The best computer repair shop in KL

Computer repair shops are aplenty especially in big cities like Kuala Lumpur. However to find one that is really professional, trustworthy with a reasonable price is another story.

Whenever I have a computer with a major problem that I cannot fix myself, there is only one place that I will go to get it fixed. Located on the 2nd floor of Low Yat Plaza, the IT capital of Malaysia is Komputown Sales & Service  IT Savvy Sdn Bhd (they just changed their name). I've been going to this very same store for the past 5 years to get any computer or notebook repaired or to find a cheap second hand spare parts. There is hardly nothing these guys can't fix. It all depends on how much you're willing to spend.

If you've been frequenting Low Yat Plaza like I do, you should notice that there are dozens of shops offering computer repair and troubleshooting services. Vital Computer for example has numerous branches at Low Yat Plaza, nearby Imbi Plaza and several more around town. But although they may offer a slightly lower prize or better choice, I find their customer service a little bit wanting. Some of their staff treats your visit with indifference, like your presence is a burden to them. Other times you get different prices every time you ask them the price of spare parts or repair charges like there are no standard fees or they'll charge you whatever they (the technicians) feel like.

At IT Savvy however, you get this friendly, preferential treatment from the manager Sara and his expert Burmese technician Pyu. Their service is fast and prompt and Pyu really knows his stuff. Apart from repairing service, IT Savvy also sells refurbished computers, notebooks, monitors, switches, servers and a plethora of other computer spare parts. A branded second hand computer starts from as low as 500 ringgit and a decent second hand notebook costs from RM799 onwards. Apart from that, they also accept trade ins or part exchanges there. You can find IT Savvy Sdn Bhd at Lot 2.21, second floor Low Yat Plaza.

Make money using Twitter & Facebook with ChurpChurp

No I am not kidding, this time you can really make money using your favorite social network and it doesn't even involve MLM!

Launched in December last year, ChurpChurp lets you make money through targeted tweets or every shared links via your Twitter, Facebook and also blogs.

There are basically 3 types of campaigns available once you sign up namely 1. Social Sharing, 2. Scheduled Tweets and 3. Social Seeding. For Scheduled Tweets and Social Seeding campaign, you will be provided an assignment where you will compose a predetermined tweets or posts to be displayed on your Twitter or Facebook timeline or you blog. You will get Scheduled Tweets and Seeding campaigns from a couple of days to a week depending on the campaign quota and demographics requirement.

For Social Sharing, you will be provided new campaigns from time to time from the advertisers to be promoted on your Twitter, Facebook or anywhere on your social network, no assignment needed. You can control what you would like to tweet or post at your Facebook wall and if you're really into this, you can also put the personalized ad URl on your IM status and your Blogger/Tumblr/Posterous/Wordpress pages.

ChurpChurp is a new, exciting and easy way to generate income from your social network especially if you have many-many followers/friends. Payment starts from RM0.20 per unique click so imagine what you could earn in a day with just a few click or taps. Sign up at ChurpChurp now to start earning money for tweets!

How to create Google Adsense with background image

As you may have noticed, my little Google Adsense advertisements has background images behind them. The default Adsense borders and design are very limited and not really that attractive therefore adding something extra like a background for example might make them more prominent and interesting (to click of course!).

Inserting a background image behind your Adsense unit does not violate the Adsense program policies. According to Google, "background images are fine so long as the ads are clearly portrayed as ads, and clearly distinguished from the content."

Okay now on with the steps. First you'll need to decide which Adsense unit you would like to create a background image for. In this example I selected a standard text only 236 x 60 pixel ad.

Next you'll need to create the background image to be used behind the ads. Here I created a simple 246 x 100 pixel image using GIMP, a free, open-source image editor. Of course you can always use any other pictures you can find. Your background image needs to be slightly larger than the ad unit. Next upload the background image to an online photo sharing website such as Flickr.

After that you need to copy the permanent link for the uploaded image. Using Flickr, just click on the Share this link and select on Grab HTML/BBCode link. No need to select the whole code just copy the beginning from http until jpg.

In Blogger, go to Design - Page Elements and a new HTML/Javascript gadget to your sidebar. Copy and paste the following code into the gadget while making the appropriate adjustments to the values in purple.  The values in blue is your Google Adsense code.

<table align="left" width="246" height="100" border="0" background="">
<tr><td width="246" height="100">
<div align="left">

<script type="text/javascript"><!--
google_ad_client = "ca-pub-5996646587012512";
google_ad_host = "pub-1556223355139109";
/* Afif PLC 236 x 60 */
google_ad_slot = "3682498913";
google_ad_width = 234;
google_ad_height = 60;
<script type="text/javascript"


Please note that the image width and height for the code must be the same as the actual image width and height of the background image.

