Samsung Note 2 Software Update (Android 4.4.2 Kitkat)

At approximately 2 p.m. (GMT +8) I received a notification from Samsung Push Service telling me that I have a software update.

The whole update package is 445.2 MB. A quick search online seems to indicate that this is the long awaited Android 4.4.2 Kitkat update for my Samsung Galaxy Note 2.


Update (05/08/2014): Turns out the update isn’t that great. It doesn’t really improve anything great on the surface. According to Chee Eng, 4.4.2 is supposed to be more about behind-the-scenes improvements. One thing I totally didn’t expect is the SD card access problem. More importantly, the app that I used to read manga (布卡漫画) lost access to all the downloaded manga which I’ve stored in the SD card. The only way to fix this seems to be rooting the phone. I’m still quite reluctant in doing so, mainly because I have not reached the necessary activation energy to do so yet.

Excel & Unicode (UTF-8)

It would seem that the only way to get Excel to display CSV unicode characters correctly is to use the “Import From Text” feature.

In short,
1. Open a new blank Excel spreadsheet
2. Data -> From Text -> [your CSV]
3. Choose “Delimited”
4. Choose “Unicode UTF-8” under “Encoding”
5. Next
6. Check that everything seems to be in place
7. Finish


(See some screenshots over here

Malaysian States – Abodes of Awesomeness!

So it dawned on me that I didn’t really know the meaning of all the “Arabic honorifics” given to the different states. I believe at one point we were asked to memorized all of them 13 states honorifics. But I guess either I was sleeping or we were just not taught what those “Darul xxx” really mean. Thank God for Wikipedia.
(curious: why are they called Arabic honorifics? Were they given by the Arabs long ago?)

And my oh my, these names are beautiful!
(I have to “define Abode” to know that it means “a place of residence; a house or home.”. Whoa macam House Stark, House Lannister and House Baratheon, gaya-nya!)

Here’s the awesome list.

  1. Perak Darul Ridzuan Abode of Grace

    • Literally it’ll be Silver Abode of Grace. Whoa suddenly the atas-ness all terserlah berlambak-lambak!
  2. Selangor Darul EhsanAbode of Sincerity

  3. Johor Darul Ta’zimAbode of Dignity

  4. Kedah Darul Aman Abode of Peace

  5. Kelantan Darul NaimThe Blissful Abode

  6. Melaka Darul Azim (Melaka Negeri Bersejarah) – The Historic State

  7. Negeri Sembilan Darul KhususThe Special Abode

  8. Pahang Darul MakmurAbode of Tranquility

  9. Perlis Indera Kayangan (Perlis Darul Sunnah)

    • Indera Kayangan is loosely translated to Heavenly Sensation (with the help of Google Translate). Need help, anyone?
  10. Pulau Pinang (Pulau Mutiara) – Island of Pearls

  11. SabahThe Land below the Wind

  12. SarawakLand of the Hornbills

  13. Wilayah Persekutuan – Federal Territory

    1. Putrajaya

    2. Labuan

    3. Kuala Lumpur 


Like all names I am curious about the story as to why those names were given. Perhaps if those stories are incorporated into our Sejarah syllabus, it might actually have been a little more exciting while we were learning about it. (*≧▽≦)

Oh ya, for the record, thank you for everyone who wished me happiness today! Facebook registered 108 of them, so thank you thank you! I think your wishes came true, I’m happy that I got to know more about the hidden awesomeness of my beloved country. Never too late I guess.




  2. Wikipedia


How I stumble upon the awesomeness of the Malaysian states?

Background: I was watching Gangster Squad and it got me thinking about the whether there are documented stories about Malaysian gangsters? So I went on to google “malaysian gangster” and I chanced upon Botak Chin. I don’t think I’ve heard of him but his story is super interesting. Maybe some day someone will make a film out of it.

