Confirmed, No KitKat for SP


Read these first:-

Sigh, it was not a big surprise though…

Seeing how other (newer & higher model) Sony models are getting their firmware updates to Android KitKat but not the Xperia SP, I had long suspected that Sony in the end will not deploy Kitkat to SP model. And today my suspicion has been confirmed:-

Sony Mobile has this morning confirmed that the Xperia SP will not be upgraded to Android KitKat

(Source)

Not that I am desperate for an upgrade to Kitkat as the Jelly Bean v4.3 works just perfectly and handles my usual use of the phone without any problems. But if I decide to move on to Kitkat in the near future, all is not lost as I still would have an avenue to update Xperia SP to Kitkat via CyanogenMod (details here)

But not at the moment…

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Bootloops, Internet & Shitty Service Center


(A short break from a post on MH370 – we are still hopeful of finding the wreck and getting to the bottom of the reason why the plane went missing. Looking at the various flip-flop statements coming out from the politicians, there is little doubt why countries like China is whacking Malaysia left right and center and now we have the criminals from the South of Philippines kidnapping tourists from Sabah under the very nose of ESSCOM. Another case of someone sleeping on the job?)

It happened once when I still had my trusted N8 and not surprisingly it has happened again

Well, it started with this:-

Swedish developer Knowit Mobile already has a number of Xperia Themes in the Google Play Store. It has now released seven more, which includes three freebies. You won’t find these themes through Sony Select right now, so you’ll have to go direct to the Google Play Store. You will find links to the Play Store and pictures of each of the new themes below.

(Source)

You know me, I soon get bored with the existing themes and seeing one that seemed to be custom made for Xperia (and seemed to be endorsed by Sony and it is in Google Play), this new set of themes looked very tempting.

snow

(I love the icons at the bottom – it was a very cool theme but unfortunately with a hidden time bomb. Image source: Google Play)

However I then made 2 mistakes.

Mistake No. 1 – Changing the standard Xperia themes to something else when the standard themes are already working well and perfectly. Why fix something when it is not broken, eh?

Mistake No. 2 – Not reading further into the post above and read the readers comments. Otherwise I would have discovered that there is something wrong with this theme.

I had installed some of the themes and it was working well until one fine morning, I noticed there was still one theme I have not installed – Winter Snow. It looked great too. It looked alright when I installed the theme and nothing looked out of the ordinary as I navigated the various functions on my phone with the new theme installed. I have installed plenty of apps before but nothing wrong have happened.

Anyway after the new theme installed, I just placed my phone on the side and continued with my work. A couple of minutes later, I noticed something from the corner of my eyes – the phone was restarting. I don’t know why it restarted. It usually happens when there is a major upgrade but there was none for the day. I waited for it to restart but something was not right – it restarts and then half way, it stops and restarts again. This goes on and on. I know then I was in trouble. And I know that the new theme must be screwing things up and thus I had to uninstall it.

For a moment, I panicked and was cursing myself. I quickly checked on the internet on how to stop this insane restart and how to do a hard reset or start on a safe mode. No matter how many times I press on the power on and the volume down (with different sequences), nothing changed. After a couple of attempts unsuccessfully, I gave up. The only choice left was to bring it to the Sony authorized service center. I checked on Sony’s website – the nearest one was either at KLCC or Mid Valley. Then I noticed there was another service center near Sunway (their out-sourced authorized service center). I decided to try my luck there as it was nearer – I urgently needed my phone to make calls and at the moment, I only had a faulty phone that was booting in a loop and could not be shut off (it was getting warmer too).

I rushed to the nearest service center  and noticed that there was only 1 customer at the waiting area. I saw one lady at the counter and so I walked over and showed my phone to the lady at the counter. She was lazily looked at my phone and then looked at me. What she said next made me speechless for a moment – they don’t handle smartphones. Apparently they handle all other items made by Sony but not smartphones (but that was not what I saw on the Sony’s website). I thought she was pulling a fast one on me. I insisted that she call a technician and take a look nonetheless. She reverted that even they assist me on this, it will take 1 – 2 months for the phone to be fixed.

