Month: July 2019

Real Foamy Teh Tarik

Nasi Lemak Royale Kedah at Presint 8, Putrajaya
Restoran Umi Ayra, Jalan Dahlia 6/1, NIlai Impian

It’s rather hard to get real foamy teh tarik these days. Many just have a thin layer of foam which is just the bottom layer of these two excellent examples.

These are two that I had recently encountered so head over to the noted restaurants below each picture. Will update this post if I encounter more.

Update 28 July

Restoran Azura, Seksyen 3 Tambahan, Bandar Baru Bangi

The Real Dream Kitchen

Modern kitchen design with built-in cabinet and induction cooker might be the prominent thing being sold. Sleek lines and slick surfaces rule the day.

That’s fine and dandy to cook pasta and pastries but highly restrictive for the full experience of Malay cooking. It can’t handle the full smoke, smell and stain.

People talk about dry and wet kitchen but Malays with kampung in their heart will want wet on wet kitchen. Only then one can cook the most flavorful dishes at full blast.

This is even more expensive than designer kitchens as you need ample real estate to do it!

A Goal Setting Trick for Google Analytics

The thing with Google Analytics is that you can only define 20 goals. It is definitely not enough when I want to create multiple landing pages with preset WhatsApp contact button.

Category = outbound
Action = click
Label (begin with) [http://domain]
Value > [empty]

Before this I used to define goal for each button that have different preset message. Now I discovered that you can create a single goal that will track all outbound click to addresses that begin with a certain string. Combined that with the ability to see conversion happen at which page, this works well for me!

Quick Roundup for Custom Email Solution

lost in space
Photo by Martijn Baudoin / Unsplash

Digital Ocean is really sweet since it’s cheap and fast compared to shared hosting services. Especially with Marketplace that let you setup a variety of services with ease. But then you realize you don’t have email accounts for your domain.

You can easily setup forwarding to receive emails but there’s no easy solution to send as your domain without an email server.

The things is, setting up an email server is a pain.

Few years back, you can easily get 5 / 10 user Google Apps for free. Now it’s no more. Subscribing per user is way too expensive.

So what are other cost effective options? Either free or less than $5 per month.

Zoho

You can get a free plan but only one domain per phone number. So not a good solution if you do lots of website for clients. Also it’s webmail access only.

Ionos.com Mail Basic

This sounds promising at $2 per month but after we paid for the first month we discovered that you’ll need to get a free* domain from them or transfer an existing domain to them. We feel duped man…

Migadu.com

Based in Switzerland, this is our current savior. It have forever free tier and packages starts at USD4 per month. Although the interface is rather barebone it provides both webmail and IMAP/POP access. That’s very important tp because I love to manage all my email from my Gmail app.

Unifi 30mbps vs Digi Unlimited LTE

Digi Unlimited LTE
Unifi 30mbps Unlimited 

At a glance, the download and upload speed is very similar. But as the say, the devil is in the details.

Obvious thing is the ping, which is 4 times higher on the Digi line compared to UniFi. So that’s not ideal already, since the lag is bad. But it should not matter much to me since I don’t play online games. Streaming should work fine.

However, digging down on the detailed result exposed a high jitter value for Digi. At 13ms, it is ~40 times higher than Unifi at 0.34ms. High jitter means that the packet arrived all jumbled up and the flow is not very smooth. It’s very apparent when you are streaming on TV. Worse, I have three pre-school audiences who had not quite learned the virtue of patience.

Of course the Digi line faced several handicap here being at the mercy of various interferences. In fact, I’m just getting 60% signal strength at home. That is despite an external antenna mounted at the top floor window.

It’s very good choice if your area only have Streamyx service and no Unifi. You still get fast speed to move files around. It’s truly unlimited and no throttling ever occurred despite consistently burning though 150GB data each month. It was such a lifesaver when I was renting at a prior location which only have Streamyx.

But now at a new rental location I have option for Unifi and it’s only RM89 for unlimited plan. It’s almost half the price from Digi’s RM159 per month. The difference can cover the cost of Netflix and Apple Music.

So goodbye Digi, it’s been a pleasant experience being your customer. The termination process was easy and painless. Just go to Digi store and sign on their tablet. Remaining bills can be settled later.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Digi Unlimited if your area don’t have Unifi or any other fiber optic option. It works as advertised and it performed consistently throughout my usage for the past 1 year.

Europe is Dying

I don’t usually remember what being said during teh tarik sessions. It’s more recreational than serious business anyway. But one conversation from did stick out in my mind.

It was with Dr. Ridhwan Fontaine, a lecturer from IIUM. He’s originally from the UK but somehow ended up here, married a local and staying here for good.

