Nightmare revisited

After so many months, I finally came back to this customer but for a different job. Still, this was a nightmare for me before because they had so many lines. Each line is attached to an auto-dialer which traps a mobile phone call, trunk or International call and re-route them to their own VOIP lines thus saving the customer in terms of phone bills.

But when something goes wrong, it is a nightmare for us. We would have to trace almost each of these boxes one by one because the installer usually did his best in making a crap job. Loose crimping of the wires are usually the cause. But also, we'd have to test all these lines for other problems, (to see if the auto-dialers are OK or not) as they're connected to our PBX.

One box represents one line. To test all, it would have taken
me a long time

Even the cables to these boxes are bunched up quite thick

Phaser Rifle Scope

I got back the scope from nexus the other day and after examining it closely, I just realised that my memory was not as good as I imagine it to be. For you see, the scope opening where I wanted to put the Luzeon LED, was too small. And so, I cannot use the remaining torchlight parts for this. The casting was so brittle, the little hood at the top broke and fell of this morning. Damn.

So, I think I really need to get nexus to arrange a meeting with Rajan sometime soon. -ish. maybe this week. or this month. or maybe this year. or when my wallet says, OK.

So, compared to my two torchlights, you can see
the problem

No? In other words, I really need to rebuilt the
stupid scope into something hollow so I can put
the Luxeon LED in

Good stuff

Yeah, good stuff, man. I was at the same shop today, where I got the CCFL from. And I saw the must-have items of the month, for me, that is. So, once I am free, I am going to try this out. Maybe even put it into the Phaser Rifle to "lock" it from curious itchy finger people. Ha ha ha ha

The 3mm Red/Green dual-colour LED. Normal ones are
in 5mm, which is too big for the secret prop. And on the
right, is the Red/Blue/Green (RGB) LED I wanted to
try out too.

This is the item which made me happy. A four-channel
12 volt RF remote control. So, I can use this for either
Polar Lights Enterprise models. This means I can switch
the model on or off, have them go into Warp or drop out
of Warp and so on. And they guy claims the remote has
a 100meter "Line of Sight" range.
(In other words, no obstruction, la)

Bouncing spiky thingy

This little toy caught my eye when I was at the petrol station yesterday. Its made from some soft silicon but with some electronics built into it. What it does is, when the electronics senses some shocks, it will start to flash the LEDs. So, I gave it to Kristine, whom, at first, did not know what to do with it apart from knowing that its very soft.

But after I threw it on the floor, she follow suite. Luckily I did not hold the long string part and swing it to a hard surface. She might get the idea and then try it out on her sister...........

So, this is what it looked like. I chose yellow because
the other colours made the LEDs look funny

This is how it looked when lit

Well, I am waiting for Kristine to "destroy" it because I am
fascinated with the electronics. Heh. And no, I don't think
its water-proof


There is a problem with me. I know I needed a some compact source of battery for my secret prop project. I can spend some time to think it out and also design the casing for it. However, with my current situation, making things and also painting them is not an easy solution. Moreover, cutting things at 2Am in the morning is just asking for a trip to the hospital.

So, I decided on an easy way out: Buy the damn thing.

The operative word for this prop contest is, "cheap". With the first prize being USD25 (RM84.86), there is not a lot you can put in. But then again, I want to use this excuse to build something apart from cracking my head trying to rush the electronics for the Phaser Rifle. Anyway, the I needed some form of battery source which is small enough to go inside the casing. I can buy the normal battery holder but it would be a tad too large. So, the next best thing were those LED torchlights I saw being sold in Pasar Road. The prices are from RM8 to RM13 on average where everyone claimed its Luxeon V LED. All I wanted was just the battery holder and nothing else. But the Luxeon LED would come in as a bonus. Even though both are Made in China

This is my new RM13 Luxeon V LED torchlight (R)
compared to my earlier RM80 Luxeon III (L). The
second shot shows how small the Luxeon V LED is
and yet can produce a brighter light. I must look
into the LumiLEDs site for more info. This could
be the new Luxeon Design which promise to
solve the heat dissipation problem

One thing I noticed is that the "new"
torchlight's battery holder has a spring
tip (R). This solves a lot of contact
problems especially when I drop
them. However, on the second pic,
I was not happy with the switch (R)
and I could not interchange them

Both torches uses plastic reflectors and mine (L)
is already blackened by the Luxeon's heat. Maybe
because its new, the light from the torch is more
prominent (R). But personally, I can see no
difference between the Luxeon III and the
Luxeon V here, unless both are Luxeon III

In the end, I decided to sacrifice my RM80 torchlight for its Luxeon III LED and also the battery holder while I use the new torchlight. Anyway, the connecting leads to the old Luxeon is already broken due to the numerous falls and solder repair jobs. Hee hee hee

Smart Brain

One thing I like when I was away on a trip were the toy shops. This is because although most of the toy shops sells the same stuff, there would be a few that sold something extra. For example, while I was in Kota Kinabalu, I picked up this little item although I have not even seen a single episode of it.

