Friday, February 26, 2010

Proton oh Proton

This isn't the first time this has happened. Previously this very same door handle broke, but thankfully its within the one year warranty period and I got it replaced for free, only to have them broken the key hole guard (note missing key hole guard next to handle). Since it wasn't a vital component (aesthetics isn't vital, IMHO), I close one eye and let it be.

Three years after that, the handle broke again! Dealing with Proton service center is a dreadful experience, especially when coming to parts replacement or troubleshooting. There was one time when I went to claim for a window seal replacement as the original black window seal was loose. the good news is they have replacement in stock, so it shouldn't take long. It shouldn't but it did, more then an hour long. It took them more then an hour to install a black piece of plastic and fasten it with one screw. The door handle replacement was different, they didn't have stock in hand so I was given an order form and was told that I'll be contacted when the part arrive, usually a week at most. They contacted me 3 weeks later, but replacing the handle that look somewhat a complicated contraption took no more then 30 minutes.

This time, I'm just going to let my mechanic handle this broken handle.


Have you been in a situation where you are very confident of something that you are willing to bet your life on it, only to find out that it isn't true? I'm not talking about risk, or gambling, but something common and routinely like brushing your teeth or withdrawing cash from the ATM.

Yesterday I was at the bank to withdraw cash from the ATM. All was well until i need to verify my pin again before the machine dispense the cash. So, I punch in the pin, only to have it rejected. The only time when I key in wrong pin is when I was speed typing with my hands covered for security reasons. So, on the second and third try, I keyed in the pin one by one, slowly making sure that each number is registered. Before I know it, my card is blocked!!

I was more furious then shock, because I never get my pin wrong on the second try, especially when I was careful. And to make matter worse, the bank has just closed its door. There are people inside to finish their transaction, but the bank isn't taking any new customers. I demanded to see the bank officer to investigate the matter but the guard didn't let me in. As I was about to loose my temper on the small frame security guard who spoke broken malay, the bank officer came to apologize that there's nothing they can do as they have already shut down the system. So, I'll have to return to the bank on monday to have the card unblocked.

Later that night, hours after the incident only did I realize that the pin I keyed in earlier was incorrect. One digit was misplaced.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mafia Wars Character Change

The long awaited character change option is finally here. And it only cost 15GP which is quite a bargain.

This will definitely change the way Maifa Wars is being played, for new players that is. A month ago I was experimenting with an energy whore character. No, it's not a duplicate facebook account for gaming, but I manage to persuade non mafia wars buddies to use their account for mafia wars. And playing with only 1 attack and defense for a level 145 maniac player has its own thrill. Not getting caught in any fights can be challenging. And this is the time where I'm actually that the robbing option is still not available, though there is news that zynga will reinstate robbing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Repainting Springs Part2

Project complete. I've even added back the spring guard to show the contrast between the dark green color and the black plastic spring guard.Its really dark and barely noticeable from far. I doubt that anyone could tell the difference once its installed.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Repainting Springs Part1.5 [Teaser]

Spry painting is very different then brush painting. Allot of solvent is required to dilute the paint for easy spray on application.

There's a hint there in the picture what color the springs will turn out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

[Hotel Review] Straits Meridian Hotel, Melaka

This year for CNY we stayed at Straits Meridian Hotel, Melaka. We rented two single room suites side by side, unfortunately it's not adjoining. This hotel is just 500 meters away from Masjid Al-azim and Mekala General Hospital, facing the Lebuh Amj main road, so do expect lots of vehicle noise just like my past experience at Mahkota Hotel Melaka.

