Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007

Year 2007 is an exciting year for me, as I experienced greatest thing in life compare to 2006 and 2005. A quick flash back on what I did in 2007:
  • Jan -Feb: Prepare for the great migration from Singapore to Swindon after staying in Singapore for nearly 7 years.

27/2: Distance from SG - London

  • March - April: Stayed in Ibis hotel for 1 month and struggling to live without Internet :) also 1st UK trip to Cornwall and visit Stonehenge.

7/4: Day 2 of Cornwall trip: Porthreat

  • May - June: London trip & bought a house in Swindon, will be ready by Jan 08.

31/5: received first UK fine for £30, for using bus lane in Oxford

  • July - August: Brighton trip and met local chinese in Swindon

  • 12/8: Bristol Ballon Fiesta by Discovery Channel

  • Sep - Oct: 1st Europe trip to Barcelona trip and my VW car finally arrive.
  • 15/9: Sagada Familiar @ Barcelona, shot using 12mm lens

  • Nov - Dec: Got my British license & serious about blogging since this blog was created in 2005.

30/11: company dinner & won £100 Mark & Spenser gift card

Cass Art London Sale

While in London, we went to Cass Art London in Islington. If you are into art, you won't want to miss the sale of discounted art materials.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dell 10% Deal

Dell is giving a 10% promotion code (9DGRQPZDFXQGBP) valid until 2nd Jan 2008, upon checkout for purchase over £499 (i think). The system i'm interested is XPS 420 and it costs £630.42 after the rebate.

The cofiguration as below.

Intel® Core™ 2 Quad-Core™ Processor Q6600 (2.40GHz, 8MB, 1066MHz)
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium - English
Base Warranty - 1 Year XPS Premium Hardware Support (incl. Gaming and On-Site Support)
Monitor Not included
3072MB 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [2x1024/2x512]
640GB Dual Hard Drive Raid 0 Stripe (2x320GB - 7200rpm)
SINGLE 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT card
16x DVD +/- RW Drive
Dell™ Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard and Optical Mouse - UK/Irish (QWERTY)

Integrated HDA 7.1 Dolby Digital Audio
No Speakers
19-in-1 Bluetooth Media Card Reader
No Modem
Microsoft® Works 8.0 - English
Services & Software
No Accidental Damage Support
No Security/Anti-Virus Protection - English
Also included with your system
Shipping Documents
XPS 420 English Documentation with UK/Irish Power Cord
Gedis Bundle Reference
Order Information
XPS Desktop Order - UK
Standard Warranty
Base Warranty - 1 Year XPS Premium Hardware Support (incl. Gaming and On-Site Support)
Promotions Hidden Option Class
Hard Drive Upgrade From 500GB Stripe Raid 0 to 640GB Stripe Raid 0 (2X320GB)
Dell System Media Kit
XPS 420 Resource DVD

Creative Webcam Deal

This is a nice webcam deal from Pixmania.

but this purchase does not eligible for Creative £10 cashback which run until 15th Jan 2008.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Travelodge room for £9

UK room promotion from Travelodge for 2008.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Deal for homebuyer

Got this email from Bryant Homes, more deals can be found in SmartNewHomes offers.

Such deal might not be attractive as house price down again for this month.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shot of the day

While I was walking home from the town, I saw black smoke covering my walk path. Not long after, I saw fire fighters putting off the fire from the incinerated car. I think the car was running out of coolant.

Swindon Designer Outlet Sales

Went to designer outlet and took some pictures of the sales.

Moben Kitchen & Sharp Bedroom Sale

Moben is having their kitchen sale, competitor to Magnet and Sharps Bedroom has sale too.

Sony LCD TV & PS3 Deal

This seems like a nice deal, KDL40V3000U supports 1080p. since I need PS3 is nice to have, all for £999.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Problem of the day

Boxing day, isn't really great for us. Instead of shopping for good deal, we spent most of the day on the road, for Cherlyn to familiar with the road, signal, turns. On top of that, problem with the suction mirror for examinor.

We were trying to stick the suction mirror (using boil water, hair dryer, tape) for Cherlyn driving test but it kept falling down. We concluded it is broken as the knob had lost grip. This has been troubling us for the whole day since most shops are not open until tomorrow.

Took the XMas lighting deco at the end row of the house we renting.

Dual Dect phone and Call forwarding option

While I was searching for a dual dect phone for my house, I came across this niche device, Vosky Call Center for Skype. The good points about this device is it can perform outgoing call forwarding from Skype to an ordinary phones (landline or mobile) and vice versa, accepting incoming call forwarding from an ordinary calls to skype calls.

