surface booth babes

It’s finally here! I had a sneak peak at the ultra-light Microsoft Surface RT during the Windows 8 launch in Singapore last year and was very impressed by it. It’s a thin, sleek and amazingly crafted device functions and both a tablet and laptop!

surface rt launch party

The Surface RT Launch Party was held in Publika on the 25th of April.

microsoft surface

There was a lot of people lining up to be the first in Malaysia to own one of these babies.

tablet made into skateboard

There’s even a custom-built skateboard from a Microsoft Surface device! Carlos Lacerda, the Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia came on stage on one of these to deliver his speech.

tablet skateboard

They basically turned a Surface into a skateboard. Check it out! It’s incredible! :)

elecoldxhot

There was also a performance by a dance crew Elecoldxhot featuring Surface devices. I’ve seen them before and they really hyped up the crowd at the launch.

danny ong

Danny Ong, the Chief Marketing and Operations Officer gave a demonstration of the capabilities of the Surface RT device.

mizz nina surface launch

Mizz Nina also came on-stage to do an impressive choreographed song and dance routine.

mizz nina windows surface

She is also an early adopter of the Surface and told us how using it has allowed her to write songs, review contracts and proposals while keeping in touch with her fans on social media and playing games at the same time!

surface launch

Everyone had a chance to check out the Surface in detail at the demonstration booths all around. It’s really quite impressive and loaded with cool features!

Full size USB port
There’s a full size USB port on the Surface (as in the tablet, not the top – lame joke) which allows you to connect to all sorts of devices. You can plug in anything from a thumb drive to external card readers for your digital camera memory card.
MicroSD slot
The Surface also has a microSD slot so you can expand the memory of the device or transfer files. It’s a feature that is lacking in a lot of other tablets, and a very important one.
HD video-out
It also had a HD video-out port so you can connect it to a large screen television to to show off your vacation photos at home to friends or present a slideshow during a business meeting. It’s the ports on the Surface that makes it so versatile.

surface rt

Touch Cover / Type Cover
There are two options for the Surface device:

  • Touch Cover comes in five vibrant colors and comes with a slim, spill-resistant keyboard
  • Type Cover combines the speed and comfort of a classic keyboard with a super-thin classic keyboard

Unlike other tablets which are not designed to be a hybrid, the Surface does not require third party or aftermarket keyboards to turn it into a notebook. The laptop functionality is built natively into the tablet – the two types of covers comes with an magnetically attached keyboard! There’s a kickstand on the tablet that allows you to use it like how you’ll use a regular laptop.

surface office apps

Surface starts at RM 1,549 and comes with Windows RT – a touch operating system that allows you to have the full Windows experience that you’re used to. There’s Live Tiles and you can download the apps you want from Windows Store. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT is also included so you can get all your work done as you would with a regular laptop! I was really impressed by it.

surface skateboard

(and also the Surface tablet custom made into a skateboard)

surface owners

Serious. Fun. Starts. Meet Surface.

cooking belinda

I had the awesome opportunity to cook with Belinda Chee a couple of days ago! She created a hearty Fish and Vegetable Soup recipe and I helped her create the dish. It’s a contest called Celebrity Potluck organized by MAGGI and we were the second team to present a dish.

maggi celebrity cooking

I asked Belinda about why she choose this recipe – it’s something that she cooks herself at home and it’s easy to cook but tastes delicious at the same time.

maggi kitchen

The first team came up with a Seafood/Vegetable Tom Yam Soup. Peter Davis (of Mixed Martial Arts fame) cooked the first one and Sazzy Falak cooked the vegetarian version. It’s basically the same thing, except one has more protein in it, had a nice chat with Peter about MMA competitions and weights categories too.

belinda chee

Anyway, I actually cooked twice in this MAGGI Celebrity Potluck event. The first was helping Belinda out with her recipe and it goes like this:

fish vege soup recipe

Yup! I didn’t realize that the walls of MAGGI Masak-Masak Kitchen was actually hand-written with the 3 recipes from the 3 different teams. It was so nicely done I thought it was the décor!

sixthseal belinda

The trick to Belinda’s Fish and Vegetable soup is to stir-fry the thinly sliced shallots with a bit of oil in the pot first before anything else. Chopped garlic and ginger was added to the mix and sautéed for a while for that extra bit in taste.

chef muluk

The item that makes this really fast and easy are the MAGGI Ikan Bilis Stock Cubes. These are soup cubes (ikan bilis is the local word for anchovies) that produces the wonderful flavor and aroma. It’s really very versatile as I came to find out later.

tasting

I tasted it while we were cooking and it’s delicious! You just need 2 MAGGI Ikan Bilis Stock Cubes for 1 litre of water – it’s a standard, convenient pre-measure that makes it easy to scale up or down.

sarawakians

That makes it really convenient to cook delicious and fast dishes! Two MAGGI stock cubes for each liter of water, it can’t get any easier than that. It’s also surprisingly tasty since the ingredients they use basically concentrates the flavors so you get instant stock/soup/topping/whatever you can think of.

cooking belinda chee

The Fish and Vege Soup was left to simmer for 15 minutes and served to the audience afterwards. I didn’t get to eat this one coz it was all gone by the time I got down from the kitchen on the stage. Haha!

