Thursday, December 29, 2011

Apple Magic Trackpad

Today my friend and fellow iOS developer went and bought his Mac Mini. On top of that, he bought the beautiful Apple wireless keyboard. I followed him and I bought the Apple Magic Trackpad.

I have this to say: wow!

What an experience. Now, surfing the net and doing things on the Mac are just about swiping, pinching - all natural gestures - like how you would use an iPad.

I love the Magic Trackpad and would recommend it to anyone!

It's really magical!

Edit: let me elaborate why I think this is such a great device that, to me, totally replaced the need of a mouse; yes, you don't need a mouse anymore. It is that good!

When I browse a website using Safari, I could just two-finger push up and down to scroll up and down a page. Scrolling was smooth, much like in iPad. I could just swipe left to go back to the page before and Safari actually animates the page being swiped out - if you use Twitter for iPad, you will know what I mean. Swipe right to emulate 'forward' button. (somehow, Chrome for Mac supports the same gesture but it wasn't as smooth as Safari, so Safari is the preferred browser at the moment).

4-finger swipe to launch mission control, so I could easily see all the available apps. Similarly, 4-finger swipe will move between virtual desktops. Very useful when I use Desktop 1 for mails, twitters, RSS news, facebook, etc and Desktop 2 to read PDF manuals and Desktop 3 for Xcode 4.

3 finger tap to click and hold a window so I can resize and move them about. 2 finger tab to emulate right click (or Ctrl-Click)

These gestures are applicable in iPhotos, iTunes, Sparrow, Caffeinated, you name it.

Watch this video and be prepared to be blown away!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fans of Apple

Nowadays, as you drive around the city, you will see lots of car bumpers or rear glass with the white Apple logo. Thousands of them. And when the iPhone 4S was launche in Malaysia, there was a huge queue in KLCC. I heard that the maxis folks worked till 5am just selling and registering the phones. That was how popular an Apple product is. And Apple product creates a strong fanbase.

I am an Apple fan. But I am one since 1988. Yes, 23 years ago! When I was in Form 3, I joined the computer club. My first computer in the computer club was an Apple 2 (it was written as Apple //). I think we had BMC clones of Apple 2 but the instructor's computer is a genuine Apple //e. It was my first exposure to a computer. I learned programming in it. I played games in it. This computer exposed me to the IT industry. I'm enthralled by it. 'It had me at Hello (world)'!

When I was Form 5, my father bought me one of those Apple clone. It's a second hand one. I remembered it cost him RM500. I was totally floored.

But, after that, there were many new models of Apple computer.. from the //e to //c to the Apple //gs, which has grahics and sound. That was what gs stands for - graphics and sound. I could only dream. I could only drool. It was too expensive to own one.

Then the mac came... and it introduced GUI and mouse. It has WYSIWYG. Do you guys know these term anymore? Ha ha.. If the Apple //gs was expensive, the Mac is like a 1 carat diamond. It was a luxury product. Beyond any affordability!

Since then, I only followed Apple news. I became a passive fan as I could not understand and appreciate how great the Mac OS was. My only experience and exposure was the inferior product: Windows 3.1 and subsequently Windows 95.

Then came the iPod. And it change the world. And it made an Apple product affordable to the mass consumer. After many generations, I finally bought the iPod nano first gen. I blogged about it in 2006. Then came the iPhone 3G, which I owned... and then the iPhone 4 and finally the iPad.

But even with all these amazing and affordable products, I never had the opportunity nor the pull to buy a Mac. I could only stand by and read the development of the OS X.. from Leopard to Tiger to Snow Leopard to Lion.

And the mac has evolved. There is the delicious macbook air, the world's lightest notebook, the beautiful minimalist and affordable mac mini and of course, the iMac.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I have a maid but...

.. I am still exhausted every weekend
.. I have no time to play computer games, no TV, not enough sleep and rest
.. we don't go out very often

Is something very wrong with me?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Finally, I can make use of the cassette thingy in Wira!

When I got my Proton Wira, it come with box to store cassette. Yes, 4 redundant slot below the radio to store 4 measly cassettes. At that time, no CD ROM yet; I have a very old car.

But today, with my super duper high tech iPhone 4 and Waze, I have found a great use for the cassette storage. Look at this!

Waze in Malaysia: Tips

  • The easiest way to improve Waze is just drive around with Waze turned on. Every time you travel, even if you are not using Waze to guide you, turn it on. You don't have to do anything. Waze will use the information from your journey to calculate average road speeds at the time you are driving, check for errors and improve road layout, and learn the direction of roads and which turns are allowed. However to avoid errors, these automatic updates need many, many accurately recorded routes before making an automatic change. 
  • When you later use Waze for directions, you'll benefit from better routes using the information you helped collect 
  • You don't need to make special trips with Waze. In fact Waze works best on your regular trips and commuting 
  • With Waze on, you'll get free road reports on local traffic conditions automatically 
  • If you travel to areas that are unmapped in Waze, you might try recording a new road. Just one button starts you on a map-making trip
  • With enough wazers driving along a route, Waze will automatically learn and apply corrections. Road layout will improve, roads will change from two-way to one-way or from one-way to two-way, and Waze will learn what turns are permitted at junctions.

    But to avoid errors due to inaccurate GPS measurements (especially in cities), and a few incidents of driver error (illegal turns or going the wrong way down a one-way street), Waze is conservative and requires a large number of accurate driving tracks before making a change. Between 20 and 100 trips accurately recorded seem to be enough to trigger Waze to make an automatic update to the roads.

    So the more wazers, the faster this will happen. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hazards Ahead!

This morning, Waze told me there was a road hazard ahead in NKVE because of a report by user.

Sure enough, there was a tyre rubber.

Isn't this GPS great?

