Malaysian Holiday during Hari Raya (Ramadan) – quick trip update

Malaysia is a wonderful country to visit, and as I have good friends there, I have been there many times. I have been inspired by Matt Dan who went to visit Malaysia and never left, learning the language (in local dialect – so he sounds like a native) and embracing the culture.

I won’t be going that far, but I will try a little bit of each area on this visit.

As I was visiting during the time of fasting and just before Hari Raya, Kuala Lumpur (KL) was a buzz with activity. Our first stop was a market to buy my traditional Malay outfit, and have a night-time (breakfast meal). I was very tired after the trip, but excited to be there!

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Early Morning drive to Kelantan

The next day we drove to Kelantan –  a rural state in the northeast of Peninsular. It may be rural, but it was not quiet. What would normally take four hours to drive from KL took us 13 hours. The next day was Hari Raya, which I was invited to celebrate with my Malaysian friends. So I decided to check-in to my local hotel and get a good night’s sleep.

Locals don’t’ see too many ‘orang asing’ (foreigner) in this area so I had a few people staring at me, and they don’t mind staring too! Granted –  I was probably a sight – An Irish guy, in traditional Malay clothes, carrying a Malaysian child (my friend’s daughter – who stuck to me like glue for the entire visit). But I felt very welcome, and soon forgot how awkward I felt.

john
Saya nama John

The Malays have many wonderful traditions on Hari Raya, and one of them was to cook massive amounts of wonderful foods and desserts and invite all their friends and neighbours to dine with them. In fact, neighbours and guests got to eat first, in the house I visited. Some neighbours were not Muslim, but they too were invited in for a meal and a chat.

I’m glad I’ve been to Malaysia before because I had learned the basics and learned to respect and not forgot them. The first is always take off your shoes before entering a household, and sometimes even a local shop. The second is not to shake a woman’s(unrelated by blood) hand unless of course, she offers it first. I think this is also an Islamic custom.

The first time I visited Malaysia I was not aware of this last one. I shook a ladies hand, she accepted it but covered her own hand with her garment. Live and learn!

Being Irish, it’s very refreshing to see people having a great time with family and friends staying up late, and not a drop of alcohol was touched! It can be done, folks.

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Sleeping Buddha

Over the next few days, I was driven around in an envoy of three packed cars (families are massive in Malaysia) to see all the local sites. They even drove me three hours to see some Buddhist statues, despite the fact they did not want to see it themselves.

I really appreciated what these people were willing to do to keep me entertained but maintain their beliefs! They took me to see the ‘Sleeping Buddha’ temple in Kelantan which is a 40-metre statue of a sleeping Buddha, which is the longest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

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Local Restaurant

The food in Malaysia is amazing, but I have to say I wish I was more adventurous with what I ate. Some foods and desserts look and taste amazing and are so inexpensive in comparison to Dublin, it makes you wonder what else are you missing out on in this world!

The next few days were a blur, but we drove across Malaysia and down the west coast, stopping at some very packed, but very scenic resorts along the way until we arrived back in Kuala Lumpur. There we spent two days shopping and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Next a trip to Penang Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located.

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Penang Hill – View

We did not have long to explore Penang Island which was a shame, but the drive there across the longest bridge I have ever seen was an experience in itself.

On Penang Island, there seem to be much more Chinese people than Malay people, so I noticed in particular much more pubs and entertainment venues, as well as people wearing slightly less modest clothing! (not that I was looking or anything).

Anyway, If you visit Penang, make sure to visit Penang Hill, where you can get a train up the to the top of the hill for a breathtaking view!

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus- The Non-Technical Review

Samsung’s flagship phone is here! The Galaxy S8 Plus packs a punch!

Here is my non-technical quick review

I love the Galaxy S 8 Plus, it looks great, feels great and runs very smoothly –  so far ( I only have it two months!). Coming from a 16 GB Apple iPhone 6 ,I found the abundance of storage (expandable too) … almost overwhelming-  I no longer see warning messages regarding storage capacity being depleted that plagued my iPhone. Apple, why did you make a phone which such a low storage capacity?

That aside, the best part of this phone has to be the screen.

Screen

Samsung has a name for this type of screen, it’s called an infinity screen, and Samsung has really spent a lot of time perfecting this generations display. Yes the screen looks amazing, and as this is a non-technical review, I won’t go into the specs, but this is a display you need to see in person!

There is a curve on the screen (it’s not as pounced as it is in the Galaxy Edge 7 – but it’s there all the same), at times this can be annoying, but mostly –  it just looks really cool!

