Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Better Way to Unleash "That Talent"..?

 A lot of people in Kota Kinabalu are very talented and we have lots of youngsters (and not discounting the older ones) who are very good at "painting" our walls with graffiti.

Mention public or paid washrooms at shopping malls and gross graffiti immediately comes to mind. Go on, check out some toilets at Centre Point Sabah, Wisma Merdeka, especially male toilets, and get entertained with scribbles, sketches, and fancy hand written arty expressions; mostly vulgar words.

I like the efforts by some street artists turning the appearance of the ruins of the old North Borneo Land and Survey building into something more pleasing to the eyes. Stroll along Standard Chartered Bank building towards Tong Hing and you will not miss the sight.

Built in 1910s the wooden building was destroyed by fire in 1992. It remained abandoned until today and in the middle of a developing city it is an eyesore to the passers by.

Look at it today, the remaining columns are interestingly painted and decorated. Subjects of painting is up to the talents. They have messages of their own. I was parked the other day and it so happened that few young people were busy doing what they do best. Great sight.

streetArt landSurvey800
The building skeletons viewed from Suria Sabah

tweety on floor800
ms. tweety on the floor

"The facets of misery goes beyond human skin" - interesting caption.


street art2 800

street art1 800

spray paint800
Spray painter should at least wear mask, such as him.

"I Love My Antu gonie"

If you ask me whether I've asked for their permission to take their pictures, yes I kindly requested.

Me : Bro, boleh saya ambil gambar kau kah?
Him: Boleh bah, ambik saja.
Me: Great work here! Kamu kena kasi bayarankah buat lukisan banyak ni?
Him: Teda, kami saja2 bah ni buat. Ramai lagi org yg lain buat.
Me : Oo bah, trima kasih aah (kemudian beredar balik kereta).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Earth Hour 2011

What is it?

Uncle Google and Aunty Wiki should be on hand to help  you out in case you still do not know what it is. Excerpt from Wikipedia:

Earth Hour is a global event organized by World Wildlife Fun and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

For 2011 that special one hour falls on 26th March, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm local time.

A little bit about Earth Hour:

1. Started of in Sydney, Australia in 2007 (2.2mil people participate)
2. In 2008 participation grew to more than 50mil people
3. In 2009 more than 100mil people from over 4000 cities and 88 countries touched the switches.
4. In 2010 enormous responses from more than 128 countries, no estimate given but it should not be less than half a billion people.

Earth hour has transformed into a kind of celebration with a lot of activities towards making the public aware of the need to safeguard earth from negative climate change. Concerts, seminars, workshops, photography contests, beauty pageants, power-saving campaigns; it's like you-name-it-we-have-it kind of thing.

This year DBKK (Kota Kinabalu City Hall) is organising a photography contest. Good opportunity for photographers and hobbyist. I can't take part on this one but would definitely take part on the switching-off of non-essential lights.

Do visit Earth Hour official website and have fun making your very own lantern lights.

This is what I got from there and I like the lantern to be red in colour.

Happy Earth Hour day on 26th March 2011.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cartoonist - Out of his mind?

This is the caricature by Selangor born cartoonist, Mohd Zohri Sukimi, 52, better known as Zoy.

I am a Malaysian and am proud to be one but I'm not proud at all with what this cartoonist did.

What was in his mind? Trying to portray that no matter how big and strong you are, you can never match the the hands of God?

I think he was out of his mind! He stooped so lowly to kids-having-fun level and made fun out of it. Out of others' misery. I'm not impressed at all!

Let's put this into perspective:

Ultraman is a character in many TV programs and is well known primarily among children and kids (although some adults watch them as well).
It is therefore, purely for fun and humor, and nothing near reality. Shoving this kind of "brilliance" to Berita Harian readers' throat at this time of calamity is absolutely uncalled for.