I think those Garmin devices can chup lup (close down their business)



And you could also report if you see police...


Look at this. So many polices along Sprint!

This app makes me wants to buy those attachment where I can stick to the windscreen to hold the iPhone so it is at the same eye level as me... hope they are not expensive!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Waze.. Free iPhone GPS app

I don't often recommend apps in this blog. There are some really good iPhone apps: Awesome Notes, Reeder, Tapatalk, Tweetdeck, News360, etc.

I just can't stop talking about Waze.

I learned about Waze from a conversation with a colleague. She told me about this really good free GPS app to help a driver find their way around town. I asked if there is a Malaysia map and she said yes. So I was expecting a huge download only to realize that Waze is really a small foot print.

Being skeptical, I tried it out.

And I was pleasantly surprise!

This is a true GPS. Very accurate. Even with a proper lady voice over at the appropriate point during the drive. I drove from Bangi back to PJ and it just works. In fact, it gave me 3 routes and I chose the fastest. It was able to take me back via Sg Besi road through Desa Waterpark into Federal Highway and Penchala Link. I was impressed.


But it is not just any GPS. In Waze, there is a community of users. As you drive, you see little icon in the road. See screenshot above. Those are users of Waze. New users looks like baby with pacifiers. As you use it more, you unlock new icons and can set mood.. LOL.. say, you are frustrated with traffic jam. Set your mood.
Waze, like Foursquare, has badges. As I drove 20 km, a new candy appear in the road ahead. Taking it unlocks a badge.


You can quickly do traffic report. Whether there is an accident, a jam, traffic police or cameras. One tap and it will mark in the map for other users to see. So the users have intelligence especially useful if there is a police roadblocks. Ha ha.
This screenshot shows some of the users with mood. I am surprise to see so many people using Waze. I think it must be a really popular app among Malaysians!


Lastly, when you are planning your route, Waze gives you alternate routes. You can look at these and see which routes have jams. From the screenshots below, one of the 3 routes have multiple traffic jams. Amazing eh?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ang Moh Life Style?

I have friends, with families, who believes in living for the moment. What this means is that they don't believe in investing their salaries into property but instead are willing to rent houses (in good area like Bandar Utama or Damasara) and then enjoying life with the remaining money. They argue that if they were to take a mortgage, say around RM3000/month, it means that they need to be really frugal in their other spending. So, is this the way to live life? If they rent, say RM2000/month (which means they can live in a really good neighbourhood), they still have RM1000/mth. That's a lot of money to be had - which they could spend on, say, holidays.. or living very comfortable by switching on the a/c every night.. or eating out, giving better education to the children, etc, etc.

Sometimes, I wonder if their way is a better way.

Seriously, a lot of us who believes in owning properties are living with a very tight budget because of the mortgage. We have to be very careful with our spending. We consider ten times before buying something luxury. We live like a pauper, even though we know that 30 years later, our property will be worth a sum. But that also means 30 years of frugal live.

So, which is better?
Live life to the fullest.. or suffer now but live a good life later?

It's kinda like a Asian vs ang moh mentality, isn't it?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Apple Computers Inc

A testament of how big an Apple fan I am, the following is a photo of an old Apple logo that is still attached to the back of my car. This logo must be at least 15 year old!

RIP Steve P Jobs :(

Monday, September 12, 2011

Comics

I love the iPad. I use it to read e-books purchased via Amazon Kindle. It's an amazing experience and very useful for new parent - while the kids are sleeping, you could be reading, even in semi darkness.

Lately I discover another joy of reading - and it is comics! The major comics publishers are now going digital. Each comic is selling (during sales time) at $1 a copy! That is like 25% off. It's a great time to catch up on comics, which I have stopped following for about 10 years.

iPad made it possible.. and made it pleasant.

I find myself spending more and more on 'legal' content. Ouch.. but, still .. it is worth it!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This is so exciting!


Date Time          Location  Service Area Checkpoint Details
Jun 29, 2011 10:06 Kul - KUL With delivery courier - Kul - KUL
Jun 29, 2011 07:57 Kul - KUL Shipment on hold - Kul - KUL
Jun 29, 2011 03:44 Kul - KUL Partial delivery - Kul - KUL
Jun 29, 2011 01:51 Kul - KUL Arrived at delivery facility - Kul - KUL
Jun 28, 2011 18:06 Szb - SZB Clearance processing complete - Szb - SZB
Jun 27, 2011 21:15 Szb - SZB Clearance delay - Szb - SZB
Jun 26, 2011 20:59 Szb - SZB Clearance delay - Szb - SZB
Jun 25, 2011 20:31 Szb - SZB Clearance delay - Szb - SZB
Jun 24, 2011 21:46 Szb - SZB Clearance delay - Szb - SZB
Jun 24, 2011 18:40 Szb - SZB Processed for clearance - Szb - SZB
Jun 24, 2011 15:43 Szb - SZB Transport Delay - Szb - SZB
Jun 24, 2011 09:08 Hkg - HKG Transport Delay - Hkg - HKG
Jun 24, 2011 06:22 Hhp - HHP Shipment on hold - Hhp - HHP
Jun 24, 2011 00:14 Hhp - HHP Clearance processing complete - Hhp - HHP
Jun 23, 2011 21:25 Szx - SZX Departed from facility - Szx - SZX
Jun 23, 2011 21:25 Szx - SZX Processed - Szx - SZX
Jun 23, 2011 14:51 Szx - SZX Shipment picked up - Szx - SZX

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Apple Store Singapore Customer Service

I made a call to Apple Singapore today. I asked them the status of my order as I am supposed to get it today. The customer service rep was very pleasant. The first thing he said was to apologize that he has to disappoint me. He said that I will not be able to get it today and he's not able to give me a tentative date because of the fact that it is stuck in Malaysia custom. He promised to monitor my order for me and give me a call tomorrow (Wed) and Friday. And if there are no changes, he will continue to monitor and update me the following week. I told him I am very appreciative of this and I asked if there was anything he could do - nope, he said, unfortunately it is beyond him and beyond their shipping agent, DHL Express.

