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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 to justify for a MacBook Pro. The only way I could get a Pro, according to the guy who looked at my job scope, was that I would be assigned a 2015 MacBook Pro 13", the one that has many ports. I wasn't thrilled about an older model but I know that I will not like the new MacBook Pro (the space grey with Touch Bar and ONLY USB-C ports) due to many unpleasant stories I read about it. 

So, it was a shock to me that when I tore open the packaging to see that I was given a 2017 MacBook Pro 13", the one without a Touch Bar (a.k.a. MacBook Escape), instead of an older 2015 model. I was not sure how I felt about it. On one hand, having the latest and greatest is always good - beautiful & bright retina screen, super slim and light - I dare say that it is smaller and lighter than even the MacBook Air. On the other hand, I was pretty …

Don't WhatsApp /SMS when driving

This morning, we received news that one of Jane's classmate passed away after fighting for her life for 4 days. She was cycling in her Ara Damansara neighborhood - just taking a ride to a friend's house around the corner - and she was knocked by an incoming car. I am not sure if the driver was texting while driving or if he was speeding .. but the point is that a 8 year old girl died because of an accident with an incoming car who was not able to stop in time. She had a concussion to the head and was in coma. The doctor know that her brain had blood clot and swelling but because she was not responding, they were not able to operate on her. And so the family suffered through 4 days of anguish waiting - praying for her to respond, so that they could operate on her .. and on the 5th day, she stopped breathing.

I don't pretend that I am an angel here - I did text before behind the wheel.. but incidents like this served as a REAL reminder to me that I should not. THAT TEXT IS N…

My opinion on iPhone X

I'm a huge fan of everything Apple. And yet, I don't have the latest Apple gear. I'm not that rich to buy every Apple gear there is out there. I don't have the latest iPhone (I'm still using a 6 Plus), I don't have a MacBook with TouchBar (using an Air) and I don't have a iPad Pro (using an Air 2). And yet, I do go and take risk on new Apple tech - when they launched iPhone 3G, I was in line for it, then when they had the new, all glass design of iPhone 4, I was in line as well. iPhone 6 Plus was their first big screen iPhone and I jumped on it. AirPod was new and I bought it out of faith.

So, now the iPhone X is in totally unchartered territories for an iPhone - new form factor, new OLED screen, Face ID, no home button nor Touch ID. Unproven battery life. Wireless charging, etc etc.

Without Touch ID, many of my existing apps may not work, especially the banking ones. There will be immediate impact on existing apps.

Will I take the leap?

I would, if it'…

5 weeks with the 2017 CRV

Now that I have driven the new 2017 Honda CRV for 5 weeks, complete with an outstation trip to Ipoh with 4 adults and 2 kids, have my impression of the car changed one bit? Actually, I am more pleased with the car after a full 2-hour drive up North. Firstly, the car is so quiet when travelling the freeway at 130km/h. At 110km/h, the RPM was around 1900RPM and at 130km/h, it is just 2700RPM. The engine didn't feel like it was roaring. And I don't even know I was going at 130km/h! Pick up for overtaking, with 4 adults and 2 kids, plus luggage at the boot, was excellent. The car is powerful and effortless in just zooming past other cars.

Fuel consumption was good, around 16km/litre which is 15sen per km (I am using RON97, so that's like $2.44 per litre as of this writing)

Apple Maps and Foursquare was a great combination to look for places and CarPlay was able to get us to any place in Ipoh. I believe Apple hada partnership with Foursquare. I like that when I was searching fo…

What are the advantages of CarPlay over traditional Bluetooth?

Readers of this blog knows that I am a die-hard Apple fan - so much so as even appearing cultist and fanboism. They also know that the reason I delayed my car purchase and chose the current car is somewhat related to waiting for Apple CarPlay to arrive in Malaysia. After one month of driving the car and using CarPlay, I am afraid I have to ask the hard question of "why bother with CarPlay?"

The current CarPlay in all models of Honda is the wired models - meaning there is a lightning-USB cable that goes from the car into the iPhone. Once you plug that in, the whole infotainment system turn into one giant iPhone screen. Very responsive, very beautiful.


With the iPhone plugged in, I could say "hey Siri" and Siri is turned on and I could ask Siri to call the wife or play this playlist or play songs by Adele or even send someone a message. And with the integrated Apple Maps, I could have turn by turn navigation. No Waze yet, unfortunately - a BIG unfortunately, actually…

Economy is bad?

Have you noticed that it is very difficult to get home improvement work done these days? My roofing (pergola, to be exact) had some problem and needed replacement. The sales guy came and took some measurement but told me that I have to wait 4 weeks before they can get someone to install. Just two months ago, we install a mosquitoes screen on the door and window. I also have to wait for 4 weeks before they are available for installation. Plumbing - a few days. They say the new CRV have to wait two weeks. Want someone to service your aircond? Wait a few weeks. Have a ceiling fan need to be replaced and need an electrician? Good luck looking for one because they don't want to do small jobs like this.

So if economy is bad, these guys should be very free and available. Or hungry for jobs. But it seems that they have lots of jobs waiting for them! Hmmm....

So, if you lose your jobs one day and you are willing to work hard, you can't "die of hunger", as a Chinese saying goe…

Using an iPad as a secondary monitor

How about extending the display of your Windows 10 PC or MacBook into a secondary display without needing to pay for a second monitor? That's provided you have an iPad around. With DuetDisplay (RM60 iOS app, desktop app is free), you can do just that! And a secondary display is something that once you have it, you can't live without it. And using an iPad made it so much practical to carry around another display on-the-go, with your MacBook, to work! Try it out!

