Strovek Writes


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Gaining Fitness (Speech)

Recent speech I delivered for Toastmasters:

New Year is around the corner, there is a tradition that is common across the world. Do you know what is that tradition? It is to make New Year’s resolution. Babylonians make promises to their gods to return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Romans make promises to the god Janus for whom January is named after.

At the end of the Great Depression about a quarter of American adults form New Year’s resolutions. At the start of 21st century 40% did (according to statistic brain). Did you know that in a 2017 survey 45% of their respondents would like to lose weight. You can look it up in The Statistics Portal.

Why would anyone want to lose something? Isn’t it better to gain something? When it comes to Law of Attraction, we need to say things using positive phrases. That is why this speech title is on Gaining Fitness and not Losing Weight.

Losing Weight is easy, if you are very sick, you will automatically lose weight. However, is weight loss the real goal? Why do we want to lose weight?

Before considering weight loss, first consider components of our weight. Hydration, fat, muscles and bones. Bones are the only component that cannot change, everything else are variables. We can lose weight by dehydrating ourselves. I ran 2 hours and loss 1 kg in weight from my sweat.

A much better way is to burn fat by gaining muscles. I recommend reading the book “Burn the Fat Feed the Muscles” by Tom Venuto.

One approach I tried several years back was counting calories (also know is CICO). The approach works, but there are rules. To lose 1 kg of weight we need to have a deficit of 7000 calories. Formula is simple enough but our body is alive; so we adapt. Reduce your calories too much then it will protect itself and turn on starvation mode. Weight loss using this method requires a lot of will power but is not sustainable. It requires substituting yogurt for ice cream, whole meal bread of white bread.

We had a program a few years ago where participants had to lose weight and the winner is the one who loses the most percentage of weight during the program. One of the participants misread the label and thought 0 cholesterol means 0 calories and ate a lot and ended up gaining instead of losing weight.

I am starting an experiment, instead of reducing my weight, I would like to lose my body fat. It is currently at 30% and the plan is to get it down to 15% in two years. Would you like to join me in that journey?

Note from the evaluation:
  1. The speech lacks proper transition.
  2. Speeches work better if there are three main points.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Speech Organization

Started to participate in Toastmasters again. One of the notes for me to keep in mind are the various ways to organize speeches. This is what was provided in one of the Pathway speech guides:


Chronologically organized speeches follows a sequence of events.


A topical structure organizes speeches by topics and subtopics. Break your speech into sections that explain major concepts related to your topic, followed by smaller and smaller subtopics.

A spatial structure organizes a speech by geography or the physical structure of the topic. Construct a speech that discusses the impact of your topic upon a region or the world. Spatial also refers to content that covers the physical landscape of a specific location. For example, if you are giving a speech about Germany, you may organize your presentation in a way that implies movement across the country. Your content could begin in the south at the Alps and then travel northward towards the Baltic Sea.

A causal structure organizes speeches to link a cause to an effect, or an effect to its cause.

A comparative structure organizes speeches by describing two or more objects and their shared and/or different attributes. Show how your topic compares to another by examining similarities and differences.

Speeches organized by problem and solution are arranged in a particular sequence. First state the issue and explain its significance. Then propose a feasible and advantageous solution.


A particular/general/particular structure organizes speeches by a specific example that frames broader content and illustrates the main or personal objective of the speech. The example given at the beginning of your speech is echoed in the conclusion to help clarify or elucidate your primary message.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

GSC UOB Smart$ Point Redemption Ended

When I tried to redeem my UOB Smart$ points today, I was told that GSC has stopped doing that from midnight on Jun 19, 2018. They will continue to let us earn UOB Smart$ points until Jun 30, 2018.

I guess the number of Merchants supporting UOB Smart$ points is shrinking. The first was BHPetrol on Jun 25, 2017. Looks like UOB card is getting less attractive now.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Removing Indelible Ink

I thought of letting the ink go off by itself but it too too long. It started peeling.

Finally, I was told that it could be removed using bleach. Bleaches available these days are rather mild, so I did not feel anything when I soaked my finger in it. My wife was more sensitive so she felt some heat when she soaked her finger.

