23rd December 2012,
I forgot to add an image to my article on 28th of November.
2012 Ford Focus Hatchback (2.0L engine)
As I have promised before, a review on the 2012 Ford Focus, it is a really nice car. The 2.0L Duratec engine produces 170HP's mated with its smart 6 speed automatic transmission have plenty of powers to pull in Indonesian road. I recommend Automatic transmission for the Focus, as the tranny is so smart and smooth.
I test drove the car last September, however due to my job, I have no time to update this website and write a complete review on the Focus. I miss you guys, really. Ok, back to the review, the Focus was launched at IIMS, the largest motor show in Indonesia and my brother in law informs me that the new Ford Focus has an automated parking system and can stop itself at speed of below 35 km/h when an obstacle is detected. So I asked him to call a dealer for a test drive appointment and they bring the car to my hometown. I test drive the Focus in my neighbourhood and I found that the car is really nice. In terms of acceleration (this was done outside the built up area), the Focus is pretty fast, faster than its closest rivals the Civic and Corolla. I did not time the acceleration, since thats not what I need in real driving scenario. What is needed is how quick the car responses to kick down and how predictable is the respnose to the kick down, so you will feel that you are driving a manual car altough you are driving an automatic. It was smart and swift however.
The ride was pretty much quiet and soft enough to guarantee comfort for the passenger however, and not too soft for high speed driving. However due to the weight of the car tight cornering was not as good as my Vios. More on comfort, there are enough room for 4 adults. I'm 180 cm tall, my brother is 175 cm, and my brother in law is 180 cm too but he is way fatter than me. The dealer's representative is 165 cm short. Well, there are no complaints from everyone regarding the space on the car. Comfort is good! Driver ergonomics also excellent, and every control crucial to operating this car is within my reach too.
Air conditioning is also good and can cool the hot sunned car in a matter of minutes.
Audio system, not tested, but I suppose it should be good as its SONY brand :)
With the permission of the dealer, I decided try the automatic parking system, which I was then having difficulties to activate it as the system always gives error. I follow the instruction from the dealer's representative and he is sitting on my side supervising me. All of the step I took is correct, however he and I don't know why the error took place. These are the steps: First, press the park assist mode in the centre console, and then drive slowly at about 1 m from car parked in paralel while watching the MID in the dashboard. When the Focus finds a suitable spot, the car will inform you that the spot is suitable. On my case, the Focus never says a suitable spot is found, and it gives error message instead.
Assuming the Focus can find a suitable stop, you will need to drive few metre ahead, change the gear to reverse and release the brake pedal. The car will then parks itself, and when you feel that the car is in the desired position, you will need to brake it and engage the parking brake.
Well anyway, but finally manages to get it working for once.
Then I test the Focus's automatic braking feature. First I wanted to aim my Vios or Vellfire as the test subject. However I decided to test the automatic braking with somewhat less expensive object. I got a bad feeling on this. So after looking around, I've found a trash can to test the feature. Well, following the dealer representative's instruction, I just direct the car to the trash can, set my speed to 20 km/h, and lift my feet from the throttle. The Focus crashes the trash can. Okay, may be that because the trash can was too small so it goes beyond radar.
So I tried for a bigger object: the security outpost! The procedure is different now: direct the car to the security outpost, stop, lift the brake and fold my feet and let the car self running at 5 km/h. And bang, the Focus crashes the security outpost. I don't know why, the outpost was made of metal and had several glass window, more the size is about the same as a car, it should show on the Focus's radar. I owe the ranger an apology :)
What a pity I did not took a video of the car crashing the security outpost!
I suspect that I had received a bad batch of the car. I was lucky that I did not use my Toyota Vellfire as the test subject. The Vellfire is a IDR 760.000.000 (roughly USD 77.000) family van and crashing a Focus to a Vellfire is a really bad idea!
