Mobile Hotspots are Underrated

If there’s one thing that people don’t use enough of these days, it’s turning their phones into mobile hotspots. Gone are the days where if you visit a cafe and it has no WiFi, you can’t do your work there. All you have to do is turn on the hotspot feature on your phone and you’re good to go. Unless you have a terribly limited data plan (which most people don’t have these days), using your phone to tether your laptop/tablet to is something you should do – unless you have terrible reception on your phone.

Benefits? You get to use 4G speed, which is better than the WiFi you get from a lot of places in KL. Especially when a cafe/restaurant is busy and full of other people leeching it as well. Better security – while most WiFi networks are usually pretty secure these days (gone are those days of Firesheep), it just feels better knowing that you have traffic going through your own cellphone instead of through a router that the public is accessing. You can use it anywhere and anytime you want. You’re no longer bound to venues and their opening hours. Sit in your car or on a park bench somewhere to work if you feel like it.

Sure, on some phones it might affect the speed of your battery drain, but if you have a decent phone (something that most people already do these days), it shouldn’t be much of an issue. You can always use powerbanks or charge your device with your laptop or a power outlet.

Also, if you don’t use up that phone data, what else are you going to use it for? At least in my experience where I have WiFi at home and in the office, my data goes underutilized on most months and I end up spam watching HD YouTube videos before my data renewal date just to feel like I got my money’s worth. In case you’re not sure about how to turn your phone into a hotspot (there are a thousand different phones out there so I can’t give you a guide here) you can do a simple Google search to find out. It usually falls under Settings > WiFi > Hotspot/Tether on Android phones.

Now go out there and enjoy your freedom enabled by your mobile devices! (though some people may say the ability to work anywhere is a curse, and not a blessing)

Back to the Diary

I think I may have writer’s block. I’ve been trying to write something substantial over the past few days but I haven’t been very successful. Even word vomiting hasn’t really been helping. I haven’t been able to come up with topics to write on my blog. Have I finally run out of things to say? No. That isn’t true. I’ll always have something to say as long as I’m alive. It’s just that I haven’t been able to write about things worth writing about (as though toilet thoughts was something that needed to be published).

I guess in the meantime I’ll just post some diary-like entries. Those are the easiest to churn out without having to use much of my brain. What have I been up to? Well, there have been a lot of Dota 2 tournaments over the past few months (another tournament just started last week) and I’ve been following them. I used to think that every time I tuned into a Na’Vi match, I’d watch them lose and it was my fault. But they’ve been winning the past two nights so that’s not true anymore. It’s good to see the team back on form after a rough day 1 at Epicenter XL. Hopefully they keep it up for the remaining days.

I haven’t touched any other game besides Dota 2 on my PC for a while now. In the past, I’d dick around in single player games while waiting for my friends to come online to play. Nowadays I just browse reddit until it’s time to party up. It’s seriously the only game that keeps on giving. Even after all these years. There’s always something new to learn.

Speaking of learning, I really enjoy checking out links from Hacker News. Every time I visit that site I find an interesting article that teaches me something new. Like today, I learned about pun competitions. Then I thought about it and realized – I’m so bad at coming up with puns. It’s not an easy thing to do. Puns also tread the fine line between clever and lame. They’re also very polarizing, it’s not something that everybody appreciates. Anyway, I just thought I’d share a pun a friend came up with a while ago:

probably only funny to people who know Ken Jae and his love for Hai Di Lao hotpot

Today Vanessa told me that her dog passed away. RIP Jasper. I didn’t get to know him well before he went to doggo heaven, but I’m sure he’s having fun with all the bitches up there.

I bought Vegas (a video editing software) for cheap the other day. Might study some tutorials and learn how to come up with my own video edits. Stay tuned for that.

Toilet Thoughts

One thing I’ve noticed while waiting for my turn in public toilets is that there are dudes who stare at other people’s dicks while pissing. I’m not sure why they do it, but they do. I’m not sure if it’s wrong but I think not everybody is comfortable with their dongs being stared at.