Here's a view of the living room with a small 15" TV. This year I was well prepared with a laptop and WD 1TB MyBook filled with movies to kill the boredom, so I did not channel surf their in house channel, in fact, i'm not sure if they even have one.
On the left is the mini dining table with three chairs, and on the right is the living room shown on a different angle. The sofa cushion is removable, for those who want to make another makeshift bed out of it, though I'd strongly advise against it especially the hygiene cautious ones as the cushion is old and looks unwashed.
The door nearest the kitchen (open) is the bedroom, the other door (closed) is the bathroom.
Behind the mini dining is a fully functioning kitchen, with a hotplate stove, overhead stove vent (my unit has a fused bulb), kettle (badly stained) and ample of storage space in the built in cabinet which is the only thing that looks new albeit the dust. Behind the bar counter is the mini fridge which is empty.
The room comes with complimentary two bottles of RO water, instant coffee, and two mandrin oranges in conjunction with the Chinese New Year.
The bed room, two single bed. The mattress is too soft for my liking, but since it's only for two days, I didn't complain. The carpet on the other hand looks worn really really bad. There's no bed slippers, so I can only assume that previous guest has been walking around in their shoes, not wanting to dirty my feet, I follow suit.
The air condition unit is just beside the bed. Do take note of the location of the thermostat which is right under the air condition unit. Adjusting the temperature will require you to stand on the bed.
On the other side of the bedroom is the wardrobe and dressing table
The dressing table looks really worn. On the side of the table is a folder filled with laminated copies of certicates, like the halal certificate for the restaurant and other certificates which I failed to take notice since I wasn't interested in them and I don't see how a piece of paper would make up for the shoddy quality furniture and carpet.
Inside the flimsy looking wardrobe is two spare pillows, cheap plastic hangars, the ever compulsory laundry bag and an old safe which doesn't look safe to use. It is best NOT to leave any valuables in any Malaysian hotels.
The size of the bathroom is debatable, some would say its just nice for a bathroom with a shower, others might complain it to be small as the sink is just inches away from the toilet. The only thing good about the sink being this close is you can put the laptop there and surf while on the throne. And this sink is clean, not stained, unlike my past experience at Mahkota Hotel Melaka.
The shower curtains however is stained with what i suspect is fungus.
The ceiling is nothing nice to look at either. its rather mismatched probably due to some past upgrade works.
The hotel comes with free wifi service which is something rather uncommon in most Malaysian hotels. You just need to call the frontdesk for the password.
However the connection isn't good at all. Although I manage to secure a connection, I can't get online (note the offline gtalk icon). So, having wifi without internet access like not having any wifi at all.

Each room comes with free buffet breakfast for two. Non guest price is RM18 per person, which is the cheapest of all the hotels I've came across, and the food is 'cheap' too. The beef bacon is bland and tasteless, hash brown is soft and soggy, cereals looks like cheap knock off coco crunch and corn flakes, I liked their mee goreng which is cukup rasa not too salty or spicy, however the prawns and tofu used in the mee didn't taste fresh.

Staff courtesy is good. They would first ask politely when lending a hand like carrying our luggage by the bell boy. And the waiters are very well mannered and efficient too, cleaning the tables when a guest leave so that other guest will have their turn on it. Probably one of their strongest point for this hotel. Checking in and out was hassle free as our payment was made one month in advance, in cash.

Extra note: the parking space outside the hotel is under the municipal counsel jurisdiction and parking fines will be issued for cars parked illegally or without a parking ticket. The hotel parking is at the hotel basement which is free for use for guest, but its limited to 10 cars.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Repainting Springs Part1

A while back I mentioned that there are irremovable grime on the used R3 springs I bought earlier this week. It turns out that it isn't grime but metal oxide, also known as rust.

It wasn't your typical orange colored rust, but it's rust all right and eats well into the surface. Here's a picture after some sanding with grade 800 sandpaper. The paint was removed easily through sanding, which I suspect they only use a single coat of acrylic paint. Powder coated paint don't come off that easily and clean from sanding.
However, my perception changed after a brief use of paint stripper. Due to the size of the spring, and me being lazy sanding the entire spring, I opt for some chemical action to quicken the paint stripping process. The first brush of the paint stripper removed the cranberry red outer layer, leaving a shiny undercoat. The undercoat takes a while to be dissolved in the solvent, so my initial accusation of single layer paint was wrong.
Paint removed from the entire spring
Much of the rust removed after some vigorous sanding.

to be continued.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Today I met Mohd Kmail

As the Chinese New Year draws near, or as any seasonal holidays draws near, the phones will be quitter then usual, and work has slowed down to a more relaxed pace. Until today when I got a call asking for directions to the company for a pickup. Now, I'm a fairly impatient person, more so when trying to make a person understand a certain subject, in this case, directions.
Over the years, I've met with a good sum of lorry drivers who lost their way here. Nevermind the fact that I have the company placemark in google maps, and also intergrated a google map interface into the website. Nor the time when I insisted in faxing our location map to them so I don't have to waste their mobile credits correcting their wrong turns, and keeping my voice to an appropriate white collar office worker level.
So, my general perception on lorry drivers is discriminating, thanks to their lack of landmark recognization fueled with my growing impatience. Until today when I met with someone different.

