Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2016

Running in the Standard Chartered KL Marathon race has always been on my to-do list ever since I got involved in these racing events. It’s one of the biggest and well-known racing event in Malaysia featuring participants from all over the world. Last year I missed to sign up for the race since I delayed registering until well after 3 days and all the good (read: doable) categories are full. This year I registered bright and early I got my wife and I in the 10KM leisure category which cost us 70 ringgit each. It’s the highest race fee I’ve ever paid yet but I’m sure it’s well worth it.

So how did we prepare for the race. To be honest I didn’t train much. Believe or not I was recovering from my last hiking trip for a long time not to mention the number of days that I went down with one illness after another (mostly cold & fever). I lost one toe nail from my last hike (now two) and it took me a while to start running again. So in the month before the race I ran a total of 8 kilometers only which is needless to say highly inadequate for a 10K race. My wife, let’s just say she ran even less 😃

For race pack pick up, the organizer have choose an obscure mall in downtown KL called Kenanga Wholesale City. For 70 ringgit, we got the standard Adidas singlet race kit, running bib, a pair of batteries, some muscle cream and that’s it. Pretty crappy for a race of that prestige I must say. On to the race day. Since we didn’t flag off until 7:45 in the morning, we left home around 7:00 AM which was a mistake on our part. We didn’t take into account the number of roads leading to the starting point that were closed that day so we had to park about 1 kilometers away and rush to the starting point. I guess that counted as our warm up. Fortunately we got there with 10 minutes to spare so we did get to stretch family. Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman was crowded for sure and as the flag off the race we hustled slowly along with the crowd.

Unlike our previous races, I didn’t leave my wife behind and sped off in front of her. We jogged and ran together pretty much the entire race until the finish line. The route took us along Jalan Sultan Ismail along KLCC, Jalan Parlimen, Masjid Negara and back to Dataran. It wasn’t my best effort and to tell you the truth we walked about halfway through the race but at least we did it together. Our first StanChart KL Marathon. Hopefully we will do much better together in the future. We went to collect our medals after the obligatory picture-taking of course. We were given green apples instead of the usual bananas which I don’t really eat.

We didn’t hang around for long after the race and walked back to my motorbike to go home. Our plan of stopping by a restaurant in KL for breakfast was scrapped after one of our helmets went missing, as in stolen by somebody missing. I purposely brought my oldest and busted helmet and still they wanna steal that junk. We assessed all our options and I ultimately decided to risk it and go home with just one helmet. After some clever maneuvering and taking the Mex highway, we arrived safe and sound without any untoward incidents.

So that’s how our first KL Marathon was, it was filled with bitter sweet memories and an unfortunate ending. Next time we will seriously consider taking the train instead. How long did we take to finish 10K? An embarrassing 1 hour and 17 minutes LOL.

Get faster Internet by using 3rd party DNS

Ever wondered why you think you have subscribed to a sufficiently fast 30Mbps broadband but your web-browsing experience or Internet connection feel super slow? That might be due to your DNS or Domain Name System setting. You see, when you type let say into your browser’s address bar, you are actually telling the browser to go to the IP address on the world wide web. You see, computers and servers only understand numbers, specifically IP addresses like etc and they need a Domain Name Server (also confusingly called DNS) to translate those text into numbers.

So where are these Domain Name Servers located? Here, there and everywhere. Usually your home or office router setting is set to point to your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) (like Unifi, Time, Maxis, etc) DNS as default. While most of the time these local DNS will do the translating job just fine, sometimes they are overwhelmed or perhaps they’re just not doing a good job translating web addresses. That is why a lot of people uses 3rd party DNS servers as their default DNS IP addresses to get faster Internet connection. There are perhaps hundreds of alternative DNS providers to choose from out there but the two most popular 3rd party DNS providers out right now are Open DNS and Google DNS. (Open DNS is also good for preventing hacks and website filtering)

But don’t just take my word for it, you can actually run a test yourself to determine which DNS provider is best for you. Namebench is an open source program that run tests find out which DNS could provide a faster Internet connection than your current one based on your location. To download Namebench go on to their github page and choose the right version for your operating system. Open Namebench and then click Start Benchmark. Namebench will then ping various DNS servers and then record their connection speed at the end. This process will take at least half an hour so don’t be alarmed when it goes on for some time.

Take my home broadband connection for example which uses TM’s DNS servers. The Namebench test that I ran found out I could get up to 809.7% faster connection by using 3rd party DNS servers. The servers that it recommended based on my location are Google’s public DNS and P1’s DNS. Google DNS because they’re generally the fastest DNS server out there and P1 since it is nearer. So I just set my primary DNS to Google ( and secondary DNS to P1 ( and watch how my Internet connection goes up at least 5–6 times faster. Usually the video would occasionally buffer when I watch them in HD on YouTube but after changing my DNS they played smoothly.

