Hands-on with the Surface 3

Surface 3 Bloggers

I was at a closed door media preview recently when I asked a rather embarrassing question.

Surface 3 Tablet

It was for the Microsoft Surface 3 and the Q&A was going on when I asked when the Surface Pro 3 was going to be released. There was a short moment of silence from the panel of speakers before two simultaneously told me – “It has already been released at the end of last year” – with a look that vaguely suggested that I was reaching new heights (or lows) of stupidity. smirk

Surface 3 Panel

The Surface Pro 3 is the more powerful and expensive brother to the Surface 3 and packs a beast of an i3/i5/i7 processor inside. I’ve been thinking which one to get and hadn’t decided yet at the time.

It got me thinking though…

Microsoft Surface 3 Rep

The truth of the matter is, people don’t actually follow gadget releases with religious fervour. Unless you’re a hardcore tech nerd, you probably wouldn’t be able to recite the latest hardware specifications. Most people only search for and read up on the latest news, releases and reviews when they’re about to make a purchase.

Surface 3 Hands On

This is where I come in. I’ve had hands-on experience with the Microsoft Surface 3 and I’ve been very impressed so far. I’ll be picking up a loan unit tomorrow for review but let me just tell you about the Surface 3 and what it’s all about first.

Surface 3 Demo

The Microsoft Surface 3 is a laptop replacement tablet that’s going to be released in the market soon. It’s a more affordable and mainstream offering compared to the Surface Pro 3 (which is more for power users) and it looks like it’s set to appeal to a wide range of users.

Writing Surface 3

There are a couple of new features in the latest Surface – the Surface 3 is the thinnest and lightest Surface ever! It just weighs a mere 622 grams. I was surprised when I picked it up, this is definitely lighter than I thought a tablet that works like a laptop would be.

Surface 3 Screen

Most importantly, it has a full-size USB 3.0! This allows you to connect a wide range of accessories and it’s what (for me) makes a tablet transcend into laptop functionality. You can plug in stuff like external hard disk drives for increased storage, your smartphone to transfer files (if you’re not using your own WiFi to sync), or even something as essential as a mouse!

(although I would highly recommend using a Bluetooth mouse instead of taking up the USB 3.0 slot, unless you plan on getting the docking station or a USB extender)

Surface 3 Excel

Also, Surface 3 runs all your Windows desktop software so you can use it just like a PC or notebook! That means you can use Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and all other desktop programs instead of relying on apps alone. That’s the beauty of the Surface 3 – you can run the app versions when you’re using it as a tablet, but for some essential software, you have the capability to install and execute it like you would on a normal computer.

Surface 3 Pen

The stylus is a thing of magic too – you can click it once to wake the tablet from sleep and double click it to automatically screencap what’s running and open it in OneNote (a feature I’ve found immensely useful in blogging and writing reviews).

Surface 3 Camera

There’s also an 8 MP 1080p rear-facing camera with auto-focus and a 3.5 MP 1080p front-facing camera.

Here are the specs for the Surface 3:

Surface 3 Specs

This is one tablet-laptop hybrid that looks poised to take the world by storm.

Surface 3 Blog

It’s the first Surface to have an Intel processor so you can run all Windows software, it’s the first to forgo the proprietary charging system in favor for a widely compatible micro-USB port so you can use it with your existing car and portable chargers, and it comes with an optional docking station to complete the PC experience.

Surface 3

Head over to the Microsoft Surface 3 microsite to pre-order your Surface 3 now! If you’re looking for a new tablet that has the functionality of a laptop, look no further – you know you want it. I’m really excited about this – the Microsoft Surface 3 has been hailed as a revolutionary change and it really lives up to the hype.

How I save myself from GST – by starting a new company!

GST Lego Malaysia

The implementation of GST effectively means that we’ve all taken a 6% cut to our paychecks. It’s actually slightly more than that, but for the sake of argument, let’s put it at 6%. Your purchasing power is also down by 6% so you’ve either got to tighten your belts or find an alternate source of income.

Just think about it, everyone in Malaysia got a 6% salary cut effective April 2015.

I prefer to be more proactive so I’m not thinking of ways to cut down on my consumption and lifestyle BUT to find new sources of income to negate the 6% cut in my salary. I’m even thinking about *overcoming* it e.g. get more than 6% so that the my net earnings are actually MORE post GST.

This means that I have to do something, and I decided to start up a new company to earn active income to supplement my current income.

Conpany Registration

I’ve seen people take various steps post GST to increase their income.

This is just one of them. It’s not that hard to register a new company, you just need to take some (archaic) steps in my case – different councils will have different procedures but mine involves getting a chop (stamp) before you can take the official form.

The official form is a huge piece of paper that looks like it belongs in the 1980’s (probably was from then) and it specifically states that it must be filled using a typewriting. It can’t be filled by hand or by computer and no one I knew even owns a typewriter anymore (not even two large companies I asked) so I engaged the services of a shop in town that specializes in this kind of thing.

