1964 Antique MODEM Live Demo

I love ancient computer parts. And if this isn’t one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, I don’t know what is. This acoustic coupler modem actually talks to other modems using a real phone and you even have to manually dial it! Watch Terminator 3 and you can see the female terminator do the same thing with her cellphone.

At 300 baud, you’ll get a maximum download speed of 37.5 bytes per second. Your current 1Mbps connection gets you 125,000 bytes per second which is 3333 times faster! Good luck trying to load youtube videos on 300 baud. But anyways, this was an amazing piece of technology that paved way for what we’re using today. Simply amazing.

[Source: phreakmonkey.com] Continue reading

Night shift

Sorry, no pictures from KLIA. They have a very strict policy against photography in the apron area.

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I’m a night person. I love night time. I’m not nocturnal but I like how it’s peaceful, quiet and cool when the sun goes down. And the fact that you’re going against your biological cycle makes it even more appealing.

So I was really looking forward to starting my night shift at KLIA ASU during my 3 months posting there. And I wasn’t disappointed.


Things are a little different here at night. My shift starts at 7pm. The sun is already on it’s way down, slowly letting the darkness take over. Yellow flood lights illuminate the bays.

We handle the arrivals for the last few flights of the day. Most of the aircraft coming in at this time will be here for a night stop. So we usually power down the aircraft and leave it parked at the bays for the stayover check or for any defect rectification. By 12am, the last aircraft would have landed.

For the past 2 nights, I was with the defect team. Basically our job is to rectify the defects reported in the technical logs. We sort through them to find those that can be rectified here and for those that cannot be done here, it will be deferred for base maintenance (if allowable).

It’s fun and unpredictable. Because you can never predict which planes will have what defects tonight. Although for some planes you already know what’s wrong once you see the registration. So here in KLIA ASU, it’s more to thinking on your feet and making fast (and safe) decisions. It’s more to troubleshooting and problem solving and time is limited. By 5am the first planes will be flying off already. And by 6:30 I’ll be on my way back home to sleep till noon.

One good thing about shift work is you get days off during weekdays. But sometimes you have to work weekends. For this week, I’m on Friday night and Saturday night, then off on Sunday and Monday. Sometimes these off days during weekdays can be rather convenient:

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Kota Kinabalu Trip 2009: Part 3

Continuing from Part 2:

Last Day

Waking at 9am, I skipped the free breakfast provided by Kinabalu Backpackers and went to shower. The good thing is that they have hot showers which is a must for me in the mornings. I don’t mind cold showers, but why settle for less.

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Packing up to check out. Check out time is 12pm.

Again, we went to Kak Tini to have breakfast. Had mee goreng this time round and as usual, it was superb. If you go early enough, do try their “Nasi Kuning”. I heard it’s good.

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Tun Mustapha Tower.

Roger came over and brought us to Tun Mustapha Tower. This is a very tall and cylindrical shaped building that you are unlikely to miss. It is on the way from the city to 1Borneo. It is mainly a government building, but on the 18th floor, there is a revolving restaurant. And the view is amazing from up there.

@mosphere@mosphere Revolving Restaurant and Bar (18th floor).

The @mosphere Revolving Restaurant and Bar opens at 11am and it starts revolving at 12pm. They cater for lunch and dinner and prices are pretty affordable considering you’re getting an amazing view from up there. They also have special set lunches for government and UMS staff and student. It’s RM19 for a 3 course lunch. Interestingly, they have free valet parking and WiFi.

We drove further up north to the Nexus Resort at Karambunai. I didn’t get to see much of the resort, but from the brochures that I took, they seem to offer a lot of watersports. From kayaking to parasailing to jet skiing, they have everything. Due to the lack of time and budget constrains, we didn’t do any of those. Although I would love to go kayaking.

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Nexus Karambunai Resort’s Sports and Recreation Center.

Soon it was time to head back to town to grab lunch before going to the airport to catch our 4:15pm flight. But before that we stopped by Signal Hill Observatory. This is like the “Ampang Lookout Point” of Kota Kinabalu, but it’s not as high and there are no restaurants here.

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KK city. The speck near the center is not sensor dust. It’s a plane taking off from KKIA.

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Marzuki, Badri and I at Signal Hill Observatory. Thanks Roger for the photo!