But, and this was a surprise, he said he will give me a RM100 rebate (or a Smart Cover worth RM159). He just put this offer on the table and I wasn't even making a complaint! You gotta love Customer Support like that! I chose the RM100 rebate as I didn't really like the Smart Cover. The RM100 can go to offset my choice of case: Marware CEO iPad case.

I told him that I was surprise that Apple is doing this. He said that Apple is very appreciative of their customers. Apple product is a premium product (he commented that you can tell base on the more expensive pricing, LOL) and because of that, Apple takes customer satisfaction VERY seriously!

I am just glad I made that call.

Kudos Apple. I am all smiles now!

Beaurocratic or Incompetence?

Beaurocratic or Incompetence?
Above is the tracking status of the iPad 2 that I have ordered with Apple. Let me share with you some legend:
SZX is Shenzen Airport
HHP and HKG is Hong Kong
SZB is Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport ie Subang Airport Malaysia.

The iPad was shipped from Shenzen on 23 June at 9pm. It reached Hong Kong at 12am. And left Hong Kong at 9am on 24 June. It reached Subang Airport at 3pm same day, around 6 hours flight.

It takes less than 24 hours to ship from China to Malaysia.

But the package was STUCK AT SUBANG Custom for 6 days!

What's wrong with our custom? Is it incompentence? Laziness? Or what?

Seriously, internet transaction failed because of the custome clearance. GRRR!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Order iPad 2 from Apple Store Malaysia

Not many people know this but you can now place order of Apple products, including iPad 2, in the Apple Store Malaysia via apple.com/my

The fulfilment of the order is still from Apple SG but that's ok, so long as the price is in MY.

Also, the product is shipped directly from Apple's factory in China - so it doesn't matter.

There is something special and fascinating about ordering online. The excitement you get when you received an email notifying you that the order is shipped to the satisfaction of being able to track where your package is.

Yesterday evening, at around midnight, I received an email saying my order was shipped! That translate to 4 days in advance of a 2 weeks wait. I am so excited. That means, I will get the iPad 2 next Tuesday. Can't wait.

I'm so excited it reminds me of my online order of iPod nano, which I shared in this blog.

Somehow, the iPhone 4 didn't make me as excited. Like I said, maybe it is because of the little surprises you get through online ordering.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Starbucks

If you owned a Maybank Amex card, Starbucks is having a promotion of buy one free one drink! Yummilicious!

iPhone Usage

Inspired by e-lifesl's post on how much she didn't use the phone functionality of her iPhone 4, I begin to think about my own usage. Here is the obligatory pie-chart, based on battery usage/day:
Looks like I use the smart part of the smartphone but not so much of the phone itself. It's not bad. The amount of time I spent on iBooks these days are scary, which resulted in my ordering of the iPad 2. Can't wait for it to come next week!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

iBooks

I am so addicted to reading novels in iBooks or Amazon Kindle app in iPhone. Over the past 1.5 months, I have finished two Stephen King novels: The Shining and 'Salem's Lot. Both are really good book. I am now starting on George Martin's A Game of Thrones, currently running in HBO as a TV series. I just can't stop reading. And because of this addiction, I decided to buy an iPad 2. It's crazy... but I have this itch I needed to scratch.

With my passion for iPhone, iPad should be a no brainer. My only complaint with the iPad is that it is heavy and iPad 2 is the same. The weight of the thing does not make it an ideal long term reading companion. But I just can't resist. I just had to own one.. and so, I clicked Purchase and ordered a iPad 2 32gb wifi model. Shipping in 2 weeks time. Can't wait!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

iPad 2

The iPad 2 have been occupying my mind a lot. My fingers itched to press the Purchase button on Apple MY store. Help me!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Free 2 GSC Movie Tickets, any movies, from IBM?

Wow, I stumbled upon this in Facebook. Free movie tickets.. just create a IBM developerWorks profile, answer 3 simple question and voila.. a chance to win movie tickets for 2? Easy bitsy? Yup!

Click here to sign up!

First 20 early birds sign up wins movie tickets AND Starbucks voucher! I WANT!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kindle and Lendle

Past one week I have not been gaming. I was hooked on reading Stephen King's The Shinning, a digital book I bought using Amazon Kindle. No, I don't own a Kindle, but the Kindle app runs on iOS. I find that it is very pleasant to read novels on the iOS. The Kindle app is easy to use, you can highlight text, put a 'dog ear' on the page to return to it and best of all, you can also see what other people around the world have highlighted - so you would may particular attention to the text :)

And it has dark mode, meaning you can also read it in the dark without straining your eyes.

And the best part - there is also a Kindle app for the PC, so if you are fed up of reading in iOS, you can fire up the PC app and you continue where you stopped! No more figuring out which pages. It auto syncs between devices.

The best part about Kindle book, which I learned today is Lendle. You see, amazon.com allows owner of a Kindle book to lend it out to a friend for 14 days. During this 14 day period when you book is lend out, you have no access to it. Amazon even published API to this capability and Lendle, a third party not aflliated with amazon, built a website where it gathers a community of people to start sharing their books. For each book you lend out, you get borrow credit. So the more people who share their books, the bigger the Lendle library and the more you can borrow! What a brilliant service!

Try it out!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Labour cost

This is a different labour cost. Not the maid cost but the cost of giving birth.

