FaceTiming on the iPad 2

I FaceTimed Piers today so he could watch me eat my dinner at Burger King.

It was after my Alienware launch event and I thought I was going to have to eat alone. Luckily, he was able to get on FaceTime so I had company!

I managed to get a corner table and propped my iPad 2 on it. I’m using a Viva hard case so it’s able to stand up both lengthwise and heightwise.

Piers had woken up not so long ago and was still in bed with bed hair. Haha.


FaceTime on iPad 2


I wasn’t able to hear him very well cos of the ambient noise around me and had to occasionally put my ear at the speaker and make him repeat what he said. Otherwise, we were able to have a decent conversation while I munched on my burger and fries.

No one arrested me for insanity, talking and giggling at a gadget for 20 minutes.

The only annoying thing about FaceTime is that it requires Wifi to work (not 3G) and you need a pretty strong signal.

It also works if you have a 3G phone that can act as a hotspot. I tethered my iPhone 4 to the iPad and got a really good connection. Very smooth, no lag at all.

The sharpness of the picture is inconsistent. Sometimes it feels almost HD clear, sometimes it gets pixelated, especially if your partner moves around too much.

Here’s a screenshot taken on the iPad:


FaceTime on iPad 2


On the whole, I think it’s really great being able to video chat on the go. Of course, you do want to find a pretty private space to conduct your video chats, which is quite tough in Singapore, but I don’t think it’s a huge issue.

The Alienware event was great but I’ll blog about it next week.

Gonna be there again tomorrow (1 pm to 4 pm) so go check it out. At Suntec City.

15% off Alienware machines this weekend!! It’s too good to miss!!!!!!


Sheylara with Alienware m14x


Buying and unboxing the iPad 2

I really did think about it for a long time, whether to buy an iPad 2 to replace my still-newish iPad 1.

I thought about it for about three days.

Hey, that’s long, considering that I would have tried to buy it on launch day had I not been thinking about it. After it launched, for three days, I looked at all the advice given by my readers, weighed pros and cons, and read reviews.

What decided me finally was reading about how, because of the new processor, cool apps will be made for the iPad 2 that won’t be able to run on the iPad 1.

I totally do not want to be stuck not being able to play some great new game that I must play!


iPad 2


Of course, even after deciding, I was still hesitant. It’s a huge cost, after all. The one I want, 32GB 3G, costs £579 (S$1174).

So I told myself, “Okay, I’ll walk down to the Apple store later and if they have one available, I’ll get it. If not, erm, I might ask Elyxia to buy one for me from Hong Kong. (lol)

I really wasn’t expecting the store to have it three days after launch. So it was quite an easy deal to make with myself.

I even waited till Piers knocked off from work at 5 pm so I could drag him to the store with me. Needed someone to either congratulate or console me.

We reached the store at 5:30 pm and started playing around with the display units. I couldn’t muster the nerve to ask if they had any in stock for sale.

Just 20 seconds after we laid our hands on the display sets, a guy walked over and the following conversation ensued:



Apple salesman: Hi, is there anything I can help you with?

Piers: Yes, you wouldn’t happen to have any iPad 2s in stock now, would you?

Apple salesman: What version did you want?

Me: 32GB 3G.

Apple salesman: As a matter of fact, we do have that. Your timing is perfect cos we just received a new shipment an hour ago.

Me: Oh! Great!

Apple salesman: We’ve only got the black one, though.

Me: That’s fine!

(Two seconds of silence while he figured out if my response meant I wanted to buy it or not. My eager, expectant look finally tipped him off.)

Apple salesman: Oh, right! I’ll be back in a second with it.



Is that miraculous or what!

This morning (about 10 am), Piers called up the store again (cos now he wants one) and they’re all sold out again!

They say they might get another shipment soon but it’s unpredictable. Might or might not.

So, anyway, just like that, I am a broke owner of an iPad 2!!!

Now I will do an unboxing, although I don’t know why anyone would want to see an iPad 2 unboxing because all Apple gadgets have the same stuff in their boxes.


iPad 2


iPad 2


iPad 2


iPad 2


iPad 2


iPad 2


Okay, I’ll do a bit more.

Here’s a physical comparison of the iPad 1 and 2 side by side. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you which is which.


iPad 2


iPad 2


iPad 2


iPad 2


Reviews will come later after I’ve had more time to test it out.

I’m happy and excited, although at the same time annoyed at Apple for releasing upgrades so freaking quickly. My iPad is only seven months old!

