Travel: Thailand 2014 – A week in the Land of Smiles

December 12th, 2014

It’s the year-end school holidays and the family decided to take an impromptu short break to Thailand for a week.

Welcome to the Land of Smiles. Here the welcoming facade of our hotel in Hua Hin, Thailand. Photo taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Welcome to the Land of Smiles. Here the welcoming facade of our hotel in Hua Hin, Thailand.

We’d initially thought about going to Krabi but it looked so crowded in photos on the Web that we decided to choose somewhere that’s more “off the beaten track”.

So we settled on Hua Hin, a popular weekend getaway for the local Thais in Bangkok.

Time for relaxation. Laidback sculpture in the gardens of our hotel in Hua Hin.

Time for relaxation. Laidback sculpture in the gardens of our hotel in Hua Hin.

It’s a two-and-a-half hour drive from Bangkok and four-plus-hour journey by train or bus.

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NEmation! 9: Production wrap up for wasd (#NE9C10)

December 10th, 2014

When we visited wasd in their final week of production, we discovered that they were very much ahead of schedule – and it looked like they’re going to finish with much time to spare! Erin reports.

Team wasd (Niger is just outside this snapshot) busy finishing up their animation clip.

Team wasd (Niger is just outside this snapshot) busy finishing up their animation clip.

On the second last day of the 3-week production, we visited Commonwealth Secondary School’s wasd at Nanyang Polytechnic.

There was a rather relaxed ambience in their cubicle, as they were close to completion and were simply doing rendering and touching up on the finer details.

All set for rendering.

All set for rendering.

They chose to do rendering in layers, instead of everything at one go.

Rendering in layers is to render different objects in the scene separately, in different layers, so that for each layer of objects, a different image is rendered.

The ticking clock that commences the day for the non-sleeping SAF.

The ticking clock that commences the day for the non-sleeping SAF.

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N.E.mation! 9: Final Production week for Elemonators (#NE9CO5)

December 9th, 2014

We visited Team Elemonators in the third and final week of their 3-week production. The girls were going at completing their 1-minute animation by the end of the week. Erin reports.

The team Elemonators, with their two fluffy mascot bears, courtesy of Leanne.

The team Elemonators, with their two fluffy mascot bears, courtesy of Leanne.

It’s the third week and team Elemonators are speeding ahead hurriedly, close to the completion of their task!

The tools of the trade which occupy Esther's workspace. To the right, near the NEWater bottle, is a Wacom Intuos Graphics Tablet, and a Lenovo computer.

The tools of the trade which occupy Esther’s workspace. To the right, near the NEWater bottle, is a Wacom Intuos Graphics Tablet, and a Lenovo computer.

The clock is ticking away for CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School’s Elemonators as they finish up their animation, already three-quarters through.

All they had to do was to finish animating the last few scenes of their animated piece, and then render it.

When we dropped by, the team was focused on the rotoscoping segment of their animation journey.

What is rotoscoping?

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Tech focus: Intel initiatives in Education

December 6th, 2014

The vision of Intel Education’s initiatives is: Empowering Tomorrow’s Innovators. Here’s a peek into how Intel is plugging into the education scene.

From left: Eileen Lento, Ph.D; John Galvin; Sam Al-Schamma - key education advocates and leaders in Intel.

From left: Eileen Lento, Ph.D; John Galvin; Sam Al-Schamma – key education advocates and leaders in Intel.

To most people, including myself, Intel is the leading chip maker that manufactures the processors in the computers that we use.

The company is also heavily involved in helping educational organisations and government bodies harness technology to reinvent teaching and learning for the younger generation.

I had the pleasure of listening to key executives in Intel Education over lunch earlier this week during the Bett Asia Leadership Summit in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands.

John Galvin – a vice president of the Sales and Marketing Group and general manager of Intel Education at Intel Corporation – hosted the lunch and shared his experience in setting global strategy and implementation of innovative technology solutions to advance education worldwide.

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New arrivals: Samsung GALAXY Tab Active ruggedised tablet

December 5th, 2014

The new 8-inch, Android 4.4 (KitKat) ruggedised tablet is now available in Singapore at S$698 (LTE) and S$598 (Wi-Fi).

The Samsung GALAXY Tab Active is available in Titanium Green and it comes with the Ruggedized Cover and the “C Pen”.

The Samsung GALAXY Tab Active is available in Titanium Green and it comes with the Ruggedized Cover and the “C Pen”.

Samsung has launched its first ruggedised tablet, with anti-shock protection to withstand a 1.2-metre drop (with ruggedised cover on); and water/dust resistant to IP67 certification.

