Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bite The Apple

We must say, we kind of suspect that our iPod Touch (first generation) is sort of a brainwasher. A brainwasher to make one get the iPhone. Not like it was a hard job getting us to want an iPhone, but we'll admit if we never did get the iPod Touch we wouldn't really know what was with the hoo-haa about the iPhone, especially since phone-functions-wise it wasn't really up to par with the hardware of other phones and apps only started appearing on the iPhone much much later.

However, after using the iPod Touch for a while, and once Apple moved on from the core apps to mobile web apps (we gave up using this when we found out you need an internet connection to keep using them) to the App Store and not to mention the software updates that makes the iPod Touch much more useful, it wasn't long before we wanted to get an iPhone instead.

We tried telling ourself that it was because we wanted the camera function. That we could still make do with using wifi spots for surfing and all that.

It was a good thing that the third generation iPod Touch didn't get cameras in time, hence we finally caved in and gotten the 3GS. Such a difference! True, it was only a 3mpx camera when everyone else was on 5mpx, no flash, no front facing camera (hence no video calls, Facetime? What?). But it had speakers! We had a data plan and could surf anywhere! We could record better videos as we

Here was the birth of MEALWHAT(tm).

Of course, as a result of our new purchase, the steadfastedly disciplined Chief, who made good effort to discourage us from buying an iPhone until they came out with 64GB models with hardware comparable to other models and a pricetag of less than RM2000 (without getting an exorbitant phone plan), inherited our iPod Touch.

Then, out of the blue, late last month to early this month, the Chief started hinting about getting the iPhone 4. We thought the Chief was joshing, based on the specifications mentioned above but it turns out that our iPod Touch has convinced the Chief to get an iPhone as well!

If we were sure about it earlier, we might have ended up heading to the roadshow at Midvalley at 5am on Saturday a fortnight back to queue up. But we weren't sure then, and did not want to be berated by a delighted Chief at our wanton spending.

We were sure about it when the Chief started going to the Maxis centres to ask about iPhone 4 availability. The Chief, of course, blamed our iPod Touch for the sudden urge to finally get the urge for an iPhone 4.

Come last Thursday we received a text from the Chief saying that the Sunway Maxis centre has stock, but they only sell 20 units a day and that people start queuing early for it.

Coincidentally we were on leave on Friday (clearing leave), which meant we could actually queue up for it!

Too bad by the time the Chief texted us, we couldn't get a reply as to what time the queue starts in case we needed to head to Sunway Pyramid at 5am with a foldable deckchair, a fully charged Nintendo DS and iPhone, and books.

In the end we slept and woke up at 9.15am on Friday, and saw the Chief's reply saying that the queue starts around 9am. Great! We had time! Sped off to Sunway Pyramid and arrived to see a few people milling about the entrance. Phew, we had a chance at getting the iPhone after all!

When the shutters rolled up a staff got people forming a queue for the iPhone and another for anything else. We ended up first in line for the iPhone queue, but offered our place to a Malay couple who actually arrived earlier (the Malay lady was about to start grumbling about us already, we were sure).

For a while we might have regretted letting the couple go first - when a Maxis staff asked them how many iPhones they wanted we thought they mentioned that they wanted 2 each. But luckily it turns out that they only wanted one each. Which meant we got the third iPhone 4. Still lucky, because it turns out that Sunway Maxis was only giving out FIVE iPhones that day. Good grief. And our trip down was not in vain!

The best bit is that we managed to keep it hush-hush from the Chief, who thought we would only go down on Saturday to try! We got to tumpang gembira when we bought the iPhone 4 too, it was as if we were buying it for ourself, haha. When the Chief left work we got the two of us to head to the Maxis Centre at TTDI where we presented the Chief with the iPhone 4 all nicely wrapped in Christmas wrapping and we got the SIM card cut. The weekend was then spent with us copying over all our paid apps to the Chief's laptop, syncing apps and movies, and shopping for a cover and screen protectors.

So soon we'll be getting our iPod Touch back, to be fully utilized for watching movies and tv shows!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wire Less

It never really occured to us about how old the computers we use (both our home desktop and our laptop) were. Well, that's not entirely true. We know the desktop and the laptop are both 7 years old, just how slow it can be to start it up Windows XP (we'll turn the thing on and then go do something else for about 10-15 minutes), how at times programs will hang up on us for no apparent reason, how we constantly turn on the Windows Task Manager to check on running programs and which ones we can safely terminate, and how it taught us patience.

So, let us rephrase our starting sentence. We have forgotten just how fast computers can be nowadays.