I met the wife of an acquaintance this morning. Her baby just turned one. She asked if my wife has given birth and I said yes. The next question from her caught me aback. Maybe I was expecting the typical question like how heavy was the baby, is it a boy or girl, who does she looked like, etc. But what came from her mouth was how much and where was it delivered. And when I told her the cost, she exclaimed, how come so cheap.

Life is full of strange people!

Cheap Labour

I feel bad. I went to the bank to have the maid's passbook updated as I just deposited her monthly salary into the account. Her total showed RM3,500. This is her take home pay after working 12 months with us! The reason is because she didn't get paid in the first 7 months - I did fork out the money but it went to the agent to process her travel, agency fee and what not. She only get paid on the 8th month.

In fact, despite the rules, we still pay her RM100/month for the first 7 months. I feel that she should get some remuneration for the work she has done. Even then, the total still comes to a measly RM3,500.

Seriously, something is wrong with the system!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Increase 50sen

What the bloody fuck? Did I read correctly? Chinese evening daily, Guan Ming, is reporting that teh will cost RM2, up from RM1.50 and teh ais will cost RM2.20, increase from RM1.70!

WTF!

This is a bloody 33% increase!

Salary increment is flat and yet drinks are 33% more expensive. I bet you that this will create a lot of hardship for many people and will result in many social problems. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

McDonald's Breakfast is cheaper!

This morning, I was having breakfast in McDonald's Sungai Buloh. To my surprise, I saw about 10 blue collar workers - they were dressed in blue jumpsuit - the type where there is a zip in front, from the hip all the way to the collar - an attire typically worn by factory worker. It was then I realize that McDonald's weekly breakfast deal, which cost RM4.50 for a Saussage McMuffin with egg and a refillable coffee, is FAR cheaper than those found in coffee shop! A bowl of noodles and coffee in kopitiam could set you back RM6!

Incredible.. to find that McDonald's, with its a/c and free wifi and refillable coffee, is cheaper than your father and mother's coffeeshop!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gamer Dad and how iOS saved me from the game-death clutches of parenthood!

Justin Fletcher is a writer of a website called Quarter To Three, a gaming website. He recently became a father to a pair of twins and he wrote a series of "new dad" diaries, citing the death of gaming. He puts into words what I failed to describe to my friends when I attempt to tell them I have no time for gaming. It's an excellent read. Try this one: New dad diaries: altered states.

An excerpt:
"Technology can’t help. I can get all the baby monitors I want, but they won’t still the voice inside of me that says they’re faulty or broken or unreliable. That my son or daughter could be choking right now while I’m engrossed with exploring some digital fairyland to solve the Riddle of Whatzis and find the Smiting Sword of Smite. Is that really worth risking their safety? And even if one of the monitors worked perfectly, wouldn’t its hissing audio and flashing sound level indicators break the immersion anyway?

So for now, immersion must take a back seat to situational awareness. For now, I can’t afford to lose myself in anything but my children."

So, how to play PC games downstairs when all these worries are on my mind?
Anyway, taking care of little sen2, a baby of 2 weeks old now, in turns give me a lot more gaming time than when she was not born yet. How is that possible?

It is because I now have a new way to play games - on the Apple iPhone! And it is made possible because I could game with one hand while the other carry little sen2 as she sleeps in comfort of my warm body.

I normally don't play iPhone games because I find that it is relatively inferior to its cousin, the PC. If I have the time, I would rather spend it on the PC. But there are 4 games I'd highly recommend in the iPhone - it's unlike any iPhone games and it reeks a certain quality. A must have:



1. Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor ($2.99)



This is one of the early iPhone games that garnered a lot of critical acclaim for it's innovative use of the iOS user interface and for it's artistic style. This is a game that people were asking for a Bafta award, the Oscar equivalent for games mainly because it dares to be different from the rest of the iPhone games.

In this game, you control a spider as he cari makan (hunts) for food around the manor owned by a guy called Bryce. As you built cob webs to trap flies or pounce on hornet, you absorbed the hand painted background and you will learn what happened to the people of Bryce Manor. It tells a story of triangle love, loneliness and possible suicide. No one knows for sure but I like the way the story is told, indirectly.
Try it out. It has a Lite version called Hornet Smash, although the Lite version only shows you the mechanics of the game and not the artistic, story telling part.

2. Battleheart ($2.99)



Fancy a hack-and-slash Diablo-like game in iPhone? I would recommend Battleheart - for its addictive RPG element, grinding, stats, weapons and armors, spell casting, etc.

You level up four character and fight each battle to win experience points and gold, both of which can be used to purchase better weapons or learn better spells. And there are many classes to recruit - each with their unique skills. Pretty fun to build a group of different classes to adventure.

Besides, the graphics are really cute.

Unfortunately, no Lite version.


3. World of Goo ($2.99)



The game that had its root as a PC-indie game is now ported to the iOS. And what a great port it is. This game is the only game in App Store that has a score of  97 on metacritic, a website that aggergate reviews of a game from many, various websites. So a score of 97 means that the game had very favourable reviews all over the internet. And this game deserves the rating. I played the PC version to death and have no qualms on getting the iOS version.

If there is one game you want to play and show case your iPhone, buy this game. Yes, it's even better than Spider and Battleheart! Way better!

Unfortunately, no Lite version.


4. Dungeon Raid ($2.99)



Out of these 4 games, Dungeon Raid sucked most of my time. I spent so much time on it that I am pretty burnt out by now. But it is the easiest to play with one hand and the most addictive. Be warned.

Try the Lite version.

