Yaay! Its announced...

Yesterday, Creative Technology Ltd announced a new high performance external sound card – the Sound Blaster® Omni Surround 5.1. If itz within my means to say, this is one of the best products from Creative! Ofcourse, I got to work on it :)

When I joined Creative last year, I had to battle my way through a lot of unknowns. Leaving the personal stuff aside for 10 different posts, I could ramble just about the technical challenges, for hours.

 In the beginning of 2012, if somebody had told me that I would be doing windows based programing and struggling to understand the kernel driver architecture, I would have outrightly laughed at such a suggestion. Well, over the year and well into 2013, that is exactly what I did. I had always been working with embedded systems and had no clue about host based programing. What I took upon myself was to learn the USB protocol and write windows driver software for soundcards. But when eventually it happened and the product is out there, I feel immensely proud and happy.

When I read the press release, I am even more thrilled that I got to be part of this product.

 "On top of enhancing audio playback via Creative's SBX Pro Studio™ suite of processing technologies, the Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 goes a step further to provide a more complete playback experience. The sound card comes with a 600 ohm headphone amplifier that allows discerning listeners to hear every enhanced audio detail through powerful studio-grade monitoring headphones.

"Beyond a complete playback experience, the Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 also features impressive recording capabilities that will be appreciated by today’s new generation of audio content creators, including podcasters and budding YouTube musicians. It houses a built-in dual array microphone that records clear audio, and all recorded audio is further enhanced and cleaned up via Creative’s CrystalVoice™ technologies."

Read more about this souncard HERE


How to beat "silly" everyday panic ?

For me, the easiest way to recover from a bad feeling or cherish a good feeling, is by writing it down. And hence this post.

Last Thursday, when we were riding back from work, it started drizzling. Traffic was heavy as well. We were riding slow, but I saw the bike ahead of us in the next lane trying to switch, and then skidding and hitting a divider pole. Luckily, the skid wasn't that bad and he wasn't hurt. But, I was terrified and re-lived the feeling of helplessness when a bike goes out of control. 
In 2012, somewhere in September, we had a bad evening. As always with the Singapore skies, it started raining suddenly while we were on the roads. Manu is a very careful rider and I have never felt any fear to be his pillion. Those days, the bike rides in the rain were charming and romantic. But, since he had just upgraded to a 400CC bike, he realized that it might be risky to ride in the rain. So, we cancelled our plans for the evening and headed home. As the rain was getting steadily stronger, we decided that it would be safer to ride home(in the opposite direction of the rain) rather than wait it out with a kopi-c. We were relieved to see that the rain towards our home had subsided. We relaxed a bit and continued our chit-chat ride. Alas, the evening took an unexpected turn when the tires slipped away in the wet roads. Luckily we were on a small bridge and the traffic was sparse(I assume it was because we were going in the opposite direction of the city).
After what felt like an eternity, we were safely on the tarmac in one piece. I had been pushed out of the bike, the moment it lost balance. While I was skidding through the roads I had precisely two thoughts in my mind - 1. Hold on to the helmet as tightly as possible, so that even if a vehicle ran over me, I wouldn't have a squished brain. 2. Praying - yes, praying and hoping Manu was OK. I couldn't see him. All I could see was the grey horizon becoming brighter, for some reason.
Once the movement stopped, I sat upright and to be honest, I have never been more happier to see Manu walking towards me!
I realized the adrenaline power that day. I had big angry bruises on my knees and I could see the blood slowly gushing out. Despite my extremely low pain tolerance, I did not feel a thing. I saw an SUV coming towards us and parking horizontally to protect us from following traffic. The kind driver ran to our spot to help us with the bike and offered to send us to the hospital. We were not in a real bad situation, so we thanked him and declined his offer to drive to the hospital. I took a cab home while Manu rode beside us. Luckily he had only minor scratches in the arms. Later, when we went to the clinic to dress up the wounds, I realized that it was super painful. After a few days spent in the bed, I was physically all right.

But, from that day I am terribly afraid of riding in the rains and changing lanes. Even after a year, I am still nervous at the slight angle at which the bike tilts when changing lanes and entering expressways.  But, I do not want to stop riding with Manu, as it is something special we have been having for so many years. Now a days, he chooses long traffic hogged roads to express-ways. It is a joking point for my friends when I get restless until Manu messages me "I reached" every time, when riding without me. I try to talk myself down from being anxious and tell myself that he is just held up in traffic. But, somehow my fear overcomes my confidence and the demon wins. 

I hope someone out there has better, stronger solutions to help me and would reach back with suggestions.