Thursday, December 30, 2010

New place, new living room (beginner stereophile setup)

It has been a long long long time since I updated this blog. Due to hectic working environment and also moving to new place, finally I manage to spend some time for my last post before 2011. What's new this time? A Fully Custom-Configured Home Entertainment System!

For my humble living room, I have set the following home entertainment centre, minus game console:-

Display: Panasonic VIERA TH-P42X28K Plasma HDTV

Networked Media Jukebox: Popcorn Hour A-200

Integrated Amplifier: Cambridge Audio Azur 340A SE

DAC (Digital/Analogue Converter): DacMagic Digital to Analogue Converter

Bookshelf Speakers: PSB Alpha B1 Monitor

Subwoofer: Mordaunt-Short Carnival 9 subwoofer

RCA Interconnects: QED & Cable Talk

IPTV Box: Supplied by Unifi (High Speed Broadband Service Provider)

Speaker Cable: Acoustic Research HT Pro Series 16-Gauge (Oxygen-free copper)

Speaker Stands: Cannot be used currently due to the size of my TV rack and Living room width

Having these items are really challenging for me to tune my audiophile music up to my preference and trust me, it took me days to do it! Even so, until now, it is still not 100% and this is the enjoyable process of testing and tuning the audio output.

Since my current cabinet is too long, I cannot use speaker stands, and temporarily I have to rely on the cabinet. The best solution in near future would be a proper AV cabinet with a pair of nice speaker stands for my PSB Alphas.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SSC 2010 Trip: Gem Island ( a.k.a Gemia Island )

It has been a long long time since I updated this blog. I find it very difficult to have the proper time and place write events or happenings due to work and family commitment.

One of the reason could be,... I was so busy arranging island trip for sports club members. This year, I manage to find a kind of a secluded Island from the cluster of Redang, Perhentian and Lang Tengah. This is because I prefer to find an exclusive place for my 2010 Siemens Sports Club members - one island equals to one resort only. For this year, I have choosen Gem Island (Gemia).

The name Gemia has been around but strangely, not many people aware that this island exists. It is situated a few kilometre north of Pulau Kapas (Cotton Island). The recently renovated island resort looks classy and comfortable. I have booked around 12 water villas for 35 sports club members.

The night before:
We boarded the bus from our office around 11.15pm and we started off our journey to Terengganu sharp at 2330hours. It stared raining when we were at Karak highway. With multiple stop for breaks along the way, we managed to arrive Marang town around 0530hours. It was too early for us and one of the members requested the bus driver to bring us for early morning breakfast. It took him almost half an hour to travel 10km away from Marang town for our breakfast.

After the very early breakfast, we continued our journey to the Jetty and we had to travel 10km all the way back to the Marang Jetty. It was still raining and we waited at for the boats for at least one and a half hour due to bad weather.

Approximately 15-20 minutes of boat ride, we arrived at Gem Island Resort and Spa. Weather was getting better with slight drizzle and soon the sun came out. Upon checking-in into our rooms, one of the guys invited my room mates and me for a 10 o'clock dive. We had to travel to Kapas Island because there is no dive centre at Gem Island.

First dive was not that pleasant as I had tough time to remember on how to setup the dive equipments plus some necessary skills in the water such as equalization, buoyancy and hand signals. With some help by the dive master, I manage to plunge myself into the water with confidence. Unfortunately, the water was a bit murky due to early morning rain. The only thing I could highlight is the Leopard Moray Eel we saw hiding near the reef.

Once done with diving, we went back to the resort for lunch. Next was the snorkeling session at 2.30pm and the weather was getting better. Sun already up and shining and we could expect that snorkeling session could be much better than our morning dive.

Snorkeling was good, with only few spots of murky water. The rest was okay and my mates saw a school of bumpheads at the second snorkeling site. In the evening, we had nice dinner followed by a nice guessing game  at the dining table.

Approximately around 10pm, we explored some other parts of the small island with my super bright torchlight and released the hatched baby turtles into the pool before calling the night off.