When he called this morning, I thought that he was like the rest, needing a through walkthrough from their current location all the way to the company. But there was something different, his language is more refined, although sharing the same loud voice to break through the loud idling diesel engine. After 5 minutes, he finally grasp the general location and told me that he'll be calling again when he's near by for a more thorough direction. I expected for the worst.
Surprisingly enough when he called again, directing him here was a breeze, all landmarks was acknowledge and he got here with no fuss.

When he arrived, he greeted with a smile and a well wish of good morning. Something that I've never came across transporters. He's in the late 50s, pot bellied but berbadan segak and has a commanding voice. So, as we were done loading up his lorry, we had a small chat while cooling down. It appears that Mohd Kmail is a retired police officer, which explains his built, patience and mannerism. The only time I ever came across an impatient policeman was during fasting month at an overcrowded police station making a road accident report. Otherwise they are a courteous bunch. He took up this job to keep his blood pressure low, being dormant for too long gave him hypertension or so he said. Probably the drastic changes in his work life as a police officer, and retiring, looking after the grandkids. I'm even more surprise of his current work as a transporter didn't aggravate his condition. I get agitated easily when stuck in traffic, needless to say what that kind of stress can do to my blood pressure.
He thought me allot today, and has change my perspective of transporters entirely. We then shook hands, and I wished him a safe journey.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Springing into Action

I think I'm one of the last members amongst senior members to upgrade the springs. Buying stuff from R3 is sure a pain in the arse. Firstly, R3 stuff is not cheap. And when I finally amass the amount required and rationalize to myself why spending RM500 on R3 springs is justifiable as compared to other MUCH cheaper alternatives, R3 stop selling them for no good reason. "No Stock" is the answer given. "No stock" for two years?

So, I finally got myself a used unit. I've never used any secondhand goods in my car mods, even during my Kembara years. Everything has got to be brand new. But seeing how hard it is to get a new spring from R3, I'm left with little choice but settle for a used unit, and at a price that's easy on the wallet too, RM200 for year old springs.

Looks new after a good wash. Until you zoom in

This is what a year of abuse looks like, dirt deposits (even after a thorough wash with degreaser)

Paint chips is not uncommon

The plastic tube to cushion the spring on both ends, that's how they look like after a good cleaning. I guess stains are called stains for a reason.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Samsung Survey 2010

I received this e-mail in the morning, but only manage to free myself enough time to participate in this survey just before bed time. after all, its free movie tickets, who can say no to that?

I believe this survey is intended for kindergartners, old folks or for those with really bad vision as the fonts are really really huge. Though, I doubt that its suitable for old folks as there's lots of scrolling to do, which is bad for arthritis. So, this survey is for kids then.

OMG! What happened? Looks like someone broke the survey. lol, I guess no free movie tickets for me then.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mafia Wars Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the fight algorithm?/What is the fight formula?/How are fights calculated?

0.1(A X C) + D

A = Attack Stats + Top Mafia Bonus + Boost

0.1(B X C) + D

B = Defense Stats + Top Mafia Bonus + Boost

Q: How did you came up with that fight algorithm/formula?
A: I didn't. I just verify the already existing formula echoed by others in mafia wars facebook discussions.

Q: What does the red/green fight log means?
A: Green means your (mafia/stats/equipment) rating is higher then your opponent
Red means your (mafia/stats/equipment) rating is lower then the opponent
example: My opponent has higher defense equipment rating then my attacking equipment

Q: What is a Mafia Wars Combat Calculator?
A: Mafia Wars Combat Calculators calculates your combat strength.
There are two calculators available:
The first Mafia Wars Combat Calculator. Its main feature is combat calculation via fight comparison. It compares your attacking strength versus your opponents defense strength. Very useful to find out why you lost in a fight.

