Saturday, 10 December 2005

Here I am

I have been taking advantage of the free high speed internet in the serviced apartment to use instant messenger as well as using the voice conversation functions. With many companies using voice over IP (VoIP), I figured that it must be rather mature by now. In all honesty, I have found it to be quite bearable - not much different to buying a calling card.

After deciding to take it one step further and supplement audio with video, I spent some time in choosing a small webcam for myself. Like any kid half my age, I got home all excited and eager to try it out. The setup always takes a long time, but I managed to see myself on my laptop screen! Success!

My previous experiences with using video conferencing were poor - perhaps due to the quality of the actual hardware itself. When I finally got it working with my instant messenger, I was pleasantly surprised with the results - potentially from low expectations up front.

Normal capture mode was reasonably fluid. Once integrated with an instant messenger, it was slightly laggy, but at least the quality of the image was high (640x480). Overall I was quite pleased with the results and felt that the video side definitely has added a very different dimension to keeping in touch with people. Sure, it beats just talking on the phone, but I'm sure further developments will continue to enrich this experience.

Being so far from all my friends and family highlights how difficult it is to keep in touch. Even with a relative abundance of resources at our disposal to communicate, it is still difficult to keep in touch and a far cry from face to face contact. There are many aspects outside audio and video which contributes to the entire experience, so I think that there is some way to go. For the time being, I'd just rather be there.

Sunday, 4 December 2005

Wine and memories

Last night was spent with some work colleagues, sitting around drinking a couple of bottles of wine after downing some eye fillet steaks from Oz.

Being out of town was no doubt being an important factor in bringing us together in the same room - easy as we are all living in the same apartment building spread over 3 floors.

"So what's your favourite wine?" I asked.
"Cab Sauv; South Australian," someone responded.
"I like fruity wines," chimed another.
I turned to the only person who hadn't answered.
"Hmm...," he said as he pondered over the question a bit more. "I'd have to say it really depends on the time, place and company. Sometimes you can have a mediocre wine, but remember it because of who you were with, what you were doing or that particular event. Sometimes, even good wines can be forgotten easily, if it wasn't a memorable occasion in itself."

The alcohol had already started to slow down my thinking and I needed some time to soak up that statement.

"I have this wine journal at home," he continued. "In it, there is a wine label peeler allowing you to take off the wine label and stick into the book. There are spaces in the book for you to write the time and place of opening the wine, who you were with and what rating you gave the wine. After a couple of years, it is rather interesting ot go back to the book and see what I had written."

What a great idea!

I agree that the environment which one is in is very important to setting up something to being memorable. Average food and service cannot sour moments where the company and environment is good. Sure, if the food and service were also top notch, then it would be a fantastic time.

Having the right people to share fantastic moments is a precious thing. It is times when I am away which I realise that hte people around me contribute to my memories a lot more than I originally thought. They are integral to ensuring each and every moment is a memorable one.

Almost one!

The Christmas lights lining the main road here in Singapore have served as a gentle reminder that the year is drawing to a close. Barely did I realise that almost a year has passed since I started this blog.

Of course, an update was long overdue - so I decided to take the opportunity to personalise my blog while I was at it. Little did I know that I knew so little about how this page is built! So after fiddling for a bit, I have made some minor additions. Now, some photos are up (although some are a bit of a blast from the past!).

I just plan to keep telling my story.