Ipoh Flea Market

I was in Ipoh this morning with virtualmystic to check out their flea market. Rumour has it that the flea market contains antiques and old stuff, including vinyls and technology from the yesteryears. It is also said that some things from there are stolen goods. Judging from the number of car players for sale, I won’t be surprised if that’s true. The flea market is located on Horley Road and Lim Bo Seng Road. Your GPS should be able to bring you there. If not, nearby landmarks include the Ipoh City Hotel, Grand View Hotel and The Store shopping center.

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The first part of the flea market we visited sold mainly new and modern things, not unlike your local nightmarket. The other part sells almost everything under the sun. We were interested in that part.

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Items for sale includes (clockwise from top) very old PC parts, parts from a bike, engine parts.

The things that you can find here is amazing. If you ever need something, this is the place to go to. It’s like a junkyard, a tinker’s heaven.

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New and sealed floppy disks! Each holds an amazing 1.44 MEGABYTES!!! WOW!!!1111. Also seen here: ping pong bat, ADSL modem, PSP casing, socks. Very random.

The flea market also doubles as a free history museum. You can should bring your children there to educate them about the olden days. I’m sure they will be amazed by how people used to live without computers, mp3 and the Internet.

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Assorted parts.

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Assorted car parts.

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Here they have a collection of old tape players and amplifiers.

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Old telephones, second hand tools, hi-fi sets and lamps. I even saw a chainsaw for sale. Perfect for Halloween. Not sure if they will allow that into a party.

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Again, a lot of assorted parts. I saw hundreds of Sony Walkmans for sale. Perhaps they will become more expensive over time since Sony has announced that they will discontinue making them.

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Memory Lane. How true. “Macam-macam ada” (assorted selection).

Really enjoyed the trip there. There were so many things to see. Like I said earlier, it’s like a museum, and I absolutely love looking at old stuff. Things that you may be able to buy here (other than the ones mentioned above): clothes, shoes, belts, old books, magazines, kerosene lamps, very old handphones (think Nokia 3310 and before), electrical items from the colonial era, 8-track, audiotapes, CDs, finished liquor bottles and cases, old cameras, video cameras, knives, broken guitar necks (no idea why anyone would want one), and almost anything that you can think of.

I got a few vinyls for my recently acquired turntable. Managed to get the Carpenters, Bee Gees and a Beatles’ single for bargain prices.

Later we had lunch at Kong Heng chicken rice shop.

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Amazing white coffee.

All photos here taken with an iPhone 4. Didn’t bring my D90.

Will be posting up my Melaka trip weeks ago with Zoe Yve soon. Stay tuned!

Technics SL-2000 Turntable

Being a sucker for old technology, I recently acquired an old Technics SL-2000 turntable. It was introduced in 1977 but I have no idea how old mine is. Either way, it still runs well and cosmetically still 9/10.

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My current setup. Playing Elton John’s greatest hits.

Unlike modern turntables, this turntable didn’t come with a built-in phono preamplifier. This means you cannot just connect it directly to a speaker. You will need a phono preamp stage to amplify the cartridge’s output to a higher voltage level that is suitable for the speaker input. Initially when I decided that I wanted a turntable, I had planned to build my own preamp (which I am still going to do) because turntables need a specialized preamp. This has something to do with the RIAA equalization curve. Basically it has something to do with how they cut the records. Read more about this here and here. Instructions on how to build your own phono preamp can be found here.

However, when I met up with the guy who was selling the turntable, we got into an engaging conversation on amplifiers, turntables and music. As we both had electrical backgrounds, there was plenty to talk about. He had tons of old stuff lying around his place, and 2 working tube amplifiers. When he asked me what amplifier I was going to be using, I told him I haven’t got one yet. So he told me I could have one that he had lying around. It needed a small simple repair to the electronics, but other than that it was working fine. It pays to be friendly!

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The Sansui AU-101. According to this site, it was manufactured between 1973-75.

Mine is missing the top cover, 5 knobs and it has a broken “speakers” switch. I can source the knobs easily, but replacing the broken switch would probably require me to invent a time machine. The interesting thing about this amplifier is that it doesn’t use chips. Expected since it was designed in the 70s.  But it works great and sounds good. I’m currently using it to amplify the signal from the turntable and feeding it to my Labtec 2.1 computer speakers. I haven’t been able to find affordable bookshelf speakers for this amplifier yet.

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The white dots on the turntable platter is used to adjust the speed and to determine if the turntable is running at the correct RPM.

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The orange light is a stroboscope. If the turntable is running at the correct speed, the dots should remain stationary. Home fluorescent lights work too since they flicker at line frequency too.