This was how my fingered appears immediately after voting.

After dipping into the bleach, the ink was removed except for some on my nail.

This was the bleach I used.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Malaysia General Election 14

General Election 14 has started. It is a bit different this year, the road is not cordoned off as it was in previous general election.

My family and I arrived around 8:15 am but the crowd has already started to build up. The following are some photos taken.

The indelible ink is light but turns dark once it comes in contact with water.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Movie Review - Avengers Infinity War

I expected a lot of people wanted to see this movie but was still surprised when I tried to book the ticket online one week before the movie started in our local theaters. Half the seats were already taken. Had I waited until Thursday, I would not be able to get any good seat.

The movie continued from the post credit scene of Thor: Ragnarok where the ship carrying the survivors of Asgard encountered Thanos’ ship. From then, it was action all the way. Since most of the Marvel movies were building up to this story, majority of the characters also appeared here. The few missing were Hawkeye and Antman.

The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy were powerful but no match to Thanos and his lieutenants. From previous movies, Marvel were willing to kill off major characters such as Odin, Quicksilver. However, the number of characters killed off in this movie was still surprising. The carnage and destruction surpassed the two earlier Avengers movies.

However, I was still surprised that they destroy the Nova Corp and all surviving Asgardian (leaving Thor as the last Asgardian). Even the Dwarves who made the greatest weapons in the Marvel Universe were not spared.

Thanos was fighting for a noble cause in this move, to save the universe by killing half the population. He was willing to sacrifice his own happiness and letting those he loved to hate him. His actions may be questionable but there is some sense to his madness. Resources are limited and overpopulation causes more suffering and pain. In the end, both sides fight for what they believe, similar to the battle in Civil War but at a much bigger scale.

The movie was very long - two hours and forty minutes but it was jammed packed with action so I did not really feel it. Still I wish that it had a proper ending rather than having us wait for the sequel next year.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Review - Dim Sum Streaming Service

I obtained six months free subscription for this service from my membership with TheStar website.


Dim Sum only provide Asian contents - Shanghai, Korean, Thai. Selection include movies, series and documentaries. So far I have seen a few Thai movies. The movies are quite innovative.


Download for offline viewing are available for both movies and series. Downloads expire after 14 days. We cannot specific the resolution of the download but will prompt for language selection if there is more than one available (usually Mandarin or Cantonese).

Mobile Data protection

This is one area lacking in the Dim Sum application. When I tried downloading two movies, it ended up consuming 3 GB of my quota. I later found that a setting to restrict the use of mobile data in the setting. It is strange that this is not the default option.

Tracking view progress

View progress is tracked across devices similar to iFlix and YouTube.


The subscription is RM15 per month. I did not find any discount options available. For iFlix, it was RM 10 per month if you paid monthly and RM 8 per month if you paid annually.


I love watching the Thai selection but I am unwilling to pay the monthly fee. I am unlikely to pay for the renewal after the free period expires.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Review - iFlix streaming service

I was reluctant to subscribe to any streaming service but since it was offered free, I decided to try it out. This is my impression of the service.

iFlix Logo


IFlix provides a combination of Korean and English movies and television series. There is a collection of Marvel movies, of which Guardians of the Galaxy is the latest. Series includes shows from TLC, ABC, Nickelodeon, and ABC. The Korean selections are from O!k and tvN. There are also some Malay movies and Malay series as well as Malaysian Football.

I found some great Korean movies and series which I would not have found without this service.

Only one of two series are up to date - The Flash and Britannia.

The variety is enough to keep me occupied.


Download for offline viewing is only available for series. Downloads are disabled for movies. Downloads expire after seven days.

When downloading, we are prompted for the resolution to download, so that we know how much storage will be consumed by the download.

Mobile Data protection

The application triggers a warning if it detects that streaming is on mobile data, we then have the option to proceed or not. The same goes when it comes to downloading.

Tracking viewing progress

Viewing progress is tracked across devices but it is not always accurate.


Various providers such as Maxis, Telekoms and Digi provides free subscription. Initially, it was six months for Unifi but it was extended to one year. It is only RM 8 per month if you pay a one year subscription.


