Category: Reviews

LG Chocolate Phone Review

I tell you ah. Last time, chocolates cost only RM1 for one whole bar. Today, Chocolates cost thousand ringgit over and is so advanced that you can use it to make phone calls.
Technology sure has come a long way.

I’m of course talking about LG’s latest foray into the sleek and stylish fashion phone market – the LG Black Temptation Series ‘Chocolate’ Phone.
Like most people I tend to favour European-made phones, preferring Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola over Samsung and LG.
This however, is different. If you haven’t yet caught on to the hype, the LG Chocolate (also known as LG KG800) is dubbed as the latest mobile sensation set to take on the world by storm.

That is no exaggeration. Already 400,000 units have been sold in Korea since its launch. If all indications are true, the Chocolate’s signature red glowing keypads will soon be illuminating clubs and restaurants across Singapore and Malaysia.
Make no mistake about it. This is one helluva sexy phone. It is arguably the best-looking phone in the market today and you would WANT to show it off to your friends – something I’ve been doing since the moment I got it. This review unit is courtesy of LG Mobile Malaysia.

With its elegant black exterior, you’d be forgiven if you mistake this as an MP3 player on first glance.
There isn’t any protruding buttons visible on the front; even the LCD screen blends unsuspiciously and seamlessly into the face of the phone. The end result is a minimalistic, PSP-inspired design, accentuated only by the silver rim on the centre of the phone.

Press a side button or slide the keypad open and the phone comes alive.
The 2″ 256K colour LCD screen on the LG Chocolate is crisp clear and the smouldering red touch-sensitive keypad is the epitome of the phone’s cool factor. To use, just give it an effortless touch. It does take some getting used to at first, but I can’t get enough of it after a while.
This is the first time a heat-sensitive keypad is incorporated into the design on the phone, and I’m sure this has set a precedence in phone design that will be repeated many times in the future.

Slider phones seem to be the trend these days and LG has implemented it flawlessly. Opening and closing the keypad is one smooth motion. I like how the sliding mechanism satisfyingly “snaps” into place when activated, a feeling that can only be described as… orgasmic. 😉

The size of the Chocolate is only slightly bigger than two iPod nanos, making it extremely small and forgettably light at 83g.
Slim, sexy yet solidly built, which makes it the closest thing next to Jessica Alba.

Feature-wise it isn’t as jam-packed as its rivals though all the basics are there. Call quality is excellent and texting is fairly intuitive. Battery life is 2 to 3 days on moderate usage, less if you’re using power applications like the camera or MP3 player. Then there’s GPRS and Bluetooth for connectivity, and a Java backbone to run your fancy little games and apps.

The MP3 player, camera and video camera features are activated by a button on the side of the phone. The ‘hang up’ button is relocated here instead of on the touch keypad to prevent accidental hang-ups when answering phone calls. There’s a flap covering a multi-purpose port for charging, headphones and USB connection to the computer.

The embedded 1.3 megapixel camera works like a charm. It even comes with an inbuilt LED lamp to illuminate your subject at night. 128MB of onboard memory should be more than enough for the vast majority of people.
Personally, I’m surprised at how good the pictures turn out.

Click here to see it in full resolution.

All in all, love it!
If you’re looking a swanky phone with a decent multimedia package, then the LG Chocolate is definitely one desirable candy that’s guaranteed to turn heads. It’s black, red, very shiny and one sexy-looking phone to crave for.

The only downside is that this droolworthy Chocolate not edible. Just thought you might wanna know in case you took a bite at it and got disappointed at the taste.
LG Chocolate will burst into the market in a nationwide launch covering 9 cities from May 29 at KL, and is expected to fetch a price tag of around RM1,500. Sweet.

Mmmm… Chocolate. 🙂

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Ford Escape XLT Review

Was feeling the itch to check out the new Ford Focus after someone sent me this link that made me giggle all night like Scooby Doo.

