from the recovering of the author’s own wallet just this week.

Movie Review – Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange left me feeling uncanny at the end of the show.

Telling the tale of a successful, arrogant neurosurgeon who lost the use of his hands in a car accident, the movie wasted no time in introducing us to the powers that the sorcerors at Kamar-Taj holds, with a starting action sequence that leaves you at the edge of your seat. The visual effects of the multi-dimensional buildings and conjured weapons were stunning, and will definitely leave you at the edge of your seat wanting more.

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The Ancient One modifies the dimensional forms in a city. Photo credit: YouTube

I was especially impressed with the psychedelic scenes when Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) was first projected into the colorful dimensions by the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). These scenes were not shown in the trailers and definitely threw me in for a surprise, and I enjoyed the visual presentation, vivid colors and transitions.

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Something along this line. Photo credit: vice.com

The battle scenes to me were a mixture of ups and downs. While I hold my praise for the stunning CGIs and details in the conjured spells and wormholes, the battle choreography felt a little static, as most scenes relied on fighting each other with the conjured weapons, which I felt could have been explored in a more innovative manner – most of the time, fights were carried out with blades, shields or spear-like weapons. I’m no expert in martial arts, but the idea of being limited only by your own creativity in weapon selection thrills me a lot (think Green Lantern); although Doctor Strange might not want to proceed in the humorous direction, it certain could have done better in this area.

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The climax action scene was done beautifully, sans the final confrontation. Photo credit: YouTube

The disheartening thing, however, was the failed attempt by the movie to portray the grey area in the moral compasses of the “good guys”. The questionable decisions made by the Ancient One were revealed in a non-shocking manner due to the excessive amount of foreshadowing going on; this reduced the intended off-balancing impact on the internal moral scales of the audience. Furthermore, Strange’s love interest, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), felt a little forced into the movie’s plot – my best guess is that she was meant to be the person that Doctor Strange turned back to for help and as a means for his repentant and changed nature to surface, and that was not reflected convincingly in the storyline.

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Misplaced chemistry? Photo credit: savoringthegood.com

Overall, Doctor Strange is an enjoyable piece in the theatres due to its quaintly charming CGI that is a joy to be expertienced on the big screen – but its straightforward and simple origin story may leave the audience desiring for something better.

Featured photo credit: popcorn.sg

She

She has a bubbly personality. She pocks fun at the little screw-ups I make during our conversations, then giggles away in a manner that drives me to retaliate with a teasing of my own. She’s always eager to talk to me about the latest happenings in her life, as she remembers the captivating minutiae of the events unfolding around her – the jokes made by her friends, a comedy video on YouTube, the other night at a dance class. It’s a constant reminder to myself to be more in touch with daily life, as I’m often busy with my grand theories of self-improvement and working hard. After all, what’s life without the little things?

She is peculiar in a quaint way. For someone who’s always in high spirits, her appreciation of the gentle, aromatic tea reveals her softer, reserved personality; one to stay at home and be comfortable with solitude. The innate content she displays when conversing about Chinese history sheds light into her artistic, history-appreciating side – a multi-disciplinary perspective into her character. Further concocted into the mix is her inquisitiveness; she speaks about the daily knowledge she gained with such passion and curiousity, never dulling our exchanges.

She is not afraid of challenging societal stereotypes and traditions. She questions human behaviour and the motivation behind how people behave whilst attempting to understand them; building up her emotional intelligence in the process as she tries to communicate with people in a tactful way, rendering her pleasant to talk to. Her empathy towards those around her also drives her to delve deep into her own emotions and beliefs, and reflect upon them; through which the most engaging conversations happen as we discuss about friendships, relationships, sexuality and peer communication, and the rationale behind why people belong to a certain inclination in these topics.

She is honest and direct about her feelings. In the sea of humans trying to protect their own emotions for the fear of being judged, she stands out by believing in straightforwardness as a prime value for effective communication. We minimize the guessing games when we talk to each other, and be upfront about not feeling well emotionally to prevent misunderstandings. At the same time, she processes situations logically and stands strong with her point of view on matters, and her ability to reason makes her even more attractive as a conversationalist.

She is more than meets the eye, and one that I will cherish for life.