Given the price and flexibility, I think this is a great service especially for those that are not so technology savvy. I started the subscription for my dad so that he is able to easily watch movies and t.v. series; especially by casting the show to the television equipped with Chromecast.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Mobile@Unifi Review

Telekoms has been pushing the Unifi branding on all its products. The latest product to use this branding is a mobile prepaid service called mobile@unifi. During the three months promotion period, the sim card is given free (list price is RM10/-). Each person is allowed to request up to 5 sims.

The first one million sims come with 20GB data, 10 minutes talk time and 10 sms. To me it looks like a great deal. An excellent opportunity to test the dual sim feature on my new phone. However, using dual sim significantly reduces the the battery life due to the use both antennas. Initial experience was good in terms of coverage, probably because I was with the city limits. When I first started using the sim, it was H+ but turned to 4G when I went for lunch. While using for the past 3 weeks, I had only had two occasions where the 4G signal was on but I could not browse the internet.

However, when I tested the speed, it was disappointing; even though 4G was indicated but the download speed was only 1.1 to 3.0, upload speed was less than 0.1. Speed for hotlink was 8.7 for download and 4.3 for upload.

The idea of being able to carry forward the quota is great but the rules for keeping the line active was confusing. I suspect, I just need to top up RM 10 every 90 days for 2 months and then on the third month buy one add-on. However, I do not plan to try it since I like my existing service and am not willing to settle with the reduced battery life for using two sim cards.

Also, I am not sure if I set the unifi line for data, would it failover to my hotlink line in places with no coverage for unifi. If that happens and I do not purchase a data pass for my hotlink, it would actually cost more than the savings I hope to obtain by using unifi for my data.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Samsung A8 Plus (2018) Review

Finally purchased Samsung A8 Plus on the launch weekend on Jan 21, 2018 after getting frustrated with the need to keep rebooting my OnePlus One. As part of the launch, it was bundled with a 10,000 mAh power bank (which allows me to have two micro USB to USB-C adapter - one from the power bank and one that comes in the box) and 64 GB memory card. I planned to purchase A8 initially but bought the A8+ instead because of the additional memory (6 GB vs 4 GB) and storage. Difference between the two models are as follow:

3000 mAh
3500 mAh
(5.6" full rectangle) /
(5.5" rounded corners)
(6.0" full rectangle) /
(6.0" rounded corners)

Performance is great, I did not feel any lag even with after launching multiple applications. There a Device Maintenance options that allows me to clear the memory and also residual files. I noticed that the option to clear memory will not clear the recently opened applications (left software button at the bottom). Those applications will still occupy memory unless I clear it using the recently opened application options.

Split Screen

The recent application button can also be used to convert to split screen, allowing multiple applications on the foreground. It is a nice feature but when since the keyboard takes about ⅓ of the screen, it will cover most of the screen of the bottom application.


Battery is much better on this phone. In my previous phone, I had to charge the phone in the middle of the day but with this phone (if not the battery will be below 20%), I still have about 50% battery at 6 pm (starting with 97% at 6 am).

I had better battery life by keeping the phone on mobile data only (instead of mobile data and Wifi on). The battery life will probably depend on the stability of the signal.

Dual SIM with memory slot

The phone comes with SIM 1 + SIM 2 + MicroSD slots. Using both SIMs at the same time significantly reduces the life of the battery. Both slots use nano SIM. The tray feels fragile, probably not meant for frequent swapping.


In order to access the different modes for the camera, swap to the right when the camera is on. I did not know about this for the first month. Finally found it after some trial and error. Camera is speed is pretty fast. However, occasionally it is necessary to point on the object to force the focus. Majority of my photos were clear (but encountered a few blurred photos because I failed to force the focus).

Panorama mode:

I was not able to find the beauty mode (had it in Note 3 and also OnePlus One). Here are more photos taken using the phone.

Tried to get the flowing lights here but caught the plastic instead.

For Gif, only 20 frames are allowed. Unfortunately, the animation does not carry over in blogger.

HyperLapse mode is something new to me. Unfortunately, the animation does not carry over here, but you should be able to see the animation through this link.