Saturday, October 31, 2009

Coffee at Starbucks or Coffee at MacDonald

There are basically 2 choices that I’ll consider when it comes to having a cup of coffee. It’s either Starbucks or MacDonald. One is an expensive but comfortable to enjoy, the other is reasonable price but taste absolutely good. Here’s my evaluation of having coffee at both coffee shop and coffee restaurant. My evaluation refers to the lowest price black regular coffee.

Let’s start with having coffee at Starbucks. My first impression of having coffee at Starbucks is expensive, comfortable and lots of choices. I think Starbucks considered as one of the most expensive coffee around the world. Starbucks branches in any countries mostly selling coffee at a price of at least double or triple of the local coffee price. Probably half of the money we paid is not just for the coffee but also the environment and the music. I’ll say Starbucks really does have a unique way of creating comfortable environment. I personally like the comfortable sofa very much. With the help of the coffee smells and relaxing music, it just makes it a nice place to take a nap. Well, just make sure that somebody looks after your stuff if you really do want to take a nap. If you’re the person that always brings along laptop to coffee shop, perhaps Starbucks might just be the right place for you. As far as I know Starbucks install at least a power socket at every table for the convenience of laptop users. I did experience at one of the Starbucks branches where the power sockets are not enough for their customers. Guess what, the stuff took out extra power socket extension and make sure all their customers have all their laptops power up. Now that’s what I call service.

Now let’s take a look at MacDonald coffee. The first impression of having MacDonald coffee is cheap but taste much better then Starbucks coffee. In addition you get free refills. There’s nothing better than able to have a nice cup of coffee as much as you want with the price of one. The only time that I’ll go for MacDonald coffee is breakfast time. They did serve coffee all the time, just that breakfast meals goes well with the coffee. In my opinion burgers and fries matches soda better than coffee. I really do enjoy having breakfast at MacDonald with a nice cup of coffee. There are also free morning papers and WIFI available. The problem with laptop users is that there aren’t many power sockets available at MacDonald. Most MacDonald branches I found only have one or two power sockets and everybody are fighting for it. As some MacDonald branches open 24 hours, you can bring your laptop and spend the night. Just order a cup of coffee and you can refill it all night long.

P/S: Just how much difference a cup of regular black coffee between Starbucks and MacDonald? In my country it’s about 3:10. How is it in your country?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Let you Firefox browser run smooth and fast by blocking flash

I was playing around with Facebook and discovered that at certain point my PC runs slow. This happens whenever an application runs flash player. I open up windows task manager and finds that Mozilla Firefox used up 100% of the CPU capacity. This is cause by the flash player that uses up all the CPU capacity.

How do we fix that? Sadly there isn’t anything that we can do about it. We just have to wait for the flash player developer to solve this problem. The only thing that we can do but are not so recommended is to upgrade our PC hardware performance. This method is not encouraging because the problem lies within the flash player itself.

If you want your Firefox browsers to run smooth and fast, the only option that you have is not to use the flash player. We can do that by blocking the flash player using Firefox add-ons. The name of the Firefox add-ons is Flashblock All you have to do is follow the link and click “Add to Firefox”. The application will then add on to your Firefox browsers. You will have to restart Firefox browser in order to activate the add-ons. Basically Flashblock blocks contents from Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Shockwave and Macromedia Authorware. Once you install the add-ons you’ll find that pages will be loading much faster than before. Monitor the changes using windows task manager and you’ll see the CPU usage is very much lower than before.

