My Special Pasta with Meatball Recipe

Okay la, there's nothing 'special' about this menu, just want to share a simple, easy to cook menu for those who are trying the Afif Diet (no rice + exercise). Since I don't eat much rice, I had to find other alternatives to eat so as not to starve myself. Since I can't afford to dine at Secret Recipe everyday, I had to settle for noodles (instant or otherwise), bread, sandwich, macaroni and of course the good old Italian favourite, pasta/spaghetti.
You just need 3 main ingredient to make this special spaghetti meal. They are some pasta, a can of pasta sauce and the optional meatball/chicken ball/sausage cocktail/dim sum. If you're really hard core dieter you can always skip the 3rd item altogether. You can choose any type of pasta, the regular straight spaghetti type or my favourite, the fusilli type (there are more than 40 types of pastas out there). For the sauce I always choose a Prego pasta sauce which comes in 5 different flavours.
Cooking method. First heat a pot of water until they boil and put your pasta in it. They usually cook for 5-8 minutes and you'll know they are ready when they turn light yellow and the pasta becomes really soft. Fry or steam your meatballs/sausage/dim sum and heat ad stir the Prego pasta sauce slowly. You can add a little bit of water if the sauce is too thick. A can of the Prego sauce makes 2 servings so you can use half and store it for later use. When the sauce has boiled, pour it onto your pasta/spaghetti. Finally you may add some shredded cheese and some parsley leaves to add some extra kick to the pasta. And that's it, they're ready to it. Buon Appetito!

How Afif got his groove back

A lot of people have been asking how did I seemed to get so slim and loose so much weight? Well I don't actually think I'm all that slim now but I did loose some weight in the past few months. So how did I do it? No I didn't purchase any expensive slimming products nor did I pay for a membership at any fitness centre or gyms. And no, I am not sick or suffering from any terminal illness nor am I frustrated that Nora Danish broke up with me or something (although having Nora Danish as your girlfriend should be a good motivation to keep fit). I did all naturally and without having to spend a penny on anything other than a cheap Power jogging shoes. Today I'm going to tell all who cares to listen how Afif got his groove back.
After being married and having kids and after I stopped smoking, I gain a tremendous amount of weight. Some attributed to unhealthy diet, some to lack of exercise and a little bit for the side effect of me having stopped smoking. But now, I must say that's all just excuses. Anyway by the middle of last year I was so fat that my weight was a whooping 97 kilograms. Yep, just 3 kilos more and I'll join the 100 kilos club with some of my colleagues at the office. I thought I've got to do something to change this. The last thing I wanted in my life is to be 120 kilos and suffer from various cardiovascular deasease by the time I'm 40.

Low-carb Diet

I got a head start after the Hari Raya last year because I lost some 9 kilos after fasting for the whole month. And then I started this new diet regime where I basically eat less carbohydrate like rice, bread and noodles but mostly rice. Whenever possible I would avoid eating anything with rice in it. If I really had to eat rice, I would shelve half the normal portion that I usually take and eat a lot of vegetables as substitute. Of course I will eat rice whenever my wife cooks it at home and sometimes when I had the urge to have Kak Na's delicious nasi berlauk but I will eat them sparingly. You'll notice a huge different in your figures if you eat less rice in a month or two.

If you've been working in the same office with me, you'll probably notice that I didn't go out for lunch much. Well in the beginning it was a cost-saving measure but after some time it kind of became a routine for me. FYI I barely make enough with my current salary so I always end up nearly broke everytime towards the end of the month so I've decided to eat only at home. My wife would cook me breakfast in the morning and I will wait until she comes home in the evening for dinner. If somehow I had to eat outside for dinner, I will share it with my 5 year old kid so that I won't have to spend (or eat) much. I know it's not easy staying back and skipping lunch while all your friends go out to eat everyday but I learned to cope with it. In a way being broke has it advantages because when you're rich and loaded with money you tend to indulge more simply because you can.