mystery ingredient cookoff

No worries though coz there’s a second cooking competition! I was paired with Belinda again and 4 other members of the media joined us for the MAGGI Mystery Ingredient team challenge to create a dish with the following:

  • 1 mystery ingredient
  • MAGGI Stock Cubes
  • Ingredients from the table
  • 30 minutes for everything

mystery ingredient

It felt like a I was in one of the popular cooking shows on TV. Heh. We got “Dory Fish Fillet” from the mystery box and there was a mad rush to grab items from the table.

ingredients table

We could only use those and some of them were nicked by other teams and once it’s taken, it’s gone, we had to make do with what’s left!

masak masak kitchen

Our well equipped kitchen island!

dory fish fillets

We wanted to make something a little different so we went fusion and decided to bake the fish fillets. We’ll just use ginger, garlic, shallots, button mushrooms and celery (I know, a lot of people went “Celery?” too, but it worked out well) to pile on top of the dory fish fillets.

baking

The fillets were sliced and then marinated – the most important part of the cooking. It was a quick marinade (more of a topping) made with MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes. We crushed two of the cubes into 2 tablespoons of water (it’s very versatile – you can use it like this too) and then realized we didn’t have starch to thicken the mixture (!!!).

cooking contest

Luckily, there was custard powder on the table. It’s flavor neutral e.g. not sweet, and it coagulates the tom yam topping to the texture we wanted, so that’s perfect! We dissolved that into the hot water with 2 MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes and poured the mixture on top of the fish fillets before adding MAGGI Thai Chilli Sauce and MAGGI Concentrated Chicken Stock and chucking it into the preheated oven (220 Celsius) for 5 minutes.

siamese fish fillets

We were running out of time and we thought 5 minutes wasn’t enough but that’s all the time we had in the 30 minute cooking challenge. It turned out fine coz dory fish fillets cooks really fast! We all tasted it and concluded it was delicious!

judges

I ate a lot of it myself coz it was so good! There were a couple of fish fillets left after we plated 3 of them for the judges (Siew Ling, the Brand Manager was one of them) and everyone came in and ate some. We didn’t have enough to serve everyone – it’s my fault guys, sorry, I was the one who ate the rest of the fish fillets. I evaded the question at the time, but it was me who ate it all. I apologize. It was tooooo good! smirk

team belinda

Our dish was presented to the judges and we didn’t win but we all got a consolation prize anyway! It was a large senduk (a kitchen utensil used for scooping stuff from liquids) which was perfect! I cook a lot more nowadays since it’s a common hobby I share with my girlfriend. I cook for her sometimes, she cooks for me sometimes. The MAGGI stock cubes will really come in handy here. I want to try out Awal’s recipe for Golden Braised Chicken with Fresh Mushrooms. It was the winner and a well deserved one! It’s so tasty that I must cook it at home – I shall be using the recipe add to my kitchen accomplishments! Haha! :)

maggi stock

It was a really fun session! Thanks for helping with the photos Sue Ann! :) I got to cook in a nice kitchen (the MAGGI Masak-Masak Kitchen is really something) and got great tips from the MAGGI Executive Chef (Chef Muluk) and I learned the versatility that comes with MAGGI Stock Cubes. The sky is the limit, it’s not just for soup, but can be used for practically anything! I can’t wait to try it in my kitchen. I’m planning to cook a nice dinner as a surprise for my girlfriend during our anniversary and I bet she’ll love the golden braised chicken. It’s always better to cook than to eat out, I believe – cooking comes from the heart.

maggi celebrity potluck

We named our dish Siamese Fish Fillets. The crunchy texture of the shallots and ginger goes really well with the baked dory fish fillets topped with MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes. I’ll share the recipe we used if anyone is interested! :)

cambodia pancakes

I was in Siem Reap in Cambodia and found street vendors selling the ubiquitous meant-for-Caucasian-tourist pancakes that I thought are similar to the ones that are sold in Bali.

cambodian roti canai

They’re not the same!

cambodian pancake

This is actually a Cambodian style roti canai – it’s practically made the same way. You can have it with Nutella, banana, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, Milo or combinations of the above for just 3,000 KHR (0.75 USD).

banana chocolate pancake

It’s served differently though. We had a banana and chocolate pancake and it’s rolled up in a piece of paper so it’s easier to eat.

cambodian pancakes

It’s fast food, Cambodian style!

Closer to home, I saw this TV commercial featuring Usain Bolt running through KL city:

If you don’t know who he is, I honestly don’t know what to say. smirk He’s just the fastest man in the world, being the first person to hold the 100 meter and 200 meter world record and also the first to win 6 Olympic gold medals in sprinting.

He’s faster than you can imagine and he’s now the official ambassador for the Celcom network.

Celcom has come up with the 4th generation of wireless mobile communications, dubbed 4G LTE. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and it’s 10 times faster than what you’re used to. It’s 100Mbps so think of it as a classic Cat5 cable (LAN cable) running at max speed (that’s the reference for all computer geeks like me ;)).

It was the fastest speed we could go in our university back then and to put 100Mbps into perspective:

  • Downloading a 5 MB song will take 2 seconds flat
  • Downloading a 750 MB movie will be completed in 5 minutes

…and all that on your smartphone!

