Adam's Sports Day - Season 2

It's that time of the year again for Adam's Kindergarten Sports Day.
The day that every 4,5 and 6 years old at his school look forward to, to compete in this really important event and bring pride and joy to their country.
This time we have a guest of honour that is none other than... my Mother! Although she is deputy principal or something at her school, she was modest enough not to hijack the prize-giving ceremony or speech programme (just kidding Mom!).
As always, the parents came in drove to witness and give support to their children.
Breakfast is also served but I advise you stay clear from any blue water in the future because they taste downright dreadful. I'd have plain water anytime. Gentleman in blue is our emcee for the day (as always) because they have a limited budget.
Unlike last year where they perform a really complicated synchronized march on the field, this year's performance is a little dance to the 'I got a feeling' from BEP. That song is like so in.. ten years ago! Might as well train them to dance to poco-poco.
And the Sports Day kicked off with the blowing the balloon until it pops contest. Adam didn't get to pop the balloon until the end.
Then there was the super-difficult obstacle course. Running with hoops is a lot tougher than it looks.
You think running with a straw hat is easy? Not if it swallows your head full.
Running with balls under your armpit takes a lot of concentration, muscle power and precision maneuvering around the cones, something not for the faint-hearted.
The Sports Day would not be complete without participation from everybody. Today the parent get to run a 3-legged race, carry a ball with a racket race and a new entry - musical chairs! I thought the guys were tough but wait till you see the mothers. They fought tooth and nail to win the chair. Man, they really took this musical chair game real serious.
For the prize-giving ceremony, they've decided to call some random people to hand out the prizes. Incidentally, that random person they've chose today is none other than Linda! We thought they were calling some other important Sharifah Haslinda so we just totally ignore it when they called her name. It was until the eleventh time that we realized, hey they were calling your name honey! You should see Linda's face. She was beaming with pride. If only she had put on more make up or something.
So that brings us to the end of this year's Sports Day. Next year you'll be slugging it out with the big boys kid. Adam's red team got 3rd place for pretty much everything and we took home a lot less plastic containers this year because I was too macho to join any games this time around. The important thing is, Adam and his friends/teachers had a really good time. Until next year, see ya.

The world's youngest Facebook user

I have googled around for the youngest Facebook user in the world, some registered their 3 days old baby and some even made an account for their unborn child. That obviously doesn't count because those babies can't even tell what a mouse is let alone update their statuses.
My 6 years old son on the other hand is a true blue Facebook user since, well yesterday. I created his account last year but he was too engrossed with Ben 10 and Spongebob to care. Flash forward today, after learning to watch music videos on YouTube and playing some games from Miniclip, Adam started to actually use Facebook.
He types his own status, approved his friends request, comments on people's updates and even chats with his uncles and aunts. Yesterday he spent over 2 hours with the computer using Facebook.

Okay now I only have to teach him some basic CSS and CISCO programming, then he'll be ready to take on the world.

Hometown Kopitiam

While strolling along The Curve last week, we stumbled upon this restaurant called Hometown Kopitiam.
And since my tummy is singing to the tune of Peer Gynt's - Morning mood already, we decided to give this place a try. But won't that be expensive? You bet! 9 ringgit for a fricking noodle. Then again, where got cheap food here in Mutiara Damansara.
We had my favourite javanese noodle while my wife had her fave asam laksa noodle. They tasted almost as good as OldTown but unfortunately not there yet. Well, at least we didn't have to pay 15% tax like OldTown.

McDonald's GCB is so meh

Initially I have some reservations about eating at McDonald's again. This is because most of their stores is owned by Vincent Tan and I don't want to indirectly finance him and UMNO in their quest to buy more ADUNs and MP like they did in Perak.
But since Vincent also owns every 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Kenny Rogers and a dozen others, I guess my boycott attempt is pretty much futile. So with great reluctance, I visited McDonald's today.
Did I tell you the new GCB burger costs RM11.00 per set and RM8.90 ala carte? If that isn't daylight robbery then I don't know what is.
But most importantly the taste is just meh. I had Burger King last week and they tasted just better. Save your 11 bucks and buy a chicken burger from that stall at the corner of your street instead .

I still regret throwing my 8.90 for this.

