Est. 2007

Posts Tagged ‘Life’

How to clean a Macbook

In Life on May 31, 2010 at 6:07 pm

So like the many people out there that have a white macbook, I have been wondering of how to keep it that way i.e WHITE. I have stumbled upon something that may be of interest to you all.

The miracle substance is called JIF cream. It is suppose to be a harsh cleaning agent usually used on stoves etc, but trust me it isn’t that bad as long as it is wiped off quickly. It will loosen all dirt on the surface and leave it like new. It doesn’t really harm the actual plastic or anything like that. You can also use something like pine-o-clean or dettol to then wipe of the JIF residue. This will disinfect the computer and the keyboard so that your computer doesn’t only look clean; all the nasty bacteria are also killed.

I’m not too sure if this applies to those who had palm rest discoloration, but mine had started to catch a lot of dirt early on and once I started to keep it clean, the problem hasn’t be so prevalent. Still it is worth a try if your situation is quite bad.

Overall I think that it’s quite a discovery. Some MacBooks I’ve seen don’t look remotely like they were once white and light grey. I’m glad that mine still does.

The Spray Can

Tomizone

In Tech on September 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm

So, you want to make money from selling your wifi? Not to worry, now you can. Before, setting up a hotspot where users would pay was very difficult and something that only those who had the time and money would do. Today, it isn’t so had to do at all. In fact, there are a few ways that you can.

Firstly, if you are still a little bit more tech savvy, you could set up a linux server and a capture web portal so that you can bring your clients to a splash page for them to pay you. Most probably and the easiest way would be to get them to buy vouchers from you or alternatively by using paypal. This is the hardest of all the solutions

Secondly, you could tone it down and buy a linux based router, some of the linksys ones come to mind, and install DD-wrt or openWRT and then chillispot. Basically, this solution is no different from the last apart from the fact that you don’t have to have a full computer running all the time.

The third method would be to use something like FON or Tomizone. Tomizone allows paid users while FON doesn’t. Tomizone is also available preinstalled on some routers in NZ and Orcon has some sort of partnership with them too. The D-link 300 router is probably the most popular router that comes with Tomizone. Tomizone is also based on Chillispot and the associated customized firmware; however, you don’t have to worry about the billing, marketing or the pricing. It is all done for you. You get put on a map of all the hotspots Tomizone has and mind you they also do the hotspots in all the Esquires and Starbucks coffee shops in NZ. The price is set to $3 an hour or 60mb, $6.5o a day or 160mb or $30 a week for 1.2GB. It’s either data or time whichever comes first. The hotspot provider gets 50% of that amount and tomizone keeps 50% for itself, but at least they save you all the trouble of setting up and managing your own and not to mention handling the billing. You are allowed to give guest access to people you know. The D-Link 300 also has dual SSID, so you can use one of them while the other is for the hotspot.

I have an unlimited data plan, so I have no data cap. My traffic is shaped and prioritized, so VOIP then HTTP and the like then other things and then P2P. So any thing I sell won’t affect won’t really affect me. Plus, you can set a maximum bandwidth for the hotspot side. So far in the last 1.5 weeks I have made $45. This is not bad considering that the connection only costs me $50 a month. I think the reason for my success is that an AUT building is right behind my apartment and someone buys a pass every now and then.

Overall, very good. At least I got some income going. I wish I thought of this earlier. The money from the first two weeks will practically pay for the router.

The Spray Can

The Power of Ebay

In Life on August 16, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Ho Ho Ho.

Merry Christmas.

Yea, Christmas came early for me. I have found the power of ebay.

It is so easy to buy from sellers in Hong Kong who often have some of the coolest gadget and small items on the cheap. The often have pretty good feedback ratings and their items are typically good quality. The whole Ebay system is quite tight nit with Paypal and you are pretty much gonna be protected that way. Buying an item is just a few clicks after the first time where you have to register.