Celcom has officially launched this service and you can get the 4G LTE modem at only RM 199 for the first 1,000 subscribers! Just visit Blue Cube @ Sunway, Pavilion or Menara Celcom and you’ll even get the first 3 months of data subscription totally FREE! Get more details on the fastest speed in town here or try your luck at winning a FREE LTE modem with 3 months data + subscription with your best Usain Bolt pose on the Celcom First Facebook page!

globebox cooling

Glove Box Cooling

Arkamys Audio System with 6-speakers

air bags

6 Airbag System smirk

kia rio launch

Haha! I was at the launch of the All-New Rio at The Curve just before I came back for the holidays. I booked my flight tickets the day after so I could be there. It seems like a very promising car, with a rather lofty tagline that got me intrigued.

There were performers using nothing but traffic cones and other day-to-day percussion instruments to do a choreographed intro which I liked a lot.

road rage

…and like a scene from West Side Story, a couple of menacing looking dudes armed with iron pipes came out – and started a hard charging dance of sorts.

percussion band traffic cones

Everything ties back to driving or automobiles so it’s good to see opening gambits that really makes sense instead of stuff that leaves you stretching you head and thinking “So what was that all about?”.

press con

Datuk Syed Abdul Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar also came on-stage before the launch of the all new Rio. He’s the COO of Naza Kia Malaysia and I bumped into him later at the press conference at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant.

/cue dramatic music

The launch gambit was also impressive in its own right. Having been to more than a few of these, I was expecting the usual and looked for when the car would be driven it. Watch the video! The cars are already there, and there were 3 Kia Rio vehicles that were unveiled to the hiss of smoke and the sound of revving engines.

kia launch malaysia

The all new Kia Rio has a lot of features that you wouldn’t expect to see in a car of this price range (OTR Prices: Rio 1.4 EX (RM73,888), SX (RM79,888)). It really is revolutionary. Or Riovolutionary.

rio front

It’s basically a 1.4 cc compact 5-door hatchback that comes in two variants. However that would be a bit like saying caviar is just fish roe.

kia rio back

Speaking of caviar, have you ever wanted a mini-fridge in your car? At least something that would cool down your drinks? The Kia Rio has it – the glove box is cooled! I think this would be the #1 selling point for me. Perfect for road trips in our weather.

rio back

Other awesome features:

  • LED Daytime Running Light
  • Static Bending Light (provides light where the steering wheel turns)
  • Safety Window (you won’t get your hand nipped when you accidentally wind up before you have your hand in after using Touch N Go)
  • Electric Folding Mirror with LED Side Repeater
  • Tiger Nose Radiator Grill Design (won a lot of design awards, this car)
  • Stylish Sunroof (woot!)
  • Full Air Conditioner with Cluster Ionizer (so you won’t get depressed during traffic jams)

rio interior

There’s also:

  • Arkamys Audio System with 6 speakers
  • AUX/USB/iPod port
  • Bluetooth (for your phone calls)
  • Tilt & Telescopic Steering wheel (so you can adjust to your optimal driving position)
  • Push Start Button & Smart Key

Some of the features are for the Kia Rio 1.4SX variant. You also get a 4-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift gate for those who wants to a degree of manual driving.

The all new Kia Rio 1.4L also got a EURO NCAP rating of 5 stars during safety certification. That’s widely considered as the toughest safety standard to pass.

kia rio engine

Of course, there’s also auto defogging and rain sensors for the wipers, which surprised me even more at this price range. The Kia Rio not only looks great – winning the reddot Design Award, Good Design Award and was the abc Design Award Winner in 2011 for the Exterior – but performs well too!

hb-kia-rio

Best of all, it wouldn’t break the bank. It comes in several colors for the 1.4EX version while the 1.4 SX Rio comes in Electric Blue.

kia winner

Oh ya, you remember that Rio Roundabout Contest I was talking about last time? Turns out the prize giving ceremony was held there too.

winner

The dude sure loves his all new Rio! :)

teluk pulai klang

It started with one of the best bak but teh sessions in Klang. Sam wanted to bring us to this great BKT place he knew but unfortunately they had sold out (at 11 am in the morning!) so we headed to the popular fallback – Teluk Pulai Clay Pot Ba Kut Teh.

bak kut teh klang

There’s just something about eating bak kut teh in Klang – it’s the real thing, it’s what it’s famous for, and nothing quite beats plate of lard enhanced rice with various cuts of pork simmering in herbal soup. They do an excellent dry BKT as well.

pork innards soup

There’s even a healthy order or stomach, intestines and other innards.

