Kindle in Malaysia : Buying and Using a Kindle in Malaysia

My wife is an avid reader (just like me!), but she reads mostly fiction where as I read non-fiction. So to save on our book bills which often exceed the RM1000 a year each, I thought it’ll be great to get ourselves an ebook reader. This would not only save us money , because e-books cost less than physical books–but would allows to easily store and retrieve the books we read, which currently occupy entire shelves in our small home. Lastly, it also allows us to have books on demand, no more waiting weeks for books to be delivered from the UK or the US, and we won’t need to drive out of our ways to book stores to get the books. So on her birthday, I decided to get ‘us’ a present–A kindle ebook reader. Continue reading

Malaysiakini down!

*Update: Malaysiakini have confirmed the update on their facebook page, looks like you need to look for other sources of Bersih 3.0  news, this could take a while. It’s also note-worthy that 10 people ‘like’ this on facebook, obviously over-looking the fact that nobody should ‘like’ this.

With barely 12 hours to go before Bersih 3.0 starts to swing into action, Malaysiakini servers appear to be down. I was trying to logon online to check the news only to notice that I couldn’t access the site, PINGs to the site seem to time out as well. Could this be a repeat of when Malaysiakini went offline in the run up to the Sarawak elections? Plus, I know this doesn’t affect me, because as a Google Chrome user I know when other users are also experiencing problems accessing a site.

Take care people, Bersih isn’t yet trending on twitter, but I think it’s just a matter of time. Also I for those with smartphones I strongly encourage you to keep track of things via twitter rather than via Malaysiakini, twitter was built for these things.

Take for example the following:[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/AdrianNCF/status/195016613894963200″]

Bersih 3.0, enjoy your weekend guys. If you’re planning to go, also check out the awesome loyarburok.com for a low-down street rally for beginners infographic.

Congratulations LHDN

The star today reports that:

e-Filing looks to be a definite winner among Malaysians well over half of the country’s estimated 2.5 million tax-paying citizens have gone the paperless route.

Inland Revenue Board (IRB) figures showed that as at yesterday, 1,621,647 Malaysians had filed their taxes, with online filings accounting for nearly 75% of the total

I must say, if the numbers are true, that this is a fantastic achievement. I think there will always be people (particularly from the older generation) who prefer to file paper based tax forms and a rough estimate maximum e-filing rate would be around 85% in my view, so 75% isn’t quite far off.

This is fantastic news for 2 reasons:

1) Malaysians have reached a level where about 50-75% of the workforce aren’t just IT literate, but are comfortable using online applications like e-filing. Remember these are systems that deal with money, and a certain amount of trust needs to developed (or earned) before people start using them, and this is a testament to the wonderful people over at LHDN who’ve worked hard to earn that trust. Stories of people receiving payments merely 2 weeks after e-filing surely help along that process.

2) The system itself appears reliable enough for 50-75% of taxpayers to use. We’re talking about 1 million users in what is a 2-3 month period. That’s quite a short amount of time to process these things, and as we approach the may 15th deadline, I’m sure the numbers are peaking. LHDN can be excused if the server crawls on May 15th, after all latecomers only have themselves to blame. I must say, when I filed about 2-3 weeks ago, the experience was buttery smooth.

So congratulations to the LHDN team for delivering a good solution. People rarely talk about successes, particularly when it’s so easy to focus on failures. However, I’m one of those whose never filed a ‘paper-based’ income tax submission so I don’t know how it was in the ‘paper period’, and I MUST say, I’ve never had an issue filing my taxes. The overall feel of the interface is a bit dated, and yes the forms could be a bit more intuitive, but overall this is definitely a home-run in terms of application development.

I guess we must also commend the government, if there’s just one aspect of government you want to work correctly (as a Government)– it’s tax collection.

Maxis Launches ebook portal

So Maxis launched their new ebook portal aptly title www.ebuuk.com.my, far be it from me to point out that an ebook portal should at least have the word book spelled correctly (don’t you think so Maxis), also judging by the SSL certificate it appears wanted to go for a more generic myebooks.com.my domain name before switching to ebuuk.com.my.