So farI have bought:

  • A case for my ipod touch.
  • A screen protector
  • A keyboard silicone skin
  • A charger for my ipod
  • A case for PSP
  • A charger for PSP
  • A case for psp games
  • Replacement game cases
  • Headset for ipod
  • Replacement joystick for psp
  • A VOIP adapter

And there are so many other things to buy. Most items cost between $1 and $6 USD around $1.50 – $9NZD.

Items typically arrived with 8 days to NZ.

I would recommend looking on ebay before buying anything now cause you can save a fortune as long as you are willing to wait a week or so.

The Spray Can

Hard Drive Failure (Maxtor)

In Tech on May 27, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Well, here is something to talk about and think about. Hard drives. We all have one in our computers to store our “digital lives”. We all dread the day that we might lose this “life” of ours. Thanks to the internet most of the important stuff like emails are safe. Well I have had a rather tragic incident in the past week.

My external hard drive kinda died on me. Well not really died, just having some power supply problems. It had been set up to back up my computer with time machine every hour and this was all fine and dandy for a week while it worked. One day I just put the mac to sleep and went out, when I got home although I hadn’t realized until late in the night the drive had stopped working. There was no power coming to it. This was on a Saturday. May I just point out now that it is a Maxtor Basics drive made by seagate so it has three year warranty. I had to wait till Monday afternoon to call tech support to have it checked out. They concluded that the power supply might be the problem and obviously said that they would send me a new one in about two weeks time. It hasn’t been two weeks yet so I’m still waiting for it.

The bad news is that if the power supply is not the issue, the hard drive is. I will have to send the drive back to Singapore from New Zealand to have it replaced and this could cost me about $40. I am hoping this does not happen and the new power supply fixes it up.

The overriding concern here is that some brands and makes are just better than others and Maxtor has had a bad spell for a while now, I was just silently hoping I would not become part of the lot that was bad; however, I’m happy that it happened early on so that I will be compensated within warranty. The other concern is my cost to send it as well as the risk to send it so far away for replacement; who really wants to do this? Thirdly, they will not send a new drive but rather a refurbished one (aka repaired one). This drive could possibly be a four year old drive that they have repaired compared to my 3 month old drive.

Some thing to think about Seagate. Ideally we want a new drive.

Anyone have any similar experiences with Maxtor or Seagate or any comments let me know.

The Spray Can

Kathmandu Neoprene Sleeve for Macbook

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2009 at 10:16 am

With my purchase of a new MacBook I have had to look for something to carry it around in. Most folks like neoprene sleeves as they are able to slip it into their bags which they already have; I would prefer to have a backpack, but most people would like a satchel or messenger type. Basically, if you have a Mac the likely choice would be one of the ones offered at the Apple store. STM, Incase and a few others are available. STM is quite nice with it’s bags but those for the 13″ computers are kinda small in size and won’t carry much around apart from the computer itself. I quite like the Alley because it is vertical and doesn’t give that feeling that you are carrying a notebook computer.

Due to the fact that those bags were too small, I went out and had a look at what else was available. Belkin and Targus make quite nice bags, but it is difficult to find one that’ll carry a 13″ notebook. Most are for 15″ and the MacBook would just float around in there. Also, note that messengers start around $70 while backpacks around $130. Sleeves around $40-$60.

So Easter came about and I saw an ad for Kathmandu, they were having their Easter sale, no surprises there. What was a surprise was that they sold bags that could carry laptops. They have a backpack and a messenger and one of those business oldschool type ones as well. The disadvantage is that they take 15″ computers. They were basically half price so around $60-$65 each. I still don’t know whether they are a good deal or not as the sale hasn’t ended and I haven’t bought one yet. I have bought a neoprene sleeve though which might give a bit more protection and bulk so that it is more slug.

