Friday, January 31, 2014

KFC Golden Wrap Chicken promotion set

On the way back to hometown for my Chinese New Year holiday, I stopped by Tapah R&R (Rehat & Rawat) station for dinner, and found a new menu item in KFC - the Golden Wrap Chicken (纸包鸡) with new Orleans flavour.

Golden Wrap Chicken is a Cantonese recipe, and is a famous dish of several Chinese restaurants (of Leong Ya (梁雅) family) in Seri Kembangan and Puchong, Selangor.

Last year around Chinese New Year, KFC Malaysia offerred their first Golden Wrap Chicken promotion set for a limited time, but I didn't try it.

Now, the Golden Wrap Chicken is back to KFC Malaysia and also some other places including KFC Taiwan. There is a change in its recipe too. Last year the KFC Golden Wrap Chicken is cooked together with mushrooms and corns, and this year, the corns are gone, and it has a new Orleans flavour.

The RM9.95 KFC Golden Wrap Chicken Combo set comes with 2 pieces of paper wrapped chicken and 1 large cup of Revive isotonic drink. There is another RM39.90 Golden Wrap Feast set available, which has more items.

I personally found the KFC Golden Wrap Chicken tastes even better than their fried chicken. It worth a try.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Streaming internet live TV, movie, drama, etc. to Android TV box with Togic and music video, MTV, etc. with Rainbow

If you have a China made Android TV box such as HiMedia and you are located outside China, you will probably experience that the live TV, movie, drama, show, etc. often don't stream smoothly even though you have a high speed broadband Internet.

One of the way to overcome this with HiMedia Q-series Android TV box is to manually pick to use the server in Hong Kong (default is automatically picked, and all other servers are located inside China).

I found that the 3rd party app called Togic liveTV (泰捷视频) works well internationally too. It also has a location setting which we need to set to Hong Kong - Hong Kong. It will then help us to choose the best streaming source, and most of the time, I am able to watch HD programme or HD movie with Togic without any lag in transmission.




Togic is actively maintained. The app has frequent new version update, and its video sources are updated on daily basis. You can always find the latest episode of TV show or drama in Togic. The movies are quite up-to-date too.

If you like to watch music video or sing KTV, you will probably find that most music video app produced in China does not work well outside China. You will even get error message when trying to watch the music video, stating that the video cannot be played at your region due to copyright problem.

However, there is one called Rainbow (彩虹音乐) which works well internationally. They claim that their music videos are licensed by original copyright holders.


The above are 2 of my favourite apps in my HiMedia Q5II dual-core Android TV box.

If you have come across with other good apps for Android TV box, feel free to share with me.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Upgraded my HiMedia Q5II Android TV box firmware to Mango Hi Q v1.0.5

My HiMedia Q5II Android TV box comes with firmware v1.0.2 (released in early September 2013). Subsequent to that, they have released firmware v1.0.3 in October 2013 and v1.0.4 in December 2013. Both of them were found buggy with numerous complaints from users.

In January 2014, HiMedia has worked together with Mango TV (芒果 TV) to come out with Mango Hi Q (芒果嗨Q) firmware v1.0.5 which is pretty good.

You can download the Mango Hi Q firmware for HiMedia Q-series dual core Android TV boxes here.

Make sure you download the firmware that matches with the model number of your HiMedia Q-series dual core Android TV box. If the label on your box has the wording of "eMMC" (which is the newer version sold to the market since November 2013 onwards), download the firmware for EMMC version. Otherwise, download the firmware for non-EMMC version.

The firmware upgrade file for my non-EMMC HiMedia Q5II Android TV box is update_dualcore_Q5.zip. I put it in a USB drive, plug the USB drive into one of the USB port of the TV box, and tried to flash it into the box by using a pin to press its "reset" button and boot up the box. The upgrade failed. Apparently this is due to the firmware that pre-installed in my box is English version instead of Chinese version.

