Browsers for Nokia

I’ve always been very satisfied with how the default Nokia browser displays webpages. They render well and columns usually get resized nicely such that i don’t have to scroll left and right while reading a webpage. What i don’t like, however, is that the browser doesn’t display webpages in full screen by default. I thus decided to explore other mobile browsers and here’s what i found.

I downloaded Opera Mobile 10. Webpages are displayed in full screen by default and there’s a small icon on the bottom right of the screen to pull up the menu buttons. I love this feature. Unfortunately, with the exception of Gmail, webpages do not render as well as Nokia’s default web browser. The pages also take longer to load. Opera makes use of the phone’s Flash programme which means that certain Flash websites are not viewable. A useful function of the Opera browser is that u can copy and paste selected text and page URLs.

I next tested Skyfire, the browser made popular by Windows mobile phones. Pages load the fastest with Skyfire. Another great point is that Skyfire has inbuilt Flash support and is able display some Flash videos that can’t be played by Nokia’s web browser and Opera browser. Not sure of the reason why though. That said, webpages sometimes don’t look as pleasant as compared to the Nokia browser. The pages also do not get displayed in full screen, though the small icons are a mitigating factor.

I haven’t done enough tests to decide which browser i like best but it appears that i’m going to have to keep all 3 and use them for different purposes.

Posted by Wordmobi

A Matter of Perspective

Whether something is good or bad often boils down to a matter of perspective. For e.g., i saw some school kids from Temasek Junior College today and realised it’s been 13 years since i graduated, which also means that i’m not getting any younger. Sad. The good thing though, i can still wear my school t-shirt and shorts, which is great! Cos it means i haven’t gained weight in 13 years. Haha. This shows that, a lot of things just boil down to a matter of perspective. 🙂

Posted by Wordmobi

Baikohken Ramen

I’ve always enjoyed the ramen at Baikohken ever since Booze Queen first introduced it to me slightly over a year ago.  As I usually eat there during lunch, I never had the chance to eat there with Iceman.  After seeing it being featured on TV a couple of days ago, Iceman and I decided to drop by for dinner and boy did he love the food.

The menu’s limited – only 3 types of ramen being 1) Butter & Corn, 2) Char Siew and 3) Vegetables.  You can also choose from 3 soup base, i.e. shoyu, shio and miso.  The bowls of ramen come in two sizes, “half size” or “full size”.  Additional toppings like a full egg (aka agitama), beansprouts, butter & corn, char siew, etc, can also be added to your ramen.  I know you can order the gyoza as a side dish though I can’t recall if there’s anything else. 

There’s a container of tea at every table so you can help yourself to that.  Alternatively, you can order either Tiger beer, Sapporo beer, Coke or Coke Light.

This was what we ate tonight:

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We started with a free plate of gyoza.  For every $10 you spend, you can get a stamp on their loyalty card.  Collect (I think) 10 stamps and you can change it for a plate of gyoza or a small bottle of beer.  I would definitely recommend the gyoza.  These delicious little dumplings are filled with pork and chopped vegetables.  Although they are deep fried, they’re tasty and juicy – yup.  Be warned.  If you bite the gyoza into half like me, you risk having the soupy gravy inside flow down your chin.  The taste is simply fantastic.  *Slurp*

 

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I went for the Butter & Corn shoyu ramen today and added an egg.  (I usually take the Butter & Corn shio ramen but thought of trying something different today).  Don’t ask me why but the B&C shoyu ramen as well as the B&C shio ramen come with 2 slices of char siew.  The B&C miso ramen doesn’t. 

I used to be quite adverse to eating Japanese char siew because the only ones I tried before Baikohken were the ones from Ajisen, and those are fatty and tasteless.  The char siew from Baikohken, however, totally changed my mind about Japanese char siew.  The meat is lean with very minimal fat (that melts in your mouth) and the best thing is, the meat is so well marinated that it remains very tasty despite being soaked in the soup.  The meat is also not overcooked so the flesh tears apart easily when you bite.

The corn is also not overly sweet and adds a good contrast with the slightly salty shoyu soup (I find the shio soup base less salty).  My favourite ingredient in the ramen?  The egg!  My… no words can describe how good the egg is.  The yolk is semi-cooked so it’s soft, but not runny.  The egg white is well flavoured and braised.  When you first bite into it, the savoury and smooth egg white tastes so good in the mouth and when you swallow the yolk?  Delicious.  Simply delicious.

 

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Iceman ordered the Char Siew miso ramen with an egg added.  He was very pleasantly surprised at the generous serving of char siew – 5 big slices of tasty char siew.  The miso soup base was also very tasty (I have to admit it’s definitely better than the shio and the shoyu).  BTW, we both ordered the half serving so you can imagine how big the full size is!  Like me, Iceman was thoroughly impressed with the char siew and the egg.  He was gladly slurping up his soup and ramen, Japanese style.

