Sunday, October 27, 2013

London 2010 Day 1: Heathrow International Airport

Finally landed at Heathrow International Airport on the 14th December 2010. The immigration check was very efficient, from landed until got out after immigration check, it took about 30 minutes.
Time set to London! London 2.43pm; Malaysia 10.43pm but different day...
At the arrival hall, we waited for awhile before we head to my brother-in-law's place (he came to pick us up, but was a bit late)
There were many options of transport to leave the airport, and we use the most economical way, The Underground. That was another first time experience with the Tube.
Tired look, after many hours of flight!
Inside the Underground...a bumpy ride!
Yes, finally checked-in to Horseferry Road in Limehouse, London but was dark already and so tired (and very cold weather); didn't take any picture then.

NextLondon 2010 Day 2: Exploring London
Previous: London 2010 Day 1: Kuwait Airways

London 2010 Day 1: Kuwait Airways

It was year 2010, my first time travelled to Europe for winter vacation. Destination: London. It was also for the first time we flew with a Middle-East airline, Kuwait Airways.
Departing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport
The seats, meal and in-flight entertainment were acceptable, especially for the reasonable ticket price we paid (about RM2,800+ per person).

We have to stop for transit at Kuwait International Airport before heading to Heathrow Airport in London. The Kuwait airport is just like our Subang International Airport.
After about 3 hours of waiting, we got back into the plane to head to London. From Kuwait to London, the flight is more comfortable. Most of the passengers were travelling to United States and transit in Heathrow London. We had another meal on this flight.
Nasi Biryani in the flight!
Finally, can see our destination on screen.
The first view of London landscape from the sky! Welcome to London!

London 2010 Day 1: Heathrow International Airport
London 2010 Day 2: Exploring London

Friday, October 25, 2013

My ABE student (Class 2000) Wedding

Last month I attended May Tan's wedding dinner. Come to think about it, I have taught May since Systematic College foundation in 2000 until she completed her advanced diploma from The Association of Business Executives, UK; that was 13 years ago...and she is so kind to invite me to attend her wedding night on 21st September 2013 at The Mutiara Palace Restaurant, Mutiara Damansara.
My ABE students with their partners.
This is one of the greatest satisfaction as a lecturer; able to see young adults growing up and start a new family. Suddenly I feel so old.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

College Trip to Port Dickson - 2001

I was doing my hard disk housekeeping today and found these interesting pictures. A trip organised by our Proactive Vantage team for Systematic College students back in March 2001.
Heading to Port Dickson - 7/3/2001

 We got a very nice apartment for the students. All meal were included and dinning area was fantastic: pool side restaurant for all.
Can still recognise anyone?
Gentlemen, eat all you can.
Every night, there were activities like games to keep everyone busy before going to bed. At that time, the students were very participative and engaging, even with simple and silly games (just to have fun)!
Kung Fu martial art session
Role Playing
Showing off team work!
In Port Dickson, nothing beat the beach activities and pool challenge.
Wow! Introducing Steven Looi, the striker.
Let's play
Ready, set, go!
 Also, we had prizes for the winners.

On the way home, we got entertained by some local singers...yeah, very 'local'!

And most importantly, group photo.

I really had lots of fun when I started my career in teaching. Thank you for the awesome memories and glad to have taught so many of you back in Systematic days. Most memorable, to be able to work with a great team.
The Team: Melvin, Jennifer D, Jennifer Lee and myself

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Nokia Lumia 720 Experience

The Nokia Lumia 720 is not a new smartphone in the market and many may think why now only share about this phone experience. Yes, the 720 was released quite sometime ago but I just got it exactly 2 weeks ago, switching over from Android platform. Previously, I used the Samsung Galaxy Note model. No doubt it was a good phablet, but it was not without limitations (basically, every models comes with pros and cons).

Firstly, I want to share about my smartphone usage. The main purpose for me using a smartphone, is for communication. Making calls, SMS, Whatsapp, Wechat, and Line are the common stuffs. Social network is a must in smartphone today, as it is now part of our, Facebook and Twitter. I do blogging too. A browser to login and post on my blogs is a must. Lastly, photography. I like to take photos and share it on my blogs and Facebook walls; and share with with my friends and family on the communication apps.

To do all these, I just need a smartphone that supports the apps I frequently access to, a good camera with ease to operate in any condition, the screen size that is large and good resolution for viewing, ergonomic enough to hold and pocketed, hassle free in settings, and most important, long battery life.