Its from the TV Series Masked Rider and this version is the Kamen Rider 555. This is the Faiz Accel Watch, one of those Faiz Gear (read weapons or gadgets) from the organisation Smartbrain. The Accel Watch tranforms Faiz into the Accel Form which lets him move at the speed of sound for 10 seconds. And the original sells for about RM99 or more. But I got it for RM19.90. And for that price, the way it lit up the 7-segment digits was amazing. Talk about imagination. Now I know why the kids are hooked and why the parents are pissed.

The RM19.90 Faiz Accel Watch with what I think is
a Mission Memory chip. I could be wrong

On closer look, this just looks like a G-Shock watch

Now, would you want to be a small kid and get one?

Can your neck do this?

After having returned from Kota Kinabalu, I spotted this toy my Mom gave to Kristine. Yeah, now we're aiming for toys with sound. So, she spotted this one, which everyone assumed that when you press on hits paws, a song would be played. But after putting the batteries in, what we got waws not what we bargained for.......

It looked cute. It looked decent

And I swear to you, it might be a girl

The butt design reminds me of those 60's fancy
telephones where the flat end serves as a base
and also for you to dial the numbers

Oh, this is definitely one for the Exorcist


The road from Sg. Buloh to Kepong is now opened!!! This is good news as there would be no more jams in the morning!!! Whoo-hoo!

No more jams, my foot!
The rain changed everything

Sitting positions

Here are some of the sitting positions which tells you the whole story about the delays in AirAsia

Trying to land

Waiting for four flight's worth of luggage

The excitement of waiting for your luggage

Going to Kota Kinabalu E

Going to the airport is another matter. I really had to ask for a taxi since I did not know the place really well. Luckily, my friend there took me to a taxi stand just 200 metres from where we were. Still, I had to make a detour for nexus's coffee since everyone was too busy the night before. And the taxi was speeding all the way to the airport and we nearly had an accident or two. Still, by the time I reached the airport, I was really dog tired. And then the flight was retimed..............

I tell you, by the time I reached home, it was way past midnight. And it was also the longest two and a half hours flight I have ever sat on.

I think the girl felt sorry for me when I ordered the food
in a very tired way

Because she tried to cheer me up

Still, despite all this, I got what I wanted most

Going to Kota Kinabalu D

Today is going to be a very hectic day, I can tell you. Not only do I have to solve the problem, I still have to go back to their old office and dismantle their old PBX system for them to keep. And with the hot weather, its not really helping out at all in a place where the air-cons have been switched off. How I got to their place, and to a small errand and then to the airport is not easy. Apart from taking taxis, I had to ask a lot for directions, walk and also the generosity of Kota Kinabalu people.

A plate of mee, with some dim sum and a glass
of ice coffee:RM8.40. Ouch.

This is the road to Inanam. How I wished I could
take off my clothes and jump into the beautiful sea

Whoever installed this system really used their
imagination. And budget at hand

This is the result of working in a hot place, under the
roof with no ventilation and just sips of water

Going to Kota Kinabalu C

On the next day, it was time to wrap things up as my flight back to Kuala Lumpur was at eight in the evening. My Boss and I agreed that I only stay on KK for a night and no more. How I wished I argued otherwise because but now, we realised that the PABX installation is having some serious issues. It seemed that there is a very big possibility that the cabling contractor was rushed to complete his job, he might have damaged more than 50% of the cables. We wasted a lot of time trying to solve this problem while keeping in mind about my flight departure time. Not only that, the Telekoms people still has yet to transfer another set of new Telephone numbers. So, in the end, we made do with whatever we could and left the customer literally pulling his hair out. I mean, there is only so much we could do.

Over here in KK, parking is just a matter of looking
for a legal space, par

The streets of Kota Kinabalu have very nice road

And 4x4's like these are very common there

And do believe me, KK is a very relaxed place

Going to Kota Kinabalu B

On the first day, we mounted the system and random checks on the cabling was good to go. Unfortunately, the Telekoms people were late in transferring the telephone lines from the old office. Out of the seven lines, they managed to transfer only six and when we were about to connect them, they had to close the office. Exactly at 530. So, we cannot do much except pack our stuff and look for a Hotel.

This is the PABX which was mounted on the wall
We only had about four feet of working space
as the whole room was taken up by the network
server cabinet

After looking about, I arrived in Centrepoint, one of
KK's shopping malls. More on this on another post

This is a 50sen gun which is also fun

Going to Kota Kinabalu A

OK, so, finally, I get to go to Kota Kinabalu after months of anticipation. Unfortunately, nexus is coming down on the eve of my departure. Talk about timing gone wrong. I could not even change the schedule to a week earlier. Damn

But once I arrived with the PABX system, the real story was beginning to unfold. Its like Kota Bahru all over again. The customer for that branch was too laid back and because everyone had to follow the schedule (which was already past its deadline by a month) he had no choice but to get all the contractors to rush everything.

