Slow Broadband kills your Mojo

They say a messy table is a sign of a creative mind. Lately, my broadband have hampered my creativity. Every time I try to visit websites, download software updates and security patches and I try to learn from the internet, it grounds to a screeching halt. I can never estimate how long it would take me to find the information I needed.

Slowly, I take all those waiting time to good use. I started to clean. It started with my desk, then my room, my bathroom, under my bed, my kitchen, living room and even my dog’s kennel. I have never been so clean in my life.

How come I didn’t see this coming? All i wanted to do was get something done instead of looking at the computer screen all the time. I didn’t know it would come to this…

Slow broadband have killed my mojo… Help me! Pimp my Broadband Please…

Check out my plea on video here… and don’t forget to vote herehttp://bit.ly/12T6mi

If you like the video, please vote for me here – http://bit.ly/12T6mi

Higher Quality Video on Vimeo herehttp://vimeo.com/6680352

Review: zyb.com – mobile sync

Have you lost your phone and found it hard to retrieve all your contacts? Are you switching phones regularly and needed some way to sync your contact information? Ever wish you can sync your social network contacts with your phone contacts? Here is one: zyb.com

Click here for the review: https://madetochange.wordpress.com/review-zybcom-mobile-sync/

Waterfall Survivors: Trong Waterfall

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Panaromic View of the Trong Waterfall

Panaromic View of the Trong Waterfall

Meeting Joe was like a page out of Seth Godin’s books on being remarkable. She was the founder of waterfall survivors group started from a facebook context. An avid waterfall hunter and explorer although having only 6 months of experience she boldly goes where even a seasoned explorer and camper would hesitantly follow.

Passion and the ability to follow through is the main ingredient for waterfall survivors. They are passionate about waterfalls no doubt about that. They would even go all the way as to give you a great experience. If you have no experience or little experience in exploring or camping, they will take care of you. Her motto is “Just bring yourself there”. They will take care of the food, the tents, the mat, the transport and the fun. You just have to show up. Obviously some personal affects needs to follow suit. And you are expected to go all the way or get lost along the way. Either way a group decision is to be adhered to. No slackers in this group.

Half Dome at Sunset

Half Dome at Sunset

Taking this trip was sort of a revival for me. I have not had a camping trip in probably the last 15 years and have not had a good hiking trip in the last 10. The last time I stayed in the jungle was in Tibabar, Sabah, East Malaysia. The longest was also the same place where I stayed for 3 mths. I was in Yosemite way back in 2000. I hiked for 8 hrs to get up to Half-Dome and back. We made it a day trip which is quite tiring for all of us. On top of that I went again the week after with another group of friends. That trip became legendary.

We all met at McDonalds at The Curve, Damansara at 7 in the morning. Well, a little over 7 am due to the famous Malaysian “Rubber Time”. There were 8 of us in total, 3 ladies and 5 guys. All are quite experienced, with experiences ranging from a few waterfalls to those who have climbed Gunung Tahan (Mount Tahan) or Gunung Kinabalu (Mount Kinabalu) and most of them have met each other before. Some of us including myself are trying to squeeze in one last trip before a major event. I hope I can come back and join them for another trip soon. We did our rounds of introductions before Joe arrived. We caught up with each other’s expectations and measured each other’s experience. Within a minute we were brothers-in-arms and we sounded like we have been on this tour for ages. I think the waterfalls, hills and destinations brings us together and we may have visited those places in different time and context but we sure had that in common and it does not take long for it to catch fire.

