Home Sweet Home

Today 30th May 2010 marks a historic point in my family's life when we finally moved into our very own home at Casa Riana apartment in Taman Puncak Jalil, Seri Kembangan. After weeks of preparation, we moved in this morning with the help of the 3 movers guys plus my 2 brother in laws. Thank you everyone who made this happen - my lovely wife, my parent, family, relatives, employer, friends, our real estate agent Mr. Lim and of course Allah The Al-Mighty for His blessings and generosity.
It all started late last year around December when we thought of moving away from our rented place at Taman Universiti Indah. While searching for a better place to live, we thought why don't we buy a house instead. At least we'll be paying for our own home. So we looked high and low in Seri Kembangan, Puchong, Serdang, Putrajaya, Bangi and even Sepang for a house that is nice, suits our budget and strategically located for both of us. In the process we kept passing by this newly finished apartment in Puncak Jalil which caught our attention called Casa Riana. To cut the story short, we searched around the Internet and the many for-sale ads around the place, got in touch with Mr Lim, agreed with the 115K price and started the ball rolling to purchase our future home.

One thing for sure, buying a house proved to be a really expensive and lengthy process for us. First we paid RM500 as booking money to the agent so that he can get the owner to agree for the proposed sale price and sign the offer letter. After that we paid the remaining 2.8% of the house price (around RM3,400) with our own pocket money. Lucky for us the owner kindly agreed to wait until we got the EPF withdrawal money for the remaining 8% of the house' price.

The EPF withdrawal was surprisingly an easy and quick process which took just over a week. The house loan and legal process though took months, 5 months to be exact. Either it is always that long or we got a really lousy loan officer and legal firm because a neighbour of mine here moved into his house in about a month's time. Anyway, after securing our loan (which the bank agreed to finance 95% of the house' price), we had to pay for the loan's insurance which is around 5,000 ringgit. The legal fees costs us about RM3,500. We took out personal loans, spend our bonus money and sold stuff to come up with all that money. All in all, to purchase a house that costs RM115,000 you need to prepare around 13,000 ringgit in cash to pay for everything. That's not counting the RM1,500 we had to fork out for the grills and another 900 for fans and lamps and a little wiring. And oh yeah, the movers costs a cool 300 ringgit for a 10 kilometers journey. So you see, buying a house is quite easy actually. All you have to prepare is the money. Boot-load of them.

I choose Casa Riana because it is strategically located half way between my office and Puchong, Bukit Jalil and Kuala Lumpur. From Puchong and PJ I can pass through Kinrara and from KL I can drive through the Selangor Turf Club, Bukit Jalil stadium or Seri Kembangan. It has security guards, a community hall, surau and the building is fairly new. The swimming pool and play ground is of course, a bonus. One parking lot is designated at random for each tenants but you can pay RM75 a month for an extra spot although I believed they are all sold out right now. From now on I only have to pay RM431 for the home loan plus RM143 for maintenance and sinking fees (whatever that is) which brings us to RM574 every month till long after I'm retired.
Tonight, we spend the first night in our new home. It's quite cool up here on the 5th floor with the cool night breeze and fantastic view of Taman Lestari Perdana. No need to worry about mosquitoes or cockroaches anymore although somehow the ants managed to find their way up here. You must commend them for their hard work. There are 8 homes here on the 5th floor and only 4 of them are occupied at the moment. We have and online discussion group at Yahoo Groups and 2 Facebook pages here and here. You can check them out for the latest happenings or for more information about the property and neighborhood. If you are interested to join us here, the market price starts from as low as RM125,000 at the moment and you can contact my agent Mr Lim at 012-3824280 (just don't take the lousy Public Bank loan officer that he recommends). But you'll have to be quick though because they are going up as with every other property here in Selangor and also because of the future LRT line that is passing through here.

Six months ago I wouldn't have imagined sitting here in our very own home. It's a complicated and expensive but if you want something bad enough and you put all your energy, focus and commitment into it you can make just about anything possible. 830 square feet is by no mean big but it is our home sweet home.

Previous related entries here and here.