I am not sure about Kota Kinabalu here, but it seemed that a lot of people do things in a very relaxed way. They are not really that concerned about deadlines too, except when its time to go home. So, for me, coming from KL, it was a bit too difficult to digest where work schedule is concerned. I can bet you, if someone from Hong Kong or Singapore came, they would vomit blood. A Japanese would most probably commit suicide.

At 0700, its already daylight and there are a lot
of people at the airport.

This is the "tunnel" where you have to walk into
before you can get to your plane.

As soon as the plane stops, everyone starts to get up
and blocks the whole aisle. I could not help but to
take pictures of this guy's fingernails. No, not the
little pinky but the other fingers

Finally, the PABX got through. My Boss and I were
worried that Air Asia would disallow it due to the
size. Eventually, we just paid RM120 for the
excess baggage as I was overweight by 10Kg
Yeah, they included my suitcase too


I had to make a U-turn to get this shot and as fast as I can because of the weak batteries which means it can last about 15 seconds before it shuts down. I missed it on the first try because the traffic lights were red. They were using a 4x4 and wearing hats, I guessed they could be Australians.

Maybe I should have titled this as:

Cowboys programming disco lights

Yea! Call me the Quakemaster!

Motor in van

What were they thinking?
I guy riding a motobike inside a Van

You like these cars?

I was in Shah Alam today and saw this restored Toyota.

Then, I went down to Subang and saw this car

Careless Mistakes

Do you ever have this feeling?

You just got into your car and you're late for work. As you put your car in gear, your instinct tells you that its in reverse. Ignoring it, you start the engine and stepped on the pedal. You know you should have stopped and listened to that voice in your head as your car goes into reverse, hits the wall in a sickening crunch.

So, that is how I felt whenever I switched on my prototype circuits without checking why there are loose wires. So, more often than not, I would plug back in the wrong cables and short the microprocessor chip in less than a second.

And the innocent chip would go bye-bye. Which means I have to go down to Pasar Road again and buy about three of them in one go. Damn.

This chip costs me RM11.00 each. Don't play-play, ah!

Broken pepper mill

OK, so I like pepper. Ever since I came back from Sarawak in 2005, and after buying those black peppers, I was hooked. Usually, I gi for Ajinomoto's Pepper but then, although they were nice, but after tasting these Sarawak peppers, I preferred them. Everyone thought I was nuts because I used them on almost everything for the first few weeks.

Rice, fruits, meat, salad, fires, etc.

But there is one problem with these peppers. The mill that came with them always break. I think its because the cheap plastic gears that came with it was too brittle/weak to crush the pepper. In the end, what I had left was Rm27.00 poorer because I had to buy a really good pepper mill for the pepper. Because it is not a good example to use the hammer in front of Kristine............

Once the pepper ran out, I got out
a new one and it came with its own
pepper mill. But one twist on the
handle, I was eating plastic

Everything was string except for the black
plastic parts

After transferring the pepper to the RM27.00
mill, I was left with the empty broken pieces

And after staring at them for a few minutes, an idea
came into my mind....................

Now, all I need to do is to find someone with a Dremel and raid some electronics parts. More later........

Whooo ha!

Kristine "posing" for Daddy after catching her
wearing Granddaddy's socks

Cap Gun

When I was young, there were these cap guns going around. These little guns uses those small gunpowder dots laid on a roll of red paper. And when you use a hammer or any other object on these little dots, you will either get a small spark or a loud bang, depending on how good your eye-hand coordination was. But whatever it was, the smell of those gunpowder was heaven. There were a few guns that were quite big and carrying one makes you really feel like James Bond or some super agent. But the more common ones are those little blank Derringer types. I hated those because in the heat of the moment, you can get your fingers hit by the hammer or worse, get burnt from the sparks. And at the end of the day, what you have is a gun filled with gundpowder explosions and rusting metal parts (due to the explosions, la).

Those were the fun days and nowadays, all the toys that came out were more passive and full of electronics. So, I guessed those were the childhood years I can never get back. It was not until yesterday when I was in Port Dickson that I came across them again.

Although the plastic is now in bright fluorescent orange, the basic design of the gun is still there. Most of the parts are plastic too, especially the moving parts.

So, for RM2.00 you get a small gun, with 6 spools
of gunpowder

Pull the small lever and the inner chamber flips
out. Its quite an ingenius design as once you
pull the trigger, the hammer will hit the
paper and on the next trigger pull, a
plastic piece will roll the paper up for
a fresh new gunpowder

The trigger takes some force to pull. The hammer and
the opposite side has metal parts for you to hit the
gunpowder effectively.

But secretly, I wanted this more than those guns.
This is a rocket where you have a spring tip at the
top and the hammer at the other end. You just
slip the roll of red paper with the gunpowder spot
under the hammer and then toss it. When it falls
and hits the ground, the impact of the force would
transfer to the hammer and then to the gundpowder
Many afternoons I spent picking it up and tossing it.
Then again, that's me because I like being alone