The Android software on the Galaxy S8 has been adopted by Samsung so if you come across applications that do not support the unusual screen size and unusual curvature, you can have the phone crop the display so you can use the whole lot of this curved display. Or conversely, un-crop the screen if the app looks strange. Yes! It does look a bit odd for some applications and games, mind you, but mostly it works just fine.

On the day you buy this phone make sure you also purchase a decent cover for it! The back of the phone easily accumulates hairline scrapes, and unfortunately, the screen, as beautiful as it is, seems rather delicate and prone to scrapes and scratches. You need to protect the screen, somehow.

I already have a deep scratch on my screen, and a quick internet search seems to indicate –  it’s common enough for this to happen. Yes, I hate covering such a beautiful phone, though – but it needs to be done!

Charging

Wow! Samsung was not lying when they said this phone offers ‘fast charging’ – this phone charges faster than any phone I’ve ever had. Not just a marketing gimmick!

I also bought the fast charging wireless doc this phone supports, it is not as fast charging as connecting it directly, but a small price to pay – I suppose, if you want to use the handy wireless feature.

Features & Software

Samsung’s version of Touch ID, that is, the finger print reader, is in a very unusual location – at the back of the phone right beside the camera lens! What a place to put it. Not a great idea at all and feels a little ‘last minute’, but you know –  you do get used to it.

However, you often end up putting your finger over the camera lens… smudging it for any future photos. There are a number of other ways of unlocking your phone, such as the retina reader, which, when it works is a very handy feature, and of course the face recognition feature.

I will admit, tapping in the PIN works just as well for me!

I had been, up until I bought the Galaxy S 8 Plus, an iPhone user, I had switched back from Samsung, because I found the implementation of touch wiz – that is the Samsung implementation of Android operating system on their phones a massive annoyance, it was slow, glitchy and just a massive pain to use.

Thankfully, those days are behind us, and so far (fingers crossed) the Galaxy S 8 seems to have no problems for me in terms of software smoothness.

I’m happy, I bought this phone overall and Samsung has put a lot of work into this years flagship phone.

Facts on alcohol from the World Health Organisation

  • Worldwide, 3.3 million deaths every year result from harmful use of alcohol, this represent 5.9 % of all deaths.
  • The harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions.
  • Overall 5.1 % of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in disability- adjusted life years (DALYs).
  • Alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life. In the age group 20 – 39 years approximately 25 % of the total deaths are alcohol-attributable.
  • There is a causal relationship between harmful use of alcohol and a range of mental and behavioural disorders, other noncommunicable conditions as well as injuries.
  • The latest causal relationships have been established between harmful drinking and incidence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis as well as the course of HIV/AIDS.
  • Beyond health consequences, the harmful use of alcohol brings significant social and economic losses to individuals and society at large.

Superfoods for Men

Superfoods, is a wonderful term! A food unlike any other, here to answer all your dietary requirements and solve all your ailments . Recently, Channel 4 (Ireland/UK) have launched a TV documentary centered around so called Superfoods. And I’ve learned something! Most foods are good for us – but at certain degrees, some have almost no benefits at all, others, which are marketed as superfoods, contain less nutritional value than those that have been previously coveted. None the less, it is an interesting exercise to highlight my favorite Superfoods for Men. So, what is the definition of superfoods? Basically – it’s a marketing term. But, we can turn this on it’s head, and give it value!

You could describe a superfood, as a food that offers a substantial nutritional or health benefit, over commonly consumed foods, a food that is often high in anti-oxidants and may offer anti-aging benefits.

Below are Superfoods for Men, which I have found a great benefit to things like general health, good skin, but also tackle other issues like; improve your mood, and supposedly help with depression, among others.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is oil that is pressed from olives, the fruits of the olive tree, A study published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care has  showed that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduced the risk of type II diabetes by almost 50 percent compared to a low fat diet . Olive oil also can help lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise your good HDL levels. Extra virgin olive oil is mostly used as a salad dressing and as an ingredient in salad dressings.

Quinoa

Quiona, I have often supplemented for rice. It is high in protein, fiber, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E. I first heard about it in the United States, where it has boomed in popularity, but  has been consumed for thousands of years in South America.Perhaps the most striking health benefit provided by quinoa is its overall nutrient richness. When the nutrient composition of this food is analyzed in depth, the results are unusual and striking.