Type in ‘fart’ and see what it does. Don’t you just love silly marketing gimmicks. 😉
Ford isn’t exactly the most popular car manufacturer in Malaysia, unlike in Australia where fans of Ford and Holden love their cars so much it’s religion. Down under, the rivalry between the two competing car brands often spill over from the V8 Supercar race tracks into the office water cooler.

In Bolehland, Ford is only popular for its pick-up trucks and SUVs.
Personally I’ve only driven sedans all my life. I wanted to drive a sports car – my ultimate dream car being the Boxster Porsche 911. But it’s impractical on our pothole-filled roads and the cost of insurance is a bitch. Besides our beloved little vandals would love scratch those sports cars because they’ve never seen a Porsche on the road before.

My car the Hyundai Elantra. Covered in bird poo.

I never really thought of driving an truck or an SUV. That is, until I met up with Cheesie when I was in KL and she came to pick me up in her mini SUV.
It hit me hard. (The thought, not the car lah – otherwise I won’t be here blogging.) What have I been missing out? Even a girly girl is driving an SUV while a burly man like me is still cruising around in my sissy Hyundai. Where did I hang my balls, man?

Real men like me should be driving a bigger vehicle like a truck or an SUV. And it’s not just the “tough guy” image it brings. There are legitimate excuses reasons why it’s better to drive a bigger vehicle on the road.
1. Bigger, more spacious, more practical = more ‘fierce’.
2. Don’t have to worry about scratching the bottom of the vehicle when going over a bump. Higher clearance and better suspension means they’re nothing but pimples on the road.
3. Some joker dare to scratch your car, don’t worry – just drive over their sorry asses.
4. If you can’t find parking next time, you can always park on the pedestrian paths.

Like this.

So anyway, it’s the long weekend and I went to visit my local Ford dealer in Jalan Pending to do a bit of car shopping.
You know the world is too small when the salesman at the Ford dealership turned out to be your next-door neighbour. He showed me the Ford Focus which I was initially looking for.
This one is not bad lah. It’s designed in Europe and engineered by Volvo in Germany. And you lucky guys in KL can witness the new Focus ST, Equator and Four-Trac concept cars later this month at the KL International Motorshow in PWTC.
I can’t be there. So remember to take photos of the sexy car girls on my behalf. Thank you.

Then he showed me the Ford Ranger.
Ford’s tagline for this pickup truck is ‘Built Tough’. With its bold chrome bullbar, imposing chassis and sporty finish, this baby certainly looks tough and feels tough. It’s not that expensive now either. The Ranger Hurricane costs around RM90,000 on the road. That’s about the same price as the Hyundai Elantra I’m driving.
But it was the Ford Escape I was interested in and I requested the salesman to get me behind the steering wheel for a test drive.

It’s a great car! I never truly understand the joy of driving an SUV until I drove the Escape that day. The handling of the vehicle was fantastic, and the ride was smooth and comfortable. There’s something cool about driving a higher car that overlooks the lousy peasant sedans at the traffic lights. 😛

There are perks like ABS, leather seats, electric sunroof to top it off. The position of the gear stick was a little awkward at first but I got used to it after a while.
10 minutes on the joy ride and I’m convinced. The Ford Escape is a beauty of an SUV that goes along with the image of young executives like myself. I truly like it.

Ford is running a “Kawan Anda, Wang Anda” (translation: “Your Friend, Your Money”) promotion right now. The idea is to get your friends to purchase any Ford Escape or Ford Ranger Hurricane/XLT variant, and they’ll pay you RM2,000 reward as commission.
Yes, according to Ford, that’s what friends are for.

I plan to get a random friend to “introduce” me as a tokenistic gesture so I can pocket the commission for myself. The vehicle is gonna cost me RM137,000 after the RM2,000 discount which is not bad for a vehicle its class. All I need to do is to take out a car loan and pay it out over 20 years or something.
Anyway, if there are any Ford Escape owners reading this, I’d appreciate your insightful comments before I sell my soul to the money-grubbing devils at the bank. Thanks!

