Bitcoin TIPS for the CURIOUS and BEGINNER! Best TIPS for those investing from Malaysia!

Friend,

There has been many, many articles and posts written about this miracle product called ‘Bitcoin’ over the past year. Apparently, we have this ‘new virtual currency’ that is decentralised and precious. What was easily ‘mined’ by the use of computer CPU’s or GPU’s (Central Processing Unit and Graphical Processing Unit) can bring you profits that has just began to be realised. Many seem to be predicting that one Bitcoin will easily breach the twenty thousand price point in the near future. Here is the BEST TIME to jump on the bandwagon – put all your money into this investment and be prepared for financial freedom.

Friend, this is a lie. The best TIPS for investing in Bitcoin is this: DO NOT DO IT. I am not even joking. Do you want to know what is speculation? Speculation is making an investment without any real, firm, tangible expectation or evidence. There is no basis. Basically, speculative investment is no different than gambling. That is why people LOVE it. Gambling promises high payout – but with that level of payout, there is a very high risk. Bitcoin is HIGHLY speculative.

How can one really find out whether this is true or merely a personal conjecture of one person? Simple. Ask your friend who had introduced you to Bitcoin investment – what is crypto currency? What is bitcoin based on? What is it backed by? What does ‘decentralised’ mean? Is it a real commodity? Who handles the trading? What happens when the trading platform (also known as ‘exchange’) fails? What happens to those who are linked to the exchange?

I can guarantee you that most people would never be able to explain in succinct or clear terms what Bitcoin is all about. They are ignorant of what blockchain technology is, let alone the whole concept of cryptography. Yet, they are CONVINCED that this technology will change industries, in fact, change the fabric of humanity! I beg to differ.

I do agree that Blockchain technology IS a good technology of the future, but it suffers tremendously in a few areas – one is STANDARD. Unless a common standard is set on how things are done, you will find ‘trust’ to be low. Whether this standard relates to cryptocurrency, or to the blockchain technology itself – we all need regulation to ensure that consistency is made and given.

Secondly, in the trading of cryptography like Bitcoin, we have problem with exchanges. Why? The lack of regulation means NO ENFORCEMENT in the event that problems occur within the exchange. In Malaysia, we have Luno, shutting down its operations because of the bank account FREEZE by the authorities. What this means is: at the end of 2017, when the price of Bitcoin was still soaring, many could buy. But those who wanted to sell their coins suddenly found an inability to do so. Their investment was stuck – for a long time even until now (nearly one full year). Do you know what happened since Luno’s Maybank account was frozen? Bitcoin CRASHED and LOST 70% of its worth. I was very blessed to have only LOST RM15 on my RM100 ‘test’ on Bitcoin and Ethereum. Somehow, the moment I recognised the flaw of power given to the individual UNREGULATED exchanges, I quickly withdrew what I had, despite the small loss. The week after, Luno’s problems came!

Thirdly, read what the experts say about it:

“The truth is that the developers have absolute power to act as judge and jury. When something goes wrong in one of their buggy “smart” pseudo-contracts and massive hacking occurs, they simply change the code and “fork” a failing coin into another one by arbitrary fiat, revealing the entire “trustless” enterprise to have been untrustworthy from the start.”

“It is telling that all “decentralised” blockchains end up being centralised, permissioned databases when they are actually put into use. As such, blockchain has not even improved upon the standard electronic spreadsheet, which was invented in 1979.

No serious institution would ever allow its transactions to be verified by an anonymous cartel operating from the shadows of the world’s kleptocracies.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/blockchain-has-been-a-lie-all-this-while-10831880

So, my BEST TIP for you is: let the speculators BURN. Stay out of it. Go into Mutual Fund or the Stock Exchange of your country. Those are safer and regulated. You lose based on your ignorance of information, not because it was a gamble.

Defining Virtual Reality

Immersion

Interaction

Virtual World

These are the three main elements that make up VR. At least, this is the most commonly agreed definition. Interesting that Sword Art Online’s latest series is also based on VR and AI. These are the “hot” terms and tech for the time being.

Sorry, such a short post. Hope to have more soon.

VR, Diving in!