The GALAXY Tab Active is developed specifically for the business environment with professional functionalities and reinforced security.

Weighing 393g and measuring 213.1 x 126.2 x 9.75mm, the tablet has 1.5GB RAM and 16GB memory, with MicroSD slot for a further 128GB.

The GALAXY Tab Active is driven by a 1.2GHz Quad Core processor and powered by a 4,450mAh user replaceable battery.

The following accessories are also available for purchase with the GALAXY Tab Active:

  • Gear Circle (SM-R130) available in Black, Blue and White at S$168.
  • 9500mAh Battery Pack (EB-PN910) available in Black and White at S$128.
  • USB/LAN Hub (ET-UP900) at S$98.

The 8-inch WXGA (1280 x 800) TFT LCD touch screen has 16 million colours.

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Anime Festival Asia 2014 announces updates on regional plans

December 4th, 2014

Collaborations with key industry heavyweights will see AFA debuting in Thailand as part of SEA’s largest popular culture festival in May 2015.  Photos in this article are courtesy of Anime Festival Asia 2014.

(from second left to right) Koichiro Natsume (CEO, Aniplex Inc. and Founder of Anime Japan); Shawn Chin (SOZO’s Founder, Managing Director and Anime Festival Asia’s Executive Festival Director); Ongard Prapakamol (BEC-Tero True Visions’ Managing Director); and Hidetoshi Takigawa (South East Asia Region Head, Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong Limited Singapore Branch).

(from second left to right) Koichiro Natsume (CEO, Aniplex Inc. and Founder of Anime Japan); Shawn Chin (SOZO’s Founder, Managing Director and Anime Festival Asia’s Executive Festival Director); Ongard Prapakamol (BEC-Tero True Visions’ Managing Director); and Hidetoshi Takigawa (South East Asia Region Head, Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong Limited Singapore Branch).

Industry partners spoke during the press preview for AFA 2014 in Singapore which takes place at Suntec City starting tomorrow till Sunday (5-7 December).

Key announcements include:

  • AFA: AFA announced a partnership with BEC-Tero True Visions (BTTV), a joint venture company formed by Thailand’s largest pay TV operator True Visions and the country’s largest concert and live events promoter BEC-Tero – to grow the popular culture markets in Thailand and Indonesia. AFA Thailand will be held with Bangkok Comic Con in April 2015, with an event in Indonesia slated subsequently.
  • Sony PlayStation: PlayStation is celebrating its 20th Anniversary and has unveiled the limited PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition and an online contest.
  • Anime Japan: Anime Japan 2015, to be held on 21st and 22nd March 2015, will work together with AFA to cross-promote and introduce AFA to visitors during the event. Anime Japan 2015 will feature a new area to target trade visitors keen to discuss business collaborations and programmes.
HoriPro artistes May’n and Hayato Kakizawa, who plays Light in the musical Death Note that's premiering in Japan in 2015.

HoriPro artistes May’n and Hayato Kakizawa, who plays Light in the musical Death Note that’s premiering in Japan in 2015.

Below are more details from the press release.

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Sony announces PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition

December 3rd, 2014

Only 12,300 units of the limited edition PS4 will be available worldwide. It will be priced SGD689 in Singapore, IDR7,399,000 in Indonesia, RM1,779 in Malaysia, PHP26,999 in The Philippines, and THB20,990 in Thailand.

Update from AFA 2014 (4 December, 2014):

There will be a “PlayStation 20th Anniversary Online Contest” for customers in Southeast Asia to get a chance to win a purchase pass to buy the PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition.

The contest will be held from 4th December to 21st December, 2014.

Customers can log in to the “PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Website” from now on and register to participate in the contest within this period.

The participants will need to use their creativity to express why they should be given the purchase pass to buy the PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition.

They can share any photo or video on Instagram to celebrate PlayStation 20th Anniversary with a specific hashtag.

The themes can be:

  • Your special PlayStation collection
  • Your best moment with PlayStation
  • PlayStation related cosplay
  • Anything you can think of!

All winners will be determined by the number of likes on Instagram (50%) and selected by a judging panel according to creative, inspiring and styling factors (50%).

An appearance reminiscent of the original PS: The PlayStation 4(PS4) system, Wireless Controller (DUALSHOCK 4), PlayStation Camera, vertical stand and the mono headset all come in “Original Gray,” a limited color that replicates that of the original console.  The PS family mark labels are on the PS4 system, DUALSHOCK 4, and PlayStation Camera. The combination of colors is similar to that of the original PS.