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The Lab Review

The Lab is a little-known hair salon in Desa Seri Hartamas, KL.

I decided to try out this place on JoyceTheFairy’s recommendation. This is where TheFairy got her fabulous pixie hair done. 8TV celebrity and Marion Caunter’s co-host Adam Carruthers visits The Lab almost daily as well for his superstar hair fix.

A lot of modern hair salons these days opt for bright colours, cool decors and stylish designs to freshen up their interior, but The Lab sorta went against this convention and showcased an interior that’s surprisingly bare and minimalistic.

Check out that yellow Mercedes outside.

Their walls are painted white and the floor is just unpaved cement. Instead of swanky leather chairs that whirls around, they use normal armchairs you see in hotel coffee houses. Even the kind of music played is alternative rock by bands no one has ever heard of.

Most people probably couldn’t get used to this, but I think it’s nice to see something that’s not a clone of every other hair salons out there.

This is me before my haircut.
I should mention that this post was up 2 months late, so this is not how I look like right now. 😉

I’m putting this pic up because I looks like I have B-cup boobies from this angle. Oh my!

Getting a hairwash.

The Lab must be one of the few salons in Malaysia that shampoos your hair at the basin. I don’t know why other salons insist on shampooing your hair at your seat! It’s so awkward, not to mention the risk of having foam drop off your head and onto your jeans.
Her massage was good though. Got the oomph!

Haggard after a wash.

Most of the Lab’s clientele that day seems have that edgy “grunge” look about them. These are definitely not your average run-of-the-mill Sungai Wang lala zhai and lala mui.

Another thing I noticed is how The Lab allows smoking indoors. It’s more of an annoyance to me and the habit is not something I approve of, but smokers might find this a great convenience especially if you had to sit through a 3-4 hour session rebonding or colouring your hair.

TheFairy asked me to look up for the head stylist Ricco but he wasn’t in that day. This is my stylist, Ken.
Ken, doing the hair of Kenny. hehe.

I wanted a cool hairstyle like Adam’s but I didn’t have enough hair on my head. So I just asked Ken to just do his magic and see what he comes out with.
A short while later, this is what I looks like.

Ok ok ok… so I didn’t exactly transform into a white boy with an oversized head.
But I did end up looking like this.

Costs me RM65 all up.
I quite like it. The short boyish hair suits me better than any other hairdo I’ve done. Had always wanted to experiment with a longer hair or changing my hair colour, but I think I lack the X-factor to do that.
Conservative is good. 🙂

I think?

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Sony T9 Digital Camera Review

I got myself the latest Sony DSC-T9 about two months ago.

Please welcome the latest addition of the family.

The Sony shop at Tun Jugah was selling it for RM1,639 with nylon pouch and 256MB card. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
I bought it to replace my trusty Kodak DX6340, which has been serving faithfully since the dawn of time.

I like my old Kodak. It’s capable of taking amazing shots like the ones you see here. The only complaint I have is that it’s built a bit like Kenny Sia – too slow and too damn bulky.

The svelte Sony T9 is completely different from the monstrosity that is Kodak.
It comes in two flavours, silver and black. I chose the latter because silver is so passe and we all know black is the new black.

Measuring no bigger than a deck of cards, the camera fits comfortably in the pocket of my pants without my humungous testicles getting in the way.

The camera supports Sony’s proprietary Memory Strick Pro Duo (that’s a mouthful) and InfoLithium battery. Sony is the only digital camera manufacturer in the market that shows you how many minutes you have left on your battery.
The downside of course is that all these bloody “proprietary” stuffs can cost an arm, a leg and your first born baby.

The Sony T9 oozes sex appeal. I like how it’s front cover slides down with a satisfying snap, revealing the lens and activating the camera. How cool is that?
Like most Sony cameras, the T9 uses Carl Zeiss lens, whoever that bastard is.

