Wednesday, June 29, 2016

4 practical tips for choosing the right mechanical keyboard

I have been a big fan of mechanical keyboards all my life. And for the past 3 years, I have made many purchases and tried many switches. Heck, in my forum at loopgit, I even have a dedicated mechanical keyboard category so we can discuss this particular human user interface when using a PC or a Mac.

A keyboard is a keyboard, many will tell you. But, the moment you ventured into mechanical keyboard, you are looking at a big onion with many layers that you can peel. Much like mechanical watches or fountain pens, which functions are pretty common but the fact that they are both mechanical in nature, there are many choices and deviation.

So, how do you know which keyboard is right for you? Read on for some tips base on my experience of trying out various mechanical keyboards. You might also want to review the different type of switches in this article if you are not familiar with the keyboard switches.

Tip #1 - what is your typing style?
Before deciding on the type of switches, look at your own typing style. Are you someone who pound on the keyboard using only a few fingers much like a finger pecking at the keyboard? Or are you like the professional typist who put both hands on the middle row (ASDF and JKL;) and is able to type with both hands at the slightest touch?

Someone who is a pecking on a keyboard will naturally like a heavier switch. That is because a lot of time, you are pounding on the keys and you will appreciate a much more tactile feedback from the key being depressed and bouncing back at you. Heavier switches such as MX Clear, MX Green, Buckling Spring are suitable to you.

Some who can touch type usually prefer a lighter switch that accentuate at the slightest press, so that they received the tactile feedback and know that they have press that key and can move on. In this case, lighter switches such as MX Brown, MX Blue or Alps (Matias) switches are suitable for you.

Tip #2 - are you bothered by the sound of typing?
Do you love the click clack noise when using your keyboard? Or are you in an office environment where the sound of your typing will be annoying to your co-workers? Gone are the days of an office where all you can hear are the sound of old typewriters click clacking away. These days, office are pretty quiet stuff and using a noisy mechanical keyboard might turn people off. On the other hand, perhaps your boss will think you are working very hard when they hear you typed.

So, if you like to listen to the click clack noise from your keyboard: MX Green, MX Blue, Buckling Spring and Alps (Matias TactilePro) are the one you are looking for.

And if you like to be incognito when typing on a mech keyboard, then MX Clear, MX Brown and Alps (Matias QuietPro) are the one you should consider. In fact, Matias QuietPro claimed to be the world's quietest mechanical keyboard. And they even recorded the sound of typing on various keyboard switch. You should head over there and listen to the recording to determine which keyboard is sound is right for you. Here's the link).

Tip #3 - do you have limited desk space?
There are various sizes to a keyboard. Mechanical keyboards will give you even more different sizes. There are the full 104-key keyboards. This one include the number pad on the right:

There are the TKL keyboard. TKL stands for Ten Key Less. Basically, it does away with the number pad (total of 10 keys there) and therefore the keyboard is shorter. Very good for gaming because your mouse hand will not need to stretch too far to the right.

There are the 60% keyboard which are small and portable. Notice that the 60% did not have the Function Row (F1 to F12). It also does not have arrow keys. These keys are achieved through pressing a combination of Function and another key.

Comparing the 60% Poker Keyboard to the Full size Razer Blackwidow.
Depending on how much desk space you have, you might want different keyboard. Most people will take the 60% if they travel around with their keyboard for instance a student will take the keyboard to connect to the University's lab PC instead of using the one in the lab, which is frankly, pretty gross out.

Tip #4 - Do you care about replacing the keys?
I am not sure how OCD some of you are but they keys are made of plastics and plastic do wear out over time. For instance, some of the letters might disappear because of the oil and grim from your finger. The best thing about mech keyboard is that each of these keys can be taken off and replaced with new ones. You can even replaced with colourful keys such as this:

Now, if you care about replacing keys, then you have to make sure the keyboards that you are buying are using standard layout. Typically, the alpha keys (ABCDEF.... ) are standard size. What is not standard are the modifiers which are the SHIFT, CAPSLOCK, TAB, ALT, CONTROL, WINDOWS. SPACE BAR. Many keyboard manufacturers do not use standard key size for the mod. For instance, the Razer keyboard pictured above are not standard. And that means, they are not easily replaceable.

