Oppo BDP 95 and Samsung PN64D8000 plasma TV calibration and cable change

I have clocked about 250 hours on the Samsung now, and I decided to get a professional calibration.
So we planned for a night mode, plus a semi-day mode and a 3D calibration.
It took us about 3 hours to get it sorted, and I also decided to do some cable management today along with my TV calibration.
I stuck a Audioquest HDMI cable direct  to the TV for pure video, and ran a Aiborg HDMI cable from the HDMI 2 of the Oppo into my Denon for video & audio .
That way, I enjoy the benefit of the Oppo's Qvideo chip for video, without any adulteration from the Anchor Bay Video chip built into the Denon.
I don't think it's merely a cable change, but more to do with the calibration, but the colors are sweeter now, and it's an upgrade in viewing experience.

The Samsung has many video adjustment modes, and it's a bit tedious as you can't copy and paste, so you have to keep doing it for all 4 HDMI inputs of the Samsung.
After calibration, you can get about 30 FL of light output.
I will post more on the settings I got out of the TV later in a separate post.

You can approach the person here and get quotes from him:
He fly over and did my set.

http://www.thx.com/consumer/home-entertainment/find-a-thx-certified-installer/?address=penang&distance=50

All in all a good job, get your equipment sorted first.



I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Smith Fish and Chips

Ok, I just had this for lunch at the Balmoral plaza...

Halibut and chips for $24...

A real letdown, not enough taste, chips were flaccid, and the only saving grace was that the fish was of good quality. But definitely not worth the asking price.

If you crave this, go to the Fish and Chips place in Greenwood instead. Much better.


A branch near Tanjong Katong too...



Smith Fish and Chips


Where: Smiths @ Boat Quay, 50 Boat Quay, Singapore 049839 (Tel: 65367316). Other outlets at Balmoral Plaza and 230 Tanjong Katong Road.

Setting: Tiny eatery below a fight club in the famous row of eateries and bars facing the Singapore River. Functional furniture, open kitchen, UK symbols and incongruous music add to the irreverent English vibes.

Must-nibble: While fish and chips is the main event here, grab the Beef and Guinness Pie if you have little time for lunch. Filled with meat chunks in a mellow stout gravy, the crusty pie with mushy peas and chips should fortify you for the next round of boardroom battle. If that's not enough, snag a few pork sausages with a herbal assault and down them with English beer. Call in advance for takeaway if you're in a rush.

Other worthy bites: Turn to the creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pie for comfort if the first half of your day has already transformed you into a frazzled executive. If you're a true Brit, you'll feel quite at home with the fish and chips doused with vinegar and salt, as well as the Christmas carols played in the background at this time of the year.

When to go: Open daily, 11.30am till 11pm
 
How much:
Sausage from $7.50, Fish & Chips from $11.50, and side orders from $1.50.

I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Renovating your toilet

This is one place which gets neglected, as most spend a lot on the living room and other areas. But consider that this is the place where you let your guard down, and strip down to your barest and wash away the sores, aches and dirt of the day. The toilet is very intimate and a place you spend quality time.



Think of a mood or theme you want for it, Balinese wooden, modern light clean surfaces, hotel sombre, or natural material with many wooden surfaces.




Or one particular one that I liked - using the same tiles from the London Subway (http://www.johnsonusa-tiles.com/subwaytile.html)
Minton Hollins: 75x150mm




So the whole color, feel, touch of the handles, shower heads etc are very important.Some prefer a light color theme, others a more sombre, hotel styled darker mood.
The texture of the tiles is also very important, and your bare skin touches many surfaces here, unlike other places.
Lighting is key for the right mood. It should be bright enough for tasks like shaving, washing up, yet we should avoid harsh light and enable different intensities of light, or add lighted mirrors, down lit counter tops, as this is the place we crawl to early in the morning when we are not ready to meet people yet.

Ideally, I prefer an abundance of natural lighting, and natural ventilation, such as from a window, is best. That way, you will get rid of odours quickly in a natural way.

Get sufficient places to hang towels, clothes and a good quality mirror which not only serves to help in the process of looking more human as we clean up, the mirror also adds a sensation of space.

The toilet seat is our throne and we should get something that our butt will be grateful for.

The seat must be to your height - i.e. sit on it! I will use one which is taller, and yours will need to fit your butt feel. The toilet roll holder should have a cover to avoid spray from the shower, and there should be adequate water flow off, so the floor does not become flooded. Watch how the water splashes around and see if the shower door works and doesn't get in the way of egress or entry.

If you like a good soak, get a nice long bath. One you can fit into, especially if you are taller or larger than normal, and think about how you get into it too.

Some have sides which are too high and difficult to climb into, and steps are useful, or having a little bay window near the bath is a nice bonus.


One key thing though in the current advent of mickey-mouse apartments, is to avoid overcrowding the small toilet with too many fixtures. Imagine those tiny toilets in European hotels where your butt literally rubs against the basin whilst we try to shower. The toilet is so tiny, you need to enter sideways.

Enjoy walking into your bathroom, and let it be a warm, refreshing experience.
Spend $$ on the toilet rather than the other areas. It's a neglected place.

Region Free - Watching Blu Ray Discs on your Mac

Watching Blu Ray Discs on your Mac

What do you need?

- Blu Ray software - USD 59
http://www.macblurayplayer.com/features.htm

- a Blu Ray Drive:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006X2HD2M/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Although officially there are no BR drives for your Mac, you don't need to install any drivers, and I am using this with my OS 10.6.8 on my iMac and MBP.

This drive is recognised instantly. You can use vpost to ship it or other means.

Install the software, and viola you are in business.