The thing I love most about this camera is on the back. Despite having a small real estate, Sony manages to pack a full 2.5″ LCD screen in it. It’s hi-resolution and the photos look great in it, not like those bullshit LCD screens Casio uses.

Of course, the biggest selling point of this baby is what Sony likes to call “Super Steady Shot”. Steady steady pom pi pi.

In theory, it is supposed to correct Shakyhands Syndrome that usually occurs when noobs take photos of chiobus.
In practice, theory always fail. I find that the improvements aren’t all that obvious with or without “Super Steady Shot”.

I took the Sony T9 out for a ride with my old Kodak DX6340. Here are the results.

Click for larger version

Personally I prefer the Kodak’s image quality.
One thing I don’t like about the Sony camera is the lack of manual functions. I need it to take stunning night scenes. The T9 allows you to set a night mode, but it can’t do long expsure. That sucks.

There’s a lot to like about the Sony T9 eventhough it isn’t perfect. The Kodak may take better pictures but it’s a chore bringing them around due to it’s size.
Not sure if this is a wise idea, but I plan on carrying the camera with me during the race over the weekend. Then maybe I can secretly take photos of other marathoners.

The Sony T9 is slim, light and a great joy to use. Extras like the “Super Steady Shot” though not necessary, is a definite plus.

For someone who likes to take his camera everywhere he goes, this droolworthy camera is just perfect for me. 🙂

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Eten M600 PDA Phone Review

Find the best deals on new PDAs. Get customer ratings and professional price comparison before you buy. Read how pdas are being used on college campuses by keeping students connected. Also find great deals on pda accessories to go along with your new phone. You can also use your pda to search in certain libraries and have access to the information right at your fingertips.

A while ago I was contemplating to get myself a new phone.

When O2 announced the release of Atom, I was almost certain that that would be my next phone. As it turns out, the reviews online weren’t too positive. Many who bought the Atom were terribly disappointed and agreed that it was a waste of RM2,988 that could’ve gone into a brand new notebook instead.

Enter the lesser-known Taiwanese brands Dopod 838 and the Eten M600. Compared to the Atom, these two models are cheaper and comes with their own sets of extras.

The Dopod 838

The Dopod 838 came with built-in keyboard, which personally I despise on a PDA Phone. It’s so ugly!
The Eten M600 suits my tastes better, so I purchased it for RM2,450 (with free 256MB SD Card thrown in) at The Gadget Shop in Lowyat Plaza KL. That’s a savings of over half a grand compared to the O2 Atom!

Here’s the stuff inside the box: the M600, a leather case, a USB cradle, earphones, installation CD, and some weird pieces of paper with all those legal mumbo-jumbo that nobody reads.

I have to admit, the M600 unit itself doesn’t have the sex appeal of the O2 Atom. The casing itself is made of cheap black plastic instead of those shiny brushed metal cases that all self-respecting PDAs boast. The programmable buttons at the front are particularly filmsly-looking.

The stylus is secured in a hole underneath the PDA. Compared to most other PDAs, the stylus here is big and long so it feels like a dickonosaurus holding a Kilometrico pen instead of holding a toothpick.

The placement of the stylus is a lil bit unconventional, but this is actually a more convenient location once I get used to it.

On the side, there are buttons to activate the camera, a volume-control, a voice command button (for moments when you feel like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible), and a tiny soft reset button.

On the top of the M600 is the power switch and a SD Card slot. I like how Eten retains the use of legacy SD Cards. Both the O2 Atom and Dopod 838 forces you to use the new mini-SD Cards, which is considerably more expensive while offering no significant size reduction.

Compared to the O2 Mini, the Eten M600 is slightly bigger, thicker.
It comes equipped with a 1.3 Megapixels and offers resolutions of up to 1280×960.

Photo of a handicapped scorpion I took this morning with my phone

Like every other phone cameras in its class, the M600 suffers from obvious image quality issues. The phone camera is obviously no replacement for a dedicated digital camera. But at least you can take spy shots of random people without them knowing. 😉

Here’s the M600 sitting on its UFO-like USB cradle. They’re not the sexiest looking combination of them all, but owning the M600 is like dating an ugly girl. You don’t really like it at first, but it grows on you after a while.