I then renamed the file in my USB drive to become update_dualcore_Q5_en.zip, and tried again. This time, the upgrade is successful, and I got Mango Hi Q v1.0.5 in my box.


The default language of Mango H Q user interface is Chinese. You can set it to English by going to Settings (the right most tab at the bottom of above screen), look for Language and Input Method (the icon is a square box with an "A" at the center), change the Language ("语言") to English.

After you installed Mango Hi Q firmware, you will notice the following are missing:
  • HiTV
  • LiveTV
  • HiStore
  • Google Play Store
  • Web browser
You can restore back HiTV, LiveTV by download and install this APK into your TV box:
Alternatively, you can download and install the Jailbreak APK into your TV box, and run it once: http://pan.baidu.com/s/1eQDWWT0

After that, you can remove the Jailbreak APK.

You can also restore back the built-in web browser through the pre-installed WiFi Analyzer app. Just go to Online Help in WiFi Analyzer once, and the web browser will be back.

As for the missing HiStore and Google Play Store, I use 7PO Market (奇珀市场) as alternative.



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Windows XP end of life on April 2014

Microsoft has once again announced that they will terminate the technical support for Windows XP, with a firmed date on 8 April 2014.

This means that they will no longer release new bug fixes and security patches for Windows XP after the deadline. Technical assistances for Windows XP will also be ceased. They will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on that date.

Anyhow, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to anti-malware signatures and engine for existing Microsoft Security Essentials running on Windows XP until 14 July 2015. This security support deadline also applies to System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection and Windows Intune running on Windows XP for enterprise users.

On 13 July 2010, Microsoft ended their support to Windows 2000, which was once widely used in enterprise as well as in banks' ATM machines, retailers' Point-of-Sale (POS) systems, etc. Since then, Windows XP has replaced Windows 2000 to become the de-facto standard for embedded operating system of those ATM machines, POS systems, etc.

The ATM machines, POS systems, etc. that use the stripped-down version of Windows XP known as Windows XP Embedded will still get support from Microsoft until 12 January 2016, two more years to go before the embedded OS reaches its end of life.

According to NetMarketShare website, Windows XP is still the world's 2nd mostly used desktop operation system in the world to date, commanding a market share of more than 28%. The top desktop operation system is Windows 7 with more than 47% market share.

If you still have any computer running on Windows XP, you can still continue to use it after 8 April 2014, but any new security vulnerability would not be fixed by Microsoft. There will still be 3rd party security and antivirus software continue to provide protection to your Windows XP computer.

If you plan for an upgrade, the most popular Windows 7 is a good choice and its end of life date is set to 14 January 2020, 6 more years to go. Of course, you can also consider the latest Windows 8 which received a lot of criticisms.

Alternatively, you might want to switch over to the Apple's world using Mac OS X as operating system. Apple iMac and MacBook has regained popularity upon the success of iPhone and iPad over the past few years.

For PC users, you can also switch over to Linux operating system. Ubuntu Desktop is a famous one and it is free. Ubuntu has a shorter end of life than Windows, whereby its Long Term Support (LTS) versions receive support from Canonical for 5 years only. However, you can always upgrade your PC to the latest version of Ubuntu for free.

For manufacturers and vendors of ATM machines, POS systems, they are most likely switching over to Linux or Android operating system, and say bye-bye to Microsoft. Android has gained its popularity as embedded system, particularly in TV boxes, car navigation systems, etc.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lazada launches iOS app for iPhone / iPad with RM30 voucher given to downloaders

A good news for Apple mobile devices users!

Lazada, the e-commerce online shopping website in Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Phillipines) that is established by the famous German-based international online business incubator Rocket Internet GmbH, is going to launch their Lazada iOS app for iPhone/iPad on 16 January 2014.