As I was really 不好意思 to the dealer's representative, I've thinking to buy the focus without the automatic braking and automatic parking system at a cheaper price. However the real fault is happening here: the engine suddenly overheats, the engine temperature indicator is rising and the car's acceleration becames jittery then smoke emerges from the hood. The radiator fluid leaks! This is a serious problem as low speed crash that happens pretty often, and even that causes radiator leaks. I don't know if that it was only the piping or the real radiator that leaks. I don't dare to check as I'm not a car mechanic.
This picture is the damage that happens to the front end of the car. Only minor scratches
The radiator fluid leaks
A real green fluid leaks...
Well that's it I guess. A really nice car with fault. I canced my order of the car due to this radiator problem. Bluetooth, audio, voice command and other features are not yet tested as the car is already dying...
The image was taken using Nokia Lumia 710. Not bad for a camera phone :)
28th November 2012,
Safe your fuel!
I've found and prooved an idea to save your car's fuel. The idea relies on a very simple concept: the air feels cooler when the wind is moving, so I will make the wind move. What we do really needs is the feel that the car is cool, not the real temperature inside the car. So instead of reducing the temperature of output air from the air conditioner grill, I experiment by increasing the airflow. Most people tries to lower the temperature of air output from the aircond (max the compressor) and reduces the air cond's blower speed to minimum (speed 1, they afraid the blower's noise). This will stress and put your aircond compressor to work hard.
I tried the different approach by putting the fan speed to 2 and reducing the aircond compressor work to half.
The air blower in air conditioning units consumes only small amount of power (around 250w, CMIIW), while the compressor consumes way more power than the air blower (around 5Kw (5000w), CMIIW). By making the compressor works at half of its capacity and making the air blows faster, I can manage to get my car as comfortable as by setting the air temperature as low as possible and fan at minimum. Well at least thats on average tropical sun here in Jakarta, thats enough to stop me from sweating. When the day gets really hot, I usually set the air blower at 3 and the compressor at 3/4, and that really cools my car! On my car, 2008 Toyota Vios, this method grants me 9.8% in fuel reduction. The mileage increases from 13.2 km per litre to 14.5 km per litre. That's the first advantage.
How about the noise from the airconditioning system? Well nothing to worry about, the noise from aircond at speed 2 is much lower than the road noise.
When the car is parked in your quiet neighbourhood, you will hear the hiss. Nothing is too loud here, its just a noise which is as loud as your home's airconditioning system and you can still sleep when your house's airconditioning is on right?
While driving at quiet street below 20km/h, the noise from your tyre and engine will be about as loud. So, nothing to worry about.
At speed of 50km/h, you will not hear the noise from your aircond unless you are listening and looking to it.
At speed faster than 60km/h, there will be no way to hear the wind noise from your aircond.
This method will also prolong the life of your air conditioner compressor (usually they died after 6 years of use), and the aircond compressor is costly compared to the blower fan. Thats the second advantage.
So, happy saving your fuel!
To reduce your car's fuel consumption even further, you can try to lower the viscosity of your oil. My Toyota Vios now runs on Mobil 1 5W-20 oil. The car's manual specify the engine requires 5W-30 as the thinnest motor oil suitable and I usually put 10W-30 motor oil. However I decided to experiment with 5W-20 to see how it behaves, and now the engine runs smoother and the fuel efficiency has increased and allowing 650 km in a single tank of fuel. Thats is 16.7 km per litre for combined route of highway and city. Average Toyota Vios only reaches 450-500 km in a single tank of fuel. Just don't sue me if something wrong happens to your engine while you try to reduce the oil viscosity.
At 125000Km, my engine is still in a good condition. It did not burn the oil, even at reduced viscosity. I started to think if Toyota really designed the engine to use 5W-20 oil, but since by 2008 it was hard to find 5W-20 oil, the manual write that the car requires 5W-30 oil. Well, this is the reason why I dare to try putting 5W-20 oil in my car.