Typing Business Registration

It was RM 10 to type up the document but it’s worth the money I spent coz now I have a new company to engage in various specialized writing and creative services.

It’s called Pulse Consulting and it does everything you think it does, and more.

Pulse Consulting

That’s my unofficial tagline anyway.

Seriously, though, if you want to ask me what I do, just email me. smirk

However, there’s still many other ways to combat post-GST income stresses – one of them is through property investment. But property prices in Malaysia can be very high, so why not invest in property overseas! There’s one coming up that I think is rather promising. It’s located in the resort island of Phuket!

Elephant Phuket

I’ve been to Phuket many times and hotels there can be quite expensive – if you calculate a night’s stay in Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort or Club Med Phuket you’ll find that owning your own property can be cheaper in the long run, especially if you get benefits like golf, spa and boating benefits in Phuket.

Plus, this particular one offers 7% Rental Guarantee for the first year so you won’t have to worry about finding your own!

dCondo Mine is a fully furnished freehold condominium by Sansiri, one of Thailand’s leading property developers.

dCondo Mine

The best part is the price, it starts from – wait for it – RM 250,000 with 50% deferred payment. That’s affordable even for first time property buyers and I’m really keen to find out more about this luxurious lifestyle investment opportunity. You should check it out if you’re interested in expanding or diversifying your investment portfolio with a Phuket based condominium. The property showcase organised by Golden Emperor, a Hong Kong based company will be held:

Venue: Level 4, Starhill 5, JW Marriott KL
Date: 9-10 May 2015
Time: 12-2 pm (English), 2-4 pm (Chinese)

Seats are limited so hurry, RSVP in the form below and start investing overseas now to supplement your income post GST! It’s such an exciting opportunity that I’ll turn up just to see what it’s all about.

You can also check out the Golden Emperor website for more information.

Are you a chatterbox or a data muncher?

Sister

My sister (of all people) introduced me to this book by Gary Chapman. It’s called “The 5 Love Languages” and basically it talks about how different people have different preferred methods of communication. This doesn’t just apply to relationships and it’s a great book. I realized that I’m very big on talking (and listening) as my mode of communication. It’s what I find comforting but not everyone is like that.

Talk Text

I have seen others who prefer to write (or use social messaging) to express their feelings. It’s their preferred method of communication. There’s no wrong or right to this, we’re all born differently and along the way, we have acquired the methods in which we prefer to communicate. The book goes about how to bridge that gap and understand why others operate in a different way and I found it rather illuminating.

Happy Family

You may not consciously choose how you’ve grown up communicating, but Digi has something for everyone with their new Digi SmartPlan! It’s a new postpaid plan that allows you to choose which method of communication you’re most comfortable with – talking or social messaging. Thus, you can either go:

  1. High Voice
  2. High Data

I thought this made a lot of sense, especially since people use their smartphones differently. Believe it or not, there are still people who prefer to talk and use voice to communicate (like me – even though I was born right during the PC revolution and has grown up with IRC, ICQ and now to Facebook). There are also people who’re the opposite, who prefer to use Instagram and are high data consumers.

Girl Taking Photo

With the new Digi SmartPlan, this really gives the power to choose right back to you – you can either opt for High Voice (unlimited calls and SMS) or High Data (up to 6 GB). If you’re a traditionalist (like me) who just wants to pick up the phone and dial up a loved one, the former would suit you very well.

However, if you use a lot of FaceTime, Skype and LINE/Viber then the latter plan would make much more sense. It’s all about giving choices back to the consumer.

DiGi SmartPlan

I think it’s great and as a Digi user, I’m going to switch to the High Voice – the Digi SmartPlan really is versatile. I already have a fast fibre based Internet connection at home so I don’t need to use a lot of data. Plus, with the Digi SmartPlan 78 and above, I’ll get unlimited Whatsapp/WeChat even with High Voice! I used to be the opposite – no Internet connection at home and constantly using up my 3 GB of data per month just from surfing and updating my blog.

On top of Unlimited Whatsapp, WeChat (from SmartPlan 78 and above) and Facebook (with selected plans), Digi has recently launched their music app – Digi Music Freedom where you can stream music with zero data charges – this means that you can enjoy free music from Spotify, Deezer, KKBox and more! It’s a very good initiative from Digi for their clients, especially those who cannot live without music, and also it is a very positive initiative by Digi in helping to minimize the problem in illegal music downloads.

Niece

Thus, wherever you are in life, and whatever you like to do, with the new Digi SmartPlan, the choice is really up to you – High Voice or High Data! Choose which one you want here.