Lazada online shopping website at http://www.lazada.com.my was launched in Malaysia in April 2012. Initially, they faced quite a lot of hiccups and customer complaints, particularly in year 2012. My recent 2 purchases with them (one done in year 2013, one in 2014) convinced me that they have improved a lot, because I received my goods promptly with friendly email and SMS delivery status update, and the whole buying experience is good.

Lazada has already launched their Android app in June 2013. To date, the Lazada app for Android received more than 100k installs since August 2013, but yet to hit the 500k installs target.

In conjunction with the launching of Lazada iOS app, you will get a RM30 voucher if you download the app from Apple iTunes App Store and install it on your Apple mobile device.

Click the ads below to download the Lazada iOS app.



Note that the offer is valid for 3 days only for downloads between 16-18 January 2014. The RM30 voucher can only be used via the iOS app. The terms and conditions for this promo is available after you clicked on the ads above.

Lazada plans to surprise three lucky shoppers who have made a purchase through the new app by giving away three vouchers worth RM500. This lucky draw is eligible to shoppers purchasing using the app from 19 to 31 January 2014.

For Android users, you can also download the Lazada App for Android here.

If you want to shop using the Lazada e-commerce website, please click the Lazada ads on the right of this webpage.

The pros and cons of WiFi frequencies 2.4GHz and 5GHz

Nowadays all WiFi access points (APs) or wireless network routers work on the 2.4GHz band of wireless frequency, while the newer dual-band devices also support the 5GHz band.

The WiFi standards that work on 2.4GHz band are:

  • 802.11b (speed is up to 11Mbps)
  • 802.11g (speed is up to 54Mbps)
  • 802.11n (speed is up to 150Mbps for 20MHz channel width, 300Mbps for 40MHz channel width)
The WiFi standards that work on 5GHz band are:
  • 802.11a (speed is up to 54Mbps)
  • 802.11n (speed is up to 150Mbps for 20MHz channel width, 300Mbps for 40MHz channel width)
  • 802.11ac (speed can reach 6.8Gbps with 8 antennas running at 160Mhz channel width)
For the dual-band WiFi AP or router, you can turn on either one of the frequency bands, or turn on both of them at the same time.

The pros / advantages of 2.4GHz band:
  • Has a wider signal coverage area.
  • Better penetration through walls and physical barriers.
  • WiFi b/g/n supported by all wireless devices
The cons / disadvantages of 2.4GHz band:
  • As most of the WiFi devices are using this band, it could be congested with a lot of interference if there are a lot of WiFi devices nearby.
  • Out of its 13 available channels, only Channel 1, 6, 11 are not overlapping.
  • Might get interference from microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices, wireless keyboard/mouse, cordless phones, etc. which are also operate on 2.4GHz frequency band.
The pros / advantages of 5GHz band:
  • At the mean time, few WiFi devices are using this band, so it is less congested with much lesser interference.
  • Has 23 non-overlapping available channels.
  • Supports much higher network speed with 802.11ac standard.
The cons / disadvantages of 5GHz band:
  • Has smaller signal coverage area.
  • Poor penetration power through walls and physical barriers.
  • Older wireless devices might not be able to work on this band.
  • Might get interference from radar which also operates on 5GHz frequency band.

Below is the WiFi signals detected in a shopping mall. You can see how congested is the 2.4GHz band and how clear is the 5GHz band. Congestion and interference can cause wireless connection problems such as intermittent connection lost, slow speed, unable to establish connection with AP, etc.



I am sure you will get similar result at your office or in your residence when your neighbours are also using WiFi.

If you have mobile devices that can work on 5GHz band and you have a dual-band AP/router, you might probably want to turn on both of them to get the best of both worlds.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Auspicious dates for ground-breaking of new building construction in 2014

Here is the list of auspicious dates in year 2014 for ground-breaking ceremony (动土) of new building construction. It is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)


Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

You might probably be interested to also find out the auspicious dates in 2014 for:

You might probably be interested to also find out for:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The historical relationship between FIFA World Cup and stock market performance

The 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament will take place in Brazil from 12 June until 13 July 2014. Have you wonder what will be its immediate impact to the stock market before, during, and after the tournament?