I’m an avid reader and was excited when I heard the news, so I headed over to the Maxis ebuuk page, and noticed that it wasn’t up to my expectations. I was completely annoyed by the fact that in some cases the prices for ebooks via the ebuuk page was about twice the price of books you could download from Amazon. And the proof is below, it includes a book I’m about to purchase called The Progress Principle, retailing for USD9.99 on the Kindle for Amazon, while Maxis ebuuk retails it for Rm68.99. Now USD9.99 is about Rm30 or RM32, and Maxis is retailing it for about twice the price, that’s ridiculous. This is an ebook we’re talking about.

Continue reading

Proton Preve breaksdown in the middle of the road. FAIL!

The Lowyat.net forum is abuzz with news and photos of a broken down Proton Preve. Not good news for a car Dr. Mahathir called the best proton ever. The rumour mill is abuzz with the reasons for the breakdown, but as of now it looks clear that the Proton in question didn’t crash, but rather than some part ‘lower arm assembly’ gave way, or something like that.

Now I drive a 8 year old Waja, that has served me well and hasn’t experienced any such catastrophic failure, but while I can personally vouch for my Waja, I don’t think I can vouch for Protons safety, there’s been just too much negative publicity on the reliability of its cars. The fact that this was a test drive car makes it even worse.

The photo was provided courtesy of Lowyat.net user maniack, whose watermark appears on the photo.

Join in the conversation in the forum here, and you can try to snatch some Russell Peters tickets from the forum too.

Good weekend everyone.

Google Trust Issue

I remember graduating from university and heading over to Intel for my first job interview. I can’t remember most of the interview (and maybe that’s why I never got the job), but I do remember telling the interviewer my dream was to work for Google, in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have said that.

Even then, and more so now, I had a huge admiration for Google. I admire they way they walk the talk in terms of innovation, but it’s becoming increasing hard to ignore the privacy concerns of having nearly all the worlds search traffic focused on just one engine. It could be argued that Google has more data than any other organization in existence… Governments included.

There are other search engines, of course, but they’re no where close to Googles precision or popularity (those two are actually intertwined), and Bing has recently offered to pay me to search with them and I might just take them up on the offer.

So how much do we trust Google?

A reader nicely pointed me to this wonderful infographic that I’d thought I’d share. Continue reading

Tickets to Russell Peters Live in KL: Here’s how you can get them

*update: there’s been an announcement that the organizers are setting up a second show due to the huge demand. I’d recommend waiting for that before you start buying 2nd hand tickets.

Dissapointed you didn’t get your hands on Russell Peters tickets for the KL show?

Upset because you spent the whole night waiting for it, only to find out that the 7000+ tickets were sold almost instantly?

Well Fret not, because as long as someone is willing to buy, there’ll be someone whose willing to sell.

It turns out users on Lowyat.net have already begun selling ‘black market’ tickets at two times the price they bought it for. So bronze tickets, bought for just RM138 are now selling for RM250 per ticket and Gold tickets are seeing an even bigger increase.

This includes Lowyat.net user bhamophet who bought two gold tickets at a price of RM338 each, and is now selling them for a whooping price of RM1500 for both. Most Lowyat sales have a ‘reason for sale’ which describes why the seller is selling the merchandise, bhamophet reason for selling was simple ” being an opportunistic ass“.

Good luck to him, and to you. As long as you want a ticket and are willing to pay, these guys are willing to sell.

Ticket Scalpers

Ticket Scalpers are individuals who purchase tickets online and then try to sell them out for a higher price once the event has been sold out. In this case the return of investment for standing in line for Russell Peters tickets is 100% in just 2 days!!

They’re not to be confused with counterfeiters and fraudsters who sell and auction off ‘fake’ tickets, in the hopes of completely cheating their buyers. This is clearly a case of fraudulent and criminal activity. Ticket Scalping however isn’t so clear.

While many people are critical of Ticket Scalpers, is there a difference between buying Russell Peters ticket to sell them later at  a higher price, and buying a house hoping to sell it later for a higher price? Why is one called an ‘investment’ and the other ‘ticket scalping’? Aren’t all investors, whether they’re buying gold or stocks, never hoping to actually use their investments but hold out for later, and why can’t concert tickets be a legitimate form off investment?

In a free market, these things happen, and it’s the cost of doing business.

Of course there are other issues as well, including crowd control. A lot of people may turn out at the event hoping to get black market tickets, and the organizers may not be able to cope. I think that’s really without basis, since most organizers should anticipate 120% attendance anyway.

