Actually, there’s only one new stuff that has happened. If you had noticed, the blog is hosted on http://blog.simplyjean.com/. Well, actually the root (which is http://www.simplyjean.com/) has been in “alpha” state for quite a while. And there had been happenings on “other parts” of the website.

So today, it will move out of “alpha” state and probably be in “beta” state for a while. Don’t know what I mean? Jump on to http://www.simplyjean.com/ to find out! Heh heh… it’s nothing much, but I thought it will be good to bring things together. Namely:

1. Added the other social media bits
2. Added in the link to the almost defunct photo gallery that had been running for a while
3. Allow subscription by email

Well, yes, that’s about it for now; and I can only do this because I was “accidentally free”. Erm, long story, but you can check out my other social media bits and you’ll probably see why :P

Yes! Do you remember this contest? We have a winner here!!!

Congratulations to …

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In preparation for my English tests this weekend and next Tuesday, I spent almost every evening in the last one month preparing for the test. Yes, I know – it’s an English test and how wrong can you go with it? Well, the truth (self-proclaimed truth, at least) is that English is not a subject that we can fail but neither is it a test that we can score distinctions in. Very much thanks to the multi-cultural, multi-lingual society that we are in, Singlish has became extremely prevalent and it’s easy to get lost when you are already struggling with an evolving language.

Evolving? Yes, English is still evolving :)

10. You know the opening hours of the outlet that you frequent. For that matter, you probably know the opening hours of every outlet that you may frequent.

9. You are the first to get the latest time-limited edition of the bearista bear.

8. The barista knows your order of Tazo Chai Tea Latte, half water, half foam no milk. As a corollary, you probably end up ordering it as “For here, tall, 5 pumps Chai, half water, half foam, no milk Tazo Chai Tea Latte”.

7. You know the exact locations of the power points and zoom in to the tables next to them when you enter the store.

6. You know the sequence of songs that will be played.

5. The people next table waves to you when you arrive.

4. Instead of asking you to help them look after their bags while they are away, they smile at you while you nod.

3. The barista offers to let you sample some of the food in the fridge display.

2. Your drink comes as soon as you sit down, even before you order it.

And the number one sign…

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I got hold of a Verbatim ExpressCard/34 64GB SSD from Sim Lim Square today to fill up the ExpressCard/34 slot that’s otherwise left empty for a while on the MacBook Pro. At 120/35 MB/s read/write speed, it is much faster than other USB-based ExpressCards, which typically runs at 35/23 MB/s. With it’s PCIe interface, it’s no surprise that it can outperform other ExpressCards at the same price point.

I would have gotten a FileMate Ultra ExpressCard/34 48GB SSD, if not for the confusion that Amazon.com presented while I was trying to place it in my cart. Apparently, it always tells me that the item is no longer available whenever I tried to place the item in cart. I am not sure, but I suspect there is a little glitch at the backend with regards to Prime Members. Anyway, I have taken myself off the trial because I gathered that I’d have to do 30 non-free shipping purchases in order for the annual membership of almost US$80 to be worth it.

Nonetheless, the purchase of the Verbatim ExpressCard/34 SSD was to take up the challenge (or rather, personal curiosity) if a MBP could indeed boot from an ExpressCard/34 SSD. Upon insertion of the SSD into the ExpressCard/34 slot, I knew the answer. It was an astounding “NO”.

Apparently, the Verbatim ExpressCard/34 SSDs require a Mac driver update, which basically means that it is not recognised when it is first plugged into the MBP. Only a driver installation will get it to mount. Needless to say, the loading of a vendor driver at Startup is *unheard of*, so it is not possible for the ExpressCard/34 to be booted from. There are, however, 2 solutions to this: either the startup is hacked for the drivers to be loaded, or the interface of the ExpressCard/34 is changed. Since neither of this is probable, it is highly unlikely; if not impossible, that the Verbatim brand of ExpressCards/34 SSDs can be used to boot up a MBP.

Despite this, you will still be able to install Mac OS Snow Leopard when you are already booted into the OS (i.e. no installation from DVD drive on bootup); only to be disappointed that the installation cannot continue after it boots for the first time after the first phase of the installation. This was certainly a great letdown.

That was indeed an expensive experiment, but the silver lining in this is that I can now make the Verbatim ExpressCard a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) *and non case-sensitive* partition for Adobe Photoshop and Parallels Desktop for Mac. For some reasons, my MBP came with the OS installed on a Journaled and Case-sensitive partition, which made installation of Adobe Photoshop impossible (Ed: Adobe Photoshop can only be installed on non case-sensitive partitions).

At the same time, running Parallels has became incredibly fast as long as the PVM (Parallels Virtual Machine) file is located on the SSD. However, at just 30MB/s write speed, it will be good to hold your expectations a little because this is probably just about as fast as transferring data to a FireWire drive when you carry out write-intensive tasks.

While it was a little disappointing to find out that my MBP is not blazing across the highway anytime soon, I got to experience SSD read/write performance, which is really better than its USB thumbdrive cousins. As I continue to explore what else I can do with this possibly white elephant, I am also anticipating the Filemate 48GB SSD in my mailbox in the next 2-3 weeks.

Till then, let’s hope I can find more useful things that I can do with my ExpressCard/34 SSD.

This is a personal review of the Verbatim ExpressCard/34 64GB SSD. No fees or gifts had been received as a result of this review.

It’s been a while since I got hold of a MacBook Pro, but for the longest time, I procrastinated on getting (read: trying, buying, …) hold of a really good offline post editor. In fact, the last I read, there weren’t really any offline post/blog editor as good as Microsoft’s Live Writer. Yes, this is quite sad but true. I am not sure where there aren’t any equivalent editors, but I am hoping that whatever I am about to try will prevent me from firing Parallels Desktop so that I can use Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer.

Nonetheless, working on a Mac has revolutionized the way I work. Even though I didn’t get the latest Unibody model of the MacBook Pro, the ease of use of the prior model gives hint on why there are always die-hard fans of the MBP. In fact, I got so used to working on a MBP that I am having some problems adapting to the Windows platform all over again. Indeed, working on a Mac at home and a Windows PC in the lab is not a good idea.

As I continue my hunt for The Offline Editor, I hope that I will be able to amuse/amaze/bore you with my many anecdotes with my Mac in time to come. Meanwhile, I won’t be missing “insufficient memory” pop-ups :)