Birthday Dinner @ Payung Cafe Sibu

Payung Cafe Sibu

Don’t you want to go to some other place?” I asked my better half. She’s been eating at the exact same two places last time she was here – Aloha Cafe for lunch and Payung Cafe for dinner, so I suggested Baba & Siam but she really liked the durian ice cream we had last time at Payung Cafe so we ended up here for dinner, three days after we had another huge dinner with my sister and her family (who also loves Payung). smirk

This is my birthday dinner – my dear had flown down from KL to celebrate slightly less than 24 hours with me and we had:

Guava Salad (RM 8)

Guava Salad

This is our starter. Payung Cafe has a range of salads and most of them are great. I especially recommend the Herbs Salad (RM 8) but since it was a hot day, we went for the Guava Salad. It’s a lovely dish of guava with calamansi lime, crushed nuts and other herbs. It’s extremely refreshing!

Mushroom Roll (RM 8)

Mushroom Roll

This is a dish that has gone through many, many recipe tweaks since it was first introduced 8 years ago. I was among the first people in Sibu who first came when Payung Cafe opened in 2008 and spread the word that it was a great al fresco dining place offering the best of South East Asian (and a couple of Western) dishes.

Starfruit Prawns (RM 16)

Starfruit Prawns

I love this stuff – it’s starfruit (carambola) cooked with large prawns. There are three inside and the rest is cut up starfruits and other vegetables. It makes for a good combination. My dad ordered this one.

Thai Green Curry Chicken (RM 19)

Thai Green Curry

My better half’s order – she didn’t even have to think twice. Thai green curry is usually very spicy (at least if you eat the original from Thailand) but this is a much more muted interpretation meant for sensitive local palates.

Otak-Otak Fish (RM 12)

Otak Otak Ikan

This is a Payung Cafe staple that we all ordered to share. It’s homemade and all of their dishes comes with rice (RM 2) and we also wanted to have otak otak so the owners were kind enough to deduct RM 1 from our fourth dish – we ordered four in total for a party of 3 so we didn’t need the extra. It’s usually RM 13.

Sour Chicken (RM 18)

Sour Chicken

This is one of their daily specials. I’ve had the duck version and I like how they use Cambodian spices and herbs to make this dish – it’s quite nice. Payung Cafe also uses chicken legs only in their dishes so you’ll get cuts of drums and thighs.

Mulu Ice Cream (RM 10)

Mulu Ice Cream

We ordered one dessert for each person – this is mine, the ever-changing Mulu Ice Cream. This too has gone through several revisions, it used to be round, then a square slice, then a rectangular slice. It’s not cake – this is a sandwich of two chocolate ice cream layers with muesli in between, which is then topped with vanilla ice cream. I really like this coz of the textural aspects, there’s muesli sprinkled on top too.

Durian Ice Cream (RM 8)

Durian Ice Cream

This is a delicious concoction of homemade vanilla ice cream with durian paste. It’s delicious when they’ve just made it and it tastes like real durians instead of dodol (a local confection made with durians). It’s the reason my better half loves this place.

Jelly Pisang (RM 8)

Jelly Pisang

This is a classic Sibu dessert – it used to be served with shaved ice and bananas and Jello. Nowadays, it’s almost extinct. To the best of my knowledge, there’s only two places who still serves this – Peppers Cafe @ Tanahmas Hotel and here. This is the higher end version with homemade ice cream. It’s pictured next to Roselle Juice (RM 6) – a refreshing drink made from the roselle plant. It’s misspelled as Roxelle Juice in the menu.

Payung Cafe Birthday

It’s a wonderful dinner, made even better with the awesome company – my dad and my better half. My dad insisted of picking up the bill and treating us to the meal since it’s my birthday. The total for the three of us came up to RM 132 which is very reasonable for the amount we ordered and true to this word, the owner took RM 1 off the bill. :)

My birthday conspiracy (which makes for reasonably good reading)

It’s times like these that I think there’s a higher power somewhere looking out for me. smirk It just so happened that I was back in my home town during my birthday (which coincides with Ching Ming) so I didn’t have much to do on Saturday night. I thought I’ll give a friend of mine a call and get some ketamine and treat myself to a nice k-hole for my birthday.

He didn’t pick up when I called him.

(I learned later this was a blessing in disguise)

Right after that, I went down and my dad asked me to pick someone up from the airport. That’s highly unusual, especially since he didn’t say who (my sister and her family had already gone back).

I pressed him for details and it turns out that my better half (whom I love to death) is coming to Sibu to celebrate my birthday with me. My dad had known since Tuesday (!!!) when she contacted him to arrange this conspiracy surprise.

The phone rang right after he told me – it was my friend, calling back. He said he missed my call since he took his daughter out and asked me what was up. I said nothing much and hung up.

*PHEW*

If you have skipped the beginning of this tale, this is the same friend whom I was about to arrange to get some ketamine for a personal birthday treat to myself.

What would have happened if my dear had arrived smack dab while I was in a dissociative state where I was thinking more about 4th and 10th dimensional beings and pondering the reality of our existence?

(or maybe that she was some kind of ketamine induced visual and auditory hallucination)

HAHAHA

Like I said, there is a God.