A friendly reminder

Dear Future no 48 Jalan Indah 1/22 occupant,

How are you doing? I hope everything is going on well with the moving and stuff. How do you find the neighbourhood so far? When we left the house for good last week, we saw a tent being set up right in front. I do hope one of the neighbours children is not getting married anytime soon. Because last time they did, they were so noisy with the music and blaring speakers and dancing and all that somebody had to call the police to make them stop. Needless to say we didn't have much sleep that night. The first time it happened, we just moved in there. The music didn't stop until 3 in the morning. The second time, we packed our stuff and quickly ran to our mother's house. These people I tell you have totally no respect for other people's privacy and well being.
Before you open the gate, be careful not to step on the poops. I suspect they were some cat's droppings but looking at the number of dogs that you find in the neighbourhood, you'll never know. Those darn cats (or dogs) have this habit of pooping in front gate 2-3 times per week. If I didn't know better I'd be shooting them with a gun for sport. There's no point shooing them because they will always come back. Your front gate, is the only one down the street with grass on it so naturally, it doubles as a make shift toilet for the cats. One thing you can do though is to put some.. a lot of moth balls on the grass. That will keep the cats away for a while at least. Just make sure your kids don't mistake them as sweets.

You should notice by now that all of the doors in the house is already broken. I must admit I did break that one room upstairs with my bare feet when Mia locked herself in there but the other one was not my doing. What else can we do? The landlord didn't leave is with any spare keys so I didn't actually have much choice. And oh yeah we just fixed the front grill after some crooks broke into the house and took off with some of our most prized possession like my laptop, camera and iPod. Our neighbour, the elderly lady in front actually saw the thugs' car parked in front of our house that morning but she did nothing. It never crossed her mind that those people who were transferring the loot into the car were really thieves. Well, I can't blame her because she was not very bright in the first place. Anyway, we added 2 more pad lock holes to the grill and fixed the gates so that you can finally close them properly unlike before. Remember to lock your gates, sliding door and grills at all times, even if you're leaving your house for 10 minutes. Break-ins and robbery is not uncommon around the neighbourhood.

If you suddenly find a lot of rubbish strewn on your porch out of nowhere, just relax. That's your next door neighbour's way of saying welcome. This neighbour of yours have these little kids who just loves to throw rubbish and stuff onto your porch just for kicks. And the best part is you can't do nothing about it because well, they're just kids and you don't really want to upset your neighbour for this petty stuff right? So just pick them up and get on with life.

That weedy wall? Don't bother scrapping or repainting them. They'll be back in a matter of weeks. You see, rain water from the porch's roof regularly flow through them and unless you use some kind of really expensive paint, they'll grow back again faster than ever those damn weeds. Instead, look at them as a maintenance free decoration.

The vacant house next door, there used to be a tenant there as well but they have moved out some time ago. First there was a young couple with a kid about Adam's age. And then the landlord threw them out, re-painted the place and got some new tenant with a higher rent price. That new tenant, some young working women didn't last long either. They just took off one night with all their stuff leaving the house bare. It's been vacant ever since.

Please note that during rainy days, you will find half a dozen leaks throughout the house. I think there's 4 downstairs and 2 upstairs. Remember not to put your TV or other electrical appliance under those leaking spots. Using buckets would be most effective and you can use the water later to water your plants or something. And before I forget, the water tank is leaking too. Something wrong with the float I think. Turn off the main tap or the one next to the tank before you leave the house. Or you can get it fixed, for a price of course. Water from the tap is practically safe, if you don't mind drinking murky, brown water that is. If not use a decent water filter.

Talking about insects and pests, this house (and neighbourhood) is alive with them. Apart from the usual ants, roaches, lizards and mosquitoes, please be wary of the rats. I've caught no less than 4 rats throughout my entire stay there. They normally come from the backdoor although some prefer to enter with dignity from the front. You can either trap them or chase them away with a broom. The former might take some time but the latter is much more exasperating and tiring. Do not however poison them because they will die, God knows where and stink the entire house. The insects I can still tolerate but those rats were one of the main reason we left this place.

If you go jogging in the morning and you stumble into them dogs, just ignore them. That's what I usually do anyway. If you're running, walk slowly past them. Although sometimes they looked like they would like to give you a friendly lick (or bite), the truth is they're smart enough to leave you alone. A lot of your neighbours have a dog or two in their compound so naturally you will found a lot of strays in the vicinity.

