Happy Chinese New Year



Fifth day of Chinese New Year 2009 and back in KL after 4 days in Ipoh. It's the year of the Ox (or more commercially depicted as a cow) and I only have two more days before going back to work (*sob sob*). Oh well, I guess I can't be on holiday forever else I'd be unemployed. It seems that many families (mine included) opted for steam boat reunion dinners. My first reunion dinner was in KL at my third uncle's house with 'organic' yee-sang which IMO tastes funny 'cause of the raw veggies.

Loh hei!!
Next day was the drive back to Ipoh. Things started off OK - not much traffic but it rained heavily in Tanjung Malim until everyone was reduced to a crawl of 60km/h. In one word, tiring. It was the day of the solar eclipse and although the storm clouds in the sky were blocking the view of the sun, they were themselves breathtaking as they caught the shadows and reflected beams of light.

Dunno what happened in this pic though ... no planes were heard seen but this circle was formed in the sky. UFO maybe?!?

At nights, it was either playing mahjong or watching TV. The TV was being hogged by those busy watching the Austalian tennis open so some of my cousins made their own fun by camwhoring .... again. Here's a cleaned-up 'enhanced' version of the session (the original can be viewed here)

Third day of CNY was another yee-sang session but this time in Ipoh with my maternal side relatives. It ws the usual spread of 10-dishes (supposed to mean something but I forgot ... go google it!)

Fourth day was spent in my aunty's open house for lunch.

After that I went to Kinta City which was a parking nightmare in comparison to the 1Utamas and Sunways of KL. Perakians park EVERYWHERE and I mean that literally - double AND triple parking, parking on ramps leading to other floors, disabled parking - name it and they will park there. This is one place you must not hesitate as arguments are known to happen over car parks (and one nearly did ... hahaha). Overall, Kinta City is still the same as any other shopping centre but I guess since its the only one in Ipoh, everyone flocks there for shopping or just to loiter.

Fourth day of CNY and its time to make the journey back to KL. After clearing the house of perishables and disposing of the last remnants of rubbish, we departed at 12 noon. Made a stop over at Sungkai to visit some relatives there. Here's a pic of my niece and nephew!

My nephew is 4 years old is a big fan of lion dances ... uhm ... obsessed is more like it.

So thats how my first 5 days of CNY were (inclusive of eve) and I'll end my post here with another of my cousins' cam session videos. Enjoy while I go count angpow money :P (yeah ... I know)

(funny how Google video fingerprinted this video and banned it but not the earlier one ... let's see how long until Youtube bans this one)

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Web discoveries and gems!

The wonderful world of the Internet still surprises me sometimes with its quirks and unpredictable nature. Looking for oddities is probably one of my new hobbies and here are some that I've found this year


Hacked websites and 'server down'

New year's eve and was checking traffic on a local site when I saw this. I don't know when the site was hacked and the site has been offline since then.

The popular Low Yat site also faces server problems once in a while ... some of you might have seen this before with the bunny error message!


Speeling erors (sic)

Its kinda dissapointing to see spelling errors on websites, more so on a university website but I'm guessing this is an oversight in the translation from Malay to English or a really bad spel-chegger.

Bad data = unpredictable bargains!!

Once in a while, bad data does benefit the customer. I managed to grab this set at £8.99 last week and subsequently noticed they increased the price this week by £4!! (thats an increase of nearly RM22)

Also grabbed this 6 disc set at a unbeatable bargain of £2.99 (thats around RM17) two weeks back. Each volume is a DVD and CD combo with a 28 or 32 page book included about the artiste ... terrific value in my opinion. The set no longer exists on the site and searching brings no results but you can still find it at other locations such as Play.com or EzyDVD at a much higher price.

On the flip-side, would you buy this? Hurry limited stock and going for a steal at RM497.00!!

This page is still valid (as of 23rd Jan) and can be seen here. It actually reminds me of my earlier post here with the RM4000++ DVD set which (believe it or not) is STILL THERE!!.

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Another BIOS update for M5640 / M3640 / M1640

R01-B4 update!Sneaky Acer released another two BIOS updates for the M5640, with the latest being revision R01-B4 for Windows platforms only and its a large one in comparison with older revisions (over 2MB this time round). I totally missed the B3 revision 'cos I haven't been checking the sites for sometime.

What's changed? No documentation or readme was provided to list down the changes or fixes. The only major thing I notice is that the 'AUTO' option has been removed from the 'Installer OS select' parameter and now only lists 'Windows' or 'Linux'. I wonder if this will affect my attempts later to install MacOS ...

