Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why I Want The BlackBerry Storm 2

It was a dark and stormy night. This was my first stint deep in the jungle of a hostile country, as part of a reconnaissance mission. I was parachuted off a SOAR helicopter two days ago, and landed about twenty kilometres away from the missile silo. A fast, hard march ensured I arrived at the silo’s perimeters just after dark. I chose my lying-up position and camouflaged myself. My order was to observe and capture images, never to engage. I still had two hours before the first light of dawn emerged and so I caught a nap.

Awaking after about two hours later, I was startled by the sound of a convoy of army trucks arriving at the silo. I took out my smartphone and by the slightest touch of its screen, brought up its camera function. The 3.2 megapixels camera had autofocus function, so I did not have to worry about blurred images. I captured the images of the convoy unloading crates and crates of cargo. Satisfied with the images, I prepared it to be sent. A few more nimble touches of the screen, and the pictures were sent via email. It was technology at its best.

After that, I observed more activities at the silo and I took pictures of them all. Storage wasn’t a problem, as the smartphone had a 2 GB flash memory built inside its stylish yet rugged exterior. Everytime I sensed a picture was significant, I immediately sent it straight to intel. And never once the smartphone let me down.

When the day had turned into darkness, it was time for me to go. The darkness masked any moonlight and blanked out the stars, and I did not want to struggle to navigate my way out of here. I took out my now trusty smartphone, and started its GPS mode. The device kicked into gear and found the three satellites which are needed to triangulate my position. Within minutes, I had it. The rendezvous point was due North-West, and about thirteen kilometers away, so it was hard running all the way to make it on time for exfiltration.

The helicopter was there, and swiflty I was out of the jungle. I made a call to headquarters. The voice on the other was remarkably clear and crisp, this was one good phone. I confirmed: mission accomplished, now enroute for de-brief. I looked down on the jungle and thought about my short but important mission – I came in invisible but stormed like the whirlwind – the smartphone was a reliable partner.

And the smartphone’s name was apt too. It was called the BlackBerry Storm 2.

Celcom, which has recently become the no. 1 telco provider in Malaysia, is the most perfect home for the BlackBerry. Both brands are premium, innovative, timeless, dynamic and appeals to a wide range of users. Young and old, techie or not – all of them will appreciate BlackBerry’s top of the range technology with Celcom’s leading edge expertise. Celcom’s prepaid package, the simply-named but very catchy X, is very tantamount to the crucial teenagers and young adults market. Got X, got it all; seems to be the catchphrase of the cyber generation. Celcom’s BlackBerry X packages augur well for this age bracket – affordable but still maximizing the most that the BlackBerry could offer – messaging, calls, email, surfing, and lots more.

Celcom have grown rapidly in the last five years, and it looks like that they are going to stay at the summit for a long, long time.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tooth Fairy

Tooth Fairy (PG-13)

Look, The Rock seldom chooses a bad script, but sometimes he stumbled upon an average one. Like this movie, for instance, which was pretty average - but The Rock puts in his charming persona (and his famous wink) to pull this movie above average. Not entirely funny, but enjoyable, the Tooth Fairy is a feel-good movie suitable for the whole family. It's about going for your dreams as shown by The Rock's character as an ice hockey player who quite never make it, and paralleled by his girlfriend's son's ambition to become a guitar player.
Tooth Fairy casts The Rock as a once-promising hockey player Derek Thompson, who has been stuck in minor-league obscurity for years. Nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy" for his signature move which is a brutal whack that always costs his opponent a tooth, Derek spends more time in the penalty box than on the ice. Having given up on his dream of stardom long ago, he feels little guilt about shattering the hopes of others, even his girlfriend's young daughter who still believes in tiny fairies that steal into children's rooms in the middle of the night exchanging lost teeth for dollar bills.
Derek is charged with "disseminating disbelief" and promptly summoned to tooth fairy headquarters, where he's outfitted with wings and a uniform and ordered to spend two weeks collecting kiddie teeth. This movie is quite predictable but some of the jokes are good enough and The Rock will keep you entertained with his lovable screen persona.
Most memorable moments:
  1. Billy Crystal's cameo, as Jerry, the fairyland's inventory keeper. Short, but extremely hilarious appearance from the veteran.
  2. The Rock and his case worker, Tracy trading jokes about 'wings'.
  3. The scene before The Rock and Tracy says goodbye - "Maybe we can stay in touch," - "Yeah, we can email or something," - "Wait, do you blog? Do you have a blog? I'd love to read your blog!" - "Oh, oh, yeah - we can Facebook too!"

This is a good movie for the whole family, and deserves a shot simply because of The Rock's performance. Mummy gives Tooth Fairy a 3.8 rating.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Outlet: Bubba Gump Shrimp

Where: Sunway Pyramid

What: American diner based on the fictional Bubba Shrimpin’ business in the Forrest Gump movie.

Perhaps you’ve all been to this outlet by now, and for us, this is our third time to Bubba’s, but our maiden visit to this Sunway Pyramid branch. Before that, let me tell you what I personally like about Bubba’s. First, it’s an all-American diner, so the staff are friendly and the food portion’s huge. But secondly, and most importantly, they do not serve pork or alcoholic sauce/drink/seasoning in their dishes. In the US, they do serve pork chops or use wine sauce and whatnots, but they make an effort to subsitute it over here in Malaysia. Commendable, because some American franchise, like TGI Friday’s, never do it – they still use Jack Daniels in their steak – although you can ask for it to be subsituted, but that’s not the point. You’re in Malaysia lah, TGI Friday’s, not Miami.

