Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Trip to Japan 2012

It's been a while since my last post. I am currently in Japan for some laboratory works. So far everything goes smooth and steady, alhamdulellah. Here, I met a lot of new friends, which are mainly Japanese, followed by Arabs, Bangladeshis, Malaysians, Indonesians, and other nationalities. I never thought I will get the chance to practice Jordanian Arabic and Bengali here, two foreign languages that I'm moderate at.

I enjoyed my lab works. It is tough though, but I learn a lot. But let's not talk about lab works here okay... ;-)

Here I got the chance to explore some parts of Japan with the aid of my Japanese friends cum labmates. I visited Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Tokyo-Asakusa, Tokyo-Shibuya, Tokyo Skytree, Kiyosato Highland, Yokohama City and many more. Here are some pictures taken within my one and half month stay in Japan...

With my friend Ken Osawa, queuing outside Tsukiji Market, Tokyo (4.20 AM, after Fajr prayer)
Fresh tuna auction is happening here every morning, around 6 AM
'Turret' - the popular three wheel vehicle for transporting fresh fish & sea products actively moving in an out at Tsukiji Market
Tokyo Skytree, the current tallest broadcasting tower in the world (as of 2012)
Under the Skytree
With my labmates, Kento (left) and Ken Osawa (right)
Breathtaking view of Mount Fuji
At Seisen-Ryo, Kiyosato Highland
Doryu Waterfall in Hokotu, Yamanashi 
With labmates during Summer Camp 2012
Outside Panorama Onsen (on the last day of our summer camp)
At the popular Tokyo-Shibuya. People move like ants here... they scrambled!
A few seconds before crossing Shibuya Crossing

There are so many things I like about Japan - proper & systematic, disciplined, politeness, dedicated, which makes me want to explore more and more. Language could probably the greatest barrier to effective communication. It is important to know Japanese language if we are to live for three months or a bit longer. You need to equip with the basic phrases if you want to go to some shops, restaurants or going places. If possible try to write and read Hiragana and Katakana, it helps in many ways. For myself, I'm still trying. Three months is too short for a new language but I hope one day I can add Japanese into my language box... I hope ;-)

By the way, so far I have experienced four earth quakes here, and last two weeks (October, 19th) could probably the strongest... what an amazing Japan! 

Before signing off, perhaps a little gratitude...
  • Firstly, I would like to thank Mr Zaidi for taking me to Penang Airport.
  • To Kayrol, thanks for your call just before my flight, I really appreciate that.
  • To Aswad, thanks for paying my bill - My subscription should have ended by the end of September, I don't understand why Celcom still charged me in full - (Sorry Celcom I'm really not happy with you!)
  • To bro Shams, thanks for taking good care of my car, I hope the battery is still okay (I think it's already two years now, might be dead soon, please let me know if it needs change).
  • To Mr Abdullah Al-Afandi from Saudi Arabia, thank you for the Quran you gave me as a gift, may Allah gives you reward (I enjoyed my conversation with you during the flight but sorry for my bad Arabic, I'm very much influenced by Shami accent.. huhu).
  • To Anas from Jordan, thanks for your call, your 8,800 km call feels just like a next door to me - truly one of the best conversations I had in many months.
  • To my big brother Izam, mama and auntie Fariza, thanks for your weekly SMSes.
  • To my brother Iziff, thanks for taking good care of mama.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Virus Protection for Netbook: Now I choose Avast! Pro

After years of experience and loyalty to Kaspersky, I finally switched to another brand. To be honest, it wasn't an easy decision. Knowing the fact that Kaspersky is one of the best performing antivirus in the world, why to choose another of lower rating?

Again, it is solely based on my experience. Antivirus in general works differently on different computer system, so does Kaspersky. KAV works faster in my Toshiba laptop (Core2duo, 2007) compared to my Acer netbook (Atom N280, 2009). By far, KAV 2009 was the best version of Kaspersky antivirus I ever had throughout my life as a legal user.

When Kaspersky introduced rootkit scan in 2010, which designed to neutralize attack on 64-bit on-line banking system, that's where the problem begins. I used to write about the issue in my older post [From My Desk: Kaspersky AV2010 Root Scan Issue: Solve it using KAV2011].

The question is do I feel secure with Kaspersky? Absolutely yes! I always feel safe even with increasing to-date cyber threats. However good performing antivirus sometimes consumes more CPU resources resulting in a slower-running computer. That's what happened to my Acer Aspire One Netbook after upgrading to KAV2010 and KAV2011, although my HD is 80% space free and frequently defragmented. Sometimes I have to disable the protection mode for my Words & Excels to work without interruption. Too bad!

When my KAV license almost expired last June, I quickly googled for alternatives. Panda, Avast and Avira were those in my quick list. Finally I chose avast! Pro Home & Student Edition due to the half price offer to students. It's such a mixed feelings though because I wasn't sure whether I made the right choice. Now two months have past, I feel that avast! Pro really suits my netbook well. No sluggish start up, no freezing, as if my KAV2009 is back to life. Furthermore, I like avast! Pro interface. It is so presentable and easy to understand. This is the first time I really feel that I have a total control over my computer.

My genuine antivirus collection
So if you are looking for an antivirus that suits your netbook (those powered by atom processors), nah... avast! Pro is the answer. I also recommend it to be used in older PCs. Try to look for Student Edition because it's worth your money. No point to have a super duper antivirus if it only slows down your computer. The most important is to HAVE A PEACE OF MIND and be in control over your own computer.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Attending al-Barmawi hosted iftar

Supposedly if one plans to host an iftar, he does not need to ask when he should organize the event, rather he will set the date at his convenience. However, my friend Mostafa did it in the opposite way. He asked me to decide the date based on my convenience. Perhaps, he considered the limited time I have as a working guy and the distance I would be traveling. Truly I felt honoured and believed this kind of kindness was another good example of Arab hospitality.

Mansef, that's the menu he told me. Oh yeah? I miss that. Actually I miss Arabic food. I have many Arab friends who cook, and Mostafa al-Barmawi is a new one that made up to the list. Actually, Mostafa and I are so new to each other but he treated me like he knows me for years. Thanks to Khalid Jabir, my Jordanian brother, otherwise I would not have known this nice person. 

What do you think am I looking at?

Joining me was brother Hadri, another Malaysian from Machang Kelantan. Perhaps I should call this "al-Barmawi Iftar special for Malaysians" hehe..

Whether it's for Malaysians or not, we really enjoyed the iftar, as much as we enjoy our friendship and brotherhood. And that's the spirit of Ramadan.

Date: 24 July 2012 (Tuesday)
Venue: Mostafa's room, USM 

Well, seems that I'm the one who do the cooking... Congratulations Az'ouz! Good acting... hehe
This is the real cook.. Mostafa, and our friend Hadri
Mostafa's version of chicken mansef - Taste better than its look