Why do people use the water from the urinals to wash their hands? I first noticed this when I was in Indonesia – I know the water that flows out from the pipe is technically clean, but why not just use the sink that’s available? It baffles my mind why people would do such things.

The other day, I completely forgot to flush the toilet bowl because I was in a rush. I didn’t get to see the reaction of the dude who walked into the stall after me but I only realized it while I was washing my hands. I hope he wasn’t too mad. I’m glad I have auto-flushing toilets at work so I never have to worry about forgetting.

Why do people have conversations on their phones in public toilets while taking shits? Don’t they care about the sounds that will be picked up over the microphone? On another note, why do people stand around having conversations in the toilet? Why not take a few steps outside so you don’t have to block an already cramped space?

I wonder if toilet cleaners make mental notes about people who use their toilet. Oh shit, not this guy again, sigh. *Puts on heavy-duty gloves*

Some people actually watch football games in the toilet without using headphones or muting their phones.

I wonder how many shit particles are stuck to our phones after a week of regular usage?

Just some random thoughts I’ve saved from my experience using public toilets.

Just One Ringgit

One of the things that annoy me when I’m ordering drinks at cinemas or cafes is the way cashiers try to sell me an upsize. The most common phrase they’ll say is: “It’s just one ringgit more!”

Think about that phrase for a second. If it’s just one ringgit more, why don’t you give me the upsize for free? One ringgit is no big deal right? Exactly.

The reason I ordered a small drink is because I don’t feel like drinking so much coffee/coke/whatever. If I wanted a large one, don’t you think I would have ordered it instead?

The way they say the phrase is like I’m passing up on a free upgrade when it’s not. I mean if they told me that I could have a free upsize and I rejected it, I would understand their behavior (I could just take the free upgrade to shut them up – I wouldn’t have to finish the whole drink anyway).

One ringgit isn’t a lot of money, but if I’m not in the mood for a large drink, I’m not going to spend that money. It’s that simple.

Here’s a tip: eliminate all sizes except large from the menu (not just hide them and still sell it to people who ask), and you’ll do everyone a favor – cashiers don’t have to waste time upselling and customers don’t have to waste time arguing they’re not interested. If large is too expensive for most people, you’re either pricing it wrong or people don’t want your drink enough to pay for it anyway.

Random Ramblings

George, what happened to your daily posts? You were supposed to blog 5 times a week! You’re slipping man! That’s what I tell myself. I’m pretty sure nobody noticed that I only posted 4 times last week (so this week I gotta do 6). Anyway, what can I say? Work is picking up so I’ve been spending a lot more time doing that instead of writing random blog posts for myself to read. I recently discovered that I don’t have to work at the office if I feel like working elsewhere, so I’ve been making use of that privilege.

I tried working at a co-working space the other day. It seemed more like a regular cafe than anything, so it didn’t really make a difference (I was expecting some sort of increase in concentration and efficiency). There were a lot of kids just hanging out there to study or watch videos on their laptops/tablets so it didn’t really have a working vibe to it. To be fair, it was probably the cheapest co-working space I checked out so it probably wasn’t a good judge of what it should be like. I’ll be exploring other places in the future.

Thinking of ideas for the next big IP is a daunting task. It’s already hard enough to create interesting stories and characters, but when you throw in conditions like marketability, target audiences and commercial value, it gets even harder. You want to serve an audience something they want. But it has to be something new. But if you think about it – almost everything good that can be done has already been done. So you try to create something that doesn’t already exist and has potential. Then you think – is there a reason why nobody has been doing it in the first place? Maybe it has been tested internally and doesn’t work. So you’re left scratching your head wondering if you should continue down that path. Is it better to be derivative or original? If you do something that’s so far out left field, would people get it?

These are questions I ask myself while I try to work out what I want to make. It has to be something I believe in. Because I know that I won’t be able to give my all working for something I don’t believe in. Which is probably why I’d be a terrible salesman for most products and services.