She asked me to go to KLCC instead and she gave me a number to call. That was not acceptable and I persisted for someone OTHER than her (one look at her told me that she is not a tech savvy) to give my faulty phone a look but nothing moved. Ya, you can call it Mistake No. 3.  It had all the element of “tidak apa” written on the wall. So I decided that there was no point talking to this lady at the counter and try my luck with the service center at KLCC over the weekends. That means a couple of days without my smartphone but it looks like I had no other choice.

I was angry for wasting my time with the so-called service center and feeling very frustrated, I went back to the internet, hoping that someone out there, some where in the world would have faced the same problem and managed to find a workable solution. Another trip to the Sony Mobile website for trouble shooting and tips however did not do anything to resolve the problem. I was back to square one and the phone was getting even warmer by now. I was beginning to get worry and Yoda’s statement on the dark side of the force echoed in my mind – “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering”? I was suffering indeed.

I tried a different key words in the Google Search and then something positive showed up:-

Hi, speak from Brazil.

I’m here to warn you guys that the themes of Sony, those new (cute) themes simple put our Xperia SP to bootloop, don’t use them in any circumstances.

I’ve made a lot of test in the firmware 12.1.0.266 and when i put any of those damn themes and turn off my phone, it just enter in bootloop mode when i try to turn it on again.

Then i have to use SUS to recovery phone.

I’ll repeat

DO NOT USE THE NEW THEMES IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
UNFORTUNATELY SONY MESSED UP OUT PHONE.

just want to warn you guys, sorry about the English.

(Source)

At last a light at the end of the tunnel!

The only way available now was using the SUS program (Sony Update Service) but that would erase all data & installed programs at the same time. Between the phone kept booting up unsuccessfully and causing me to miss my calls and SMSes & leaving with no other choice but to take time to go to the Sony service center at KLCC and me losing the data in the phone, I decided to go for the latter.

I downloaded and then powered up SUS and there was some moments before SUS were able to detect the phone (I misread the steps provided by SUS and cause the phone not detected). Then it took about 5 minutes for SUS to download Android 4.3 for Xperia SP and installed it. My phone then recovered and able to boot normally. It was missing all my phone contacts, apps and SMS logs – 2 of it (contacts & SMS logs) were easily restored using my earlier backup using Sony PC Companion. The apps on the hand will take some time to be updated to the level before I hit the problem in the morning. But at the end of the day, the phone was back to normal and I need not go to KLCC.

The internet is indeed a great place to look for information and tips and saves a whole load of trouble with the service centers. The solution on the internet solves my boot loop problem in less than 10 minutes – a far cry from the 1 – 2 months that the lady mentioned to me.

Old Photos – Part 3


Before we proceed with this week’s short post, there are 3 things I wanted to say aloud.

First is Waytha, after the hunger strike stunt that he pulled before the elections and got his MOU with Najib had now resigned – he rightfully deserved it, if you ask me. The way to go is to stop fighting for rights and benefits based on racial lines and do so more on poverty lines so that all races in this country will fairly benefit from it. For that Pakatan’s proposition makes it more favorable and Waytha should have stick to Pakatan and work out the issues from there. We cannot afford to go and go on racial basis on a multi racial country. It however does not change the fact that the Government still need a major overhaul. After all, if the Home Minister can come out and can casually sweeps a threat to slap a Member of the Parliament under the carpet, that says a lot on the present state of the country.

Second is Happy Valentine’s Day. My cousins got busy with their yearly ritual during this time of the year – selling roses near their house (profit margin seems reasonable) and as was last year, the business had been very good. In respect of the occasion, please check out the YouTube video below. The song (from award winning 2010 Tamil movie Angadi Theru) correctly represents on how we look at our better half although we may not say it aloud (sometimes tough men are indeed soft inside).