So Botak Chin was treated at Tanjung Rambutan Mental Hospital in Perak for 19 days before he stand trial. Perak jumped out on me and it got me thinking about the Ipoh gangsters stories that I’ve heard about while I was growing up. Of course they were called triads or 黑社会(literally Black Society. More commonly known as Secret Society.) The story goes that the Cantonese Triads won the war against the Hakka Triads. That’s why everyone in Ipoh spoke Cantonese and the Hakkas stays at the outskirt of the town. But I don’t think there are any official historical records about this. This might be an interesting dissertation for a history major :p.

One thing led to the other, I was reading the wikipedia page on Perak and lo and behold, right there, “Abode of Grace” – Perak Darul Ridzuan!  So cool right? Silver Abode of Grace.

Hey what about the other “Darul”s, and again one thing led to the other and this list is born. Super random, I know. But that’s how serendipity works! It’s awesome!

Thank you Wikipedia and hyperlink :p

Ah Beng The Movie: Three Wishes – A Consolidation of Feelings about the Future of Malaysian BigScreen Film?


Today I watched the midnight run of Ah Beng The Movie with the No.33-Gang. For some reason I felt a tingling in my heart as the show progress. I looked within, though it was a sad scene when I felt the tingling, it was more. I looked around, the whole cinema, full house, was fully engrossed in the movie. Then as the main actor did a slapstick witty line, everyone laughed.

For a moment there, I felt a tinge of hope. Isn’t that what a movie director & the script writer would hope for? That the masterpiece being played on the big screen is able to captivate the audience’s emotions at every nook and turn; That as the plot progress, the audience chuckled, laughed, kept-quiet (sobbing?) as and when they are supposed to be; That sadness, joyfulness, suspense, anger, happiness on the screen will resonate down to the audience; That the audience is able to empathize with the characters on screen. Isn’t that it’s all about? For a moment there, it is as if I have felt what the people-involved-in-the-film would have felt if they were in TGV movie theatre 3 at around 1:30am on the 25th of January 2012.

As I glanced around the theatre, it’s full house. I believe the same might have happened in the earlier show timings. I see parents who brought their toddlers along. I thought I heard some baby-cries, I might be wrong. But it might just be a common happening during Chinese New Year. I can’t even remember when was the last time I actually watched a movie during Chinese New Year, 半夜场更不用说。But I really cannot recall any other time where a local film production garner a full house during the midnight run. Or at least I have not heard of it being mentioned even if it has happened before.

It is as if people are really returning to the cinema theatre. That “let’s watch a local movie production” deserves a spot on our “to-do list”. Perhaps the “Support Original” campaign is finally working. Perhaps people are getting more affluent. Perhaps it’s just me being the usual out-of-touch self. That the situation wasn’t that bad before this.

Just as the credits rolled, once again I am bedazzled by some unique behaviour. Most of us are still seated and people actually pay attention to the rolling names, pointing out names in which they recognize, commenting on the actors’ performance earlier. That — is truly a rare scene indeed. Why is it so? Let me go into some details :-

If you have watched a movie in Malaysian Cinemas before, you are bound to be appalled by the unfailing kind act of the cinema staff to open the EXIT door at the ending scene of a movie. Well, you might say they are just doing their job, part of their service to give the audience some preparatory time to leave the theatre. But it is so annoying. The ending scene of a movie are usually a resolution scene. We are supposed to immerse ourselves in the scene and sometimes to give some serious thought about the show we have just watched. But the cinema staff have to, have to spoil it all by opening the EXIT door.

Of course, the most important reason to stay on just a little while after the rolling credits is so that we can honour the people who worked so hard behind-the-scenes. Staying back a little while more and carefully look at the names is the very least we could do, as appreciation to them.

Try to recall the last time you actually sat through the entire credit roll. Wait, how about half the credit roll? One-third?  Was it because someone told you that there was a hidden trailer at the end of the credits.