1. My old 2002 Toyota Camry uses the 2AZ-FE engine, which is the same engine used by my 2012 Toyota Vellfire. While my Camry manual recommends 5W-30 oil, Vellfire's manual recommends 0W-20 oil. Therefore the 2AZ-FE engine can accept 0W-20 oil. The same might be true for 1NZ-FE engine on my car.
2. Accoriding to Wikipedia article on SAE viscosity grades: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAE_viscosity_number#Grades "While it may be confusing that the standard may not specify SAE viscosity, it is not the important parameter. Wear protection and HTHS viscosity are important parameters and are not specified in the SAE viscosity standard."
Therefore I dared to try using 5W-20 and it does really work saving me a lot of money! For 10.000 km, I used to use 689 litre of fuel, now I use only 598 litre of fuel. Thats 91 litre of fuel saved for 10.000 km which translates to IDR 955.500, about 100 USD saving per two months. Very worth the money, considering the price of oil is only IDR 100.000 for 4 litre. More, motherearth loves it too!
Oh yes, I forget to tell you that my car's fuel consumption degrades. When new the car uses 16 km per litre on standard 10W-30 Nissan oil. After 120.000 km, the Vios runs 13.2 km per litre. With my tricks, I can get it back to 16 km per litre on a combined cycle!
23rd September 2012,
Testdrving 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback, overall a car that impresses me, however it just failed. What a pity... Full review is coming soon.
I've uploaded an old software which I wrote back in 1999 I beileve, last updated in year 2000 when I was in high school. I use it to cut large file into many pieces to be copied by floppy disk (it was common back then) or sent by email. I stopped updating the software since in year 2000, as I started to use broadband and flash disk becoming increasingly common made the software less relevant. Cutting big files into smaller pieces was an old thing in the past. However things turns differently few days ago when I need to send a big video presentation project by email. Therefore I put back to software into action, now in Windows 7 and it works perfectly fine as I tested.
The software is a vintage! It has an easy to use interface, works quickly and on the about page still points to my old homepage.com which is now inactive. Do not click the URL page on the about page. Feel free to download and use it. Windows 7 might give warning as the file is suspicious, don't listen to it, I've compiled the software in virus free environment back in 20th century and it stays in my fault until today and rescanned using the latest definition from Avast antivirus and it is still virus free.
9th September 2012,
I got a new article for you readers. Shall we insure ourself or not? This has been topic of controversy and well, insurance agents from all over the world might hate me. So sorry for all of the agents, but this is the fact, the reason why insurance company grows so big and build a lot of office towers everywhere, and we are just here, working over time and under paid. So for the sake um... whatever, people here is the answer whether we should get an insurance or not!
If you need an apartment or office in West of Jakarta, you can see my friend, Meifei, blog or you can contact her directly at 081932833320. Tell her I send you!
13th March 2012,
Today is my day off, more than a year of working, finally I can get a holiday. Yay!
The Windows Curse: The Plague of Windows 8
A little bit of computer.
History told me that odd numbered windows, or in this case Windows which was released in odd year is more successful than even numbered Windows. This has no relation to the stability of the Windows, as the Windows is just unsuccessful.
Warning: this is a myth I made. Do not trust on this as I made this just for my holiday fun. The list was not intended to be exhaustive, I include only the major version.
So, now you believe me that odd numbered Windows is better than even numbered Windows just like Startrek Movie did? If Bill Gates believes in this myth, I guess would be a better idea if Microsoft release Windows 8 in January 2013 compared to December 2012.
29th February 2012,
I was, somehow not talented with winter colours. I just could not snap a nice one, but I'll keep trying. In the mean time please enjoy this image, a huge 38 MP image of Jakarta cityscape. An image so huge that it crashes my gallery (g2.sonylin.net) and my browser.
On the left side of the picture is Senayan, on the right hand side is Sudirman. Please do not tell anyone from IMF, Unicef or WHO as they will stop giving us loan when they knew the skyscrapers in Jakarta downtown.
A little bit about photography, now I knew the secret of pink sunset. It was easy, really easy with my camera. It took me years to find out the secret. It was the picture style.
