R u the Energuy?

Very interactive game with a great purpose from the canadians!

How to play: Pull the Energuy by the wrist. Point up, down, left, right throughout the 5 rooms and click on objects you think are not energy efficient. For every correct answer you get (20 in total), the Energuy performs a little dance, move, somersault etc. Pull him harder and he can even fall down or hit the ceiling!

Scoring: Show how environmentally-minded you are within 2 minutes. Then on the results page, mouseover each object you found to learn how it can save you money!

If you have a desperate eye on your monthly bills like me, this provides you some great tips on how to save energy ($$). Start with little tweeks in our daily lives, and live in a greener world. :)


big birds.

JURONG BIRDPARK! (photos later)

..Is actually quite exciting, compared to the zoo. But most parents would probably pick zoo over birdpark for a greater variety of animals. Honestly, I enjoyed the bird shows much more than I did with the elephants show, which was more traditional and common in other zoos as well.

Birds of Prey. Totally loved it. Feel the falcons and vultures swoosh pass just above your head! Took me by surprise twice as I thought it was going to smash right into my face. Haha, the birds weren't that stupid of course, but that was how close and swift they were.

Birds n Buddies. Though not as exciting as the Birds of Prey, the grand entrance of a flock of Greater Flamingos made it just as spectacular. Also listen to the parrot sing in 3 languages (客人来, Rasa Sayang, Happy Birthday)!

Lory Loft. Enjoy close encounters with 1,000 lories! Great for photo-taking too. For $3 a cup, you get to feed them their favorite *unknown* juice!

Pelican Cove. Did you know the largest breed of pelicans (Dalmatian Pelicans) weigh about 40kg and can fly 40 times the height of the Statue of Liberty?? Despite their huge and bulky looks, they actually weigh less than me ye. :p

When was the last time you visited the birdpark?

I think mine was way back when I was still in primary school. I could still remember that my P2 holiday assignment was to visit the Jurong Birdpark. I got up early that morning, and was so excited about the fishballs mom was preparing for me, that I kept pacing around the house. But just as I was making a turn into the kitchen, my dad was on his way out with boiling hot water for his tea. I bumped into him. >< Hot water spilled and scalded my neck. Poor me. I had to attend my abacus sessions in school throughout the whole holiday with a big bandage on my neck. :( And it was excruciatingly painful whenever the doctor had to clean out my wound and change a new bandage. *sniff*

Dining at Dian Xiao Er

Rating: ★★★★

Went for dinner with my family at Dian Xiao Er @AMK Hub yesterday, and it was packed with people. A rather ineffective queue system though. We started queuing for a table for 5+1, not knowing exactly how long it would take. "Not too long," was what I heard them tell everyone. There was no number, so we had to stand in the line at the exact same location throughout the wait. That's how they differentiate who came first. Finally, we got our seats after standing for 45 mins. We could however order first, so food actually arrived shortly after we'd taken our seats.

Overall, queuing up for seats was the bottleneck for me. I guess we were unlucky too because we had a large group right before us. 15 of them. Two groups of 3 who came after us were seated first. It appeared that they would give seats according to the party size whenever a table had cleared up, reasonably. It was very strange then, because when we saw traffic OUT, there was no guarantee of traffic IN. When we were finally seated after another 10-15 mins, the 15 sat down at a large rectangular table in the corner. We took a separate smaller rectangular table towards the middle of the space. The party of 7 behind us took a separate round table. ie. For the past 10-15 mins, at least, we can be sure that the smaller rectangular table and the round table were already empty, since we did not see any more traffic coming out of the restaurant during this period, and tables were separate so we need not depend on the 15 to get our seats, vice versa. Furthermore, we stood for 10-15 mins more, at least, because the waitresses were just trying to settle seats for the larger party, or so it seemed.

I'm not sure of the situation at other Dian Xiao Er branches. This was also my first time to one of them. But I did think that the food wasn't bad, ratings as follow.
Favorites: the wintermelon soup, which had a light and natural sweetness from scallops; Poached Spinach with Century and Salted Egg, quite a unique taste.
Quite good: Prawn Ball with Mayo Sauce; Duck Roasted with Ten Wonder Herb.
Not recommended: Mongolian Spare Ribs, I personally thought it had a weird taste.
Some pictures available on their web.

