Archive for » December, 2011 «

U Good?

After months of contemplation, I finally decided to ditch Maxis broadband and give U Mobile a try instead. After my nightmare with Celcom a couple of years ago, I signed up for the cheapest Maxis broadband plan available then, mainly because it had a stronger signal connection and it served my sole purpose of blogging and uploading photos at home.

However, the main reason why I terminated my Maxis plan is because of its inconsistency of connection speeds. See the three images below, tested within 30 mins of each other!

Crazy, right?

So, the other day, I decided to stop by the friendly neighbourhood U Mobile shop in a mall I was strolling in and enquired about their service and coverage.

Me: Can you check if U Broadband has coverage in my housing area?

U Girl: (after a few clicks) Yes, we have relatively good coverage there.

Me: What’s the speed of U broadband like?

U Girl: Up to 7.2 Mbps download..

Me: Can I check the download speed from the PC terminal you are using now?

U Girl: Oh, sorry….we are using TM line here…

Me: (Gasp!)

Okayyyy….braving myself to dismiss their usage of TM as a blip, I checked out their promotional packages, which was really attractive:

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On paper, it’s definitely CHEAPER than the Maxis plan I was paying. In addition, they had a current promo that says if I take the RM68/month plan with 5GB quota, I will be given a rebate of RM20 for the first five months. There was also the 7-day risk-free guarantee in case I didn’t like the connection speed or service. Problem was I had to make a trip to its main service centre in Berjaya Times Square to get my money back.

Anyway, I wasn’t too worried about that. I  was more intrigued if U Mobile broadband was any FASTER?

Upon sign up, I had to wait for more than 24 hours before my line was officially registered. In my heart, I could only think of the one-day loss in my 7-day risk free guarantee clause. Sigh.

When I logged on, I immediately performed a series of speed tests over the next couple of days, and these were my surprising results:

I must say I was thoroughly impressed with the connection speeds U Mobile gave me. I think I shall definitely stick with this new service provider for some time.

U nak?

Unspeakable Joy of Christmas!

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May we all celebrate this Christmas with unspeakable joy for receiving God’s indescribable gift – Jesus Christ – who offers us prevalent peace and everlasting life!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy) – Chris Tomlin

Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy) – Chris Tomlin

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns
Let all their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy

Joy, unspeakable joy
An overflowing well, no tongue can tell
Joy, unspeakable joy
Rises in my soul, never lets me go

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His love

Joy, unspeakable joy
An overflowing well, no tongue can tell
Joy, unspeakable joy
Rises in my soul, never lets me go
(source: Superlyrics)

Smells like a Champion!

Wanna know what Champions smell like? Or do you want to smell like one?

Check out what I saw in a hypermarket brochure….

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Manchester United PERFUME!!!!

Gasp!!! Would I project the smell of intimidation everywhere I go? Or perhaps smell like a hairdryer? Or the smell of confidence?

Ahh….temptation, temptation…:-P

For One More Day

Book: For One More Day

Genre: Inspirational/Family

Author: Mitch Albom

Thickness: 208 pages (hardcover)

Tagline: “If you had the chance, just one chance, to go back and fix what you did wrong in life, would you take it?”

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I’ve only read one Mitch Albom book before this one – Tuesdays With Morrie – and it was such a superb and inspirational book. That sort of set my expectations quite high when I picked up For One More Day to read.

Although not as touching and lively as Tuesdays With Morrie, this book sure surprised me in many other ways!

Storyline

“This is a story about a family and, as there is a ghost involved, you might call it a ghost story. But every family is a ghost story. The dead sit at out tables long after they have gone.”

Great starting hook to a great story.

For One More Day is a touching story related to Albom by Chick Benneto, a former baseball player who was struggling from life’s depressions. Often drunk, his wife had left him, he was in a miserable sales job, etc. The breaking point came when his daughter didn’t even invite him to her wedding…

Depressed, Chick decided to take his own life. However, after a series of ‘failures’ of suicide attempts, he ended up in his old house, the one that he grew up in. He was shocked to see his dead mother who was very well alive there, welcoming him to join her in conversation for one day.

Thus begins this extraordinary, yet supernatural tale of how Chick spent one day with his mother. During this day, he would learn a lot about his mother, why she did the things for him, and most importantly some lessons of life that would change Chick’s life.

Writing

Listening to someone telling a story is one thing. Putting it down on paper in an interesting and structured flow is another art altogether.

I was truly amazed by how Albom pieced together all the information and story told to him by Chick and presented them in a simple, straightforward manner that strikes at the reader’s heart.

Just like in Tuesdays With Morrie, there are plenty of little gems of life’s lessons that can be found from the writings of this book. Check out some of them here:

“When someone is in your heart, they’re never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times.”

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”

“Sticking with your family is what makes it a family.”

