Budget update: November 2017

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Without realizing it, I’ve skipped last month’s Budget update which, to be honest, I’m quite disappointed about. I’m still trying to instill the habit of posting these every month because it is something that I am not accustomed to doing. So without further ado, let’s get back right into it.

November was a busy month for me which means that I had to spend more. I had to pay for a number of wedding “saman”, having to take my other half to dinner at a fancy place for her birthday. I had to pay for accommodation in Rome for next year (Yes, I’m going to travel to Europe in May). And not forgetting I’ve also added to my already increasing fixed expenses by donating to WWF. This is why there is a significant increase of 32% in expenses compared to the month of August.

I have gotten 3 samans for November alone which got me thinking November is a popular date for weddings. I love it when we Malaysians use the word “saman” when you get a wedding invitation card. It never fails to amuse me because it is true. For one of the wedding, we had to travel to Ranau and stay there for 2 nights.

I am supposed to save some money too for my trip to Europe next year which I feel I am not doing really well so far. Food prepping came to a halt which I am not quite happy about. This could be due to lack of sheer determination for preparing food on a lazy Sunday. I am hoping that I get my food prep inspiration back somehow but in the meantime, I think I will enjoy my December holidays first. This is how a procrastinator works right?

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I need to note that my fixed expenses are now 42% of what I earn in a month. 42 percent is still considered okay if you are following the 50/30/20 rule. But I would like that number to be as low as possible. My fixed expenses are my car loan, medical insurance, WWF donation, and Spotify subscription. I could have avoided donating to WWF entirely but my partner insisted that it is for the greater good to save our environment especially our rainforest. Well, we all know how that ended up.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Looking into investing in Gold or Bitcoin. Seeing how bitcoin value is skyrocketing is very tempting to invest in.
  • Christmas gift exchange party with 3 different groups. One is with my school friends and the other is with my family and lastly is with my colleagues. It would cost money to spend on presents but it would be fun.
  • Traveling to Europe next May will be exciting. I always enjoy traveling but I never had the determination to do as much traveling as I want because I wanted to save more money for myself. Yes of course, traveling would put a dent in my savings but it would be worth to see and experience the other parts of the world.
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Budget update: August 2017

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I’m gonna start doing my own Budget update for every month from now on which was inspired by Ringgit oh Ringgit blog, well hopefully.

August had been a quiet month, not much activities and eating out. July’s expenses were higher since my girlfriend and I went to Kuching for the Rainforest Music Festival. I have started doing food preps too since last July on the weekend for my lunch the next 4 days when I’m at work. I realized that it is much cheaper than buying food outside which would cost me rm6-8 per meal. Now each meal would only cost me around RM4 if I cook my own meal. Well it depends on where I buy my groceries too. I’ve been buying my chicken breast and vegetables from CKS and would cost me rm15-18 for 4 days of meal. But this week I bought my groceries from Pick & Pay since I was already there and I was too lazy to go to CKS the day before I prep my meal. Pick & Pay cost me rm20 for 3 days of meal which is much more than what I usually pay when I shop at CKS. Maybe I should try buying my food from the local market which would be cheaper.

 

Spending breakdown August 2017

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My car loan will most likely end up at the top of the list every single month since it is the highest liability I have right now. The second highest expenses which is Food and Beverage did not change much since last July. The most I’ve spend on food during this month was when I went to Aki Sushi. It is important to note that the month of July and August expenses for food and beverage which are expenses for eating out is lower compared to June. It is during July I’ve started doing food prep so it does lower my expenses on food. My shopping however which are my groceries is higher since I must buy my food prep stuff now. Oh and another extra expenses I have to put down now is my medical insurance which I bought in July. So that is another extra RM215 monthly expenses I must take note of.

 

Things to Look Forward to:

  • I had resisted for a few months now to buy a perfume I’ve been dying to get which is Chanel Allure Homme Sport Eau Extreme (ikr, must be the longest name for a perfume). I keep telling myself I don’t need it yet since I have my Bvlgari aqva marine and my Hugo Boss at home.
  • I have been saving some money for a new pair of earphones. I’m thinking of getting 1more Triple Driver which is rated highly with that price tag.

Hello 2011!

I danced and drank my way into year 2011 by celebrating with friends and family. It was crowded here at Kota Kinabalu Water Front where people from around Borneo gathered to watch the world prepare to greet 2011. The sound of whistles and the party poppers starts filling the air just half an hour before midnight as it gets louder every minute. I drowned my thirst with a bottle of Heineken as I waited for the party to begin.

And then the countdown begins. Ten… nine… eight… seven….. Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!! Bright little objects propelled into the sky and ended with a loud bang. It lit and sparkled beautifully in the dark sky with green, red and gold which lasted about 15 minutes. When the fireworks ended, the music from the pubs and clubs nearby can be heard even clearer.

Finally a brand New Year has begun and I knew I had plenty to be grateful for last year. For one I’ve graduated with a Degree and became a CISCO certified person. Now I will begin year 2011 with a new job and hopefully everything will go well. I will try to stick with my regular exercise and to live healthily even after climbing up Mount Kinabalu by the end of January. Here’s to a fabulous 2011! Cheers…

Marina Court project theme v.1

 

Marina Court green theme
Green theme with black white background. Click on the image to enlarge

 

I have been working on the theme of my current project and I would appreciate any comments.