Most keyboards use ABS plastics. It's the same plastic materials used by Lego. That means, they keys are very colourful and vibrant, much like Lego blocks. The problem is that over time, they keys became very glossy. Look at your laptop now. Are the keys shinning and glossy, as though covered in oil? It's gross, right? Some keyboards have keys made of PBT plastics and those are the best. It feels a bit coarse and does have some matte texture feel but these plastics do not shine. If you own a old IBM buckling spring keyboards, notice how that over the years (20-30 years) they keys does not shine and the letters does not go away? These are PBT plastics.

And there you have it
Four practical tips that you can quickly ask yourself and it will help you determine the type of keyboard you should look out for. As for the brand and price, we can discuss in the forum. Head over there.

System Shock Remake

I started gaming back in Form 3, at the age of 16, when I joined the school computer club and have access to Apple // for the first time in my life. Back then many people who came to the club played games like Rescue Raiders, Digger, Karateka but my favorite genre has always been role playing game (RPG). I was hooked to games like Might & Magic 1 and 2, Ultima IV, V VI. When I bought my very first PC, the first game I bought in original boxed copy is Ultima Underworld. Underworld was made by this company called Looking Glass Technologies and they are a company that was visionary, talented and ahead of its time. The games they churned out redefine the genre. They impact they made to gaming is out of this world. Games made by them are innovative, technologically advance, replayable and does not conform to the norm.

One such game was System Shock. At a time when people were playing using floppy disks, they came out with a fully audio gaming experience on a CD! Instead of reading journals left by the citizens of Citadel Stations, we get to listen to their audio logs in full speech. That was the power of the CD but at that time, not many people have CD-ROM and as such, not many games are released on a CD. System Shock was one of the first. Also, 3D first person shooter was just being introduced but System Shock has full 3D including looking up and down (instead of just a lateral left-right view) and that was a first of its kind too.

The game was so good that when System Shock 2 was released a few years later, the Usenet (back then, this was the equivalent of a world-wide internet forum) exploded with so many discussions about the game. You knew, then, that this is the game everyone in the world was playing and talking about.

22 years later, one company, Nightdive Studios, managed to secure the IP rights to the System Shock brand and now they have started a Kickstarter to remake the first System Shock using current technology! This is like the gamers' wet dream come true!

Check this Kickstarter video out (I admit, it is a bit cheesy):

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What to pack in modern day travelling

Well, recent all guys trip to Cameron Highlands thought me some stuff about what to pack for a trip. For one, an iPhone with Apple Music subscription is really key. During the drive, connect your iPhone to the car Bluetooth and voila, all your playlist are available. And if any of the guys have some special requests, you have millions of songs available at your finger tips. We had a good time reminisence listening to old Canto pop, thinking of the good times at school when these songs were a hit. And it creates lots of conversation topic as well when nostalgia hit.

Second, and this is where I made the mistake of not thinking about it, you need an Apple TV! Apple TV is very small and portable. If we were to bring the Apple TV, we can easily connect to the hotel/apartment's TV and you have the whole catalog of YouTube and even Apple movies available to watch!!! Even if you don't own the show, it's worth renting it so that everyone can enjoy! You don't need to have the hotel wifi connection. Remember that you have your iPhone with you. You can always do a Air Play from the iPhone to the Apple TV. That's the whole point of it. And don't forget with maxis new data plan, there's LOADS of data for you to play videos or listen to songs. Maxis even have extra data just for video playback.

Third, you definitely need an iPad - for the times when there's really nothing to do (rare, because there's so much to gossip and catch up), you can play some games on the iPad. There are some board games like game such as Settlers of Catan where 4 people can hunched around the iPad to play the game. Or the iPad can be passed around. Well, I brought the iPad but thankfully, we didn't come to this stage of needing it.

Gay Social Network App in Malaysia

So, I was browsing the iOS App Store today to look for some new apps to play around with. I went to see the Top Paid category, being curious what my fellow Malaysians are paying their hard earned money for. Imagine my surprise to see a gay boy social networking app, Grindr, being the number 4 top paid app. And ironically, number 2 is a Holy Koran app. Holy Koran being number 2 is not a surprise, Malaysia being a Muslim country and having majority Muslim. Also this is the holy month of Ramadan.