People have been asking what I’m going to do with the old set.

I don’t know yet! Sell or give away, depending on how broke or generous I feel when I get back to Singapore.

Anyone wants to buy it, though? =P

Unboxing a toaster because I didn’t get an iPad 2

March 25, 2011, England

iPad 2 launch day.

At about 5:20 pm, Piers and I walked through the Bournemouth Town Centre to buy a toaster because his old one had wheat bugs in it and he had thrown it out.

I had considered buying an iPad 2 on launch day but at the same time didn’t want to queue for hours (or days) just to get something I can get later without queueing.

We passed by the local Apple retailer and there was a longish queue. Not that bad.


iPad 2 queue


But not short enough.

We went and bought the toaster, then went to the supermarket to get groceries.

An hour later, we walked back past the Apple store again and the queue had shortened to about 10 people. Fewer, I think.

I was like, “OMG I can get an iPad 2 NOW.”

But Piers had been trying to dissuade me from buying one for days.


“You already have an iPad! You don’t need another one!”

“Yes I do!”

“It’s so expensive! Don’t waste your money!”

“But I need one!”


“Cos the iPad 2 is thinner and lighter and has a camera!”

“So what!”

“So I need one!”


Something like that.

Anyway, I didn’t jump in the queue because I was holding grocery bags and Piers was holding grocery bags in one hand and a hugeass toaster under another arm.

We went back to the store later but it was already closed.

So we went back to the apartment again and Piers said, “Don’t be sad. Look, you have a new toaster! You can blog about getting a new toaster! Everyone’s gonna be so jealous!”

“Oh, yeah,” I said, “That’s very exciting.”

It’s so exciting I’m gonna do an unboxing.





















Okay that’s all for the unboxing.

Now a very short review.

This amazing Breville toaster can toast four half bagels all at once and the bagels all came out nice and toasted!

Wow, what an awesome toaster!




Okay, enough.

In the meantime, how?

Should I buy an iPad 2 in England, or wait till Singapore gets it? Or get someone to buy one from the USA?

Or should I even buy one at all?


I want one, nevertheless! =D

Southampton — Genius Bar and crumbly old walls

The one annoying thing about England is that the English don’t follow their own rules of English here.

Place names have ridiculous pronunciations that don’t sound like they’re spelled.

For example, Bournemouth is pronounced “bon-mirth”.

Salisbury is “souls-bri”.

Reading is “red-ding”.

Worcester is “woo-ster”.

Greenwich is “gren-ich”.

How annoying is that?!

They must all really enjoy having a private laugh when foreigners come here and say all the names wrongly (or, correctly wrongly).


First kiss


So, I was complaining to Piers about this, telling him how annoying his country was. And all he said was, “It’s our language. We can do whatever we want with it!”

Annoying right?!

Shortly after we had this conversation, I shattered my iPhone. The next day, he sent me an MSN.

“Hey, let’s go to Southampton this Saturday. They’ve got an Apple Genius Bar there we could have your phone looked at.”

Aside from being excited about that, I was immediately suspicious.

I texted back: “Is Southampton pronounced wrongly, too?”

“Of course not!” he defended, “It’s pronounced “sooth-ham-teen” just like it looks!”

And that was just so insanely ridiculous I almost believed him. It’s England we’re talking about, after all!




But I also remembered Piers is a joker who can’t be taken seriously half the time, so I was rightly suspicious.

It turns out of course he was really joking and it’s just pronounced Southampton. Stupid Brit!

Anyway, to Southampton we went and the Apple Genius Bar we entered.

I had an image in my mind of geeks wearing lab coats behind a pristine white counter, tapping furiously at their shiny Macbooks and sipping strange-coloured liquids out of test tubes.

I was, not surprisingly, wrong.

The Genius Bar is just a plain old counter at one end of a regular-looking Apple Retail Store, manned by geeky-looking dudes dressed in Persian blue t-shirts. (Persian being a shade of blue and not a style.)


Apple Retail Store, Southampton


Apple Retail Store, Southampton


Apple Retail Store, Southampton


Apple Retail Store, Southampton


Apple Retail Store, Southampton


I didn’t get my iPhone fixed because it was too expensive. The only option given me was they take my phone and give me a new one, and I pay £139 (S$285).


I think I’ll just use my Blackberry in the meantime and wait for the iPhone 5.

So our 45-minute drive to Southampton turned out to be a bit in vain.