Credit to The Online Quest. HTML code converted for Blogger using

The Best Distraction-Free Writing Tools for Windows & Mac

A wise man once said, productive writing is 5% creativity and ideas and 95% distraction-free. Writers and bloggers especially need to apply focus to get their job done. Sometimes this is not easy to achieve when your computer is filled with so many distractions, the Internet for example is one huge elephant in the room that is difficult to ignore. Not to mention writer's block and other physical distractions. So today I am going to share with you my two favorite distraction-free writing tools that I regularly use with both my Windows & Mac machines.

Q10 for Windows

Q10 is a small and lightweight yet powerful distraction-free writing tool for Windows. I love the minimalist interface which displays nothing but a tiny bar at the bottom that shows the character, word and page count. Q10 has this customizable typewriter sound effect that adds a little character to your otherwise mundane writing tasks.

There is no standard toolbar and the functions are accessed by keyboard shortcuts. Q10 comes with spell-check, work tracking, timers and word-count targets. Q10 will save your text in simple txt or html format but of course you can always copy and paste your work elsewhere.

OmmWriter for Mac OS X

OmmWriter for Mac OS X is simply my favorite distraction-free writing tool ever. It's clean and simple user interface provides for a focused writing in a relaxing and serene environment. The free OmmWriter version comes with 3 visual and audio themes while the paid donation version comes with 5 additional themes.

You can access the major functions for this tool using shortcut keys and moving your mouse over the writing space will displau OmmWriter's toolbars and adjustable boundaries for writing. The publisher claims that OmmWriter is a humble attempt to recapture what technology has snatched away from us today: our capacity to concentrate. I just love this app because of its cute typing sound effect.

Credit to Lifehacker.

Insert special characters quickly with

Let's say you want to quickly insert words with special characters for example J'ai eu quelques ratatouille™ au café près de la rivière ce matin ☺. You can either google for the official ASCII character for those words or remember the keyboard short cut or insert them from programs like Word. Or you can copy and paste those characters in a second from lets you copy and paste a number of commonly used special characters in an instant. Just click on the character to copy and paste it into any programs in your computer. A really useful website indeed.

Q & A goes social with Formspring

Formspring is a simple question and answer website where visitors can go to ask questions to anybody who is registered there and they can in turn answer questions from just about everybody else.

But Formspring is more than this big, glorified guestbook - it is more of a social response platform. Founded in November 2009, Formspring give people a fun, new way to find out more about each other. Creator, Ade Olonoh from Indianapolis focused on making Formspring a simple and interesting way to ask and answer people's question, just like a quick conversation.

It doesn't matter if you are a regular person (like me) or a famous blogger, artist or celebrities, Formspring is open to everyone. You can ask anyone just about anything. Of course the person being ask has the option whether to answer or just dismiss your questions. This is a fairly useful tool for public figures or celebrities to interact with the general public or their fan/followers. Unlike Twitter, Formspring does not impose a 140 character limit, you can fire away questions of any length and likewise for the answers.

Plus, like any respectable social networking website, Formspring lets you connect and link with your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger and Wordpress accounts. This way you can choose to have all your questions/answers appear on those sites automatically.

From a humble beginning, Formspring now has 20 million accounts from every corner of the world with 3.5 million hits every day. Number of response on Formspring so far? Oh Only 2,000,000,000 answers, that's a cool 2 billion in less than 2 years in existence. Formspring is an interesting new way to connect with people socially, with questions. For more serious Q & A on various academic/scientific/serious topics, try Quora. And if you have any questions you've been dying to ask me, ask me anything on my Formspring page!

Notes organization with Springpad

Springpad is a new web-based note-talking tool that let's you save anything you'd like to remember quickly and easily. Like Evernote you can use Springpad on your web browser, iPad, iPhone and Android devices. However unlike Evernote, there's no stand-alone application for Windows or other operating systems so you can only use your web browser to access and post notes to Springpad.

Like other similar note-taking tool, Springpad lets you write your notes, capture photos and audio, clip websites and scan barcodes. Springpad will automatically sync your notes across your browser and mobile device but it also uses the power of the Internet to add useful information and relevant offers.

Springpad can also categorize everything you save and you can create notebooks to separate your home from work or to plan vacations and projects.

One thing I like about Springpad is the virtual Board which allow for visual organization with easy drag and drop feature.

Every notebook in Springpad will have its own board to help you get organized in a focused and fun way. The Board feature is only available on the web app and iPad only for now.