The deal with the neoprene is that, it is versatile and can be used with any bag and it is quite popular. However, I would never buy one for $40. I got this one for just $21.54. That’s a bargain and plus the computer fits really snug, not loosely like some of the cases. It has a very basic print on the front of some mountain ranges which is not too intrusive. Also good to note is that the old styles are available all year  round when they have the stock at $25. That’s still pretty good, cause it means you can spend a bit more on the bag if you want one.

All in all, a good buy indeed.

The Spray Can

2Talk Max

In Life on April 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Well, there are a few things that nobody can live without. One of them is obviously the internet. Ever wondered what you would do with out it, or what you do when there is an outage.

Anyway, I have chosen 2Talk max to be my ISP and VOIP provider. Beamed wirelessly from the sky tower not too far from my apartment, it gives a similar experience to that of Kidanet in Fiji. The fact that it is Wimax by Alvarion is understood but the Consumer premises equipment is more like that of Unwired- self install, indoor variety. I personally have the $65 a month plan which gives me unlimited traffic on the internet; something that nobody else will rival. They also give a phone line with two local numbers and 500 minutes of calling to landlines in most popular destinations, though this does not include Fiji. Other providers give a 5GB capped connection and landline with local calling only for $80 a month.

The service is excellent for the most part with close to 6 mbit downstream and around 3 mbit upstream speed. Something hard to find in most DSL services. On the other hand, I have had a few outages in the past few days for which I’m not all too pleased about. On the whole though, the service is quite good and cost effective.

The Spray Can

Cell Phones- Cheap like chips; Cheap on quality

In Life on April 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Having moved back over to New Zealand I had to buy my self a new phone. The one that I had from Fiji was obviously locked and wouldn’t work here. I got one of the starter packs for prepay from Vodafone like most folks do; it cost me $35! I then slowly looked for a handset.

There were many models, but my observation was that the market mostly liked phones from over $200 to about $1000. I just wanted something that texts and calls and none of the fancy stuff, but I suppose it was hard but I finally managed to buy the cheapest at the time. I got myself an LG flip phone that cost my $99 and also included a starter pack. The starter pack was basically put aside. I liked the phone, it wasn’t bad though it wasn’t like my old (more like my other) Nokia 1680c.

There is just one problem. After about a week or two, the sound quality deteriorated and finally I would not be able to hear the phone ring or hear the other person over the phone if I called someone. So naturally, I went over to have it sent away to be fixed. I had to use Vodafone so that I would have a loan phone in between, since the store I bought it from wouldn’t give me one. The phone came back after about two weeks.

Here’s the bad news, the same problem occurs again after it is fixed. This time I’m furious. If it happens once, it is ok just a faulty part. When it happens a second time, that just means that the phone is just no good and it is likely to occur over and over again. I took it back to vodafone and thought that I wold have to accept that they would send it over to the repairing folk again, but I was so furious at the time that I took it over to Dick Smith and had a great big fuss with the manager. He finally agreed that if he had one in stock, he would swap the handset only. He apparently had none. He checked if I had everything from the box and lucky for me I had not used up the starter pack. I inevitably, ended up choosing to go with a Samsung slide phone which was $109. It is dearer by more than $10 since I lose out on that additional starter pack, but at least I have a working phone now with two more years of warranty.

At the end of the day, the moral of the story is that everything is cheap these days but it is also cheap quality. Though, even the best of them are just as bad (or as good). You just have to be assertive about standards.

The Spray Can

My New Macbook White

In Tech on April 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Well it has been a while since I last wrote any new post; I have moved to New Zealand since then. More importantly, I bought a new computer since then. I was thinking to buy one of those net-books that everyone is raving about especially since I had been using linux for a while. I had thought they would cost around $600-700 but when you really look at the shops here they usually just have the Windows versions with HDDs instead of flash memory and often are in the $800-1200 range. It really isn’t worth it at that price point. I naturally would have bought a desktop to go with it but for me in my studio accommodation I had to be considerate of desk space plus weight in portability. Eventually as the title suggests, I bought a new Macbook white.