I’m kidding. That’s a heavily Photoshopped picture of salt (sodium hydrochloride) crystals packed in baggies to look like the real thing. It was pink Himalayan salt to boot, which had me adjusting all the contrast and levels and RGB details to make it look white and similar to ketamine crystals.

(either that, or I really digged out the real thing from my photo archives from years and years back action)

This is a highly elaborate running inside joke that I have with my dear, I seriously have quit all recreational substances, pharmaceuticals and anything that might even remotely alter my state of mind. No wink wink, nudge nudge stuff, this is for realz yo. I don’t even drink much anymore.

There’s no ketamine.

I love my dear to bits and she’s everything to me – I have always been true to her and haven’t touched anything mind-altering for almost three (3) years, ever since I have been with her.

Sarawak Laksa

Me and my dad picked her up from her airport and we went to Aloha Cafe to eat her favorite Sarawak Laksa.

Payung Cafe

The three of us also had a very nice dinner at Payung Cafe at night.

Braun Buffel Birthday Gift

She came bearing gifts too – a Braun Buffel wallet and a UNIQLO shirt.

Braun Buffel Grey Wallet

My wallet has been a sad specimen for a long time and I think she noticed that and got me a really expensive and nice grey one from the German premium leather designer.

Frankfurt Passport Stamp

I love that she has a passport stamp of last year, when we flew to Germany and France – it’s dated 5th of April 2014, my birthday.

Sibu Passport Stamp

This year, she has a stamp on 5th of April 2015 but this time in Sibu. It’s small things like this that means a lot to her and a lot to me too coz it shows how much she cares that she spends every birthday with me (despite telling me she will not this year coz she’s busy with GST to make the surprise better).

I love you dear. I’m glad you flew down all the way to surprise me and planned it with my dad. Thanks for all the gifts and most of all for gracing my birthday with your presence, even if it was just one day.

Birthday 2015

It’s the best birthday ever! You make my life better and you make me a better man by just being in it. <3

Race Against the Machines: The first drone vs human marathon!

Race Against the Machines 2015

I drove down to Putrajaya over the weekend to witness the first human versus drone 6 km run! This is particularly intriguing to me since the concept resonates with the post-apocalyptic genre of movies and books (which I love). The basis of Race Against the Machines is that flying drones chase all the runners and people can control and view the drones on their smartphones to try and kill hunt the runners.

Putrajaya Flesh vs Steel

The 100PLUS Outrunner 2015 runs also feature traditional 12 km and 9 km runs in addition to the 6 km Race Against the Machines fun run.

100PLUS Outrunner Putrajaya

I could feel the energy of the crowd of people gathering around the square beside Putrajaya Palace of Justice – everyone was excited to begin the run and I was kindly furnished with a t-shirt for the run. I also got the new 100PLUS bottles with the contours and bumps at the end to form a better grip for runners.

100PLUS Putrajaya Run

100PLUS is the organizer behind this event and there was a really cool place where you can get a sticker on your face (or any other part of your body) – the transfer was really vivid!

I watched the 12 km race being flagged off to fireworks…

100PLUS Outrunner 2015

…as well as the 9 km race.

Race Against the Machines

I heard the PA announce that the first finisher for the 12 km run came in less than 45 minutes after the race started. The three races all have staggered starts and my interest was towards the 6 km Flesh vs Steel Race Against the Machines.

I got it on good authority that the flying drones were controlled by a 100PLUS truck that acts as a sort of pacer vehicle in front of the pack of runners. People at home who couldn’t make it could also view the runners from the cameras mounted on the drones. I imagine this is what Predator/Reaper pilots (and Wikileaks aficionados) must feel like.

100PLUS

There were obstacles in addition to the flying drones and I saw families having lot of fun – there are participants from fit marathon types to families pushing a stroller and even a gentleman in a wheelchair. The atmosphere was amazing!

Shelter Zone

The runners in Race Against the Machines can also “hide” at designated Shelter Zones. This is when the cameras from the flying drones go “dark” and the runners are effectively hidden from the people who’re trying to hunt them. This sanctuary is very important as the drones fly at a speed of 57 km/h – much faster than a human can possibly run!

100PLUS Drones

The drones are “armed” with powerful searchlights and high definition video cameras that allow the Drone Masters (people at home) to search and hunt the runners. Drone Masters have 25 shots to fire from the flying machines – that means if they manage to take a clear photo of your barcode, you’re “captured” and 1 Life is deducted.

Flying Drones

The barcodes on the front and back of the participants in Race Against the Machines act as an identifier/target – it keeps track of who got tagged by the lasers and who survived till the end and I thought it’s an amazing idea. Each runner had 3 Lifes (a bonus Life is given for those who’re carrying the 100PLUS New Grip Bottle) and they must cross the finish line with at least 1 Life remaining.

100PLUS New Grip Bottle

100PLUS Outrunner 2015 is a great concept that manages to satisfy hardcore runners with the 12 km and 9 km runs and also the highly innovative 6 km Race Against the Machines. It brings casual runners or people interested in the concept of running from a post-apocalyptic army of drones (think Skynet) to push their limits and live a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise.

