The rebirth of Apple TV…

During the last Apple keynote at MacWorld.. Among the many other things, Steve Jobs announced “Apple TV take 2“..

Everyone was of course looking at the wonderfully thin MacBook air to actually notice the amazing improvements done to AppleTV.

Let’s go from basics, AppleTV was basically a DVR /Set-top box kinda device that Apple started selling since last year. Something that you attach to your TV, and watch Media content off. It was like an extension of your Mac into your living room. But it’s major weakness was that you had to have another Mac (or PC) with iTunes, and the AppleTV would stream stuff from it.. In the Take 2.. all this changed.

The Take 2 is a software upgrade which makes the Apple TV your Mac in your living room. It doesn’t need a Mac, and can directly download stuff from directly to the iTunes on itself.

Further more, it supports Movie rentals, Flickr, Youtube and other services. The part I am most excited about is that it supports Podcasts. So you can subscribe to your favorite Video/Audio podcast on the iTunes on AppleTV, and watch it on your TV. And, since AppleTV supports 720p HD, you can watch HD podcasts in HD!!

With this and movie/TV rentals, I am really thinking this would be my perfect living room entertainment device.. Especially with people like revision3 coming up with Podcasts on all themes, and that too with high production value, and even in HD, I don’t think I need normal TV anymore.

Maybe it is time to get an HD TV, and trash that Starhub Cable Vision Box..

Oh, but the movie/TV rental doesn’t work in Singapore yet… ARGH APPLE!!!!

My great Italian escapade… in Singapore

This title really warrants my 10days bag-packing adventure in Italy, but for now I shall talk about my recent indulgence in really great Italian food here in Singapore…

I have always loved Italian food, and for that matter, the Italian culture, there is something very homely about it.. and somehow I draw a lot of parallels between Italian culture and Indian culture.. esp when it comes to food..

During the past week I ended up (not by design) eating at 3 great Italian places.. so here they are…

1. Pizza Da Donato
Since cartcart was here, we decided to have a Pingster’s mini-gathering, with the agenda of checking with cartcart how authentic the Pizza was..

You can check Daphne’s post for the details.. but here are my thoughts about the food..

The Pizza is awesome.. at $7 per slice, it’s on the expensive side, but is worth it.
Try not to have the very freshly baked slice, as it tends to “sweat” and get soggy.
Do try their unusual flavors like those with Ricotta, eggplant, Feta.
The Calzone, looks great, but is pretty bland.

Pizza Da Donato is at 8 Sixth Avenue, Singapore 276473

2. Ricciotti

After our recording on Saturday, Jerrick and I decided to look for this Italian restaurant for lunch, which his friend has recommended. We were stupid enough to start walking before checking the map, and we got lost… Finally with the help of a small map posted on a lamp post, and Google Maps on Jerrick’s phone and a bit of luck, we managed to find the place, Ricciotti by Garibaldi

It’s quite a classy place.. And we were hoping they have a Set Lunch which would be cheap enough.. Well they did have a Set Lunch, but it was no where near cheap. For ~S$27, we had a main course, a dessert and a choice of tea/coffee..

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I had a Parmagiana and Tiramisu with Coffee, while Jerrick went with the Spaghetti Bologniese and some Choclate Cake with Tea.

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The Parmagiana was absolutely delicious. The Eggplants were well done. A tad too tough though, but better than overdone, when you can’t differentiate between eggplant and the sauce. The sauce was nice and rich. And the Parmegianno was real..

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Jerrick was really happy with his Spaghetti as well. He reckoned the pasta was “homemade”, as in, made freshly using a pasta maker rather than bought from the supermarket.

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The desserts were good, but lackluster in comparison to the main courses. The coffee of course was too long…

Ricciotti is at 3 Pickering Street #01-36/37, Nankin Row, China Square Central, Singapore 048660

3. Finalmente Gastronomia

After tstar’s post about this place, the pingsters decided to raid it. And did we raid it or what!!.. Again.. I am sure Daphne’s and Claudia’s posts did better justice to the place… but here are my thoughts about the food.

The Pizza’s are great. I would say even better than Da Donato. Maybe because they are fresh here.. My favorites were the 5 Cheese, and the Bosco (eggplant, mushroom, white-truffle oil).. The bases were nice and thin, the toppings were fresh and generous.

The 5 Cheese pizza, had a delicious helping of various cheeses which you could taste. If you like strong cheese, you will love this pizza.

For the Bosco, the white-truffle oil added an interesting dimension to it..