Third is that I am happy that Sony have finally rolling out Android 4.3 to Sony Xperia SP smartphone. Perhaps a Valentine’s gift? It has been a “long wait” (ha ha, if I had read well on the various comments in Xperia forums) although the existing Android 4.1.2 still worked wonders for me and it was way better than my older Symbian powered N8 in most areas but a firmware update is always welcomed with open arms. I got my phone “upgraded” this morning and so far the first impression of the update – the graphics seems somehow smoother.

Let’s proceed with this week’s post.

Last week, I had an unexpected phone call.

It was from my distant elder cousin who I rarely see these days. He called me and asked if I had Whatsapp. Feeling confused, I slowly said I had the apps (who doesn’t uh?) but clarified that I was not “online” at the moment (I switch on the mobile data only when it is necessary – to check Facebook status, emails or fact finding in Wikipedia). He said he found an old photo of my dad with his siblings and he will send it via Whatsapp. I switched my mobile data on and waited for the photo but nothing happened. But the next day, I got 2 photos sent via Whatsapp. One was a studio photo of my cousin’s mom & dad, taken when they just got married.

old photos1

Another which interest me more was a photo of my dad with his brothers and his father (my grandfather) who looked much younger. I had a photo of my grandfather when he was rather old but not any photos when he was younger. I did not realise that my grandfather from my father’s side had the same flair and style as my grandfather from my mother’s side. I showed the photo to my dad and he could not remember much on the photo other than that it was taken when he was about 14 years old (which meant it was taken in the 1950s). He however pointed out his footwear back then and that was pretty standard (the necktie was borrowed from the studio).

My dad was not sure of the occasion when the photo was taken but it was a rare photo indeed. There is no photo of my dad when he was younger and none had never surfaced in the last 30 years or so. This promptly copied to my old photos collection that I have setup recently (now I have about 30 black & white photos and that collection is growing). My target is to collect as many old photos as possible, before it goes missing, tag them with detailed narration and finally publish them in a dedicated website so that all family members (near & far) would have access to these rare photos.

P.s. Take a look at Part 1 & Part 2 here and here

And now a special video for Valentine:-

Have a good weekend ahead…

The Symbian is FINALLY dead!


I think it was just a matter of time before this happens…

201105211552535012

(Anodised aluminium monocoque case – that is what grabs you when you see a N8 for the first time. That’s what happened to me and it became my first smartphone and it remained until it was clear that it’s OS, Symbian^3 will no longer be developed with new releases. Image source: http://mobilemegamall.com)

My venture to smartphones probably triggered by an incident at a car park – the parking attendant with dirty short pants & flip-flops was updating his status on Facebook with an iPhone. It then occurred to me that the age of smartphone is already here and somehow I had missed catching the boat.

So, back in January 2011, I went back and finally got myself a smartphone. Despite of my friends choosing between Android powered phones and iPhone, I picked Nokia’s flagship phone – the Symbian^3 powered Nokia N8 (which was released in September 2010). After all, back then Nokia was one of the biggest and well-known phone makers out there. Unfortunately despite it coming with a rather impressive set of specifications, something was missing. It took almost 1.5 years for Nokia (I am sure after numerous complaints) to come with the right firmware updates to its robust Symbian OS to move forward the N8 to the level that is in par with the more developed & widely used smartphone OSes – namely Android and iOS. The only let-down of N8 when it comes with comparing with other smartphones out there was on the hardware. N8 had very little RAM, not-so-impressive processing power and a rather bulky design although it fought back hard (and they won hands down) with the very best, fully downloadable Ovi Maps, anodised aluminium monocoque case, Gorilla Glass, AMOLED screen and 12MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens (still remains one of the best cameras in the Nokia line-up – the other is the 41 mega pixel PureView on the 808).