I might go there again for lunch. :) HUNNGRRRRYYY!


name card design 101

Earlier this week, I have scanned over 480 business cards and more than 200 businesses in one and a half day. Quite an accomplishment I would say, considering how much errors the card scanner made. So essentially, I am looking at 960 profiles: 480 during the scan, and 480 during the check. :p

The scanning was not the most boring part (the editing was) because I got to enjoy the 200+ different designs. Some which I liked. Editing was the killer. Can't really put the blame on the card scanner, it's just that most business cards are just not electronic-friendly enough!

These are a few card designs that I picked out, for various reasons:

  • ueeeu. I just thought it had the strangest company name. How do you even pronounce it!? For such a cute name, I would expect its card design to be more creative than conventional as it is now

  • wilsin. Roughly 6cm on its sides, a diamond shaped business card. Quite unique, but card scanners are not smart enough to detect rotated text. You will have to scan the card at 45 degrees (ie. align the text - not the edges - to the scanner).

  • aerodox. Black background with neon white/green text, embossed. Looks cool, but the worst thing to scan. Scanned images retained 0% information. Might have worked with a better and color scanner. The one I used was black & white.

  • yeahpoint. When I designed my first name card, I used a similar concept. Cut-out dot from the "i" in "Yeahpoint". This one's actually better, as the concept incorporated the logo as well. Rounded rectangle makes it a very handy size and hard backing makes it more durable.

  • wego. Heh I like this. Really cute font and clean design. Text is big and clear, makes it easy for the scanner. But its awkwardly rectangular/ovular shape is hard to align properly.

  • upstream. Most interesting logo from the stack. Looks like a fish in the waters, or those mail validation stamps you see at the postage area.

  • mapicurious.com. Simple, clean, rectangular slip, like a small bookmark. Picture on back. Includes twitter, blog information.

Rather than relying on the technology of card scanners (technology is advancing, but there are still limitations), we can actually make a little effort to improve the effectiveness of card scanning.

What constitutes a good business card:

  1. Design. Yes, you want to stand out, make an impression amongst the hundreds of other business cards. Be representative and unique of your trade. Step out of conventionality. As a good start, try to incorporate your logo into your card design (colors, shapes, etc). Although traditional rectangular sized cards are best for scanning (easy to align), but I personally would give in for a nicely shaped business card. I'm thinking of a circle now... :p

  2. Font type. Business cards contain important information. So they definitely need to be readable, not only by humans but also by computers. Even the smallest scale businesses will use a card scanner to electronically keep their business contacts. How to ensure that font you pick is font that works? Take note of font spacing and font size. For example, Arial Narrow will not be a good pick for most business cards, unless the words are huge enough in order for the scanner to distinguish spaces between the letters. Same situation when the words are too small.

  3. Content & Layout Probably best to keep things simple for now (aligned text). For best results, stick to having just one piece of information for each line. If you really want to have two side by side, note the spacing between them. State clearly what each information is. (ie. If it's an email address, use headings like "email:" instead of "e." These tend to be mistaken as part of the email address.)

That's all for now. Will add when more comes to my mind. Happy designing! :)


long kang fishing @bottle tree park

Ehh... I'm not totally sure whether this is a good or bad idea, but activities like "long kang" fishing can seem to be quite brutal and unethical when it involves young children.

I went to Bottle Tree Park @Yishun with my niece today. First time there. $10 (child) for a small plastic tank and a net, fish you catch = fish you bring home. Initially, I thought it's nice to let the kids experience getting wet and catching fish in a pond. But then I saw the quality of the kids nowadays. Tsk tsk tsk.

When I was helping my niece in the pond, I already realized a couple of dead fishies in the water. It was then I saw what took their lives.

This boy was trying to catch some fish with his plastic tank lid in the pond. Fishies are small and agile, so they escape fast. But there was this poor little fish who could not escape quick enough. I thought it was dead already as I didn't see it moving. But in between the funny boy's drastic attempts to scoop that fish up, I caught glimpses of flapping movement from the fish! It's alive with only one fin left! And this funny boy just kept swish-swooshing his lid in the water, hitting the poor fish at the same time. Can you imagine the force its little body is taking from this giant kid!?

More fishy-killing in action.. :p

It's actually okay if they don't know as they are still young. Worse thing is, even parents don't bother to correct/guide their kids to do the right thing.