Day 2: We woke up a bit early for breakfast and then we proceed for the kayaking session since the snorkeling trip will only happen around 11.30am. Weather was superb and sunny all the way! My friends and I took few kayaks and we cross over to a secluded spot on Kapas Island. We took some funny pictures, and then we raced back to Gem Island.

The second snorkeling trip was awesome. Visibility in the water was about 12 meters. We spent quite some time on the second site even though we spotted quite a number of harmless jelly fish around the reefs.

Next, we went back to the resort for lunch and proceed with the 3pm dive. It was really rush hour and non stop action from kayaking, snorkeling and to diving. The second dive was a big group with additional divers out of nowhere, haha.

Our second dive was at Coral Garden near Gem. Visibility was good and I spotted a black tip shark, giant puffer fish and bleaching corals. Corals bleach when the water is getting warmer, thanks to global warming cause by us.

Dinner was with barbecue style on the second night. No one complain about the food at all. I am sure couples or families would love this kind of place with luxurious accommodation plus variety of delicious meals.

Right after the dinner, we explore another part of the island again. This time, more members joined us for the fun. The night ended with a drinking session accompanied by the same guessing game we had the night before.

I woke up late and missed the last kayaking session. I had my last breakfast in an alfresco style before taking some pics around the resort with my humble camera phone for blogging purpose.

We left the island at 11.30am with 3 boats with 35 members on board. The only thing we missed was the group photo at the resort.

At around 2pm, we stopped by Chukai town at Kemaman for Tong Juan Restaurant's famous stuffed crab before headed home.

Even thought the food there was a bit pricey considering its location, I still feel worth it after tasting the stuffed crab. It was heaps good!

Monday, May 17, 2010

New HD Toy: Popcorn Hour A-200 NMT

To those HD (high definition) media player owners out there, the Popcorn Hour could be a weird name and I was having the same thought too. One thing for sure, this player has yet to disappoint me and I love to play HD movies with it.

The Popcorn Hour A-200 Network Media Tank

Well, I just had mine 2 weeks ago with the assistance of one of the forumers in Low Yat. He has a friend working for SYABAS [] and managed to get a unit for me with staff price (50% off).

In the box...

Before this, I was having WDTV which is also capable of displaying 1080p full HD videos. My colleague borrowed over one weekend and refused to return it to me (with the intention to purchase it from me). I had no choice but to sell him a little expensive simply because I told him that I need a better player.

Menu list...

Due to some info search from several websites such as [] and [], finally I decided on Popcorn hour due to the fact that it is more than a media player. It is actually a... Network Media Tank!

Full High Definition Video Playback...

Coincidentally, this unit has been highly recommended by the main reviewer of MPC Club and available through my forum friend.
Recommended by MPC Club reviewer...

Glowing remote for theatre mode (dark room)...

Specs and features can be found here...

Blu-Ray Disc Lite Menu...

Reason for choosing PCH A200 over many other players in the market...
- Latest Sigma 864x based processor with 667MHz of processing power
- Supports BD.iso with BD Lite Menu
- Supports almost all video/audio/HD/image formats
- Compact size for travelling to other places
- Supports 2.5" and 3.5" internal hard drive (I dumped 1TB of 3.5" Samsung drive into it)
- Plenty of webservices provided like CNN, BBC, Picasaweb, Youtube, iPodcast and much more
- capable of bitstreaming Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master audios
- Linux based firmware for stability
- Good firmware support from SYABAS

The screenshots in this post were actually sent to me by the seller during his A-200 testing.

HD Audio bit streaming...

Thanks to the seller and also ZH for allowing me to test the wheel-type menu on the Sony Bravia display.

Wheel-typed main menu...

Friday, April 30, 2010

New Car

I have been so buzy lately I can hardly find the time to post nowadays.

Just few days ago, I collected my wife's car from Perodua outlet. It's an Alza car (not MPV, I repeat, not MPV). It is not a luxury car, but good enough for my wife / family to travel around safely as compared to our older cars.

To cut it short, the reason why we chose this car is because:-

- Need not pay so much tax as compared to other brands such as Toyota, Nissan & Honda
- This car is also known as Toyota Passo Sette / Daihatsu Boon Luminas (try google)
- Toyota cars are more reliable in terms of engine performance
- Maintenance should not be high as the parts are the same as Toyota/Daihatsu

Picture taken from:
The picture above is only a sample to depict roughly how Alza looks like. I have yet find the time to take pics of the car, LOL.