It's no simple match-3 game. It's beyond the eye. I don't even know how to sell it. If you have played Bejeweled and Puzzle Quest, it's like them and yet vastly unlike them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My identity, MyKad and MyKid

Why is it that our identity card is called MyKad, a mix of Bahasa and English? And the identity card for children is called MyKid, both words are English. Is Bahasa our national language or not? I'm so confuse. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Friday, April 01, 2011

Ringgit is modern! Dynamic Views in Blogger

Wow, Google has just improved Blogger to be able to show dynamic content in a variety of format such as:

Timeslide:
http://ringgit.blogspot.com/view/timeslide


Snapshot:
http://ringgit.blogspot.com/view/snapshot




Sidebar:
http://ringgit.blogspot.com/view/sidebar


Which is your favourite?

Now I can read my friend's blog and by-pass all the crappy gadgets they all have cluttered all over the blogs :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Emotions on Living In Malaysia

So, AR, our psychologist in training, suggested that I put emotions to the few items I listed in my blog, “Living In Malaysia”. In that post, I questioned the viability to continue living in Malaysia as the future looks bleak. He said that once I put emotion to my list, I will be able to bring forth my unconscious mind, thereby, I will be able to tell if I am acting out of past traumatic emotions or that I am clear in my statement. This is so I don’t make a drastic decision based on generalizing and base on emotions.

So here goes:
  1. Education – emotion – Disappointment – I didn’t do very well in STPM. But it wasn’t shabby either. But I was not offered a place in local University. On the other hand, my chocolate brethrens not only got into good University, some of them have government sponsored scholarship to overseas Universities. Things have not improved for the past 18 years after I graduate. I don’t think things will improved in the next 18 years when lil sen finished her STPM. I am disappointed that the system has failed me in the past and I am certain that it will continue to impact my children.
  2. Inflation – emotion – Stress and fear – I am afraid I will not be able to afford a good live in Malaysia at the rate inflation is going. I don’t think I will be able to afford overseas education for lil sen and her sister. And even if I do, I am afraid that I will have to make many sacrifices in life. Already I am not able to change to a new car (my Proton Wira turned 12 this year). Will I continue to be stagnant in the next 10 year? So I have a fear that the quality of life for myself and the family will be impacted at the rate of the inflation.
  3. Traffic – emotion – Anger because it was a waste of time – I still remember spending 2 hours getting from Kepong to TAR College in Taman Melawati. One way. In a day, I spent 4 hours getting to and fro to college. What do I do? I slept in the bus most of the time. In today’s crime laden day, you can’t even sleep in the bus lest someone snatched your bag away. But that is another story. I felt that the journey was a complete waste of time and it was inefficient. 4 hours of life wasted on commuting. I feel that things have not improved. In fact, it has worsen because now I (or one of my family members), will have to fetch my children to school. Two people’s time wasted – total of 4 hours!
  4. Politics and Stability – ok, I can’t tie an emotion to this because I don’t dwell on politics much and I have no prior bad experiences with it.
  5. Public Safety – emotion – fear – I read too much and heard too many snatch thieves and burglary incidents happening to relatives and I am afraid that it will happen to my family. Today, I double and triple lock my gates/door. I also ensure our room door is bolted. Is this the way to live? In fear?

Does it help?
No idea.
I think I want a refund of AR’s services!

Edit:

This transpired between AR & me:

AR:
yr next excercise 
list down malaysia vs a spot u think is safe 
each section put down the pros and cons 
it shd include .. home and work environment 
we will go thru the list  
ok? 
50ringgit pls  


Ringgit :
but i didn't feel 'helped' - how to pay u! 
it's another disillusioned i have .. malaysians are all crooks! 


AR:
let me summarize what i gathered 
u r dissapointed with the malaysian system that u feel it's failing u and yr family 
hence this makes u angry and at times u were lost if this is a safe place for u and yr family 
u pretend a better day tommorow because u believe in ideal world 
however, where u living today is not meeting your expectations 
with all these accumulated .. u starting to feel disillusions followed by anger  
u want a safer place with more ideal system for yr family and yrself 

Ringgit:
good! 
i need to c&p this! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Color

Wow.. I just read about a really great app. As a standalone, I think this app will not work well. It is a group app. But even as a group, I believe it may not get the traction it deserves. But I can't imagine what it will value-add to app like Foursquare or Facebook Check In. It would be awesome!

The app is called Color, not Colors. No S. Read about it here:

An excerpt:

"Color uses pattern recognition to figure out when multiple people are photographing the same event or object. In fact, it uses multiple criteria to figure out when people are in the same place paying attention to the same thing or kinds of things, then joins together their content streams within the app.


Color picks the best pictures and features them, while sharing all pictures. So if you’re a concert and take a picture of a performer from the 20th row, you might see another picture of the same performer taken by someone in the 2nd row. At a concert, the pictures taken from all over would keep flooding in. So during the event, you might take five pictures from one perspective, but see on your phone 100 pictures from 20 perspectives (as would those other 20 people).

Color magnifies your experience. It connects people who are interested in the same things in the same place, and shares their pictures and, later, other content.

Color is a way to magnify your view of things. If you’re in line at a club, and use it outside, you’ll see a stream of pictures taken by people inside.

Color is going to catch fire at high schools. Kids will fire up Color in the morning, and all Color users will see a stream of photos taken in real-time all over the school.

Color will be very interesting at industry events, parties, sports events, festivals, and other gatherings.

Color is about real-time location based information about what’s going on right now — text, pictures, audio, video — any kind of content that can be captured with a mobile device".

Sunday, March 27, 2011

iPhone app: Labelbox

I think WSL or any photo blogger would appreciate this free app. It allows you to label your photo with masking tape, cellophone tape or those machine created letter protruding tape. Or even a flowery ribbon. And you can write on top of the label so people cannot steal your photos. All this is done within the iPhone itself. Simple and elegant. Take a look!

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Fake Pringles in Malaysia?