But today, today is a spectacular day indeed. There are quite a number of people stayed back for the credit roll. I had a feeling that they are genuinely touched by the movie and decided to stay on just a little while longer. How do I know? I don’t know, I felt it.

Lastly, sponsors & product placements. This might not be the smoothest product placement film but you can feel that the script-writer tried. Nonetheless, the last time I counted, there were more than 6 sponsors that appeared in the film itself. Why are they doing this? Would you want to have your product appear in a show that doesn’t sell? Of course not. Hence the existence of so many product placement in the film might suggest that companies are starting to notice local movie production. As much as I dislike the notion of a movie industry dependent on a sponsor’s wimp, money seem to be the most efficient fuel to push the industry forward.

From the execution of the movie technicalities, the spectacular audience numbers, the audience’s behaviour during credit roll to the willingness of companies to sponsor a local movie production. All things considered, I think this shows a promising future of the local movie production scene.

But then all these might just have been a simple surge of emotion from a guy who had not touched-the-ground for far too long. At times, he seemed almost out of touch with the happenings in his home country, his home town. So take my words with a pinch of salt. Go and try it out for yourselves. Open your eyes and your ears, you might just catch a glimpse of what it is about to come. We shall see.


Now as for me, it hurts to think that I have to spend more of my time in the next 3 years glancing over the causeway to keep myself up to date with the exciting growing movie industry. Now I’m sure I will be able to still do something….

I can’t make a call using a phone! Samsung Galaxy S2 UX Failed!

Finally I’ve gotten myself a touchscreen phone. If it wasn’t for Jollideal I would still be using my loyal Nokia E71.

2 days into the phone, I still think a hardware QWERTY keyboard beats touchscreen typing hands down. But I am willing to give it a try. 1-2 months and see if I am able to overcome the obvious limitations of virtual keyboard.


But this post is not about typing. It’s about “Making Calls“. At least I thought what I got is a phone. No doubt it’s a “smart“phone, but it’s still a “phone” right? I’m supposed to be able to make calls using a keypad/dialpad right? You know the ones we used to have in phones? This one:

Keypad / Dialpad



Ok I have to admit that it’s not entirely true that calls can’t be made. If you sync all your contacts from your previous phone or from google or from somewhere in the cloud, you should have no problem calling anyone. That is because all the contacts should already be in your “Contacts”.

But what if what you have is just a number, say 91737779? And you urgently want to call the person without adding him into your “Contacts” yet? Or it happen to be an acquaintance’s number that you don’t want to include it in your “Contacts”? Or maybe you saw an accident and you want to call “999“?

Ok, these might be special circumstances but I’m sure there are a lot more use cases for a keypad/dialpad?

But where is the keypad/dialpad in Samsung Galaxy S II?


Yesterday I passed the phone around in a table of 5 people, 3 people looked at it, fiddle with it, try out different combinations. But no, we can’t figure how to activate the keypad/dialpad! Mind you, those 5 people are heavy weight geeks, much heavier than me. But nope, Samsung decides to design their UI such that no geeks will know how to activate the keypad/dialpad. (Please leave a comment if you intuitively found out about how to activate the Keypad)

So I went to sleep yesterday thinking that perhaps Samsung decided to ditch the keypad. Perhaps they have gather enough user data about the keypad being useless. Oh well…..


sienz face

Well, turns out i’m wrong. There is indeed a dialpad/keypad on Samsung Galaxy S II! But it’s UX design completely baffles me! If it’s just me, maybe it’s my problem, but 3 other people tried it and failed. Perhaps Samsung needs to rethink their UX design!

So how did I found out about it? All thanks to the mighty Googlem and surprise surprise Yahoo Answers! It’s also quite comforting to know that I’m not alone.

This is the said articleSamsung galaxy S2-how to make phone calls?

So for the benefit of all Samsung Galaxy S2 users out there, this is how you bring up the keypad.