Person with Virtual Reality headset

Hi there… 

Life has been filled with a lot of things lately. No time to continue my daily #inktober postings 🙁 However, the good news is that I am going to be “diving into” certain topics, in depth. And will share what I learn on that journey with you. Top on the list… VIRTUAL REALITY technology. This is a biggee. Many in Malaysia are trying to get the Holy Grail of modern technology into businesses. It is tricky, but the search is still on. 

I am PUMPED for this!

Play Thousands Games in Your Browser for FREE! Courtesy of ARCHIVE.ORG

https://archive.org/details/internetarcade

Can I tell you that this is a giant step forward for all retro-gaming enthusiast (like me)? You can play thousands of games in your browser… the main word being “browser”. On the PC, on your laptop, your UMPC (ultra mobile personal computer), your handheld device, your smartphone… heck, even your feature phone as long as it supports a browser and an internet connection!

Entertainment does not really need high tech devices or money splurges. You have the advantage of gaming ANYWHERE with this contribution by Archive.org, the world’s largest depository of preserving all things. Check out the whole list of games available here at:
https://archive.org/details/internetarcade

I tried some of the latest offerings, and they work nicely on my Xiaomi Mi Max 1 (Snapdragon 652). Of course, you will need to have some peripherals to enjoy them, but that is relatively simple with the plethora of Bluetooth devices available. I used a Logitech Keyboard K380 and it ran perfectly.

Yes, the above screenshot was directly from my mobile phone – the classic shoot-em up, “1942”!

Not forgetting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (MAME version). Yes, this rocks! I remember putting in coins just to have a few rounds of this in the arcade machines (even though I was under age at that time). One day I will try to fulfill my dream of building my very own arcade cabinet from scratch! Hahahaha…

Until then, please consider re-living your childhood digital games indulgence. 🙂

How to Cool Overheating Helio X20 Xiaomi Note 4X!

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X comes in a variety of versions, either with the Snapdragon 625 or with Helio X20. The latter is a blazing fast CPU that gives a respectable 20-30% more performance. The former instead is a well known 2017 mid-tier CPU performer, more for battery conservation, and adopted by many monster-battery equipped Chinese phones (Oukitel, Ulefone to name a few of the popular ones). The problem is that just a few weeks ago, my wife’s Redmi Note 4 of slightly more than one year-old began to overheat. It was averaging a heat level of 41° Celsius to 43° Celsius. It was like having an oven in the pocket and brought flashes of the infamous exploding Samsung Note 7 into mind!

I tried many things on the phone to find the culprit. First thing to do was to check on the CPU/Battery use under the ‘settings’ and to see what was the main offenders of straining the battery. Surprisingly most are from the Play store and social media apps. Turning syncing for these off was easy and can be done within 5 minutes. The Play store settings are a bit tricky for a complete beginner, but it is within the app itself, not the System’s settings. But it was all to no avail.

Being an avid Android user and advocate for 10 years (yes, I am a HTC Dream first adopter) made me irritated. This should be easy for me to diagnose, but there it is, even in flight mode the battery was at the lowest dipping only to 40 Celsius. I had a serious talk with my wifey: it may be a defective battery, and I fear having the thing explode while in use! This would mean the need to buy a new phone, which is honestly a waste of money at this point. The Helio X20 chip is only SLIGHTLY slower than the newly released Snapdragon 636. And this model has a whopping 4,100 mAh.

The other problem that my wife noted is that the device seem to drain the battery significantly. It should have clicked within me at that point, but I was still thinking it is an app problem. I took the problem online; seeing whether this particular model was prone to battery problems. But I found that overheating phones is actually something that usually is due to poor software optimization (the manufacturer is at fault). However, this is something that is immediately picked up by users within the release quarter of the phone. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 was already a year old and there is not much complaint on overheating.

Eventually, I remembered Sherlock Holmes famous adage:

…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth…

Since Xiaomi provides excellent updates of phone softwares, it boils down to the hardware itself. Is the battery within the phone spoilt? Or is it the charger itself that is defective. The usual charger was a common Xiaomi wall USB charger. I plugged in the phone to my new Xiaomi 10,000 mAh power bank with fast charging. After charging it to near 100%, I let my wife use it.

Note: never fully charge your battery to 100% if you want to lengthen the battery life on your phone. This is common knowledge that is written and re-posted many times, but ignored by many.

The phone did not overheat. It remained at a steady 35-37° Celsius! In fact, what was amazing is that the battery performance was as it was before – it could easily last a full day of heavy social media use!


