Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
Weblog about cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore.
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Mac and the Internet - NUS
Cycling - Life in Singapore - Meow
Singapore Naturalist - Mangroves
Science - World - Museum
Movies - Literature - Travel

Biology module blogs:
Biodiversity (Year 1)
Ecology (Year 3)
Structure & Function (Year 3)
Marine Biology (Year 4)
Natural History Blogs:
The Biology Refugia
Raffles Museum Toddycats
Intl Coastal Cleanup Singapore
Labrador Park
Pulau Ubin Stories
Pulau Hantu
Cycling in Singapore
Mac Meetup Singapore
Aboard the Götheborg
Otterman Projects
Zendogs/Wheels are Turning
Hopea sangal

Raffles Museum Toddycats!

Pedal Ubin!
Pasir Panjang Heritage
Raffles Museum Internship
MR-BT Briskwalkers

Mac Meetups

Some of my kakis

Kakis at home
Ad & Jen
Inertia is a Sin
Halfway between the gutter and the stars
Lost in the Jungle
Dawn, Cat Welfare
Compulsive Maniac
Deadpoet's Cave
Rambling Librarian
Cooler Insights
Pencil Shavings
Ling the Merciless
Philosophize Me Jelly
Dewi A

Kakis overseas
Alvin - Beijing, China:
* Alvin's spiel
Kevin - Buffalo, NY:
Theory is the Reason
Bonny - HCMC, Vietnam:
Jac - London, UK:
Dogged Wanderings
Jasmin - NY, NY:
The Worsted Witch
Marcus - Shanghai, China:
You only live once
Tse-Lynn - Wilmington, NC:
Musings of a barefoot traveller
Jani - Newcastle, UK:
Salted & Fried

Seow Hwa's
The Ice Cream Gallery

Local reads
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Singapore Surf

Museum Roundtable
Science Daily
Environmental News Network
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Resource Shelf
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Otterman speaks...

Thu 10 Jan 2008

Shifted to

Category : mac and the internet

This site has been loading too slowly for quite some time now and the server has been resisting TextWrangler posts via FTP, so I am finally shifted to which I just setup.

If you bookmarked this page as then you needn't change anything. That URL will point to the wordpress page in an hour or so. If you are subscribed to my RSS feed at, that will be updated too.

A blog is a very useful thing

I hardly blogged this past month, but I found myself searching my blog for various bits of information. I have also had to point students and non-blog reading friends to specific posts for purposes of both work and play. A journal of events, links, alerts and information is pretty useful and cannot be adequately replaced just by jaiku, and flickr.

Bye bye Samzdat

I will miss my unique and fast blogging method with the Samizdat engine that Bernard Teo introduced me to 2003. I've stuck to this engine stubbornly, and got help to fix the date/time stamp, battled to fix the rss feed and finally integrated haloscan comments.

Then I used it for Habitatnews and Raffles Museum News. The latter was to Wordpress when I left the museum but Habitatnews is still standing. I will probably shift that too. So its sayonara Samizdat, after four years of wonderful service!

MarsEdit takes just seconds to set up and post to wordpress or blogger, a very useful thing with my various project and module blogs. It eclipses ecto (for simple users) so I finally started using it in 2007. When I could not figure out how to edit this blog with it, I decided to switch by year-end. I am content at least that gadget man Kevin opportunistically filmed me blogging and produced a very nice clip you can find all over the net!

Posted at 5:23AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .

Tue 01 Jan 2008

Singapore celebrates the International Year of the Reef in 2008

Category : Singapore Naturalist

Happy New Year everyone!

I have a had a nice break cycling more and catching up on movies and reading.

Back to the burner tomorrow.

I will be shifting this blog in January. If you've bookmarked the URL at or have the feed as, you needn't do anything, it'll all get redirected accordingly.

Meanwhile, the big effort by the marine community is IYOR'08 (see the banner below). Ria has prepared a lovely webpage to consolidate the plans. I will concentrate on ensuring the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore is done right, highlighting IYOR events and resources to our students and advising on a couple of projects.


Posted at 12:18PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .

Fri 21 Dec 2007

Theresa on the Ridge

Category : Singapore Naturalist

Explaining tools to Theresa

Theresa on the ridge

Posted at 3:45AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .

Tue 18 Dec 2007

Its tough to cycle on grass

Category : cycling

Not the park connector (some routes in Pasir Ris have obviously changed).

A surrealistic moment in the park conector.

All Lekowala's photos from today.

Posted at 10:16AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .

Tue 18 Dec 2007

"Oh, we're just heading to Changi Village for breakfast."

Category : cycling

This strapping chap at the Loyang Park Connector was chatting with Lekowala and me at a traffic light, just before we reached Changi Village. I asked him what he was up to on his road bike. "Oh, just a bit of cardio."

"What about you guys?"

I glanced at Lekowala, and with a little sigh said, "oh we're just heading to Changi Village for breakfast."