“Sharing tales of those we’ve lost is how we keep from really losing them.”

“In college, I had a course in Latin, and one day the word “divorce” came up. I always figured it came from some root that meant “divide.” In truth, it comes from “divertere,” which means “to divert.”

“It’s funny. I met a man once who did a lot of mountain climbing. I asked him which was harder, ascending or descending? He said without a doubt descending, because ascending you were so focused on reaching the top, you avoided mistakes.

The backside of a mountain is a fight against human nature,” he said. “You have to care as much about yourself on the way down as you did on the way up.”

“You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.”

“A child embarrassed by his mother,” she said, “is just a child who hasn’t lived long enough.”

Truly inspirational stuff!

Another thing I liked about Albom’s writing is how he manages to smoothly flash back and forth through Chick’s life as he reminisces about his childhood life to teen and eventually adult life. In between the pages, there are some ‘mini breaks’ or pauses where Albom inserts some original writings of Chick that enhances the mood of the story and adds more colour to Chick’s mother, how he treated her and vice versa throughout the years. Good stuff.

 

Glue Factor

For a story that spans a lifetime filled with tears, joy and lessons, I was quite surprised it was actually a very short book! The pacing is very easy to follow and the story is expertly written with plenty of humour and dialogue that makes it very easy to understand and read.

Needless to say, I finished this book quite fast. Definitely high on the glue factor!

 

Conclusion

An entertaining, simple and truly inspirational story. What’s more, it’s based on true story…that is, if you believe in the ‘ghost’ bit. Haha.

Still, there are so many gems of lessons of life that can be gleaned from the contents makes this a definite must read. If you are a parent, you will definitely pick up some lessons on bringing up your children; and for children, this book will surely make you appreciate your parents more!

Storyline:

Writing:

Glue Factor:

OVERALL:

Parenting Tip: Introducing Left and Right

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Do you encounter any difficulties teaching your child the right from the left? Err..as in the directions, I mean…:-P

If you do, or if you have not started, you may want to try out this self-developed method:

1. Teach your kid the ABCs…especially the letter ‘L’

2. Ask your kid to hold out his palms (face down), like the image above.

3. Ask your kid which hand has produced the letter ‘L’, or shaped like ‘L’?

4. Explain to your kid that L that typically stands for Light, Lamp, Lion, etc…also stands for LEFT!

5. So, the hand (palm) that makes the ‘L’ sign is naturally the LEFT hand!

6. Once the LEFT side has been figured out, it would be easy to figure out that the other hand/side would be the RIGHT side, etc.

Simple and effective, no?

:-D

Poster Previews

What movies are you looking forward to next year?

For those who only go to movies based on the poster, check out the following posters of upcoming (potential) blockbusters. Are you sold yet?

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Still waiting for the official Avengers poster, but till then, I think Batman’s Dark Knight Rises’ teaser poster has got to be the pick of next year’s posters, donthcu think?

Shocked!

Ever thought of exhibition booths to be one the safest places to work?

Think again! I was totally SHOCKED with what I saw at a recent exhibition

Check out how this dangerous and hazardous electrical power thingy is conveniently placed alongside other exhibition booths? I even noticed many people had no idea what it was and kept using it as a table to fill up forms!

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Star Trek Archives Vol 2: Best of The Borg

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Book: Star Trek Archives Vol 2: Best of The Borg

Genre: Graphic Novel/Science Fiction/Comic

Writers/Artists: Michael Jan Friedman/Peter Krause (Worse of Both Worlds – Collecting ST:TNG #47-#50); Paul Jenkins/Terry Pallot (Star Trek: Operation Assimilation)

Thickness: 160 pages

Tagline: “We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships…”

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In my ongoing vigil to avoid wastage of words, I took a mini break from regular novels and dived into one of the many graphic novels I plundered in this year’s Big Bad Wolf Sale. RM5 for a graphic novel? Unheard of! :-)

Anyway, coming back to the review… one of the most appealing villains in the Star Trek Universe would be The Borg, so it’s no surprise that they managed to get a 4 issue arc that is collected in this volume. In addition, the volume also throws in a bonus story about the Borg’s invasion into Romulan space as well.

The Borg are a collective race of cybernetic organisms, with one intent of assimilating other organisms to become like them – perfection. They can adapt very quickly to all situations, heal and repair themselves and is linked in a neural manner across the collective. The favourite phrase that is most associated with the Borg is “Resistance is Futile”.

I have to admit that most of the ST storylines containing the Borg are pretty good and because of that, I had high expectations of this graphic novel. In addition, I thought it was fantastic that Friedman (who has written countless ST novels) agreed to write for the “Worst of Both Worlds” episode. It’s always a great credibility to a graphic novel or comic when a popular author is penning the script.