Ours is the Premium unit and it comes with:-
- Blue Optitron meter
- ABS with EBD and Brake Assist
- Dual SRS Air Bags
- Twin Cam fuel injected engine with Valve Timing technology (same engine model as Toyota Rush)
- and etc... (check out Perodua's site or click on this post's title)

Even though Alza's engine is the same as Toyota Rush, Perodua has actually de-tune the engine by several horsepower in order for the engine to be more reliable on RON 95 petrol. This is quite strange, but as long as it is for the purpose of extending the reliability, why not? :)

This car was chosen over Kia Forte mainly because of the resale value of Kia cars @ Malaysia. We got the car pretty fast as my dad's friend is the sales man. Very reliable person and whoever wants to get Proton / Perodua without much hassle, just contact me. :)

First medium distance
I had the first drive... back to hometown on Friday 30th Apr 2010. Mileage is below 1000km and surprisingly, the car manage to clock 7.2 litre / 100km fuel consumption(FC). Average speed on the highway was around 90km/h (cannot rev hard below 1000km mark). Weight load on the car is equivalent to 3 adults and each wheel is on 31psi pressure. I didnt expect the FC to be lower than 10 litre / 100km. I am quite happy with wife's new car. :D

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ghost Express Bus

I was on my way back to hometown at night few weeks back when I came across a crazy express bus driver overtaking so many passenger cars like the one I am driving at the speed of over 110km/h.

That joker was driving recklessly along kilometer 260 - 198 towards south direction of the North South expressway and until now, I am still wondering why there is no action taken against these jokers.

I believe, many people with family like me would prefer to drive at night as it is cooler and more relaxing to drive. My advise to all of you when travelling on highway at night or daytime, please be aware of these bus drivers.

It is either you stay far behind them or they stay far behind you. Never ever go parallel/beside with them as I have seen a bus skidded and hit the divider, and then the driver managed to recover the bus' direction again. Just imagine if you go beside the bus... :P

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holts Lubricant

I have been searching for quite sometime for rubber lube mainly because my bike is equipped with more rubber seals now especially on the suspension fork, disc brake calipers and also the pivot bearings on the frame.

I was doing some shopping with my colleagues during lunch time @ 1Utama when I saw Holts Rubber and Nylon lubricant.

Thinking that the weather is getting hotter and hotter nowadays and to prevent the rubber seals from cracking due to wear and tear, it is good if I grab a can from the DIY store.

I brought back home that night and I applied to the seals using the below method:-

- Spray the lube onto a cotton bud
- Lube the seals gently without letting too much oil absorbed into the inner part of fork

- Lube also the pivot bearings' seals gently
- Wipe away the excessive oil with clean and dry cloth
That's all for the lubing part and do click on the title above for the link to Holts' website. :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Telekom Malaysia's High Speed Broadband (HSBB)

Yesterday was a tiring day at work, and as usual, I am a bit quiet when I get home. Just before dinner time, my wife gave me surprised that she received an invitation card from Telekom Malaysia in the afternoon for free upgrade. That's a shocking news! She passed it to me and I read it immediately as I am exited to know any upgrade promotion for our current broadband line.

Well, it turned out to be a different story. I don't think she read it carefully, ...sigh :( . Telekom is actually inviting us to try out their new pre-launch High Speed Broadband service. Details about the start testing date was not given but we have to respond back the invitation by end of March 2010.

The testing will end somewhere around June and it should be at least 3 months for me to test out the new 20Mbps service. I shall confirm to them ASAP as I am pretty exited to be the first group to test it. Hope the result will not be a dissapointing one. :P

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Showcase Model: Porsche Bike FS Evolution

I was at home (Melaka) last weekend when I notice something that I have not paid much attention to... in the showcase cabinet. I found my old bike model, the Porsche FS Bike. I got it many years back from Jaya Jusco's points redemption program - thanks to my girlfriend (now my wife).