The photo above was taken at Jaya Grocer. Jaya Grocer is well known for carrying imported goods. They are in the same market as Cold Storage, bringing in imported stuff to cater for the more affluent folks.

In the photo above, the Pringles can are of the same height but one of them is thinner. The thin one is cheaper by HALF and it doesn't taste like Pringles at all. It taste like Mr Potatoes. It's a local flavoured Pringles. I don't think it is a fake one but I think P&G decided to make it locally to keep the cost down. Otherwise who would be able to eat Pringles?

This shows, yet again, how bad our inflation is and how we end up getting more inferior product - just like our condensed milk.

I can tell the difference because I ate Pringles for 20 years. I find it unscrupulous of P&G to repackage Mr Potatoes as Pringles and as such I have boycott them.

Sad.

I really like the original Pringles.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ringgit is Poor

After all the talk about inflation and education, I need alternative income.
And as such, I have enabled Ad-Sense in my blog.
Please support my writing (LOL!)

Edit: I have also enhanced the blog post. Below each post you will see a "Reaction". If you like my post, please click it. If you dislike, click it also. Maybe I will consider what people like to read and write more of that. Or maybe not.

Australia PR

Back in 2002, I applied and received a permanent residence status to Australia. I still remember the one simple sentence on my visa: "bearer may remain in Australia indefinitely". During my application, and that was in 2001, AUD$1 is equivalent to RM2.10. Today, AUD$1 is equivalent to RM3.00, an almost 42% increase. Something have gone awfully wrong, somewhere.

If someone is a parent in 2000 and saving money for his daugher's Australia education, in 10 years time, this guy is 42% poorer. That means, his children education is almost cut BY HALF! Sure, there is fixed deposit but our FD rate is a measly 3%. So what can he do? His daughter will not be able to go Australia for education. He either need to take a loan (and he can only hope his age allows it) or his daughter will have to settle for .... and I paused in this sentence for almost a minute - because I can't think of a good alternative - is it twinning? ACCA? Local private colleges? Long distance study? Half work-half study? Sell house to pay for education? This parent probably have sacrifice a lot of stuff - he probably didn't upgrade his car or go to that vacation to save for the education. And it turns out it is not enough and he has to take more loans?

It's not like AU education is a must. I don't mind sending little sen to local Uni if she were given a place... that's a big IF... or if the quality is half as good as Singapore.

So anyway, at that point in time, I decided not to actively pursue a life in Australia. This roundabout decision has partly to do with not willing to move out of comfort zone, partly to do with the "Malaysia is not that bad mentality" and partly to do with a potentially good career with the current company I am with.

Since then, Joey, Anti Ringgit and "the Old Man I hope I don't emulate (sorry can't find link of his story)" has applied and moved to Australia. A couple of friends emigrated to Singapore. Most of them do it because of the family - seeking a better life. None has looked back since.

Do I regret the decision not to pursue a new life in Australia? Not really. If I did, I would not have met and marry Miss World and have a beautiful little sen.

But what of now? What now indeed! It's a forced exodus. There is almost nothing to look forward to in Malaysia. Aside from parents, which is important too, what else is there? Do we want to move forward or get tied by the past?

Living in Malaysia

Over the past three weeks, I have been reflecting on what the future holds for the family. It's probably a phase many parents went through and I am no exception. This is the phase, during quiet moments when the baby was asleep, snoring peacefully, that each parent thought about what kind of life this baby will lead in the future. And I thought about what I can do to provide. And as I go through all the areas, which I will probably discuss in detail later, I become helpless. The future doesn't look that good. At least in Malaysia. And then I realize why we have so many friends/people leaving the country.

First and foremost is education. Most parents would enrolled their children in Chinese school. I think there is no doubt in that. The state of our Kebangsaan school is in a shambles. I could attest to it as I reflect all the 'buat kerja sendiri' periods we had. And the blank faces of our teachers when we asked them questions that are out of the norm. And that was at a time when our teacher and education quality was higher. I cannot imagine what it is now, what with the English in Science and Maths subject and then not anymore and then yes again. And I also heard that the government is even rewriting history - Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat is not in the history books anymore! If this is the state of the education in Malaysia, how well would our children be equipped in the future? Do we really need to resort to 'tuition centers' to be the source of education?

And even if the children manage to pass and score reasonably well in the exams (notice I said reasonably well as I am not a proponent of the "always must be number one in class" type of parent), what happens then? Do you think they will get a place in the local Uni? I don't think so. While the government claims that there is meritocracy in placement, this is not happening. If a top student could be by-pass in the selection, what will happen to a reasonably well scored student? We are competiting, not on merits, but on birth rights and it is a losing battle. I have lost when I was in Form 6. My children will too. And so will theirs.

So what do we end up doing? We send our children overseas. And this comes with great cost, monetary as well as opportunity cost to us as parents. As parents, we definitely will do everything we can to create this opportunity for our children. But what if we can't? What if we lost our job or we are not able to save enough to send the children to an oversea education due to the rising inflation? And remember that our currency is weakened by the day. The exchange rate is already not favourable to you now. What makes me think they will be 20 years later when little sen is ready for overseas education. Did we then leave it to fate? Did we just destroy that chance?


Secondly, inflation - seriously - at the rate things are going, our children will not be able to afford an apartment when they leave school and come out to work. I once remember reading Tony Pua's blog and he said that the so called condensed milk that we buy from Jusco is not even milk. They are called sweetened creamer. That means, they are not produced from the tits of the cows. Why is this so? Because dairy products are control products and the government had a price cap on it. So the manufacturers are not able to sustain it and as such, they created sweetened creamer as a substitute. And our government then accepted that as a dairy product. If we are serious about controlled produce, we should not even accept the creamer as a substitute, So it is all a farce - sure it's a small matter you say, but think about the implications. I am just using condensed milk as example of our serious our inflation is undermining our quality of life. The condensed milk example was something that happened 10 years ago. These days, we have petrol losing subsidy, price of cooking oil and sugar rising, our teh ais is now RM2/glass, an almost 100% increased in the last 10 years. Food is getting expensive. And what do we end up with? Cheaper alternatives.