How awesome is that? I had two plates of rice, and with that awesome start to the day we headed to KEN Rimba, which is surprisingly just minutes away.

living area

KEN Rimba is Malaysia’s first green township in Shah Alam, but don’t let the address scare you off – it’s not that remote. Despite it’s Shah Alam postcode, it’s actually a stone’s throw away from Klang…

ken rimba klang

…and I mean that literally. I could probably throw a stone from the eco-friendly development and hit Klang. I think. Heh.

ken rimba legian

The concept of KEN Rimba is inspirational – it’s a 60 acre freehold development that is built on environmentally sound practices. We were shown around the still-building JIMBARAN Residences (168 units) as well as the completed LEGIAN Residences (328 units). There will also be two phases of condominiums in this township and the streets are split up by rain trees in mini-roundabouts.

legian

The former is a scaled up and larger version of the latter, and it brings the concept of ecologically friendly houses to life. The basics are all there like building houses in a north-south orientation. It helps prevent the worst of the glare from the sun to come in and the consequent build up in heat while roof tiles that removes heat and proper ventilation meant to catch the natural wind is installed.

green alleys

The back lanes and turfed walkways running along the each carefully planned terrace house blocks has Palawan trees for shade (and good ol’ CO2 to oxygen conversion) – little oases that you can walk through that provides a burst of green that’s quite soothing to the eyes.

fish

There are even water features there that are being seeded with marine life. It all makes me feel like I’m in Bali, which is why I suppose the names of the residences are chosen. Heh. I like how this both works as a carbon sink and aesthetic feature.

ken rimba shah alam

The terraced units utilize some of the same green features incorporated in the high end KEN Bangsar luxury condominium – which goes to show that building green does not necessarily have to be limited to expensive developments.

ken rimba ecological

The bit I love most is how the homes are illuminated by a skylight – it allows natural light to shine down straight from the roof and reaches down to a small plot of open garden right in your living room!

living room earth plot

It’s dubbed an in-house green planter for internal landscaping in the industry. This is what it looks like in an unfurnished unit – you can do whatever you want with it, even tile it up, but that’ll be a shame considering the novelty of the area.

plot

Here’s what the potential of that (relatively) little plot can do. This is the show room and I thought that having real plants inside your living room would be something different, a real area you can put your green thumb to and introduce some greenery into your daily life, right where you can see it all the time.

breakfast bar

The terraced units looked small in the unfurnished lot that we went to but it was just a question of scale – without furniture inside, it’s hard to tell how space can be utilized and I was amazed when the show room provided a visual example.

living room

The living and dining areas are huge and can easily fit a family of four with rooms for everyone, including a maid if you’re so inclined.

master bedroom

The second level contains the master bedroom with its own en-suite bathroom and toilet while the other two rooms are spacious enough for future developments of your own. ;)

master

They can be your kid’s bedrooms or a study and library, depending on how you want your lifestyle to be. JIMBARAN Residences has a slightly larger lot size of 22′ x 65′ while LEGIAN Residences is a standard 20′ x 65′ but it’s what you do with the area that matters! The latter has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms and the photos are from that showroom. It has a built up area from 1,800-2,200 sq ft.

rainwater

Sam also showed us how rainwater can be filtered and recycled with the rainwater harvesting tanks provided at the back, which you can reuse to water your lawn or wash your car.

ken rimba showroom

KEN Rimba has the 328 units in Legian Residences ready to live in (although it’s almost sold out) and the upcoming Jimbaran Residences is going to be built with a loft, which increases the area of space available (from 2,100 – 2,500 sq ft). That makes a total of 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and an attic/loft. I think the loft would be great for a teenager to live in, at least I’ve always wanted that growing up. :)

rooms

There is also a commercial area which will have F&B outlets (so you don’t have to drive to Klang if you don’t want to), an existing playground and other thoughtful conveniences like the covered walkway to the nearest KTM station. Both JIMBARAN and LEGIAN Residences are guarded communities and the security is awesome – it’s a place where you’ll feel safe having your kids play outside.

corner terrace pool

It’s easy to lose yourself in the greenery that is KEN Rimba – the trees planted to flank the area not only shuts out the surrounding enterprises, but also reinforces the feeling that you’re walking into a green township. It’s won several prestigious awards like the BCA Green Mark GOLD and GOLD PLUS (Provisional for JIMBARAN) as recognition of it’s ecologically friendly status.

ken rimba pool

The corner terraces all have a swimming pool! I think that’s awesome – a place to cool down after the stresses of the day.

ken rimba homes

The terrace homes are not just green, it’s affordable too and has all the nice touches that makes it desirable. You can find out more information at the KEN Rimba website.

Green Awards:
green logos

Facebook: https://facebook.com/KEN.Greenbook
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamCS10
Email: contact@kenholdings.com.my
Sales enquiries: 1300-22-9933

bicycles

I really liked how there are bicycles available for residents to use free of charge.

Great concept, eh? :)

julie woon

Yes, this is the latest incarnation of the wildly popular LX3/LX5! I managed to get hold of the new Panasonic Lumix LX7 – it’s a super premium compact camera that has a lot of features that even professional photographers would appreciate.

lumix lx7

BTW, that’s Julie Woon, the 8TV host that also had the LX7 and showed her photos during the event.

lumix showcase

I was at the Panasonic Lumix Photonista campaign cum launch on the 19th November which unveiled several of their new cameras and lenses. There’s the two high end Lumix G series – GH3 and G5 which uses the relatively new dSLM (nope, not a typo, it stands for digital single lens mirrorless) cameras.

