Listen to music forever with Yonder

NOFX

I came to the music app bandwagon pretty late. I have heard of a lot of brands that provide such services but never really bothered since I have very fixed tastes in music. I mostly listen to the music I played growing up, the great punk rock bands of OC County circa 1994 – NOFX, Green Day, Offspring, Rancid.

Yonder Beta

However, this all changed when I started to fiddle around with Yonder Music App. I was quite surprised (and impressed) when all the NOFX albums came out when I searched for them. I usually have little faith in most mainstream apps since the bands I like are never in there. Imagine my delight when I saw everything from the classic “Punk in Drublic” to “Heavy Petting Zoo”.

Deep Yonder

Yonder Music App is a new service available to all users of Celcom. It’s not so much a streaming music service but a way of life. Their slogan is “Hear Forever” which is very apt considering Yonder Music App not only streams the songs you play but the songs they think you’ll like. I have to say that it’s spot on in their analysis.

Celcom Yonder

Okay, let me elaborate about what I just said. Yonder has:

  • No subscription fee
  • No download charges
  • No commercials
  • Unlimited access to millions of tracks

Song Stream

That’s coz the licensing is done by the commercial partner Celcom, not you. Revenue is distributed to the artists according to what you play so you don’t need to pay. It not only offers on-demand streaming like other music apps but goes one step further by downloading the songs you played (plus the ones they think you like) so it’s Always On.

Yonder Android

This means that even if you’ve gone offline, you’ll still be able to able to hear related music. This ultimately reduces bandwidth usage and provides your life with a soundtrack. This feature is aptly called the Magic Library coz presumably you get music even though you’re disconnected. Awesome stuff.

Search Yonder

Yonder is also filled with social features. The app stores and syncs users’ playlists, followers and social activity automatically and with their algorithms deliver something they call Social Discovery. What this means is that you get recommendations and continuous play based on what you like and favorite and who you follow.

Playlist

Yup, you can also follow other users, called Heavy Hitters and subscribe to their playlists.

Xpax Yonder

The Leaderboard feature is pretty sweet too. Every track and artist has its own Leaderboard of the Heavy Hitters (which as I’ve said are users like you and me) that they’re most associated with. One of my favorite songs is Dying Degree by NOFX and if you pop in Yonder you’ll see my name on the Leaderboard. This allows everyone to create active communities and build influence with every song you play.

Yonder

I highly recommend this. Celcom is running a contest where you’ll get to see Bruno Mars Live in Vegas just by downloading Yonder Music App. The app is only available for Celcom First and Xpax users and it’s free for now so get your music on now! I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that it’s changed my life. I’ve enjoyed Yonder Music App so much that I’m even bringing it into the shower to listen to while I sing along, much to the chagrin of my better half.

Yonder Me

My smartphone is waterproof btw, I do not recommend you try this unless yours is too. Meanwhile, if you want to listen to some really cool music, just download Yonder Music App and I’ll see you inside. Try following me if you like a different spin on music, something less commercial and radio friendly. Discover something new, I’ve curated a few playlists (another epic feature of Yonder Music App) so come find me and share my music!

Yonder Play

P/S – Those of you who want a chance to win a free trip to Las Vegas to catch Bruno Mars live, click over to Yonder Music website to get more details on how to win by just downloading Yonder Music App.

Watching movies at home…with a pint of ice cream!

ice cream pint

Me and my girlfriend watch a lot of movies at home. It’s nice to be able to eat whatever you want instead of crappy concession stand food. We also eat a lot of ice cream so that has become a weekly tradition – snuggling up in bed with blankets and a pint of ice cream.

Bliss!

concession stand food

It also has a lot of practical upsides – we can pause the movie whenever we want to go to the toilet or keep an eye out on whatever’s cooking on the stove. Another common reason to pause a movie midway is to put the ice cream back in the freezer and take a different flavored pint out. Haha!

You just can’t do that in cinemas.

Of course, cinemas are great for big budget releases that you want to watch in IMAX but those are few and far in between. The last summer action flick we watched was Star Trek Into Darkness. We haven’t been to a theatre since!

escape

I speak of this coz there’s an awesome new entertainment portal out, aptly called ESCAPE. It not only offers the latest Hollywood movies but also a whole online library full of Korean, Hindi, Indonesian and local releases. I checked it out and it’s become our favorite way to enjoy movies at home – all from just RM 0.80 per hour!

rent iron man 3

Even blockbusters like Iron Man 3 (with a production budget of USD 200 million) is there for your viewing pleasure at any time for just RM 9.

That’s less than a movie ticket (for one) and you can enjoy it with as many people as you can.

the little nyonya

ESCAPE not only offers movies though – there’s TV series like The Little Nyonya, live events, live news and even concerts!

featured movies

The method of browsing is very intuitive too – it’s sorted by genre so you can find the movie that you like easily. There’s also comments (and related titles) on the bottom so you can see what the movie is all about before watching it.

movie chat

However, the *best* thing about ESCAPE is that you can view it across multiple platforms! There’s a lot of times when we couldn’t finish watching a movie coz one of us is sleepy. Now, you can start watching a movie on your home computer or laptop and continue the next day on your tablet or cell phone! The app is a free download to boot!

kl gangster exclusive

That’s right – ESCAPE is compatible with Windows, iOS, Android and MacOS! There’s none of that clicking-to-guess-where-we-left-off nonsense either – the Pause & Play feature automatically saves where you last paused your selected movie and you can continue watching the same movie seamlessly…even on *another* device!

