50 000 Lux

Well that’s another summer gone. Easily the hottest of the 8 I’ve had here in Korea, although it’s always hard to really compared, since I’ve lived in different areas and different apartments. Apparently this is one of the hottest three areas in Seoul too. I’m pretty sure it was more than subjective conditions — it really was unusually hot.

And because of the small amounts of regular work on weekday mornings I wasn’t really able to drop off the planet as I sometimes do during tertiary education breaks. I’ve had to keep more abreast of local news and political issues as well, which can be sometimes interesting but sources really are limited while I’m only able to read English versions of the news. One issue that’s been dragging along the whole 7 years I’ve been here is of who owns the islets called Dokdo in the sea between korea and japan. There’s endless amounts of stupid when it come to trying to get an accurate read of the situation, but I was nicely surprised to read this <a href=”http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/549735.html”>two</a> <a href=”http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/549736.html”>part</a> interview with a couple of wise and knowledgeable old heads in the realm of east asian diplomacy.

Also, goodbye to Hal David. Thanks to my mum’s old records that I borrowed during my teens and twenties I’ve always dug on Hal & Burt’s work — with Dusty Springfield and even just sans the big-name singers.

Lasonic i931 ghettoblaster: a review

Plenty of front, not much back and sides. That’s the overall thought I’ve got about this. But I do like it though. The first big caveat is that this particular model is now a lot less useful since those coastal cut-throats at Apple anounced that the next iPhone would have a different size/shape dick connector.

One of the big features of the Lasonic is that you can slot your iPhone 4/4s, or current gen iPod into the spot where a cassette tape would traditionally go. And so, all your music on that device is ready to play thru the boombox. Anyway, there’s also slots to insert a USB stick or SD card.

One of the things that originally drew me to this was that it was giving music its own place again — ie not on the computer and played thru whatever speakers were on the computer. But in practice, I’m still playing computer files of music thru the blaster. I haven’t actually stuck the iPhone in there much since that’s the music I listen to when I’m out. USB sticks are do-able but a bit unwieldy. Even if you’ve only got 15 albums on one stick, which ie easily done, even on a 2gig stick, you still have to slowly button press thru each folder (one album, one computer style folder) to get to what you want. It’s just not the same as putting a physical album (LP, tape, CD – I don’t care) on to play and that being that.

It has an AM/FM tuner function on it too, so I expect it’ll come into its own a bit more once I get it back to Melbourne and can listen to great radio like RRR and PBS. Thank god over-the-air radio hasn’t been obsoleted and digitised. One last thing I like about it is the shape – it really is big looking from the front, crying out to be blasting old skool FRESH BEATZ. You can’t see it in my photo (there are better examples on the net) but the top horizontal line of its rectangle is slightly arched, like what the roman architects did with the columns at the Parthenon, so it looks super-phat.

Maybe it never set out for anything else, but the build quality is kind of cheap. It does look very plasticky. The digital clock in the LCD display that shows with it’s turned off doesn’t hold correct time for shit. All the buttons feel cheap when you push them. With the play/stop/back/forward/ buttons, as you can see in the pic, they all have a colour around them. Green is for stop, red is for forward. Either rebellious or thoughtless. At the top it has a picture of the am/fm bandwidths — but it’s just that – a picture, the tuner itself is internal and digital.

The sound quality of the speakers is okay. I’ve read other people saying it’s not that good, but I actually prefer that full-frontal blasting at you set up of two speakers together — when you really want to rock – the tiny, surround sound computery speaker thing is sucky.

Also there’s a mic jack slot for if you want to MC over your fresh beatz, and there’s even a knob for controlling mic echo. I haven’t tried this since I don’t have a mic or a larger size jack plug.

I don’t think these are even being sold now since teh apples announced their dick-size change. I bought it a couple of weeks before the announcement. On amazon or ebay the price for the Lasonic was pretty decent, but anywhere else, like here in korea, or in australia the added cost of shipping and domestic sales tax or customs or whatever really makes it pretty damn expensive for what it is.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/7854598946/” title=”New lens, film by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8305/7854598946_650d60ec60.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”New lens, film”></a>

The Timbuk2 classic messenger bag: a review

As part of my birthday jamboree week a while back I bought a couple of things to try an fill the void in my life where meaning should be. And so, why not pass on some of that info to the internet?