  1. Select the Green Phone Icon (Contacts) – It should lead you to the screen where you see logs, contacts, favourites, etc.
  2. Place your finger on the “Logs” tab and swipe it towards the right.
  3. Voila! The keypad icon magically appear!!
Ok, here are some screenshots (BTW, thanks to this post, I’ve also learned how to screen capture by doing the Home+Power combo)
SGSII Contacts
Notice the small little glow at the top left corner? That is supposed to signify something is here – swipe me!
SGSII Contacts (with Keypad)
Hooray! The Keypad button is revealed!
SGSII Keypad
Hooray now I can call 999 without saving it as a Contact!

Google Multiple Calendar Sync with Nokia E71 (S60v3)

For the longest time I was using nuevasync to synchronize the many shared calendars I have on Google Calendar with my Nokia E71 built-in calendar. That is until nuevasync decides to go commercial. So since then I was unable to synchronize my phone’s calendar with my online calendar.

Then just as I am about to give up on Nokia and its incompatibility and lack of useful apps, I chance upon a forum post who suggest that Ovi is able to do multiple calendar sync!

So this was what I did

  1. Setup Ovi Sync (using SyncML and not the clunky Mail for Exchange)
    (The steps include receiving a SMS that will automatically setup the Sync Profile, quite seamless.)
  2. Import my private Google Calendar iCal address into Ovi Calendar.
  3. Sync using the “Sync” app under “Tools -> Sync” in my phone
  4. Voila! Finally I’m whole again!

All these would have been easier if I have an Android phone. I prefer HTC with QWERTY keyboard. So far only HTC Desire Z has that. >.<|| Come on HTC, launch a new QWERTY model already!

The Atom’s Atom – Final Chapter

The moment the Chan Particle Collider powered up, Dr. Thorne prepared to bring the ULHC up to a level of 550 YeV [1] per beam, the highest it had ever run. I was truly excited about this. If my calculations are correct, I would be the first person to have successfully created an artificial black hole permanently.

I would like to see the look on Dr. Thorne’s face when my initial observations hold. Up close, there can be no doubt that mass will determine how space curves; that will be evidenced through light bending before our very eyes!

By this time, the ULHC was humming with an almost malicious growl, but to me, it was simply the satisfied bellow of a machine knowing that its true moment of victory was approaching. Surrounded by the triumphant sounds, I could almost imagine stately horns and trumpets blasting the final satz [2] of Mahler’s 1st Symphony, against a backdrop of double basses furiously bowing a rhythmic pulse. As I lost myself in the beauty of the moment, my mind was a perfect balance calm and racing – serene like the breath before a plunge, and frantic like the flashes before one’s death.

Just then, something went terribly wrong… The ULHC began to crumple in on itself, and chaos ensued… I began hearing loud groans and crashes, as though the orchestra in my head had began to fall through the stage – the drums, gongs, harps and musicians imploding into one another, much like the scene happening right before me.

The melodies in my head continue distorting, like a broken track. Everyone was running in all directions, scrambling for the Light-Shuttle. But to my horror, and to Dr. Thorne’s, Ms Orv was too late. The last I saw was her beautiful face disappearing through the abyss where the ULHC used to be.

She did not look upset – and that broke my heart. Strangely, she looked distant, yet satisfied, as though my achievements impressed her. Yet, I knew that I had nearly destroyed everyone.

… It was my fault…

[1] YeV, Yotta Electron Volts, the largest unit prefix in the International System of Units (SI) denoting a factor of 1024 or 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000. (retrieved November 2010)

[2] Satz: A German term for ‘movement’ or ‘section’ in a piece of music.

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The Atom’s Atom – Chapter Four

A sense of uneasiness has been swelling within me recently. As I sat with Dr. Thorne at the university pub, he questioned if I was making a joke when I said objects blocked behind a black hole could be visible to us due to the curvature of time-space. The brevity of his tone only made his remark even more offensive. Who was the one joking here?

