Oct 31, 2012

Planning a vacation

Deals on holiday house:
  • graysescape.com  At GraysEscape, you can deal direct with properties and Haggle down the price on a wide range of quality getaways.
  • Last Minutes Compare 1000s of great last minute deals on hotel accommodation, flights & holiday packages. Remove the pain of planning domestic or international travel!
  • Stayz  Holiday Home Rentals in Australia.  Search 30000+ Holiday Accommodation Properties.  Negotiate & book directly with the Property Owner.
Airline Seating Charts
  • Seat Guru  The ultimate source for airplane seating, in-flight amenities, and airline information.
 
 

How to keep your phone battery going?

Image from freedigitalphotos.net
  • Turn the display brightness down much as you can.
  • Turn off Bluetooth.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi if not used.
  • Turn off location services.
  • Turn off push notifications.
  • Go back to 2G. Staying on 3G, 4G or LTE sucks battery fast.
  • Use Airplane mode when you don't need to make/receive a call.
Sourced from wired.

Oct 29, 2012

Where to get free financial advise?

  • ato.gov.au is a mine of information from tax to superannuation and everything in between.
  • asic.gov.au can be handy for self-managed super fund trustees in regards to compliance.
  • moneysmart.gov.au is part of ASIC's website and has downloadable publications on a variety of finance related topics.
  • fpa.asn.au offers a facility to ask an expert a general financial planning question and have it answered for free.

Oct 27, 2012

Which format is the best for HDD to used with both Windows and Mac


Image from freedigitalphotos.net
If you need to expand your storage space with an external hard drive and you use both Mac and PC, you'll likely run into a few obstacles. Hard drives advertised as being compatible with Windows and Mac OS may have misled you into thinking you could actually use one hard drive for both computers.
You can, but not out of the box.
Most external hard drives (HD) are sold in a format called NTFS, which is designed to work with Windows. Macs read and write to a different format, called HFS+. Another format, called FAT32 is compatible with both OS platforms. Here's a look at how the different HD format types function:
FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
- Natively read/write FAT32 on Windows and Mac OS X.
- Maximum file size: 4GB
- Maximum volume size: 2TB
NTFS (Windows NT File System)
- Natively read/write NTFS on Windows. - Read-only NTFS on Mac OS X
- Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and above but has proven instable.
- Maximum file size: 16 TB
- Maximum volume size: 256TB
HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, aka Mac OS Extended)
- Natively read/write HFS+ on Mac OS X
- Required for Time Machine
- Maximum file size: 8EiB
- Maximum volume size: 8EiB

According to the list above, formatting your hard drive to FAT32 so that you can read and write on either OS seems like the obvious solution. The video and directions below will guide you through the process, but before you format your HD to FAT32, beware of these drawbacks:

Oct 26, 2012

Navigating online geo-blocking

From freedigitalphotos.net
Even The People's Watchdog is showing how Australian to bypass geo-blocking on online purchases.  This indicates how bad Australians are being over-charged!

 I copied the article here to share with you.

Geo-blocking prevents shoppers in some countries from accessing cheaper prices overseas through Internet Service Provider (ISP) restrictions. 


We look at how international companies such as Amazon, Apple and Microsoft conduct geo-blocking, and offer some tips to circumvent the price discrimination.

What is geo-blocking?

The internet is a borderless world – news, shopping and social interaction with people from all over the world is at our fingertips. But some online retailers haven’t yet embraced this fact, relying instead on copyright and licensing restrictions to vary prices around the world – what’s known as “geo-blocking”.

Oct 24, 2012

Forget about iPad mini. What is Fusion Drive?

Apple just released iPad mini today, but that's not what's interesting to me.  Apple also released the new iPad and iMac!

First of all, not sure why people wants to purchase iPad mini besides the portability.  The price is only AUD $170 cheaper than the iPad.  Its screen is smaller and has no Retinal display; it also has a slower process.  Why?

The new iPad will be up to twice as fast as previous one as it's powered by new processer, A6X.  The wi-fi speed will be twice as fast as older model, too.  Again, why iPad mini?

Oct 23, 2012

Baking Powder Vs. Baking Soda

I love baking.  Following various recipes and always having a question in my mind.  What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda.  I finally got a chance to do some research on the web.  Here is the answer:

First of all, baking soda is the same as bicarbonate of soda.

Both baking powder and baking soda are leavening agents, which cause doughs to rise.  They do this via a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide gas.  This gas then forms bubbles in the dough, causing it to rise.

Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate.  It needs some sort of acid to activate the reaction.  So it works in recipes that include acidic ingredients like buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, yogurt, etc.  The reaction begins immediately upon mixing the ingredients, so you need to bake recipes which call for baking soda immediately, or else they will fall flat!  Beware if you were to try to substitute baking soda for baking powder in a recipe where no acidic ingredient is present, there will be no release of gas and the dough won't rise.

Baking powder, on the other hand, is nothing more than baking soda with some sort of acidic compound already included. The baking soda and the acidic compound won't react together until they are moistened, which causes the two chemicals to mix.  It is available as single-acting baking powder and as double-acting baking powder. Single-acting powders are activated by moisture, so you must bake recipes which include this product immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders react in two phases and can stand for a while before baking. With double-acting powder, some gas is released at room temperature when the powder is added to dough, but the majority of the gas is released after the temperature of the dough increases in the oven.

There are other types of leavening agents. Yeast is made up of tiny micro-organisms. When they consume sugar, they release gas. Steam can also be used as a leavening agent. This technique is used in making puff pastry, where the dough is folded over again and again, forming many thin layers. The steam that is released during cooking puffs up the layers, causing the dough to rise. Air can also be beaten into to doughs and batters through the creaming method.

Oct 22, 2012

Chinese School in Melbourne

There are two schools that I am interested in at the moment:


This school teaches traditional-character Chinese.  It is located at Ashwood Secondary College.  See its website for details.


http://www.formosa.org.au/content/templates/formosa/images/logo_formosa.gifThis is a non-profit organisation powered by a group of passionate volunteering parents. Its aim is to focus on children aged between 2 and 10 years, helping them to start learning Chinese language early in their lives.  Traditional-character is taught here as well.

Further, there is a really good website on the net, huayuworld.org, which has many teaching/learning materials for teachers/parents/kids.








Solid Food for Babies

Sometime, it is a headache task to prepare food for my baby.  I want to make various food for her to try and somehow it is not as easy as it seems.  I have searched online and found a few websites showing ideas for baby solid foods and other parenting ideas.

Huggies has two ebooks related to solid food: Make Every Bite Count and The quick guide to cooking and freezing foods.  It has a list of useful ebooks available free to every parents.  You can find them here.

Aldi Nappies

mamia supafitAldi has dropped the price of Mamia brand greatly in the recent months.

A new bulk-box was also introduced to reduce cost per nappy even further.

Now, the standard package is $11.49 (from $12.99).  The bulk-box is $17.99.

See nappy price comparison for details.


Oct 11, 2012

Response Times: The 3 Important Limits

The basic advice regarding response times has been about the same for thirty years [Miller 1968; Card et al. 1991]:
  • 0.1 second is about the limit for having the user feel that the system is reacting instantaneously, meaning that no special feedback is necessary except to display the result.
  • 1.0 second is about the limit for the user's flow of thought to stay uninterrupted, even though the user will notice the delay. Normally, no special feedback is necessary during delays of more than 0.1 but less than 1.0 second, but the user does lose the feeling of operating directly on the data.
  • 10 seconds is about the limit for keeping the user's attention focused on the dialogue. For longer delays, users will want to perform other tasks while waiting for the computer to finish, so they should be given feedback indicating when the computer expects to be done. Feedback during the delay is especially important if the response time is likely to be highly variable, since users will then not know what to expect.

References

Card, S. K., Robertson, G. G., and Mackinlay, J. D. (1991). The information visualizer: An information workspace. Proc. ACM CHI'91 Conf. (New Orleans, LA, 28 April-2 May), 181-188.

Miller, R. B. (1968). Response time in man-computer conversational transactions. Proc. AFIPS Fall Joint Computer Conference Vol. 33, 267-277.

Myers, B. A. (1985). The importance of percent-done progress indicators for computer-human interfaces. Proc. ACM CHI'85 Conf. (San Francisco, CA, 14-18 April), 11-17.

Extracted from here.

Oct 8, 2012

Pumpkin and Cheese Scones


These delicious savoury scones with pumpkin and cheese make an easy and healthy snack your toddler will love.

Ingredients


  • 250 g Pumpkin, chopped coarsely
  • 2 1/2 cups Self-raising Flour
  • 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 50 g Butter, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (30g) Cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup (20g) Parmesan, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cup (125mL) Milk
  • 1/4 cup (20g) Extra Parmesan, coarsely grated

Method


  1. Preheat oven to very hot (240°C). Grease a deep 19cm-square cake pan.

Oct 7, 2012

How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking (Shared Article)

A great story to share with everyone.  Reading this once a while to remind us how danger the web is.