It plays all regions and the interface is very similar to VLC.



You get full support of lossless sound and with a HDMI out adaptor you can patch this into your home theatre system too.

I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Goonies - movie review

 Goonies - movie review

It's the 25th Anniversary of this show, which is summed up as a Indiana Lite (in fact the kid "data" in it was Short Round in Indiana II). But the lightweight PG 13 kind of feel suits the mood of the show well and gives it an uplifting atmosphere.

Sean Astin in days long before he was Samwise 'Sam' Gamgee in LOTR, was already involved in adventures down the West Coast of Oregon, in Astoria. Their homes are about to be demolished, and Mike aka Sean stumbles onto a map of hidden treasure. The rest of the movie involves them trying to find it, whilst evading the desperate Fratelli family hot on their tails.

Stephen Spielberg knows how to spin such an adventure yarn, being fresh from his Indy creations and makes this a pleasure trip down memory lane as you see the childhood versions of some famous stars.

The BR discs offers pretty decent quality for an old show, and the sound isn't half bad too.

Worth a watch and a keeper for me, and makes me watch to go to Oregon again..




I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Red Tails movie review

Red Tails

Took my time on this one, since the initial moviegoer's reviews weren't sterling.

The Tuskeegee Airmen have a legendary status, proving black men could fly, fight and flourish under pressure. This movie attempts to bring this piece of WWII to the big screen, and despite a number of award winning stars, plenty of help from George Lucas, the whole glorious struggle of these brave men somehow does not take flight..

There is plenty of action, which is clearly CGI, for practical logistics, since few WWII planes exist. But the acting is wooden, the dialogue is cliched, the characters are rather two dimensional. HBO made a short series prior to this and that manages to shot down this blockbuster despite a more modest budget and if you want a WWII air battle story with a gripping human element, look no further than the older Memphis Belle, made in more than 10 years ago, with real planes and much better acting.

However, if you are just an action buff, there is plenty of aerial jousts, and very decent surround effects to keep you happy.

Try before you buy will be my advice. I will keep this for a few demos for it's superior surround effects, but watch the HBO version for better acting.

The Amazing Spider-Man movie review

 

The Amazing Spider-Man movie review


Movie makers have become fond of using a franchise reboot to get a popular movie juggernaut on track and from recent efforts, this has largely worked. Sam Raimi and Tobey MaGuire have done a tremendous trilogy recently and in particular, Spiderman II has shown that sequels can be better than the original, but producers have deemed it necessary to reboot the series anyway, and introduce Andrew Garfield as the new Spiderman and bring the storyline a little further back to when Spidey was a teenager in high school.
Does the rehash work? Well, this story has it’s strengths and weakness. First, I will venture to suggest what could have made it better. IMO, they should have just gone for Spiderman IV, and continued where Tobey/Raimi left over. Thn intrdocue Lizard Man as a nasty villain, and he was indeed a formidable opponent in this show. Instead, they had to re-tell the story of how Spidey came to be, and the loss of Uncle Ben, who, was pretty well played by Martin Sheen.
You don’t get the line about responsibility and power, but you get the spider bite, the transition from a shy retiring teenager to a powerful superhero, and this time the love interest is Gwen instead of MJ. Gwen is a tad too old, and the romance doesn’t quite take off, but if you want to know if a woman is keen on you, watch this show, and see the words and body language of Gwen.. I mean, she says ‘yes’ to Peter Parker, even without knowing what he was asking for… and shoves her address and phone into his hands, and she has obviously told her family about him, which is always a good sign… none of that ‘keep in touch’ crap… this girl could donate her kidneys to ol’ Spidey if he asked…
Even so, Kirsten was a better MJ than Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and you don’t get any upside down acrobatic kisses. And I guess that is the main issue. With the memory of Tobey’s Spiderman still fresh in the minds of the paying audience, comparisons are bound to happen. Garfield does a good Spidey, and he does try to make the character his own, and the supporting cast are working hard too, but you get the feel that it’s same old same old. That is not a bad thing, and you get emotional scenes interspersed with the action. However for the action buffs, you really only get two big action sequences here, as they have to build up the history and how Spiderman came to be part again in the first half of the story, so things only start to get hot in the latter half.
Lizard Man is a pretty well played villain and he does look capable of beating Spiderman, and you see that Spidey need some help in beating the Lizard. Marc Webb the director steers the action well enough, but he comes from a romance story background and tries to give this reboot an emotional feel, and perhaps he tries a tad hard, with dad, girlfriend and other issues thrown in for good measure. Fans will need to have patience, and see this as a first of many movies so they don’t get restless with the dearth of big fight scenes. This is of course dependant on box office receipts, and with pretty decent returns so far, this reboot of a reboot will probably see Spiderman swinging in for a few more movies.

Sally Field IMO never puts a foot wrong, and even with limited screen time, she has so much expression... but she is up against Rosemary Harris, who is still the quintessential Aunt May, bar none...
Plot 3.5/5
Action 3/5 – good surround use, and bass was used for ambience as well as explosions, this has potential for a good Blu Ray despite the scarcity of action scenes.
Chick Factor 3/5
I must say that Cinema 9 in Vivo has a very awesome subwoofer ensemble and will give that kick in the chest, which isn’t often feel in cinemas – instead HT fans are often more likely to have better subs in the confines of their homes. But do check out that cinema.

Definitely worth a rental, and as a Peter, I would like to buy my namesake’s movie on Blu Ray when it comes out.


I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Baywatch, The Mummy, Megan Leavey

Baywatch: The reboot sees the prerequisite babes, bods and beach, with The Rock taking the lead, and a very pumped up Zac Affron, who is pro...