Among other cool Springpad features include:
• clip notes using a web browser extension with Firefox, Chrome or Safari
• look up products, places, movies and contacts from Facebook and Google in your notes
• scan barcodes to identify and note products
• post notex to Facebook, Twitter or via email
• set up alerts and reminders for your notes
• login to Springpad with your Google, Yahoo, Twitter or Facebook ID

One advantage of using Springpad is it stores everything in the cloud so your notes will be synced automatically between mobile devices and the web plus you don't have to worry about your notes being lost. Compared to Evernote, Springpad has a much nicer user interface and more features. The absence of a standalone desktop application is a non-issue because the Springpad web app is good enough for all my note-taking and organization needs.

However using the iPad app, I found some of the formatting on my notes will get jumbled when opened with the web app. Springpad works great as a to-do app because it is accessible from a smartphone and a browser and syncs seamlessly between them. That said, the reason I will still be using Evernote is because I've been using it for some time now and I have thousands of notes already stored there. Still if you just started keeping your notes with a note-taking app, Springpad is a viable alternative to consider apart from Evernote and Simplenote.

Adam's first day at school

Today is Adam's first day at school, for real. Last Friday we just went for a short 3 hours orientation so that didn't count.

Adam had no problem waking up early in the morning because he's already used to waking up early going to the kindergarten and nursery before. We left home very early at 7:00 AM today. Even Mia was excited to send Adam to school.

The road leading to the school was packed with traffic. Lucky there was some kindly traffic police directing traffic. Only staff and teachers were allowed into the school. School buses and vans can enter the parking lot.

Everybody else had to park outside and walk their children about 400 meters inside. I see they have finally cut the long field grass.

Every Monday there's assembly at the school hall. It was supposed to be 30 minutes program but the teachers had a lot to say today so it didn't finish until an hour later. I hope they don't spew too many 1Malaysia BS to my children like they did today.

After that they kids marched in line to their respective classes, lead by their teachers.

During my time back then in 1987, I remember most mothers including mine waited for their children outside the classroom for the whole day. I guess that is not cool anymore today because the teachers politely asked us to leave while she/he is teaching.

So we waited for Adam for a couple of hours at the canteen until recess. Thank God for iPad or else I would be bored to death.

Recess was around 10:15 AM and we taught Adam how to buy food at the canteen. As usual the canteen is overcrowded with children, parent and teachers. I'm sure the crowd would subside in a couple of days once the parents left. After that we let Adam resume his class. I mean another assembly. His teachers still has plenty to say apparently.

We had some big shot VIPs visiting the school today, some politicians and people from the district education office. No wonder we saw a bunch of coppers hanging out outside today. I saw the Serdang MP Datuk Satim and this one MCA guy who I have no idea who he is. Saw a couple of parent shaking hands and making small talk with them. I hope they would highlight the glaring huge uncovered hole along the some of the drains near the class room which is like a disaster waiting to happen. Or the fact that the kids would be soaking wet when it rains because there's no covered walkway from the school to the parking lot.

After recess we left the school since there's no point staying anyway. Came back later to pick him up when the school finishes at 12:40 PM.

I still remember vividly my first day at school some 23 years ago. Some relative of mine died overseas and the day of his shipment home coincided with my first day at school. Somehow my Mom decided to bring me along to the graveyard first for the burial ceremony before going to school. By the time I got in class my shiny new school shoes is plastered with mud and not so shiny anymore. I still don't understand up until now why my Mom had to put me through that ordeal.

After picking up Adam from school today we went to IKEA to buy some curtains which is on sale. At least Adam get to play at Småland instead of some muddy graveyard like I did. Kids these days are so lucky.

Afif PLC turns four

My blog turns four, yay. If you notice last year I only blogged for 70 times compared to over a hundred posts the previous years. While I'd like to blame it on my busy schedule, family, work and study, actually I have no excuse for my laziness. That said sometimes I took an exceptionally long time to finish a particular post. This is more because I want to emphasize on quality rather than quantity because some of the posts I've written before were simply dreadful.

This blog covers a wide variety of topics and issues such as technology, travel, sports, entertainment, politics and also my personal life. Sometimes I'm in a quagmire deciding whether it's wise to combine all of those subjects together because some of them just don't mix. For example, personal life and politics is the opposite end of the spectrum so does travel and sports. Should I focus on a few inter-related topics or create separate blogs for each different topics? Hmm decisions, decisions.

In the end I decided not to change anything and just be myself. I love to write about everything and anything that interests me so I'm going to have them all here. It's my blog and I cry if I want to. Happy birthday Afif PLC!