Contrary to the long-time Android user, the problem may not be a software issue at all. Sometimes our chargers need to be replaced, especially if sudden undetected surges happened and damages the frail circuitry within it.

CASE CLOSE. Money saved 🙂

Windows 7 UMPC

image

I have been thinking and considering the benefits and virtues of getting an ultra-mobile personal computer in recent days. The truth is that work can be done in a more leisurely environment without the necessities of tables & power sockets, which is something commonly needed by laptop users. However, the pool of UMPC devices that excites me is really small. I wish to have one with full physical qwerty keyboard. But the latest devices seem to do away with this while relying solely on virtual keyboards. The best OS for productivity is still Windows IMHO. Unfortunately, I have yet to find one that is reasonably priced. Just the other month, I stumbled upon this device (please refer to picture) at our local Courts Mammoth. It is called Windpad by MSI. For its price it is definitely not worth it. The whole performance was sluggish at best! Typing was horrible and to me, that’s the deal breaker… If you cannot type smoothly and fast using a particular tablet, then it’s not the right one for you. However, if you can pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard then that might be different. But one thing about Windows tablets is the need for a real digitizer or a stylus… For nothing beats the note taking ease & scribbling stuff at the spur of the moment.

For me, the hunt for the perfect UMP still goes on…

A Phone Whatever You Call It

A good phone is one that does its primary function well. Phones are fundamentally communication devices. Speakers, voice fidelity, signal strength, SMS, MMS, screen display, ought to be good or very good. Anything less than good should not be acceptable. It is very sad that there are now compromises made on the main basic functionality of ‘feature phones’ or ‘smart phones’. Drop calls and poor signal strengths are unforgivable compromises that robs the value of having a phone around. Some could not be bothered (of course), but it is a matter of emergencies… when you need to make that important call, you do not want to be left in a lurch because your signal strength is affected due to poor antenna design. This is what makes the iPhone 4 and HTC Sensation a disappointment in my opinion. Never compromise on the main function. If you really want a game console, get an Xbox 360, PS3, or if you want a mobile console, get an iPod Touch or Nintendo 3DS. Why put yourself in a risk, and put others at risk too (if they are influenced by you in buying something they do not need).

A phone is a phone, and should be a phone first. Which is why I am starting to appreciate Nokia recently. They are slow in innovation and in applications, etc. But I never find myself questioning them on the areas that many are compromising on. Phones are now a toy for many. You get to play with it in many ways. But I hope people do think about the basic thing it ought to be first: a phone. Lives may depend on it.

Upgrade Issue (Passive Connection) using FTP for WordPress

This has been a recurring pain for my site (and all the sites hosted under my provider). I cannot seem to use the upgrade plugin, themes and wordpress function that has been introduced for quite a long time now. There has been plenty of updates given and fixes on this issue, but found them all inadequate for my particular problem.

The symptom is this:

Whenever I press the ‘upgrades’ for either WordPress, plugins or themes, I come to the FTP login page. I fill it up and press “Upgrade” only to find that it does nothing at all… it seems to be loading, but it will not refresh or change at all.

It happens no matter what ‘fix’ I employ.

Fix:

I found that I have to use Active FTP connection rather than Passive. What is the difference? I have no idea, for now (feel free to comment if you do know). What you need to do is make an amendment, very slight one as follows to this file: class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php that is located in wordpress\wp-admin\includes

the original will have

@ftp_pasv( $this->link, true );

Change the “true” to “false” like below and re-upload the file to the appropriate directory on your ftp.

@ftp_pasv( $this->link, false );

Overwrite the previous file and try upgrading again.

Warning:

This works for me. Pretty easy, however, take note that if you do an Upgrade of WordPress, you will need to re-modify the new class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php file again since the upgrade would replace the modified one. That is a minor annoyance.

All the best 🙂

Typing + Keyboard

One of the things that do a lot is typing. I type an average of 7,500 – 8,500 words weekly in the year 2010. It was a very exhausting work. Mind you that in uni days, having an assignment of 4,500 words would have taken the better part of the semester. Circumstances change, and for me, I am typing much more. What registered in my mind just this evening, as I was trolling the Digital Mall near my area, was this: do I need a more comfortable keyboard for work? Honestly speaking, after that self directed question, I found myself thinking hard on the occasions when I am doing what I am at this very minute doing: typing. Am I comfortable with the keyboard currently in use? What are some of the issues I have with this keyboard or what are the things I look for in a keyboard? I guess it is obvious to the reader that I have not been thinking much about these things, though they are important aspects of my work life.