What an anti-climax. "Where from?"

"Oh, he rode down from Seng Kang and I came from Holland Village."

His eyebrows arched in surprise. "That's a decent workout!"

We all sped off and Lekowala and I figured we'd earned our prata telur today.

HV - MacRitchie - Tampines - Changi - ECP - Shenton Way - West Coast - South Buona Vista - HV:

Distance: 84.19km, Time: 4:48:11, Averag speed: 17.5km/h, Maximum speeds 50km/h+ (speedo actually said 270km/h, heh-heh).

See Lekowala's post.

Posted at 10:06AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .

Sat 15 Dec 2007

Cycling today

Category : cycling

5.59AM - I'm heading out to Holland Road, Farer Road, Lornie Road, Bradell Road, Boundary Road, hmm..then Tampines Road, Old Tampines Road - Pasir Ris, Loyang Avenue - Changi Village (breakfast) - then the ECP - Shenton Way, Pasir Panjang and back.

The weather? *checks NEA webpage*

Update - Phew! Rain held, lovely weather. One rider bailed so there was no pickup along Boundary Road but Lekowala, who was early from Seng Kang, met us at the junction of Pasir Ris Drive 3 and Loyang Avenue along the Loyang Park Connector.


We slowed at this point, enjoying the park connector and looking at the way they have labeled the route with distance markers, notices to dismount and push at junctions and the "PCN" signs.

Loyang Avenue (Pasir Ris to Changi) used to be a dangerous road where drivers of cars and large vehicles behave with recklessness. Now. however, with the Loyang Park Connector, there is a surrealistic serene and scenic route anyone can take - a safe haven and treat for cyclists and joggers alike.


It has a few twists and turns on the way to Changi so you have to be alert. One section even leads across the road and comes back later before turning left into Cranwell Road and Netheravon Road past the Sindora wallachi and other heritage trees of Changi. Luckily Ladybug was more alert than either of us and kept yelling directions.

In some sections, the route follows a platform above tree roots, much like the way walking routes are protected from hikers in Buit Timah. Nice!


Breakfast at Changi was not set amidst the oily, sinful hawker centre, but instead the dosai shop along Changi Village Road. There we had the sort of Zendogs chat we have missed so much and an hour later (!) went to "Mr Bikes Enterprise."

The three of us were enthusiastic and variously bought some long-awaited accessories - a helmet, sidestand, phone holder, rear-view mirrors and a bell. I chatted with the owner, Jansen and realised I could rent bikes for the Pedal Ubin guides here and take them for a spin along the PCN, since we usually only ride on Ubin. I can also fit them out with Prowell helmets since Jansen carries them.

The Coastal Park Connector is amazing!! It is part of the Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network which was recently officially launched (see my Cycling in Singapore blog) with all parts finally completed.

This safe haven for leisure cyclists from Changi to East Coast is mind-boggling after decades of unnerving, bullying vehicles who would pass by closely at high speed. Night were not safe with the possibility of drunk drivers.

Add to that the bumpiness of the speed regulating strips and hard sea almond fruits threatening to toss a cyclist, it is not suitable for leisure cyclists. I remember pulling back a group of cyclists for safety and the sight of a passing truck convinced everyone! Leisure cyclists were thus hemmed in at East Coast Park.

Now, however, Changi and East Coast are all connected by a smooth wide lane. Many users were up and about today and they were all smiling at each other! You can see they are really happy and were grateful for this connector. Several of them were even stopping to chat, safely away from the road. Next to us, the heavy vehicles thundered past as usual!

And the final connection to ECP that involved pulling out to the road? It's yet a another scenic ride with a view of the sea straits and reclaimed land.

We met Dinesh coming in the opposite direction along and he joined us all the way to Kallang. Once we reached East Coast, however, Dinesh confessed he was hungry from not having breakfast and we relented hapily and soon piled our table with gado-gado, mee soto and nasi ayam - the single dosai earlier was simply not enough to sustain us! Anwyay it was lunch time. Dinesh shocked us by settling for sugarcane juice but eventually relented and another gado-gado joined the ranks. All that lost calories were gained, with interest, so we told him not to mix with the wrong company. Sigh!

Adrian left via the Amber Road underpass to head north and Dinesh left at Kallang after a brief vsit to the Waterways Watch Society's HQ. Our ride back was, by now, off the PCN, through Shenton Way and Chinatown so theer was no more peace but we like urban cycling. In fact, briefly along Havelock Road and Ganges Avenue, we raced a yellow Lamborghini - the traffic lights kept it competitive but the car finally pulled away on a long empty stretch as we approached Alexandra Road when a green wave of traffic lights beckoned.

Bike stats

  • Dst 72.51km
  • Tms 4:04:52
  • Avs 17.8km/h
  • Mxs 45.0 km/h

Route: 6.30am - 1.45pm - a true Zendog ride so breaks were full of interesting conversations and spiced with Gado-gado, dosai and mee soto!