So why do I consider this device? A few months ago I was trying to setup my own VOIP service using AsteriskNOW. There are a few other options out there that is free (as it is opensource) but I ended up using Truphone. You need to download Truphone software sisx file for your nokia phone with wifi function(that's why i'm using Nokia state-of-the-art outdated N80) before calling to 40 countries landline (including Malaysia & Singapore) and some countries mobile (including Singapore) for free (extended until Feb 08). Do expect some lags.

This is how Truphone work

As Truphone only works with wifi (only at home & McDonald) and free calling will end by Feb 08, I need to find a cheaper better solution than calling card (Cherlyn & I been using when away from home). Vosky sound like a good solution. My idea is get 2 of these devices, 1 for UK and 1 for KL (sorry my SG friends) so that all our KL family & friends can get in touch with us by calling a local landline number (cheaper than mobile). Now depends on Vosky capability, the outgoing calling function might only support 1 number, meaning the device cannot intelligently distinguish to whom i'm calling.

Logically thinking, it is a 1 way ticket. All KL friends -> KL landline -> Vosky forward to 1 skype contact -> Vosky receive call -> Vosky outgoing forward to me. I can't call all my friends in KL since I cannot call my friends in Skype list as Vosky in KL is connected to my parent house (unless all friends has Skype & Vosky device). So I can only call my parent. Nevertheless, this means my sis in London can call my parent too. This might not be a good solution for us but it does mean we can are reachable at local (KL) landline cost (if they also understand not to call us when we are sleeping, 7-8 hours difference).

With several plus point, here comes the minus point. You need to hook it using USB to your PC. So, you need to turn on your PC to use it. While I have no problem with it in UK, my implementation plan will not work in KL as my parent house always exposure to power surge caused by lighting. Just 2 weeks ago the PC used by my dad was spoilt by the surge.

Idea aside, the nicest looking dual dect phone that support landline and skype is Philips VOIP841. This phone doesn't need to connect to the PC.. aha, all it needs is to connect to the ADSL router.

To eliminate redundancy, I will consider buying either Vosky or VOIP841 or other cheaper solution.

TV signal & High Definition

Most of the new TV selling in the UK retail shops are able to receive freeview (DVB-T) digital signal on top of the normal analog (DVB) signal. Freeview has more than 20 free channels. Although not all channels are available as it is location based, but starting mid 2008 the digital switch off will take place, meaning analog signal transmitter tower will be replaced by phases and Swindon will be completely digital by 2010.

Well, Freeview is receive via aerial antenna, there is also satellite free channels. Most retailers are offering Sky Pay Once Watch Forever for £75. By installing a satellite dish with a satellite receiver box, you can enjoy 20+ more channels for free.

Now, what about High Definition (HD) signal? Most LCD/Plasma TV comes with HD Ready but how often one benefit from such expensive investment? While I was in Singapore, HD signal was only in testing phase for none cable resident, and Starhub CableTV is the only content provider with HD service. You need to get a HD set top box in order to decode the HD signal. Here in UK, only Virgin Media V+ and Sky HD are offering HD. My requirement is to view all available channels, if needed be, pay 1 time charge for the set top box without subscription. Without a HD subscription, viewer can watch BBC HD, ITV HD and possible Channel4HD for free. Look likes the best option is "Sky Pay Once Watch Forever" (that's why in Dixon 10% discount I picked it) until I discover freesat.

From the website, it said freesat will be available by spring 2008 and HD signal is available. This set top box will be available at major retailer by then. I'm holding my horse and ready to get this one. Perhaps by mid 2008, most TV will be able to accept HD signal without a set top box, just like it is able to support Freeview now.

Queen Christmas 2007 Speech

This was the delivered speech by the queen for Christmas 2007.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

How I spent my XMas Day

Besides sitting at home, monitoring the deal, today we went to my chinese colleague house during lunch time and he prepared some dumpling and dessert for us.


on the way back from familiarizing road for Cherlyn coming driving test. colourful cloud & sky

each one brought a dish, Cherlyn cooked rosemary chicken with lemon, on the far left but she didn't get to eat as she was having fever

secret santa

Last 3 rows bingo & won a gift

this is the Mandarin group, with mixture of malaysian, chinese, singaporean & hong kies

Dixon 10% Deal

I'm quite interested to get a Samsung 40" LCD TV, with a 10% discount code, it is really worth buying. But I decided to wait further as the LCD TV is not my best choice. Finger cross better deal coming.

Cosmo Buffet Revisit

Went to Cosmo again with my future neighbour, Jackson & Linda for XMas eve dinner. The food wasn't as good as our first visit but we still enjoy it. Cherlyn didn't eat much as you was having fever :(

On the tepanyaki counter, we can choose kangaroo, king prawns, steak, turkey and vege. I ordered fish, which was not on display

sushi, turkey, duck