DuetDisplay just requires an iOS app, a desktop app that's super easy to install and the normal Lightning charging cable that came with the iPad. Connect the cable between the iPad and the USB port of the PC/Mac and you get high resolution, 60 FPS (!!) secondary display that DOES NOT LAG at all.

P.S. and if you connect to the Mac, the iPad can be used to display a TouchBar - you know, that nice new row of icons you can punch on your keyboard to do different things? Very nice!


2017 Honda CRV in Malaysia! An owner's review

After years of driving an old car, I finally decide to change. And having a small family, I was eyeing a SUV. Last year, we were considering a Mazda CX5 because of its exterior look but after inspecting it in a showroom and then sitting on a Honda CRV, we have no doubt that Honda was the choice to go. Our decision was simply based on how spacious the interior cabin of the CRV is compared to the CX5.



And so, we have to decide whether to get one early this year or wait for the new CRV which was supposed to launch in May 2017 (well, that was before Honda Malaysia decided to delay the launch date after Raya). What made me wait for the new model was that the sales agent told me that the new CRV will have a new engine and Apple CarPlay! Being an Apple fan, as you can tell from this blog, I definitely wanted CarPlay. We dropped a deposit with the showroom sales agent in April.

I waited patiently and when Honda finally launched the car on 12 July, the wife and I went to the showroom for a lo…

Fun Times @ SK Taman Megah (SKTM)

I have championed about my girl's public school, Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Megah (SKTM) before. Read here and here. But I just would like to talk about how fun this school is just based on an incident two days ago.

Last Thursday was the last day of school before Hari Raya. In the morning, as I bring my girl to school, walking up the road towards the gate, we both could here loud music blaring from the newly constructed Multi Purpose Court. It was festive songs from Hari Raya. The nice and upbeat music caused both of us to look at each other, curious of what's going on.

When we reached the gate, I could see children, teachers and parents gathering at the Court, with music playing. Jane was delighted and bounced into the school.

She later told us that the school invited Boboi Boy to perform for the children. Her details were sketchy but she told us that later the parents volunteered to tell stories during every Tuesday and Thursday's Jom Cerita and Mind You Language were all …

Bofe Eatery - one superb and honest restaurant

We went to this place for lunch - it's called Bofe Restaurant and it is sort of a western/fusion cruisine. It's located opposite New Paris, same block as Mungo Jerry in SS2. Food was great, especially the Might Breakfast set which has these two gigantic sausages, half boiled eggs pulp and toast (plus two drinks). Anyway, this is not a review of the food. I just wanted to compliment the staff for their honesty! After lunch, we left the place, not realizing that we left our iPhone 6S in the place. We only found out about it 4 hours later and got panicked as we called the phone. The helpful owner picked up and told us they were waiting for us to call. If it were any other restaurant, we can kissed our less than one year-old iPhone goodbye! Great service, honest staff.. it's rare to find honest people in Malaysia these days, so we were extremely grateful to them. Highly recommended.

Buying a new car

I'm planning to get a new CRV. After almost two decades of driving an old car, I think I deserve to indulge myself a bit. But this got me thinking of the sacrifices parents go through for their kids. Often, the question of "is it worth it?" crossed my mind. On the other hand, if there's no kids, then what's the use of the fortune we amassed? Sure, we could probably enjoy driving that Audi but to what ends? I salute all parents who sacrificed for their children!

Back to Blogger

I am back to Blogger. I know I love Wordpress but I can't let go of 156K of page hits. That's a lot of page hits to let go off. And Google has good ranking to the old blogger site. So, with a heavy heart, I am back here. I'll live with the ugly theme. Looks like they have new templates. Anyway, whatever.

http://ringgit.me (not https) still works though.

AirPods - Review by a working professional

Well, well, well ... after searching high and low for a pair of AirPods in Las Vegas and then in a few malls in PJ, I finally got my hands on one from MacStudio, Paradigm Mall. It seems that MacStudio and some of the retailers in PJ do get very small number of stocks per week.You just have to be there at the right time to grab it.
And so, is it worth the wait and effort?

Setting up is pretty easy. Pop the pods off the casing and the iPhone immediately recognize it and asked to connect. The connection was immediate, no waiting for seconds typical of other Bluetooth device.

This is a great feature actually - when you need to use the AirPod, just pop it into your ear and it immediately give an audible ding. No waiting for seconds. You wouldn't want to wait when you have a need to connect and speak to someone. I guess that's the difference the Apple W1chip is making vs other Bluetooth device which does not have W1 chipset.

The iPhone immediately gave the AirPod a name.

Interest…

What is a Clack?

In the mechanical keyboard worlds, aside from different type of keycaps, there are also artisan keys. These are individual key, usually used as Esc key, that are hand crafted and sculpted by artist, hence the name artisan. Currently there are many artisans, most of them hang around in Geekhack's Making Things Together forum.
Two of the most famous are Clack Factory and Bro Caps. The keys they made are beautiful
and is widely sought after. However, these keys are not cheap. Imagine a Clack Factory key now sells for around US$200 in eBay for a single color Clack. A bi-color Clack can go up to US$400 - the reasons is because to cast two different plastic together is very complex. A tri-color Clack could be selling at US$1,000!

One of the reasons for their expensive price is that these are hand sculpted and as such quantities are limited. And usually, the artisans sell them by doing ballot or first come first serve email entries. Getting one of them is almost like winning a lottery.…

WhatsApp Status

Why did WhatsApp have to go and ruin it? We already have Instagram Stories. We don't need another real time video and GIF status updates! We are too old for this! I'm glad that they are doing away with that Favourites tab. That contact tab is totally useless and redundant.

https://www.google.com/amp/m.ndtv.com/offbeat/whatsapp-status-heres-why-people-are-scared-of-this-feature-1663139%3Famp%3D1%26akamai-rum%3Doff