fuzion
Lunch @ Fuzion before the event

Lumix came out with the world’s first dSLM cameras in 2008 – the technology which allows for a more compact body and lens while still producing the high image quality of dSLRs. The flagship GH3 is even splash and dust proof. There’s also the accompanying 12-35mm, 45-150mm and 35-100mm lens.

panasonic lumix lx7

The new Lumix range was also unveiled – with the ultra high zoom “prosumer” FZ60 and FZ200 leading the pack to bridge the high end G series with the compact and new LX7. That leaves the lifestyle targeted SZ5 which has WiFi that allows you to use a smartphone to connect with it to shoot remotely and upload direct to social media avenues.

professional photographers

That’s a total of 6 new cameras and 3 lenses announced that day and there were also two female professional photographers who used the newly launched Lumix G cameras to take photos and record videos. I found the one which featured the capoeira video to be quite intriguing – the quality was so good I though it was taken with a dedicated camcorder.

lumix tx7 top

Anyway, back to the Lumix LX7 review, it’s a 10.1 MP high end compact camera that you can just point and shoot with it’s Intelligent Auto Plus with a full range of manual shooting modes and RAW file support. The body is made of metal, which gives it a premium feel and a nice solid weight. I really like the feel of it.

creative control

There’s also a bright 3 inch LCD screen with a 920,000 dot resolution which provides a really clear view of what you’re about to shoot. The ISO goes from 80-6400 (there’s also an option for ISO 12800 but that results in a lowered resolution) and it’s a lot like a dSLR with all its features.

defocus

I like the option of going all the way to the fastest f/1.4 maximum aperture which is essential for shooting in low-light conditions and producing that signature dSLR depth-of-field effect with out of focus backgrounds.

depth field

It’s very friendly for beginners but the best part about the LX7 is the toggle switch at the side that allows you to switch from manual to auto-focus (with the addition of macro thrown in).

food

It’s these little manual controls that makes it simple enough for photography enthusiasts to use yet allows full manual flexibility for more advanced users.

lumix tx7 back

Shooting in manual mode is surprisingly easy with the 3-step ND/Focus lever (very nifty, this one) that allows you full control over shutter speed. Focusing, exposure, bracketing area and all the essentials are ready at hand when used with the buttons and jog dial.

lumix lx7 front

There’s also a manually adjustable aperture ring that allows direct control over the light source to the sensors as well as a switch to change aspect ratios from 16:9, 3:2, 4:3 to 1:1. You can even shoot in ALL the aspect ratios at once!

level gauge

The MF Assist feature helps enthusiast photographers to understand how things work too. There’s also useful features like Level Gauge which helps you align your shots – the horizontal/vertical lines are yellow until they register as level with the accelerometer, at which point they turn green.

lunch

The remarkable Leica lens on the LX7 more than makes up for the relatively small sensor – it takes impressively sharp photos.

panorama
Panorama shot that allows all four directions!

The other strong point of the LX7 is in the video recording – it allows for full HD video at 1,920 x 1,080 60p at 120 frames per second for NTSC (50p / 100 fps for PAL). That produces extremely smooth and detailed videos. The microphone is placed on top and there’s an Auto Wind Cut function to block out noise. Best of all it records in stereo from it’s two mics!

Personally, the best feature is the ability to take a still image while you record a video. I’ve often struggled with two cameras while recording a video in case there’s a scene where I want a photo too. Now I can do both with a single camera. Heh.

quick af

The most amazing thing I’ve realized about this camera is the super fast AF – it can even shoot at 4 fps with full AF tracking!

glass through
Glass Through scene

through glass
Resulting photo

1 aspect ratio
1:1 aspect ratio

sepia
Sepia

cakes
Creative Control

desserts
Food

expressive
Expressive

miniature effect
Miniature Effect (love the irony ;))

Things I like:

  • Excellent image quality
  • Insanely fast burst mode at 11 fps full resolution
  • Speedy auto-focus
  • Plethora of Instagram-like digital filters (called Creative Control)
  • Amazing HD video

chocolate fountain

The LX7 is a very good compact camera that has a lot of professional features you’ll be hard pressed to find in other compact digicams. It’s a perfect backup camera pros shooting with a dSLR – it’s portable enough and has stellar quality for a point and shoot, which also makes it an ideal choice for enthusiast photographers who wants a compact digicam.

hdr

It’s been called a “real photographer’s compact camera” – the Lumix LX7 is not an entry level camera but one with a lot of features. I loved playing around with it and I imagine I’ll be carrying this instead of my bulky dSLR around from now. :)

angry birds troupe

I meant Angry Birds.

hot chick lowyat

Of course, there were models there too. Windows 8 powered devices, not girls, although they had that as well. Heh.

must have left it open

There was this really good group that kicked off the Microsoft Windows 8 launch in Malaysia – they had a very vigorous and visually exciting skit that incorporates elements of classic Windows alerts.

angry birds win

You know, the default sounds it makes during various operation like the distinctive “Ding!” you hear when you’re trying to click somewhere other than a mandatory notification that demands your attention before moving on.

angry birds bunker

It’s all of that combined into a dance and skit routine (which includes the aforementioned Angry Birds parody where they launched chairs into bunkered “pigs”) that made it one of the best launch gimmicks I’ve ever seen!