What I eventually figured in to my decision was the space it took up, the price, what operating system it really ran as it had to be stable and robust. also, the new windows 7 is about to rear its ugly head, so I would not like to be stuck with an old system in a year or so and finally it’s portability and battery life.

The net-book (linux) and desktop (windows) combination would have worked out well, but the desktop would have been too bulky and take up too much space. Added to this is the fact that it would have taken me a while to build one if I really wanted to get a good deal. The other side of the story is that the net-book may not have been more than a fancy gadget with it’s relatively small screen although quite portable and they do have long battery lives up to 8 hours. Having vista on the desktop would mean changing the operating system in a year or so and this would just be a pain. The other fact is that buying two computers is okay but a little over the top in terms of cost plus files have to be synced up all the time.

The other most obvious choice is simply to buy a nice sized laptop(windows). The standard size these days is 15.4 or 15.6 wide screen. Usually available cheap and for as little as $900, but the ideal price is around $1500 for decent one with a T6400 processor and if you really want the latest processor then around $2000 for a P8600. This is not a bad price range and usually they would be more than enough. The two down sides here are obviously the size as it is not ideal to be lugging around a laptop that big all day. It would have a short battery life and also that problem of being outdated quickly.

In the end I picked a Macbook white. Why? Well for starters it is a laptop and it is portable. It has a 4.5 hour battery life. It is a compromise between the 9 inch of a net-book and the 15 inch screen of a normal laptop with its 13.3 inch screen. It is about an inch thick so that is good as well. It runs a brilliant OS for day to day productivity and it is a robust and reliable being a unix based OS. It sits well in terms of price at $1749 NZD. It is also an excellent opportunity to see how good Mac really is. At this price I could also add a bigger display to make it more desktop like if I wanted to and still be under $2000. I can also always buy  another computer later if I want to like a desktop and still have this one which is a perfectly functional machine.

Take note that the Macbook white itself is a great deal because it can be relatively compared to windows laptops and it won’t be so bad. It will have a smaller drive, 250-320gb in a windows one while this one has just 120gb. It has comparable ram as it has DDR2 2gb, which will be around the same in a windows one. On the other hand, it has much better graphics processor, a Geforce 9400M; many windows ones will have a lower one or an integrated one. Also, the new Macbook white has the new P7350 processor which is a bit better than the T6400 of the windows ones. Generally the macbook is still dear but by just a margin, but consider that if you bought a 13 inch windows one specifically then it would be dearer than the Macbook. On a side note, the new macbook is really nice and all with its unibody design DDR3 ram and LED display, but I’m not so sure it is worth the additional 550 dollars and it does break that $2000 barrier.

I have bought my Mac from the Campus reseller which gives the educational discount, in my case 100 dollars. Plus a 100 off Microsoft Office 2008, so that made that 160. Apple also offered a 219 dollar rebate on a purchase of an ipod nano or touch. That meant that I could have got my ipod for as little as 30 dollars, but I’m not so cheap. I got the 16GB iPod touch. The rebate will basically be 40% of the purchase price. I have sent in the rebate from, but I’m not so sure they have got it and whether I will get my money. The other disappointment was that the Laptop they had given me initially had scratches on it and looked like it had been double sealed. I obviously got it replaced and have had no problems since then.

Email- What Has Changed?

In Tech on October 18, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Well, I hear all the time that email was one of those things that really took off as part of the internet evolution. It was is essence what created the communication framework that we so dearly love today. Don’t get me wrong, it is also a source of misery for some. It is such an elementary part of the web that we often hear the words email and internet side by side, as if email were not part of the internet already. This, one would suppose, comes from the fact that if wasn’t so tightly knit around the internet and was a bit different thing then. It was probably, in my opinion, what created some up take of internet connections in the early years.