Firzana's Kitchen

Firzana's Kitchen is a little restaurant in Taman Puncak Jalil where I live. I once said in my other blog that it looked expensive so I didn't dare to go in there. Well, someone noted that if I never tried it how do I know?
So tonight I brought my family to try this restaurant for ourselves. Firzana's Kitchen is brought to you by the same people who provide Firzana EduCare, nurseries, kindergarten and transit services.
First impression: the place is quite clean and well kept. The ambiance and surrounding is quite pleasant although I find the dark pink colour to be too bold for my gentle eyes after some time.
As we wait for our orders, they served us free crackers (or is it already in the bill?). Maybe the owner read my blog and they're trying to impress me.
Price-wise, Firzana's Kitchen's range is similar to Makan-Makan which is slightly pricey according to my low-low standard. Everything starts from RM5.00 upwards.
We ordered the regular fried rice and they were generally okay. To be honest I've tasted better beef with that rice elsewhere but at least they're better than Makan-Makan or Malik Makmur.
Our final verdict? This place is quite alright. We had two plates of fried rice (really generous portion), some steamboat, two drinks, all for RM22.00. You can find this restaurant filled with patrons in the evening, every day of the week. Most of them Malays though because I noticed some of the non-Muslims customers are turned off by Astro Awani on TV which is too bad I think. They should look into this matter. Will I come again? Definitely maybe.

How Cloud Computing makes my life easier

Cloud Computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand. In simpler terms, cloud computing is where the applications and data are stored online on someone else's computer/server and you retrieve them from the Internet using a browser or certain apps only when you need them. You access it using mainly your web-browser and the application is usually cross-platform, meaning you can install it on most popular operating systems such as Windows, Mac and also Linux. Here are a few cloud-based applications that I use regularly.

The reason I chose Gmail over Hotmail or Yahoo Mail because it's free, fast and offers almost unlimited amount of web space. Gmail is backed by Google and it integrates well with most of their other popular apps such as Google Documents, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, etcetera. It comes with tons of features and their spam filter is very reliable.
I can access Gmail from just about any type of browser and also most modern smartphone like the iPhone or Android. My favourite iPhone app for accessing Gmail is Mailroom but you can easily setup Gmail using the native Mail app. I just don't like to store all those emails on my phone that's all.

Google Calendar
Needless to say, Google Calendar integrates seamlessly with my Google account. I use it to plan my schedule, view my daily agenda and setup reminders. Google Calendar is browser based but you can also access it from email clients such as Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird.
There's also several popular apps to access and edit Google Calendar from your smartphone.

Google Docs
Google Docs is a browser-based document editing software from Google. You can create, edit and store different types of documents such as Word documents, spreadsheet, Power Point presentations, drawings and also forms.
You can also upload existing Word and Excel documents and edit them online and you can upload just any type of files to store on Google Docs although you are limited to 1GB of space per account.
Google Docs integrates with several popular iPhone apps such as GoDocs and DocsToGo. Another popular alternative for Google Docs is Zoho.

Pixlr is a simple yet powerful browser-based image editing application. You can upload photos edit and manipulate them using various commands and filters provided by the web site.
I prefer Pixlr over Aviary or because it's fast and light on resources although now you can also edit video and audio online using Aviary. however provides you with some storage space and several interesting features to try. But since it uses 100% Flash, a good Internet connection is required to do anything there.

Evernote is my favourite all-in-one note-taking application out there. I can take and create notes using the web-clipper with my browser, download and install the cross-platform Evernote application and most importantly using the Evernote iPhone app. I can store text, photos, voice and many different document types such as Word, Excel and PDF and view them anywhere.
With Evernote I don't have to carry a notebook anywhere again. I can write and view all my notes from a browser or on my smartphone.
And since it's stored online, my notes are safe and easily available. I don't have to worry about virus infection, hard drive crash, natural disasters or the risk of them missing, ever.

Dropbox is my most favourite file syncing, sharing and backup application ever. Using Dropbox, you create a Dropbox folder on your computer and it will sync with the online server automatically. Then if you install Dropbox on another computer and login with your account, it will sync with that computer as well. A Dropbox app is also available for your iPhone or Android device.
With Dropbox I don't have to carry around a flash drive anymore. If I want to store anything, I just drag it to my Dropbox folders and it will sync to all 4 of my computers both at work and at home including my iPhone. If that computer doesn't have Dropbox installed, I can always access my files from the Dropbox website. And if you accidentally delete any files from your computer, you can recover them from the Dropbox website as well even after some time.
Using the iPhone Dropbox app, you can access your files even when you're online using the Favorite feature. I prefer Dropbox over and Mozy online backup because it's free, fast and it comes with 2GB of space. You can add more storage space by purchasing a premium account or simply by introducing Dropbox to your friends. Each new introduction will earn you 1GB of extra space up until 5GB.