You’ve gotta watch it!

models

The Microsoft Windows 8 launch was held at Low Yat Plaza on the 29th October.

reps

The Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia – Mr Ananth Lazarus (guy with the blue shirt in the middle) came on stage to describe Windows 8 in detail. I was quite impressed!

camera

There are a lot of features that are in the latest iteration of Windows. I’ve been using it since Windows 3.11 (which had to be booted up from MS-DOS 6.22) and gone through every single update ever since. This is the first time that there was a huge and noticeable difference – Windows 8 has evolved so far from Windows 7 as to be unrecognizable.

devices

There were demonstrations on the new Start Screen, Picture Password, Charms bar and other touch-friendly implementations which most of the new devices were made for.

banter

I’ll personally say that Windows 8 is best experienced with a touch-capable device and all of the new ones coming out have that feature, fitting into every niche and blurring the distinction between smartphones, tablets, notebooks and even smart TV screens!

picture password

Complete social media integration is now done with emphasis on shortcuts and user friendliness. I’ll describe this more in detail in another post, it’s awesome!

local apps

There’s also Live Tiles, which appear on the new Start Screen and updates it constantly so everything can be viewed at a single glance.

detach

However, the Microsoft Windows 8 Malaysia launch is first and foremost to introduce the new concepts and features of the operating system. There were refreshments galore and a chance to play with the new devices.

me windows8

I had my hands on one of them – there are various designs out there, from standard tablets to a more enterprise minded slider design with a physical keyboard. Some of the latter can be even detached into two (!!!), creating two separate and different devices, both capable of running on their own and with dual batteries.

noh nina passion8

Noh (of local band Hujan) and Nina (of Mizz Nina fame) also announced their upcoming show called Passion8 which will be aired on 8TV.

windows8 devices

Congratulations to Microsoft Malaysia for a great launch event for Windows 8! The capabilities of the new OS is really impressive.

windows 8 girls

This isn’t the Windows of old, I can really foresee Windows 8 being the dominant OS in not just traditional PC/notebooks but also tablets, smartphones and other devices which defies categorization, being as unique as they are.

windows 8 malaysia launch

There was food served at the end…

windows 8 doughnut

…which includes donuts with marzipan (I think) Windows 8 logos which are obviously edible. I had two.

windows8 start

I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks – I personally love Windows 8, it’s not just a facelift with minor features but a great new leap forward! :)

italy

Italy. It’s the birthplace of the Mafia, Vespa and pasta. Hey, that sorta rhymes! ;)

I’m kidding, most people would think of something like Venice for example…the fabled city of romance where countless have fallen in love (though hopefully not through the canals filled with water that counts for streets over there).

The foot kicking the ball is actually a very nice place.

vinos

It’s a sophisticated city with a lot of cultural differences that you’ll only experience when you go there. It’s little things like how Northern Italy (still) thinks of Southern Italy as a bunch of uncouth people.

(Please don’t whack me, I don’t want to sleep with the fishes, a rather drunk guy in a pub told me that while I was backpacking Europe)

I’m into history and culture and during the last trip I actually met someone who fought in the war. Don’t ask me for which side, but it enlightened me that the Axis powers were Germany, Japan and Italy. I’ve always thought it was France. /history fail

war

It just goes to show that sometimes you have to actually experience to the country – not as a tourist, insulating yourself from the outside world by staying at multinational premium hotel chain which feels the same any country you go and not venturing out after that.

I do concede that the reception staff in Europe is quite pleasing to the eyes though. ;)

staff

However, if you step out of your comfort zone (and that swimming pool which is also available at your country of origin) and visit the places where the locals hang out, you’ll be rewarded with a lot of interesting bits of knowledge.

Of course, I’m not asking you to actually head to the seediest and poorest sections of town (even the locals avoid that) and granted, there would be times when you would have abuse flinged at you by the misguided youth and even have to extricate yourself from potentially dangerous and escalating situations.

graffitti

I have a story about that last bit actually, but it happened in London. Heh.

Well, the point is, it’s a great opportunity to travel and visit places you’ll normally not be able to…and as a cherry on top, won’t it be great if it’s all expenses paid? ;)

launch

That’s where RHB Now comes in!

italia mania launch

I just went to the launch and found out some really fun things about the Italia Mania game. It’s a lot of fun, having played it myself!

pizza

There was good (Italian) food, Vespas and a great big canopy at Ciao Restaurant in town. Lots of pizzas too, which I found very apt considering the nature of the app/game.

italia mania game

Just make any transaction online or on your cell phone/tablet with a minimum of RM 30 (your various monthly bills probably costs more than that) and you’ll see a button aptly called:

italia mania

Play the game and collect as many Star Points as you possibly can!

italia mania rules

You’ll be making a pizza – here are the rules.

making pizza

It’s basically a game where you match the ingredient showing on top with the ones available in the side and drag and drop it onto the raw pizza dough. See that mushroom I’m supposed to put on top of my pizza?

my pizza

It’s surprisingly fun, I was there for a long time trying to beat my own scores. Heh.

star points

The people with the most Star Points each week and month will get rewarded with awesome prizes!

vespa gts300

You’ll stand a chance to win weekly and monthly prizes in addition to the grand prize – which are 5 x Vespa GTS 300 scooters. Guess what the monthly prizes are?