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These are the two adjustments for the tone arm. The chrome cylinder object is a counterweight and is used to balance the arm while the anti-skating knob below is to prevent the needle from having too much tendency to move towards the center of the platter. The counterweight is now set to 1.75 which means that the force of the needle on the record is now 1.75 grams. This may not seem very high, but due to the small area of the needle, this can translate to 340 pounds per square inch on the record grooves!

It’s actually quite easy to adjust the counterweight and anti-skating control. With the arm free, adjust the counterweight until it balances the arm nicely. This means that the arm should maintain level when free. After that, turn the black dial so zero aligns with the mark on the top of the arm. You align it with zero because right now there is exactly zero grams of downforce on the needle (since the arm is balanced). Now you can turn the counterweight for the proper downforce. In the photo above, I had mine set to 1.75 grams.

According to the SL-2000 manual, the anti-skating knob is set to the same value as the needle downforce.

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Next comes the alignment of the needle. There are actually lots of resources online teaching people on how to align their cartridge for the best result. You can read them up here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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Simply put, the needle must be perpendicular to the surface of the record and aligned with the grooves of the record.

I’m still trying to get used to skipping records, getting up every 25 minutes or so to flip the record, and not being able to put a song on repeat or album on random. I absolutely adore the convenience modern technology has brought us, but I’m constantly in awe of how previous generations get along without them. Hence my obsession with old stuff.

More to come!

How to Install Win95 on an iPad

This tutorial will teach you how to install Windows 95 on your iPad. It runs on an emulated environment so performance is very bad. This is just a proof of concept, not a practical application.

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Windows 95 booting up on the iPad.

Things you’ll need:

  1. Mobile Terminal. You can get this from Cydia (source: cydia.xsellize.com).
  2. bochs.deb file.

Installation Instructions:

  1. Transfer the bochs.deb file that you have downloaded to /tmp on your iPad. You can use WinSCP.
  2. Run Mobile Terminal on your iPad.
  3. Type “login” and login to “root” using password “alpine” (if you haven’t changed it).
  4. Type “dpkg -i /tmp/bochs.deb“. This will install bochs.
  5. Once installation is complete, type “killall SpringBoard” to restart springboard. Capitalization is important.
  6. You will see a new bochs icon on your iPad. Run it.

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Bochs comes “pre-installed” with Win95 and Win3.11.

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Everything works. You scroll around using the touch screen.

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Resolution support is bad though.

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Solitaire is not a game that you want to play on an iPad.

Although booting Windows 95 on an iPad is cool, it’s not very practical. The emulation is very slow and it takes almost 3 minutes to boot Windows 95. Performance in Windows is also sluggish. I would estimate that the emulator is capable of about 33Mhz of CPU speed because it feels slower than my very old computer (66Mhz DX2).

Here’s someone doing the installation and demoing it:

DSLR Mirror and Shutter Mechanism

This is what happens when a photo is taken on a Nikon D3.

A series of events happen:

  1. The mirror is raised, and at the same time the aperture of the lens is adjusted according to the camera’s settings (f/16).
  2. The shutter moves across the image sensor. At 1/4000, you can see that the shutter moves to expose a small slit of light to the sensor only. A slit is produced because at such high speeds (1/4000), the rear curtain must start moving before the front curtain completely exposes the image sensor. This is why normal flash sync will not work. If you use normal flash sync at such speeds, you will get photos like these.
  3. After the rear curtain has traveled across the image sensor, the mirror starts to go down, and at the same time the aperture of the lens is opened up to maximum (f/1.4 in this case).
  4. The camera is now ready for another shot.

At normal speeds the mirror and shutter action is almost impossible to study. Also because of the high speed operation, the shutter and mirror mechanism must be well engineered to last long. A high end camera’s shutter can usually last for about 100,000-150,000 actuations.

Aerial Photos from Extra 260

Here are some aerial photos we took from the Extra 260. These are screenshots from the video but I won’t post the video because I got nauseous after watching it for a few minutes. It was moving and turning too fast.

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That’s where I parked my car (middle right, black sedan) near the guard post.

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Sewage treatment plant nearby. Doesn’t look very pleasant with the green algae filled pond.

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Some houses near the main road.

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If you look carefully on the right of the photo above, you can see the Subang Airport runway! Unfortunately air traffic control won’t allow us to land there. No I didn’t ask.

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Someone on a bike and someone walking on the walkway.

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Deforestation. I think.

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Still a lot of green here :D

I would love to put a small compact camera on board to get some better shots. But we need to sort out the weight issue to do that.

On other news, we have ordered a FPV video unit. This means that very soon we will be able to stream live video from the cockpit and fly the plane as if we are in the cockpit. It will be like flying a real plane, minus the cost, risks and G-forces. If the plane crashes, you won’t die. Reminds me of the movie Surrogates. Stay tuned for that.