Kepada mereka yang membuat ulasan dalam Bahasa Malaysia dengan cuba mempertahankan lukisan Zoy sebagai nukilan beliau untuk menggambarkan kekuasaan Sang Pencipta, saya katakan begini:

Minda saya simpel, seperti juga minda anak-anak yang menjadi penonton utama siri Ultraman di televisyen. Lukisan anda juga simpel dan ia mengundang sifat semulajadi golongan ini: Ketawa! Kenapa? Kerana pada dasarnya tujuan siri TV ini adalah untuk hiburan.

Victims of tsunami do not need to become your source of "hiburan".

There are a lot of people bashing Malaysian in other oversea forum as well as other International news portal, CNN. To these people, I say that our hearts are with the victims and their families. We certainly do not subscribe to the idea of Berita Harian (whatever they mean by the publication).

By the way, there are two definitions for "Out of his mind" by Cambridge Dictionary:

i) unable to behave or deal with things normally because something has made you very worried, unhappy or angry, and

ii) extremely stupid or mentally ill

come on, take your pick!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Ace

Don't mistake the Galaxy Ace for the Galaxy-S as they are pronounced almost similar.

Fiddled briefly with the Galaxy Ace few days ago at Karamunsing Complex and it feels easy on the palm. Size almost as big as the iPhone 3GS but first impression is that the build quality is miles behind the iPhone. If the iPhone's response to the finger flick is like breeze and fast, expect a slower response from this. Of course I should not compare the two as the price and target market are different. Alright, I'm just looking for a simple phone that is decent but not flashy.

This is the latest release and is priced much cheaper. Retailed at RM999.00 but street price could be lower and from my initial survey this week, one can get it for RM980.00 (Release date: Feb 2011).

By comparison, Galaxy-S is retailed at RM2,599 and could be had at RM1900-RM2000 depending on memory size. (Release date Mar 2010). There's already an updated version, Galaxy-S2 coming up and this, I think, should give iPhone 4 a run for the money.

Hope to get hold of one Galaxy Ace next week and come back to give feedback to this posting.

I am using this as a second handset and it is not delivering what's expected - ease of browsing the internet, connecting to WiFi, one-hand typing. It is slow.

After using it for the past 1 year, it seem to have slowed down so much that you basically have to wait for quite a while for it to respond to each click (touch) of a button.

de engineur, June 2012

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

RAW Processing

I am a reader of Photo Malaysia web and would like to share a very practical video of how to get the best from RAW files.This was contributed by Photo Malaysia member and his nick is jackljane.

The sound was stripped but he promised to upload another video with sound later. This was in response to a newbie photographer's question as to why he keep getting dull and lifeless pictures.

Been reading from Digital Camera magazine for sometime now but there is always something new when looking at video of other people's work. For a not-so-experienced photographer such as myself, this is a good start.

Give it a go, it's about 10 minutes and is just nice during your lunch break.

In case you don't know what is RAW files, find out here. Or visit Ken Rockwell's version if you like him.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fluoride, Silent Killer - Or is it?

Controversial and inconclusive! That's my take on the article. AND that's my conclusion.

This article by Yiamouyiannis, John, Ph.D seem to be spreading like virus via e-mail; at least that's what I get in a form of a chain email.

While I don't totally disagree with what's written, I don't subscribe to it and that's the reason I put it up here. While some of his contention is supported by references, some are very questionable as he uses a lot of "may", "likely", "has shown to (without further reference)". Not very assuring from a person so knowledgeable.

To quote some of his verdicts:
HARMFUL EFFECTS OF FLUORIDE Fluoride is used as an insecticide and a roach killer. Even at the level they use to fluoridate your public water supply, usually at the rate of about 1 part fluoride for every million parts of water (1 ppm) by weight, it causes severe problems. As little as one-tenth of an ounce of fluoride will cause death. It is more poisonous than lead and just slightly less poisonous than arsenic. No one will die from drinking one glass of fluoridated water, but it is the long term chronic effects of drinking fluoridated water that affects health. Dental fluorosis is one of the earlier signs of fluoride poisoning, appearing in mild cases as a chalky area on the tooth, and in more advanced cases, teeth become yellow brown or black and the tips break off. Fluoride in the drinking water leads to fluoride levels in tissues and organs which damage enzymes. This results in a wide range of chronic diseases. Fluoride weakens the immune system and may cause allergic type reactions including dermatitis, eczema and hives. It causes birth defects and genetic damage. Fluoride is likely to aggravate kidney disease, diabetes and hypothyroidism. The amount consumed in drinking water has been shown to lower thyroid activity in humans. It also causes the breakdown of collagen which results in wrinkling of the skin and the weakening of ligaments, tendons and muscles.