With its last update to Nokia Belle Refresh last year, it remained a good robust smartphone to have – battery storage was not so bad (my friend’s Android smartphone had an even worse power storage despite having a larger battery – but it could be due to Wi-fi) and the onboard maps & GPS came very handy when driving through unfamiliar roads. But it was still lacking when it comes to apps – not that I am complaining much on that (I rarely download anything else but games and I do have a good selection of games that would keep me engaged for hours and without draining the battery drastically). I have dropped the phone a couple of times but it is still working. In the last 2.5 years, the only major problem that I had with this phone was on the power circuits which got “fried” twice and had to be replaced. I have myself to blame for that – as it only happened after a long and heavy usage of the phone on games. So, other than that, it was good enough for call, SMSes, navigation, emails, internet surfing and yes, games.

After Nokia Belle Refresh and despite Nokia fiddling with Microsoft’s Windows Phone in 2011, there was still hope that Nokia will provide on some form of updates now and then for the Symbian^3 OS. But when at the end of 2012 Nokia decided to go full swing on Windows Phone and came up with their new flagship smartphone – the Nokia Lumia 920 which runs on the latest Windows Phone 8 OS, it was clear that Symbian^3 is going to take a back seat and it will be going to be rare to see any form of a solid firmware updates coming along the way anything soon for Symbian phones. It was ageing too and too complicated for quick updates – Symbian turned 16 years old this year but it has not moved that far with innovations.

Read here on the interesting story on Symbian and why it died.

xperia-sp-gallery-06-1240x840-351158f384e37cb15365d91e10256afc.png

(Smartphones these days handles more than just making calls and sending SMSes -we use it to watch videos, listen to music, take photos and videos, surf the net, GPS navigation, check emails, play games and use it as a mobile knowledge tool. Thus it need to have a strong robust hardware and a long lasting battery. Image source: http://www.sonymobile.com)

Yet, I was still happy with my N8 until beginning of this year when my wife’s phone (the much older Nokia 6300 series) started to have battery problems. And she also wanted to move on to the smartphone landscape since all her other siblings are using smartphones as well. So, one night she popped the question – when I am going to change my phone? And lately as her old phone problem started to get worse (and my kids wanting mobile entertainment, games and music) and me always being on the move, it was time for me to look for a new phone – one that does not run on the soon to be dead Symbian.

So I turn and weighed my options and I started with getting the right OS for my next phone. Like my older N8, it came with solid hardware but at end of the day, the OS was stagnant. I turned down Windows Phone 8 from my list outright – firstly it was still new and I am not sure if Nokia or Microsoft will change their directions again in the coming months. It is also claimed to be weak. iOS was popular but since it only runs on an iPhone, it was expensive, inflexible and some of the hardware sucked (I know some of the iPhone fans would differ the thought on this).

And that leaves me with Android and there is a couple of choice of models with various specification and prices to choose from. From the top range HTC and Samsung Galaxy smartphones to some low range CSL smartphones, it would not be easy for me to pick one to replace the sturdy Nokia N8. So, I decided to list down some specifications and then match them with what the market has to offer.

This is what I had in mind – it must run at least the latest Jelly Bean 4.1.2 and it should have a gracious RAM & processing power (a minimum a du0 core and I GB RAM – the Nokia N8 was running a low 256MB RAM but at most time, it was enough). I also do not want to spend too much money on the phone – as technology moves along, the price will come down. So why spend too much on something when there are cheaper alternatives or prices will come down soon.

sony-xperia-sp-02

(Sony Xperia SP is well made, looks beautiful and punch with strong hardware and runs on the popular Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 OS. Image source: http://www.sonymobile.com)

After a while of “research” and comparing the various specifications – I decided on Sony Xperia SP which was launched in Malaysia sometime in April 2013 and comes with an impressive 1.7 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 8 megapixel camera, a sturdy aluminium frame, internal storage of almost 6GB, slot for microSD up to 32GB and a 4.6 inch Gorilla Glass display. It is claimed to be the fastest dual-core phone yet, better in performance than Samsung Galaxy Note II and HTC One X+. It is also claimed to be one of the best mid-price smartphones money can buy.