Such absurdity certainly warranted a shocked response, but I quickly regained my composure thinking that Thorne was too drunk with Russian vodka, or that somehow more than just his hippocampi had been damaged. Or, maybe he was intoxicated with her. He seemed to be particularly enchanted by our teaching assistant’s Russian descent. He calls her his “Sweet Berry”, a ridiculous distortion of her beautiful first name in my opinion. I would call her “Kalinka”[1], an apt term of endearment, befitting her name and snowy-pure face alike.

In any case, there was no urgent need for me to pursue our arguments further, since it would only be a couple of days to our field trip to the International Space Station XII[2], where the Chan Particle Collider can be found. Besides, why would an Associate Professor have to answer to a fresh faced researcher! I would once and for all prove that our predecessors were wrong, and set myself firmly in the Physics hall of fame.



The Light-Shuttle opened its dump-valves just as it hovered to a stop where we waited. As it idled, a pleasant whirring surrounded us.

“Allo’! Ve vill go up now… Move to middle of ze kah-rage please, vere zay is no people!” My berry crooned in a mixture of adorably broken English and thickset Russian accent. She gestured to the students, beckoning them up the entry ramp into one of Singapore’s few inter-planetary vehicles.

“Students, please be reminded that we will be breaking the light-barrier during the journey. I’d like all of you to put on your Quantum Entangled Lenses so that we can continue to see each other! [3]” Horten barked at the students as they settled into their seats, and he into his.

I was the last to board, and I saw Ms Orv settling in right beside Horten. It was unsettling to observe this; I could almost swear that she had been sending me signals of the romantic kind over the past weeks! Irritated, I then proceeded to settle my own posterior down opposite of them.

“Attention all passengers, breaking light speed in 5,4,3,2,1…”

I put on my lenses and the roaring engine of the ship gave the last audible sound before complete silence. To my abysmal horror, I could not see Horten or Berres. Did those two remove their quantum lenses on purpose? The empty two seats of Horten and Berres together were extremely vexing. Strange dirty thoughts began creeping into my mind on what they were doing outside the vision of everyone else. A swell of jealousy and anger was boiling within me. Before long, the shuttle decelerated below light speed and all was back to normal. Thankfully but painfully, those two were alive and well, and staring at each deeply.

“Horten! What happened? Where is your quantum lens? And what happened to Berres’s?”

“It…it malfunctioned. I couldn’t see…anything. I think the same happened to Berres’s as well”

An unexplainable strength surged through my arms and I swept their lenses from them violently.

“A.I. Alice, report status on lens”

“Fully functional sir”

“What on blue earth are you upset about Thorne!? This is no way to treat a girl like Berres”

“Oh! So it’s about Berres now, is it? Admit it Horten! You’ve lost your marbles ever since she entered our lives. I can see it in your eyes; you know what I’m talking about… You don’t have to defend your emotions by throwing snide remarks at me!”

“You IMBECILE!” He shot up, and I can almost feel death rays from his eyes trained at mine.

What then followed was a heavy silence in the entire shuttle – almost like the atmosphere during the conclusion of a particularly impossible final exam paper. I just wished that Horten would open up and tell me what was going on!

[1] Kalinka is the phonetic equivalent of ‘snow-berry’ in Russian.

[2] The International Space Station XII (ISS XII) is the 12th international collaborative space project, located on the outskirts of the known Universe. It was conceived by China, India and Singapore, and began operations in 2114.

[3] “Quantum teleportation and all that” The New Quantum Universe. Tony Hey, Patrick Walters. Cambridge University Press pg. 205

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The Atom’s Atom – Chapter Three

A fresh new day, 0530, and I am up with my usual routine once more. Going around the last corner of my jogging route, I feel a surge of excitement over some new and extremely weird observations I had been privately made in the past days. Ever since the esteemed predecessors in this field –Dr. Chandrasekhar and Dr. Hawkins, both my idols – presented their breakthroughs in astrophysics, I have felt that this was the true calling of my life.