The view from Signal Hill is not great. I think if you want a good view of the city, you’re better off going up a tall building. Anyways, for lunch we drove around till we found a shop with ikan bakar. The nice thing about Kota Kinabalu is that you can have fish for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper. Fish is everywhere. And since it’s so fresh, you probably won’t get tired of it.

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Fishes getting bakar-ed (barbecued) here. The fishes are not seasoned in any way and they’re fresh from the charcoal pit. The red colored fishes on the lower left cost RM2 each.

Unfortunately, our flight was delayed for an hour due to the plane arriving late from Seoul. So we got plenty of time to spare. My Kota Kinabalu trip has been real fun. Although there wasn’t enough time to go to all the tourist attractions in the city, a sneak peak was enough to make me want to come back here again. The seafood is just one of the many reasons why I can’t get enough of this place. Of course, I haven’t even explored the many islands that surround Sabah or climb Mount Kinabalu. But rest assured that I’ll be adding those to the list of things to do soon.

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9M-MMN on transit at KKIA. Continue reading

Kota Kinabalu Trip 2009: Part 2

Continuing from Part 1:

Food
The first time I came over to KL, I was not used to the sun setting at 7pm. In Kuching by 6pm it’s already dark. The same happens in Sabah. By 7pm, it was pitch black already. But the rain was still pouring outside. The seafood restaurant that we want to go is a distance away near Sedco Complex and we have to go on foot. Luckily Kinabalu Backpackers provided free umbrellas.

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Wa Heng Seafood Restaurant at Sedco Square.

It is a known fact that seafood restaurants tend to slaughter tourists who don’t know the price of local food. But since we had a pretty good idea of how much to spend and how much the food will cost, we went around to find the best deal. There are about 4 restaurants at Sedco Square itself and we choose this particular restaurant in the end. It was a good thing that we brought Marzuki the Bargain King along because he can bargain better than a stingy Chinaman can.

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Seafood can’t get any fresher than this. Unless you catch it yourself.

Not wanting to get ripped off, we bargained and agreed on the price before placing our order. For every dish, he bargained the price down. And just when you think that there’s no way the price could go any lower, he managed to bargain it down some more from the lady. It was starting to look more and more like a daylight robbery. In the end, we managed to cut around RM30 off the original price. And that’s not the end of the story yet.

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Some dead red fishes. Caught on that day itself.

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We had seacucumber soup, butter prawns, chili sotong, thai fish and Sabah Choy (vege).

I’m not going to tell you how fresh it is, you have to go and try it yourself. The entire meal was immensely satisfying and due to the huge portions, it was almost impossible to finish everything. But we did anyways. The final bill came to RM93. And Marzuki went to bargain some more with the lady, requesting for RM90. But she said that was the lowest she could give us. She even showed us other customers’ receipts and insisted that she has never given anyone a lower price. But then she had to rush off to take an order so she passed us to her son to settle the bill. Her son, oblivious to the discounts that she had already given us, happily gave us the meal for RM90.

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The pasar malam along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen. Just take a walk along the waterfront, you won’t miss it. This section sells fresh seafood, there’s another section the sells cooked ones.

Another cheap place to get fresh seafood is along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen. Here they will “bakar” (barbecue) the fish for you. It’s a great place for an after dinner seafood snack. But unfortunately we were too full to even try a bit. Eating too much at the previous restaurant was my biggest regret. I heard that a giant tiger prawn here is RM8.

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Here you can see some foreigners enjoying their fresh seafood with bottles of beer.

Roger was kind enough to fly back from KL early so he could bring us around. He landed around 10pm and took us to Tanjung Aru beach for a view. Nothing much to see at night at the beach so we sat down for a drink and a round of pool.

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Marzuki and the very colorfully lighted up bar by the beach. Again, nice place to hang out on a Saturday night if you have no where to go in Kota Kinabalu.

The thing I love about Sabah is that the beaches are incredibly near to the city. In KL, the nearest beach is Port Dickson, and that’s like light years away compared to Kota Kinabalu’s Tanjung Aru. There’s just something about beaches that really attracts me: the sunsets, the cool breeze, the crashing of waves, the smooth white sand and the incredibly vast mass of water in front of you. It gives a soothing effect.