As I perused through the many different models from Logitech and the nicely designed keyboard by Microsoft, I cannot help but wonder whether my typing and writing has always been affected in some manner by the keyboard in use. Honestly speaking, I am now feeling the weight of the keys and the resistance it gives me as I hammer down the keys with my fingers. Should I get a keyboard that allows my hands to rest upon a curved gradient design? Or should I just get one that is wireless, that gives me freedom to reposition the keyboard any way I want?

In the end, I did not get any of the sophisticatedly designed keyboards. Not because there is no use in getting one, but because I simply have not been paying attention on what I am looking for. Typing has been so natural and second nature to me that I have not cared much about the equipment used in writing. I should, because the comfort and tiredness of the hands come from all these small factors that are hardly raised up in the world. The way we input things have been taken for granted.

This will have an impact on us; especially in the age where companies are doing away with the physical keyboard and adopting the virtual one. No one has studied the impact such virtual ones would have upon us in the long run. Will the hammering against glass panels be more harmful than the pressing of physical ones that provide real tactile feedback, which would regulate the amount of pressure we put in typing? Only time would tell, but a total reliance on virtual typing would be foolish (yes, that applies to the new onslaught of Tablets).

Until I am a bit more certain of my own preferences, I will have to delay in upgrading or replacing my current ‘Prolink’ branded keyboard.

Thoughts on the Google Nexus S & Android

What people thought was the Nexus 2 (two) is now announced as the Nexus S. It is a collaboration between Google with Samsung. Full details about the phone can be read from http://www.google.com/nexus/#!/features. Being of a smartphone enthusiast and advocate, I would like to just share a few thoughts on the Google Nexus S and what I think should happen in the industry (and what we can do about it).

Connectivity

  • GSM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 n/b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • Assisted GPS (A-GPS)
  • microUSB 2.0

Comments:

While the inclusion of wifi (N) is expected, especially so late in 2010, it seems that the rest are just the mundane specs from early 2010. Sure the NFC seems like a new technology for the general masses outside of Japan, but according to one, http://www.androidpolice.com/2010/12/07/nfc-in-gingerbread-is-crippled-its-one-way-only-and-not-the-way-we-want/, it is only a one way communication (with no transmitter from the device itself), and that is just bad. It makes the device, a glorified tag/bar-code scanner. Bluetooth 3.0 has been supported in recent high-end smartphones from Samsung, which makes it saddening to note the lack of it here. Galaxy S scores points here over the Nexus S.

Display

4.0″ WVGA (480×800)
Contour Display with curved glass screen
Super AMOLED
235 ppi
Capacitive touch sensor
Anti-fingerprint display coating

Comments:

It is understandable that Samsung is still determined to enforce their view that SuperAMOLED is much better than the Retina Display of the iPhone. Granted that is the case, but why then would they put out the PPI as one of its features if it will not match or be anywhere close to the iPhone’s RD PPI score of 330? It would have been a real game changer if Samsung had pulled a higher resolution display, like Sharp’s tablet. It is not something that is unachievable given that they own the manufacturing plants. The contour display is an interesting design; I suspect it provides better viewing angles that normal displays cannot deliver well (plus, it is attractive physically).

Size and weight

63mm x 123.9mm x 10.88mm
129g

Comments:

Very thin and very light for a 4 inch display phone 🙂 Plus point indeed.

Hardware

Haptic feedback vibration
Three-axis gyroscope
Accelerometer
Digital compass
Proximity sensor
Light sensor

Comments:

These are the standard for current high end phones, so no complains, just a bit of a yawn, since it does not push any boundaries that already existed. The gaming ‘gyroscope’ of course is imported from the iPhone 4. I wonder whether Google/Samsung is merely being a ‘follower’ in this? They could have incorporated some 3D display or maybe even utilising the front camera for gesturing (ala, mini Kinect), or something. It seems too standard for my liking.