And take your breakfast. I always take my breakfast and to me it's the most important meal of the day. I can skip lunch or eat a little during dinner but I never skip breakfast. It gives me the energy to start my day. Some people (bachelors and single people especially) chooses to skip breakfast (because they're too lazy to wake up early) and have their first meal during lunch. Well that is not right. When you miss breakfast you'll tend to over eat and indulge during lunch which beats the purpose of not eating breakfast in the first place.


After about a month or so of skipping lunch and eating less rice I started to loose weight but I wasn't going to be satisfied with myself yet. So a week after my 28th birthday I started a new exercise routine. I would wake up half an hour earlier than usual (around 6:00 AM) and I would go for a jog around the neighbourhood. I tell you it's not easy at first sacrificing 30 minutes of your sleep to wake up early but like they always say, there's no shortcut to success. I began by walking casually first at a brisk pace and then after like 2 weeks of walking then I started jogging slowly. You must not push yourself too hard when your begin any type of exercise. Give your body some time to adjust. Jogging is an effective and cheap way of losing weight and keeping yourself fit. And you don't have to spend a fortune for your jogging shoes. I've been running with my cheap RM75.00 Power jogging shoes for the past 5 months and it had never let me down yet. I would normally jog 3-5 times a week around the neighbourhood and I usually do it in the morning simply because I don't have the time to do it at any other time because of work and family commitments.

And if you're a smoker, quit, full-stop. Smoking and exercise just don't go hand in hand. You won't last a week of exercise if you don't stop smoking.

Will power

The low carb dieat and exercise would never be possible if you didn't have an iron will and rock-solid determination. Set yourself a target and just do it, no excuses. It was not easy skipping lunch at first, being hungry and have your friends teasing you but if you got the will power to do it you just ignore the hunger and the teasing. It's not easy not eating rice or eating less for dinner but I got the will power and I just do it anyway. It's almost impossible to stop smoking but many people including me have done it if you got the will power to do it. It's not easy waking up early in the morning to exercise but I just set my mind on it and just do it. Yes I am starting to sound like a Nike commercial but that's basically what it's all about, set yourself a target and have a strong will power to just do it. I know I'm fat and I'm overweight and I wanted to be slim and fit so I set my target on my ideal weight and take the steps necessary to achieve it. To hell with what other people thinks, their thoughts don't matter - yours do. I don't loose weight so that people would compliment me, I did it for myself. I want to be healthy and I want to look good. And just shove all those excuses aside. Those McDonald's Lunch McValue meals are so cheap and irresistible. But my friends will be hurt if I don't go to lunch with them! It's cold and dark in the morning is it safe to go out at this time of the day? I can never stop smoking. Those are just excuses and they're a big stumbling block between you and success. You make them disappear and you will achieve success.
So there you go. I will call it the Afif Diet ha ha! That's how I change from 97 to 76 kilos, just one kilo off my initial target. Low-carb diet, exercise and a strong will power. And it took me nearly 6 months to achieve it. Losing weight and being fit takes time so don't be too disheartened if you didn't notice much difference in the beginning of your diet program. Rome wasn't build in a day and you won't be slim in that much time either. And start now before it's too late. If you're below 40, you still have a chance. Older people tend to have less will power, determination or the energy to change anything. So now I've explained everything. Stop pestering me for answers, tips or any secrets again after this :)

Update Windows with Offline Update 6.0

If you're using a Pirate Of The Caribbean copy of Windows on your PC (you know what I mean), you ought to know that updating Windows using the Automatic Update function is a big no-no. If you're lucky, the update process will fail but if you're really unlucky, your PC will display the annoying Windows Genuine Advantage reminder permanently on your taskbar.

So how do you get the latest updates for your PC so that it won't become an easy target for hackers, spyware and viruses? Fret not, you can now update your Windows 98, 2000, XP and Server 2003 OS through the back door using Offline Update 6.0. Offline Update will automatically download and install the latest update, patch and service pack for your Windows installation and you can also choose to download the update into a thumbdrive or create an ISO image.

The latest version includes several new features such as the option to exclude Service Packs, include .Net Framework 3.5 and the ability to download to PCs using Linux.