But the contradiction between the gay app and the religious app is just too glaring!! What does it mean? We have a lot of gay people in the country? Malaysians are known to be cheap skate. People usually pirate software or they jailbreak their device. And yet, we see people paying for gay app. Perhaps, the Apple owners, known to be owned by more affluent consumers, are majority gay boys(*)? This is interesting! Let's discuss!

(*) The reason I said "gay boy" instead of "girl" is because when you clicked on the app and look at the screenshot, it's mainly photos of good looking boys/men.

Forum Dilemma

In my quest of learning to set up a internet forum, I learned a lot of stuff including registering a domain, setting up email servers and of course, being able to install and set up a forum. There are some cost involved: to register a domain, cost a yearly fee, to run the forum software requires an cloud server in Digital Ocean, which cost me RM$40/month (about USD$10). The forum software itself is open sourced and therefore, free, but the hosting server is not. Fortunately, the email service that I subscribed to,, gives me free 10,000 emails every month.

So, my actual cost is the Digital Ocean server hosting of USD$10/month.

Now that I have set up a forum, I'd like most of the comments from this blog to be channeled over there, as a way to discuss about something I posted. The problem is, after running it for about a month, I have maybe 3 or 4 registered users, which is really pathetic.

The root of this issue is the identity of a forum. If I am selling something, the forum can be used to provide customer support. Or to build a community of customers who are using the product to talk about it. If I were someone famous like a celebrity or even famous blogger like John Gruber, then the forum could be a place for the fans to get together and to discuss about the new albums or the new blog post. If this were a community of a residential area, for instance, Bandar Utama, then the forum can be used to talk about living in Bandar Utama.

But for a private person who are not even famous, my forum is totally dead. No one wants to join a forum of an unknown individual. It's not even a corporation selling things nor a non-profit entity providing a service. In an age where there are so many ways to communicate - a Whatsapp group among friends, a Facebook page of a residential association, an Instagram for sharing photos - it's hard pressed to run a forum, especially one without a true identity and purpose.

I will probably give it another month or two before I bring it down. USD$10/month, while not a lot, is still money.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brokeback Mountain

Another old men trip to Cameron Highlands. Very nice and cooling. I’m amaze at many new hotels coming up. There’s this new place called Nova. They have Old Town White Coffee, Teh Tarik Place, Watson and even Hometown Stemsboat. This place is getting more commercialize by the minute.
Nova from afar. 

Looks very modern.

Love the view from our hotel... Fresh air. Very relaxing.

Friday, June 17, 2016

LRT3 and Bandar Utama

There is going to be a LRT line connecting Bandar Utama to Klang. It's aptly named LRT3. The first station is in Bandar Utama, beside the current MRT station opposite TV3. It then turn into Kayu Ara before the Shell Bandar Utama station along the Damasara river, having a second station to serve Damansara Utama residents. Then it come out of Sprint Highway and supposedly have a 3rd station, called Tropicana station in Merchant Sq.

However, recently, they decided to relocate the Tropican station from Merchant Square nearer towards the Lebuh Bandar Utama bridge.

This was the original location of Tropicana Station:

I am a bit puzzled of the new alignment Tropicana station. It was originally proposed to be put near Merchant Square, which is a commercial area very near Tropicana, BU11, BU12 and Bayu Puteri apartments. If you enter into NKVE using Damansara Toll, Merchant Square is to the left of you as you turn into left towards Subang Jaya/Klang and KLIA.

Consider this map, taking directly from

You will notice that the LRT line will come from Bandar Utama along Kayu Ara and then become parallel with Sprint Highway. As it passed Petron petrol station opposite the Boulevard commercial shops, it cut across the road at the point near the current burnt down furniture shop. Once across the road, it will elevate itself because the LRT line need to go above the Lebuh Bandar Utama bridge (aka the Sony bridge) towards NKVE. This also implies that this station will be elevated, as high as the line, higher than the bridge and Lebuh Bandar Utama.

What puzzles me is the location of this station. Why did they move it from Merchant Square to near the bridge? 