Blofeld's Loot List & Combat Calculator
The second Combat Calculator. This one differs then the first as it not only calculates your attacking strength, but your defense strength and your loot list as well. It works by tabulating your total equipment and stats from your profile page and then choose the strongest equipments for both attack and defense like how the game would choose them.

Q: How to convert currency(NY to Cuba to Moscow to Thailand)?
A: It can't be done.

Q: What is the stats an average player should have?
A: I'm not your average player so I can't answer that, however it's best to have attack and defense twice the value of your level.
example:Level100, A200/D200

Monday, February 1, 2010

[Photo Review] Universal Battery Charger

With mobile phone companies releasing new models many times a year, and newer design phasing out older ones, obsolete models are no longer supported. Worse still if the mobile phone is from a non popular company, like China phones. Sweetheart's China phone charging cable broke a few days ago and and the dedicated battery charger somewhat failed to charge the spare battery. Though the accessories failed, the phone is still in good working order.

Not many retailers would carry China phones due to its unpopularity, although it is cheap and comes jam packed with functions that are only found in high end mainstream phones, like touch screen option available in China phones as low as RM400, while the cheapest touch screen form Samsung starts at RM680. Almost all China phones comes with dual sim standby and at the moment, of all mainstream brands only Samsung shows interest in dual sim phones with its latest release of C5212 entry level dual sim phone for RM600, unfortunately it doesn't comes with touch screen, compared to China phones that comes with dual sim, touch screen and even a TV tuner AND selling for RM400.

Anyways, we went to Mines last sunday to scour for the phone charger cable that is compatible with Sweetheart's phone. Mines was chosen because during our previous visit mid last year, the place is littered with China phones, especially iPhone clones. Last sunday however was totally different. The iPhone clones were gone, it's like a complete switchover. We were about to give up hope until one store took out its universal charger. I was skeptical at first, but it worked then and there, and for RM15, it's worth the gamble. So we bought one.

The no frills packaging. Presumably a product ambassador with the product. Since its a Chinese product, everything is in Chinese. Doesn't come with a manual.

Here's the front shot of the universal battery charger. Simple looking design in a pleasing transparent blue tint. Its made transparent for a reason, will be explained later.

Side view. Since its designed as a travel charger, the pins are neatly hidden.

Pins folded out when needed. Take note of the circuitry, there's a large capacitor clearly visible.

Spec sheet in Chinese, but easily understandable.
Input, AC220V 50/60Hz 100mA
Output battery/terminal charger 4.2V 250mA
Output USB 5.2V 600mA

The universal battery charger comes with a USB port at the bottom of the charger if you prefer to charge you phone using USB cable. Since Sweetheart's charging cable is kaput, this function was not tested.

The engineering ingenuity right under the clip. It has two pins/electrodes which will be in contact with the battery, and a silicone rubber grip that holds the battery in place.

The electrodes are in contact, and the silicone rubber grip is gripping.

You are doing it right. The power indicator light is lit which means that the electrodes are on the right contact point of the battery. There is also no positive or negative terminal on the electrodes, meaning it auto detects the polarity of the battery.

Charging. You are entertained with a beautiful array of color light display. The light changes from bright aqua, to green and red and blinks at certain interval. I'm not going to take multiple pictures of different lights, I think words are suffice to describe it.

Testing the universal battery charger on Sony Ericsson K750i battery. It works

Works on Samsung U700 battery too

It also works on Sony camera battery

But not BenQ. Well, that's not entirely truthful. The reason the indicator light is not on is because the battery is flat. When I was testing the Sony camera and Samsung U700 batteries earlier, the indicator light wasn't lit at all. The batteries were flat and hasn't been charged for months. Until I charge it for a minute on its original charger and retest it with the universal battery charger did the indicator light turn on. So, there's the major drawback of this universal charger. It recharges low current batteries, but doesn't recharge flat batteries. This might be due to polarity sensor on the universal battery charger as it requires some current to identify the positive and negative terminal before it can charge the battery. Charging on wrong polarity can cause the battery to explode, which is not a good thing. +1 for safety, something rarely seen on China products.