Download Offline Update direct from here or checkout the original German website for the latest update.

New beginning

Not many people know this but I never finished my bachelor's degree studies which I took exactly 10 years ago for reasons only I and a few others will know. Obviously, I'm not so proud of that hence why I don't go telling everybody about it. But one thing for sure, it was one of the biggest regret in my life. With almost zero qualification, I had to rely solely on my slightly more than average skills to make a living. Needless to say I went through hell for quite some time before I get to where I am today. Doing odd and minimum-paying jobs, moving from place to place along with my job, making just enough to make ends meet and put food on the table for my family.

If I could ever turn back time, I wouldn't think of any other time but to go to 1999 and start all over again. Unfortunately I can't. But what I can do is look to the present and future to make things right again.

Which is why some time in March I applied to further my studies at Universiti Teknologi Mara in Shah Alam in one of their distance learning courses (ePJJ). And today I got my reply which is an offer to do a diploma in Information Management. I know it's not much but it's a start nonetheless. Why UiTM? They offer the lowest fees then the rest. Even cheaper than some private colleges.

Another thing I learned in life is if you don't do something to make your life better, you're not going anywhere. So this is me, taking action with my life. Next month I will be reporting to UiTM in Shah Alam to begin my journey as a college student again (wohoo!). I'll be damned if I'm going to screw this up again. Wish me all the best in my studies. I've even already got my pencil box, track suit and notebook ready since yesterday. Now I just have to think where to get that RM1124.00 to pay for my first semester fee. Maybe I should apply for scholarship like Saiful Bukhari, hmm.

New Perodua MPV model

I'm sure some of you may have received this e-mail about the upcoming new Perodua MPV. After Proton came out with Exora, Perodua surely doesn't want to miss the boat and come out with their own version which could give the Exora a run for their money.

First look, I quickly thought of the Toyota Estima. It does sounds like one, smells like one and even looks like one. Hey that's correct, correct, correct! This might be an Estima clone. Genius these guys at Perodua. Just bring in a Toyota car, change the badge to Perodua and *poof* it's a Perodua car! To think that those silly people at Proton took the trouble actually design and develop their own car and they don't even sell as much as Perodua's!

On the interior this MPV looks quite spacious. Is that leather or vinyl finishing I see? Cannot tell for sure from here. For you rinfo, this MPV will be named Hibiskus. No not hibiscus, that's a flower's name. You cannot name this car after some plants, sure disqualify one.

The dashboard looks extremely streamlined and classy. The knobs are simple yet very functional and you can control the radio from the steering wheel some more. I'm impressed!

To tell you the truth, I'm already hooked to this car right about now. Better call Jason to cancel my Exora booking quick.

With generous 7-seater seating, you can even squeeze 2 Kenny Sias here! I can't wait for this beauty to come out in November.

But wait, who are these? Is that Guru G and Rosie I see frolicking on the new MPV? Hello, Jason? About that Exora booking still can continue ar?

SETI celebrates ten years of not finding aliens

Berkeley, CA - The SETI@home project, which has involved thousands of people around the world in a search for evidence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life marks its 10th anniversary this week.

The project, based at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, records and analyzes data from the world's largest radio telescope, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The collected computing power of hundreds of thousands of volunteer PCs is used to search this data for narrow-band signals and other types of signals of alien origin.

Development of the project began in 1998, with initial funding from The Planetary Society and Paramount Pictures. It was publicly launched on May 17, 1999, and the number of volunteers quickly grew to about one million.

Because of the presence of noise and man-made radio interference, SETI@home waits until it hears a signal several times from the same spot on the sky. It takes years of observing to cover the sky the required number of times.

In 2004 SETI@home collected its results to date, identified the best signal 'candidates', and used the Arecibo telescope to recheck each of the promising sky locations. No extra-terrestrial signals were found.

Undaunted, SETI@home continues the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life, with hundreds of thousands of volunteers battling it out to process more data than anyone else.