I needed a bigger bag and I was sick of backpacks. I looked around on the internet and came across this company Timbuk2 by way of amazon. They have some premade, and a bit cheaper there but I found that on the <a href=”http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/custom”>timbuk2 website</a> they have a webapp thingy where you can customise a bag — and that’s even better than actually having the bag.

I’ve been trying to think long-view with buying a few things lately, and so thought it might be worth it to pay a bit extra and get it in the colours that I really like. I was (and still am) hoping that the extra cost, compared to budget branded messenger bags, will be worth it in the end. So far, so good. It’s nice that they make their products in (large 1st world country) too . I’m sure the giant roles of nylon that it’s all made from are manufactured in the chines but you gotta expect that.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/7703417370/” title=”Hear the funky drummer by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8430/7703417370_d3479de731_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”320″ alt=”Hear the funky drummer”></a>

I got the large size, mostly with this here laptop I’m tappin’ on in mind. It’s large. I actually wonder if a 15″ screened laptop like this would’ve fit in the small sized bag, regardless of what they recommend on the website. It’s heavy duty nylon, and the shoulder strap is heavy duty. I got the ‘grab strap’ thing so I can hold it ‘like a brief case’ but with the large size at least it doesn’t really work. The bulk of the bag makes it misshapen in a way that makes the hand-holder seem like it’s in the wrong spot. Either that or the weight of the bag when stuff is in it make it not feel appropriate to be using the hand holder since I almost never use the plastic clips to properly close the lid. There’s velcro there too, and for me, so far, that’s enough for keeping it closed. Although the velcro will die in the long run.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/7703417828/” title=”Hear the funky drummer by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8423/7703417828_2e3d02cd4e.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Hear the funky drummer”></a>

Since it often ends up sitting like this (open) at home, I wonder about the durability of the inner lining (here, orange) too, but it seems stong and not likely to go brittle and rip the way some plastics of this kind do. They have some neat ideas that’ve bubbled up from real-life cyclists like the cross-strap and the quick-release buckle. And while I’m not game enough to ride a bicycle in this city, I’m sure the bag would do well for cyclists as much as pedestrians. The hidden bonus for me is that the total length of the bag is the same as a subway seat, ie. wider than me sitting down. So when I have it sitting on my lap on the subway and some joker tries to invade my personal space with their elbow or leg then they brush against the chunky strap or the nylon of the bag.

If you start messing around with that design a bag thing you’ll probably end up buying one.

update: I found that there is a retail outlet for Timbuk2 stuff in Seoul. It’s in the shopping complex bulit over the top of wangshimni station on the green subway line. Unfortunately I can’t recommend it. The staff are rude arseholes. Two young guys in a shop the size of a shoebox. Sure, it’s one thing to not know English. I don’t judge shop-assistants on that. It’s another to immediately treat customers suspiciously and like they’re an inconvenience. It seems to be a fairly common thing in these shops where someone has bought into a franchise as an investment: bought the rights, signed a shop-lease, stocked up on merch and then installed a couple of university dropouts who invariably come with the attitude that they’re too good for retail. They get no commission and they don’t understand that they’re writing their own redundancy slips when the shop goes tits up because of lack of customers. Lazy boss, lazy employee.

Plus, the stuff there was _expensive_. There’s no financial benefit in buying there. Buying directly from the Timbuk2 website, including shipping is narrowly cheaper than what you’d pay in this shop. The only diff is you’d have to wait a week for it to arrive.

Update 2 (20/10/12) I liked the bag so much I bought the company.  No, wait, I just bought another bag. For my sweety, for her birthday.  I mentioned the idea of earth-colors and she liked it. So I went chocolate-red devil – barley. Interestingly, I had to just look it up again because I couldn’t remember the exact middle colour, and ‘in the flesh’ the red devil colour looks darker — more like plum. Whatever it is, it looks quite nice. I like the three colours and I think if I could redo my own blue-yellow-blue I would go for three different panels. Hers is the small size, and of course the first thing she tried to do was ram her 15″ brick IBM laptop in there — it just fits but makes the whole bag a bit tight for other stuff. When choosing the size I didn’t think she was going to use it for a computer.

Also, because it was a gift I tried using the little function they have on the webpage where you can attach a personalised message, but the message wasn’t included with the bag. Don’t know what happened there.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/8104989919/” title=”New bag by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8464/8104989919_1074622a72.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”New bag”></a>