Coconut Water

It is said to hydrate better than water after a sports event, and maybe it does, maybe not, it still tastes great and is good for you! Coconut Water naturally low in calories, naturally fat- and cholesterol free, more potassium than four bananas! If you need a boost before and after a workout and plan on having a red bull or something similar – read the ingredients and then read the one ingredient in coconut water. On a recent trip to Asia, I was lucky enough to drink this direct from the coconut! What a treat!

Dark Chocolate

I love dark chocolate, it has a very rich and slightly bitter taste, and goes great with my coffee. Health wise dark chocolate has compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins.

Bananas

I used to have a banana every day. They are nutritious, give me a great energy boost, tasty and filling and contain lots of potassium. Are they a superfood, in my opinion. Yes. Humans share 50% of our DNA with a banana. If that’s not a sign we should be eating them, then I don’t know what is. Bananas are rich in fiber, antioxidants and several nutrients. An average banana contains about 105 calories

Matcha Tea

OK! This is a new one to me, but it looks very exciting, having watched the TV Superfoods on Channel 4 (Ireland/UK) I was very impressed by it’s benefits.  My takings from it’s benefits all come down to this. Matcha Tea, comes from the same plant as green and black tea. This is very surprising, but apparently, the shading of the plant and it’s treatment that gives us Matcha Tea.One of the major health benefits of Matcha tea is that it delivers a mega dose of antioxidants in every sip. According to the latest innovation in antioxidant research, Matcha is packed with exponentially more antioxidants than any other ‘superfood’.

Almonds

I love almonds, almond butter is almost as good as peanut butter. The benefits? Cholesterol reduction is the most celebrated health benefit of almonds, but there are many other health benefits of almonds. Almonds are also  low in saturated fatty acids, rich in unsaturated fatty acids, and contain filling fiber, unique and protective phytosterol antioxidants as well as plant protein.

Sources

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=142
http://draxe.com/1almonds-nutrition/

iPhone 7 – A simple List of Expected Features

It’s all speculation until Apple actually officially announce the iPhone 7, which is expected to bring new design and new features.The iPhone 6S was unveiled in September, and it’s likely that the iPhone 7 will see a similar launch date. To save you a bit of time we have made a list of all the rumors around the iPhone 7, some of them quiet likely, some of them… plausible and some maybe not!

Image via Engadget
Image via Engadget

 

 

Possible and not so possible iPhone 7 Features – A List

  • Phase out of the 16GB model?
  • Waterproof?
  • Stronger frame – no more bendgare
  • Removal of the  headphone jack?
  • Increased water resistance?
  • Dual-lens camera for iPhone 7 Plus?
  • Larger Camera?
  • Possible Smart Connector for iPhone 7 Plus?
  • Design similar to iPhone 6s?
  • New antenna bands?
  • Upgraded processor?
  • Ditch the home key? – we say not this version – possibly the next version.
  • Two screen sizes – similar to the iPhone 6 6 Plus?

The Most impressive features in iOS 10 in a simple list

  • Widgets – FINALLY – Swipe left from the home screen, or even from the lock screen.
  • Redesigned Control Center, including support for 3d touch.
  • Raise to wake.
  • Hide stock apps – they don’t actually delete but they are hidden and their data is removed.
  • Redesigned music app, less confusing than before.
  • Siri Voice sounds slightly more like an actual person.
  • Siri is now open source, so apps can support it, no longer limited to stock apps.
  • A dedicated Home Kit app to manage your smart home appliances.
  • Clear all notifications in one go!
  • Photos app can search for objects and for people based on their face.
  • Copy and paste across various iOS devices – copy on your iPhone, paste on your mac.
  • Swipe to the left to use the camera from the lock screen.
  • iMessages updated to include: effects, emojis recognition, etc including 3rd party apps support for iMessage
  • Reply to messages from the home screen in a widget

How to Sync Media between your iPhone and iTunes

If you want to sync iTunes with your iPhone or iPod without any wires, you first need to turn on the iTunes Wi-Fi Sync. Then, sync your iPhone with the computer by connecting both the mediums to the same wireless network. It is important to keep both the computer and iPhone turned on. You can practically sync everything including books, movies, photos, documents, notes etc. However, larger amounts of data will consume more time.