100PLUS Outrunner

…and that’s always a good thing! :)

Our annual poon choy dinner with whole baby abalone @ Hakka Siu Poon Choy

Poon Choy

I always look forward to our poon choy dinner as the proper start of the pre Chinese New Year celebrations. We got our poon choy from the famous Restaurant Lee Hong Kee (used to be known as Restaurant LYJ) last year and I decided to try a new place this year. I had passed by this small and unassuming shop and called them to ask about their Hakka Pun Choi.

Poon Choy is actually a Hakka tradition that has been adopted and popularized over the years here. It basically involves a pot filled with all manner of premium ingredients by layer – stacked from the bottom to the top so each layer seeps down to the next, providing a new ingredient as you eat “down” and having the gravy/juice absorbing stuff underneath so it gets all the wonderful flavors from the smorgasbord of meat and seafood.

Hakka Siu Poon Choy

Hakka Siu Poon Choy is helmed by Cheong Sifu (Master, can also mean Chef) and I called the proprietor to ask about their prices. Poon Choy is now streamlined into two (2) sizes – 5 pax and 10 pax. I wanted the Premium Abalone Poon Choy, their best offering, for 5 pax and it cost RM 280 for the basic set. You can also add whole baby abalone for RM 20 each and I had six pieces coz there are six of us eating and I wanted everyone to have one.

I wanted to try this small restaurant instead of the huge commercial multi-restaurant F&B enterprises e.g. Dragon-i, Unique Seafood etc even though they’re cheaper (probably coz they buy in bulk) coz a smaller operation would have a more homely feel. I had it to go since me and my better half had her parents over so it’s easier to eat at home, especially with the two kids.

Poon Choy 2015

I also got two craft beers from Oregon for my dear’s dad and myself from Betty’s Midwest Kitchen. I’ve always liked Rogue’s brews and I thought their Mocha Porter and Dry Hopped St Rogue Red Ale would be perfect for the meal. The first is a stout like beverage, dark and high in alcohol content, with a nice coffee aftertaste. The St Rogue Red Ale is a sweet affair that’s light and refreshing and tasty from the dry hop process.

Rogue Red Ale Mocha Porter

The poon choy from Hakka Siu Poon Choy did not disappoint – it was even better than last year! I called over the phone and told them to prepare a good one for me with premium ingredients and they did just that. The optional 6 pieces of whole abalone for RM 20 each was well worth it too! The good stuff is in the middle – there’s whole baby abalone, sliced abalone (the lighter colored stuff), sliced conch (the darker colored pieces), Pacific clams, sea asparagus (razor clams), top shell, dried mussels, dried scallops, fresh scallops, dried oyster and black moss (fatt choy).

Hakka Poon Choy

I’m quite impressed by that selection, although most of it probably came out of cans like New Moon, they’re not cheap either. The whole baby abalone and one type of scallop is fresh though. The dried scallops are large and flavorful too.

There’s also ½ chicken and ½ duck flanking the poon choy pot with huge prawns, spare ribs and fu chuk (whole beancurd sheets/tofu skin) interspaced between. I particularly liked how they had ½ fish maw with ½ dried and rehydrated pig skin at the second layer. There’s also a wonderful array of sliced pork belly and sea cucumber hidden below. The Shiitake mushrooms, straw mushrooms, broccoli and turnips at the bottom soaks up the wonderful juices from everything slowly soaking down very well.

I’m sure I have missed some ingredients coz there’s supposed to be 28 in total!

Whole Baby Abalone

My favorite has gotta be the prawns cooked in sweet and sour sauce though – the juices from that flavored everything beneath really well and I’m glad I paid extra RM 20 / whole baby abalone for a more festive treat! Everyone loved it and even the kids had extra rice! My dear even had to cook an extra pot of rice for a second helping for everyone.

It was a great poon choy dinner that has become an annual treat, much like our Christmas turkey dinners! I can really feel the Chinese New Year “mood” now. :)

Blog giveaway: Get a weBoost Drive 3G-S (worth RM 389) just by commenting!

Check out the animation video above!

sand animation

I took this video during the weBoost launch at Connexion@Nexus Bangsar South on 29th October 2014. It’s a very apt visual description on what weBoost is all about and how it works. weBoost is made by Wilson Electronics, the Utah based global leader in cellular signal boosters and they’re bringing two of their award-winning lines to Malaysia.

weBoost launch

The weBoost line of products works by boosting both voice and data signals for 2G and 3G and best of all, it works with *all* cellular carriers. It’s carrier-independent so it doesn’t matter which telco you signed up with. It also works seamlessly when you’re moving from outside to inside the enhanced area so there’s no need to end your call and reconnect when you’re walking outside into your office or your car.

weBoost me

The signal is automatically boosted when you’re within the weBoost coverage area.

