Sunday, January 29, 2012

Car windscreen repair

In one sunny day, I discovered a long crack (slightly more than 1 feet) on the left hand side of my car's windscreen. To replace a new windscreen would probably cost above RM800, and after the replacement, I would need to reapply V-Kool which will probably cost another few hundreds. After some thought, I decided to get the windscreen repaired rather than replaced.

I called up a windscreen specialist called Mr. Raymond Fong, and he turned up at my home within 3 hours on the same day.

He covered the part to be repaired from direct sunlight with an umbrella, then carefully applied some sort of glass compound into the crack with his tools. After that, he removed the umbrella and make use of the ultraviolet light from the sun to dry out and harden the compound. The whole process took less than 1 hour, and the crack become a slight scar which is not easily seen. This repair also prevents the crack from widening further.

I was charged RM150 for the job, with official receipt and warranty. If you are also looking for car windscreen repair service, I recommend Raymond to you for his professional and quality service.

Checking the Selangor state Quit Rent payment status online

If you are having property in Selangor state, you can check the Quit Rent (Hasil Tanah) bill and payment status online at this website:

Just input the information of your property which are printed on your Quit Rent bill, and you can immediately check your account information, the address where your Quit Rent bill was sent to, the amount due, and your last payment detail.

This is particularly useful if you made your payment using online banking method, to ensure that the payment was successfully made and recorded. If you haven't received your Quit Rent bill, you can also check to which address the bill was sent to.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Kenwood KDC-U353R CD / MP3 / WMA player with USB and AUX input in my car

After some years of operation, the stock head unit of my Toyota Avanza is having problem pulling in the CD, and I planned to replace it since several months ago.

I don't have high demand in car audio, and don't want to spend too much on it. However, I do have basic demand, which the quality of most of the China made brands not meeting my expectation. Therefore, I go for mid-range, and finally installed Kenwood KDC-U353R in my car.

This seems to be a new 2012 model, and cost me RM250.

Function wise, it meets my requirement to listen to radio and to play CD audio / MP3 / WMA with CD / CDR / CDRW or USB drive. In fact, this unit comes with a free 4GB USB Pendrive which can store several hundred MP3 files. I think this unit is unable to play AAC M4A file, which is something nice to have, but not a big deal if it doesn't have.

It also comes with a small remote control, a nice gadget for passengers in 2nd or 3rd row seat to take control of it.

Like most of Kenwood head unit, its faceplate is removable (so called Theft Deterrent Faceplate - TDF) and there is a special casing to keep the removed faceplate. Taking out and putting on the faceplate is pretty easy. However, there will be occasion to accidentally pressed the Eject button and cause the faceplate to come out from the panel, even if we don't mean so.

The Kenwood KDC-U353R head unit looks elegant at night, with red backlight and blue LED display. The brightness of the blue LED display can be adjusted in its function setting.

Radio reception is very good, better than the stock HU of Toyota Avanza 1.5G. The radio is still clear in some rural area where previously the stock unit will produce a lot of hissing sound.

Its sound quality is better than the stock HU too (this is as expected from Kenwood product). It works well with the stock speakers in Toyota Avanza, and I have added 2 tweeters in front to get more treble, especially when listening to radio.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

RM88 CNY offer package for SmartTAG + Touch n Go or PLUSMiles card

Currently, there is a Chinese New Year offer package for SmartTAG + Touch n Go or PLUSMiles card selling at RM88 (normal price: RM120 + RM10 = RM130).

Offer period: 21 Jan 2012 - 29 Jan 2012

Where to buy?

  • Touch 'n Go Hub at Bangsar South, KL Sentral or Wisma Nufri
  • Reload 'n Go counters at Seremban R&R, Sg. Buloh OBR and Temerloh R&R
  • Touch 'n Go service centre along PLUS Highway and MTD Highway
  • Touch 'n Go SPOT counters at:
    • Shell, Hentian Sebelah Juru, Lebuhraya PLUS Arah Utara
    • Esso, Hentian Sebelah Juru, Lebuhraya PLUS Arah Selatan
    • Shell, R&R Tapah, Lebuhraya PLUS Arah Utara
    • Shell, R&R Tapah, Lebuhraya PLUS Arah Selatan
    • Petronas, Lebuhraya Sg Besi Arah Utara
    • BHPetrol, Lebuhraya Sg Besi Arah Selatan
    • Petronas, R&R Ayer Keroh, Lebuhraya PLUS Arah Utara
    • Shell, R&R Pagoh, Lebuhraya PLUS Arah Utara
    • Petronas, R&R Skudai, Lebuhraya PLUS
    • Shell, Gombak, Lebuhraya MRR2, Arah Batu Caves
    • Petronas, Lingkaran Karak, Lebuhraya MRR2
Click here for more information about RM88 CNY offer package for SmartTAG + Touch n Go or PLUSMiles card.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Installed D-Plus pedal lock in my car

I have heard about the wonder of pedal lock such as Locktech in securing the car from theft for quite some times. Today, I finally installed one in my car when I visited Brother's shop. The brand is D-Plus, also made in Thailand as Locktech, and feature-wise it seems like both are very identical.

This lock has dual locking system. At the first level, pull the beige handle and the brake pedal will be locked and not depressible. At the second level, push the second lock beside the handle, and the second lock need to be unlocked before the first lock can be released. Both the locks are using the same key.

While this lock is engaged, the car engine cannot be started.

