I hope all of you who drove through the super-expensive Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) enjoyed your view of the tunnel walls.
The Marina Congested Expressway has now given everyone a chance to be stuck in a jam 25m under the sea, as hapless drivers get confused coming in from the ECP and Benjamin Sheares bridge only to find no through roads to the AYE.
Hey, it's the most expensive expressway we've ever built so it must be good, right?
Maybe a little more money spent in public education and awareness would've helped prevent this mornings traffic chaos, methinks.
Day 2 of the MCE: The above image is the cab fare of one commuter from Bishan to Marina Bay Financial Centre after the taxi driver got lost three times.
I think for that money, you could fly to KL already. And in less time.
Personally, I think MCE is so named because after you drove on it today, tomorrow you will take MC.
Anyway, what makes you think the MCE was meant to ease your traffic woes, dear driver?
It was built to reclaim prime CBD land for further development. Your driving experience is secondary. Now it is even HARDER to drive from the ECP to AYE. Fun times.
Me: "It was a pain to set up but with the new Blu-ray player, I can finally screen higher-resolution versions of the movies the kids like to watch."
Wife: "Er… ok."
Me: "I lost you there, right?"
Wife: "Ya. But I'm sure it's a good thing you're doing for them."
Fathers show their love for their kids in different ways, I suppose.
You know, Santa would have a really hard time delivering presents in our chimney-less HDB flats. Maybe he will use the rubbish chute. Also, Santa will probably die of heat stroke flying through our heat and humidity in his red wooly jacket.
We tried to get some zhichar dinner but WLE!
Today is the day many people didn't go out, I think, but didn't want to cook. Which explains the full HDB car parks and crowded kopitiams.
The zhichar stall really "Ho! Ho! Ho!" seh liao lor.
On the first day of operations, the Downtime, er, Downtown Line broke down (it was called a "temporary disruption"), thereby setting a new record in breaking down. Fortunately, it was a free ride day (free till Jan 1 2014).
There is no evidence that the Downtown Line was unhappy with its working conditions when it broke down on Day 1.
Oddly, when PM took a ride on the line on Saturday, it was working fine. Perhaps PM needs to take our trains more often, so that the trains don't break down for the rest of us.
[image via MCI]
As my friend WK pointed out, perhaps this disruption only proves that the Downtown Line was not designed to operate for free.
In my last SONOS post, I talked about using the SONOS system to play music all over my home. Today, I'm going to share some of my experiences using the SONOS wireless speaker system as a home theatre.
My big screen TV in the living room doesn't have great sound (hey, tiny speakers inside the TV, what to do?), so I wanted to see if adding the SONOS Playbar would help.
With nine speakers inside, the Playbar really made my TV sound good. The Playbar connected to my TV with an optical cable and the only other cable was the power cord. The Playbar also wirelessly and painlessly became part of my SONOS speaker network.
By itself, the Playbar already had very decent TV sound. You may be able to get better separation with a left and right speaker setup but this one-piece solution works fine and can be wall-mounted or placed on a console, taking up very little space. It also looks quite sleek.
My next experiment was to add the SONOS Sub to the mix. Woah, what a difference. Suddenly my Playbar with the Sub was a 3:1 system (Left-Centre-Right and Subwoofer). I could place the Sub anywhere in the living room, as long as it was near a power socket, because the Sub talks to the Playbar wirelessly too.
Then I took two Play:3s and set them up behind my sofa. Instant 5:1 home system! I was in surround heaven as I played back some of my movies on my Apple TV. You can get 5:1 surround even with HD channels on your cable box, as long as the show is broadcast in 5:1 surround.
Again, the Play:3s as left and right rear speakers were easy to set up because they are wireless but just make sure you are near a power socket. I used the SONOS app to add and set up all the home theatre stuff very easily. The app even help me optimize the system based on how near or far my speakers were from the viewing area.
Another really neat feature was how the app helped to pair my TV's remote control to the Playbar. I then disabled the TV speakers from my TV setup, and the TV remote now controls the volume of the Playbar instead.
During the times the Play:3s were not used as rear speakers for the home theatre system, I moved them to the bedrooms to be used there. It was nice to have dual-duty wireless speakers. The Play:1s can also be used as rear speakers.
If you have a TV that doesn't have enough HDMI ports, and you own multiple devices, like a PS4, Xbox One, Blu-ray player, Cable Set-top box, and an Apple TV, you can solve the problem with an HDMI port switcher. My Monoprice one has four HDMI inputs and one HDMI out (to the TV), and an optical Toslink output (to the Playbar). This lets you connect all your devices without needed a big AV receiver.
