20 April 2008

New Toy

I finally got tired of carrying two cellphones everyday.

Two phones? Yes, one for business calls (an SE-S500i) and one for personal calls/SMSs (SE-K800i). I do a lot of personal SMSs, close to about 1000 a month and I don't think my boss will appreciate that if I do it on company account. Morever, I finally has finished with my phase of playing with the latest cell phones.
So I went and bought a Samsung SGH-D880 DuoS. It is the only cellphone currently available that can hold two SIM cards. Yes I know you can buy such dual SIM phones in China but I just couldn't see myself using a phone with a brand name like "Bird" or "Red Flower".

Basically the D880 can hold two SIM cards thus enabling me to make/receive calls and SMSs on either of the two phone numbers, without having to swap SIM cards manually. Switching SIM cards involves pressing a button on the side of the phone and there is no need to reboot the phone to the sim card you wanted. I discovered this undocumented feature tonight after reading some reviews of the D880 on the 'Net. You only need to reboot if you want to specify which sim card to be the primary line. I am not surprised about this undocumented feature because the Samsung phone manual that came with the phone is hopelessly small and thin. 

The phone is a slider and has a large screen which is very handy for browsing the 'Net. It is not a 3G phone (up to 2.5G) but has most of the features commonly found in phones today except for wifi and infrared.

The menu system is almost the same as Sony-Ericsson's but require a bit of retraining. Sound is okay but will never be able to beat SE's. The only beef I have is that the four preset midi SMS alert tones cannot be replaced at all.

The T9 predictive text input is not as good as SE's but miles better as Motorola's crap T9 system. 

I have been using this phone for the past two weeks and so far I would say I am happy with it. I just need a phone to make calls and do SMSs. I don't need it to play music, make a epic movie, tell me where I am on planet Earth or cook me fish and chips.

I think the D880 will suit me just fine. For now.

Until Apple releases the next new model of the iPhone.

13 April 2008

Astro Gold-coloured Stupid Card

Tonight, 7.45pm...

Okay, Astro sent me this new gold-coloured smart card to replace the old one in my living room decoder. Says here in the printed instruction that it is going to be an easy four steps.

Right. Remove old smart card. Insert new smart card. Decoder auto updated itself within a minute. Switch on decoder again. TV shows "Please insert smart card" message. No channels can be viewed. All displayed same message. 

Ok. Repeat above steps again. Same result. The time is now 8.00pm. Liverpool is scheduled to kick-off at Anfield in 25 minutes time. Picks up phone and called Astro hot line.

Me : (Yada yada yada explained problem)

Astro lady : Okay sir, now you try this : Switch off your main plug for the TV and Astro and wait for 3 minutes. Then switch it back on, and press 880 and you will see a screen containing "Please insert your new smart card yada yada yada and then press OK". Do not press OK, just let the screen alone for 10 to 15 minutes. The decoder will then reboot and display the time. You then turn it on and you should be able to view the channels.

Me : Are you absolutely sure? I have a football match kicking off in 20 minutes and no self respecting Liverpool fan will ever miss a match except for funerals. We are not Chelsea fans.

Astro lady : It will be ok.

Me : Fine. (and proceed to wait 20 minutes and still nothing happened).

At 8.25pm...

Me : Stuff this. I am watching the match up stairs on the second decoder and the 14" TV. 

At half time....

TV downstairs still showing the stupid screen and nothing happened. Proceed to call Astro again.

Astro : Good evening sir. How can I assist you?

Me : I want to speak to someone about your Astro gold-coloured STUPID card!

Astro : Err... you mean the new smart card sir?

Me : No. I mean the new STUPID card.

Astro : Ok ok, I get the message. What's the problem?

Me : *sigh* (Explains problem again while vomiting batteries)

Astro : Ok sir, now listen to me please. Follow these instructions.

Me : *sigh* Yes, I know. Off the power to TV and the Astro decoder.

Astro : Yes. Then please hold until I get back to you.