Windows SkyDrive
At last, something useful from Microsoft! Windows Live SkyDrive offers a generous 25GB of space to store any kind of files and documents online.
Just sign in with your Hotmail/Windows Live Mail account and you'll have 25GB of space in an instant. Heck, you can even sign up for SkyDrive using any other email account such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail.
As part of Microsoft's Windows Live web suite, SkyDrive integrates with other Microsoft services such as Hotmail, Windows Live Writer, Photos and the newly created Office Live web app. Using Office Live you can create and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents online using a web browser. Of course, Office Live offers limited functionality compared to the regular Microsoft Office productivity suite but for simple document editing on the go, it is quite useful.

Apart from SkyDrive, I also use Mediafire and 4Shared to store my files online but both sites will delete your inactive, long-time not accessed files after some time which sucks really. Google however, will never delete anything even if you haven't access your account in years.

Picasa from Google is a image organizer and image viewer for organizing and editing digital photos, plus an integrated photo-sharing website called Picasa Web Album. The Picasa software is available for Windows, Mac and Linux OS and you can use it to view, organize, edit and upload your photo and video collections to the online web album.
Picasa comes with a rather limited 1GB of space although you can always purchase more from Google. Unlike Flickr however, Picasa blends smoothly with my Google Accounts and I'm not limited to the latest 200 pictures on my online photo stream. Flickr form Yahoo does offer unlimited space but you can always sign up for a new Google Account in like 5 minutes.
For iPhone users, you can use the iPicasso app to easily view and upload photos to the web album.

Apart from using Twitter as a social networking and news aggregator tool, I also use Twitter to quickly submit and store little bit of notes online.
Instead of using regular To-do app or website like Remember The Milk or Toodledo, I use Twitter because it's fast and I can send updates even from my regular mobile phone. If I want to see or retrieve them later, I just go to my Twitter page.

Obviously, there are tons of benefit using cloud computing to traditional data storage such as your computer hard drive, flash drive or external hard drive. You can easily access and send your files and notes from anywhere, regardless of Operating System or device. They're also safe from virus infection, theft or natural disaster and most of them are free of charge.

Still I won't deny there are some risks such as the cloud computer servers go down, privacy and security concerns and the need to have a reliable Internet connection. But if your weigh all the risks and benefits, I'm sure you will agree the the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Cloud computing is the future of Information Technolgy. All major software and hardware players like Microsoft, Google and Apple are embracing it and shifting their focus to The Cloud. There's iPhone, iPad and MobileMe from Apple, Chromium and Android OS from Google and soon Microsoft Windows 8 will be intricately connected to the cloud. In the future, everything, your data and files will be in the cloud and your hard drive space will be relegated for use as offline storage and backup.

How to apply for EPF education withdrawal

Apart from withdrawal for house purchase, you can also withdraw your savings from the Employee Provident Fund (KWSP) for educational purposes.
First you have to make sure that you have some savings in your Account 2. You can withdraw any amount of money from there. Then go to the EPF website and download the education withdrawal form. On the form you can already find some detailed instruction there. Fill up the form accordingly and make a photocopy of your Identity Card. For first timers, make a copy of your university/college offer letter as well.
Head on to your university treasury and ask for a student confirmation letter from them. It looked pretty much like the one above. Make sure they follow the guideline provided by EPF.
Next visit the nearest EPF office. They one I went to was in Shah Alam. Take a number and hand over the documents. You will get a notice of application slip. After that you'll have to wait for at least a week for them to process the application. If you already paid the fees in advance, they will bank in the money into your account. If you haven't paid yet (like me), they will pay directly to the university.
If you're a UiTM student like me, you don't have to wait for the payment to be complete. You can hand over the notice of application slip to the university treasury right away. They will take it and chop the subjects registration slip.
After that you take the subjects registration slip to the modules/text book section and collect your books there. It's a simple as that. I finished the entire process in less than 2 hours. Well. knowing your way around Shah Alam did help.
So now you can start studying already!