3 x trip to Italy for 2

That’s for the players with the top three highest Star Points each month. As a bonus, the top players who have accumulated the highest Star Points throughout the campaign will win the Vespas! There’s also 5 x RM 100 cash weekly prizes. Head on to RHB Now for more details!

playing game

I suggest you go the Venice route if you bring your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/It’s Complicated (TM). ;)

smoking car

I do it all the time. It’s quite paradoxical since I imposed a strict no-smoking rule in my studio apartment – I step out to the balcony if I feel like I need a nicotine infusion instead. However, I do smoke in my car and I usually have to leave the window down while driving to make the smell dissipate.

This creates more problems in itself since the haze and pollution in KL, combined with the emission from other vehicle exhausts enters your car.

Well you know how bad it can be but first let me tell you about this interesting workshop I attended.

It had me smelling ammonia voluntarily.

ammonia

Haha. Read on.

It was the Sharp Plasmacluster Beauty Care event held at A Cut Above. The academy actually has a very interesting project by its students. Check it out:

art

It’s completely fictional of course, and it’s not Photoshopped – everything is done on set and photographed. I thought it was quite intriguing.

spraying ammonia

Back to the Sharp Plasmacluster Beauty Care range, they have six new products from the huge Plasmacluster Ion Generator to progressively more portable devices which you can fit on your desk, car and even your own body (Mobile Ion Generator) which you can hang on your neck via a lanyard.

plasmacutter range

Left to right:
Plasmacluster Ion Generator – perfect for coverage up to 10m2 and you can tilt it and put it anywhere you want.
Bedside Ion Generator – get quality sleep with 25,000 ions/cc. It also helps retain skin and hair moisture! It’s the tall device beside the black Plasmacluster Ion Generator.
Desktop Ion Generator with Humidifying Function – this one comes with a water tank so it’ll release additional moisture. It can use a USB or AC adapter – well suited to your office or home desk I reckon.
Ion Generator for Cars – this is what I’m using! It connects to the cigarette lighter socket in your car and deodorizes 30% faster when you boost it to Turbo mode. No more lingering tobacco smell!
Mobile Ion Generator – this baby is small but powerful. It uses AC, USB or even a lithium ion battery and works for 4 hours!
Hair Conditioning Dryer – moisturizes hair and removes static electricity. It also keeps moisture in and split ends out. Some discerning customers bring their own to hair salons!

plasma ion hairdryer

The basics behind all this is explained to us by Mr Chew, which I found rather interesting. The bit that really caught my attention is the fact that people are naturally attracted to high ion concentration places in nature like waterfalls coz they induce serotonin production!

You know how much I love talking about serotonin. Heh.

plasmacutter ion technology

Anyway, the principles behind Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Generators has been refined since 2000 to the device they have today which is capable of producing 25,000 ions/cc!

This is important as research has shown that cities like KL and other urban areas has only about 300 positively charged ions/cc and 100 negatively charged ions/cc while the nature which our healthier ancestors lived in has 4,000 positive and negative charged ions/cc. This is still evident in places like forests nowadays but we all know that’s a dwindling commodity.

cheesie
Cheesie’s hair being violated. Demonstration of Cheesie’s hair after the hairdryer treatment.

The entire range of Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Generators is meant to restore that balance…and improve on it! Plasmacluster Ion Technology releases the very same ions that occurs in nature, which is then bonded with water molecules and delivered all over the place. Thus it not only produces massive amounts of ions, but also hydrates the skin and hair!

plasmacutter

The ions turns into hydroxide when it comes into contact with contaminants, which effectively destroys it. It also removed bacteria, viruses, allergens, mold, odors and other pollutants and contaminants. It’s been tested and proven by various institutions around the world – from the US to Japan.

This is a perfect example which I luckily managed to film. Mr Chew demonstrated the effectiveness of Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Technology by soaking a tissue with pure ammonia and asking if anyone wants to smell it.

volunteer

I naturally volunteered! :D

I smelled the tissue soaked with ammonia tentatively…

It smelled like a very popular public toilet frequented by renal failure patients that hasn’t been cleaned for a DECADE.

I was polite enough to say it smelled like hair bleach though. HAHAHA

ion treatment

The ammonia appears blue in color when exposed to the tissue. He then put it under the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for just a few seconds and the blue color turned into orange – thus removing the ammonia, and not only that, the odor disappeared as well!

mold

Check it out! The process of the ammonia turning from blue to orange (clean). I know coz I smelled it after it was treated. Heh! :)

treatment

It’s magical! The smell of pure concentrated ammonia magically disappears after a few seconds under the ionizer.

That’s the wonderful odor busting properties it has, in addition to the moisturizing effects. It looks orange but that’s not coz of the ammonia – the ammonia stains it blue, and the blue has been removed by just a few seconds of the ion treatment. Awesome right?

wipe

I would even use it to wipe my face….IF I didn’t know it had been soaked in ammonia before the ionizer treatment. ;)

car ion generator

I figured that the best product for me is the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars. I smoke in my car so I figured that I’ll take it for a test drive (no pun intended).

turbo

It’s very easy to use, just connect the device to the cigarette lighter socket in your car, and it’s ready to go.

