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Showing posts from 2013

Altar Girls

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The Cathedral in Penang finally allowed girls to serve as Altar Girls. This is the first time I have actually seen this happen. I do not know if this is a common practice so I did a search and found that it is not common. It is strange that at age of equality between the sexes, we still see many areas where only male or female are allowed.
It might be a minor change but I am sure that such practice can be a shock to conservatives. Since I have not heard of any protest, I guess it is acceptable to all in the parish. 

Papa John, I Tried but You Disappoint

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Since discovering Papa John’s Pizza, I tried making it one of the food outlets to visit when in Kuala Lumpur. However, after two visits, I have decided that it will not in our list of places to visit. Here is my experience.
We visited the first outlet at Berjaya Times Square in our previous trip. During the trip, we signed up for the B Card. The card is a local loyalty program covering many food outlets. The service provided in the outlet was decent, however, when I asked about the promotion that was shown in front of the outlet, none of the workers in the outlet knew anything about the promotion. Why would you put a large banner without knowing anything about it? I just asked out of curiosity but was not very happy with the response.

This week, we decided to make another visit to Papa Johns. This time it was at the outlet in Sunway Pyramid. The main reason was to claim the birthday treat that seen in the B Card newsletter. However, when I asked about it, I was told that I had to bring …

Life is Precious

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Three weeks ago we came across a body of a young man who just committed suicide. He was a 24 year old engineer. I do not know why he committed suicide at such a young age. However, he fail to realize the anguish his death has to his family and those who loved him. Imagine the amount of sacrifice a parent has to go through to pay for his further studies.
Sometimes when we are lonely and have no one to talk to, our mind starts to wonder and ending it seems to be the easiest thing to do. This is especially true when we are also faced with other problems like owing money or being rejected by someone we are in love with. At that moment, everything is all gloomy and sad and we just want it to go away. I felt like that for a moment while in college. At that moment it was very tempting to end it and call it quits.
The best movie to illustrate how a person can have impact to others without realizing it is the 1946 movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
I recently came across an article of someone whose…

OCBC Titanium Cash Back Changes

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I received a notice with my last OCBC credit card statement that they are revising the cash back rate from five percent in selected categories (and one percent for everything else) to a flat one percent for everything. As part of the change, they removed the cap of RM 50 per month cash back. What is not mentioned in the announcement was whether they are changing any other benefits for the card. The bank also removed another benefit of reimbursing the GST with an annual spending of RM10k and above. Based on what I read on the Facebook page for OCBC, many customers are not happy with the change. Several customers threatened to cancel the card and encouraged others to do the same. Based on my spending, the cash back will be substantially lower since my monthly cash back is well below the RM 50 limit with very few exceptions. However, based on what I know about other cards, the cash back is still one of the best in the market. Many of the other cards provide higher return but has terms and …

Microsoft Still Have Competitive Edge

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I have used Libre Office and Google Drive for most of my work at home. However, there are times I find it necessary to return to Microsoft to get things done. The alternatives do not seem to be able to get the right functionality.

I do not know if this is due to pattern or because the developers of alternatives do not know how to do it. The one option is the ability to copy and paste banking data and recognize the balances as numbers instead of text. Google Spreadsheet can’t do it, Libreoffice also failed. The balance column consist of the currency sign, in my case MYR and the comma delimiter. I found two products that recognize them instantly and both products are from Microsoft. They are Microsoft Excel and Skydrive version of Microsoft Excel.

The Skydrive version of Office provides very little functionality compared to Google Drive but this is one function that works well.

I also found that Microsoft provides me 50 Gigabyte for free compared to 15 Gigabytes from Google. However, Goo…

Call to Action

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Recently I came across a call to keep healthy by walking 10,000 steps per day. Initially I thought it was relatively easy to achieve. I decided to give it try. I have a pedometer but decided that since I have my phone with me most of the time, I might as well get an App to make my phone a pedometer.
I looked at a few apps but found AccuPedo to be the one most suitable for me because of the following reason:

It provides both steps as well as a calorie count. It has a widget which makes it easy to switch it to pause mode. You need to do that when driving in order to avoid counting the movement of the car as steps. The battery usage on my phone is minimal. It counts my steps with minimal intervention from me. I just need to make sure that the phone is in my pocket when I walk around.
After trying this for a few days, I found that I only managed to exceed the 10,000 steps threshold when I ran on my treadmill. I used the nike plus app at the same time as the accupedo since it is running as a ser…

Whole Brain Thinking

Recently I attended a training on whole brain thinking. It is provides an interesting way of understanding why people behave differently. It explains the difference in the preference in thinking. The brain is divided into four color codes - Yellow, Blue, Green and Red.
Blue
Goal Oriented Facts Based Quantitative Yellow
Holistic Future Intuitive Green
Process Driven Organized Red
Emotional Social
The thinking preference usually sets in after the age of 18. Once we reach the age of 18, our preference usually does not change. Based on our preference (what makes us happy), we can usually tell which is our color preference. Most of us have have a preference combination but there is usually one trait that is our strongest.
Even though we each have a preference, being able to address the different preference will help us communicate better. For example, if you are communicating with a person with a blue preference, you need to provide lots of facts and figures.  The simplest way to remember in the followin…

Indecision on Fitness Band

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The last time I looked for sportsband was back in 2009 when I was training to be the fastest man (i.e. the fastest marathon runner). In order to use the sports band, you had to have a Nike+ sensor in your shoe. Nike shoes had cavities to insert the sensor but Nike shoes were not suitable for me. Unfortunately, I lost the chip sensor 2 weeks after I purchased the set. I continued to use the sports band as a watch but the quality of the LED was lacking. After a few accidental pressure of the display, the display was no longer usable - most of the display turned black.