I often see kids at aquariums or pet shops knocking and hitting the glass windows, their parents standing aside. At times, I wish they have these glass containers on their heads and everyone would be knocking on their walls, so at least they would know what it feels like to be one of those animals that they are torturing, if not a 100 times worse. It's very ironic sometimes because some people, as much as being civilized and educated, can't seem to read signs that say "Please do not disturb the animals" or "Please do not knock on the glass windows" etc. It's like: "Hello~ Your kids may not know how to read, but I hope you do. So please tell your kids to stop banging like nubcakes!!"

Then there's this most ridiculous fat boy that I've ever met. He dared to place his fat fishy hands on my back, as he was making an effort to waddle to his mother. Quite smart of him to use me as a stepping stone! At least the father, who was looking after him, could say something such as "excuse me" or "sorry", if I was blocking his son's way. Not even a chinese word (they sounded china-ese). But no. As if I am obliged to do that. On the contrary, I would think that their son was held too honorable to have been there in the presence of my aura. (Or my "death knight's aura" which I can imagine wx saying.) Just look at him. I can't imagine what's a poor fish like under his fatty limbs. (Notice that he was featured in both my "fishy-killing" action photos. Hehe, I was trying to capture him stomping his feet in the water. :p)

A funny girl to end my trip. She was literally rolling in the pond. All wet and soaked in fishy water. Head to toes. :)

Fishies we caught!!

But when we got home, one of the fishies was already dying.. :(

Just like the fish I saw earlier with a broken fin. It could hardly move, so it just lays at the bottom of the tank. Occasionally, when other fishies come to nudge it and "bite" it, it would make a huge effort to swim a little, but had to stop and lay down again. We separated the fish from the others before we went out. Gave it some food, but I guess he didn't have the strength to struggle to the surface, and so it died by the time we were back. Poor fish. I was reminded of my ah-ho, who died an even more tragic death. Sigh.


Tell me this is no bug in my mee.

updated tasty ratings (Apr 15):
(yes, I started to eat at this stall again. so far no other bad incidences)
(closed down!?)
(still haven't try yet)
(their pineapples usually quite juicy and sweet. despite watermelon juice being too plain, the starfruit juice is good)

EEEK!! MY GAWD! I was happily eating my fish beehoon soup today @lunch until I realized some weird looking thing in my spoon.. WOORRRRRRRRM!!! Eeeeeeeeeee~ And I thought it tasted not bad the first time, so I ordered it again today. So gross that I lost my appetite. Here is the evidence:

This kopitiam (cafe) was opened just recently, downstairs of my office complex. Convenient location for people working @Jackson Square, Toa Payoh. There are 5 stalls: 1) 菜饭 economy rice stall 2) noodle soup stall (the one that sells $4 fish beehoon soup) 3) chicken rice stall 4) roti prata stall 5) fruit & drinks stall. So I guess I'm never eating the noodle soup there again. Have a slight noodle soup phobia now.

GG, just look at the color!! Plus, the first time I bought this, it was like 2/3 of this size. Same price. Kaya + butter toast was $1.20 for 2 slices. A mini cup of ginger tea (those instant packets) is $1. I have yet tried the other 2 stalls, but I heard the Indian stall charges insanely as well.

THE ONLY GOOD VALUE: the chicken rice stall is good! GREAT service/attitude and cheap!! Only $2.50 for a plate of chicken rice and a small bowl of soup (refillable)!! The first time I ate there (off peak hour ard 3pm), the towkay even came to refill my bowl with HOT soup!!

imma macau guru.

I have visions that Cellcity is turning me into a Macau-knows-all guru! For the past week, I've been crunching in geo-coordinates and Portuguese-named streets into our Macau city info database. Not a difficult task, but certainly TIME + ENERGY consuming. And this week, I'm getting the chinese version into place. If you're planning on a trip to Macau, perhaps I could share with you some insights on where to visit. ;) Or you could just wait till our Macau city guide is launched. I'm not so sure when that is though.

Sometime in between the tedious and mechanical data entering work, I got an overview of Cellcity's future web 2.0 strategy. Parts of it are still in development, but it sounds exciting enough already. We also got a new eDM platform, waiting to iron out some technical issues. I hope I get to be involved more in our mainstream marketing activities asap. Slowly getting there, little by little.

This database work is taking too much of my time though. I heard that this job used to be done by part-time students. But due to the controversial quality of content, it has been taken in-house, helped out by various colleagues. Macau has been handed down to me to fill up all the bits and pieces (which turned out to be a lot). In the near future, I will be building more databases like this (from scratch). There are.. after all, 50 cities in total you see.