Somebody has uploaded a video to YouTube to show this D-Plus lock in action.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Balik Kampung, Rumah Selamat campaign - Get the police to watch over your house during long holiday

Are you staying in Klang Valley and going back to your hometown or long vacation during this coming Chinese New Year?

You can inform the police by filling up the Balik Kampung form online or download the form, fill it up and submit to your nearby police station. This will allow the police to increase patrols in your housing estates and pay particular attention to empty homes during the festive holidays to prevent criminals from breaking into your house.

The police mobile patrol units will leave the Police Visitation Forms in your mailbox as their visit report to your house.

This Balik Kampung campaign also covers gated and guarded communities in Klang Valley area.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What can you expect from Near Field Communication (NFC)

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a kind of wireless communication technology built upon the existing Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) standards. Research and development activities on NFC have been active since early 2000s.

The official NFC logo is as below. You might probably find it on NFC-enabled devices.

While RFID devices are generally expensive, NFC devices are much more cheaper, making it possible to be included as part of a handphone feature. In fact, the 1st NFC phone is Nokia 6131 launched in 2006, and the 1st Android NFC smartphone is Samsung Nexus S launched in 2010.

The characteristics of NFC are:
  • 2 NFC devices can establish 2-way communication between them.
  • Beside that, NFC devices can also establish 1-way communication to read, write or erase data stored in specific RFID based tags called NFC tags.
  • NFC need very close contact between the devices or tag for the communication to occur. Normally, the gap between them must be within a few centimeters only.
  • NFC communication set-up time is very fast, normally within 0.1 seconds. This make it attractive as data transfer is instant once the devices or tag are touched together.
  • NFC communication is slow (about 424 kbps) compared with other wireless communication technology such as Bluetooth, WiFi, etc. However, this is good enough to transfer a small amount of data instantly. In addition, we can use NFC signal to initiate other faster data communications including Bluetooth pairing, WiFi connection, etc.
Today, as the amount of NFC-enabled devices available in the market has not reach its critical mass yet, this technology is still new for most of us. However, as more and more NFC-enabled handphones and other NFC-enabled devices roll-out to the market, we will have the chance to see it in action everywhere. It is estimated that, there will be over 500 million NFC-enabled handphones in use worldwide by 2015.

Industry players such as Google are working hard in making NFC to support electronic payment, electronic cash, electronic credit card, etc. for their Google Wallet. MasterCard is also working hard to make use of NFC for their PayPass contactless payment feature.
Right now, NFC tag has already shown its capability to do what the QR-code can do. This include storing of:
  • Website URL
  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • SMS message
  • Any Plain Text
  • Contact Information (vCard)
  • Google Maps Location
  • Google / Bing Search query
  • Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn
  • and more...

The advantages of using NFC tags than using QR codes including:
  • QR code is printed and final. NFC tag can be rewritten (multiple re-use), or optionally made into read-only.
  • QR code must be visible to the scanner. NFC tag can be hidden behind a label/poster/etc.
  • NFC tag reading is faster than QR code reading.
And the disadvantages of using NFC tags than using QR codes including:
  • QR code can be read from far, as long as it is visible. NFC need close contact to work.
  • QR code can be in electronic form (a graphical image file) which can be easily transmitted and duplicated. You can also put it on a webpage and show it to all the browsers. NFC tag is physical.
Right now, we just have to stay tuned and wait for the day of NFC to come to our day-to-day live.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What can you do with QR Code

QR code (QR = Quick Response) is a kind of commonly used 2-dimensional barcode nowadays.

This is the QR code of my blog. I'm sure you have seen other QR codes elsewhere as well.

QR code is originally created by Denso Wave (a subsidiary of Toyota) to keep track of vehicle parts along the manufacturing process. It has been around since 1994. Today, it has been internationally adopted and used for many different purposes, especially in the Advertising and Promotion sector.

What makes QR code so interesting and commonly used?
  • It can store much more information (as much as several thousands characters) than the traditional 1-dimensional barcode. 
  • Other than alphanumeric, it can also store binary data, which can be unicode (such as Chinese characters), image, and almost anything that can be represented in binary data. And it directly supports Japanese encoding (Kanji and Kana).
  • It has small printout size compared with 1-dimensional barcode.
  • It has error correction capability, and still can be read without problem even when partially dirty or damaged.
  • It can be read pretty fast, and from any angle (360 degree omni-directional capability).
  • Other than black-and-white, it can also be printed in multiple colours.
QR code is readable by barcode scanner which support 2-dimensional barcode. Some airlines and cinemas have installed QR code readers at their check-in point and make use of QR code in their customers' self-printed tickets.

However, what make it so popular nowadays is that, there are plenty of QR code reading apps available for smartphones including iPhone, Android Phones, Windows Mobile Phones, etc. and most of the apps are free for download and use.

QR code is also easy to generate, because there are also plenty of software and web-based generator available. One of my favourite online QR code generator is QR Stuff.

You can encode the following into QR code:
  • Website URL
  • YouTube Video Link
  • GPS Coordinate / Google Maps Location
  • Twitter Profile / Status Update
  • Facebook Profile / Like
  • LinkedIn Profile / Share
  • FourSquare Venue
  • iTunes Link (music, album, artist, app, etc.)
  • Any Plain Text
  • Telephone Number
  • SMS Message to a number
  • Email Address
  • Email Message to an address
  • Contact Details (VCARD)
  • Calendar Event (VCALENDAR)
  • Wifi Login Information for Android device
  • Paypal Buy Now Link
Feel free to visit to the QR Stuff website and generate your own QR codes for fun and perhaps profit.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.