Thursday, March 30, 2006
I've only had DSL for a little over a year now and takes the faster connection speed for granted. I was at my in-laws' place this past weekend. My father-in-law is an avid internet user but he is still using dial-up. I was on his computer looking at my blogs ... wow, what the h*@%k?! How come the pictures on my blog take forever to download? And I take pains to make my picture files small, always bearing in mind there are those that are still on dial-up. So I told my father-in-law, "You are SO yesterday! About time you get yourself high speed internet connection!". He didn't understand the part about being "so yesterday". Heheh, I had to explain to him.
Doug was there when I told my father-in-law that, and Doug being Doug, told his father, "Hey, why don't you put up a directional antennas, and I'm sure you can find high speed internet connection in this area and use that!" Haha, cheap-skate that he is, wants his father to "tumpang" somebody's high speed internet connection! Actually, my mother-in-law's laptop with the built in WI-FI card did find a hot spot, but it was encryted with a password so she was not able to get connected. My neigbours can easily use my high speed connection because it is not encryted with a password but Doug tells me that if I see blinking lights on my router, and I am not using my internet, someone is using my connection! :-)
I have seen ads on TV about satellite internet connection. I don't know how good it is, but the neighbour at the end of our private road has one. He did not realize that DSL service was already available in our area when he got his satellite internet service. Anyway, he had to spend quite a bit for the modem and the service compared to what we are paying for our DSL service. When I had to renew my subscription last December, I told Doug to bargain the price to the then current promotion price which was only $16.99 per month! I have to pay $26.99 per month! Sheeeshh! And that is lower than the usual price of $34.99 Today, I checked the latest promotion, it is only $12.99!! What the h*%#@k! Why am I stuck with that old promotion rate?! Oh ok, that low $12.99 per month is only for 6 months ... sheeesss, the games these people play! One must be careful to read the fine print in any of the contracts that one signs with these companies!
Going back to Malaysia's plan to increase broadband usage. I think it is about time the government allows local internet service providers. TMnet and Jaring have had it good for too long and it is about time other people get a share of the pie. It is also time for a fixed ISP rate. Say RM 20 for unlimited internet usage on dial-up. How can you encourage more internet usage when every minute you are online costs you money? If the government allows private internet service providers, I would jump on that bandwagon too! Yes, I'd start my own internet service and also provide subscription wi-fi service! Be as good a time as any to get that bumiputra loan to start a business! :-)
I guess it will be a long time before free WI-Fi is going to be available in Malaysia. Google is gong to provide San Francisco with free WI-FI service for all its residents. Lucky people! And most major cities in the US will have access to free WI-FI service in the next 5 years.
To end off this entry, here's a funny article on how you can steal WI-FI. Hey, Mag, you already know how, eh! :-)
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Just before noon, the emergency alert system sounded over the radio .. severe thunderstorm with golf ball sized hail warning for a nearby county. I looked outside .. sunny with some thick dark clouds. Not long after that I heard thunder, and the house vibrated .. ooh, that sounded close! So I switched off my crackling radio and turned off my quilting machine. I didn't want any power surge to damage my stuff!
Then it started drizzling slightly. I took my shower, but when I came out of the shower, I noticed that it was raining quite heavily. I took a look out the window and watched the rain hitting the ground. Hail! The hail stones were quite small, about the size of corn, and they melted quite quickly after hitting the ground. I couldn't take any pictures because there were not much to see on the ground. Some weeks ago, the hail that fell in the San Deigo area made the ground look like it was covered in snow.
Anyway, this is the longest winter season I've experienced in California. The temperatures are about 10 degrees below normal for this time of the year. I don't really mind it though because summer in this part of California is always very long. Better cold than hot!
Friday, March 24, 2006
Friday March 24, 2006
RTM to launch third channel
By MUMTAJ BEGUM
KUALA LUMPUR: RTM will celebrate its 60th year of transmission this year by renaming its two channels and launching a third channel.
TV1 and TV2 would be known as RTM1 and RTM2 from its anniversary date – April 1, Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin told a press conference at Angkasapuri yesterday.