Processor and memory

1GHz Cortex A8 (Hummingbird) processor
16GB iNAND flash memory

Comments:

Here is the biggest disappointment; the same processor used by the iPhone (of course the iPhone’s is a modified form, re-modified by A4 in-house) and used by the Galaxy S and Wave. It is fast, but I doubt that it is faster than Texas Instrument’s processor used in the Droid X. An A9 processor would have blown everyone out of the water. My only reason (my assumption) would be the fine tuning of A9 to Android at the moment, which is not completed as yet. We see that problem in some of the released Tegra 2 tablet systems. This would have re-booted the gaming capabilities of Android, and to really ensure that the developer community would be charged up to try new things not only on the iPhone but on Android too. I have not much complain with the internal memory of 16GB, except that many are unhappy due to the problems of flashing (given that Android phones are mostly flashable and flash friendly). I personally think people are making too much of a complaint on something that is not important. How many of us totally use up the 16GB memory besides as a storage tool for our massive digital music library? In fact, the space saved could have been used for something else. Could have. Sigh.

Cameras and multimedia

Back-facing: 5 megapixels (2560×1920)
720 x 480 video resolution
H.264, H.263 MPEG4 video recording
Auto focus
Flash
Front-facing: VGA (640×480)
3.5mm, 4-conductor headset jack
(stereo audio plus microphone)
Earpiece and microphone
Software noise-cancellation

Comments:

Droid X’s three microphones was game changing and definitely was intriguing for people to consider  the need for good audio quality for calls and video recording. However, Nexus S seems like the standard fare; it gives of the, this is just for developers and not consumer use. An 8 megapixel camera would have been brilliant considering that Samsung’s lenses are some of the best in the industry. It is also telling when the best resolution for the video recording is only 720*480. The front facing is not surprising given that many Samsung Galaxy S models (in Malaysia at least) has the secondary camera.

Battery

1500 mAH Lithum Ion

Comments:

Good size. Wireless charging would be a good addition, considering how often one would charge their smartphones nowadays.

Comments on Other things:

The main emphasis of the Nexus S seems to be this: An average phone that shows what Google’s Android can do with average components. I am sure this will succeed (if indeed this is their emphasis) because the focus is more on Gingerbread (Android 2.3) then on the hardware itself. Which is a real pity since Samsung is a well established company and Google is already getting into the groove of what works and what does not. They should have also focused on the hardware component like how HTC HD2 was the ultimate HTC-Microsoft design which is able to compete with many current generation phones even though it is more than a year old in design. That is what is needed in this industry that is changing TOO rapidly; a product that has a more significant life cycle. The first Nexus was something like this; many still use it and are loyal to it (see XDA forums for most active devices to note this). Instead, we find Android 2.3 fragmented in some ways already; the gaming parts are geared more for the upcoming PSP phone by Sony Ericsson. It would have been nice to see Nexus S incorporate that right out of the box, maybe with some physical buttons for gaming. We can only hope. Every time Android seems to be making headway, iPhone comes out just slightly ahead. Google has the resources, I am sure, it’s more of the risk-taking aspect which they seem not willing to take.

User Focus:

Picture above: Dell’s Stage UI, Sony Ericsson’s Timescape – all are lacking in user customization though it is miles better than iPhone’s offering.

I find that the best thing that Android has to offer for consumers like me is the ability to customize the phone at the software level. Tweaking the user interface at the moment is quite a challenge for the uninitiated. There seems to be many ready 3rd party developers there, but not enough traction to make it more acceptable for even new smartphone users. The age of users being forced to conform to one UI design needs to be thrown away. Personalisation is one of the key things that many power users would definitely want, which new users would be terrified of trying. Something of course cannot change, like for example, the way users select applications (by pressing a button regardless of how the apps are ordered, whether from a drawer or something else). There is much also that can be offered for Tablet design.

I personally find the iPad layout to be limiting and unfriendly (wasting too much space). We have barely scratched what is the best UI and most usable UI for the tablet medium, and so also for the smartphones. I think OS providers should provide means for the users (not just 3rd party developers) to extend their customisations beyond widgets, wallpapers, and see how a person may change their preferences depending on the device type and size. I would be very interested in dabble in this area given time and resources. UI design, speed, efficiency and utility is one of the most unexplored area in the apps development industry. Android, though it is more open than others, still do not grant users that freedom or liberty to the basic user. Let the user decide. Let them explore without fear of harming the experience (cloud syncing could be an option or preview modes or demo modes). This is the way to go in 2011 and 2012, as I foresee it.