It also has something that most of the other smartphones out there does not have – light effect so displays different colour light at the bottom notification bar for call & SMS actions (it also lights up for music which looks very cool and it also lights up in red when charging and turns green once it reaches 90% plus charged). Other specifications are pretty much standard with other smartphones out there although I preferred it’s speakers to be on the side instead on the back (same thing on the N8 which muzzles out the sound when the phone is placed on it’s back although in the Xperia SP, the camera lens cover lift enough space for speakers)

And since Malaysia mobile operators are moving ahead with 4G LTE and part of the country can support 4G, Xperia SP already comes with built-in support for 4G & NFC. Compared with some of the other premium phones that support 4G & NFC, Xperia SP seemed to be more affordable too. The official selling price is RM1,299 but some dealers are selling it for RM1,099 (probably after the smartphone rebate of RM200). I am able to use back the Nokia’s USB charger for this phone – so I don’t need to worry about charging the phone which can last for 4 days with its “STAMINA” feature set on (and if I don’t play games or surfing the net).

It is not the end of Symbian though. My older Nokia N8 had found a new owner – my wife who soon got herself busied with the ins and outs of using a smartphone and her grand master on this is not me but rather my son who had also “explored” my new phone even before I could get my hands on it and checked all its features. Symbian somehow lives on if you consider the phone range in the family but for me at least, it is finally dead. It is time for Android and what it can do (or rather what I am going to do with it) in the coming months.

Childhood Memories – Part 24


Read the series here

(The grand daddy of all radio and even entertainment devices – the one that ruled long before we had satellite TV and one good source for news)

I was watching TV a couple nights ago when my wife asked me to “update” her MP3 files in her thumb drive. She heard her favorite song on my car MP3 player and she wanted the same for her car. My son interjected and asked for a specific song from one of the latest Tamil movies. I was kind of speechless – it is kind of interesting how we have moved from radio station only to cassette to CDs to MP3 files these days.

Do you still remember the good old days when you had none of this and you had the good old radio (and that too with a handful of channels available)? I still remember the old radio in one of my relative’s house and I still remember that it was still working and I still remember that there was no cassette player in that old radio.

(Not the same model that we had in my grandma’s house but something similar – it is a premium player. Just imagine 2 huge speakers sticking to this player and you get the idea)

The radio in my grandma’s house was a bit more sophisticated. It only had one cassette player which also came with a radio receiver and something new called “Dolby NR” and it had several dials for bass, treble and balance. For some kids like us, it was akin to driving a space ship. It had huge speakers and for long, it is only used when my uncles were around – it looked too complicated at first but soon we get to know how to work the player, we often use it to listen to music or the news on the radio.

And when we know that it can also record music from the radio, we hunted for old cassettes which were lying in the store-room and inside some of the drawers. We did not know back then but we did override a good number of ever-green and classical Tamil songs. It something we regret of doing now but back then, we did not have cash to buy new empty cassettes and seeing all that cassettes collecting dust in the storeroom and lockers, we decided to reuse them to record songs from the radio. Thankfully, none of it belonged to my uncles’ favorite collection, otherwise we would have been skinned alive.

Back then, we did not have THR Raaga or 20 plus radio stations but we had Radio FM Stereo (in addition to the sole Tamil radio channel) and in particular, it’s “Pilihan Bersama” radio program (still remember it?). It was my favorite because you get the best songs here and in FM stereo too (a rather new piece of technology back then). I recall recording the songs on the same cassettes several times over several nights – not all songs were played in complete and marking initial “BRC” on the cover to mark those cassettes that I have recorded.

(Portable, low powered and often found in many of the kitchens – providing music and news for the ladies of the house. Low tech and cheap simple speaker – it is hardly the loud music machine one would expect it to be)

That is when I am at grandma’s house. Back at home we only had a small cheap radio transistor which came with one cassette player (which we did not use much because we did not enough cassettes and also because the recordings was bad) and with one speaker. But since we listened to the radio more, the cassette player was rarely used. That radio stayed with us for a couple of years until one day it simply went broke.