The pricing for the ramen is also very very reasonable.  My B&C shoyu ramen cost $11 and I paid an additional $1 for the egg.  Iceman’s Char Siew miso ramen cost $13.50 and likewise, an additional $1 for the egg.

The restaurant takes up 2 levels of the shophouse unit.  If you go during lunch, do try to make it before 12:30pm.  In spite of Singapore’s hot & humid weather, people who work in Raffles Place actually seem quite happy to queue outside the shop for the yummy ramen!  When I arrived at 8:10pm just now, the place was almost full – I took the last table.  When we left at about 9:45pm, the 2nd floor had emptied but the first level was still 3/4 full. 

Here’re the details of the place:

Address: 7 North Canal Road

Opening Hrs: 11am – 3pm, 5 – 11pm (last order at 9:30pm).

The restaurant takes reservations for private functions at level 2.  Please call them at 6534 3080 for enquiries.

While searching for the telephone number, I found an official website of Baikohken – http://www.baikohken.com/ but this is the site of the chain in Japan I believe (site’s in Japanese and I don’t read Japanese!)  If I didn’t hear wrongly (sorry, wasn’t paying full attention to the TV programme on Wed), I think the Japanese owner of the Singapore Baikohken was sent here from the head office in Japan, but the restaurant didn’t do well and was about to close down when he bought it over.  That probably explains why the staff’s uniform + utensils + food look exactly the same as those on the website.  Oops.. and I forgot to mention earlier, the 2 chefs in Baikohken Singapore were brought in from Japan.

Anyway, before I end, I also want to compliment the staff on their top notch service.  I always get very irritated when I go to Sakae Sushi ‘cos the staff keep yelling out these greetings in Japanese and they seem to yell for the sake of yelling.  At Baikohken, though I don’t get a word of what they’re greeting, at least I feel that they’re sincerely saying hello and goodbye. 

Special kudos (I forgot to ask for his name) to the waiter who was serving the upper floor just now, this young chap with chin length high and blonde highlights.  He was polite and unobtrusive.  Iceman and I originally arranged to meet at 8:15pm but he was held up in office.  Unfortunately, I arrived at 8:10pm and ended up waiting till 9:05pm before Iceman reached.  Although the waiter glanced over at my table a few times, not once did he chase me to order.  He was also polite and smiled understandingly when he saw that I was waiting for someone.  I genuinely appreciated it.  His politeness also did not slip up throughout the time we were there.  In fact, it is precisely ‘cos I was impressed with his service that I decided to do a proper write-up of Baikohken now. 

Well done Baikohken!  I’ll be back soon!

Coffee & Tea

If you’ve been to any local coffee stalls to order coffee, you’ll realise the plethora of terms Singaporeans use to differentiate the type of coffee or tea they wish to order.  It took me quite a while to memorise all the terms so here’s a reference guide for anyone who’s unclear.

Kopi – coffee with condensed mlk

Teh – tea with condensed milk

Kopi C – coffee with evaporated milk (the ‘C’ is derived from a brand of commonly used evaporated milk, Carnation milk)

Teh C – tea with evaporated milk

Kopi O – “O” refers to w/o milk

Teh O – tea w/o milk

Gau – strong / thick

Poh – thin

Kar Dai – (literally add base) = sweet

Siew Dai – (“less base) – less sweet

Using a combination of the above terms, you will be able to efficiently order your drink from the local kopitiam (literally coffeeshop).

For e.g., if you want strong tea w/o milk, it’s “teh O gau”.   Slightly sweet and weak coffee would be “kopi poh siew dai”, and so on.

Got that sorted out now?

Chatty Cabbies

People usually dislike chatty taxi drivers and i’m no exception, usually. What i’ve come to realise, however, is that what i dislike are cabbies who just want a captive audience to listen to them gripe about how lousy life is and how they’re shortchanged by the system. That irks me.

What i don’t mind really, are cabbies who enjoy having a conversation. Note – a conversation is not a monologue. If the cabbie has any interesting views or anecdotes, i’m happy to have a chat with them.

Just like tonight. The cabbie was listening to a CD of ballads in a foreign language. Though i didn’t understand the words, i enjoyed the music.

Finally, unable to resist, i asked the cabbie what language were the songs in – they were in Thai!

I said i was impressed that he knew Thai and the cabbie shared that his dad lived in Thailand for many years and he picked up the language when he stayed there when he was young. I thought that was real cool.