Me : Make it fast. Liverpool is kicking off second half in 10 minutes. I miss a goal and you will die.

Astro : Now switch on the power. On the Astro with your remote. Insert the old smart card back. What do you see?

Me : I see Steve McMahon trying to be a football expert and failing miserably at it.

Astro : *Laughs* Ok. Now remove the old card and insert the new card. Then press 880.

Me : Ok.

Astro : Now press OK. What do you see?

Me : The screen says the new smart card will update my decoder yada yada yada and got another OK button at the bottom.

Astro : Ok. Press OK again. What do you see now?

Me : The TV goes blank and the decoder is showing AUTO UPDATE in its display.

Astro : Yes. That will go on for the next 15 minutes or so and you should be able to view your channels when it is over.

Me : Really? Looks like the lady earlier gave me the wrong instructions totally. You guys did not train them properly meh?

Astro : Well, sometimes we can get it wrong. Anything else I can help you with?

Me : Err... no. Look, you have been a great help. Sorry for being rough just now.

Astro : No problem sir. And I hope Liverpool will beat Blackburn too.

Me : You a Reds fan too?

Astro : Dyed in the wool Anfield Red all the way sir. Good night.

Me : Good night. *click*

09 April 2008

What a nice morning at Anfield

Before the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final between Arsenal - Liverpool at Emirates Stadium a week ago...

Pundits : Arsenal will win this one. They have too much talent and playing so well not to win it.

Arsenal 1 - Liverpool 1


Before last Saturday's EPL match between Arsenal - Liverpool at Emirates Stadium...

Pundits : Arsenal will win this one. They have to win it if they want to have the slimmest hope left to win the EPL tile. Liverpool will obviously field a weakened side in order to rest their main players for the UEFA Champions League quater-final return leg.

Arsenal 1 - Liverpool Reserve Team 1


Before last night's second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final between Arsenal - Liverpool at Anfield Stadium...

Pundits : Arsenal will win this one for sure. After the disappointing results of the last 2 matches, they will be very motivated and fired up to win this match in order to salvage their season.

Liverpool 4 - Arsenal 2. (Liverpool won on 5-3 aggregate and progress to Semi Final against Chelsea)

Wombie : Okay pundits, who wants the crow with tomato sauce first?

07 April 2008

Arsenal 1 - Liverpool Reserve Team 1

EPL on Saturday 5-4-2008.

It was a match that Liverpool can afford to lose but Arsenal can't.

The second match in the so called Arsenal-Liverpool Trilogy/Trinity, this match is a distraction from the other two UEFA Champions League quarter final matches involving both teams within a week.

If Liverpool loses this one, no big deal. If Arsenal loses or even draw, they can kiss their EPL title hopes or whatever's left of it goodbye.

So what did Rafa Benetez do in a situation like this? Rotation! He fielded eight non-regular players such as Crouch, Pennant, Benayoun, Riise, Lucas, Plessi (who?), and even Voronin the Potato had a go as a sub.

Arsene Wenger rested some of his regulars too, for what reason I do not know. I thought he still wanted to win the EPL title. 

Liverpool totally dominated the first half and had a goal by Crouch to show as well. Suddenly the prospect of this back-up team actually winning the match became very real. Unfortunately Arsenal got one goal back to equalize in the second half.

Later on in the second half Wenger started to field his regulars when he realized his dream of an EPL title is fading by the minute, but it is already too late even though Arsenal threw everything including the kitchen sink at the Liverpool goal.

To further aggravate Wenger's pain, Rafa threw on Torres and Gerrard with 15 minutes to go, trying to steal a win from under Wenger's nose, and would have done so had Voronin did not miss a big chance at goal. Now you know why I call him The Potato. He's that clumsy!

The match ended a 1-1 draw, but it might as well has been a defeat in Arsenal's eyes. Their prospect of winning the second leg of the Champions League match at Liverpool's Anfield this Tuesday may be in doubt, since they could not even beat a Liverpool Reserve team in their own backyard.