I’ve been watching a lot of Pewdiepie on YouTube. He’s probably one of the most entertaining YouTubers out there right now. I guess there’s a reason why he remains as the most subbed channel on the platform, with nobody coming close. I used to think, why the hell would anybody watch reaction videos? Then I got sucked into the world of H3H3 and YouTube drama and found it all very interesting. Sure, they have no educational value and are really a big waste of time, but sometimes all you wanna do is tune out before you go to bed and these videos are a great way to do so. Also it doesn’t hurt that I find them extremely funny and entertaining.

Sometimes I feel like I’m burnt out from blogging too often. But then on the other hand, I think it’s just an excuse and I’m just not being disciplined enough to keep writing. Writing is good for me. It’s typing (which is fun), therapeutic, and a great way to practice putting words down.

My projects for this year:
– develop my first game
– record a new EP
– edit Animal Bus and turn it into a comic

It’s almost May and I’m not even close to finishing any of those things. Damn, time flies.

Touch Typing

Over the weekend, I was looking up for some tips to improve my touch typing skills and I learned something I can’t believe I had never thought of before: keep your index fingers on the home keys (F and J on a QWERTY keyboard) if you’re using your pinkies to hit keys like escape, backspace, control, tab or shift – this will allow you to quickly return to the home row and reset your fingers in the correct typing position. It was something so simple yet effective. This prompted me to scour the net for more tips that I could use. Turns out, there aren’t many tips available online that I didn’t already know. Unless there’s a hidden cache of advice hidden available somewhere on the internet, the only other thing I’ve managed to takeaway is that practice is everything.

Like playing the guitar or a video game, typing is very much all about muscle memory. Think about words you type very often: your own name, words like you, me, them, they, the – I’m pretty sure most of you can touch type them without any effort. However, if I were to give you a word like adscititious, it would probably take you a moment to type it out. But if you keep typing the word over and over again, you’ll be able to type it quickly. Basically, you have to practice typing until you are at the stage where you’re typing words instead of letters. It’s like being so familiar with a guitar chord that you can press it without having to look at the fretboard, or pulling off key combinations to execute a special move for your video game character.

While I don’t think I’ll consistently surpass 100 wpm anytime soon (I type fast enough for my current job anyway), it’s something I hope to achieve naturally in the long run – once I’ve typed the most common English words enough times to make them all muscle memory. But for those of you who are interested in learning how to touch type, here are some helpful sites.

Keybr– a site that helps you memorize where each letter is on your keyboard and analyzes which keys you’re struggling with.
10fastfingers – a great site for practicing the most common English words
Type Racer – a popular online typing game where you race against other people by typing out a passage of text quickly and accurately

Good Deeds

What is karma? Is it real? Does everyone believe in karma? Why do people do good things? Do they expect others to do the same to them?
I get that doing good deeds is what makes you a normal human being, and that you shouldn’t expect anything out of it. But if you’re going out of your way to accomplish something – are you still entitled to a perk in the future?
I mean, think about it, there’s a reason why people believe in karma. Right? Or there’s a reason why religion tells us to be good people. There’s no reason to be a dick. Unless you’re purposely upset about somebody and want to ruin their day.
I don’t know. Didn’t really have any cohesive thoughts, but I was just thinking about it to myself.
Over the weekend, I did a couple of ‘good deeds’. I left a note on somebody’s car, telling him that his rear wheel had a flat tire. And I informed a cashier that a whole section of goods they were selling had gone past their expiry date. I don’t expect anything good to happen to me because of those things. Aren’t they just things that people should normally do?
However, whenever someone does something good, you usually hear about it (here I am blogging about it LOL). People think it’s something extraordinary. Like it’s something special to not be an asshole. Isn’t that kind of weird? I don’t know.
Where am I going with this? Nowhere.

I just think that it’s weird that people think being nice is a special thing to do, when in fact – being nice is probably the foundation of being a decent human being. People shouldn’t expect anything when they’re being nice. There’s no reason to.

Sure, it’s better than being an ass to someone else, but the better alternative is to just be nice, or ignorant. Move on with your life. Don’t contribute negatively.

But then again, if everybody just ignored everybody, I guess this world would fall apart as well. Hmm.