So there you have it. I don’t think it’s fair to generalise that all chatty cabbies are annoying. There’re those who’re ok to. 🙂

Posted by Wordmobi

Lift Etiquette

Since my company moved to Tg Pagar, I take the MRT lift every day as the lift exit is the shortest route to the office.  As there’re always too many people trying to get into the lift, I always take the escalator to the ticket concourse level, enter the lift which goes back down one level to the train platform, before it goes to the ground level.  I do this because it is next to impossible to get into the lift at the train platform level.  (Which means my journey goes like this – enter lift at level B2, go back down to B3 train platform, then back up to B2 still in the lift, then to the ground level 1 to exit lift).

Even though this is very “kiasu” (scared to lose) behaviour, it is necessary if you want to get into the lift at all so I’m not ashamed about it.  It does tick me off, however, when this fat angmoh (really really bulging stomach – bigger than some pregnant women at full term) who enters at ground level has difficulty getting out at B3, and he always goes “tsk tsk tsk” ‘cos he has to squeeze out.  I feel like telling him, “If you were slimmer, you would have less difficulty squeezing out”.  I bet you one day I will be pissed off enough and I will say it in his face.

Despite the general chaos and pushing and shoving it takes to get into the lift, I strongly believe people should abide by some simple lift etiquette.  Even though there’re no queues to enter the lift, you should still let the people who reached before you enter first.  I try to adhere to this and for people who arrive after me?  If they try to push in in front of me, they will meet my elbow or my laptop bag and I can be quite merciless! (BTW, the Lenovo Thinkpad X200 is really hardy.  It’s been slammed into numerous people!)

In addition, if you are the last person to enter the lift, and the “lift overload” warning goes off, please have the courtesy to step out – and perhaps consider going on a diet.  Don’t “act blur” and pretend as though you weren’t the culprit who set off the warning.  What good does it do if the lift doors won’t close and the lift won’t move?  Everyone (including you) is stuck right?

That’s precisely what happened this morning.  I was quite pissed off and so I said in a loud & stern voice, “Will the last person who entered please walk out?”

There was complete silence in the lift for a second… then a guy stepped out, though I think he was made the scapegoat.  I was pretty sure it was the stupid woman on his left who was the last to enter – he was second last.

Anyway, I don’t care.  It’s none of my problem as long as the lift moves.

Common Sense is not that Common after all

Read something funny when i got to office this morning. There was this mass e-mail sent to the user group name, “Non-US Colleagues”. The 1st line of the e-mail, however, said this: “For all users outside the US, please ignore this e-mail which is meant for US colleagues only.

I couldn’t help laughing when i saw the mail. Funnier still, the sender was from our IT Dept..

Posted by Wordmobi

Cool Symbian Apps!

Iceman 1st came across these apps on Windows Mobile Marketplace & told me that the Symbian version is available too. Here’s introducing 3 apps that’re very handy for Singaporeans!

1st is the app to check your mobile data usage. This is compatible for M1 & Singtel subscribers. I tested it earlier & I think it works pretty well. I also like how it gives u the amount used in terms of percentage, which is more intuitive to me than seeing the raw numbers.

The 2nd app is the Roadmate Live. This nifty app uses Google Maps to pull up the map of the place you’re looking for. It also provides extremely helpful information such as live traffic news, carpark rates and bus arrival times. The price for Golden Shoe carpark seemed right so I guess this app should work pretty well. Loads of practical information.

The 3rd app is Filmscope which provides updates on movies screening time and locations in Singapore. Totally cool!

So don’t wait anymore. Go to http:www.sh2sg.com for details!

Posted by Wordmobi

Moving Out

A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently that she doesn’t quite feel at home staying at her parents’ place anymore.  I suppose that might be ‘cos she has moved out with her husband and children for more than 10 years.  I wondered if I would ever feel that way.  Thus, everytime I go back to my parents’ house, I will pop into my bedroom and sometimes lie on my old bed, just to see how I feel.  It still feels like home.  The familiar view of the ceiling, the lights, the hanging dust thread at the corner of the ceiling – it all looks and feels very very familiar. 

This of course, doesn’t mean that that I don’t feel at home at my current flat.  I do too!  I’m comfortable and am quite happy to settle down here with Iceman.  I wonder if the difference between how many friend and I perceive our parents’ homes is due to time (i.e. she has moved out for over a decade), or ‘cos I’ve always considered my parents’ house to be my own. 

For those who don’t know, I am an only child.  I therefore feel that there’s very little difference between my parents’ assets & property (be it simple furniture or utensils or the house itself) and mine.  Although we’ve never spoken about it, there is a tacit understanding that there is no need to draw a line between my parents and me.  My mom is slightly more explicit about it – in recent years, she has stuck to buying mainly jewellery made of white gold because she feels that I will eventually inherit all her jewellery and it’s no point buying yellow gold ‘cos I don’t like it.

Anyhow, I think it’s kind of a blessing to be able to have 2 homes.  That’s 2 places I feel safe at, 2 places that give me warmth.  Double happiness! 😉