“We want to emphasise that the name itself is historical in its own right,” he said.
Zainuddin, however, could not say when RTM3 would begin transmission. However, he did say that from April 3, RTM2 would possibly go on air 24 hours a day.
As part of the special events and programmes planned for RTM’s 60th anniversary, there will be a concert on April 2 at Padang Semarak Angkasapuri with stalls manned by local celebrities such as Rosyam Nor and Saiful Apek.
An outdoor event, Fiesta 60, will be a daily affair from March 31 until April 3 from 10am to 10pm also, at Padang Semarak Angkasapuri. Among the activities are concerts, karaoke competitions, dance competitions and auditions.
Beginning midnight March 31, there will also be 60 hours of non-stop live transmission from various locations all over Malaysia featuring entertainment, information and sports-related programmes.
Both RTM's radio and TV stations will feature special programmes from now until May. Besides new programmes, there will be reruns of classic serials produced by RTM such as Bila Kompang Berbunyi, a popular series that was aired in the 1960s.
“We are working towards screening only good quality programmes,” Zainuddin said.
It seems like every time there is a new Information Minister, RTM's TV and Radio channnels/station/programmes get new names! I remember watching the "rebranding" of the TV and Radio channels/stations last year. There was much fanfare associated with the "rebranding".
And now? TV1 and TV2 are going back to their old names. Reminds me of someone I know; she doesn't like her old name anymore, so she now has a new name. Maybe some time in the future, she'll get tired of her new name and will go back to her old name! Heheh.
I am happy to read there will be re-runs of old serials. I've never watched Bila Kompang Berbunyi, since TV transmissions only came about in Sarawak some time in the 70s. I have been wondering for a long time why there are no re-runs of local series, if there are, only very few. Another thing, RTM can also run series that first appeared on some private TV stations. There are still many people who do not have access to these private TV stations. Here in the US, I love to watch re-runs of Seinfeld, over and over again to be exact!
I have noticed that some of the newer TV series in Malaysia are trying to reflect more of the true Malaysian character. There are more solid roles for the non-Malay actors. I know more could and should be done. Otherwise, the Chinese will only watch Chinese series, and the Tamils will watch the Tamil series. And the rest of us? Not much to choose from! :-(
I look forward to the proposed third channel from RTM. I just hope that it won't be filled with religious programmes that hardly anyone watches! Or the kind of programmes that are filled with good intentions - like propaganda on how to love the country, the government, or on how to be courteous and kind, have good morals ... nothing wrong with that but too much moralizing can turn people off.
I am still waiting for our first Iban movie or series on TV! I have heard rumours that Vynne is going to be involved in a production, and Kayan Knight, in another. I heard that these movies will be all in Iban with subtitles. I like the sound of that!
Hey, maybe I could take classes on movie script writing, and add to the birth of Iban movie production! :-)
Monday, March 20, 2006
Prehistoric structures (Stonehenge in England, Hagar Qim and the Hypogeum in Malta, etc.) all testify to the fact that man is a "religious animal," distinct and radically different from the beasts and all living creatures upon the face of the earth. The earliest civilisations (Sumerians, Egyptians, Incas, etc.) all without exception has a strong sense of religion; these people all attempted to Re-ligio, to be bound to their Maker and Superior.
Their earliest records and structures all point to the fact that religion is not an opium for the people, as Marx mistakenly believed. It is rather his desperate and unsuccessful attempt to make amends with God.
Admittedly, he is the Unknown God, as Paul took the hint from one of the numerous Athenian altars, who is worshipped in ignorance, in superstition and idolatrously. But man, inevitably, lives and moves and exists in Him. He is the offspring of God and therefore man is incurably religious.