During those years, it was nearly impossible for people like me to own an FS (full suspension) bike, simply because FS bike was still new in Malaysian market and they were tagged with premium price.

I still keep that model in my showcase cabinet to tell me how lucky I am to have the chance to own a full suspension mountain bike. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gift from Prudential

Recently, my wife and I secured a premium for our baby from our Team TMK agent. This is inline with the purpose of getting a medical card for our boy. Medical cost is really pricey nowadays if you are dealing with private medical centres!

It was during the end of Chinese New Year and she got us a small Chinese New Year gift. I didn't even notice the box until someone place it at the dining table. My first impression was "Wow... a pack of food on da table!". LOL.

The packaging is neat and nice with good latch design. After figuring out on how to open the latch without destroying the gift box, I manage to open it and the soft toy is a cute, smiling tiger. :)

Thanks to our award winning agent CLK again!

*Note*: Let me know if you guys need a reliable financial planner/insurance agent... they (the couple) are heaps good! Hehe.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Air Conditioner - Panasonic Envio

Recently, my wife and I just replaced a new air conditioner unit, thinking that the weather is getting hotter during and after Chinese New Year holidays and my baby feels a bit uncomfortable during day time when we got back to city. The decision was made shortly after the >10 year old air conditioner was making so much weird grinding noise from the indoor unit at night.

I have chosen Envio series from Panasonic as this model comes with air purifying module, quick-cooling and energy saving mode. After the installation, we switch it on and tested it for an hour and the Envio is not bad as it cools the bedroom quickly considering that this as a 1 horse power unit.

Some relatives came over to see my baby when the air-cond technician just left the house. Oh my, I was busy cleaning the room and they came. I felt bad as I could entertain them as I needed to clean the bedroom ASAP before my son could take his afternoon nap. Sorry folks, daddy was buzy.

The most irritating part was whenever some relatives came over, not only they come to see the baby but then, they also try to give tons of unnecessary suggestions to us, as if we do not know how to take care of our first child. Oh common, please! My mom has been baby sitting so many kids since I was at young age (I do helped her) and I definitely know a lot more than these bunch of people trying to be the doctors and chinese medical practitioners! Whenever they throw out those suggestions ("you should... this, you should... that"), I get really really pissed off and I just kept quiet!

*** I'm sure there will be some busy-body (NBTD) people in the family that will read this post and broadcasts all over to everyone they meet in the big family. Thanks for being such group of people - so annoying! ***

Some of them did change the napkins (as if they were so pro) but that piece of cloth came loose just after five minutes! @%$#%$#^%%@$!!!!$#@$#!!! Tell me.. what do they know? -Nothing! LOL!!! Give us the chance to learn as we are young couple. We would have asked if we needed assistance or tips.

I would really like to thank my mom for being there when my wife and baby discharged from the hospital. She got ready all the necessary stuffs at hometown and we just drove back there from hospital (PJ). My wife and I learnt a lot from my mom and we are so thankful that she guided us all the way since the day one of confinement period.

Day by day we are learning ... not easy being parents, hey. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The most expensive coffee in the world?

One of my adopted younger sisters recently brought home a miniature bottle of "Coffee Luwak" and showed to us in the kitchen while I was helping my mom to cook.

I got a bit surprised when there were some texts written as "Coffee Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world" ! and "A cup of Coffee Luwak could cost USD 60" !

After going through some readings in the net, the selection process of these expensive coffee beans were made possible by a type of mammal known as "Asian Palm Civet".

These beans are eaten and then passed through the Civet's digestive tract in which these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness.

It is a bit strange for me to know, nevertheless it is an interesting topic. What do you think? :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Toy @ Office

Last few weeks back, I discovered a toy on top of the cabinet near my cubicle. It belongs to my friend, a printing subcontractor a.k.a the Xerox guy.

It took him a while to transform the truck into a robot just like Transformers cartoon in the nineties. According to this bloke (the owner), the toy is more for showcase than to be used as normal toy for kids.

The black coloured lorry/robot which is also known as Optimus Prime is the limited edition model and I guess that bloke could be paying a lot for these toys as he has already collected a few.

This hobby could be interesting for some, but not for me because, you will never know when you will stop collecting. :P

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