So what are you waiting for? Go change your DNS addresses now and see the difference in speed. How-to Geek has an excellent tutorial on how to change the DNS addresses on your computer and router. Just remember if you change the DNS on one of your computers, it might have difficulty accessing network shares or shared printers if they’re using different DNSs. Therefore it is safer to set your DNS in your router so that all your computers and devices use the same DNS.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 review

The Redmi Note 3 is a midrange smartphone by Xiaomi, the successor to the hugely popular Redmi Note 2. From the official the statistics, the Redmi Note 3 is the best-selling smartphone in the Malaysian market and for good reasons. It has a sturdy unibody metal design, with powerful Snapdragon 650 processor, large 5.5” display, fingerprint scanner and a generous 4050mAh battery and all for as low as RM599 for an AP set from a local reseller. A complete package for somebody looking for an entry level smartphone with good specs.

Having bought and used the Redmi Note 2 myself, it is only natural that I bought the Redmi Note 3. It is a major upgrade from the Note 2 and the full metal body and huge battery are two major pulling factor for my purchase. The Note 3 Pro specs unit that I got features a Snapdragon 650 processor which differs from the earlier Note 3 version which has a Mediatek processor instead. In the box, I got the regular wall charger and standard USB 2.0 cable and that’s it. No earphones or other accessories. As expected of a note-type phone, the screen is quite large at 5.5". However the glass is not edge to edge like the Redmi Note 2 and many other phones and there's a significant bulge from the bezel separating the screen and the frame. I didn't really notice it at first looking at the review videos but up close I feel its one of those design decisions that could have avoided. Out of the box it comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop with the clean MIUI 7 interface. As of writing I have just received the MIUI 8 update featuring a few cosmetic updates but still no Marshmallow.

The fingerprint sensor is easy to setup and works really well. The screen unlocks almost immediately as soon as you place your finger on the scanner. It’s a pity you can’t assign the fingerprint scanner for something else like a camera shutter or for locking the screen. That said, you can use the fingerprint feature to lock apps so that only you can open them. The Snapdragon 650 processor is complemented with the snappy Adreno 510 graphics processor which delivers a fluid gaming experience. The 16GB variety of the Redmi Note 3 comes with 2GB of RAM and the 32GB version comes with 1GB more RAM for a hundred ringgit more. The Note 3 supports dual SIM cards although the second tray doubles as a micro SD slot so you had to choose between dual SIM or extra storage.

My overall experience with using the 32GB version is pretty good with smooth operation and virtually no lag when running graphic-intensive games. I particularly love the big 4050mAh battery which could easily last me 24 hours with moderately heavy use. The IR blaster is still included and despite the various devices featured in the Remote app, it only works with newer electronic devices from major manufacturers.

Now that I have covered the good parts, on with the not so good things. The unibody metal body sure looks and feels premium but the curved back design somehow makes it a bit slippery for my hands. And my kids were the first to prove it when they dropped the phone, twice from their bare hands. Sure you can always put on a plastic casing but that will only make it thicker and I don’t like thick and heavy phones in my pocket.

Another thing I liked about the Note 3 is the micro SD slot. As with their other budget phones, Xiaomi decided to include the ever so useful micro SD slot. However since it still runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, I can’t take advantage of the adoptable storage capabilities of Marshmallow or later which would enable me to combine my micro SD card space with the internal phone storage. As for now I can only store photos, video, audio and other document types on the SD card but no apps installation other than on the internal storage. Which is a bummer because adoptable storage is one of the most best features to come out of Marshmallow and Android operating system in general. Sure there are talks of Marshmallow updates coming for the Note 3 but I doubt it will come anytime soon or even at all. This is not uncommon for most budget and midrange phones where the manufacturer took the latest OS updates pretty much for granted (maybe its not worth it?).

Sample picture with the Redmi Note 3

Sample low-light picture

Camera quality for the 16MP rear shooter is decent to say the least. You won’t get flagship Samsung or iPhone quality here of course but in daylight, the picture quality is okay. I can’t say the same in low light though where there’s noticeable noise and grain in the pictures. Video recording supports 1080p HD with slow motion and time-lapse but no 4K though.

In a nutshell, the Redmi Note 3 is a good offering by Xiaomi for the midrange market as proven by the sales statistics. It offers good specifications at a pretty affordable price. However if you are used to having flagship devices you will quickly find the Note 3 falling pretty short in your expectation. The camera is not that great and don’t expect the latest Android updates to come out for your phone if ever. I for one found it to be rather inadequate to be my second/backup phone hence why I have sold it after just 2 months. I don't really mind it not having USB type C, NFC or a great camera but the lack of Marshmallow update is a real dealbreaker. But for that price range I would still say the Redmi Note 3 is the best, value for money entry level midrange smartphone in its category. Despite some of its flaws I would definitely recommend it for you instead of one of those Asus, Huawei, Lenovo or Oppo phones with similar price. You can get it in 3 exciting colors, namely silver, dark grey and gold. Just don’t bother trying to buy it from the official Xiaomi Malaysia website though because they are perpetually sold out (maybe they were busy or occupied making water filters, rice cookers or some stupid shit). Get one from established local resellers instead like DirectD and for a hundred ringgit less too. And remember to ask for one with Pro specs (Snapdragon processor) and global ROM (not China one).