Based on historical charts of Dow Jones and KLCI from 1990 until today, I have summarized the stock market performance in US and Malaysia during the years with FIFA World Cup, for the short period of early May to end July. The FIFA World Cup normally held in summer of northern hemisphere (around June) and last for about a month.

Here is the summarized chart (click to enlarge):


Based on historical stock market performance, in the US market, there is equal chance to be sideline (yellow box), trending up (green box), or trending down (red box) before and during the FIFA World Cup tournament. After the tournament, it is very likely to go down. Historically from 1990-2010, only 2006 US market goes up after the tournament.

For the Malaysian stock market, it has high chance of going down before the tournament, sideline during the tournament, and going up after the tournament.

These are the considerations during the FIFA time which might affect the stock market performance:

  • Retail participants in stock market might allocate their time and money to football gambling, therefore temporary gone out of the stock market.
  • In Malaysia, as FIFA held in western host country happens at mid-night, the market participants who watch the matches during mid-night might be sleeping during market opening time, or not having enough concentration to the market.
  • The FIFA news will overwhelm other news, including industry and business news.
So, what will happen to the stock market this year around FIFA time? Let's wait and see.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Pro features in Timely Alarm Clock App for Android set free by Google after they acquired Bitspin

It is officially announced that Google has recently acquired Bitspin, the small Switzerland company founded by some ETH Zurich's computer science graduates.


Bitspin produces the famous beautiful Android app called Timely Alarm Clock, which has accumulated more than 1 million downloads within a year.

Timely is available for free in Google Play store, and now its in-app purchase features are also made free. Good news to all that haven't purchased the in-app features, and bad news for those who already spent some money on the app.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Online emulator website to demo OpenWRT LuCI, DD-WRT, Gargoyle, Netgear, TP-Link, Asus, Linksys and D-Link wireless router firmware GUI

If you are looking for an online emulator to let you try out the web interface of wireless router firmwares including OpenWRT LuCI, DD-WRT, Gargoyle and stock firmware for Netgear, TP-Link, Asus, Linksys and D-Link, they are actually available in the Internet.

This is particularly useful if you intend to flash your wireless router's stock firmware to an alternative, and you want to evaluate the functionality and looks-and-feels of such firmwares before finalizing your decision.

This is also useful if you intend to buy a new wireless router, and still indecisive among Netgear, TP-Link, Asus, Linksys or D-Link.

However, except for TP-Link, Asus, Linksys and D-Link, the online emulator website I found is in French. That should not be a big issue, as most of the firmwares are multilingual and allow you to switch its interface to English. In addition, if you are using Google Chrome to access the website, or you have installed Google Translate add-on to your web browser, Google Translate in your web browser will prompt you if you need a real-time translation to the website you are viewing.

Here are the URLs to the respective wireless router online emulators:


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Stay Free From Credit Card Debts

With a new year dawning, it’s time to establish a relatively clean start. Whether or not you have old credit card debts, it’s best to make a conscious decision to avoid accumulating new debts in 2014.

While some may argue that incurring credit card is unavoidable, a measure of self-control and discipline goes a long way in allowing you to maintain your finances in a manageable state. Here are a few ways in which you can stay debt free (relatively) this 2014:


1. Lessen Credit Card Use

This is a no-brainer. While a more obvious answer would be to not use your credit card at all, we all know that that is not a realistic course of action. After all, credit cards exist for a specific reason. What is realistic is controlling your credit card usage to avoid overspending. Use your card only when it is the only option available, and even then mentally weigh if using your credit card is actually necessary. Lessening your actual use of the card lessens any possible debt you might get.
 

2. Prepare for Emergencies

Set aside some money so you can have an emergency fund. By having money prepared for unforeseen events and expenditures, you can dip into that emergency fund instead of reaching for your credit card.
 