This pervasive idea of God has been explained away by some modern anthopologists. In our Scientific era, when we know what causes lightning and rain and earthquakes and tornadoes, we no longer have room for God. These events that used to terrify our forefathers are easily explained now. So the idea of God is outdated and needless. Not so! For the most learned men are still religious. They are still influenced by their belief, however warped and inconsistent, in a Supreme Being. Logic and reason are both within man's constitution, but these have never defaced the notion that there is a God. Man still desires to worship and bow down, even though it be (quite illogically) before stocks and stones. People may arrogantly live as if there is no God; they learn to do this quite will and boast themselves of being atheist. But even Voltaire, who tired himself of mocking the Scriptures and the church, when caught in a storm and in danger of death, is known to have spontaneously pray to God to deliver him. To say glibly, "There is no God," is the oppose all mankind, to deny the course of human history, and to contradict your own nature.
Customs, traditions, politics, commercial methods, art, and everything else in a state of flux; everything changes, but man, as a religious being, does not change. His religion may change, but he is still religious, and his conscience unceasingly testifies of his moral nature. Now since man is a moral and intellectual being, it is certain that a Higher than he has made him, who is also moral and intelligent. Man's moral nature (at all times and among all nations), his religious instincts, and his conscience all argue forcibly in favour of God's existence. His sense of moral duty may be weak of strong, defiled or pure, but is never totally absent. The only adequate explanation for all this is that God, the Supreme moral Being, who made us, also implanted this moral sense within every human being. No other explanation is satisfactory.
Humanity has an idea of a supreme being. This idea was frequently challenged (by atheistic idealogies, such as Communism) but never wiped away. While the concepts about God found among different cultures are varied, yet the idea remains.
Source: Truth For Today
So Doug and I got to talking about the varying prices we have to pay for our gasoline every time we fill up our gas tanks. The last time (last week) I filled up my mini-van, I paid $2.29 per gallon. The price I see at the nearest gas station, for the last two days has shown $2.54 per gallon. See what a difference a week makes in the price of petrol here? And this is just where I live, elsewhere it is different - could be more, could be less.
In the UK, people pay a lot more for their petrol compared to other places in Europe, and compared to the US. In the UK there is a heavy tax on petrol. The reason for this high rate on petrol is to encourage conservation. People are forced to adjust their lifestyle ... drive smaller cars, take public transportation or car pool to work.
In the US the government has resisted putting too much taxes on the price of petrol. The taxes that are attached to the petrol prices are mostly towards building and maintaining roads. In California, the additional taxes are for producing cleaner fuel for vehicles, i.e., by adding additives that supposedly help keep the environment cleaner.
I remember, when the price of gasoline was over $3 per gallon. We drove less. We drove our smaller cars and kept our gas guzzlers in the garage.
In the oil rich Arab countries/states petrol prices are only a few cents a litre. When you pay less for a litre of petrol than a litre of bottled water, there is bound to be wastefulness. There is no incentive to conserve.
In Malaysia, every time, there is an increase in the price of petrol, prices of other necessities go up too. What I am most unhappy about is the rate of increase is never proportional to the increase in the petrol price. Every business person uses the excuse of the petrol price hike to up the prices of their products and services! Grrrr!
No wonder people are protesting the 30 sen price hike!
Saturday, March 18, 2006
This was the quilt that I made for my friend, Catherine. When she first visited me in 2004, she asked me to make her a quilt. She said that when she came again the following year, she would claim it. Heheh, I did not make her any quilt until she came to visit me this week. I finished the quilt except for the binding. After the binding is sewn on the quilt, it has to be finished off by hand .. like hemming a skirt.
Catherine returned to her nephew's home in Milpitas today, but next weekend, I'll be seeing her again. I'll hand her quilt to her then and she doesn't have to stitch a thing! I had hoped to finish attaching the binding before she left for Milpitas, but she had to leave in a hurry because she was meeting another nephew and his family in Sacramento for lunch.
Anyway, it was nice to be able to make a quilt for her, finally! :-)
Our friends, the Carrs, invited us to dinner at their place. The traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner consists of corned beef and cabbage. The corned beef was baked with an apricot preserves glaze. It was delicious. But instead of cabbage we had brussels sprouts, and Irish potatoes. We brought wine and cheese cake to the dinner.
Clockwise from front left: Catherine, Kathy, Richard, and Doug. An Irish toast, with Irish coffee.