I didn’t specifically asked for it but he told me the reason why he left UK in particular and Europe in general. He said that Europe is dying. Some elaborations was given but I didn’t remember.

This is way before the Greece crisis and BREXIT so I was puzzled by his statement. At that time my wife still harbor some ambition to do Masters in UK. So Europe is still seen as somewhere to flourish.

Fast forward to 2019, only then I understand what he meant. Sometimes things just need time to surface.

Unifi TP-Link AC1200 Quirks

It is not just a skin deep branding

Just got this a few days back and discovered some quirks that’s different from the stock AC1200 from TP-Link:

  • Need to use wired connection to ensure the settings are really saved and took effect
  • The WPS button is disabled
  • SSID name will always have @unifi appended at the end. Free ads for TM.
The box is completely normal similar to those sold in stores

Cameron Highlands is Officially Overrated

A week after our trip to Cameron Highlands we went shopping at AEON Nilai. Then my wife said she’s pissed off and pointed at the tea aisle. Lo and behold it is cheaper than the cheapest stall in Kea Farm. Many were selling it for RM11 per box and slash it to RM10 each if you buy 3 and above.

I bought the BOH Seri Songket for RM13 at Kea Farm, it’s just RM9.50 at AEON. Rather unbelievable as it is a more premium product compared to Cameron Valley.

Also found export-grade Cameron Highlands strawberries selling for RM9 for 250g. Which is comparable to the purportedly secret strawberry shop in Tringkap.  

Since the must buy souvenirs are cheaper in the city, it is confirmed that Cameron Highlands had truly become a tourist trap. Don’t get me wrong, I still wanted to go there again and chill on weekdays but I definitely will not shop much.

If I need to chill on a mountain resort on weekends I’ll probably went to Fraser’s Hill next time.

Cheap & Easy Way to Make Great Coffee at Home

If you think using French press from IKEA is cheapskate, now I’m going to get cheaper. This time I’m using drip cup and filter paper combo from Daiso. It’s only 3USD.

Cheap but well made

The technique I described using French press before do deliver consistent result. However it just take too long and the cleaning up is such a pain. It’s hard to quickly dispose all the ground coffee clogged up in the pot and there’s simply too much stuff to contend with. I want to be able to get excellent coffee at home in a reasonable time and quickly get to work.

Using this drip it goes straight to the cup and all the waste is contained within the filter. Then I can chuck it straight to the waste bin or dump as fertilizer for the plants in the backyard.

I just wing it when using this method from whatever I remembered watching YouTube videos on drip brewing.

  1. Put the dripper and filter on. Pour 50ml of hot water just to clean it and preheat the mug.
  2. Throw the water out.
  3. Weigh 15g of ground coffee for 250ml of water.. I just use the same ratio from the French press recipe.
  4. Pour 50ml of 95 degree Celsius water. Let it drip slowly first (30 seconds or so – don’t really look at the clock). Make sure you hit all the ground coffee.
  5. Then I just went as fast as possible to pour the remaining 200ml.

The end product is a bit too hot to drink right away so you need to wait a bit. Taste wise it’s not as good as the French press but close. Definitely way better than store-brewed coffee.

That’s more than enough to make my day.

Dune: A Sci-Fi Muqaddimah?

Although hailed as a sci-fi masterpiece, Frank Herbert’s Dune is honestly a rather dry read (pun intended). It is not really a straight forward narrative but framed within (fictional) history and science textbook. Set in a distant world and time, the twists and turns feels close to heart as if proving human nature will not change forever.

The covers kinda have the same mood

And that brings us to Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah, the ancient text still perfectly explains political shenanigans that happen today. The concept of asabbiyah brought forward still holds true and his critique of historians is sadly still relevant to this day.

The most striking idea that both of these book champions throughout is that nomadic people is superior to sedentary city people. Desert nomadic people with scarce water to be exact. Frank Herbert also heavily borrows and mangles Arabic terms to describe his fictional Freemen culture which curiously very similar to pre-Islamic Bedouins.

Ibn Khaldun describes how people oppressed in the city run away to join nomadic tribes and later came back to conquer the city. Spoiler alert: That is exactly what happened to the main characters of Dune.

Beyond socio-economic factors, Ibn Khaldun also describes the role of geography, climate, religion and superstitions in the rise and fall of empires. In Dune, the role is split into two characters (the scientist and the historian) to describe this fictional world to readers. The historian even distorts some of the facts to suit her liking.

This is just scratching the surface, there’s actually lots more to dig but I don’t feel like wandering in the desert of Dune for now. Perhaps we can return to a full dive later when new Dune TV series and films get released.