To sync your iPhone and iTunes without the help of any wires though, you do need to follow a series of steps mentioned below:  

  • Firstly, take your computer or Mac and connect with the iPhone. Open iTunes, and click on the Summary tab, check ‘Sync with this phone over Wi-Fi’. Click Apply. Disconnect your iPhone from the computer. The device will still appear in the pop-up menu. Establish a connection with a wireless network. Meanwhile, go to Settings, choose ‘Network’, then choose ‘Wi-Fi’, and select your specific wireless network. Enter your password.
  • If you want to be sure about whether the wireless sync has been successful, you can also plug your iPhone into a power source. After that, open the settings app and tap ‘iTunes with Wi-Fi Sync.’
  • You can also manually sync your iPhone by clicking ‘Add To’ and drag items to the right place. After that, click ‘Done’. To keep a check on whether the device is properly syncing or not, check on the spinning icons on iTunes.
  • Once your iPhone is synchronized, click the type of content you want and begin to add albums, songs, podcasts, movies, audio books and ringtones to your device without syncing again, as long as the device and iTunes are within a given range to each other. Choose whatever media you want, add or drag it to the sidebar of your iPhone or iPod. And you’re done!

How to save space on your iPhone – 6 Tips

One would suspect (hope) that from the next generation of iPhone, expected towards the end of this year, that Apple will abandon the 16 GB version of the iPhone – Even with cloud and streaming services, once you have a few apps and games on your iPhone, it is not long until you need to save space on your iPhone. If you are here, then it is too late! But if you have a choice always go for the extra storage, it is of course much more expensive,  but for most people a necessity. Below are 6 tips  on how to save space on your iPhone. Continue reading How to save space on your iPhone – 6 Tips

Octagon – A Minimal Arcade Game with Maximum Challenge – Free this week from the app store

Octagon is a minimal arcade game where you have to move fast or be left behind, and it’s free for this week only, normally about 2 euro. Get it while you can. And try not to get a headache with all those turns and twists!

You are trapped inside the Octagon, a megaplex of hallways, platforms, and gaps—and the clock is running. Can you survive the mad race through this trippy 8-sided tunnel?

“Octagon is like Temple Run but on steroids and with much cooler music and graphics. If you’re a Temple Run or Impossible Road fan, you definitely want to check out Octagon for iPhone or iPad.” – Allyson Kazmucha, iMore

“Some of the most fun I’ve had with my iPhone this year.” – 9/10 Arcade Sushi
“Fast, tough game that doesn’t give a darn about your feelings. Go for it!” – 4/5 Cult of Mac
“If you love these impossible reflex games, then you don’t want to miss out on Octagon.” – 5/5 AppAdvice

Octagon is a minimal arcade game where you have to move fast or be left behind. As the floor moves beneath you, spin your world around to dodge speed bumps. Flip upside-down to avoid holes, surf on top of the Octagon—whatever you can do to survive the mad race through this trippy 8-sided tunnel. An energizing soundtrack by Sqeepo and psychedelic color bursts keep you in the zone on your race to the finish. But with each round over after just 60 seconds, only super-fast reflexes will beat this very challenging game.

Features:
– Classic, Endless and NEW Daily mode
– Unlimited number of randomly generated levels
– Dynamic procedural graphics with a minimalistic iOS7 look
– Original soundtrack by Sqeepo
– Universal App with iCloud syncing
– Pure challenge with no in-app purchases or cheats

Pocket for iPhone

Pocket for iPhone is an application, where you wonder how you survived this long without it! Essentially, it is a bookmarking application, but it is more that that too. Bookmarks are too 90’s for this little application – Pocket for iPhone, allows you to tag your bookmarks and when you return to the application you can access articles (offline and online) that you previously bookmarked in a reader friendly interface. How many times have you see a wonderfully written article, and thought to yourself, too long i’ll read later? But, that never happens now that you have this little application.

It’s easy to use your iPhone’s share functionality to share any article with Pocket for iPhone, without actually exiting what you are doing –  i.e You don’t have to open the Pocket for iPhone application every time just to save an article, which is what makes this app a winner!

So how do you save an article to Pocket for iPhone?

You will need an account to use pocket, there is a web-interface too, so this is handy for accessing your articles from a desktop too.

  • From your news application of choice, or safari. Locate the article you would like to share.
  • Select the share icon and choose Pocket, if it’s not there, you may need to select “more” and add it to the share list.
  • Tap on the Pocket icon and you will see a short notification that says “shared”. That’s it essentially!
  • The article is now available for you to read when read from the application.

Pocket was founded in 2007 by Nate Weiner to help people save interesting articles, videos and more from the web for later enjoyment. Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device — phone, tablet or computer. It can be viewed while waiting in line, on the couch, during commutes or travel — even offline.