The tenth anniversary of the project will be marked by a conference to be held on 21 May 2009 at the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory. The presentations will be streamed live on the web.

Either we humans are to slow or those aliens are not as smart as we thought they'd be. OR maybe we they did found those aliens but they kept them hidden at Area 51! (sounds familiar?). Anyway 10 years is not that long if you think about it. I mean the earth is only a 4.5 billions years old and I say we kept looking for the next 4-5 billion odd years more we'd have better luck!

That said, maybe California isn't the best place to look for extra terrestrial intelligence. I say we move them here to Malaysia, somewhere near Port Klang maybe. They pay us to build a new big SETI centre here then we can mark up the price to say 12 billion ringgit perhaps? And make a handsome profit out of it. Brilliant, no?

- Tech Generation Daily

GIMP the alternative for Adobe Photoshop®

GIMP (which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a freely distributed program for image manipulation such as photo retouching, image composition, image authoring and many more. For those who can't afford to own Adobe Photoshop (the legal one), GIMP is definitely the next best thing you can have.
This program has many capabilities, a lot of them similar to what you can do with Photoshop. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter and a lot more.

Here are some of the main features of GIMP:

- Full suite of painting tools including Brush, Pencil, Airbrush, Clone, etc.

- Extremely powerful gradient editor and blend tool

- Custom brushes and patterns support

- Layers and channels

- Multiple Undo/Redo (limited only by diskspace)

- Transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip

- Selection tools including rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy

- File formats supported include bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, ps, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, and many others

- Much, much more!

In short almost everything you can do with Adobe Photoshop, you can also do with GIMP. The only difference is you don't have to fork out RM2500 (USD700) to buy GIMP. GIMP is available for download for Windows, Mac OS and most Linux distributions. In fact GIMP is the standard image manipulation program for most major Linux distros such us Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, SUSE and Mandriva. Visit the official GIMP website for download links and more information.

Adv: Affordable web hosting for beginners with Exabytes

Owning a blog at the usual Blogspot or Wordpress address is cool. You get to write stuff that you like, customize your blog to your liking and you don't have to worry about maintaining the web server, domain name or anything like that. But sometimes when you have blogged long enough, you will realize that it is time that you upgrade your blog to a proper .com domain with a dedicated web hosting where you have full control on how your blog feel and looks like.

To tell you the truth, there are countless web hosting services offered out there. Some hosted locally and many are hosted overseas. Some offers a domain registration service with minimum web space and bandwidth and others offer a huge web space/bandwidth but you'll have to pay extra for the domain registration. So how do you choose?

For beginners like me, I look for a local web hosting company with a proven track record, affordable fees and reliable customer support. And if you Google around for a local web hosting with all the criteria above you will likely to find Exabytes on top of the list. Exabytes is a local web hosting company and their servers is located here in Malaysia so you won't suffer any disturbance in service whenever the connection to overseas servers is disrupted (which usually happen half a dozen times a year) plus you can get quick customer support over the phone (with local rates) when you need help.
Their entry level Xstudent package offers a reasonable 1GB web space and 5GB of bandwidth a month which is more than enough for beginners like me. For just RM99.00 a year, you get free domain registration, with 5 sub domains, FTP account, POP3/SMTP/IMAP and web-based e-mail, live audio/video streaming, user friendly cPanel and a host of software and script supports such as PHP, Perl, Ruby, MySQL, Phyton, Wordpress, Joomla and many more. On top of that you get 99.9% network up time guarantee and a convincing 99.5% server up time. And should you need to upgrade to bigger web space, you only have to pay an extra RM5.00 per month for 50MB and another 5 ringgit for and additional 1GB bandwidth per month.

Exabytes web hosting is undoubtedly one of the top web hosting companies in Malaysia (they even say they're no 1!). They are currently serving 20,000+ clients from over 121 countries with over 30,000 domains hosted on their server with a long list of testimonials from satisfied customers.

Visit Exabytes to find out more about the Xstudent package or a host of other web-hosting packages to suit your needs.