How much did you pay for the rent anyway? I paid 400 ringgit monthly to the landlord although with the condition of the house and the amount of shit we have to go through, I should have asked for less. But the good things is, the landlord never bothered to raise the rent. In fact he never bothered to visit the house ever! All 3+ years we stayed there, I only saw him twice. The first time when we visited the place before moving in and the second time when he handed over the keys and that's it. I banked in the rent every month and the only way we can keep in touch of each other is through the phone. One time Syabas cut off our water connection because he didn't bother to change the registration info. The only up side to all this is you can pay the rent any time you like. Be it on your pay day or the first week of the month. He doesn't mind really.

Anyway I hope you will enjoy your stay there. Please don't let my rants above gets you down or demoralize you in any way. I'm just letting you know in advance what's in store for you at your new place. Remember to lock the gates and grills always and you may want to start saving for a new place!

Yours Truly

Previous Tenant.

How to install free apps on your iPhone & iPod Touch

One reason why the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad is so popular is because of the software and apps. There are curently 185,000 apps and games to choose from at the App Store and so far people have downloaded more than 4 billion apps from the App Store giving Apple a revenue of 1 billion dollars a year. Yes there are a lot of cool apps and games at the app store and as they say there's an app for everything. What they don't say is there's a way to get all of that for free. One word: jailbreak. That is why people jailbreak their iPhones, iPods and iPads, to install free apps.
There are 2 ways to install free apps on your iPhone or iPod Touch, the easy way using Installous and the hard way using SCP. Here's the easy way:

Step 1

Jailbreak your iPhone! There's no 2 way about it. Jailbreaking allows you to install unapproved 3rd party apps like Cydia and Installous. Check out my previous post on how to jailbreak your iPod Touch (and iPhone).

Step 2
After installing Cydia, run the app - tap Manage > Sources and add the address http://cydia.hackulo.us to the repository.

Step 3
Search and install the Installous app.

Step 4
Run Installous and choose from the thousand of cracked and free apps from the repository. Make sure you have a fast and reliable Wi-Fi connection because some of the apps can be up to 250MB in size.

However if your WiFi service is unreliable or your Internet connection is really slow, you can always try the hard way. Here's how:

Step 1

Repeat Step 1 to Step 4 above. You need to install Installous as well to make the file transfer and installation process easier.

Step 2
Go to Cydia and install Mobile Terminal.

Step 3
Run Mobile Terminal and change your root password. You don't want people to hack into your iPhone and install some nasty viruses. To change your password simply type passwd and enter your new password twice. The old default password is alpine .

Step 4
Go to Cydia again and install OpenSSH.

Step 5
While you're at Cydia, install SBSettings too. This is a really handy app for all your jailbroken devices.

Step 6
Turn on your WiFi and OpenSSH connection. This is where SBSettings comes handy. Slide with both your fingers from the top left and right off the screen downwards to toggle SBSettings. Tap on Wi-Fi and SSH to turn them on. Take down the IP address of your iPhone. Here it says .

Step 7

Now you'll need a program such as WinSCP to transfer apps from your computer to your iPhone. Go here to download WinSCP (Windows) or Fugu or Cyberduck (Mac). This example will use WinSCP. You don't have to connect your iPhone with the USB cable, just make sure Wi-Fi and SSH is on.

Step 8
Run WinSCP and enter the IP address that you saw from SBSettings (or from Settings > Wi-Fi). User name is root and enter the new password that you changed earlier on Mobile Terminal.
When this screen appears just click yes.

Step 9
Now you can copy all your free games and apps from your computer to your iPhone/iPod Touch. The apps will have a .ipa extension. You can simply google for your favourite app or you can visit Apptrackr.org or Pandaapp to download from thousands of free apps there. Copy the app (ipa file) from your computer on the left pane to your iPhone (right pane). Browse to the /root/private/var/mobile/Documents/Installous/Downloads/ folder on the right pane.

Step 10

Open Installous app and go to Downloads. You will find the copied app there. Install it and you're done!

The second method is a bit complicated but you download all the apps elsewhere first and just copy them to your iPhone later.
Of course if you're really good with terminals and command line, you can simply SSH and SCP all those apps into your iPhone.

Good luck!

Alternatively, you can just drag and drop the IPA files into the Apps section in iTunes and sync it to your iPhone.