We are getting better jobs and better pay than our father. But the quality of our lives doesn't improve as much. It negates the better pay that we were getting. In fact, I dare say that the better pay is also a farce - we are not getting a better life at all. If anything, we are stagnant, not improving.

Just like the quality of life is a psychological veil to mask the reality, traffic is also getting worse. We have better roads than our forefathers. Our roads are wider. But yet, we are stuck longer in traffic trying to get to work. Our productivity did not improve. Our quality of life did not improve. We missed meetings and appointments due to traffic. We have LRT, KTM and monorail but they are not effective. We have BMW and Mercedes but they are crawling instead of zooming at their top speed. And just like the better pay thus better life being a farce, our better roads and better cars are an illusion that we have progress, when indeed we are not. We are still stuck in Ice Age in our traffic management. And you know what's funny? The funny thing is, we pay for a better highway (via toll), we get trapped in jam and we all just sucked it down and accept it as a way of life. So 39 years of my life and traffic has not improved. What does the future hold for the children? Ice Age 2?


Let's not even venture into politics and stability. I have stopped reading our newspapers. I hid myself under my own political ignorance. I want to base my children future on what I experienced in life, not something I read and participate over teh tarik. So, I am not even going to talk about politics. When my friends speak of politics, I will change subject. Because there is just no point in this. I don't even want to know how our government flaunt our hard earned money on unnecessary projects that doesn't improve the quality of life of the citizens - all they do is improve the size of the politicians' pocket.


Point number 4, is public safety. Who feels safe living in KL/PJ? Who lives in fear daily? Just last week, a member of my Buddhist society, a 80 year old grandma, was a victim of snatch thief in Tesco Mutiara Damansara. Fortunately, she wasn't hurt. Just think about it. This incident happened to someone I know in a place 5km from where I live and work. Goodness, I wonder why are we accepting this and why is there no public outcry to our government to do something about it. When our government, under Badawi, did do something which he publicly talks about - he sent high tech gadgets and build more police stations but didn't increase the number of police officers. Did you notice that are many so called police stations mushrooming in shop lots around PJ area? It's really a joke. We have better gadgets and empty stations but no body to use them. Why do we do build it then? Of course, it's an infrastructure projects and that also means more money to the politicians. I will have two daughters and a wife. Honestly I worry for their safety every day. If I don't do anything, I will continue to worry for the rest of my life.

So what do people normally do? They moved to gated community and further hid themselves in the illusion that they are safe. Is this the trend? Are we giving and building illusion for our children in the next 20, 30, 40 years?


It's getting  ridiculous! We have to fend ourselves by hiring our own security house to guard the Taman we live in. We have to pay for our children's overseas education. We pay high price for low quality products especially food. We have to waste our precious time going places. And the most ridiculous of all - we still have to pay 27% income tax to a governement who spent them mindlessly - not for the betterment of the society but for the betterment of their own personal lives.

There's so much more to say. I just want to stop lying to myself. I don't want to live in an illusion. I want to belief but things around me as well as what our governements are doing are not helping me in my beliefs. In fact, they are going all out to show me that there is no point in this fight, that it is a losing battle.

I will speak more in future posts.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Monday, March 07, 2011

A Pair of Tits is following me!

Yup .. a spammer and bot called "Naked Unique Tits" are following my blog.
Enjoy a commercial break while reading :)

Change iPhone Backup Directory

If you were like me, recently owning a spiffy new and fast SSD drive, you will note with despair that when you sync your iPhone with iTunes, the software will back up your iPhone data into c:\users\ringgit\appdata. This is on a Windows 7 platform. There's nothing wrong with that except that the backup is stored in c: which is the SSD drive. While SSD is a fast drive, it comes in a very small size. My 120GB intel SSD cost RM720. With RM720, you would be able to get a 2TB (2048GB) drive! So speed comes with a price. And as such, you don't want those valuable storage space taken up by iPhone backup files.

Typically, a iPhone has 32GB. So, a one time backup would take 32GB of the drive. Two backups would take 64GB and before long, my SSD would be full.

Fortunately Windows 7 allows you to easily move your \appdata folder to another drive by clicking Folder Properties and clicking Move, much like how you would move your My Documents, My Pictures or My Music.

Do that and your SSD will thank you :)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Coffee Shop

There are many coffee shops in Aman Suria. It's a good thing. I patron all of them except Sun Ying Loong. SYL is a famous coffee shop serving Ipoh's white coffee. Some said they are the original Ipoh White Coffee. There are two branches in PJ, one in A Suria and the other in K Damansara.

The reason I don't drink there is because of bad service and expensive drink. They charged a premium to their teh tarik and coffee. About 30 or 40 sen extra. Why are they doing this and why do people continue to drink there is beyond me. It's not like they are a a/c place. They are just a normal coffee shop.

Today I was eating at a new coffee shop. They charged the standard rate. But it got me thinking. Why have we not heard of a coffee shop charging Less than usual. I'd imaging the profit margin of drink is high and if you charge 20 sen cheaper, you should be able to pull in more crowd. But you don't hear of this at all.

Instead, people continue to pay a premium. This explains the continue mushrooming of premium cafe like Pappa Rich, Pak Li and Old Town White Coffee.

It boggles the mind that Malaysians are not demanding for lower or flat rate. We must be very rich!