We all checked-in with Joe and the “newbies” have to sign a waiver and fill up emergency contact details in case of well… emergencies. Joe is well prepared and well planned for the trip. You can tell she has either done this for a long time or she is just well prepared. A trait that you need to have to be an outdoorsman (or outdoorswoman) as I learnt during my scouting days. Where we got the motto “Be Prepared” drilled into us. Soon after, she assigned us all to our designated transport and complained about needing to drive that far. I volunteered to drive, half expecting that she would just drive herself as we just met 10 minutes ago. Trusting your car to a total stranger is not a common practice. Surprisingly she’s overjoyed and swiftly passed the car keys to me. Joe is that open and friendly. So i drove Joe and Michelle all the way. Joe with the GPS was the navigator. Michelle the librarian was the entertainment. There were 2 other cars in the convoy. Leo and Hwooi Leng were carrying the crabs and other food stuff. Ee, King and Sean were in the last car of the convoy. After a quick visit to the petrol kiosk, we started our journey to Trong, Perak.

We stopped for lunch in Kampar where we had the famous chicken baked in bread. We had dim sum as an appetiser and this was still traditionally made. Presentation was not their finer points but the food tasted really, really good. We were suppose to stop for breakfast but due to a mis-reading of the GPS we headed the wrong way. So we had brunch instead. It was good because that kept us going way after lunch. We were too full to have lunch.

Live Crabs

Live Crabs

We arrived Changkat Jering at approximately 12.30 in the afternoon. We have to make a detour to Taiping town to run some errands while the other 2 cars went ahead, we arrived at the Trong Waterfall at about 2.00 pm. Leo and Ee’s car had arrived there earlier and they have already done a round of surveying. None of us have been there before, so some of us went scouting for a camping ground while the rest (mainly girls) prepared for the feast for the night. Oh yes, this was another highlight of the camping trip. The feast is normally described by the group as the indulgence food that is not normally experienced in any camping trip. Coupled with beer, It was definitely a luxury for me, a first in my years of camping.

Stairs to and from the Waterfall

Stairs to and from the Waterfall

We parked close to the stairs leading down to the waterfall. It was a steep stairs ranging from an incline oh 60 degrees to 85 degrees near the foot of the stairs. There are 3 sections of the stairs. This is important to know when coming up the stairs. As you need to know when to break for a rest. I must have climbed that stairs at least 12 times while surveying and transporting equipment and food stuff to the waterfall. At the foot of the staircase, the spectacular waterfall reveals itself. You can feel its roar and the constant breeze carrying droplets of water in the air. Its powerful. Its almost the same as sitting down in one of lifestyle coffee places and have the artificial mists blown by a fan with the roaring cars passing by except the air is fresh and the water is crystal clear.

My Tent

My Tent

While the girls (as far as I know) prepared dinner, the guys on the other hand had to survey the area for a suitable campsite but did not find any in time before dinner. The one we found was further upstream and because it was nearing sundown the groups decided not to shift. In the jungle the place gets dark early. So we put up a temporary shelter just in-case it rains and for those who decided to sleep near the waterfall that night. Most of us decided to setup our tents near where we parked as it’s the only place that has enough space to fit and with sufficient security for the ladies that are with us.

Me cutting bamboo

Me cutting bamboo

Being the most experienced of the lot, I had to chop the bamboos, trim them and setup the shelter. Start an actual fire. Kept the fire going. King and Leo helped with the shelter and Ee and Sean helped with the fire. The fire came to good use during dinner where it helped boiled soup and kept us warm and the flies away.

Feasting to the Rhythm of the Night

Feasting to the Rhythm of the Night

We feasted and chatted about our experiences that night. We had deeper conversations about who we are. This is when Leo relayed a dramatic story while driving here. A crab actually escaped while we were still on the highway and it crawled right up to Leo’s leg. He had to stomp that one to death. Hooi Ling helped Leo to grab hold of the critter from the petrol pedal. It was “gnawing” away at Leo’s leg while he was negotiating a slight bend in the highway. He would stomp it if no one else in the car to help. It was pretty hilarious and dangerous at the same time. We took more photographs before cleaning up and resting for the night, for we have a long day tomorrow. After cleaning up we left Sean and Ee as they wanted to sleep at the waterfall while the rest of us hiked up the stairs to our campsite.