It was getting late and I initially planned to get up early for the sunrise at Signal Hill Observatory but the plan had to be scrapped because I fell asleep at 1:37am. I’m sure Cara must be laughing at us now because we claimed that we would be up earlier than her for the sunrise. Cara is a travel guide editor we met at the backpackers.

Next: Kota Kinabalu Trip 2009: Part 3 Continue reading

Kota Kinabalu Trip 2009: Part 1

Just got back from my Kota Kinabalu Trip. Love the fresh seafood there. I’ll be updating once I adjust back to my normal schedule.

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Leaving Kota Kinabalu on flight MH065.

Day 1

Wanting to catch the early flight to Kota Kinabalu, I woke up at 4am with just 5 hours of sleep crammed in the night before. The 45 minutes bus journey to KLIA offered an opportunity to catch up on my sleep. By 6am we already had our boarding passes for our 7:30am flight.

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KLIA at 6am.

Fate has it that we got the Boeing 737-400 with the registration 9M-MQQ. I have a history with this plane and this coincidence is just too, should I say, disturbing. The flight took 2 hours and 30 minutes and it seemed to drag on forever. I got some sleep and I was feeling quite fresh when I landed at the new Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA). Almost completed, it looks similar to the Kuching International Airport.

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KKIA at 10:40am.

Since the trip was planned just less than 24 hours ago, when we landed we had no arrangements whatsoever. So I called one of the backpackers and made a booking for 3 persons for the rate of RM18 per night per person. That would be our backup plan in case we couldn’t find the backpackers that our friend recommended.

We also poured over the different transportation options to get to town and around Sabah. Taking the taxi is the most expensive way to travel. In fact, with the 3 of us, it would be cheaper to rent a car for a day. But since we were on a tight budget, we took one of the cheapest and most abundant transport in Sabah: the mini buses.

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One of the mini buses that we took to get to the city from the airport.

From the airport to the city using a taxi will set us back RM20. The mini bus only cost RM1.50 per person. The mini buses are actually ordinary vans driven by reckless horny drivers who would use the horn to signal the stopping of the bus.

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Planning the trip as we go along.

Once in the city we went about to find “Traveller’s Light”, a backpacker hostel where one of us had stayed before. This backpackers is situated on Lorong Dewan, together with many other backpackers. This is the place to go if you want to find cheap backpackers.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that we did not make any prior bookings, the place was already full. The receptionist recommended “Kinabalu Backpackers Lodge” located about 100 meters away. Unbeknownst to us, this was a blessing in disguise.

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Kinabalu backpackers lodge charges RM20 per person for accommodation in their dorm rooms. The rooms are air conditioned with clean sheets and pillow, hot water shower, free breakfast, free WiFi and free umbrella in case it rains and you want to go out. If you don’t have a WiFi enabled device with you, there are 2 computers available for use, free of charge. The whole place is very clean and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to stay in Kota Kinabalu city.

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After checking in we went for lunch at the nearby coffeehouse. This kedai kopi Kak Tini is located beside the Tugu Peringatan Malaysia on Jalan Bandaran. The mee sup and soto is a must try. Food is reasonably priced too. The place is almost always packed.

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Left: soto ayam (chicken). Right: mee sup daging (beef).

We also wanted to visit the new 1Borneo shopping complex which claims to be the biggest shopping mall in Borneo. There is a free shutter bus going there from Wisma Warisan (Warisan Square) but seats are limited so you need to be there 30 minutes before to collect your free ticket. We didn’t know about this at first but we were lucky that they had 3 more empty seats available for that trip.

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Looking down Jalan Tun Razak. It was a cloudy day, perfect for getting around the city by foot.

1Borneo is a big shopping center located about 12km away from the city. It is big but under occupied. Many shops are still not open and it seemed deserted on a lazy Tuesday afternoon. It will probably be flooded by students from UMS which is located nearby. There’s nothing much to see here, just one big shopping center. The hovercraft service wasn’t ready yet when we went.

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Kerosene is sold at petrol stations here in Sabah! In KL, the only place where you can buy kerosene at a petrol station is at the airport, where they refuel aircraft.

We also took a walk along the waterfront along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen. There was nothing much to see in the afternoon as the night market only opens at night. At around 4pm it started to rain as we were walking back to the backpackers. So we decided to go back and rest and then go our for a seafood dinner.

Next: Kota Kinabalu Trip 2009: Part 2 Continue reading