If you decided to view the flash content or use the flash player, just click on the placeholder. It’s a symbol that looks like below. Once you click on the flash content will run as usual. I suppose if you’re playing YoVille, Roller Coaster Kingdom, FarmVille, CafĂ© World or Pet Society at Facebook, you have no choice but to run the flash player. Your CPU capacity will definitely max 100%. The least you can do is try not to run any other application. That might help in reducing the lagging condition when playing the games. Seriously I doubt that will be much of a help.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reading from a book or reading from Scribd

I like to read. It doesn’t matter what kind of material it is, newspapers, magazine, books, blogs, website or pdf file as long as it’s interesting to me. Reading is a good hobby. The most basic and simple reading that we can get is from newspapers, magazines or books. Particularly from books the title or topic can be more precise. As for me most of my readings are online. I love to read from a book but sadly books are kind of expensive in my country. A fairly good book cost almost the same as 10 Mac D value meals. That is why I turn to the cheapest source of reading online.

Scribd is one of the sites that I found that have millions of document and readers. You can find books, presentations, documents and many other form of reading material. This is the site that I found most of my reading pleasure. Scribd is not just a place to read but also a community that you get to know people with the same interest. That will be reading of cause but most important thing is that you get to share your feelings and opinion with other readers, authors or even the publishers. You may even get to know with author of the book by checking out their bio and send them a message.

Although you can find many books to read at Scribd, but not all books are free. Still there are more than enough free to read material that can keep you busy for some time. You may choose to download the books for later viewing pleasure but there is a limit to the number of documents that you may download each day. You’ll have to wait for another 24 hours to continue download if you exceeded the limit. Download format can be in pdf file or in plain text file. Oh yes, you need to sign up before you’re allowed to download. Sign up is free so just go ahead.

If you think that you can write and have something to share with the world, Scribd provides the platform for you to do so. You can basically share anything as Scribd can transforms pdf, Word, PowerPoint and many other file formats into an elegant web display. If you’re really good, I mean good in producing a book or a journal, you can even consider selling your work as Scribd.

Scribd also has an interesting feature that allows others to embed documents into blog or web page. If you find something good that you like to share with your readers, you can do so by click on the Share & Embed tab above the document. You can share your findings at Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress or Blogspot.

For me, I just enjoy reading the books from Scribd, having something to read while enjoying the cup of coffee is just great for me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Trip From Penang to Kuala Terengganu

Lately I happened to have a chance to travel to East coast Malaysia – Kuala Terengganu. Consider it as a mission to escort 3 lovely princesses for relocation. We have 5 knights with 3 iron wagons fully loaded with supplies. We also have a little fairy call GPS that guide us all the way to our destination. We began our journey at about 6:30am in the morning. We started off from the petrol station at Permatang Pauh and below are the details of our journey.

Permatang Pauh (Road 67) – Kulim (Road 67) – Kuala Ketil (Road 67) – Kupang (Road 67 to K171) – Baling (Road K173 to A173) – Gerik (Road A173 to 4) – Jeli (Road 4) – Ayer Lanas (Road 4) – Machang (Road 4) – Jerteh (Road 3) – Permaisuri (Road 3) – Kuala Terengganu (Road T4)

Basically it’s a simple straight forward road as there is only one way to get from West to East side of Malaysia. We just drive straight ahead until we reached Machang. Turn right as we reached a junction that switch from Road 4 to Road 3. After that just drive straight ahead until we reached a road about. Choose the 2nd exit or 12 o’clock straight ahead road which switch from Road 3 to Road T4. Drive straight ahead for another 10 minutes and we’ve reached the famous Sultan Mahmud Bridge. After crossing the bride we arrived at the city of Kuala Terengganu.
I have to say this can be a dangerous journey if you’re not careful. We saw lots of dead animal lying around the road side including monkey, cow, dog and bird. These animals probably hit by cars or trucks. If you’re not careful these animals might cause serious accident. Along the road side we witness signs indicating appearance of deer and elephant. I was hoping to see these animals but instead I saw something that took me by surprise. We saw a wild tiger crossing the road while driving, but that was on my return trip. There are about 500 wild tigers left in Malaysia and it’s very rare for tigers to come out broad day light. Chances of having to see a wild tiger is very slim. I suppose we must be very lucky that day. By the way, the passenger next to me saw the wild tiger too. So I got a witness to prove that I’m not lying. We saw the tiger at about 11:00am in the morning. We couldn’t help to imagine what will happen if motorcyclist saw the wild tiger instead of us. Half of the journey is going up and down between the hills and forest. We are actually very close to where these wild animal lives. At some part of the roads, we did kind of worried about the foggy condition but it was just a short distance only. It was about 9:00am but the foggy condition still there, must be due to the high altitude and the forest around.We were lucky that the weather is fine all the way we drived. The road condition can be very bad if rain. Not to mention if trying to drive at night in these roads, just imagine how dangerous it is. Most of the roads don’t even have lights or reflectors. I can imagine it’s like driving into pitch black with no ends. So what’s the worst condition that you can get if trying to drive at night? Here’s what you might experience, driving through pitch black with no lights, raining, foggy and bumping into wild animals. For safety, it would be best to take this journey day time when the sun is shining above.