I like routines, rules, structures and organisation. Even more so, I love Physics, and it has been my passion since time immemorial. I love the way it governs that which we observe. I like how it sets boundaries, structures and organisation to our physical universe.

Yet, as I feel the heat from my body dissipate while I slow my jog, I cannot help but question: what governs love? This new girl that my dear friend Dr. Thorne is so smitten with: what governs that? And why do I feel a tug in my chest cavity whenever I see her? After all, how does the mind, a construct that it is immaterial, intangible, and not physical affect my physical being?

As my heart races, and does a figurative back-flip, as I espy her familiar figure standing outside my office. It turns out that she would indeed be our teaching assistant for the astronomy module. Dr. Thorne will no doubt be doing literal back-flips when he hears of this.

I am truly beginning to believe that the astronomy module will not disappoint. With the good doctor and myself are co-lecturing, our two different styles cater to the differences in learning styles of the undergraduates. Much as I find his tardiness disdainful, he does have his way with the students, and that is enough to earn my respect and tolerance.

As the time approached for the first midnight tutorial, my initial fears were dispelled, as all of our undergraduates turned up enthusiastically. As our enigmatic teaching assistant set up our telescopes, I requested that she pointed first to Venus. She smiled back, and I realised to my horror that it had elicited the same warm sensation I experienced during my jogs. As I stood rooted, Dr. Thorne saved the day by breaking the silence and started explaining to our undergraduates that it is impossible to see Venus as it is, but only as it were, and that ‘now’ is irrelevant.

Just then, she smiled the same smile at Dr. Thorne, and he exchanged it with his own version of charm. My gut wrenched in agony.



“PROFESSOR ARNOLD!” I yanked his elbow.

“O. I apologise. Yes… As Dr. Thorne was saying, there is no substitute for learning except through experience. You need to be present during our midnight tutorial meetings to fully appreciate what you are learning.”

I had no idea what was going on in Horten’s permanently damaged head. He seems to drift off very easily lately, staring into the distance. I think he might be having hallucinations! I am genuinely worried for him.

“Horten, are you feeling under the weather?” I asked as we were walking back to our offices.

“No Dr. Thorne, I’ve never felt better. I’m sorry about the lecture, I was formulating lesson plans for the midnight tutorial later. Professor Cooper will be present, and I am sure he would not like to see us idling or fumbling without proper organisation.”

That was so like Horten – endlessly stressing over the infinitesimally smallest details about lesson structures and plans. It was great to have such an organised mind around, and Horten is a blessing when it comes to red tape, paperwork and finding my lost keys. Yet, he also exuded an eccentric demeanour, creating an image of a stereotypical mad scientist with OCD of sorts.[1]

The weirdness did not end there. During the midnight tutorial session with Professor Cooper sitting in, the most absurd thing occurred! Horten zeroed in onto a patch of sky, and explained to the students that they would be able to see the effects of light bending.

“As you will observe, this is characterised by light from a quasar source appearing as multiple points [2], with a black hole in the middle. Does that not surprise you?” Horten orated methodically to the students.

Nonsense! Light does not bend! I immediately took a peek, and all I saw was a blank spot at the point of interest! Not wanting to embarrass the poor professor in front of the faculty head, I let it slide. I stole a cursory glance at my favourite almond shaped face, and I saw amusement in her eyes as she looked upon my friend. What could she be so amused about?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: An anxiety disorder characterised by intrusive thoughts and impulsive actions.

Quasar:  A single source Quasar can appear more than 2 points to an observer due to gravitational lensing. (Astronomy – A Beginner’s Guide to the Universe (6th Ed.) Eric Chaisson, Steve McMillan. “Quasar Mirages”. Pearson Education Inc. Chapter 16, page 450.

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