weBoost Connect3G

The Connect 3G is meant for homes and offices for those who depend on reliable connectivity indoors. It captures the outside, usable signal and amplifies it before redistributing the boosted and usable signal throughout the entire home/office and will be launched soon, so stay tuned!

weBoost Drive3G

The Drive 3G-S is an all-in-one phone cradle and signal booster and the best thing about this in-car device is that it can extend your phone battery life by as much as 3 hours of talktime (average 20% better battery life) when you’re using it. It also boosts both voice and data.

weBoost

I got a unit of the Drive 3G-S to test out and I must say that I’m very impressed. I can already think of the variety of uses for this unit – as someone who uses Google Maps/Waze a lot, I need a cradle for my car anyway. This does away with 3rd party car cradles and also extends the range where a call can be made, virtually eliminating areas of poor coverage.

weBoost 3GS install

It’s very easy to install too!

weBoost 3GS review

Step 1: Clean the area you want to install the cradle with the provided alcohol wipe

weBoost 3GS mount

Step 2: Peel back the adhesive from the backing of the mount (allow 24 hours to cure before attaching Drive 3G-S)

weBoost 3GS unboxing

Step 3: Hook up the antenna into the Drive 3G-S

weBoost antenna

Step 4: Put the magnetic antenna on top of your car

weBoost test

Step 5: Plug in the power source and hook up the mini-USB to the port on the Drive 3G-S

weBoost LED

That’s all there is to it! You can see the Drive 3G-S light up via a small LED light to the side to show that it’s powered up.

weBoost 3GS adhesive

You’ll also realize that there’s no need for DIY skills on your part – the cable that leads to the antenna can be just strung directly out and your door closed over it. It won’t damage the cable – it’s very strong – as you can see there’s a soft polymer at the car door seam which allows the cable to securely go outside and to the antenna at the roof of your car.

weBoost antenna placement

I experimented with antenna placement and found that it works best when it’s directly upright and at the center of the vehicle roof at least 16 cm away from windows. It’s a very strong magnet – you won’t have to worry about it flying off even if you’re quite the speed demon.

weBoost 3GS arms

The cradle can fit any sized phone too – there are attachments called “arms” provided that can be secured to existing latches on the cradle. You can just slip them in and out until you find a snug fit for your phone.

weBoost 3GS cradle

My smartphone has a very unusual on/off button – it’s to the side instead of to the top but that doesn’t present a problem. There are different shapes and sized arms which allows you to fit the slimmest basic phone to the largest smartphone.

weBoost signal

My experience driving around with the Drive 3G-S was very positive. I know certain areas are prone to weak (but not non-existent) signals e.g. tunnels and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I can now make calls from previously blocked areas.

weBoost 3G data

There is also a notorious stretch of poor coverage area when you drive to Ipoh where the signal is weak from the surrounding hills and I’m here to report that you can use the Drive 3G-S to even watch YouTube videos at the usually denied area. Not that I recommend you do that, this was just a test, you see. *cough*

weBoost 3G data test

The Drive 3G-S also provided me with strong signal strength even at my in-laws place, which is notorious for having a weak signal. Did you know that your phone actually uses up battery life when you’re in a weak reception area coz it’s constantly jumping between cell towers and trying to get a better signal?

weBoost 3G voice

The weBoost Drive 3G-S resolves that problem by providing you with longer battery life and better voice and data signal with the all-in-one cradle so it’s really useful to people like me. If you drive around a lot in the city where there are weak coverage areas or want to have constant connectivity during road trips, the Drive 3G-S will be a useful investment indeed.

weBoost data test

I have had my car break down once on the KL-Ipoh route and it was at a weak coverage zone and I actually had to walk to find a usable signal and that’s an emergency where I wish I had the Drive 3G-S. I drove through that area again and managed to get both voice and data signal from the weak coverage area due to the hilly terrain.

weBoost 3G

This product will soon hit the shelves in Malaysia and if you want to be one of the first few Malaysians to own it, good news:

I have one (1) brand new weBoost Drive 3G-S Cellular Signal Booster (worth RM 389) to giveaway on sixthseal.com! You just need to answer the following two questions in the comments section:

1. Name the two weBoost products that were recently launched in Malaysia
2. Why do you need a mobile booster in your daily life?

Participants must be based in Malaysia and the contest will end on 30th January 2015. Just comment with the answers and your email address and I’ll choose one lucky winner from the comments.

Yee Sang Dinner @ Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial

Sheep Yee Sang

I just had my first yee sang dinner of the year last night. This salmon yee sang is made with shredded vegetables made to look like the Chinese character for “sheep” (羊) coz the Year of the Sheep is coming up.

Celestial Court Imperial Sheraton

It’s just less than a month till Chinese New Year so the annual “lou sang”/“sau kong” (traditional end-of-work before CNY company dinners) sessions are starting to kick in gear. This one was held by Tourism Australia at Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial KL.

Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang

Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang

I love how they made the raw fish salad to look like the Chinese character for sheep – 羊. I didn’t actually notice it until someone pointed it out. The waitresses poured in all the ingredients and each one signifies something e.g. fish for 年年有余 (Abundance throughout the year), oil for 一本万利 and 财源广进 (May you have 10,000 returns with your capital/Numerous sources of wealth), carrots for 鸿运当头 (Good luck coming) and even the crushed peanuts for 金银满屋 (Household filled with gold and silver).

Tossing Yee Sang

It’s a highly ritualized service and a lot of places actually states the auspicious Chinese phrases out loud as they pour in the ingredients. We tossed the salad while wishing for various things, mine was for family and more vacations and travel for 2015. smirk

Double-boiled Baby Abalone Soup with Sea Cucumber and Fish Maw

Double boiled Baby Abalone Soup with Sea Cucumber and Fish Maw

I really liked this clear soup – the baby abalone is super tender compared to the wedding dinner I went to last weekend. The broth tastes amazing too, the seasoning is just right and the sea cucumber and fish maw just slides down my throat.

Roasted Crispy Chicken with Golden Garlic Sands

Roasted Crispy Chicken with Golden Garlic Sands

This is my least favorite dish in every Chinese banquet and I don’t usually partake much but the golden garlic “sand” that goes with the roasted chicken is very nice.

Homemade Stuffed Scallop with Dry Scallop and Spring Onion Sauce

Homemade Stuffed Scallop with Dry Scallop and Spring Onion Sauce

Delicious! I liked the thick, reduced spring onion sauce which was heavily seasoned with dry scallops – it coated the stuffed scallops and added a lot of flavor and a slippery texture prized in traditional Cantonese cuisine. The stuffed scallops were very flavorful and I couldn’t help popping more than a few of these babies into my mouth.

Pan Seared Red Garoupa with Flower Fungus, Bird Eye Chillies on Lotus Leaf

Pan Seared Red Garoupa with Flower Fungus, Bird Eye Chillies on Lotus Leaf

The fish dish is my favorite dish in banquets! I like how this one was presented on a lotus leaf and it’s pan-seared instead of steamed, giving it the Maillard reaction and caramelization that adds a note of sweetness to the fish.

Red Grouper

It was slightly overcooked though and I felt it should have come before the saltier stuffed scallops dish but it’s still great paired with my white wine.

Braised Beancurd with Fish Paste

Braised Beancurd with Fish Paste

I was quite surprised to find out that I actually rather enjoyed this dish. I eat everything but there are certain things that I don’t like (but will still try) – beancurd/tofu being one of the examples. This doesn’t taste like tofu at all, it’s stuffed with fish paste and the tender texture of the beancurd contrasted nicely with the slightly resistant fish paste made in-house.

Fragrant Wok-fried Flat Rice Noodles with Black Bean and Seafood

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The staff at Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial offered to portion every dish (including the fish) which I thought was great. It’s a service that’s expected in higher end Chinese restaurants nowadays, although you can refuse, of course, it’s up to each table’s preference. I don’t know what that says about the evolution of community dining but even our family opts for that when we eat out in Singapore.

The kueh tiaw was actually pretty good, if slightly oily, and each bowl had a large prawn, slice of fish and scallop.

Screw Pine and Coconut Milk Crème Brulee, with Raspberry Jam, Grilled Jackfruit, Crispy Rambutan and Lotus Root Dessert presented by Chef Sherson Lian

Screw Pine and Coconut Milk Crème Brulee, with Raspberry Jam, Grilled Jackfruit, Crispy Rambutan and Lotus Root Dessert presented by Chef Sherson Lian

This dessert was conceptualized by Chef Sherson Lian (have seen him on AFC before) who coincidentally sat on the same table as I did. It’s supposed to be a local crème brulee made with local ingredients, which begs the question about the glaring foreign ingredient in the dish – raspberry. It turns out that the component was supposed to be roselle jam but the roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) came too late for it to be incorporated into the dish.

I loved the crispy battered rambutans, pieces of jackfruit and lotus root and I can see the direction it’s going – excellent stuff.

It was a great finish to the first yee sang dinner of the year and I polished off my (rather large) portion. :)

Chee Keong & Mei Sze’s wedding @ Summer Palace

Chee Keong Mei Sze Wedding Banquet

This is the first wedding we attended this year! I had missed a friend (and co-worker) wedding in December 2014 due to prior commitments, so this is the first wedding of 2015. It’s a bit unusual as the traditional Chinese wedding banquet dinner was held on a Sunday night and the restaurant was quite far in Putrajaya Marriott Hotel so we got home quite late yesterday.

Summer Palace Putrajaya Marriott

The bride and groom had a ceremony earlier in the day which culminated in this wedding dinner. I knew the couple from a previous trip to Bangkok and the 9-course banquet was held at Summer Palace – the Chinese restaurant at Marriott in Putrajaya.

HB Ling Wedding

It’s a very nice place for a wedding – I’ve eaten here before at a company dinner and the food wasn’t too bad but the scenery and service is the main selling points. The servers are very conscientious about changing your plates after every course and I had a glass of The Macallan 12 year old for my drink.