There are a lot of space between the bridge to merchant square and I believe this space will be used to build a multi level parking to support the station. However, why do the station have to be on the right side of the empty space, near the bridge, instead of on the right side of the empty space, near Merchant Square. I would think that putting near Merchant Square not only will serve the commercial area, but it will also serve residents in Bayu Puteri Apartment, Pangsapuri Damai, which are more densely populated and transport and parking has always been an issue to them.

And so, the only reason that they are putting on the left side, near the bridge, is to serve the BU11 and BU12 residents. I mean, why else would it be? And here in lies another puzzle. The station is going to be elevated. Are they going to build a pedestrian bridge to connect to Lebuh Bandar Utama? If they are, then this poor bridge is going to be even congested because of cars picking and dropping passenger. At this moment, this 4 lane bridge are facing huge congestion every morning due to the bottleneck at the bridge. I doubt they will be able to add another lane, because it’s a bridge and it’s going to cost a ton of money to add another lane just for cars to pick up and drop passengers.

Assuming the above does not make sense, then the road to the station where cars can drop/pick up passenger has to be using the current Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1 road, parallel to Sprint Highway. This is highly probable. Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1 is not a busy road. It runs in parallel to Sprint Highway and people use this road to go into Tropicana Golf course. This road can be widen enough for cars to drop and pick up passengers. If this is the case, then, why put the station near the bridge instead of near Merchant Square? There is more reasons for the stations to be near a commercial area.
The other funny thing about this station is that assuming Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1 is used to come to the station whether to park or pick up, how will the cars go back into Bandar Utama or Damansara? This road is parallel to Sprint Highway with a toll station beside it. There is no way for cars to U turn into the highway back to Damansara. They have to go along the Tropicana Selatan 1 road, into the housing area, pass by BU 11 and BU 12 and then back to the bridge! This is again going to put a lot of pressue on the current existing road infrastructure.

I wish the authority made more clarification on this. Their website is shitty as it does not show anything except stations and some mumbo jumbo about why LRT3 will benefits people.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Stephen King

I love to read Stephen King's work. My only of his work started about 10 years ago. Before that, I have always thought Stephen King's story are ghost related. You know, those supernatural beings that haunt old houses. In reality though, his work is not really related to spirits or undead, even though it is always categorize under horror. His stories are just very disturbing and, well, horrifying. For example, look at this synopsis of a short story he wrote. I stumbled upon it today.

"Survivor Type" is written as the diary of a disgraced surgeon, Richard Pine (real name Richard Pinzetti), who, while attempting to smuggle a large amount of heroin on a cruise ship, finds himself marooned on a tiny island in the Pacific with very limited supplies and no food. A self-proclaimed "survivor" type, his diary entries documenting his day-to-day activities become more and more disjointed and raving, revealing his slow mental decay and eventual insanity caused by starvation, isolation, and drug use. Determined to hold out for rescue, he goes to horrifying lengths to survive. After breaking his ankle while attempting to signal an airplane, he amputates his foot, then realizes he has to eat it to survive. He continues to amputate his own limbs to use as a food source, ingesting the heroin as a crude anesthetic during the operations. Although he initially keeps track of the dates (the entries begin January 26), his increasing mental instability causes him to lose perception of days passed (finally ending his entries with "Febba" and "Fe/40?"). His last few diary entries, barely comprehensible, indicate that he has cut off and eaten everything below his waist, as well as his ears, and drools uncontrollably as he ponders which body part to consume next. The diary entries end when he cuts off his left hand to eat. ("lady fingers they taste just like lady fingers").
The ending implies Richard would later be found dead, probably the result of self-cannibalism, since the diary was apparently found and read, and Richard mentioned he would have destroyed it right before being rescued. via wikipedia

See? It has nothing to do with ghost. But it's the sort of deranged ideas that he put into his novels are what made him unique. There are many more example of his work that's equally disturbing and leave a vivid image on your mind, that will last weeks after you read his books. Some of my favourites are Pet Semetary, Thinner, Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Misery, 11/22/63.

What's your favourite Stephen King book?


Last evening, a few friends gathered for dinner and the topic of old age and resulting body aches came up. Many claim to have this perpetual neck pain, myself included, and it’s probably caused by too much time spent on a laptop and iPhone which caused our heads to be looking downwards for a long time. And so, the advise was to always keep your head straight up.

This morning, I started improvising on my workplace. 