Connectivity-wise, the M600 offers all the options under the sun, except infrared connection. Besides, which loser uses infrared these days?

It supports WiFi which means you can log on to the Internet for free at Starbucks, read, or even make a free long-distance phone call using Skype. I called Australia last night and the quality is just like a normal telephone call, albeit a little laggy.

The Eten M600 runs the latest Windows Mobile 5.0, which is a great piece of software! The number of things you could do with this new OS GREATLY surpasses any other phones available in the market today. Make no mistake about it, this is THE MOST advanced PDA Phone operating system out there.
(Wow, that rhymes.)

Yes, I need a thousand-dollar PDA to remind me all important things, like what time wrestling is on TV.

Too bad it’s a Microsoft, which means your phone will crash half the time and you’re gonna reset it almost EVERY SINGLE FREAKIN’ DAY.
It’s true. I woke up late for a dinner once because my phone hanged and the alarm didn’t go off. Dammit Bill Gates, FIX the core issues first BEFORE updating your product!

I used the RM500 I saved from not buying the O2 Atom to get myself a wallet-sized portable ‘Bluetoot’ keyboard from ThinkOutside.
It’s pretty cool.

It flips…


And voila! A full-sized keyboard right in front of ya!

Blogging on the go. Woot!

I had the Sony Ericsson K700i before this and although it had served me well for a good 14 months, I find it falling short in many areas as the perfect all-in-one mobile device. For my PDA, I had the trusty 4-year-old Compaq iPAQ 3870 which I find too bulky, so usually I left it at home to rot when I go out of the house.

What I need is a gadget, small enough to fit into my pants, combines all the functionalities of phone, PDA, and a basic camera to take those rare once-in-a-lifetime shots.
Of course I could always do this…

The Ham-Pa-Lang Pow-Ka-Leow Nokia PDA Phone with Camera. On sale NOW!

… but heh, I think I want something a lil more practical. 😉

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Hottest Dogger

This coming Chinese New Year is the Year of the Dog! Woof woof!
I like dogs. I’m born in the year of the dog. Dogs are cool. I was wondering how to pay tribute to the greatest pet animal in the world, when for some inexplicable reason I was reminded of this particularly memorable outlet I visited in KL.

I love hotdogs. It’s a love I carried over from Australia, where hotdogs are stupidly called “sausage sizzle” by those weird Aussies. One of my favourite stalls in Perth was Nick’s on Murray Street Mall (Vienna Dog = BEST). I was searching for it high and low last time I was there, but for some reason Nick’s hotdogs has moved. IT’S GONE! 🙁
Since then, I’ve been dying to get my hands on some authentic gourmet hotdogs to no avail. I’ve tried, but those at the local Ramly Burger stall just don’t quite cut it.

Larry Martin is an American expat living in Malaysia, and the owner of Danny’s All-American Gourmet hotdogs at Hartamas Square. He also keeps a blog over at During my last trip to KL, Larry sent me an e-mail inviting me to lick his wiener grab his buns err… visit his stall.

The hotdogs at Danny’s are unlike any others you can find in Malaysia. Larry Martin has spent time, sweat and money looking all over the world for the right ingredients for his hotdogs.
The spices and jalapenos are from Mexico. His Gulden’s mustard are brought in from the US. The buns, the sausages – all freshly made to his specifications.
Larry doesn’t use any of those cheap frozen supermarket bullcrap. Some may call him a perfectionist. I call him one helluva hotdog obsessed nutcase. 🙂

“8 inches of love” he loving calls it.
Right… everyone knows that’s nothing compared to my 11-inches of dickonosaurus.

Danny’s signature hot dog is the Famous Texas Chilli Dog. This one is particularly special because it’s topped with the their secret Chili con Carne recipe. It tastes fantastic! It’s obvious a lot of dedication and fine-tuning went into this, and the results show at first bite.

