Archive | August, 2010

Successful Blogging (If You’re Lucky) – Some Tips To Get You Started

A while back FHM asked me to write an article containing some blogging tips (as a part of Project Alpha), I’ve never really blogged about blogging (how to make money, blogging tips, SEO etc) so it was an interesting departure for me. I have written a bunch of technical stuff here, but never something like this. So now the next issue of FHM is coming up I thought I’d publish it here, I actually meant to publish it earlier but I completely forgot about it..I have to thank Tian Chad for remind me about it on Twitter.

Now I’m not claiming to be any kind of blogging expert or guru, but I hope I’ve learned a thing or two in the past 6 years of blogging and from reading all the fantastic blogs that are out there. This is the version I submitted, it was edited slightly for publication but the gist of the thing is the same. I’ve been in FHM before, but it’s not usually for writing – more often for taking pictures. Anyway, here it is.

The Beginning

Well here we are on the hallowed pages of FHM, one of the corner-stones of traditional media. And what are we talking about you may ask? Well today we are talking about a disruptive new media platform known as blogging. I’ll skip the overly simplistic explanation of what a blog is and the rather clichéd quote from Wikipedia — if you want that I suggest you head over to Google.

What I’ll be sharing with you today is some of the things I’ve learned over the past 6 years of blogging and countless years online before that. It’ll mostly be in relevance to your own blog (if you have one) or the hope that I may cultivate enough interest in you to start one and give you some tips to get you going.

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ADSL – StreamyX Noise Ratio/SNR Numbers & Line Attenuation – What Do They Mean?

It’s good to get to know your modem/router whichever ISP you are using, log in to the control panel and explore what kind of data it can give you.

You can most likely access your admin page here:

https://192.168.1.1 or https://192.168.2.1

If that doesn’t work, or you don’t know the login/password please RTFM or JFGI.

The basic thing to check when your line is activated is that you are getting the speed that you signed up for (512k/1mb/2mb etc.) and the DSL line is synced at that speed. Whichever modem/router are you using, it should show you that under the general status or ADSL status page.

Mine looks like this:

Streamyx 1MB Connection

It is supposed to be a 1mb so at least it’s synced at that speed. Ok that’s the basic part to make sure you have the right line speed, now DSL is running over some pretty old technology (copper lines) so the quality of your Internet connection depends on lots of bits of wire such as…

The wire from your phone socket out of your house, the wire from your house wall to the pole or underground. Or if you’re in a condo the wire from the distribution box into your condo/appt. If the wire is shit, so is your Streamyx connection.

Now this is the part most people are unaware of and I had to do a fair bit of Googling to make sense of the numbers so I’d share it here. In every modem I’ve tried so far, in one of the status screens you can also see the Noise Margin (Signal to Noise Ratio) and the Attenuation level, mine looks like this:

Streamyx Noise Ratio & Line Attenuation

Ok so what do these numbers means? Here’s a break down.

Noise Margin (AKA Signal to Noise Margin or Signal to Noise Ratio)

Relative strength of the DSL signal to Noise ratio. 6dB is the lowest dB manufactures specify for modem to be able to sync. In some instances interleaving can help raise the noise margin to an acceptable level. The higher the number the better for this measurement.

  • 6dB or below is bad and will experience no sync or intermittent sync problems
  • 7dB-10dB is fair but does not leave much room for variances in conditions
  • 11dB-20dB is good with no sync problems
  • 20dB-28dB is excellent
  • 29dB or above is outstanding

Line Attenuation

Measure of how much the signal has degraded between the DSLAM and the modem. Maximum signal loss recommendation is usually about 60dB. The lower the dB the better for this measurement.

  • 20dB and below is outstanding
  • 20dB-30dB is excellent
  • 30dB-40dB is very good
  • 40dB-50dB is good
  • 50dB-60dB is poor and may experience connectivity issues
  • 60dB or above is bad and will experience connectivity issues

As you can see from the above numbers, as for Noise Margin – my upstream (22db) is better than my downstream (15db) but both are within an acceptable range and won’t cause any disconnection problems.

As for the line attenuation, that’s where it get’s ugly. My phone line is super quiet (on the few occasions I’ve used it for voice) and has some kinda hissing which gives me a clue..it probably got wet somewhere along the way and it sucks basically.

Both upstream (63db) and downstream (53db) are at dangerous levels..and may cause me connectivity issues. Which is right, when I fully load the line (download something at 1mb) it drops like shit and ping times can go up above 1000ms.