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

End of Blogging?

One of my readers asked me if I’m going to stop writing in the blog now that I’m spending more time in the forum. Well, I want to say that the blog is still the main point of entry, where the discussion forum serves as a comment section for readers to discuss about the topic I blogged. Having said that though, blog is very much a one way street. I write about what’s on my mind for anyone interested or cared enough to read. And it’s really just a brain or emotional dump. On the contrary, the forum encourages multi way discussions where everyone can chime in and it’s anonymous and safe. Forums can be fun if the right community gathers. Building that community is not easy though. At any rate, I’ll still blog untill the forum grows big. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Integrating Discourse forum into Blogger

Phew, this took a while.. I decided to have a better commenting system as compared to the current stock one provided by Blogger. It allows better conversation among all my readers, provided they still care about commenting. Anyway, I've always wanted to run a forum software. One of the most modern ones, which is mobile ready from ground up, is Discourse.

I wanted to share the steps that I did and some of the observations I made when following some of the online documentation. But Blogger is not friendly when sharing code snippets, where as Discourse, the forum that I set up, has great support for codes. So, please click on the comment/discussion below and read on :)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

50 Dead - Orlando Shootings

Seriously! Does America ever learned? I remember reading President Obama being really vocal about gun control and then people went mental, saying he's abusing their Second Amendment rights. The President said that during his tenure, there have been the highest number of shooting incidents in the USA. Why are the Aemricans not learning a thing or two? And now, it's a possibility of being Islamic influenced. Donald Trump must be rubbing his hands in glee at the prospect of lashing out to the Islamic community!

Impressions: Supersharkz Swimming School

We have tried the swimming school in One Club Bandar Utama but it wasn’t very effective. The instructors does not seemed to have a proper methodology. They are good swimmers teaching swimming lessons part time. We went with a private instructor who taught 4 kids only and after two full lessons, we felt that the girls didn’t learn anything. We decided that we needed to look for another school. 

It so happened that I saw Supersharkz Swim School in the factory area of Kota Damansara when I was around there for a meeting. This is a specialized swimming school and they were from Puchong and they expanded a branch in KD. 

We went in to take a look

Nice and proper reception counter, with staff in yellow uniform, as compared to One Club’s temporary table manned by some part time school kid. 

I love how they have proper program for each level. I think this is similar as One Club except that Supersharkz have a detailed curriculum. 

The view right after the counter, walking into the pool area...

There’s a nice cafeteria as well as a waiting place for parents to hang out when the kids are swimming. 

The same view from the cafeteria overlooking into the pool. I think there are a few good points about the pool - one, it’s indoor which means there will be lessons regardless of weather condition. And it’s not so hot for us poor parents waiting for the kids. 

Secondly, the pool are salted instead of filled with chroline. This is for hygiene purposes and of course, it’s better for kids with sensitive skins. Quite thoughtful of them. 

This particular pool is for toddler which is 6 years and below. This pool is heated! So for those worried about their babies catching cold, have no fear. They have classes for kids below 3, in which parents joined the classes. For 4-6 year old, it is instructor guided. 

The one thing I really like about Supersharkz is that the instructors followed proper SoP when teaching the kids. First the kids have to sit down at the side of the pool for warming up. Then they straddle by the side of the pool and learn to navigate by walking around the pool. The kids will hold hands in a circle and learn to dip their heads into the water while blowing bubbles. They then learn jumping and hopping in the pool. Lots of fun activities to orientate them into the water and remove the fear of water. 

It’s this standard SoP that I find lacking in One Club which made it difficult for the kids to learn especially if the instructors themselves are not trained to teach. Because of the SoP, you can have replacement class on another day with different instructor without needing to worry if they will fit in or not. 

The girls thrive very well in this school. They enjoyed it and I can see good improvements in Supersharkz as compared to One Club. 

The school was setup by Mark Chua who was a national swimming champion. 

I love the murals and words of encouragement all over the place. Good to read them every weekend and be reminded and get recharged. 