10 cool things you can do with Picasa 3

Picasa is a free application for organizing and editing digital photos developed by Google. Here's 10 cool things you can do with Picasa 3.

Add text or watermarks to your photos. Easily personalize your photos using the Watermark and Text tools.

Create and edit movies. Combine your photos, videos, and music into a movie or use the editing room to trim your existing movies.

Send photos directly via e-mail using your Microsoft Outlook or Gmail account.

Create professional looking contact sheets with multiples design choices.

Geotag your photos for all the world to see (requires Google Earth).

Upload and sync your photos to Picasa Web Album.

Retouch your images to remove unsightly blemishes and improve photo quality. You can also add special effects to your photos.

Automatically stores your screen captures when your press the Print Scrn key.

Create beautiful picture collages with an array of different settings.

Blog directly to your Blogger account.

Picasa 3 is available for download for Windows, Mac and Linux users here.

Copy and mount CD/DVD virtually without using a disc

How? Here's a scenario. Let's say you visited a friend's house and you found his collection of cool PC games that you always wanted. You wanted to copy the DVD but you didn't have any blank DVDs and the only thing that you carry is your 4GB thumbdrive. So what do you do? Burn the games DVD to iso image of course! This is easily done using your favourite DVD burning software such as Nero, CDBurnerXP or my favourite and free DVD burning software ImgBurn.
To rip a DVD/CD into an ISO image using ImgBurn, first go to their website, download and install the software. Next select Mode and change to Read. Select your source drive and choose Destination to pick where your ISO image will be saved and click Save to begin the converting process. Your DVD/CD will be ripped to an ISO image in a few minutes. After that you can simply copy the ISO image to your thumbdrive and burn them later with your DVD burner application.

But if you don't want to burn the ISO image to a DVD, you can always mount them as a virtual CD drive using the Virtual CD ROM Control Tool. Virtual CD Rom Control Tool is a free windows application that allows you to take ISO image files and mount them as if they were a drive in your computer. So basically you can pull the information off the ISO image files without needing to burn them to a CD. You can also use other programs such as Daemon Tools or Alcohol 120 but I always find Virtual CD ROM Control Tool a lot lighter and much simpler to use. Here's how it works:

Download the free Virtual CD ROM Control Tool from the Microsoft website here. Unzip the file and open the folder. You will see 3 files in the folder (readme, VCdControlTool and VCdRom.sys). Copy the VCdRom.sys file to your c:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers folder.
Run the Virtual CD ROM Control Panel application and click Install Driver. Navigate to the C:WINDOWS\system32\drivers folder, select VCdRom.sys, and click Open. Once the driver is installed, click Start.
Click Add Drive to add a drive to the drive list. Make sure that the drive added is not a local drive (i.e not C,D,E or what your hard disk letter is). If it is, continue to click "Add Drive" until an unused drive letter is available or you can always select the last letter of the alphabet just to be safe. For example here I picked Z as my virtual drive letter.
Highlight the selected drive letter from the Drive list and click Mount. Navigate to the ISO file you'd like to mount and click OK.

And Tada! Your virtual drive will be mounted just like a regular CD/DVD ROM drive.
This way, even if your PC/notebook doesn't have a DVD ROM drive you can always mount a virtual one using the Virtual CD ROM Control Tool above. Just imagine the possibility. Now you can save on physical CD/DVD disc and do everything virtually and without a disc.

The Best Food in Tanah Merah

If you just arrived in Tanah Merah from Kuala Krai or from South, there's a little place called Selera Tepi Sungai just before the Tanah Merah's Public Work Department (JKR) Store and Workshop (Setor & Bengkel) on your left side.
I've eaten at quite a few places in Tanah Merah over the years and I can safely say for the best food in town, head on to the Selera Tepi Sungai restaurant. It got everything under the Malay sun - Kelantan, Malay, Thai cooking, everything, you just name it.
This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner so you can practically eat there any time of the day. It has plenty of tables (about 30 on my last count), clean restrooms and even a little praying place (surau) for your convenience, plus the price is pretty reasonable too. So next town you're in town, you know where to go.