A Book Affair

As part of my room decluttering exercise, I’ve unearthed a ton of books I don’t read anymore. Before I give them away, I’ve decided that I’m going to try to get some money for them first. So, in a couple of hours, I’ll be attending A Book Affair – a pop up book market which takes place every Wednesday and Sunday in Taman Desa. I’ve never attended any of these events before but it seems like a pretty cool event, and a great way to pass on the gift of reading (and fund future keycaps lul). Hopefully there will be plenty of people attending today’s sale!

This is only the first batch of books that I’ve found in my room, as I uncover more in the future, I’ll be sure to unload them at the sale.

So if you’re in the mood to buy secondhand books at cheap prices, feel free to drop by.

A Book Affair [Facebook]

Multipurpose hall, Desa Permai Condo, Jalan Morib, Taman Desa, 58100 Kuala Lumpur [Map]
2pm – 9pm

And I thought I was done selling books.

Word Vomit

I remember reading a writing tip a while ago – start off your day by vomiting out a page of words. I had forgotten about it until earlier today when I was feeling a bit stuck creatively. Out of the blue, the tip resurfaced and I decided to give it a shot. Because why not? It only takes a few minutes to do, and if it didn’t work, at least I could say I tried. I started Microsoft Word, and just started word vomiting. Initially there was a bit of resistance. It was challenging to find the words to say. So I decided to do what I do best – write about what I was doing.

So I wrote about writing, and suddenly, one sentence lead to another, and another, and another. I just kept going and going until I had slightly more than a page worth of words. It felt good. I don’t know how to explain it. A lot of it was repetition and nonsense, but at least I was putting words down. I wrote about everything and anything that came to mind. It was kinda therapeutic. It was like the page was my doctor listening to me spew nonsense.

Anyway, long story short – it helped. After I finished with my page of word vomit, I was unstuck. I could write much more freely and came up with a bunch of ideas for work. Not sure if it’s something I’ll do everyday (I wonder if it will lose effectiveness in the long run?), but it’s something new I have in my bag of tricks to revert to in the future.

(No, I’m not publishing today’s word vomit, it’s not worth anyone’s time.)

Limited Connectivity

One of the interesting things I experienced growing up is the state of our connectivity. I grew up in an age where internet access was non-existent, available and slow, fast, and now prevalent. These days, if we didn’t have internet access on our phones, we’d feel extremely lost and disconnected. It never used to be the case. Internet connectivity used to be a privilege, a bonus and now it’s a requirement. No, this isn’t going to be a post about how kids these days are constantly glued to their screens at dinner (I’m guilty of such behavior; damn you Six Match, why are you so addictive?) – it’s just something that I thought of while trying to connect to a public wifi hotspot today.

There’s nothing wrong with using an internet-less computer. In fact, it helps with productivity. I can imagine if I was online now, I’d be watching Liquid vs OG at DAC instead of writing this blog post. So it’s alright to have no connectivity every now and then. I’ll just catch the NoobfromUA highlights tonight. It’s times like these I’m glad to have my music collection stored locally. Although I’ve used Spotify in the past, it hasn’t replaced my need to have music on my hard disk. Just knowing for sure that I can play any song I like without having to worry about my internet connection or if Spotify’s servers are working is a good feeling. Sure, it’s a hassle to collect discographies of obscure artists, and my music collection takes up a lot of disk space – but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Over lunch, there was a short conversation about tour guides and how it’s not something a lot of people enjoy these days. I hypothesized it was due to the availability of information on the internet. If you were to visit a brand new country in the coming week, I’m sure you could do a quick search to find out places you should visit, things you should avoid and so on. Then, from the comfort of your own home you could plan your whole trip without having to rely on a tour guide. Benefits of your own trip? Not having to do things you don’t want to do and being able to set your own schedule (nobody wants to wake up at seven, especially when you’re on holiday).

The internet is wonderful, and I would dread going back to a life without it. It can help you with your work, yet it can hamper your progress as well. It’s all about self-control and moderation. Don’t let it turn into a vice – it should be a tool.