How to jailbreak an iPod Touch with Blackra1n

This tutorial will teach you how to jailbreak your iPod Touch with the Blackra1n jailbreak program. Jailbreaking will lets you install unapproved third-party applications on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Jailbreak is different from unlocking which lets you use your iPhone on another cellular network apart from the one registered with the iPhone. Jailbreaking with Blackra1n will not unlock your iPhone.
Anyway first thing first, the Blackra1n hack will only work with an iPod Touch installed with the 3.1.2 firmware no later or newer. It definitely won't work with the latest firmware 3.1.3. So if your iPod Touch is using any firmware other than 3.1.2, you'll need to upgrade to that version first. To check which firmware you are using, go to Settings > General > About and see the Version number.
To upgrade to 3.1.2 firmware, you can download it from this website here. Make sure you download the correct firmware for your iPod Touch. For example my iPod Touch version is 3.1.2 (7D11) so according to the list there, my iPod is 2G (2nd generation). If your iPod is older, it might be 1st generation (1G) or 3G for the newer models. Do not upgrade your firmware using iTunes because at the moment, it will only upgrade to version 3.1.3 which is not breakable with Blackra1n.
After downloading the 3.1.2 firmware, you need to restore your iPod Touch to that firmware using iTunes. Run iTunes and shift-click (Windows) or option-click (Mac) the restore button to choose the downloaded firmware. Just clicking restore will just upgrade your iPod to the 3.1.3 version. Make sure to backup your iPod Touch first with iTunes because restoring will erase all apps, settings, contacts and everything on it. Upgrading the firmware will take 5 to 10 minutes and after that you can sync back your iPod and retrieve all your old settings and apps.
Now that your iPod is version 3.1.2, go the Blackra1n website and download the Blackra1n jailbreak program. Choose between Windows or Mac (no love for Linux yet).
Close iTunes and Run Blackra1n and click the 'Make it rain' button. Your iPod will temporarily show Geohot's picture (the cool dude who made this possible) just like the one on his website and then your iPod will automatically reboot.
If everything goes well, your iPod will be jailbroken and you will see the Blackra1n app on it. Run the app and choose to install either Cydia or Rock app. You will need those to install all the 3rd party, unapproved apps.

There are several reasons why people jailbreak their iPods and iPhones. First they can install any 3rd party or unapproved apps on your device. There's an app to tether your iPhone to your computer and use the 3G connectivity to surf the Internet. Then you can install Google Voice which might never be approved by Apple and make free calls from your iPhone. Or you can install the Installous app and download millions of cracked free apps just like everything you see in the App Store. More on that on my next post.

A little reminder..

1. Vista and Windows 7 users should run it in compatibility mode and as "Administrator." Right-click on the file, go to Properties, then click the "Compatibility" tab. Check the "run this program in compatibility mode for:" checkbox and choose Windows XP Service Pack 2 from the list provided. Click "OK" to close the window. Right-click to run as the Administrator.

2. If the Upgrade is Stuck at "Running," Try the Following:
* Set airplane mode on.
* Move blackra1n to the C:\ drive and run it from there.
* Kill any iTunes-related services prior to running.
* While it's stuck on "running," do a hard reboot (push the home and power buttons simultaneously). The app will display a message that says it's done jailbreaking, but it's not. With the USB cable still plugged in, re-run the blackra1n app. This time it should work.

3. The Blackra1n jailbreak is an unthethered jailbreak meaning that should you restart or completely turn off your iPod, you'll need to run the jailbreak again which is as simple as one click but could prove to be a hassle for some.

4. Should you like to restore your iPod to it's original unjailbroken form, just do the restore to the downloaded 3.1.2 firmware earlier.

5. Blackra1n is not the only method to jailbreak your iPod or iPhone (just google 'jailbreak') but it is definitely the easiest. I tried pwnage and redsn0w but no luck so far.

6. Backup your iDevice first! I will not be responsible for any loss of data.

Credits to ReadWriteWeb.com and Geohot.

iWant. iGet

Actually I wanted to get an iPhone but unfortunately I simply cannot afford it at the moment. So I settled for the next best thing, the iPod Touch instead.
This iPod Touch is like an iPhone except that you cannot make calls, take pictures or find your position using GPS.
I bought this second hand 8GB iPod Touch for RM550 (new unit costs RM779) last week from the Internet. The previous owner only used it for 3 months before deciding that he needs to get an iPhone.

So iPod it is for now. You know iPhone and me, we're meant to be together, someday.