An appearance reminiscent of the original PS: The PlayStation 4(PS4) system, Wireless Controller (DUALSHOCK 4), PlayStation Camera, vertical stand and the mono headset all come in “Original Gray,” a limited color that replicates that of the original console. The PS family mark labels are on the PS4 system, DUALSHOCK 4, and PlayStation Camera. The combination of colors is similar to that of the original PS.

The number 12,300 reflects the launch date of the original PlayStation on 3rd December, 1994.

The PS4 itself as well as the surface of the DUALSHOCK 4 controller’s touch pad are embossed with the  “△2○×□” pattern, a special arrangement of the “△○×□” logo mark with  “○” resembling the number “0” to indicate the 20th anniversary.

The PS4 itself as well as the surface of the DUALSHOCK 4 controller’s touch pad are embossed with the “△2○×□” pattern, a special arrangement of the “△○×□” logo mark with “○” resembling the number “0” to indicate the 20th anniversary.

The limited edition PS4 – which resembles the original PlayStation – and included accessories will come in “Original Gray” colour, packaged in a special commemorative box.

The original PlayStation was the first home console in video game history to reach a milestone of over 100 million units in cumulative worldwide shipments.

The limited edition PS4 offers a sense of nostalgia to long-time PlayStation fans, while also providing a fresh experience to those who never picked up the original console.

The PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition includes the following:

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N.E.mation! 9: Mid-production spotlight on wasd (#NE9C10)

December 2nd, 2014

This week, Commonwealth Secondary School’s wasd powers full-steam ahead in the production of their SAF-themed animation masterpiece. Erin Tan was on site to get to know the team members and to get the latest updates on their progress.

The team, wasd, with their mascot - Penguin the penguin.

The team, wasd, with their mascot – Penguin the penguin.

Last Friday, we visited N.E.mation! team wasd, working studiously away in their cubicle in Nanyang Polytechnic.

They have been keeping very strictly to their schedule, as created for them by their mentor, and have made much progress in the making of their animation piece.

Niger and Zhi Qing talking enthusiastically about their progress of the previous week.

Niger and Zhi Qing talking enthusiastically about their progress of the previous week.

So far, the team has been able to finish most of the animation sequence, and were able to show us a fully-coloured, fully-animated sample of the final animation.

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N.E.mation! 9: Production Week 2 for Elemonators (#NE9CO5)

December 1st, 2014

CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School team Elemonators are working away diligently at creating their animation piece. Erin reports.

Leanne and Esther of the Elemonators hard at work!

Leanne and Esther of the Elemonators hard at work!

Last Friday, we visited Elemonators in their cubicle in Nanyang Polytechnic.

Their mascot bears, courtesy of Leanne. They accompany and motivate the team on this difficult journey towards animation stardom!

Their mascot bears, courtesy of Leanne. They accompany and motivate the team on this difficult journey towards animation stardom!

This being the middle of the 3-week production phase, the Elemonators are going at full gear with their animation.

Notes jotted down about 'pegging' - placed on the wall of Elemonators' cubicle for easy reference.

Notes jotted down about ‘pegging’.

It’s not all work and no play though, as the team had lots of fun, socialising with the rest of the participants and teams in NEmation, especially the team (Millennium Dragons, also from St Nicholas Girls’ School) in the cubicle next to theirs.

A common pastime was taking group photos in their workspace, with the assistance of members from other teams.

It appears that NEmation has been a great platform for them to socialise with people from other schools and standards, and gain new friends!

The team is creating a digital 2D animation sequence using Toom Boom Studio, based on the premise of four people performing acts of kindness for people around them, and in doing so, inspiring others to be kind too.

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LG CSR – Creating smiles one photo at a time

November 28th, 2014

Earlier this year, LG Singapore worked with three individuals – a photographer, a doctor and a pharmacist – to provide Pocket Photos, LG’s smart mobile printers, for a self-directed medical mission where they provided free medical care to the people living in the slums in Chennai, India.

The delighted looks on the faces of the kids were priceless when they saw the prints of their photos.

The delighted looks on the faces of the kids were priceless when they saw the prints of their photos. Photo credit: LG Electronics.

How did the the Pocket Photos help?

The LG Pocket Photo 2 (PD239) was a huge attraction and helped to break the ice with the local people and keep them entertained as they queued to seek medical treatment.

The photos served as ice-breakers to help remove the reserve of the locals towards the volunteers.

The photos served as ice-breakers to help remove the reserve of the locals towards the volunteers. Photo credit: LG Electronics.

The locals loved to be photographed and were mesmerised that something as small as a portable battery pack was able to print photos instantly.

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