As a Russell Peters fan who was dissapointed I didn’t get my tickets, obviously I feel cheated by these Bastards who bought tickets never intending to see the greatest canadian comedian ever!! However, I still have to say there’s nothing wrong with Ticket Scalping, and if we start to criticize these things where do we draw the line? Unless we outlaw any form of speculative behavior including buying real estate or gold, then we cannot be critical of scalpers, they’re the same as the rest, they only operate in different markets.

It all stems from Greediness

I believe it all stems from greed, people buy houses hoping to make hundreds of thousands of ringgit in profit, only push the price of houses up further, and the real people who suffer are people who hope to buy a house to actually LIVE IN IT!!

Usually the people on the losing end are regular folks who earn a regular salaries trying to buy a house or watch Russell Peters, however whenever there is money to be made, people start getting greedy.

So in short, I’m not sure how I feel about scalpers, but I have bought a condo hoping to make some money off it once the condo is fully built up. Am I a greedy and evil person? …..the answer isn’t so clear.

Russell Peters : A case for copyright

Update 1: Russell Peters World Tour in Malaysia was sold out in hours. I failed to get a ticket online, couldn’t even log in. A friend of mine lining up in KLCC was told at around 10-ish in the morning that only platinum tickets were available. 

Update 2: There are ‘strong’ rumors suggesting there will be a 2nd show due to the overwhelming response. stay tuned.

I remember watching my first Russell Peters video at my cousins place, and that was the classic gig which included “be a man” and “Chop some bong”. I remember laughing so hard my stomach hurt, and I also remember asking my cousin to burn me a copy of the video onto the CD so that I could watch it over and over again.

Then I remember sharing it with my friends. Again burning a whole bunch of ‘illegal’ cds.

Then I remember going onto youtube to get more Russell Peters, for free and technically illegal as well.

Finally I remember bit-torrenting Red, White and Brown, and laughing my ass off in front of my PC monitor.

And Lastly, I remember watching a Russell Peters video where Russell calls guys like me “fucking downloaders!’, as a direct reference to us getting all our material online rather than watching his show.

Well guess what, Russell Peters is coming to Malaysia, and the only thing I’m worried about is whether I’ll be able to get a ticket. Cause I know of at least 100 people who are just waiting for April 18th so that they can finally buy their Russell Peters Tickets. The Russell Peters Dubai show sold out in 8 minutes…..8 minutes. My family PC at home takes 10 minutes to boot into windows, AirAsias free Air tickets don’t sell out that fast…it’s every man for himself here people. I wonder if Russell gives Indian discounts? Continue reading

One year of Blogging on Nearlyfreespeech

I’m a big fan of Nearlyfreespeech. I think they’re a great webhost, and so far I haven’t been proven wrong. Sure their interface is a bit ‘simplistic’ and they’re site looks a bit dated, but overall I like the speed the provide, their infrastructure hasn’t failed me and their security hasn’t been compromised. The same can’t be said about my dreamhost account, for which I happen to pay nearly USD7/month for.

The best part about nearlyfreespeech however, is their pricing plan. Unlike other webhost that charge a flat fee per month, nearlyfreespeech charges on a pay as you go model. Basically if you don’t start a website, or nobody visits it, you don’t pay a thing. While many beginners look on the pricing plan as ‘risky’ since you could end up paying a lot of money once your site ‘really starts take off‘, the real risk beginners should consider is subscribing to a 3-year plan for a blog they’ll stop updating past the first 3 months. The real risk is paying these webhost large one-off payments and use no where near the amount of bandwidth or storage to justify the $5-$10 dollar per month price tag…for the next 3 years. Continue reading

4 Reasons you need an RSS feed

If you don’t know what RSS is, prepare to have your mind blown. If you’ve never used RSS, chances are you’re still bookmarking your favorite websites and blogs and visiting them on a regular basis painfully one at a time. RSS feeds allow you to magically consolidate all the content you read online, into one platform where you can get your daily dose of information all at one go.

RSS stands for really simple syndication, and it was designed as a simple way for web authors to syndicate their content across the internet. Conversely (and more importantly), it also provides a way for web users to consolidate all their favorites blogs, searches and forum threads onto one single platform.

So what is it really? Well I’m not too sure of the technical specifications to be honest, but here’s how I think it operates. Continue reading