Luckily, I discovered through googling that Southampton is home to the longest surviving stretch of medieval walls in England.

Although I’m sure Piers didn’t consider that lucky, being compelled to follow me around the city to look at more archaic war-torn walls, like we haven’t already seen enough of them in the last month.

Well, it was either look at walls or go shopping. Nothing much else to do in Southampton.




At the end of a row of malls and shops, you can see Bargate, the main entrance to the old walled town of Southampton.

It was so exciting walking towards it, wondering what I would find beyond the majestic stone entrance.

Therefore, it was very disappointing to see a stupid Asian noodle bar plonked right in front of it.




What was the meaning of a dumb noodle stall being set right in front of a grand old medieval gateway?!

Going through the gateway was also a bit blah, because it’s just a small walk through some arches and then you’re standing inside a modernish town that boasts a giant red truck selling raw meat.






You turn around to look back at the gateway from which you had come through and you see a big white truck parked by it, determined to ruin your photo.





Although Southampton didn’t turn out to be quite the medieval city I wish it could have been, I saw enough medieval buildings and crumbly walls to keep me happy.

It did amuse me somewhat to see how the city council had tried to preserve as much old architecture as possible while building modern new ones around the ruins.

It’s like walking into a movie set where members of the design team have been given full rein to build whatever the hell they felt like building in each of their allocated slots, and they all have different ideas what era is the best.




A few authentic Tudor houses still exist. I find them really cute, with their rough-cut wooden beams showing through the outer walls.








That last one is the Tudor House Museum, which is closed for renovations until the summer. So very annoying because I really want to see it!

There are a few more museums in Southampton that are in business, but they close at 4 pm every day. We went a bit too late, so there was nothing we could do except walk around the town and be happy with just seeing buildings and walls as dusk fell around us.








Another city/town conquered!

I wonder how many more crumbly stone walls in England I can persuade Piers to take me to see before he serves me an eviction notice.

Let’s see.

Shattered my iPhone 4

I am certifiably one of the world’s biggest klutzes, so mishaps never shock me.

You get desensitised after stubbing your toe for the nth time or after offering your 99th porcelain plate to the kitchen floor gods.

But shattering my iPhone 4 certainly stunned me.

I’d always thought the iPhone 4 was invulnerable. Invincible.

I’d dropped it enough times in the last seven or eight months, sometimes quite violently, with hardly a scratch to show for it.

So my mind wasn’t able to absorb this.


Shattered iPhone 4


It had mysteriously flown out of my hand right onto the granite pavement, facedown.

I remember when I picked it up and turned it over, my mind blanked for long seconds, my brow furrowed in puzzlement, as I tried to make sense of what I was seeing.

The next thought that came to my mind was, “Wow.”

And then, “OMG.”

Miraculously, the phone still works. The touchscreen still works. I can continue using it with just a small risk of scratching my cheeks or fingers bloody on the shattered edges.

Hasn’t happened yet, but I won’t press my luck cos I know my klutz blood will find a way for another incident to happen.


Shattered iPhone 4


I’ll try not to use it till I can get it fixed or replaced.

In the meantime, I still have my Blackberry.

I am a bit mortified to admit that I only just got my prepaid data sim card for my BB yesterday. After a month of being in England. After a month of being mobile internetless!

(My iPhone had shattered about an hour after I got the card. Perfect timing.)

You see, I had tried to get a prepaid card for my iPhone 4 when I arrived in England last month, but they don’t have prepaid microsims here, yet, so I just gave up on having mobile broadband. I figured I was on holiday, anyway, no need for 24/7 push e-mail.

Because I seldom use my Blackberry nowadays (it just sits there collecting dust), I didn’t think about getting a data card for it.

Well, I thought about it a few days ago when I decided to extend my stay in England (yet again, I know). I’m going to be here till April and I guess I can’t stand being mobile internetless for too long.




So I finally got it yesterday.

Cost me £10 (S$20) for the card, with 300 free texts and unlimited Internet for a month, and £5 worth of calls. Something like that. It’s a bit confusing all the price plans and top-ups and freebies.

But I’m all set. So very useful to have an extra phone.

My broken iPhone doesn’t even really bother me that much. Piers says he will drive me to Southampton this Saturday where they have an Apple Retail Store Genius Bar.

Hopefully, the replacement screen won’t cost hundreds like everyone on the Internet is saying.

If it does, I might just keep it as it is. Buff the sharp edges a bit. I might look very cool using a shattered iPhone 4, you think?