You can set power levels too – from low to a mode called Turbo, which I immediately went for.

ions

It actually emits moisturized air and ions – I was smelling it straight and got a good dose of nice clean ionized air.

I have put it in my car for several days now – it’s particularly nice at night since the illuminated LEDs allows you to see what the settings are and you can change the mode and levels if you want, just via a simple press of a button.

interface

Did it work? I was already convinced when I watched and filmed that demonstration in the Sharp workshop but I wanted to try it out for myself.

I also have a bad tendency of eating in my car, and that emits odors as well. I did just that and smoked while driving back home with the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars on Turbo mode.

There was no smell at all after 1 minute with the windows rolled up!

smoking

It’s not just for smokers too, the Sharp Plasmacluster technology purifies the air by:

  • Suppressing the effects of airborne viruses
  • Breaking down and removing airborne mold
  • Breaking down and removing allergens
  • Removing odors

…which creates fresh clean air and lock-in skin moisture! It’s something that every car needs so you won’t have to jump in fright when someone else sneezes just in case another outbreak of H1N1 occurs. It also makes your car environment a healthier place.

connect

The design is awesome too – the Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars is shaped like a pint glass so you can put it in the drinks holder of your car. It’s aesthetically pleasing as as mentioned the illuminated LEDs are very useful at night.

Check out the Sharp Plasmacluster Beauty Care range for something that suits you – there’s even a model for your bedside so you can sleep in peace:

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/SharpPlasmaclusterMalaysia
Website:
http://www.sharp-pci.com/my/

ion car generator

My Plasmacluster Ion Generator for Cars really works in quickly reducing odors – forget about car fragrances, those only mask the smell of tobacco, it doesn’t actually remove it. I love it! It’s perfect for my lifestyle. :)

kfc zinger double down

It’s a burger…with meat patties for buns! In fact, there are no buns in this wonderfully crafted burger. The KFC Zinger Double Down Burger has two pieces of Zinger chicken patties to substitute the bun.

ALL MEAT. ALL MAN. It’s perfection!

eating double down burger

I’ve read about this bun-less burger on a US snack site a while ago and was very intrigued. I wanted to try it. My exact words were:

I AM EAGER TO EAT THIS! :D

double down

It was unfortunately unavailable in Malaysia…until now!

kfc double down tasting session

I was lucky enough to be one of the first to eat this deliciously crafted “burger” at an exclusive tasting session for KFC Malaysia Facebook fans at KFC in Pavilion, KL on the 22nd of September. I nicked two photos from that page (the ones without the watermark). Heh.

double down malaysia

There was a cordoned off area and I can practically feel the envy of the others as the Double Down burger was served to our tables. We had this a good 4 days ahead of the public release.

double down tasting session

The tasting session started out with some fun and games – I joined the first one, it was a slow number where I had to face-off with another volunteer. I didn’t think I did so well coz the song was very slow but KFC was kind enough to award both of us with prizes.

gangnam style

Throughout the tasting session, there were fun spirited competitions like this – here’s one of Shah doing it Gangnam style. Heh.

balloon competition

Rachel was also called (actually we volunteered her haha) on stage for a balloon blowing competition. She gave me the bright yellow balloon and I passed it to a kid as I was walking back. Made his day, by the look of his face. :)

kfc double down burger

Anyway, back to the burger, it’s aptly tag-lined All Meat, All Man. It’s targeted towards the male demographic and I can really see the appeal of the KFC Zinger Double Down Burger. Heck, I’ve been waiting for it to come to our shores after seeing it on the website. This has gotta be the best burger bun substitute I’ve ever come across.

dd burger

Forgive my enthusiasm, I have been following the progress of this since it’s introduction in the US and I have been hoping to taste this beautiful burger. It’s targeted towards men, the amount of calories and huge portion means that the male demographic would be the primary consumer. I’m a guy, I don’t care how much calories it has, I want meat and I want it now! :)

double down burger

The KFC Zinger Double Down Burger has two pieces of Zinger fillet (as the “buns”) and sandwiched between it is a crispy chicken strip, sliced cheese, mayo and cheese sauce. It’s packed with chicken meat!

zinger double down

I loved it! It’s very satisfying to *bite* into a burger made with Zinger fillets – it’s delicious and I pronounce myself SATISFIED. Heh! I was full the entire day! It’ll be perfect for people with big appetites and those who don’t eat carbs. I was surprised at the pricing too – it’s only RM 8.40 a la carte and RM 10.50 if you want a regular drink to go with it. The combo set with wedges or fries and a large drink is just RM 12.50.

kfc double down malaysia

I really liked the idea of the KFC Zinger Double Down Burger. The tender, breaded Zinger fillets are juicy and biting into a pure chicken burger is an awesome experience you just have to try for yourself. It not only has novelty value, it’s sinfully delicious and filling!

kfc double down

The KFC Zinger Double Down Burger is available now! This is a limited time offer and you don’t want to miss this unique and sinfully delicious burger! Check out https://www.facebook.com/KFCMalaysia and www.kfc.com.my for more details. It’s an epic burger worthy of a trip to your nearest KFC.

You know you want to try it! :D

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