The main reason that causing me to scout for another option of smartphone is when the Galaxy Note slowdown after I have upgraded it to Jelly Bean. Also, the battery drains extremely fast after a year usage, especially lots of apps being loaded as the running apps. Sometime, I don't even know what are all these apps for as it was preloaded and started automatically. Some may say it will be better in performance if the android phone is rooted. For me, I don't see a reason why I need to go through the hassle and lots of setting involves. A smartphone should be smart enought to handle all the settings to the best performance for the user, that's the reason why it is called smartphone. Anyway, I got frustrated the process of shutting down all the apps like "auto updates, google map, learning hub, etc" which consume my battery like crazy.

Why I was scouting around, I read lots of review about how Windows 8 phone is maturing as a competitive smartphone platform. I was thinking to give it a try and see if the review were real, reason being I was frustrated with the intensive settings of Android, and the cost of iPhone 5 which I think it is unreasonable for a facelift from their previous models (too expensive for the same old design - reminds me of the Proton Iswara, after years of production and face lifting...the price should be lower).

Since first time trying out the Windows 8 and poor experience of my previous Nokia E6 (Symbian platform), I gave myself a budget of RM800 - RM1,000. This range of budget has a lot of options but I narrow down the options based on my usage criteria, the camera, screen size and battery consumption.

I find Nokia and HTC offers good built and features of Windows 8 smartphone but because of the commitment and specialization of Nokia on Windows platform, I think it is better to go for Nokia (furthermore, Microsoft have announced the take over of Nokia phone business).

With the few criteria I have set earlier, it narrow down to Nokia Lumia 720 and 625 (new release last month). In comparison, Lumia 625 have some advantages in terms of screen size and running on LTE. However, these are not my concern as I have been using Galaxy Note for a larger screen and I always set my data network on 2G for battery savings (no different in speed when it comes to communication apps, unless for uploading pictures).

Finally, I have decided on Nokia Lumia 720 (Retail Price: RM899 - you can bargain with the shop) with a few distinct features worth highlighting:

1. Setting up the phone is so easy as it can connects to my Gmail accounts and sync my contacts. No hassle in retrieving anything I need, as long as I can connect to the Internet (smart!).

2. Impressive built, the phone looks solid and luxury feel althought it is plastic but feel like steel when I hold it. The rounded edge reminds me of the Canon Ixus camera. Now, I can easily slip my phone in my pocket even if I wear jeans (previously with Galaxy Note, it's a challenge).

3. Operating the Windows 8 is extremely easy. Within a day, I got familiar with the interface, since there are only 2 main page. The blocks page and the apps page. The main blocks page can be fully customized, color, size, arrangement and pin (placing) any apps to the block page. If you think iOS interface is easy, this is as good as iOS.

4. Snapdragon processor is fast. Running on dual core processor, I just couldn't be bother how many GHz is it. Even on 512MB RAM, it is far more faster and as smooth as an iPhone, not to mention the Jelly Bean. Thumb up to the Lumia and Windows!

5. Using a low voltage processor, 4.3" screen with 800x600 resolution (I don't see any different when compare to super AMOLED on my Galaxy Note - maybe you can but not me), the battery is out of this world! Super power saving. Easily, I get more than one day of usage (as mentioned earlier). In average, I charged only once in 2 days, with 2G data turned on.

6. The camera is the best feature so far. With a dedicated camera button and half press focus feature, the Lumia 720 is like a compact digital camera. Full press of the camera button when phone is on standby can start the camera function in 5 seconds. The Carl Zeiss lense capture clear picture, vibrant color and extremely good for low light environment because it has an aperture of F1.9, the best even if compare with Lumia 925 with F2.0.

This is a low light picture taken around 7.00pm, using ISO100:

Some of the photos taken by my Lumia 720 without filters or editing:

7. Most of the apps I need can be downloaded from Windows Apps Store. Many developers are good in designing cross-platform apps, so I am not worry at all. Maybe I don't really play games with my phone but I think the apps should not be a major concern in the near future. Android started with few apps but they grow into major platform in a short time. I belief it will be the same for Windows platform. Anyway, most productivity apps were preloaded. I got Microsoft Office Words, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote pre-installed. There were lots of camera apps too.

8. Nokia Map is a must have. You can download any country maps and installed it in your Lumia phone. So, when you travel to overseas and don't have data access, you can still use the navigation with the map installed. GPS is ready then!

I think I have shared more than enough of my experience using the Lumia 720. If you are using the smartphone like how I use it and don't want to spend more than RM1,000 on a smartphone, yet want to get a solid build like premium smartphone that cost you RM2,000 and above, this phone is definitely an option for you to consider. Personally, I think Nokia Lumia smartphones are strong contenders to other brands and the Windows platform will be giving hard time to both iOS and Android...pops, not to forget, we still have something call BlackBerry that struggling out there :P

Others photos with some editing using the Nokia Creative Studio (bundled apps):