Recently, I noticed my colleague using BitFit Flex. I decided to check the number of sports band (now known as fitness band) that are now available. The new generation of sportsband uses the sensors similar to the ones in smart phone. They do not need the additional chip sensor and are able to track activities beyond running. I looked at the alternatives and found the following:

Nike Fuel BitFit Flex Jawbone Up Basis Band Misfit…

Get Rid of the Task Killer

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This is a follow up from my last blog posting. It turned out that the HK Video Note 3 phone had a bad motherboard which had to be replaced.
As for the 9.9 inch tablet, it recently became corrupted and would not start. After the HK Video screen, it just stayed on the screen with the word Android on it. That was recovered by the person at the store by pressing on the power and the - volume button to restore the OS on the tablet.
After recovering the tablet, I decided to take a closer look at the default configuration of the tablet and found that it comes with a task killer installed and is rooted. I suspect that most of the issues I encountered is the result of the task killer killing critical processes in the background. As mentioned, I encountered issues where core applications failed and could only be recovered by resetting the tablet to factory mode. I am not sure if effect of the task killer is due to the fact that the table is rooted or because of the OS version. I did not see such…

Why Pay Premium for Android Devices

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I recently decided that Android operating system is now mature enough for me to get a cheap alternative for tablets and phones. Ten inch tablets are all more than RM 1000/-. The exchange rate is US$1 = RM 3.25.

In order to test my theory, I bought three devices. They are:

9.9 inch tablet from HK Video (‎AM10D1B‎) (RM 699).5.5 inch phone from HK Video - also known as Note 3 (RM 599)7 inch phone pad from Asus (RM 699)

UI
All three devices came with Android 4.1.x installed. Quite often those using HTC phones and other branded Android phones and devices complain about how the HTC Sense or third party UI weights down on the devices. However, when I started using the above devices, that was the first thing I missed. I preferred the keyboard that came with HTC Sense UI instead of the keyboard in HK Video.

Android 4.1 had a lot of added features compared to the Android 2.3 on HTC Desire HD.

Battery Life
Battery life on all three devices were better compared to what I was getting on Desire HD. Asus …

Feel Good Movies

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The following are some feel good movies I recently watched on Youtube

Undercover Angel is a touching story of a man who had to baby sit a cute girl who turned out to be his daughter. The daughter in turn helped him become successful.



Christmas Angel. A romantic story - telling about a man who do good deeds without any expectation of return to atone for his past and how he identified someone to continue his work.



It's a Wonderful Life. One of my all time favorite Christmas movie



Though None go With me. Sad and touching story






Interviewer's Note

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In my many years as a manager, I have interview hundreds of candidates and hired some. Interviews and identifying candidates who are suitable for the position you try to fill takes time.
Some positions are more challenging than others. The few things that I look for in identifying the right candidate are as follows:
Can the person do the job? Does the person have the right attitude? Can I retain the person within my organizations?
I remember hiring a woman many years back. She was a top scorer from her university and very capable. Unfortunately for me, the job I had her for was not challenging at all. After a few months, she found that she was wasting her time with us and left for another company. Based on her drive and capability, I am sure that she is very successful now.
In another case, I had an impressive interview with a candidate. He brought his notebook and gave a presentation of a web page he created. After hiring him, we found that he had difficulty gathering requirements from th…

Copy and Paste Character Set

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One of the labs for Google Calendar known as flair has stopped working. Flair is great to add pictures and symbols on your calendar entries to make it easy for you to differentiate the events or highlight specific events.

One alternative proposed in Google Group question on this problem is to paste image characters directly in the calendar event.

This can be easily done using characters from this site. All characters are found in this page.

Here are a few examples of image characters found on the site:

☃☎☂

What Makes Us Bad Investors - a good reminder

I recently came across the following presentation in fool.com. It is a good reminder of how to approach investment.


What makes us bad investors? from morganhousel

Google Maps Navigation Is Now Available in Malaysia

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I just found out that Google Maps Navigation has been enabled in Malaysia even though it is not listed as the list of countries with this feature enabled. The version of the application I have on my phone is 6.14.4 but I am running it on Android 2.3.5.



Personally though, I prefer Waze. This is why I prefer Waze over Google Maps Navigation: Waze uses less data compared to Google Maps.Waze provide more information - other Waze users lets you know of traffic jam, obstacles etc.The voice on Waze sounds better.You have more options and configuration in Waze. I read in another article the features of Waze is already incorporated in the application in some countries. I just have not seen in here in Malaysia.

Google Platform for Management Part 3

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In Part 1, I covered how you can make Gmail, calendar and Tasks to help you manage your emails and reminders and in Part 2, I covered how the Google Apps can leveraged for collaboration and communication. There is still another component of the Google set of tools which I find extremely useful. The final component is called Google Sites.



Bookmarks

I use it to bookmark the sites I usually use in the course of my work. It is true that you can add bookmarks to your browser and in some cases also set your browser to synchronize the bookmarks across different machines. However, you may come across situations where some applications will only work with certain browsers or cases where you might have to use someone else’s computer. Have a page will all the bookmarks will be more handy. Since it is a web page, it can work across different devices and OS.

The same page can also be shared with others in your company.

Blogger or Google Site

Google Ste pages are more suited for static pages. It is mu…