So the next time you see a raise in sugar or flour or whatever, shut up. Coz you obviously could afford it coz you are still patronizing these expensive shops.
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Friday, March 04, 2011

SSD - optimize space and futher improves boot time with SpaceSniffer and Soluto

Yesterday I bought a 120GB intel Solid State Drive and my PC is on afterburner! Such amazing speed. SSD is the way to go if you could afford it. Windows runs like an iPad. App launches instantly! No wait time. My Windows Experience Index, a rating system of CPU, memory, gfx and HDD speed, are normally pulled down by the speed of the hard disk. With the SSD installed, Windows Experience Index report my CPU index of 7.1 and my HDD index as 7.5. For the first time ever, the hdd index is faster than the CPU index!

This morning, I have also discovered two really cool PC utilities - seriously, they are so cool I want to blog about it.

The first is called SpaceSniffer. Ever wonder how come your hard disk is running out of space? Which folder is the one that has huge unncessary files? Do you see yourself going to each folder and right click to check the properties to find the folder size? It's very tedious isn't it? SpaceSniffer is a cool exe (without needing to install) which will map your folder in pictorial format and show you graphically the folder size and by clicking on each folder, it zoom in, ala Google Earth style, into that folder and show you, again in pictorial style, the files and its relative size. At a glance, you can find the culprit. Very advance, very 21st century tool!

Soluto is the other tool that will track your PC boot time and will tell you how much time each services took to load. It will also recommend to you if you need the services and if you are not sure, it will also tell you what millions of PC users think of that services -whether it is a waste of time and can be removed or whether it is cruicial. This tool will help you improve your boot time. It's not as great a discovery as SpaceSniffer, to me, but it was very cool, nonetheles.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Terrible Two

They are right. Terrible Two is indeed Terrible. Little sen is just at v1.10, not even v2.0 and she's already behaving like a Terrible Two. Honestly, it's not something she could help it. She just couldn't find peace within herself - either because she fear sleeping, jealous of her upcoming sister or just too excited and too curious about everything that she would threw tantrum if her demands are not met. Sometimes, she doesn't even know what she wants. She knows what she don't want but she can't tell you what she wants. Is this just a baby thing - er.. no .. wait ... EVEN ADULTS ARE LIKE THAT! The only difference - she expressed it out loud while we adults just sucked it down and move on aimlessly.

Anyway, she's just wearing all of us down.............................

My only consolation - "this too, shall pass" - can't wait till she turn 3!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Apple iTunes

I have used iTunes since it was first introduced to Windows. Back then, it was iTunes 3 or 4, I think. I have stuck to iTunes and seen its growth, from just a simple media library to now a single powerful force in the industry.

Since then, my library has grown from 200 songs to about 3700 songs. I spent almost a month just ripping my own CDs and getting all the cover album. Lots of efforts. It's no wonder I continue to stick to iTunes.

Searching for songs is a breeze in iTunes and yet one of the reasons I love iTunes is the Smart Playlist capabilities. With Smart Playlist, you can generate a folder with dynamic songs - the playlist is populated based on conditions you set.

My most used playlist is called "Old Favourites". This Smart Playlist has two conditions. It will choose songs that have 4 stars and above AND the songs have not been played for the past 3 months. That means whenever I clicked on this play list, I get to listen and discover music I have not heard for some time. It's almost like listening to a radio that plays only your 5 star songs. Isn't this smart?

The other playlist I have is "Recent Favourites" which are songs that are 4 stars and above AND have just been recently played - like the week before. This is the playlist I goto for songs that I played just a day before and need to listen to it again.

In addition, Apple has released a free Apple Remote app for iPhone (see photo). With this app, I could control iTunes wireless from my couch, as though having a remote control. How cool is that?

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Cheap breakfast @ McDonald

This morning, we went to McDonald's for breakfast. I didn't realize that their breakfast set, a Sausage McMuffin with Egg and a cup of refillable coffee, cost RM4.50! A burger and a coffee in an a/c environment now cost THE SAME as a bowl of wanton mee in a hot and stuffy Kopitiam! If you add a glass of teh, it would have cost RM6 plus, a lot more than McDonald's. That's unheard of! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Singapore

A thought just occurred to me. If it is so attractive to work in Singapore due to the high exchange rate, how come majority of Chinese Malaysians go there. You hardly hear any Malay Malaysians going. Don't the Malays want money too? Puzzling! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Long Service Award

15 years with the company and ALL I got is a lousy Pewter mug! Crap!
It is so siah sui that I don't even want to dignify it by posting a photo of the mug.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Guess Where I Am

Do you know this shopping complex?

Is it Kota Raya?

Pertama?

Sogo?
1U

There are at least 7 lots that were empty. Many more empty lots opposite where I'm standing.

You'll never guess that it is the famous 1 Utama Old Wing! Right at the end is TGV. The shops that were closed are Old Town White Coffee, Hello Nokia store, some toy store, can't remember what else...

What's happening???
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Home made CNY cookies

We have made cookies in our new-ish Teka oven before. It's pretty easy because we bought the premix stuff from supermarket, add egg and butter and then put them in oven.

This time, we decided to start from scratch.. using the good ol flour and baking powder and shortening and some arcane baking stuff.

Not bad!

Ingredients bought from Bake with Yen in Taman Megah, near Mien Tien

Use a Sharp mixer.. quite easy.. press button, the bowl will auto turn. Don't have to do anything.

This is the hard part... rolling individual balls and letting them collect the corn flakes. And it's oily. Yucks!

20 min at 170 degree C and it's done!

Recycle old containers and people would think that we bought this!

A mech keyboard nerd's thoughts on 2017 MacBook Pro keyboard

My old Thinkpad has reached its end of life and so the company issued me a new notebook. By default, they issued a MacBook Air, but I tried ...