Wow, I can't believe that he predicted Kellie Pickler to be among the top three! I can believe Chris Daughtry and Taylor Hicks being in the top three, but Kellie Pickler? Paris Bennet is far more talented than Kellie, and so is Mandisa. Maybe Simon can read the fans better than I can! :-)
Last year, Simon Cowell correctly predicted that Carrie Underwood would win the competition and I agreed with his prediction. We will see if his predictions for this year are correct!
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Tonight the contestants have moved to a bigger stage with a bigger audience. Stevie Wonder's compositions were what the contestants had to sing tonight. I think Mandisa, Paris and Chris were outstanding. Taylor Hicks was great too! That "sex symbol" Kevin Covais .. heheh, I won't lose any tears if he gets knocked out during the results show tomorrow.
I totally agree with Simon Cowell tonight. I can also imagine Chris making a hit of Stevie Wonder's song .. aiyah .. sorry lah, forgot the name of the song! Imagine a rock version of Stevie Wonder's usually ballad-like song.
I was browsing the threads of an Idol forum .. seems like many people believe that the organizers of the show are pushing for Chris. These viewers think that the stage lighting effect and camera angles were done better for Chris. Even if that were true, Chris has the talent to win. If the organizers are pushing this contestant, and the viewers are influenced by their actions,well, all I can say is that they too have seen the talent and potential in Chris! I, for one, am rooting for Chris! Yes, I did send in my vote tonight!
Go, Chris, go! :-)
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Carrie Underwood was a guest at last week's American Idol and I was quite taken by this song which she sang. Click on the Play Button to see the video clip.
Video: Jesus, Take The Wheel
Artist: Carrie Underwood
As you can see from my Profile, I listen to a lot of talk radio. On talk radio, the topics are mostly to do with politics and some social issues. United States politics and social issues of interest in this country. I don't really want to get into a rant on these topics on this blog because most of you who read my blog are Malaysians living in Malaysia. I would bore you to tears! Sometimes though I can't help myself, and I can tell that the post did not interest anyone because no one has posted a comment. :-)
Having someone leave a comment on my blog is not really that important to me. I read many blogs, especially political ones, and most of the time I never leave a comment. Now and then I would leave a comment, though.
Anyway, yesterday, I read and heard on the news the passing of Dana Reeves. You may have read that she died of lung cancer at age 44. I knew 2 people who died of lung cancer, one died in his early 30s and the other died in her 40s. Neither of them smoked. I also know of one lung cancer survivor. It has been more than 15 years since her cancer was first discovered and after 15 years she can confidently say that she is totally free of cancer. She was a smoker back then.
At one radio talk show I was listening to yesterday afternoon, according to one listener who called into the radio show, the ones who don't smoke are less likely to survive the lung cancer whereas the smoker has a higher chance of surviving. I don't understand the mechanics of that distinction, but what it boils down to in my mind is that, it is not fair. If a smoker dies of lung cancer, that is understandable but for a non smoker?
But then again, cancer is an undiscriminating disease. It strikes anyone. Any time, any where. Some are genetically more pre-disposed to it, while others are not. In the United States, the incidence of cancer is highest among Asians, and Pacific Islanders. I don't know why. There are speculations as to why, but there is no definitive reason as to why.
Ok, I've got that off my chest now. :-) Back to work.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Top 10 Oxymorons:
- Government Organization
- Taped Live
- Peace Force
- Plastic Glasses
- Working Vacation
- Butt Head
- Jumbo Shrimp
- Same difference
- Tax Return
- Pretty Ugly
Those 10 oxymorons were a lead in to what the authors of my bible study book were trying to teach.
Oxymorons are intriguing and often downright funny, but they are different from paraxodes. The main distinction is that a paradox, although it may appear opposed to common sense, is nevertheless true. The Christian life is full of paradoxes, and the teaching of Jesus was replete with them. For example, He taught that ...
To find you must lose (Matthew 10:39)(The 33 Laws of Stewardship by Dave Sutherland and Kirk Nowery)
To be rich you must be poor (Matthew 5:3)
To live you must die (Luke 17:33)
To be first you must be last (Matthew 19:30)
To be honoured you must be humbled (Matthew 23:12)