At my tent, i remembered why I liked the outdoors so much. Its so refreshing to be with nature. The fresh air , the sounds and the bright moonlight have a strange calming effect on me. I feel so relaxed. I am tired yes, physically tired but at the same time refreshed. I don’t mind this kind of tiredness. Its a kind of renewing tiredness. That left time for me to reflect with the company of the night and planned ahead for tomorrow. Took one last sniff and gaze at the moonlit night sky and climbed into my tent for the night. Refreshed. It was a cold night, a cool gentle breeze slowly lowers the temperature and I retreated into my sleeping bag and dozed off.

My Morning Milo

My Morning Milo

I woke up at 5 in the morning. Stretched a little and started hunting for firewood in the dark. I need to only gather enough to warm up the place and cook Milo and Maggie Mee. That was my pre-breakfast, breakfast. Just to start me off as we needed to break camp, wash up, eat breakfast and start our journey to the upper Trong Fall and hopefully find it early enough to get back to the car and drive home. After I had breakfast, I started to pack and break camp. The girls woke up and started their decent to the waterfall to cook breakfast for all of us. By the time I got cleaned up and went down to bathe in the waterfall, breakfast was already ready. Thanks to everyone who cooked. I quickly bathed, washed my mess tin and have my second round of breakfast – Hot Dogs. There were some left over food from last night where some of us cooked prawn noodles for their breakfast on top of the hot dogs. I was quite content with what I had.

Trong Waterfall

Trong Waterfall

After breakfast, we packed everything and headed up the stairs and left all the food stuff, utensils and our camping equipment in the cars. We traded our camping gear for our hiking gear and headed up to the upper fall. As this was the first time for everyone, we got lost, crossed the river and followed another path and found a different waterfall. A smaller one. One where we named it Jeram Joe (Joe Fall). One that actually joins up to form the Trong river. This trip we actually missed the upper Trong fall but just before headed back we found the actual trail to the upper falls. We also found some very good camping ground. We marked it on the GPS and hope to return to it someday. It was tiring but it was fun. All of us managed to get between to 20 – 40 leech bites with hordes more that latched on but was not fortunate enough to bite. I always welcomed these little slimy creatures as they are actually quite harmless and in some cases, used by medical practitioners to clean gangrene. It left my leg full of holes but then again it was the only other thing I took from the trip besides photographs.

I will not hesitate to come back when given another chance. I would love to see the upper Trong waterfall some day. Now waiting for the next adventure. Excitedly.

Trong Waterfall

Waterfall Survivors: Trong Waterfall

Some photos courtesy of Leo Khang Meng. Leo’s Photo Credits – Trong Panaromic View, Live Crabs, Cutting Bamboo and Feasting to the Rhythm of the Night.

More photos can be found here. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=81545&l=374c2&id=509289967

Setting up Ping.fm for mass mini-blogging

The choice

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Stuck between a choice at the crossroad if my life. The choice of being where I want to be or doing what I like to do. If choices were easy they will not be called choices.

The merger in the company is not going too smoothly as it should be. The lack of a direction has left a lot of people wondering. The point of view from my level is a little hazy. Well you don’t really see much at the level of the food chain I am in. I am sure there are lot more smarter people up at the higher levels. Sometimes that leaves doubts in my mind. For example, the company announces that the consulting division will cease to exist after the first of November. I have ceased to exists for a month and a half now. With the rate it is going and the mandatory break we are suppose to have, it will be two months of non existance. Lessons to be learnt: Don’t announce anything if you don’t have a plan to back it up.

Not that I am complaining. Who would not like to be paid to hang around and do nothing? Well not entirely nothing some menial brain exercise is required. It was not entirely unproductive. I have been doing a lot of cleaning and fixing stuff at home. Did some house projects. Went for an actual holiday. Got sunburnt. Relaxed for probably the only time in my life. Lots of thinking time. Good and bad.