Highly recommended!!!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Blogger vs Wordpress

So, the more I work on the layout of this blog and trying to integrate to a forum software, doing sexy web 3.0 stuff, the more I find that Blogger is very limiting, including not enough support or template from people in the 'net. As such, I am seriously thinking of migrating over to Wordpress. I have had this blog for almost 10 years, but I think I needed a fresh start. There are many guides to migration and keeping all the comments and posts, so I don't think I am afraid of losing content. But what about all the post count and site visit? I need to think hard, but for the sake of change and modernization, I might just do it.

Regardless, just bookmark

When I switch, you will be automatically move to the new site.


You might notice the lack of comment buttons. I've removed them in preparation for a forum integration. Should be up by this weekend. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

So, I have been messing around with domains and very recently bought a domain, for RM5/year. Very cheap! I am not sure exactly what it means but it sounds very open source-y. Strongloop and github combined to be

And it turned out you can really buy any domain that you like for maybe around RM60/year. Pretty good, imo.

And so, if you type, it will redirect you to this blog.

I have other plans for - I am thinking of setting up a forum for my readers to collaborate and discuss stuff. Maybe you can even discuss my posts in the front page.

I hope I have time to play all these stuff, it is pretty interesting to me.

Breaking News

I read a lot of news. And often I saved or shared those which I find news worthy. If you read this blog on a desktop, the news I shared are shown in a widget on the right. Come join the discussion if the news interest you.

Choice of coffee shop

This morning, I had a choice of 3 coffee shops to go to for my breakfast. Typically people would choose the one with good food but I have an entirely different preference which annoyed my wife. 

I choose a restaurant with good air circulation as my priority. I hate eating and sweating. 

Second priority goes to a restaurant with good tea. Not may restaurant make the same tea and some are very consistent. 

If both were met, then I’ll think what I want to eat or whether that coffee shop has great char kuay teow or wantan mee. 

This morning though, 2 of the 3 restaurants met my criteria or having great air circulation and serving great tea. I went to one yesterday, and so I thought I should go to the other one, which served very good curry noodles. Surprisingly though, I decided to skip curry noodles and went back to the coffee shop which I ate in yesterday. The reason? The curry noodle shop have very lousy phone reception, which means no internet at all!!!

Looks like internet connectivity now plays a part as well!

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Getting old…

What is unchanging and true? I don’t know. But I’m beginning to think that life is all about the connections we create – the relationships we make with people great and small. We have been given so much. What did we do with it? Were we merciful? Were we kind? Did we love enough? Money and power will mean nothing at the last breath. The only thing that’ll count was how we treated one another. That keeps me awake at night. Perhaps it should. via waiter rant
Great retrospective article in waiter rant. I think as we age, inevitably, these are thoughts that pop into our mind. But are we going to do anything about it? Or are we just going to be idle and pass time at our home, watching TV, playing a game of chess or just waiting for time to pass?

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

WhatsApp mic

One of the charms of instant messaging like WhatsApp, iMessage and Skype is that you don’t need to talk to someone when you want to communicate something. It works well for many of us who are anti- social, in fact, even the social guys who loves to talk still use WhatsApp to communicate. It makes one wonder if people are just being lazy to talk or they prefer to just drop a line and two, go about their way and then come back to attend to the response. 

In WhatsApp, on the right side, there is a microphone icon. Pressing and holding it allow you to record short messages and sent it over. On the other end, they see it as a playable link. 

I find it awkward to use that feature. It’s like talking on the phone and what’s worse is that you can playback your own voice. And most often than note, we are uncomfortable with how we sound. 

But lately, I do value the usefulness of the voice message especially in Malaysia when you have to send messages to people who does not read English, e.g. one of my contractors who fix electricity is from Klang and he cannot speak/read in English. And I can’t type Chinese. The best way? Send him a voice message. The weird thing is, I should have just call him and talk over the phone and yet, we both find it so convenient to send voice message. Once I started using this feature, it became apparent to me that there are many people doing the same thing publicly. You will see people holding their iPhone and pointing the bottom speaker into their ear to listen to the message. Talk about anti social!

In fact, in one particular WhatsApp group, some people use it to broadcast a very lengthy blog - it’s used almost as a very easy and convenient way to deliver a podcast! Who would have thought that WhatsApp is an engine for podcasting! It is actually being carried out actively in a couple of WhatsApp group I was in.

I think before we know it, WhatsApp voice message is going to be the de facto communication standard.