I used to take picture at landscape with saturation set to maximum that causes the colour bright and vivid, however I've never noticed that I loss some details in the image. Until that fateful day I saw the sky was pink and when I capture the sky, the pink colours registers as orange on my camera's LCD.
Suddenly I remember that once I was experimenting with Portrait picture style on my camera to snap picture of Asian. I'm Asian, and we got yellow skin. However portrait picture style renders our skin pinkish. Then I tried to capture the pink sky with portrait picture style at saturation to maximum, and viola, the sky is pink.
The picture below demonstrates the effect. The difference was clear, what should be pink sky is pink in on picture taken with portrait picture style. The picture was taken taken only seconds apart and they are not edited nor colour corrected. Well I crop the images anyway.
Moreover Portrait picture styles can capture better detail compared to landscape picture style, especially in highlights. You can see that there are more detail in the highlight on the picture on the right. Take a closer look at the cloud texture, there are more textures on the images taken with portrait picture style. The cloud was pink too :)
Now it depends on your taste to choose the portrait or landscape picture style, since they yield different result and I believe it was clear that one should choose picture style not based on the subject, however depending on how the photographer wanted the subject look.
A note from me, regarding email, I hate when I found rar or zip files containing already compressed image files such as JPEG. Today I live mostly mobile, and I use my mobile phone to send and receive email communications. Uncompressing RAR or ZIP files add buren to my mobile phone, the mobile phone is simply too slow to handle therefore slowing me down. Even tough it tooks seconds for the actual compression, it took several button clicks to get file decompressed properly and then delete the extracted files, practically requireing twice the amout of the storage. Hate it much!
Moreover contrary to popular believes, instead of being smaller, compressed image files like JPEG and GIF, on worst case, will grow larger when compressed in ZIP or RAR. On best case, the size difference are minimal, only around 20-30 KB for a 3MB JPEG files. Try that yourself. The reason being was taught in Computer Science class, and it is too long to explain the reason here in this website. If you want to understand the reason you can search it on the internet.
21st January 2012,
This is the result of my experiment with my winter colour. Sorry only one picture, more will coming soon!
19th January 2012,
When I saw Bruce Percey's portfolio on the internet, I find it very inspiring. On most Bruce's work, the colour pallet is colour is white, blue, purple and black which I call winter colour. Bruce uses winter colour really well. I've never taught that winter colour could make a very beautiful image.
To be honest, I don't have any experience working with winter colour pallete, as I live in tropical area and I don't experience winter. I have never tought that winter could bring such an interesting colour. My things are red, orange, yellow, blue and any other colourful combination. The more the colour the better. I saw the beauty and simplicity in Bruce's images.
Therefore I decided to experiment with winter colours. I'm in China and today is still in Winter. Doing my experiments, they did not end well, however I will upload the picture anyway. This is a part of learning, as there is no way for me at my level of skill to create a photograph at Bruce's level.
18th January 2012,
Chinese new year is coming soon, if you ask me for 红包 (hongbao), here you are I have plenty for everyone!
The word on the Hongbao reads 福 (Fu) which means blessing. On the middle row of the hongbao the Fu is positioned straight while on the other rows it was reversed top bottom. The reversed Fu means 福到了 (Fu daole), which is translated blessing is arried. Therefore this image means for every blessing you gave to others, there are more blessing that others gave you.
The brightest and shinnest hongpao in center position means when you gave blessing you should give it in a good deed. In addition, it also means that you should be careful when blessing others as you will might think what your give outshines other's gift which is dangerous and not good.
The brighter hongbao on left side means some blessing are clearly visible such as having a good job and paid well, winning lottery and more. While the darker hongpao on the right means blessings are in disguise which we often take it for granted such as a great family, good friend and great pizza anyone?
End of the World!
Year of 2012, may people questions me regarding the end of the world. Thanks to the movie 2012. Well, I'm not an expert in doom's day matter. People panics because solar storm is happening and that will bring the world to an end. As far as I know, the world will not end in 2012, although It will need wait until January 1st 2013 to be sure.