So to be realistic, what you should hope for on your Streamyx line is Noise Ratio of between 10-20db for both upstream and downstream and as for line attenuation, the lower the better but being in the 30-50db range would be fine. If you manage to get these numbers out of your router/modem do share them here,

I’m writing this, cos well soon I won’t be able to give any Streamyx tips because I’ll be on Unifi wuwu 😛

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Step Inside The Black Circuit With Johnnie Walker Pit Crew Experience

Johnnie Walker Pit Crew Experience recently launched here in Malaysia. Johnnie Walker is offering Malaysians the once-a-lifetime opportunity to step inside the Black Circuit and experience the exclusive and high pressure world of motor racing with the Johnnie Walker Pit Crew Experience that will take place at the Sepang International Circuit, home of the Malaysian Formula 1â„¢ Grand Prix on August 27-28.

The Launch

The Johnnie Walker Pit Crew Experience will see eight teams of six competitors each take over the Sepang International circuit to become team managers, coordinators, data engineers, race engineers and mechanics. Each team will work with seasoned former or up and coming race drivers to prepare and run the specially engineered Johnnie Walker race cars in a 10 lap race with four pit stop challenges, from the garage to the grid and past the checkered flag. Teamwork will be essential as local celebrities, journalists and Johnnie Walker enthusiasts work side by side for a podium finish.

Malaysians can step inside the Black Circuit to win the ultimate race experience by logging on to facebook.com/JohnnieWalkerMalaysia and participating in a virtual pit crew challenge apps.facebook.com/JWpitcrew. Those who complete the challenge in the top 24 fastest times will be invited to be part of the Johnnie Walker Pit Crew Experience.

Reshmonu & Henry Golding together with the car at the recent launch.

Reshmonu & Henry Golding

As part of the Johnnie Walker Pit Crew Experience, Johnnie Walker will be hosting an ultra exclusive by-invitation only Black Circuit Lounge event on August 28th in the spirit of a Monaco after party. This adrenaline pumping and pressure running party brings entertainment of the highest sophistication and glamour to Malaysia. The venue of this exclusive party will only be revealed to the invited guests.

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Random Post #9 – Lights, Bak Kut Teh, Wax & Traffic Jams

Hmm so what have I been up to lately, a lot of things actually for once I’ve been incredibly busy rather than just scrooging at home. Mostly due the fact the house renovation is reaching the point where I need to keep buying stuff, a lot of stuff, expensive stuff wahhh. Stuff like lights, woooo – light wonderland. I did a LOT of research where to buy lights, glad I did because this place was great – plenty of choice, good prices and very good service. Everything is already fitted and working fine. The shop is Top Ten in Puchong near Tesco.

Top Ten - Puchong

Oh well, it also means it’ll be done in the not so distant future, so we can actually live there..which will be nice.

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Ellesse Sportivo Watches & One Second You The World Contest

Ellesse has always been a sports clothing brand I’ve been familiar with, it’s fairly prominent back in the UK and I’ve owned Ellesse garments in the past. I’ve seen their watches but never really had a chance to check one out before. Luckily for me I got my hands on one recently for a review, the model is from the Sportivo range and is the 03-0622-502 model.

Ellesse Sportivo Watch

It’s a a nice looking watch fitted with a stopwatch, tachymeter and 100m water resistance. The look of it is great with the rose gold accents on a black base and it retains the sporty feel with the Stainless Steel bracelet that has black PU middle links.

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Movie Review – The Expendables – BOOM BOOM POW

The Expendables (2010)

This is a movie ALL action fans have been looking forward to, however ridiculous or bad it was we’d still watch it due to the awesome line-up of action movie legends making up the cast. It’s another movie by Sylvester Stallone, starring…Slyvester Stallone, with the 2nd lead being Jason Statham. And whilst Mr. Statham started out with the classic British cockney con-man roles in Snatch/Lock Stock – he’s become a great action star.

How can you not watch a movie that has Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, The Gov (Arnie) and Bruce Willis (even tho the last two are just cameos).

Eric Roberts and Gary Daniels are from those classic 90’s martial arts movies like Full Impact, Best of the Best & American Streetfighter. Anyone who was born in the late 70’s or early 80’s will know EVERYONE in this film and love the style of the movie.

It’s a very ‘Stallone’ film – the pure conviction of the violence is very reminiscent of Rambo IV from 2008 and is very real. Although I can’t say I like the fact they use the new age MTV style of filming some of the fight sequences (handy-cam style with very tight angles so you can’t really see what is going on). I think we can blame Bourne for that trend.

As for the man himself Sly, I defy anyone to find a fitter and tougher looking 64 year old busting out some moves and kicking some arse.

Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross in The Expendables (2010)

I can say with great conviction that 2010 is a fantastic year for action movies so far with Kick-Ass, which gets it’s butt handed to it by Expendables and A-Team which is about on par with it I think.

I’m so glad I watched this on the opening weekend as I got to see in the huge THX certified ‘Screen 1’ at Tropicana City Mall and it was fantastic, you could feel every explosion vibrating your intestines.

I have to say I think Jet Li had the weakest part in the movie, both his sappy Asian character and his lack of fighting skills. Plus the only casting choice I really couldn’t tolerate was David Zayas as General Garza…to me he’s always the rather comical and not at all scary Angel Batista from Dexter.

