Dell Inspiron Zino HD

My old IBM-compatible clone PC had gone bonkers last month so it's about time I go shopping for a new computer again. It's not often really that I go shopping around for computers. Apart from the fact that they are expensive, I usually salvage computer parts thrown away by my clients or their companies and build my own PC from scratch.

This time around however, I can actually afford to buy a new one (hey!). I only got 2 models in mind, the cool Mac Mini or this square box from Dell. Since the Mac Mini is still rather expensive to me at RM1,899, I had to settle for the Inspiron Zino HD instead which costs half of the cheapest Mac out there.

Compared to the Mac Mini, the Zino is quite thick, dimension-wise. The 8 by 8 inch compact PC can easily fit 2 regular CD-ROM drives stacked together. Plus, the DVD-drive is still tray loading instead of a slot loading.

Specifications: the Zino is powered by a decent AMD Athlon II P360 Dual-core processor which is comparable to a standard Core 2 Duo Intel processor. RAM is only 2GB DDR3 while the hard drive is standard 320GB 7200RPM SATA. Altogether it has 4 USB 2.0 ports, 2 up front and 2 at the back. It also comes with 2 eSATA ports which I find totally unnecessary because whoever uses eSATA anymore today? Other than that, the remaining ports are pretty standard like VGA, Ethernet and 4 in 1 card reader. The HDMI port however makes the Zino an ideal HTPC you know, to watch and stream movies to your living room TV. Just add Boxee or XBMC and you're good to go.

The top case is easily opened with one click and after unscrewing a couple of screws, you can effortlessly change the hard drive or RAM by yourself. The default operating system is Windows 7 Home Basic 64 bit which has some of the standard features in Windows 7 (like Aero & remote desktop) stripped off. But for home use, I think it's still acceptable. Of course I'm sure you geeks out there can change that in an hour. While your at it, maybe you can turn it into a Hackintosh as well although I heard the network or sound won't work with this one.

Here's a tip: order a different color for your Zino lid and you'll get the default black top for free! To purchase the Zino, you can only do it online at Dell's official website. As far as I know, you can't get this one from any regular brick and mortar shop, including Low Yat Plaza or the sole Dell store at Mid Valley. Maybe that's how they keep the price down - direct selling. Anyhow, the Zino starts from only RM999 up to RM2,100 depending on specs and accessories. If you buy this computer now, they'll throw in a free keyboard and mouse as well (how thoughtful). And no, they don't provide a monitor with this PC. Have to get your own.

Some of the main reasons I bought this particular model from Dell is the price, size and power consumption. I use the computer mainly in our master bedroom back home so since the Zino is so small, I can easily hide it on top of my drawer and the machine only uses 75 watts of power which is quite energy efficient. The Zino is also very quiet too and performance-wise, I think it's comparable to any standard entry-level PCs out there. To get yourself one, head on to Dell's website. Shipping time is about 4 days after confirmed order.

Save web pages for reading later with Instapaper

We discover good content everyday whether through websites, on Twitter or on our RSS feeds. Sometimes these content are to long to read on the spot but you simply must read them because they're that good.

That's where Instapaper comes in. This little bookmarking tool allows you to save or bookmark any web content that you find interesting for reading later, whether using your regular web browser, smartphone, tablet or e-book reader like Kindle. After registering at Instapaper, just drag the Read Later shortcut to your browser's bookmark bar and whenever you find something interesting to read later just press Read Later. The link to that website will be saved in your Instapaper account.

Another cool feature of Instapaper is the Text only mode where it transforms your saved links into a beautifully reformatted versions that strip out ads and other distractions.

Many popular apps and devices supports saving to Instapaper such as Google Reader, Twitter or you can even email the link to an article to your private Instapaper email address.

After you're done reading the link, you can either delete it or archive them in folders for safekeeping. Of course there are similar tools for reading later like Read It Later or Delicious but only Instapaper does it beautifully and right. That's why Instapaper deservingly made it to Time's 50 Best Websites of 2011. Get your free Instapaper account now.