Nachos on the side

Considering each hot dog costs up to RM9 each, I kinda wonder if that’s too expensive for thrift-conscious Malaysians. Then again, before Coffee Bean and Starbucks came in people were saying they’re gonna go bust because Malaysians wouldn’t pay RM10 for a cup of coffee when there’s RM1 coffee at the kopitiam shop nearby.
And look at where there are right now.

You know, if someone were to tell me 6 months ago that the best hotdog in the world could be found at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I’d probably laugh at him and say that the oldest tropical rainforest in the world could be found on my legs.
After sampling Danny’s Texas Chili Dog, I reckon it’s safe to say that that was the best hotdog I’ve had. EVER.

So good so yummy so deliciously satisfying.

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(This is a blog-vertorial)
I’ve been flying around a lot lately. And if you’re like me, you’ll realise that there’s the so many flight operators in the market right now, and searching for the right airline to bring your from A to B is complicated enough to give you air-sickness even before you board the plane.

It wasn’t used to be that difficult. Last time, if I want to go from, say, Singapore to Bangkok, all I gotta do is ring up my travel agent and they’ll tell me which day, what time and how much.
That was when MAS and the other big players used to rule the skies lah. Nowadays, you got AirAsia lor, JetStar lor, ValueAir lor, TigerAir lor, SuperMan lor, all vying to get a piece of the sky. You call your travel agent also no use because when they hear the names of these low-cost airlines they also act blur like sotong.

Reason why AirAsia flights are always delayed.

Fact is, most low-cost airlines don’t pay much commission to travel agents because they wanna cut corners like taking out the reclining feature from your seats.
If you wanna get the absolute best airfares, you gotta do-it-yourself. That means, searching hundred over websites to find that right flight ,at that suitable schedule, at that price you’re willing to pay.

Enter, an online travel search engine. is great. It’s like the Google for airfares. It searches info from traditional airlines, low-cost airlines, online travel agencies, etc and displays the findings all consolidated in one site.

You see their search box on the sidebar of all the time. It’s easy! You enter your flight details, wait a few seconds, and then out poops a list of all available flights along with how much moolah it’s gonna cost you to get there. is the main advertiser on and has been that way since October last year. Writing on is nice though sometimes stressful and costly affair, so it’s great to have them help offset that.

I recently met up with the CTO of Gunesh Raj over coffee when I was in KL. This is one young, talented yet humble Kuching boy who’s made it big on the Internet and personally, I just enjoy seeing a fellow Kuching-nite shining bright. On top of advertising on, Gunesh and I talked about the possibility of offering readers something so major, no other blogsites have done it before. I can’t say anything before the deal is finalised, so you guys just have to keep an eye out for that. 😉
Thanks for the coffee, Gunesh!

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AirAsia Airbus A320 Review

So while MAS Airlines is still debating whether to sell their building or their RM1.5 million paintings to cover their losses, AirAsia is making a proverbial killing in the Malaysian domestic flight market right now. Look at them, they’d just given out 2 million free tickets and they’re still sitting there twiddling their thumbs grinning happily.

AirAsia is doing so well in fact, that Tony Fernandes just ordered 100 of those sweet new Airbus A320s, the first of which arrived early last month. I was one of the lucky few who managed to test-ride this month-old baby during my trip from Kuching to KL last week. And I can tell ya, low-cost airlines never looked so good.

Yes, I’m fully aware that Indian uncle in front spotted me with my camera and nonchalantly struck a cool pose. 😉

Walking into the A320 is like getting into your dad’s brand new car. The interior of the aircraft was wide and bright and the scent of leather still lingered fresh in the air. If not for the signature black leather seats and the bright red uniforms of the aircrew, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d just walked into a luxurious MAS flight.

I wonder if they have Solitaire installed in this baby.

The first thing that caught my attention during my entrance was this cool sophisticated-looking touchscreen LCD control panel. I don’t know what it does. I’m really tempted to try but I don’t think I’m ready to insert myself into my own episode of Lost. Yet.