The place is simple but feels very Italian, though somehow lacks the charm that’s present in Da Donato’s. Oh and it’s in the middle of nowhere, and you have to take a bus to go there.. Though, it’s right behind a bus-stop… But well, who cares.. it does have the best Pizza’s I have had in Singapore.. And I am going there again…. to try their desserts.. and Anti-pasti… and ofcourse more Pizza!!!

Finalmente Gastronomia is at 443 MacPherson Road, Singapore 368154

P.S. Thanks Jerrick, Daph and Claudia for the photos…

Battle of the iPod and the Zen..

Ed: So I found that the iPod Classic has some Audio issues. See here and here. Hence, I decided not to go for it.. Might not be a big deal for most, but I won’t be happy.. With that in mind the 5.5G iPod Video looks like a good buy. It’s cheaper, and has great audio, and all the things the Classic has, except it’s only 30G/60G and there is no coverflow (who cares abt it anyway)….


The world of technolgy is full of dualities or battles..Nvidia vs ATI
UNIX vs BSD
KDE vs GNOME
XBOX360 vs PS3
Blue-ray vs HD-DVD
vi vs emacs

For me.. there has always been another one..

Apple iPod vs Creative Zen.

And after I dropped my Zen Vision:M a couple of weeks back (yes yes.. I know I am stupid…), I am looking for a new Portable Media Player.. and I have shortlisted the iPod Classic 80G and the Creative Zen 16G .

Here’s the comparison..

iPod Zen
Storage 80G HDD 16G Flash
Screen 2.5″ TFT LCD 2.5″ TFT LCD
Screen Res 320×240 320×240
FPS 30 30
Color Depth 16bpp 24bpp
Batt (Video) 5/7hrs 5hrs
Audio Formats MP3, AAC-DRM, Apple Lossless, AAC, WAV, Audible, AIFF MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM, WAV, Audible
Video Formats H.264, MPEG4, Quicktime WMV, DivX, Xvid, AVI, MJPEG
Enhanced Podcast? Yes No
Extensibility No SD Card Slot
Built-in Radio No Yes
Built-in Mic No Yes
Asthetics

After all that… I am still lost.. Or maybe I should just wait for Macworld… Till then my old MD player still sounds sweet.. :)

Hanging out at 6th Ave..

In the last 2 weeks, I have been to 6th Avenue thrice.. and I am starting to love the place…

So I went there for the first time 2 weeks ago with Jerrick from Tech65 for dinner, as well as to get some fresh espresso for our Tiramisu..

My only knowledge of this area was that it looks posh and expensive when I went past it when I took 67 to Bukit Batok during Natak rehersal.. Oh and I had read a good review of a restaurant somewhere here on Popagandhi‘s blog..

So Jerrick introduced me to this small corner Pizza place.. Pizza Da Donato!.

It was a “hole in the wall Pizza place”, and they serve many many flavours of pizza, all freshly baked and laid out behind the counter.. The best part is that they are cut up in squares, from the huge Pizza which is baked, also as a square.. Reminded me of Rome, where they sold Pizza by the gram, and you had to point how big a cut you wanted from the huge square of pizza beind the counter.. Anyway, so it’s $7 a peice. I think it’s decently priced for 6th Ave.. and you get a wide variety of tasty fresh toppings.. My favourite is the Eggplant and the Spinach…

Last week, I endded up at Pizza Da Donato again with my parents. Walking around a little further towards Annamalai Ave. We found the Wiener Kaffeehause… I remember, my Austrian friend was mentioning that there was one near Chinatown, which she found pretty good.. We were too full from Pizza that do, so we skipped it..

But, I found myself on 6th Avenue on Friday evening with some colleagues, and being the coffee junkies we are, we went to the Wiener Kaffeehause.. It’s a typical 6th Avenue type “posh” place.. But very nice and quiet, with a little old world charm.. The coffee is served in shiny plates with shiny silverware to go along.. The coffee itself was nice.. It had a little sour after-taste as is expected of Viennese coffee.. but I liked the Einspaenner, which I had..

So.. 6th Avenue seems like a nice place to hangout, especially for the food… And I will surely be going there often..

Anyone game for Viennese Coffee?

P.S. I really need a camera.. 

Clearing your Cache..

This is inspired by a conversation between the Tech65 crew a couple of weeks ago….

Cache

It was done in stripgenerator. But for some reasons it won’t be saved, so I had to print screen it…

I guess it would look better with stick figures, ala xkcd… ah wel…