Those that were missing for me? Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Mel Gibson, Cynthia Rothrock & Michael Dudikoff then it would have been complete!

Other than that it was pretty good non-stop action, some decent dialogue and well EVEN MORE ACTION. Just how I like it. I can definitely say the ladies probably wont like this one very much, especially those born in the mid to late 80’s as they won’t know who the hell half the cast is.

But for those guys around my age (which shall remain undisclosed) this has to be one of the most superb movies EVER. I was surprised to see it’s rating is a super high 8.1/10 on IMDB – but then I guess a lot of those rating the movies are male and around my age – so rock on!

I can foresee I’m gonna watch this movie over and over again, awesome! And YES I want an AA-12 Shotgun!

I give it a 120 shotgun shells per minute 9/10.

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Project Airtrek — The First Service – Part 2

After the first major 2-part service I thought I’d be all good, after spending RM6100…I thought I’d be ready to go! But no, the car was smooth and powerful now but the idle was very lumpy, there was jerking during WOT (wide open throttle) and it STILL kept stalling.

This was the part where things went downhill a bit, I started to realise this workshop didn’t know too much about problem solving. They were fine when it came to basic service, finding parts and normal stuff.

I also started to get very intimate with the engine of my car, started reading a lot, joining forums and learning a hell of a lot more about what was going on. Thankfully I found a superb Mitsubishi Airtrek Forum at https://airtreker.com/ where I’ve made some great friends and learned even more (and also I’ve coincidentally become the forum admin).

4G63T - Airtrek Turbo Engine

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Movie Review – Salt – Good Honest FUN!

Salt (2010)

Before becoming a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt swore an oath to duty, honor, and country. She will prove loyal to these when a defector accuses her of being a Russian sleeper spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture, protect her husband, and stay one step ahead of her colleagues at the CIA.

I heard a lot of mixed reviews of Salt, a lot of people liked it, some found it terribly dull and a lot were just stuck in the middle finding it so-so or mediocre. I actually really enjoyed it! I guess if this was the first film you watched after viewing Inception you may well be disappointed as it’s not particularly intelligent or complex.

I had an advantage though, an hour before Salt I watched…Tekken, which is like 4.5/10 and not even worth reviewing. When I watched it on Saturday night it had 6.7/10 on IMDB (no idea why) and now it’s down to 6.0. I imagine it’ll be going down to the low 5 range.

So watching Salt, my movie expectations were already low and I’d heard a lot of people said Salt wasn’t that great so in all honesty I wasn’t expecting much going in. I wanted to watch Despicable Me too but it was fully jammed for all showings.

Anyway..back to Salt. I actually loved the 90’s Bond style throw-back to the Russian baddies and sleeper agents – everyone has to love GoldenEye, especially those who loved the game on the N64.

Angelina Jolie is of course fantastic in this role, it reminded me a little of her character in Mr and Mrs Smith – but more serious. And she has been in some fantastic and heavy movies recently like Changeling & A Mighty Heart.

Of course with her outrageous ass kicking, there was a bit of a Wanted thing going on too – without the ridiculous curving bullets.

Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt

Liev Schreiber was solid as usual, he’s come a long way since doing the Scream films, Defiance with Daniel Craig was a great movie.

It seems like the Bourne trilogy has indeed spawned a whole new generation of hard-hitting super action spy hero films with some people labelling Salt as the new female Bourne.

I can see why with the frenetic action scenes, close and tight camera angles and the MacGyver creation of things that can make big bangs.

All in all I enjoyed the film, it’s a nice, easy to watch summer popcorn action flick and I’d give it a good solid 7/10.

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Looking For A New Laptop? And A Media Device? Dell Studio 14 & 15

I’ve actually always liked the Dell Studio series of laptops every since they launched, they look good, have high quality screens and great multi-media capabilities.

Dell Studio 15

These things are highly important to me! Being a photographer I need the ample CPU power and RAM to run Photoshop, I need a high quality screen to ensure I can process my RAW shots correctly and of course plenty of space to make sure the pics are kept safely.

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TV Series Junkie Updates – Dollhouse, Life, Entourage, True Blood & Glee

As I mentioned back in 2008, I’ve truly become a TV series JUNKIE to the max. One of my greatest discoveries to date has been Entourage, which has become a true favourite of mine.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Season 7, which just started recently. I wish the episodes were longer and there were more of them though! Also recently starting was True Blood Season 3, so far so good.

And Season 2 of Lie to Me resumed (gotta love Tim Roth right?!). I’ve really been enjoying this series, it’s a bit geeky, a bit obnoxious (House anyone?) and witty. Plus the biggest point of course it’s a very original concept – which is good to see.

Lie to Me

As for the series in my previous post which I’d got but hadn’t watched yet, the only ones I’ve watched are Life, Dollhouse and Glee.

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Continue Reading · 32 Comments · TV Series