“Ok, who stuck their pens in the toilet bowl?”

Midway through the journey, the flight attendants did a sales pitch for AirAsia merchandise. Among the few of them, there’s the usual toy aircrafts, keychains, oversized pens, and – get this – AirAsia red and black t-shirts!

Quick, get your limited edition AirAsia T-shirt for RM50!

I don’t get it. I can understand if people wanna get Manchester United jerseys, or even Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts. But why would anyone wanna buy AirAsia T-shirts? To dress up as flight attendants? Wear them to the next Halloween party? What next? T-shirts from Ah Suan Chicken Rice?

The best thing about the A320s is obviously the seats. It’s even better than the seats on Malaysia Airlines. With the old Boeing 737, there’s not a lot of room to manoeuvre your legs once plonked your ass on the crappy seats. But the seats in the new Airbus A320 are so darn spacious, even the most materialistic girlfriend in the world won’t realise her stingy bastard of a boyfriend were taking her on some cheap budget airline trip.
The seats really are THAT good.

AirAsia is experimenting their new seatbelt system, featuring a severed ghost arm

One caveat though.
I didn’t sleep too well the night before, so a few minutes later in the air I was dying for some quiet shut-eye. I looked to the left, I looked to my right. Something’s not quite right…

It’s gone! They’ve removed it! How could they?!
I ended up sleeping on the flight in tight upright position. Trust me, it’s NOT the most comfortable position to sleep in. I woke up 2 hours later with a grumpy mood and a royal pain in the neck.
The new planes are real sexy, but dammit AirAsia. Why didn’t you at least build a basic reclining feature onto your seats? 🙁

AirAsia. Now Everyone Can Fly™, But No One Can Recline.

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Pixart Photobook Review

A while ago, friend of mine James who works in a marketing firm sent me an e-mail.

A client of his recently launched a brand new product and he’s eager to get the online community to do a review of it. It’s called Pixart Photobooks, a product started by Kuala Lumpur-based company Pixart Sdn Bhd.

It is basically an online photo-printing service that transforms your digital photos from soft copies to professionally-made hardbound photobooks. I think it’s a pretty nifty idea, because somewhere in the transition from film to digital cameras, we all lost that familiar feeling of holding onto a physical copy of a photo album.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you take literally THOUSANDS of digital photos every month. Back in those days of film-and-prints (yea, like during The Stone Age liddat), I can easily torture anyone who visits my house on Chinese New Year with albums after albums of my latest travel adventure. But nowadays with my photos on computer, I cannot do it anymore!
Pixart is set to make my photo-torture dream come true again.

Photobooks are a big thing in the US, with big players like Flickr, Kodak, Viovio and hundreds more all offering similar services. The trend has (unfortunately) yet to catch on in this part of the world. And justifiably so, because once you factor in shipping time and cost, your photobooks becomes an overpriced piece of old news by the time it arrived at your doorstep.
And that’s the benefit of having Pixart located in the Asia-Pacific region. It’s cheap and it’s quick, just like a bowl of Kuching kolo mee!

It all sounds fine and dandy. Pixart uses their proprietary Photostylist software to edit and organise your Photobook before you send it for printing. It comes with a variety of “themes” and tools to get you started. All you gotta know is how to drag & drop, double-click and type in your captions.
The software is so easy to use, even my pet dog can create a photobook for himself.

Therein also lies my qualms with the service. Photostylist can be quite sluggish at times even on a high-performance rig like mine. For a software that deals with large numbers of high-resolution photos, I reckon they could do a lot better.

RM89 for 20 pages of A4-size printings is reasonable but a little steep for most. Then again, Pixart is the first in Malaysia and one of the few in the region to offer this service. You pay for the speed and quality of your product.

Anyway, once you filled up your 20 odd glossy pages and submitted your credit card details, all you gotta do is wait for about 3 days for your very own photobook to be couriered right to your doorsteps. It’s convenient!