Deluxe Five Happiness Combination Platter

Deluxe Five Happiness Combination Platter

This is the first course and instead of the traditional “Four Seasons” plate with four food items this has five different hot and cold elements. There’s also the increasingly common theatre that goes with the first course, with the servers getting in line and doing a performance before grandly putting the first plate on your table.

Deep Fried Salted Egg

I first saw this at my sister’s wedding in Sibu but it wasn’t present at her wedding in KL. We thought the cold pork belly/duck breast slices were the best part of the dish – it was lying on a bed of pickled jellyfish which provided a wonderful acidic element. We also loved the boiled and deep fried salted egg.

Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Baby Abalone, Top Shell & Chinese Herbs

Double boiled Chicken Soup with Baby Abalone

Shark’s Fin Soup has gone out of vogue since the environmentalist types and the wannabes/sheep started a crusade against it. I’m personally ambivalent about the issue, as most people who really understand the issue, with the entire hypocrisy (and racism) of Sea Shepard and other militant environmental organizations on one side and the heritage of Icelandic culture (hákarl – fermented Greenland shark), Canadian legal seal meat and Japanese/French proudly unapologetic cuisine on the other.

However, I think the substitution of shark’s fin soup with a clear soup with premium ingredients like abalone, fish maw, top shell (magpie shell) and such is a good thing too and it tastes better and there was been a spate of fake shark’s fin going around in the few years before it became the “S-word”.

This is a good example of a nice clear soup which highlights the abalone, top shell, chicken and fish maw and it’s individually portioned beforehand.

Roasted Sesame Chicken & Roasted Chicken

Roasted Sesame Chicken

The chicken done two ways is a nice twist on the traditional roasted chicken. However, I’m not a huge fan of chicken done this way – there’s no sea salt or plum sauce for the slightly overcooked and dry roasted chicken and the roasted sesame chicken wasn’t much better.

Steamed Mandarin Fish “Unicorn” Style

Steamed Unicorn Fish

This seems to be the latest trend in serving fish at Chinese banquets! The fish is totally de-boned and filleted. The fillets of fish is then wrapped around a long, tubular “fish ball” and presented on the carcass of the fish so it looks like rolled up fish flesh.

Unicorn Fish

I’m a purist so I still prefer steamed fish served whole but I have to admit, this “unicorn style” platters of fish is very easy to eat, and the fish ball inside makes it taste artificially good with lots of MSG!

Chilled ‘Ming’ Prawns with Mayo & Stir-fried Prawn Balls with Butter Cream

Chilled Ming Prawns with Butter Cream

This is the best dish that we had the entire night! There’s huge prawns done two ways, and they’re all de-shelled and de-veined. One is cooked in a sweet and wet butter/mayo sauce and the other is deep fried in butter. It’s very creamy and I love the huge, juicy prawns – I had three and my better half had two.

Braised Assorted Dried Seafood with Broccoli

Braised Assorted Dried Seafood with Broccoli

I love the texture of sea cucumber! I’ll actually order this if I see it around. There was a RM 60 PNG (Papua New Guinea) sea cucumber promotion at Glory Cafe in Sarikei when we went but I was too full to order it. The sea cucumber here is done well, thickly sliced and full of slippery and chewy collagen. I also liked the mushrooms – very flavorful, especially with the bits of dried and rehydrated scallops in the reduced sauce.

Special Three Layered Fried Rice

Special Three Layered Fried Rice

There’s nothing special about this dish – it’s just rice done three ways. There’s plain fried rice on top, rice fried with light soy sauce in the middle and cooking caramel (dark soy sauce) fried rice at the bottom. That’s what causes the layered coloration and it was very oily – this is a dish for people who’re still hungry to fill up before dessert is served.

I know people who eat this way – main dishes only (fish, chicken, pork etc) with no accompanying rice in a multiple course banquet where they fill up on fried noodles or rice as the last course, it’s a different style of eating but we were too full at this point to eat more than a spoonful of the rice to taste it.

Special Dessert Combination

Special Dessert Combination

This is actually pretty decent! They made the crushed peanut covered mochi to be flavorless (except for the smoky and nutty accents from the peanuts) so the sweet component comes from the mung bean shaped and moulded into a cartoonish ear of corn.

It’s meant to be eaten together and it’s a good pairing.

The Chinese characters makes a lot more sense than the English translation though. Haha.

Chilled Mixed Fruits with Avocado Cream

Chilled Mixed Fruits with Avocado Cream

This is the highlight of the dish and it was what we had saved up space for. We both thought an avocado based dessert sounded delicious and we’re glad we waited for this even though a lot of people were leaving at this point to beat the traffic and try to get home before a work day. It has a wonderfully rich mouthfeel and a nutty flavor that’s very morish. Delectable!

Chee Keong Mei Sze Wedding Photo

Congrats and all the best to the newly-weds! :)

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