This journey is a bit dangerous and time consuming but the views along the road is great. That is if you love site seeing. Some rest area along the road side on top of the hills has great views. We’re able to enjoy the cool wind standing high above the hills scouting around the land below. Perhaps the best views throughout the whole journey are around Tasik Temengor, where we need to cross couple of long bridges. As for the buildings along the road side, I can only remember lots of schools and mosques.

We reached Kuala Terengganu at about 1:00pm. That’s about 7 hours of driving including stopping for fuel and rest. We could reach Kuala Terengganu earlier but for first timer it’s better to take more time and be safe. Crossing the famous Sultan Mahmud Bridge was the most exciting moment as that is the sign we reached Kuala Terengganu. The first thing that caught our eyes the moment that we drove on the bridge is number of mosque buildings on our right hand side. I suppose there are at least 5~6 mosques.This is surely an exciting trip and we were able to reach our destination safely and found the castle which our princesses stay. The castle is situated high above the ground and situated in the middle of the city. The view from the castle is gorgeous as we can almost see half of the city. That includes the famous Sultan Mahmud Bridge and the mosques. After staying for couple of days and safely relocated our princesses, we return to where we came from. Some of the knights took flights but couple of us drove back hitting on the same road where we came from. Mission accomplished!!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dabbleboard online whiteboard for drawing and team collaboration

Dabbleboard is one of those online collaboration applications that I found useful and helpful. Best of all, it’s free. That is if you’re just using it for simple drawing and discussion. The biggest problem with teleconference is that you only get to talk. You can’t actually use other things like white board, slides or pictures to clearly discuss projects, problems or schedules. It’s actually not so convenient and not efficient. A picture equals a thousand words. If we’re able to show a picture, point to the location and highlight the problem, everything can be explained easily.

Dabbleboard is not just for businesses or people like designers, contractors, lawyers, developers, consultants or salesman. As we get to use this online application for free, teachers, students, parents or kids are able to use it as well. The best thing about using these type of online collaboration application is that we get to save money, energy and most important of all time. Just imagine the time that you’ll save by reducing the travel time. Take for example of 5 students that trying to get together and meet up with their teacher for a short 10 minutes discussion. If each of them needs to spend 30 minutes to meet up and go to their teacher, that’s 5 x 30 minutes = 2 hours 30 minutes of time loss. With the help of Dabbleboard, they can definitely cut the time lost for travelling. All they need to do is get online with a computer.

Another good example of using online collaboration application Dabbleboard is solving problems within factory. When factory faces problems on their new design production, the time requires for coming out with the solution can sometimes determine the gain or loss of a new product. Especially when designers and the factory are separated thousands of miles between several countries, time and money are lost just to send these designers to the problems. All these can be solve just by giving instructions in front of a PC using the online collaboration application Dabbleboard. As instructions and be delivers fast and understand clearly, wasting time on traveling is not necessary.

Dabbleboard is definitely a good online collaboration application that we can benefits from. I think it won’t be long as we can see other application starts to include drawing as one of their features. MSN, Skype and Yahoo Messenger should be among those popular applications to add this feature in. Let’s just wait and see.