(The almost exact model that my Dad bought for the house with just a small difference – this model seems to have a couple extra buttons and this time we had a real high tech machine with 2 cassette decks, removable speakers, separate bass booster, equalizers and digital radio station search. It would have been perfect if my Dad had bought the one that came with CD player as well but it was OK – this model was more than enough for us)

It was time for another radio and by now, CD players were making the headlines and I knew that I had convinced my Dad to buy one with a CD player if he decides to replace the broken radio with a newer one. I was away when my Dad went with my brother to buy a new radio so it was not a big surprise when they came back with a model that did not come with any CD player. Damn! That was my initial reaction – I guess our first encounter with a CD player had to wait for now (CDs back then were too expensive anyway). But the new radio – a Panasonic came with 2 cassette players (which meant I can copy cassette from another with ease), equalizers, a whole load of automation and good 4 speakers. We really handled the radio with great care – it was new and we knew that my Dad paid for it in installments and with a hole in his pockets.

(Sony brand Walkmans was expensive but we always had cheaper alternatives and Aiwa brand was one of them and you can get from a range of the cheapest of all with simple mechanism, low tech and all the way to expensive high tech models. You won’t find Aiwa brand these days, it almost went bankrupt and was acquired by Sony in 2002)

In between, we were introduced to something called Walkman – at first, by borrowing from well-to-do relatives and later, by collecting money to buy one our own, I bought one – my first portable radio many years later. It was an Aiwa brand and it was good and was helpful when I was doing my studies at home. My brother found a broken radio, took out it from the shell, found an old speaker and managed to get it work and we often hear it late at night – in particular Casey Kasem’s American’s Top 40 and another (I can’t recall the name) where the DJ reads listeners’ problems and then provide the relevant advises.

One fine day, we got a call from our uncle – he said he had something for us and will be dropping by to pass it to us. It was a radio but there was a built-in CD player. Apparently his friend was moving out and decided to pass his radio to my uncle. My uncle who already had a radio on his own decided to pass it to us. We were excited and immediately hooked up the radio and tested the CD player (the funny thing was we tried to do that at first without any CDs – it was dumb of us). So, after inspecting the player for some time, we decided that we need to have a CD to test and see if it is working or not. We then decided to ride to Brickfields to the many of music shops to go and buy a CD. At the shop, we realised that we are buying our own first CD – a minor history in the making – we were finally moving from cassettes to CDs – from analogue to digital. Out of the many hundred CDs in the music shop, we hunted for the one CD that we want to buy and bring back to test the player.

(I kind of miss them especially the premium TDK brand where the magnetic strip is in bluish in color. The non premium ones was brownish in color and often reproduced low quality sound)

We found a CD that contains the evergreen from the 70s – it was not cheap (it cost RM15) but thankfully we brought enough to buy it. We bought the CD and eagerly rushed back home to play the CD on the new player. It started to play but it was not long before it went dead. A couple more experiments, cleaning of the lenses and even shifting the player to a different place but nothing worked. The player was busted and we had an expensive CD without a player to play it on. Sadly we went back to cassettes but were determined to buy a good CD player when time permits. That time came, in several years later when I started to work and slowly had enough to buy a proper player – Aiwa that had 3 CD decks and can even play VCDs. It was not long before we had mp3 files to share – at first to be burned into CD as audio file and then later without any conversion to be played on mp3 player or car player or laptops by simply sticking a thumb drive on the USD port.

One thing we did not have in our “arsenal” all these year is a record player but I did encounter it only once and that too during a wedding. Someone had brought in the record player but did not have the right records but not for long. Someone dashed to his house and came back with a record which has a picture of a bald head on its cover.

(Image sources: http://www.alamodestuffblog.com, http://sarawakianaii.blogspot.com/, http://analogburners.com/, http://www.radiokmcity.cz, http://auldies.euweb.cz/ & http://www.audiokarma.org)

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Goodbye Fuji!