Yup, that’s Pause & Play – now you never have to miss your favorite show or guess which scene you last watched!

featured

I find this to be absolutely perfect for my needs as we usually watch our movies late at night with thick blankets around us on the bed while eating ice cream. However, if you prefer watching it on a bigger screen, you can always use the HDMI or A/V output on your notebook to connect to a large screen LCD TV!

No long lines at the cinema. No one telling you you can’t eat the food you want while you watch a movie. You can wear whatever you want. The world of entertainment in your hands sounds right!

I think it’s an awesome trend – I can select whatever movie I want to watch from a massive online library and it automatically gets deducted from my Celcom account. Escape is exclusively for Celcom subscribers so check it out at www.ESCnow.com!

Tiny Noodle with Oyster Flavor

tiny noodle oyster

I found this on the shelves while grocery shopping. We were there to buy stuff for sandwiches and ended up buying two different ramen instead. This is one of them! It’s made in Taiwan and retails for RM 7.90 per packet.

tiny noodle oyster flavour

You just gotta love the translation – tiny noodle. smirk It’s basically instant oyster mee sua.

cooking mee sua

The packet is huge! It’s meant to be cooked in a single session for 3 servings with:

  • 2 individual packets of noodles
  • 2 flavor sachets
  • 2 oil with spice sachets
  • 2 packets of starch

water

The instructions are all in Chinese and it calls for 2,000 cc of water, which is 2 liters. I was a bit surprised at the ratio, considering the tiny (heh) amount of noodles but it’s correct. I measured the water out using 4 x 500 ml bottles.

starch

The starch needs to be prepared separately using a bit of water to dissolve the powder. It’s added in at the last moment, producing a starchy mimic of Taiwanese oyster mee sua.

adding starch

It really can’t compare to the oyster mee sua at Shihlin but it’s not too bad for instant noodles. Adding a salchichon slice or some pork floss does wonders in improving the flavor! :D

oyster mee sua

Short mention:

There’s a contest on Facebook where you can win a 4G LTE modem with 3 months data for free! Just show your best Usain Bolt pose and upload it!

He has several poses that he always does if you’ve seen him in action. He’s not just the fastest sprinter on earth, he’s quite a charismatic person too – I’m sure you’ve watched in awe as he left the competition behind at the Olympics.

I always need more data (especially at super fast speeds where I can download stuff faster) so I’ll join the contest during lunch break later. It’s very simple.

Take a photo, bolt over to the Celcom First Facebook page and upload the photo using the Can You Bolt app for a chance to win! :)

Cambodian pancakes, Bolt and 4G LTE: Fast. Faster. Fastest!

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!

Wherever I may roam…

photos

I have a couple of things that I always carry around – a camera is one of them. I usually have a compact digicam which I use to take photos of everything that, er…catches my eye.

However, that is just one of the gadgets I carry. I have to lug around a dSLR, a tablet, and cell phones while I’m on assignment. I’m a freelance writer for a couple of publications so usually I carry this battered and gaudy sling bag which totally clashes with my outfit 9 times out of 10.

north face

It’s red. It doesn’t go well with any color (except maybe red). The North Face sling bag can get rather heavy when it’s fully loaded too. I have always wished for something that just integrates everything…

…and I’ve found it! :D

samsung galaxy note

The Samsung GALAXY Note is very high on my list of stuff to get right about now coz it has just about everything I want. The 8 MP back camera beats the image quality of the digicam that I usually carry around. The 5.3” screen makes it easy for me to jot down notes while I’m covering an event. It also happens to be a cell phone that you can easily slip into your pocket!

People always ask me why I don’t use pen and paper. Well, the answer is quite pragmatic – writing on a tablet saves you from having to transcribe it again – it’s already in digital format. I can even write an entire article and send it to my editor on a tablet, but then again it doesn’t solve the integration issue. #firstworldpains

The best thing about the Samsung GALAXY Note is that it offers all the performance, functionality and features of a tablet in a portable smartphone!

It also keeps you connected and entertained with games and all the email, messaging and social media applications you’re used to in today’s stay-connected world.

Here’s some of the awesome features that Samsung GALAXY Note has:

android gingerbread

Android 2.3 Gingerbread running on a 1.4 Ghz dual-core processor
It’s one of the fastest Android smartphones around

screen

5.3” HD Super AMOLED display
It’s like the Goldilocks story – not too big, not too small, just right! You can slip it in your pocket (try doing that with a full sized tablet) and it has enough high resolution screen real estate to work (and play) with

camera

8 MP camera
The cameras in smartphones nowadays are so good you don’t even need a separate digicam for regular use. I notice that you tend to take far more photos when it’s easy e.g. just whipping out your cell phone, instead of digging around for your digicam. Catalog every minute of your life! :)
There’s a 2 MP front camera for Skype or video chatting too.

Anyway, I’ve been lusting for the Samsung GALAXY Note ever since they launched it on the 11th of November at La Bodega in Pavilion. I’ve done a bit of research and Celcom’s plan sounds like the best among them. You can get a Samsung GALAXY note for as low as RM 1,368 (normal retail price is RM 2,299) with the Celcom Exec 250.

celcom

My cell phone bill usually goes slightly over RM 300 per month so this would be the ideal one for me. I need that 5GB of data volume per month and you can’t go wrong with Celcom – it has the widest network coverage in Malaysia. The network quality is awesome for data and calls and the connection stability is rock solid.

Get more details and find the perfect Celcom Samsung GALAXY Note plan Find out more about the Samsung GALAXY Note packages that Celcom offers and get more details on the pocket tablet here.

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