This is a WordPress site using the Lukoo theme. I tweaked the theme so that the contents look a bit more compact. Below are some of the changes I tweaked on the theme to my liking:

  • Used a black & white background image instead of a plain white-grey color background
  • Increased the width of the body wrapper
  • Decrease height of header wrapper
  • Decrease the bottom padding of the main content wrapper
  • Increased the width of the main content wrapper so that the main content and the sidebar are close to each other.
  • Changed the background image of the main content wrapper with opacity of 90% for transparency
  • Added opacity 0.9 to the sidebar wrapper with CSS

From the screenshot above, there are still a lot I can do to make the theme better. For example I need to create my own custom logo to replace the Lukoo logo. Probably change some of the text colors and sidebar. I would really love to hear some opinions on the design. If you do have some ideas to share, then don’t hesitate to drop some comments below.

Thanks

Notetaking service Evernote takes the spot

Evernote for windows

I had recently installed Evernote on my Windows and was surprised by how powerful the service is. I had used other notetaking apps like Windows build in Sticky Notes which basically saves notes that you write on it. Sticky note is only good if you’re just trying to quickly write and retrieve notes on your computer. There are also Linux-based notetaking apps like Tomboy Notes, and BasKet Note Pads but these apps are nowhere as powerful as Evernote.

Evernote can capture anything from text, websites, pictures, videos and audio as notes and then you can access them from the Internet, your computer or your phone. It also has a powerful search function that can scan for text in image files. Evernote supports a number of operating system platforms including Mac OS X, Windows, Android, and Web OS.

You can learn more from the official Evernote website.

Bookmarking with Xmarks

Xmarks: free bookmark syncHave you ever been in a situation where you forget to backup your bookmarks from your web browser when you format your computer? If you have, then you might want to check out Xmarks.

I overlook backing up my bookmarks whenever I wanted install a fresh Windows or Ubuntu operating system. I usually backup my most important stuff first which is my work; important bytes of data on my harddrive. Next I would export my bookmarks as a XML file, store it on an external drive then import it back once I have a fresh OS working. Usually I would forget to do this and I end up losing all my bookmarks.

I tried online bookmark services like Google Bookmarks and Delicious as an alternative and safer way to store my bookmarks. By using these services, I did not have to worry about ever losing my bookmarks again since it is stored online. But using these services was too much of a hassle to import and export bookmarks between the browser and the bookmark service.

Then I started searching for a bookmark synchronization application that could sync Google Bookmarks and your browser bookmarks. I have found that Chrome has a build in Sync function that does exactly that. It also syncs themes, preferences, extensions and applications which makes it a handy function to have.

Google Chrome Sync

But what if you want to sync those information across different web browser? I found Xmarks to be a very popular bookmark application that works as a plugin on Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari (Mac OS). I really haven’t explored the application yet at the time of this writing but I am hoping that it is the answer to all the bookmarking hassle I had gone through. Below are some of the screenshots I took while installing Xmarks on Firefox and Chrome.

Firefox Xmarks secure password sync
Xmarks securely sync passwords
Firefox Xmarks sync open tabs
Xmarks save web pages open on web browsers
Firefox Xmarks sync history
Xmarks save browser history
Firefox Xmarks ready to sync
Ready for synchronize
Firefox Xmark Success
Successfully synchronize bookmarks
Chrome Xmark Extension
Chrome Xmark Extension

Cellular Telecommunication – GSM, CDMA

From my last post, I have written about telecommunication in general. Here I will write more about cellular telecommunication and its technologies particularly GSM and CDMA. Both are 2G technology.

Most people now associate telecommunication with modern technologies that provide mobile communications to users both in the form of voice and data transmissions. There are a number of different standards that telecommunication companies use to provide cellular services.

Cellular telecommunication was conducted over analog system that transmits waveforms which can degrade over long distances. Because of that, cellular telecommunication has transformed to digital converting the signals into groups of numbers that could not be broken down over time and distance. As a result of this digital transformation, cellular telecommunications are based on many different standards. Phones and systems that operate on the same standard can usually work with each other.

The most popular of the digital standards are Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). GSM is the standard used in much of the world. In Malaysia, GSM is most common, while CDMA and PHS (PHS) mobile phone is also very popular.

In terms of data transfer speed, both technologies continue to rapidly leapfrog one another. Both provide “3G” standards or 3rd generation technologies. CDMA2000 is CMDA’s answer to need for speed. GSM’s answer is EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) with added technologies that include UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephone Standard) and HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) This technology is also known as W-CDMA, but incompatible with CDMA networks.

GSM phones uses SIM cards that allow phones to be instantly activated, interchanged, swapped out and upgraded, all without carrier intervention. The SIM itself in tied to network, rather than the actual phone. CDMA carriers on the other hand require proprietary handsets that are linked to one carrier only. When upgrading a CDMA phone, the carrier must deactivate the old phone then activate the new one and the old phone becomes useless.