That’s where my situation has come to. Things are getting sorted with my role in the company. I have been given a few choices. I have distilled it to two basic path; where I want to be but not necessary what I like to do or what I like to do but not necessary where I want to be.

Life’s decisions are hard. On one hand it’s like a promotion and I would definitely get more visibility if I do it right. On the other, I am not sure if I want that visibility. I am also uncertain if this is the path I want to take.

In the end, which will be confirmed this Friday the 19th of December 2008, I will be where I want to be. With the hope that I will eventually do what I like to do.

The sun is out

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“Here comes the sun,
here comes the sun,
du du du du…
and I say… ”

Moonson season is here and the whole Asia Pacific is affected. Early morning showers kept me from my morning run today but compensated with loads of running around and carrying a ton of stuff.


The sea was really choppy. Almost made me throw up. After an hour being battered by the waves and almost giving in to the nausea, we docked in Bintan. As soon as my feet planted on solid unmoveable land mass, my head stopped spinning. But caught a headache soon after wodering if it was phychological. It must have been. Otherwise I realized that Bintan Ferry terminal never changed since the last time I was here. It was 7 years ago.

GMT +7 sets us back an Hour earlier. So we arrived at exactly the same time we left. The bad thing check-in time is 4 hours away.

Arrived at the hotel with three and a half hours to kill. Wet. Hungry. Headache. Thank God for WiFi. (wrote this on my iPhone) ok ok, thank God for iPhones. As soon as there was a break in the weather; while still gulping* down 2 chicken sandwiches. I headed out to the beach.

Am glad the heavens decided to ease up a little and let this puny living being have a chance with the sea.

bintan_20081214-2154Here comes the sun
And I say…

*I usually swollow my food.


Am i here?

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Ok so I have been contemplating this for a very long time. I am not even sure I can keep up with this with so much already happening in my life. I guess one could not have too many things to do.

Now, i am not entirely sure why I want to start a blog or what I would write about. Right now I have more questions than answers. I guess the most basic thing is that I can share my thoughts and ideas for anyone who might be interested and for anyone whom might have come across this weird useless blog by accident. Yeah it’s the typical “why I am starting a blog” mantra. Significant? A resounding yes. Remarkable? It might be or atleast that is what I hope to be. The beauty of the internet is that it is a giant playground. It let’s you experiment. So this a bulletin board for my mind. Lots of ideas but not sure where to place them yet. Just as the blog suggest “it’s made to change”.

My wife tells me that I thrive on change. Everything I do has to be different. Transformation is my key driver. I seek to transform everything, however not all for the better. I am human afterall. Mistakes are so much a part of transformation. If we never make mistakes, we never need to change.

I work as a consultant for Hewlett Packard in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, IT Transformation, IT strategy and planning and emerging technologies. I am a technologist and technology is what keeps me busy day to day and very much part of my everyday life. You will know why in awhile. You will understand that I will talk a lot about technology here together with some usual rants about my life.

Here are my toughts and questions I have while writting this blog on my wordpress iPhone App, which I must say it’s a great tool to have:

… Should I do reviews of technology here
… Should I have another site to talk about technology or should i consolidate all my thoughts here *
… Should I have a theme
… Why would anyone want to hear me rant
… Should I do tutorials
… Should I reiterate stuff I read on the internet
… I should be creating original content
… Should I make this a video blog or vlog
… Why is any of this remarkable
… Why on earth is my mind so cluttered
… Did I just over simplify my life

Am I here?

Possibly the only one I can safely answer.

Nope, it’s a long way to go…

Note:
Other information I have left out from the obvious introduction of myself is
… I have 2 children, both boys
… My wife already has a blog about the family so I won’t repeat it here
… I own too many gadgets
… I travel a lot
… I love the outdoors
… I miss the outdoors

* I started a technology blog over at typepad dot com at the same time. Both blogs are composed using their respective iPhone App. For the sake of reviewing it. Will talk about this more later.