That is, until recently where we've gotten a new laptop. It partly reminded us of when we were getting our desktop 7 years ago, because of one thing: the graphics card. Not keeping in developments for graphics cards meant we have no idea of the difference between the bloody model numbers that they're named. Hence we resort to checking the hardware requirements for games for a rough idea.

Other than that, we know our own minimal requirements for the processor and memory etc, and we got ourself a little beauty that made us feel pretty suaku about technology!

Imagine, Windows 7 has been around for a year and we've only started experiencing it now, going, "Gosh it does this! OMG it does that!" Very undignified, but hey, we're enjoying our new toy and it wasn't even an Apple product. Yes, rather amazing, as normally it's Apple who's able to wow us with it's marketing hype and great aesthetics while with Windows we just go, oh, ok. This time what we feel with Windows 7 is more of like how we feel when the iPod Touch and iPhone gets an iOS update, say from iOS1 to iOS2.

Thankfully we'd Lifehacker to help out with the new features and keyboard shortcuts, as well as some other program suggestions to install other than those that we already use, like iTunes, Handbrake and Dropbox.

We almost digressed into the topics of Nokia vs Apple with regards to things like advertisements, software updates and the likes.


Since our new toy is a laptop, the next step towards making it more useful to us for playing Starcraft 2 is to get ourself a mouse. And quite likely a keyboard too, as we felt the chiclet keyboard took some getting used to (plus not to mention we worry if it can handle the abuse). In our haste we dragged the Chief to Low Yat to see what was currently available. Only, after a couple of hours it was pretty obvious that we were only ever considering Logitech or Microsoft (no, we weren't keen on shelling out for Razer) while the Chief thought any brand would do so long as it met our specifications.

Our specifications? Well, near impossible to meet, probably.

Firstly we hadn't decided if we were going to get a wireless keyboard and mouse, or a USB cabled one. After some mulling we were leaning towards getting a wireless set as that would only use a single USB port rather than two (one for keyboard, one for the mouse). Also, we had some other project in mind that required the wireless keyboard and mouse.

We wanted a keyboard with the numeric keypad intact, after all, what's the point of a bigger keyboard if it's just similar to the current keyboard as on the laptop?

We were also looking for a keyboard that wasn't large and bulky. Yes, well, we were really pushing our luck with that demand. We actually even considered getting a laptop bag just slightly larger than the current one that came with the laptop, just so that it could accommodate such a keyboard.

Somehow that first day shopping we had an image of Nokia's wireless keyboard imprinted in our brain, a model of the sort of keyboard we were looking for. Well, nearly the sort of keyboard we were looking for. All that was missing was the numpad. Otherwise, it was ideal, being foldable for portability.

The Chief did point out some admittedly usable options for whatever we were looking for, by brands we've never heard of before this, but we always found some excuse why we weren't interested.

Yes, admittedly we're a brand whore.

But a poor brand whore. That puts Apple's wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse, both costing RM229 each, out of the picture. Not to mention the keyboard doesn't even have numpad. We could get a rather good wireless keyboard and mouse set from the others for less than that price. We haven't really a budget but we get rather hesitant when the price tag reads over RM100. That rules out keyboards akin to the Nokia one as those won't come cheap too.

Oh there were a few more bits and pieces to pick on when it came to deciding on the keyboard and mouse, and in the end we didn't get any and the Chief loaned us an old Logitech wireless mouse (not the birthday gift from the TTDI gang, though!), which so far serves us well.

We probably will skimp and save for the Logitech Unifying series when we can.

The project? We kinda fancy plugging up the laptop to the telly with a HDMI cable, followed by some serious sofa slouching with keyboard on lap and mouse beside us as we play Starcraft 2 enjoy the big screen!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Team Layton And The Dam Trip

You know, it being our first time going to the east coast and our first time to Lake Kenyir Resort And Spa, we admit to being a wee bit excited as to what the place held in store for us. Factor in a treasure hunt that would start around 7am in the morning (which meant everyone had to be up by late 5am to early 6am, meet for breakfast and then head down to the venue in Shah Alam) and take around 7 hours, followed by another 250km before we reached the hotel, well...

We knew that there would be the chance that we wouldn't be able to do much once we arrived at the hotel as it would be quite likely we all would take a nap before dinner. We remembered the Rasa-Rasa treasure hunt, where after the hunt around Klang Valley finished by 3pm, we went back and slept till near 7pm before heading down to 3K Inn at USJ for the dinner.

We never expected that we would only reach the resort at Lake Kenyir only at 8pm.