If you happened to have received the same email, I can tell you this issue is very much debatable. Some studies suggest that fluoride is necessary at a controlled/low dosage to prevent tooth decay, and some suggest cautious usage.

Yiamouyiannis, John, Ph.D suggest that it is solely due to the need to dump this by-product of the aluminium industry and the phosphate fertilizer that people start to justify fluoride use.

Others have mixed opinions:

1) MSN Health says A Little Fluoride Goes a Long Way" in support of its uses.
2) thinks that "Children Should use Fluoridated Toothpaste"
3) There are some warnings and recommendations for children using fluoridated toothpaste. A good read here.

Finally, you may want to know if the toothpastes you use contain fluoride. Mostly yes! The two brands I have used in the past are both fluoridated. Read about Darlie and Colgate and find out for yourself.

Be in the know and decide for yourself. A chat with your dentist friend would be a good idea.

BTW, is there any dentist around, reading this?

Friday, March 4, 2011

SESB: Loss of revenue due to power theft

AWAS! Stealing electricity can kill! I will not elaborate but there was this recent case near us reported in the local newspaper.

Well, that's the least I can say about power theft. I can always report funny activities by unscrupulous individual or group to SESB but that is all. In fact that is the best we, the ordinary citizen can do. After that it's really down to the licence holder/s of power supply to act.

I read a recent news published by Bernama about power theft by squatters or immigrants in Tenom. SESB denied that this ever happened as "upon inspection" there was no connection (read no cable found, no trace of joint) to the Sport Complex.

Come on now! You can't go and inspect after it was already in the news. If I were to be that thief, I'd have remove all my cables and fittings by the time your personnel made a move. Surely the folks must've inform somebody at the regional office discreetly before going public.

There were cases of power theft by squatters near Arkib Negeri sometime ago and what SESB did was to remove the "hook" connectors on the overhead lines and as expected the illegal connection was intact again few days later. Can we not go to the root of the problem rather than treating just the symptoms. (this particular problem was solved by the construction of Ujana Rimba Tropika recreational park as there was no more space for the squatting houses). But what about the many other places that are still leaking precious energy?

REVENUE LOSS OF RM3 MILLION A YEAR! I'm quoting New Sabah Times.

That is what SESB quoted a couple of years ago regarding loss of revenue due to power theft in Sabah. That is a lot of money. Say a unit of energy cost RM0.30 on average. BTW our tariff is tiered so take this figure as approximation. With that kind of unpaid bill, the energy loss is about 11 million kWH.

That's not very green way to manage energy I'd say!

The 11mil kWH can power up:

1) Two 40-50 MLD of water treatment plant for a whole ONE year, or
2) Three 3/4-star hotel in Kota Kinabalu, such as Hyatt, Promenade, for ONE whole year, or
3) Two medium sized sawmills in Sandakan for ONE whole year!!

Why waste the precious energy when the state is faced with insufficient electrical power supply? Is it because the RM3mil is not my and your money? Well, it is partly mine and yours. Are we talking too much, pacifying, and forget about taking action once the hu-ha is over? It's a shame!

So, act on eradicating the power theft. Not just concentrating on disconnecting the supply of registered consumers after one or two month of default in payment. These are soft target so less resources is required to carry out enforcement.

I say go greener by putting effort to stop 10mil kWH of wastage and spare mother earth of further warming. At the same time save yourself a couple of million of Ringgit in the process.

Stop wasting, stop procrastinating and stop the power theft!

Semoga berjaya!