  • HV [6.30am], Farrer Road, Lornie Road, Jalan Pemimpin, AMK Ave 1, Boundary Road
  • Upper Serangon Road, Tampines Road, Old Tampines Road, Tampines Industrial Ave 5 (new)
  • Tampines Ave 10, Pasir Ris Drive 12, Pasir Ris Drive 3
  • (rendezvous with Lekowala) Loyang Avenue, Cranwell Road, Netheravon Road, Changi Village [8.30am, breakfast, bike shop]
  • Changi Coastal Park Connector (met Dinesh), ECP [lunch! Lekowala peeled off to head north]
  • Kallang, Marina Promenade (dropped in on Waterways Watch Society; Dinesh leaves to return to Fort Road soon after),
  • Raffles Boulevard, Esplanade Drive, Fullerton Road, Collyer Quay, Raffles Quay,
  • Shenton Way, Maxwell Road, South Bridge Road, Upper Cross Street,
  • Havelock Road, Ganges Avenue [raced with a yellow Lamborghini),
  • Alexandra Road, Commonwealth Drove, HV

It's pouring now, and I'm going to snooze.

5.39pm - Lekowala posted about the ride, our photos are on Flickr and I updated this post.

Posted at 11:15AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .

Tue 11 Dec 2007

Xylo from the mangroves

Category : meow

Was just telling a few friends about how Xylo came to me in the mangroves.

Links are all in this blog post, "All about Xylo," 19 Apr 2007. And this is the link for all blog posts with Xylo's name.

Posted at 8:44AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .

Thu 06 Dec 2007

Tiger the ticked tabby!

Category : meow

Jane_S (flickr), the admin for a Flickr group called Ticked Tabbies spotted Tiger amidst a batch of handphone photos I uploaded and invited me in. Well, doesn't that point to the importance of labelling your photos, even mildly with single relevant words, like, in this instance, cats!

I'd better go sleep but later I will find out more about this.

Posted at 7:15PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .

Tue 04 Dec 2007

Truth be Told DVDs now on sale

Category : life in Singapore

Jen Nee has announced that DVDs of "Truth Be Told" are out. See "A Nutshell Review" for an enthusiastic review and the embedded trailers.

I found out after VanTan pointed me to Yvonne's Quit Journey.

Posted at 12:45AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .

Sun 02 Dec 2007

Deleting locked files in OS X

Category : mac and the internet

When Ivan emptied his Trash folder, he found the process interrupted by the dialog "The operation cannot be completed because the xxx is locked". It seems the Windows Media Player application he deleted contained several locked files that kept interrupting the trash-emptying process.

I responded to his query on the me@n list and later elaborated. It felt so much like the 90's when me@ners used to exchange tips and tricks online. These days there are countless webpages and blogs that provide a lot of information, and often with lovely graphics, so this sort of exchange has become less common.

Well, this is what we talked about:

cmd-option-shift-delete has been around since at least since OS8 (1998). I don't know if it was in System 7; anyone know?

In Finder,

  • cmd-delete = move selected item to trash
  • cmd-shift-delete = empty trash (with warning prompt; locked files not deleted)
  • cmd-option-shift-delete = empties trash without dialog, included locked files
  • Empty Trash cannot complete

    When emptying the trash of hundreds of files including some locked files, the "Empty Trash" process will be repeatedly interrupted by the "stop or continue" dialog box each time a locked file is being processed. This dialog box demands a mouse click response before continuing with the emptying of trash. The cmd-option-shift-delete avoids this entirely.

    In Tiger at least, you cannot drag or send a locked file to trash - you get the same "operation cannot be completed" dialog. However, you can lock a file while it is in the Trash. To get rid of it subsequently, it means unlocking the file or using cmd-option-shift-delete.

    Sometimes, some files persist for some strange reason. In which case I grab a 3rd party software from the net, e.g.:

    During startup, cmd-option-shift-delete will bypass the startup drive and boot from the next available disk with a valid OS ( e.g. a second hardisk or an external or CD).

    Inherent and 3rd party keyboard shortcuts are a must for power users who hardly need to touch their mouse. I remember thinking I was good in '99 until I saw Gregory Chan on my Powerbok 1400cs keyboard - boy was he was fast! It requires practise but the speed bump is usually worth it. Programmes like Microsoft Word allow customisation of keyboard shortcuts for almost all of their functions and formatting. If you are a frequent user, it makes a significance difference to use this.

    I lost all my Word 5.1/98 customisation when I stopped using Word - only had to pen and share short documents so used Text Editor/Text Wrangler instead. I am beginning to have to use Word again, so I am going to have to re-learn some of this.

    Keyboard shortcuts aren't for everyone though, some people love to crawl along with their mouse.

    For Finder shortcuts updated for Leopard, see: "Mac OS X Leopard: 200+ Productivity Booster Keyboard Shortcuts.", 21 Nov 2007.

    Posted at 6:12AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .

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