The treasure hunt itself was rather adventurous, taking us all over the place out of Klang Valley, and while solving cryptic crosswords helped speed up our ability to solve certain puzzles, we were still lacking a bit in certain areas. Like in spotting rather small logos/signs that were the answers for some of the questions. Some of the times where we spent too long looking for answers were due to trying to spot that small sign which were still visible from the car. However, there were still some questions that stumped the lot of us, that can't be helped except to keep doing more puzzles we suppose.

Once we were done with the treasure hunt, it was onwards to Lake Kenyir Resort And Spa! As esteban was familiar with Kuantan, we all stopped at Hai Peng for a tea break (time management during the treasure hunt meant we never did had time for a lunch break!). The stopover at Kuantan turned out to be both a good and bad thing, good because it meant we got a quick rest, food and coffee before making our way onwards to the resort, but bad because we only reached the hotel at 8pm, just in time for the start of dinner.

You don't really want to be travelling on the roads to Lake Kenyir when it gets dark. There aren't many street lights and as we were reaching Lake Kenyir, we were greeted by a particularly treacherous road filled with lots of potholes.

If the travel time didn't already discourage us from going to Lake Kenyir again, the roads did. We kept worrying about the car suspension when we accidentally hit the potholes in the dark, and it only got easier when we caught up with a lorry, and used it to navigate the road. Another three cars caught up with us, and didn't try overtaking us too. We learned later that they decided it was much easier to tail us to the resort, thinking we knew our way as we had lad's Nokia N97's Garmin leading the way. They continued tailing us even after we made a wrong turn and led the entire party to a jetty instead of the resort at first.

Honestly, we don't think we'll ever make the trip to Lake Kenyir by car or coach from KL. If it's a flight to Kuala Terengganu first, then a transfer pickup from the resort, then maybe.

Reaching the resort at night meant we couldn't see any scenery, but not that it mattered much anyways because we were rather hungry by that point. Parked at the parking lot, got our room keys, and were ferried by buggy (buggied?) to our respective chalets to drop our stuff before we were taken to the dinner venue.

Had our fill and then it was time for the prize-giving. Prizes were given for the top 31 places (the odd number due to tied scores we surmise), and calculating based the score the 31st team scored, we suspected we were somewhere in the top 35 (so we would like to believe).

Anyways, when people ask if we won anything we would nicely say we won a one night stay at Lake Kenyir, complete with dinner and breakfast, and a nice goodie bag. Which we did, after all.

We didn't plan to do much the next day too, for judging from the time we took to reach the resort, we thought it best to check out early for the 7-hour journey back home. So all we did was have breakfast with a view...

Then headed down to the jetty within the resort grounds to take a closer look at the lake. No, we didn't decide to rent a boat to go rowing. We hate how we tend to compare lakes here with those in Glasgow or the Lake District or in Austria, where their lakes were like mirrors.

After 5 minutes at the jetty, we headed back into our air-conditioned chalets for a quick game of Kill Dr Lucky and some rest before we packed up.

Then it was time to check out and leave!

Stopped by Kuantan again, this time at Kemaman Kopitiam (because all other places were closed when we arrived around 3pm). Three of us had the Nasi Lemak Special while esteban had the Nasi Dagang, we all had coffee and such, and then lad went to pay. When the cashier rang up a total of RM72.80, lad thought the cashier was joking. Turns out the cashier wasn't, and then we discovered that the Nasi Lemak Special we had, with the chicken chop sized lemongrass chicken, was about RM12. Our drinks were RM5.50 each. Only esteban's Nasi Dagang was the cheapest, being RM3.50. Good thing the food was good, otherwise we'd all be griping all the way home.

It was somewhere around 7pm when we arrived home, even though we left at 11am!

It was a shame that we didn't extend our stay at the resort, since the difficulty in getting there itself means we aren't going back there any time soon. So we can't say if Lake Kenyir would be a great place for a vacation. But it certainly is a large place to explore, and if you're the adventurous, nature-loving type then there would probably be enough things to keep you occupied what with the many waterfalls to visit. Otherwise, lazing a couple of days in the resort chalet would be a great way to destress (provided you don't mind your chalet running the risk of being invaded by insects that may find their way in).

Another unfair comparison we have to make here. After Nusa Dua, Lake Kenyir can't really compare. And dammit we never did get to explore the spa facilities!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Team Layton And The Top Gear Treasure

And the weekend is finally here! Team Layton, once again, into the foray of treasure hunting! This time Team Layton will be taking on Top Gear's treasure hunt, which starts from Shah Alam and goes all the way to Lake Kenyir!

Well there was a treasure hunt organized by GSC, but the entry fee was a bomb while this one costed only RM600 and included a one night stay at the Lake Kenyir Resort & Spa with meals included, and each member got a generous goodie bag! Definitely quite worth it, even if we don't do as well as we could. In fact, lad has already mentioned that if we cannot answer half the questions that will come out we'll just head straight to the hotel instead.