My Supplement

Dieting & weight loss is a huge industry. People spent billions every year on weight loss products, diet food and exercise machines to get that ideal weight. For me personally, I don't believe in supplements and expensive exercise machines. I like to do it the natural and least expensive way. Yes supplements might work for some people, even if the product is totally BS, at least the placebo effect will make them think that they have lost weight. At least for a while. Me, I have never taken any forms of so-called diet food or supplements. I watch what I eat. I eat small portions of food, avoid snacks and junk/fatty food and exercise regularly, every day whenever possible. People nowadays have it easy. They eat too much and didn't do anything remotely physical let alone exercise. They drive everywhere, park in front of the door step and take elevators. And you wonder so many people become obese every year. I don't want to become part of the statistic.

That's why every morning, I will get up at 6:15 am and jog for 2 miles around my neighbourhood. At least I try my best to when it doesn't rain or my alarm clock doesn't fail me. It's tough to wake up that early, especially for working people. But tough is just another excuse. Excuse is just a state of mind. Excuses are for weak people. You want to change how you look then do something about it. Don't let anything get in your way. Eat healthy food, exercise and a huge dose of will power are everything you need to succeed in your weight loss program. Forget about those expensive supplements or diet food or exercise machines. Most of them won't last for long if you don't have the willpower to change.

So here are my supplements. One small Sony Walkman and a pair of cheap Power running shoes which has been abused mercilessly every day and not very sightly to post here. My wife bought that running shoes for 170 ringgit for my birthday 2 years ago. Of course if you can afford Nike or Adidas then by all means buy it. I bought the 1GB Walkman for about 150 ringgit 3 years ago and it had gone through the washing machine once, dried up in the sun for a month and yet survived to this very day. I have also replaced the broken earphone twice, with the latest being this awesome one from Senheiser. In addition to that I also like to listen to great music while I run. Music that makes you want to rock your head back and forth, jiggle your body or run a little bit faster. It may be pop, hip-hop or rock & roll, evergreen, doesn't matter. As long as it sounds great to you. If you like you can download all the music that is currently in my Walkman right now below.

So altogether I spent about 280 ringgit for the Walkman and replacement earphones over 3 years to lose 20 kilos. Not so bad I think. The rest is about stopping yourself from indulging in the good things in life like fast food and that second helping during dinner. And don't eat rice. The fastest way to look slimmer is by avoiding rice, trust me. You can see the difference in a month. Yes your friends or family might not be very helpful seeing you eat so little during lunch or dinner, just ignore them. If they love you they will understand and support you. In the end if you succeed, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Success, it's a state of mind.

Afif's awesome running playlist

Ahmad Dhani & The Rock - Munajat cinta 
Garbage - Push it
Jay Z - Dirt off your shoulder 
Selena Gomez - Who says 
The Script - The man who can't be moved

For Sale: HTC Wildfire Android [Sold]

Dear friends. Today we have one very fine HTC Wildfire Android smartphone for sale. This phone is only 2 months old and is currently owned by yours truly, me. As with any of my gadgets, I take a really good care of this phone. Never dropped it or let Adam or Mia plays with it. This phone comes with a screen protector film, 2GB SD card, charger, sync cable, handsfree kit and a free unused pouch.

The HTC Wildfire is a decent entry level Android smartphone. It's installed with the latest Android 2.2 software with HTC Sense from HTC. Yes Android 2.3 is the latest but you'll have to root the phone to get that one which I haven't done to this phone yet. Other specs include 3.2" capacitive touchscreen, 5 Megapixel autofocus camera and weighs only 118 grams. Hardly noticeable in your pocket.

What I like most about this phone is the complete Google Accounts integration. You can send emails with attachments straight from the Gmail app and it will sync all your Gmail contacts with the phone's contact. The camera is pretty awesome too, well, certainly a lot better than my old 3 Megapixel iPhone 3GS camera. The reason I'm selling this one is simply because I'm moving on with a bigger, better phone. This phone is selling for only RM550.00 which is far below the RM700.00 market price for a new phone. If you are interested, feel free to contact me via email, Facebook or Twitter or call me direct at +6 019 2245907. Delivery is by post or cash on delivery.

Phone has just been sold. Thank you.

Rest in peace Steve

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it"