Pixart may be a little rough around the edges and I still see room of improvement, but you gotta admit that it’s a novel idea worth trying out.
Photobooks are great for preserving life’s precious little memories. Make your coffee table book featuring the growing up of your kids, your convocation, wedding anniversaries, scandals, or maybe the gigs of your band. The possibilities are endless. And with Christmas around the corner, they make excellent personalised gifts for your loved ones too!

[Check back tomorrow for a *very* special contest exclusive to loyal readers. Who said reading blogs is a waste of time? ;)]

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Icon by Shunji Matsuo Review

I’ve always wanted to try out the hair salons in Singapore. The problem is I didn’t know which one to choose.

Samantha recommended that I give Icon by ShunjiMatsuo a shot.
Before then, the only hair salons I knew in Singapore were Toni&Guy and Kimage. I’ve already done Toni&Guy. And according to Sam, going to Kimage is like going for a lucky draw. “First draw is going to the correct Kimage salon, second is the hairdresser, and final draw is the choice of haircut.”

I trusted her judgment, so I called up Icon for an appointment without much deliberation. I also logged onto Shunji Matsuo‘s website to find out what I can expect in store for me.
And this is what I saw.

OH. MY. FRICKIN. GOD. You gotta be kidding me.
Is this what I might turn out?! Gee, SOMEONE must really hate me.
Nonetheless, appointment has already been made and I’m too lazy to change it Kenny Sia is not one to back down from his words. So I turned up.

Icon by ShunjiMatsuo is strangely located in a corner inside the Isetan Department Store at Wisma Atria, Orchard Road. Their little space is decorated with bright lights and striking colours to create that fun and funky atmosphere, obviously targetting towards younger crowd.

When I arrived there, I noticed there’s already quite a number of people getting their hair done at the store.
The inside of the store isn’t too lavish. There isn’t even a proper counter to front the store. For a mid-upper class hair salon, Icon seem to skimp a lot on interior design.
‘Minimalist’ would be the nice word to use to describe the store. The bad word would be ‘kiam siap’.

Here’s the price menu for Icon by Shunji Matsuo.
Btw, Icon is to Shunji Matsuo what Tiger Airways is to Singapore Airlines, what iPod Vano is to iPod Video, what Cosmo Girl is to Cosmopolitan, what Armani Exchange is to Giorgio Armani, what Justin Timberlake is to Michael Jackson. In other words, a cheaper, smaller, cut-down version of the original.
It costs SGD$29.40 (RM66) to do my hair, which is significantly cheaper than having it done at the full-fledged Shunji Matsuo store.

And this is the obligatory ‘Before’ photo shoot.

A short while later, I was led to the shampoo area where I was hoping for some good strong scalp massage to loosen those knots in my head.
Fat chance. My head wasn’t even given so much as squeeze. Seems like they don’t offer these type of services at Icon.

This is me after the shampoo, with my act-cute puppy eyes thrown in for good measure.

I don’t mean to nit-pick, but Icon disappoints helluva lot when it comes to cleanliness. Their floor was full of hair and there’s this bundle of used tissue in front of me the whole time. I shudder to think what’s in it, but it’s not mine, it shouldn’t be there and it’s downright disgusting.

This is Kenji, my hairdresser for the day, who managed to raise his middle finger at me even while he’s cutting my hair.
Normally when I go to hairdressers, I tell them to “feel free to do whatever you want with my hair. Be creative.” But since I’m in Singapore, I said to him “Oi, siao eh. Limpeh say dun pway pway. Zhng my hair!”

Anyway, 30 minutes later, and this is what I look like.

Just kidding!
This is what I actually look like.

I have to admit, despite those minor qualms I have about Icon, I quite like this funky hairdo they churned out for me. It’s probably one of my favourite hairstyles yet.

Actually, I reckon I look kinda Japanese in this hairdo. All I gotta do now is grow some Dawn Yang eyes.

What do you think?

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