Now if only we knew just what to expect of Lake Kenyir! Will we swim? Visit the waterfalls? Laze at the resort playing Jenga and other boardgames? Will the shutterbugs with their fancy DSLRs (and us with our iXus and iPhone) go trigger happy?

Or will we all be knocked out in bed from an exhausting morning (because treasure hunts do start at unimaginable hours of 6am!) and miss out on all Lake Kenyir has to offer? What more we should only be reaching the resort after the treasure hunt late afternoon to early evening, and on Sunday we'll be heading back home!

Here's to us snagging top prizes!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Use It, Use It Some More

Hi everyone. Our name is Janvier.

So why are we here, now? We guess it's from taking the initiative after watching Heroes Season 4 (it just gets more and more painful every season) where Matt decides that he doesn't want to use his ability and attends a support group and talks about how he has not 'used' for so long (the way he says it sounds so fake).

Then after Heroes we got to start on Dexter Season 2! Dexter attends Narcotics Anonymous, and starts sharing about his need to kill (without directly referring to what it is that he's addicted to, of course). Which sort of led us to admit that, we, too, have a...


A... something we use.

We've never been aware that it's a problem. Honestly. All the time we've always figured that it was something natural, something everyone does when the thought to do it arises.

Only after watching those episodes and being aware that, if we don't get it at least once a day we get restless, we knew we had something. We could try putting names to it, but it doesn't stop it from being something that we must have.



One more turn.

iPhone videos.

Creep Itch.

Oh, there be lots more.

Dammit, we need our entertainment.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Chief Celebrations 2010: Belated Dinners

Admittedly this year celebrations for the Chief's birthday wasn't as well-planned out as before. Firstly the (sort of) last minute plannings to celebrate with friends, and we had not taken the Chief out to celebrate alone yet.

Our bad was in always wanting to make stuff like the Chief's birthday celebrations a surprise and all that, and although this year we'd thought not to make the celebrations with other known, we'd sort of neglected to inform the Chief about plans for birthday celebrations with just the two of us.

It goes to show, if one is to plan a surprise dinner for two to celebrate an important occasion like the other half's birthday, one really should not leave it for far too long. Like, three weeks too long.

The topic did arise at one point, and we admitted that we meant for a surprise dinner for when after the Chief's allergies got better (no, we didn't forget!). And the Chief mentioned that there was no need for the dinner already since it's already so long after the actual birth date.

If we were dense we would have nicely just left it at that an incur future wrath, we suppose. But we were actually thinking of where we could bring the Chief, someplace the Chief's not been before and serves pork (for now, that's one of the safe dishes which wouldn't knowingly aggravate the Chief's condition as we know it).

And then we had it.

And so before October ended we casually mention to the Chief that we haven't been to Sri Hartamas in a while, and wanted to eat someplace there, and no, it wasn't Souled Out. The Chief could have suspected that this was the long-overdued birthday dinner, or not, but it got the Chief thinking as to what is there to eat in Sri Hartamas.

A shot in the dark: "I don't like Korean food ah."
A non-committal reply: "No, it's not Korean."

And given the restaurant's location, the Chief never knew where we were going. Initially the Chief thought we really were going for Korean after all, although the only thing Korean at the block of shops we were on was a Korean supermarket, and what stumped the Chief most was when we reached Al-Rajhi Bank.

Riblees, nicely situated upstairs from the bank is quite a good place to surprise someone for dinner, provided that someone doesn't know about the place. A change from Checkers, also full of porky dishes, and a darker, cosier setting.

We sort of refrained from asking the establishment to prepare our table with candles and flowers and all that. Helium balloons and confetti included.

It was just too bad that, considering that we've not been there for the last couple of years, we couldn't recall what was recommended. We think the Classic American Babyback Ribs and the Roast Wild Boar Ribs were among those we thumbs up years ago, and after asking the waitress to give us a recommendation we ordered the Classic American Babyback Ribs and their special of the month, the Jamaican Jerk Style Roast Pork.

Both were good but we think we've been spoiled by Checker's Pork Chop. The barbeque sauce for the babyback ribs reminded us of Tony Roma's, but better.

And just to make sure the Chief knew it was a belated birthday dinner rather than just some random inclination to eat out, we had the waiter bring out a slice of their Oreos Ice Cream Cake with a candle. The cake, now, that was splendid. And a generous slice to boot!

We certainly saved our own hide in the end, but next year we've got to buck up! Candlelight dinner!