You can place the Playbar lying down or standing up but I found the sound to be better when the Playbar was standing on its thin end.
One caveat with the Playbar as a home theatre system: it currently supports Dolby Digital 5:1 and not DTS or Dolby TrueHD. But my Apple TV, Netflix, and cable tv provider broadcasts in Dolby Digital 5:1 anyway, and many of the movies I own support both DTS and Dolby Digital 5:1.
My kids are now used to hearing the sound quality coming out of the TV via the Playbar and the rest of the SONOS system in the living room (and the wife plays music out of them too). I am not sure if I can unhook the Playbar after this review without some kind of revolt now.
You can win yourself a SONOS Playbar! Contest details at the SONOS SE Asia Facebook fanpage: http://mrbrwn.co/SONOSmb4 (Link works from desktop browsers only, not mobile)
Contest ends on the 31st of December, 2013. Go join now and win that Playbar!
Update: The winner is Christina Lim Peck Hwee! Congrats!
MDA vs Bertha Henson vs Cherian George vs The Real Singapore (who believe "Bertha Henson is just a government mouthpiece to facilitate the government to clamp down the real alternative medias out there." Correction: it was said by a Melanie Tan, a TRS reader. I stand corrected -mb)
Miyagi told me the whole thing is more complicated than a Trade Federation plot.
Indeed when it all started, it was Star Wars: A New Hope.
Then The MDA Strikes Back.
Then The Return of the Cherian.
Then The Henson Menace.
Then Attack of the TRS Clones
Then Revenge of the Shift-ing Goalposts.
In the end, Darth MDA wants you to know, They Are Your Father.
There is a scene in the animated movie, The Wiggles: Space Dancing, where visiting aliens, the Zeezaps, befriend a herd of cows and practise their English on them by saying, "How do you do? We come as friends. You have beautiful eyes."
It is one of Faith's favorite DVDs and she has watched it a gazillion times.
Today, while the movie was playing, she jumped on me (she is quite heavy now, my 12-year-old autistic daughter!) and hugged me, saying "ew tee fooo".
A rare word from her. I'm not sure if we will hear it again from her but still…
And so the Breakfast Network farce continues, as MDA announces that the site cannot operate on Facebook and Twitter too:
"As socio-political news site Breakfast Network has decided not to register with the Media Development Authority (MDA), the company must cease online services including its Facebook page and Twitter feeds, the regulator said on Friday in a media statement."
Here is a Top Ten List of other things I foresee the MDA won't allow the Breakfast Network to do:
1. MDA says Breakfast Network cannot even have a Whatsapp group chat.
2. MDA says Breakfast Network cannot talk and have breakfast in a coffee shop.
3. MDA says Breakfast Network cannot take taxi and talk to taxi drivers about socio-political issues.
4. MDA says Breakfast Network cannot use Friendster or MySpace, even though no one does, already.
5. MDA says Breakfast Network cannot post emo F*ckyeah Breakfast photos on Tumblr.
Breakfast Networkis was a socio-political news and commentary site run and founded by former journalist Bertha Henson. I didn't always agree with everything on the site but the pieces were well-written and reasonable.
The MDA asked them to register under the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification and after looking at the onerous forms and criteria that the Gahmen (or The G, as Bertha likes to call Them), asked them to fill, the Breakfast Network decided not to register and close the site instead.
When I first heard that Breakfast Network was shutting down in response to the licensing, I tweeted:
"The Gahmen response will probably be: "We nair shut down Breakfast Network what. We asked them to register only. They chose to ownself close one!"
"The Media Development Authority (MDA) said it will require that socio-political commentary website Breakfast Network cease its online service. That is because Breakfast Network has decided not to submit its registration form, said an MDA spokesman on Tuesday."
You can see for yourself the number of forms and the kind of info the MDA wanted from the Breakfast Network at this link. Ask yourself, would YOU register under these circumstances?
I think the MDA should change their name to Media Destruction Authority. I don't see any development here, just shackles and rules designed to ensure only the "right" kind of content (the kind The G approves of) get seen. Cherian George weighs in too, and I agree with him that the Singapore Gahmen's "light touch" era is over.
You can still read Breakfast Network at their Facebook page. In the meantime, you can always enjoy other alternative news sources like TRS and STOMP.
I will leave you with a haiku for the guys at Breakfast Network:
No Breakfast Network
Because The G only drinks