3. Charge Within Your Means

If you do need to use your credit card, then use it for transactions you know you can afford. Keep in mind how much you’re actually purchasing and be sure to pay for your credit card bill in a timely manner, avoiding penalties, and interest fees.
 

4. Always Pay in Full

Credit card debts accumulate when you constantly have a balance that’s carried over in the following months. Make sure you place yourself in a state wherein you can afford to pay your monthly bill in full in order to avoid being burdened by long-term debts. Always be aware of what you have to pay and manage your finances accordingly. Remember, huge debts sometimes begin with small but neglected debts.
 

5. Try to Avoid Taking Out Cash Advances

Cash advances are very convenient, and that is why credit cardholders have a tendency to overdo them. Remember that just because you have the option to take out a cash advance doesn’t mean that you have to take that option. A cash advance is simply you borrowing money, and that results—obviously—in debt. Work on your financial situation to ensure that taking out a cash advance will never be necessary. (The aforementioned emergency fund is a great way to do this.)

 
6. Be Careful With Who You Allow to Use the Card

Some people are in credit card debt because someone else overused their card. This is something you can avoid simply by either being careful with who you give access to your credit card account, or just by simply not allowing anyone else to use your card.
 

7. Understand Your Credit Card Account

Ignorance is never an excuse, particularly when it comes to money. When you sign up for a credit card, that’s a financial commitment, and it’s your responsibility to know every detail of every term and condition that financial commitment has. In order for you to not be straddled with credit card debt, it’s always best to know what you’re entitled to and what you’re responsible for. That way, you know which mistakes you cannot afford to make when it comes to your credit card usage.

 
All in all, just be responsible with your credit card use and credit card debt would be the least of your worries. By taking the initiative to avoid credit card debt in the coming year, you can ensure yourself a more financially stable 2014.

Note: This is a guest post by Money Hero,  a Hong Kong’s leading financial comparison website which helps its readers to compare a broad range of financial products online - from credit cards to insurance plans.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

JuiceSSH the free SSH client for Android developed by Linux system admins

SSH client is an essential tool for us to have remote access to the command line console of Linux/Android/Unix system, be it a server or network device that we manage, or our own personal computer, or a TV box, etc.

In Windows system, most of us use PuTTY or similar SSH client to remotely connect to our Linux/Android/Unix system. Beside Windows, there are PuTTY for Symbian, Windows Mobile, iPhone, ... but where is the PuTTY for Android?

Nowadays we tend to carry a smartphone, perhaps together with a tablet with us, more often than carrying a laptop. In order to practically work on the text-based SSH terminal, the smartphone need to have a large screen, and smartphone that fulfil this requirement is very likely an Android phone. Perhaps the tablet that we carry with us is also an Android tablet. Therefore, the market demand for a good SSH client for Android is definitely there, and JuiceSSH that I'm going to introduce here is among the best I found so far.

With a good SSH client in our Android device, we can access to the server, network equipment or computer anytime, anywhere for emergency troubleshooting, configuration, administration, etc.

JuiceSSH is an all-in-one terminal client for Android. Beside Secure Shell (SSH), it also supports Mobile Shell (MOSH), Local Shell and the unencrypted Telnet. Support for file transfer with SCP and SFTP is in the pipeline. With Local Shell support, you can get into the command line console of your Android device.



JuiceSSH is developed by Paul Maddox (a Linux system architect) and Tom Maddox (a system administrator). Being frequent SSH users themselves, I believe they know well about what their users want. For example, JuiceSSH has a popup keyboard on top of the Android keyboard for the command line commonly used Esc key, arrow keys, PgUp, PgDown, etc.


JuiceSSH has a full colour terminal that supports UTF-8 characters (including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.). It also supports copy and paste within the session. It will open the web browser when an URL shown on its screen is tapped.

If you deal a lot with Linux/Android/Unix system, this is a good tool for you in your Android devices.


Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.