The other thing is the automatic shutdown option upon overheating has been removed from the PC Health Status section. Funny thing about this update is the default settings turn off all the options for wakeup using keyboard/LAN/mouse upon standby but that's easily changed. Anyways, BIOS downloads for these BIOS updates are only found on the European site. Direct links here:

R01-B4 for Windows only (Acer Euro site)
R01-B3 for Linux only(Acer Euro site)

P/S : The colour scheme hasn't changed and remains the same yellow text on blue. The pic above uses the alternative colour scheme obtainable by pressing F3.

UPDATE 5th June 2009!!!

TWO bios releases for Acer Aspire desktop models M5640/M5641/M3640/M1640 to version R01-C2. No noticeable changes to the BIOS in terms of menu options - so this might be a stability fix release (no documentation about features provided in any Acer site).

R01-C2 flashes in Windows using the AFUWIN executable whilst R01-C2L has a larger BIOS binary but only provides the MS-DOS flasher. Both work and don't seem to be any different other than version number ... so download the C2L version for the newer BIOS binary and C2 for the Windows flasher if you're not comfortable flashing with a boot device. Direct links to Acer servers as follows

Download R01-C2 with Windows-based flasher.
Download R01-C2L with CLI based flasher for DOS boot disks.

How I tuned my pitch pipe

Bought a vocal pitch pipe last year and it really is a good example of what you pay is what you get. At its ultra cheap price (RM20 = US$5.50 approx), this China-made pipe (manufacturer website in Chinese available here) has several notes in its 13-pitch C-C range off-key. Here's how I re-tuned the pipe to correct notes/frequencies the simple way.

Materials required
  1. Out-of-tune pitch pipe (duh!)
  2. Small pliers, unless your fingers are small/strong enough to hold the nut
  3. Jeweller's or any small screwdriver
  4. UHU glue (or any other tacky glue)
  5. PC with Audacity installed (or keyboard) to generate reference tones


Open the pitch pipe first by removing the mouthpiece (if it has one) by gently lifting from the bottom nut-side of the pipe. Once free from the bolt, slide the mouthpiece off.


Unscrew the solitary screw holding the pieces together to end up with the three sections. The black plastic piece is the air chamber that directs your breath into the correct pipe. The middle piece has the reeds that vibrate to create a note not unlike a normal whistle. The top metal piece basically forms a resonating chamber to amplify the note and also allow for air to escape without vibrating other reeds.


Each piece has a notch/pin to guide them into proper position for reassembly later. You can use a marker to mark the notes on the middle piece just in case you get confused - else look for the changes in reed lengths. A sudden change in the lengths indicate the C-C octave jump.


Generating fundamental tones in AudacityTo retune, first I generated the correct notes in Audacity using the built-in tone generator. The correct frequencies for the 13 pitches requires are as follows (in ascending order)
Note Frequency (Hz)
C 261.63
C#/Db 277.18
D 293.67
D#/Eb 311.13
E 329.63
F 349.23
F#/Gb 369.99
G 391.99
G#/Ab 415.31
A 440.00
A#/Bb 466.16
B 493.88
C’ 523.25


Using these tones, I found out that the notes C to F were too sharp. To 'flatten' them, I just used a tiny drop of UHU glue on the reed itself. UHU glue works very well here because it becomes tacky after a while to allow for changes before it hardens completely. If a note is too flat, you can 'sharpen' either by filing off a little (miniscule) amount from the reed. Else, a quick fix would be just to shorten the length of the affected reed by taping duct tape near the secure end to 'shorten' the reed.

After corrections, do a quick test blow on the note to check with the reference tones. If too flat, take the screwdriver (or small blade/pin) to scratch off a little glue. If too sharp add more glue. Repeat until correct tone is acquired. Continue with the rest of the notes until all are tuned or corrected. Leave the part to dry overnight when complete.

Once dry, reassemble the pieces following the notch and screw the bolt back into place. Slide in the mouthpiece and test again. If everything goes to plan, the pipe should be in pitch now.

[Note: Another way to do this is to use a small nail file to thin down the reeds or 'sharpen' the note and a little solder to lower the note but this would be even more troublesome as mistakes are not so easily rectified]

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First post of 2009!!

OK - scratch that last post last year below. I went to the countdown -again- at 1 Utama at the very last minute just to catch the fireworks. Crowd was huge, traffic was bad (walked over there), police were everywhere but I'm most grateful that foam sprays were banned (woohoo!!)

Here's a clip of the 10 minute firework display (minus about 2 minutes because I switched to photo mode for a few pix halfway when I though it was over) as taken from the old wing of 1 Utama. Its a pretty good spot to watch with a far smaller crowd, air conditioning from 1 Utama and no need for neck craning angles. Problems? Extreme contrast between the dark sky and bright lights/spot lights brings out the flaw in most digital camera LCD sensors with overloaded pixels, hence the solid line that appears vertically across the video at times. Additionally the explosions were so loud they overloaded the tiny mics causing distortion (plus many car alarms going off too!). Oh well ... here's hoping 2009 brings good fortune to everyone!