Solar storm, if directed to Earth, might end satellites, GPS and long distance communication system therefore causing problems with airplanes. It might also damages ISS. However, the movie 2012 was mistaken, sunstorm will charge the ionosphere, reinforcing it. Instead of cooking earth inside out, the solar storm will ionise the ionosphere therefore making it thicker.
Therefore the people who should be warned are: air traveller, ship crews, noob drivers who relies on GPS and facebook / twitter mania. For most of us it will do no harm, only communication problem will occurs. We have been experiencing thousands of solar flares and none destroys the earth.
Nuclear war might happens, if our leader act like a kid with a big stick. A little boy, given a big stick will hit anything on his way. Few days ago I teach my cousin brother and sister a new technique of delivering a blow. They are 11 and 13 years old. The result is the seat of my car becomes a test dummy! If a country with nuke led by childish leader, the leader might try to use the nuke to scare others.
LHC tries to create a mini big bang on Earth. What on Earth they have been thinking? I guess it is a bad idea to create big bang of any size on Earth. However from the level of energy used in LHC experiment, if something goes really wrong, only the lab and the experimenting ring around Europe will be destroyed. The Earth will be still one piece.
Last word, well, if the world really ends, you would not be able to blame me anyway :) Just do not do too much sin.
The image above I call as Nuclear Winter. I have no idea of what nuclear winter will look when photographed. I took the image on January 19th 2012 in Chinese Jurassic Park in Shehong, SIchuan.
The image is underexposed to make it dark and gloomy, however since the sun shines behind the cloudy sky will, the viewer know that the image was taken in a daylight. All the dying vegetation will ensure the viewer to know that the image was taken in winter and will make give impresson of cold place. Dark bottom on the image will make the viewer's eyes directed to the sky, as real living vegetation is there.
Winter colour is bluish white, but why on Earth I made this an image super dull colour brownish colour, not the usual blusih white? Brown is colour of dirt. The colour will make reader think that the air is heavily polluted.
4th January 2012,
This picture causes much confusion. Some people taught this picture was fake, while some others are happy, and others are worried. Don't worry I'm alive and kickin! I was planning to use this picture for april fool by placing my picture being hospitalised. I feel it is not funny as this picture will freak my mom out, so I decided to publish the picture on facebook.
This is how we took the picture. My car is Toyota Vios, the speedometer cluster of this car is on the centre of the dashboard and backlit illuminated therefore it has no shadow.
We use flash to illuminate the speedometer, causing mess with the light balance between indoor and outdoor scene. The sync speed is 1/640, a sync speed so high that no EOS camera made today can achieve with +1 EV. Nikon D40 can do close that amount, at 1/500 but still too slow. The camera used was Sony DSC-TX5. You can see at the truck's hull, the reflection of my flash. However that kills my MID and gearshift indicator D light, as the flash outbright my MID. If you look carefully you will see the fuel consumption that moment.
We use ISO 400 and f/4.5 choosen by automatic. I deliberately cropped this picture in 2:3 aspect ratio to draw some confusion to online experts, and they accused me of photoshopping the picture. They are photoshopper not photographer, never ever trust them in photography. Oh yes, I cannot use photoshop to edit picture!
You can see the reflection of my car's air blower grill on my windscreen due to sun reflection. Oh yes, my windscreen is uberclear and has no watermark, thanks to Nano Kote by PPS. However the dust in the interior is caused by my laziness, shining so bright by flash. I have not clean it for a while. Hahaha...
The truck on that picture is towed away and the picture was taken by my friend from passanger seat in my point of view. I control the car maintaining distance of 1-2 m to the truck. Not a huge distance, but still a very safe distance as I balance the throttle and brake with two feet. Do not attempt to do this with one feet.
Hope this will be a better idea for your next april fool picture! Just don't forget your mom might freak out.