Since then things have changed immencely. Email today has evolved from what it was back then. Firstly, email was accesed not throught the web, but through it own client as a primary means of access. It wasn’t free either and only businesses and the elite had an address. Along came hotmail and everything changed. Free email for the masses. The mail boxes weren’t too big back then and the site ran off ads, much like today. It was not only free but web access for now the primary method of accessing mail and for some obvious reasons. After this many others have come along. Notably, Yahoo, Aol and Gmail. These are just the big ones. If you think hard, ISP’s even give email for free even if the mail boxes are small. So, the point is, every man and his dog have an account; oh wait, maybe two, or three? One for work, one for home, one for friends, one for mail subscriptions…….

Moving on, the uses for email have changed over the years too. In the beginning we just used them to write letters, both formal and informal. That soon changed; people used them to subscribe to newsletters and to send short messages or a way just to send files across the network. That all changed too. Now, we have IM for short messages, RSS for news and file transfer and sharing services to take care of that. Where are we now then? Back to square one! Emails are just for text most of the time because we can now communicate through other means, though it is funny to see workmates who are only a couple of feet apart sending emails to each other all day and not even knowing who they are talking to.

There are lots of new things about email now as well. We can access it on the move on our cell phones in various ways; whether that is actually useful is another question on its own. We can store more email for free. We can search our mail more effectively. We can tag them and place them in more than folder without using more space. We can see all messages in the same conversation together and many more things. Most notably though, we are identified online by our email addresses. They are the tickets with which we gain access to all other free and non-free services.

Later we’ll look at the providers, consolidating your email and managing your email eco-system.

The Spray Can

Where’s my 2 cents Fiji?

In Life on September 29, 2008 at 5:50 pm

The RBF as of October is removing from circulation the one and two cent coins. Smart? Maybe and maybe not. Let’s look at the pros and cons and perhaps a few other countries.

Cons:

Well firstly, some inflation? Removal of low denominations ought not to cause inflation but it may it rounding is abused. This may occur in a country like Fiji. Items that a readily bought will have their prices rounded up at the shelf and when mixed with other items at the cashier the prices may be further rounded up; therefore, the stores effectively charging more. Though from research it is clear that it is a non-issue in later years and does not affect the economy when proper practices are in place.

Secondly, beggars aren’t going to be too happy. Usually we would give away our coins to charity or to religious places or to donation drives.

Pros:

Well there are many. Firstly, the one cent coin costs 4 cents to make. Added to that fact is that they are often collected and not tendered back, leaving them in drawers and other places where they will not be utilised.

Secondly, not having to deal with these coins means that labour costs are saved, not only by RBF but also by businesses who no longer have to cater for the floats with these coins. The cashier also does not need to count out and give out the coins saving them precious time.

As stated earlier, the coins have limited use; they are only given out and not taken back as counting a bulk of the coins will again cost the company or bank more money than what the coins are worth.

The value of the cent is so low that no item can be purchased by the coin alone. The FJD cent is of course valued less than the US dollar equivalent. Other countries including the Australia and certain European countries have stopped the minting of some of these low denominations. Sweden would be one of the first and hence were the ones to come up with rounding to solve the problem often caused at the checkout. New Zealand on the other hand has removed from circulation the one cent, the two cent and the five cent coins, leaving the lowest denomination as 10 cents. The ten cent coin is also a copper coin. Needless to say, they went on further to make the other coins smaller and lighter so that our wallets and pockets would not be laden with coins that were far too heavy. They are now some of the most light coins around.

Lastly, some of the things that we do not think about. The coins are small and often get lost, so they are not so beneficial to the consumer. The coins are hazardous to small kids who may find the coin small enough to swallow. Seeing as the coin is now intrinsicly valued more than its face value, it becomes a target for copper extractors who can melt coins to gain the metal components. In my honest opinion, this may be difficult in Fiji but there is no lack of motive. Thieves often loot building sites for copper wire; it wouldn’t be a surprise if they suddenly started selling out coins.

All in all, we’d better get out those money bags cause I know we’ve all been hording some of those coins. Who knows, you might get a couple of bucks richer by the weekend.

The Spray Can