I guess, this was a God sent chance to upgrade my stuff…

Well, after 6 years and 9,730 photo shots, my severally outdated and function limited 3.2 megapixel Fuji A210 have decided to give some problems. It is not something major – the flash sometimes does not work and needs a ‘hard’ press to get it up working. The start-up have been getting slower by the days.

But considering that I will be going away for an on site deployment next month and lasting for at least 3 months in some foreign exotic country, I guess it was time to get myself a new camera and hand over the old one to my wife (she wants to use it for her kindergarten use). My son is also looking forward to start playing with the camera since Daddy is expected to have a new one.

So, I started to do my homework and started to source for a good camera that is not so costly but will address all the shortcomings in my old camera. After several visits to some websites, I shortlisted Fuji Finepix J30 compact digital camera – it is not so expensive too (it was going for RM599 for a 12.2 megapixel, ISO up to 3200 and great loads of functions).

(This was my first option – a much improved Fuji Finepix but Fuji’s website screwed the deal, thank God! Image source: http://www.absolut-photo.com)

The problem with the Malaysian’s Fuji website (something the web master need to work on) – it does not list the authorised dealers (unlike Canon, Nikon, etc). After several more ‘investigations’, we decided to go to Sunway Pyramid to source for the model – there was several photo shops in there, they should have the model lying around.

We walked into this photo shop (because it was one the nearest and well known) and asked for the Fuji J30 and unfortunately they did not have that model. The salesgirl, obviously under-estimating my camera knowledge was trying to sell another Fuji model. Even my wife started to sense that the salesgirl was trying to patronising us and remarked to me – “She did not know she is talking to a pro”.

The camera that the girl was trying to push to me was light and seems to have the features that I was looking for but thing is, I did not checked well on this model in detail and I did not want to make the mistake of buying without knowing the details. I already made that mistake with my current Fuji Finepix A210 and that mistake stuck with me for the last 6 years.

As the salesgirl was taking other compact unknown models, my eyes caught on something on the shelves.

(Sony Alpha 230 – Image source: http://www.letsgodigital.org)

It was a Sony Alpha 230 DSLR (launched sometime in May 2009) going for RM1,799 – it was way beyond my current budget. But the thing is there was offer for 12 months interest free instalment if paid via credit card. It was very, very tempting indeed – I know I will have at least RM1,000 by at end of the year. So, if I spend RM599 now for some unknown compact camera, I would have wasted my money and it will be long time before I will have a chance to get my hands on a proper DSLR. After a quick computation in my head and importantly an approving look from my wife – I decided to go for my first DSLR (something I should have done a long time ago).

The salesgirl did not know much about DSLRs and we glad that a more experienced salesman took over, to show the model. He was still trying to patronise me and was making elementary mistakes – like saying that the 230 model uses CF card when it clearly stated on the box that it uses SD card. Thankfully I was so excited that I decided to wait out patiently for the payment to be cleared and me to take away my brand new DSLR home.

In total, the sale cost me about RM2,035 – RM1,799 for the Sony Alpha 230 kit (with 18 – 55 mm auto focus lens), RM55 for an UV filter and about RM180 for additional warranty and insurance. Perhaps to close the deal and my insistence for free items, the shop throws in a 4GB SD card, a DSLR camera bag and lightweight tripod for free.

test1

(Test shot 1. My son – the ready and willing model at home. My wife is just the opposite)

test 2

(Test shot 2. The water drips are captured very well and my son’s laughs very natural – I had to keep my distance since my son likes to splash water when he takes his bath – higher resolution here)

test 3

(Test shot 3 – A close up shot of the manual – the edges are blurred out. The manual is pretty simple to read and understand)

Sony Alpha 230 comes with 10.2 megapixel and more importantly all the manual settings needed for a more creative shots (something I have longed for whenever I saw some rich kids with DSLR at my friends or relatives’ functions but having almost nil skills on creative shots).

Still a long way to go to learn up and to revive my photo blog back but for the time being, it is goodbye Fuji and hello Sony and joined ranks with fellow bloggers with DSLR like Kavilan.