So top marks for Bubba’s, and even higher marks for their food. Always, always, always, order shrimp when you’re here, do not order something like rice or chicken in Bubba’s. Go for the shrimps, and there is a lot of variety to choose from. As the portion is huge, my wife and I shared the Bourbon Street Boromundi – shrimp in sauce, grilled boromuni fish, mashed potatoes and garnished with nachos. Awesome! The shrimps bathed in the sauce, and dripped when you chew. Fresh and juicy, the flavour of the dish simply fills your mouth and mesmerises your senses.

As for our drinks, Mummy ordered the Jenny’s favourite – a concoction of raspberry, vanilla and strawberry, and it was heavenly smooth and cool. A must-try, it will complement any food absolutely. I had the Speckled Lemonade, a tad sour but it was okay.
We also had a side order of fries for the kids, and the fries were served the real American way, meaning it was big, tasty and full. For a change, I recommend you to have the fries with malt vinegar, maybe you’ll like it!


Staff: How’s-it-goin’ and how-ya-doin’ are what they’ll greet you in Bubba’s, so that means they’re friendly and efficient.

Décor: The walls are adorned with memorabilla from Forrest Gump, and some American vehicle number plates. And of course, a lot of décor from where Forrest Gump came from, Alabama.

Food: Shrimps. Order shrimps. Any kind of. End of story.

Coming back?: You betcha.

Tutti Frutti

Outlet: Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt
Where: I0I Mall New Wing, Puchong
What: Frozen yogurt which comes in a myriad of flavours and tastes, crowned with a variety of your favourite toppings. This US franchise is brought in by the Naza Group.
Firstly, this is yogurt, not ice cream, so forget about a sultry-Baskin Robbins-like moment. Yogurt is supposed to be a healthy supplement to your diet, but you cannot escape its soury, icky and dull taste. Peach yogurt, anyone? No, I don’t think so too.So when you freeze it and give it some wacky flavour, perhaps you’d get a winning formula. That was what Tutti Frutti achieved. We tried a cup of Berrylicious and Chocolate Raspberry, and both was good.

Before I go any further, let me remind you that Tutti Frutti is an almost self-service outlet. So follow these steps when you do get there:
1.Arrive at outlet, don’t get puzzled why the staff greeted you but never try to serve or take your order. Then, slightly embarrased, we realized it was a self-service outlet.
2.Take a paper bowl. They say you can choose sizes, but at that time we only saw one size.
3.Go to the dispensers (like the one you find at 7-11 for Slurpees), choose your flavour, and start dispensing. Now listen, they WEIGH how much you dispense, and you get charged by WEIGHT. So that was a new concept for us, too. Just follow the instructions. Don’t ask the staff to dispense it for you, like I did. They’d refuse (and cakap dalam hati – tak reti baca arahan ke ini orang?).
4.A tip: don’t dispense too much (one reason is that you don’t want to your cup to be too expensive), but the real reason is that the yogurt might look fluffy and soft and the portion small, but once the yogurt settles down, it might be too much for your palate. So dispense wisely! Half a bowl would be fine.
5.Choose your toppings. Again, your final bowl of yogurt + toppings will be weighed, so choose your condiments smartly. There’s a huge variety of toppings to suit everyone, from fruits, nuts, chocolate and syrup, as pictured below.
6.Go to the counter and have it weighed, and pay up.

7.Have a seat, and enjoy!
Our Chocolate Raspberry was the better of the two, as the flavour mix was clever and the taste quite fabulous. The frozen yogurt melts in your mouth, of course, but it leaves a lingering after-taste which you do not want to wash down by drinking water. It is not eating like your favourite Baskin Robbins, but it is better than the over-rated and over-hyped Haagen Dazs.

Staff: They are there to stand around and guide you, in case you can't use the dispenser, but otherwise they're polite enough.
Decor: Decked in bright colours and simple white furnitures, the place practically lights up and sets the mood well for a cool snack on a lazy, hot afternoon.

Order: Well, we tried only two, so maybe you'd want to have something save, and avoid any strange flavours.
Coming back?: A new alternative to eat something healthy, the fun way. Even if you hate yogurt, you’d like this one. Highly recommended.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Nuclear Education 101: Malaysia Energy Mix

What is nuclear power? A simple definition is, nuclear power is power (generally electrical) produced from controlled (non-explosive) nuclear reactions. So, if and when they say we are going for nuclear power, that means we are going to utilise nuclear energy to generate electricity (i.e. by heating water to create steam, which is then used to turn the turbines, and generat electricity). It doesn't send any 'nuclear' reactions to the power cables, or to our homes.

A small country like Malaysia, at least need to consider the possibility of having a nuclear power plant. It should be considered in Malaysia primarily for national energy supply security, beyond 2020; and for sustainable national development. This would mean to avoid, or try to avoid green-house gas (GHG) emissions. A nuclear power programme development in Malaysia will help the nation’s industrial, educational and quality standards.
For your info, our current national energy mix is as follows:- natural gas (57%), coal (34%), hydropower (7%), oil (2%) and renewable energy (less than 1%). Even though we have different sources of energy (this is called the Five-Fuel Diversification Policy), in actual fact Malaysia relies heavily on only three effective fuel sources – gas, coal and hydropower.

And all three are running out fast, namely circa 2020 – 2025, there will be a need for an additional major source of energy beyond this period. In 2009, 15% of the world's electricity came from nuclear power, despite concerns about safety and radioactive waste management.
To be continued..
Nuclear education 101 is a personal view aimed at raising public awareness about nuclear technology.