Monday, August 29, 2016

Forum shutdown

I have shutdown my forum. It was fun while it last. I enjoyed setting it up and playing around as an admin. There were some technical challenges and I learned so much from overcoming it. But, there are no participation. And I did not want to pay USD$10/month for a dead place.. And so it has to go. Too bad.

Haze Again

I thought we would end the year without haze. I guess a haze free Malaysia is now a pipe dream. It’s back this week. Getting worse. Wtf is wrong with Indonesia?

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

How to use a iPad with a wired mechanical keyboard?

If you hated poking into the glass of your iPad to type, you have two choices. One is to buy a Bluetooth keyboard and wirelessly connects the keyboard to the iPad. This is fine but most of the Bluetooth keyboards are not mechanical keyboard, except the HHKB Bluetooth or the Matias Laptop Pro.

Your other choice is to hook up your wired mechanical keyboard to the iPad. But you need to purchase a connector to do so. Apple is selling a USB to Camera Connector kit for RM139 and another newer one which is USB3 and have a additional lightning port to charge your iPad for RM189.

It looked like this:
I suggest getting the RM189 kit because of the ability to charge the iPad and to also provide some power to the keyboard that you plug in. The issue is Apple limits how much power goes out of the iPad into the USB device. If the keyboard requires more power than what Apple provides, you will get a pop up box saying "the connected device requires too much power".
It really made a hell of a difference when you can use a mechanical keyboard with the iPad. And it works across all apps. And you have more space to read and type because the virtual keyboard is hidden when an actual keayboard is presence.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Poh Kong Tesco Ampang RHB Credit Card Scam

This morning I received this SMS:

RM0.00 RHB: MYR 3998.00 was charged on your card num**97 at POH KONG-AMPANG TESCO on 03/08.Call 03-92126568 if you did NOT perform this transaction.

Looks totally legit, like something that I will get from my bank when I purchased something. Problem is, I don't have a RHB card. I called the number and there is a telephone automated service as well. These guys really go all the way. But suspecting something is amiss, I did a Google search and sure enough, it is a scam! They used to do it using CIMB Bank but now changed to RHB.

Be careful of this scam. Typically I don't do this in my blog. I consider myself scam savvy street smart but I almost fell for this. I imagine many other people would have easily fell for it.

The key thing is NEVER call the number in SMS message. ALWAYS, ALWAYS call your bank's official number.

3 reasons Malaysians should choose Spotify over Apple Music

I was a big Apple Music fan. I went for the 3 months trial when it first launched and then continue paying the subscription. Later, I stopped, thinking I don't really have much time for music only to realize that I cannot live without having instant access to songs. I subscribed again.

Yes, Spotify is more popular in Malaysia and I think around the world. But I am a huge Apple fan and I have a lot of historical data in iTunes - I started using iTunes when it was just version 4. And I have stuck with iTunes all these years because it remember the songs I starred, it keep track of my play count and because of these data, I could create Smart Playlist such as "My top songs I have not listened to in the past 3 months" or "Recently played songs that is in my top 20 list" or "Songs in my library which I have not listened to". When Apple Music was introduced, it still uses iTunes library and as such my analytic data are still being kept and updated and it was great. 

But I have since switched away from Apple Music. Here's 4 reasons why:

1. Discovery
Apple Music have beautiful curated music - these are songs put together by experts employed by Apple. And as such I have discovered many new musics or old ones that I know of but do not know the name. But as you use more and more, you realize many of the curated music are repeats. Spotify have the same thing but Spotify have something else - it allows users like you and me to publish our playlist and allow collaboration, so people (or even friends) of the same era or love the same genre can contribute to build playlist of long forgotten songs. You can follow friends or follow a playlist. When you share a playlist with a friend within Spotify app, all of you can have instant messaging and discuss about the playlist, what sucked and what should be added. The social aspect here is excellent.

2. Speed
I am on maxis. Spotify has partnership with maxis. I don't know why but I feel that browsing and searching for music on Spotify is so much spiffy and faster. Apple is supposed to be king of User Experience but sadly, Apple Music is not as snappy as I like. Maybe too much graphic. But yeah, we are here to listen to songs, not looking at graphics. Well, actually I am a album art whore, I admit, but even then, I'd love to be able to quickly listen to a song and not wait for some syncing to happen.

And did I say that searching for a song or album is super fast in Spotify? Maybe Apple Music does not have servers in Malaysia. Spotify does and it shows in the speed. Whatever searches are local to Malaysia network and is INSTANT!

3. Free
Seriously, who can argue with free? If you are a MaxisOne 98 Plan and above, you get free subscription to Spotify Premium. That's free vs Apple Music MYR$12/month. Free vs 12 bucks per month! And even if you are not on MaxisOne Plan and is just a maxis user, there is a 30% discount for subscribing to Spotify. Not only that, when you are listening to Spotify, it does not use your usual internet quota. maxis let you stream for free! 15GB Spotify data/month free! FREE! FREEEEE!

Yeah, the free part probably have a strong weight-age over my decision to finally dump Apple Music for Spotify. But I think user experience and speed is equally important and I don't see myself paying and yet using something inferior to the competition.

Apple, you need to up your stuff man, just saying!