Storyline

The “Worst of Both Worlds” story is a wicked spin off the excellent “Best of Both Worlds” two-parter from ST: The Next Generation TV series. The Best of Both Worlds saw the Borg abducting and assimilating Picard as ‘Locutus of Borg’ as they carried out their invasion plans of Earth. In the end, the enterprise barely but succeeds in rescuing Picard and stopping the invasion by issuing the correct command across the neural link via Picard.

Now, in the Worst of Both Worlds, the plot takes place several years later from the BOBW stardate. The action starts almost immediately when the Enterprise encounters a rift that hurtles them into another universe – one which the Borg’s invasion of Earth was a success and Picard remains as Locutus. They then run into the battle section of this universe’s Enterprise, with the saucer section apparently all but destroyed.

Reluctantly, Picard’s Enterprise agrees to help Captain Riker to rescue Picard/Locutus and stop the Borg in this universe, since they were able to succeed in our universe. There is also the element of time thrown into the fray as they need to stop the Borg and return to their universe before the rift closes…

Good stuff, excellent storyline and potential continuity plot following BOBW.

The second story, simply called Star Trek: Operation Assimilation tells the story through the eyes of a female Romulan leader as her crew encounters the Borg for the very first time. The story is short and simple – detailing how the Borg takes over an entire ship and the assimilation process.

Not much of a plot, but I’d like to think of this story as an added bonus to the superb WOBW story earlier catalogue in this volume.

Writing

Friedman doesn’t disappoint with the writing in WOBW. For those of you who still remember the BOBW storyline from the TV series, you’d enjoy the writing here even more because of the creative relational titbits and references it makes. For example, you could feel a sense of dejavu as the Enterprise tries out the same tactics they used in their own universe on the Borg of this new universe, with a few twists and surprises thrown in.

The action and flow is kept neat and crisp – something not easy to do in the limited pages of a comic book!

Unfortunately, ST:OA disappoints in terms of writing. It tries to be creative with the first person narrative, but eventually falls flat as the plot is simply flat and boring. The only thing that excited me was reading an encounter between the Romulans and the Borg for the first time!

Artwork

It is sad to note that the artwork of the Star Trek comics failed to match up to the excellent script. It almost feels amateurish at times, but I guess it is not easy to find a regular artist for comics that appear on a monthly basis.

Which leaves me wondering what happened with ST:OA, since it was a one-off and the publishers could have put in more effort to make the art in this story better….unfortunately not.

Glue Factor (difficulty of putting the book down!)

It’s a comic book! And personally most, if not all comic books are made of glue! Not easy to put down as panels and panels of graphic moves the action along fast and furiously!

Conclusion

WOBW – Excellent story that could easily form the basis of a movie or screen episode.

ST:OA – Poor storyline featuring a Romulan’s encounter with the Borg. Only made the entire graphic novel feel thicker. :-) Best part of this story? It’s short!

 

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Are You a Google Search Ninja?

How often do you use Google? Everyday?!

So, would you consider yourself to be a Google Search Ninja? or a Google Search Pro?

Check out this neat infographic I found via Lifehacker that summarizes some neat tricks we can use on Google to make us smarter searchers….perhaps leading us along the right path to Google Search Ninja-hood..:-p

Get more out of Google
Created by: HackCollege

Sensitive Censors

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For those of you who still listen to the radio (like me!), you may have noticed some of the strange censorship that is exercised in the music industry in our country. For some songs, it gets even weirder when Station A censors it one way, and Station B censors it another way or leaves it uncensored!

Sometimes I wonder what is the point in carrying out all these censoring when it is a universal fact that the listeners would simply get the ‘full, uncensored’ version somehow, anyway!

Here are some of the bleeped out words from some contemporary hits heard on Malaysian radios (shade over to see the bleeped out word!

You’re Beautiful (James Blunt)

Yeah, she caught my eye / As we walked on by/
She could see from my face that I was, / Flying high

(I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out the actual word…)

If I Were a Boy (Beyonce)

If I were a boy even just for a day / I’d roll out of bed in the morning /And throw on what I wanted / And go drink beer with the guys

Let’s Get the Party Started (Pink)

Pumpin up the volume / breaking down to the beat / cruisin’ through the west side / I’ll be checkin’ the scene
Boulevard is freaking as I’m coming fast / I’ll be burning rubber / you’ll be kissin my ass

(one radio-friendly version uses the word ENDS whilst another completely bleeps it out altogether)

Last Friday Night (Katy Perry)

Last Friday night / We went streaking in the park / Skinny dipping int he dark
Then had a menage a trois / Yeah I think we broke the law

(Radio friendly version mixes the word to something unintelligible)

I feel there should be some radio edit version that could be used internationally, especially for songs that seriously needs to be censored. But for others that may not mean much, our boards should have some better sense to let it go..:-P

Any other songs you’ve heard of that got butchered?