This is the story of Mat Honan...

In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.
In many ways, this was all my fault. My accounts were daisy-chained together. Getting into Amazon let my hackers get into my Apple ID account, which helped them get into Gmail, which gave them access to Twitter. Had I used two-factor authentication for my Google account, it’s possible that none of this would have happened, because their ultimate goal was always to take over my Twitter account and wreak havoc. Lulz.
Had I been regularly backing up the data on my MacBook, I wouldn’t have had to worry about losing more than a year’s worth of photos, covering the entire lifespan of my daughter, or documents and e-mails that I had stored in no other location.
Those security lapses are my fault, and I deeply, deeply regret them.
But what happened to me exposes vital security flaws in several customer service systems, most notably Apple’s and Amazon’s. Apple tech support gave the hackers access to my iCloud account. Amazon tech support gave them the ability to see a piece of information — a partial credit card number — that Apple used to release information. In short, the very four digits that Amazon considers unimportant enough to display in the clear on the web are precisely the same ones that Apple considers secure enough to perform identity verification. The disconnect exposes flaws in data management policies endemic to the entire technology industry, and points to a looming nightmare as we enter the era of cloud computing and connected devices.

Weaning Recipes


Cauliflower and pasta cheese

This tasty vegetarian meal can be enjoyed by all the family. It's a good source of vitamin C, calcium and B vitamins. 

Ingredients 

50g pasta shapes 
2 or 3 florets of cauliflower 
250ml full-fat cow's milk 
15g butter 
15g flour 
50g cheddar or tasty cheese, grated 

Boil the pasta in unsalted water until tender, steaming the cauliflower over the pasta in the last few minutes. Meanwhile, make a white sauce with the milk, butter and flour and, when thickened, add the cheese. Stir. Drain the pasta and cauliflower, and place in a serving dish. Pour over the sauce and serve. 

Creamy tomato risotto

This filling vegetarian meal is a good source of calcium, betacarotene, B vitamins and vitamin C. 

Ingredients 

Oct 6, 2012

Costco TV Price Update (2012.10.01)

SONY 46" HX750 (WIFI LED 200HZ 3D) ........................... $1599.99
SONY 55" HX750 (WIFI LED 200HZ 3D) ........................... $1999.99
SONY 55" HX850 (WIFI LED 200HZ 3D) ........................... $2649.99

LG 47" LM7600 (WIFI LED 200HZ PASSIVE 3D) ............. $1349.99
LG 55" LM7600 (WIFI LED 200HZ PASSIVE 3D) ............. $2099.99
LG 60" PA6500 (Plasma) ..................................................... $1169.99
LG 65" LM6200 (LED 100HZ PASSIVE 3D) ...................... $3099.99

TOSHIBA 46" HL900A (LED) ............................................... . $859.99

SHARP 60" LC60LE630X (LED 100HZ) ............................. $1599.99
SHARP 70" QUATTRON 70LE735X (LED 100HZ) ............ $3799.99

SAMSUNG 46" ES7500 (WIFI/SKYPE LED 200HZ 3D) ... $2199.99
SAMSUNG 55" ES6200 (LED 100HZ 3D) .......................... $1679.99
SAMSUNG 55" ES8000 (WIFI/SKYPE LED 200HZ 3D) ... $3299.99
SAMSUNG 64" E8000 (WIFI/SKYPE Plasma 3D) ............. $2669.99

How To Add Shared Google Calendars to iPhone

Received my iPhone 5 two weeks ago.  Starting configuring sync accounts and forgot how to set up shared Google calendar in iOS.  Did some research and here is the clue...


Set up your account as a microsoft exchange account.
  • Go to Settings -> mail,contacts,calenders -> add account -> microsoft exchange.
  • In the Email field, enter your full gmail address
  • Leave Domain blank
  • In the Username field, enter full gmail address
  • Enter password
  • Enter m.google.com in the Server field
Now, the important part.  This step allows you to choose what calendar(s) you want to see.
  • Open the Safari browser on your phone and go to m.google.com/sync
  • Sign in.
  • Click on Manage Devices.
  • Select your device to configure calendars.
Done!

Chinese Donut


INGREDIENTS



  • Self Rising Flour ... 2 cups
  • Soda Water .......... 1 cup
  • Baking Powder ....... 1 tablespoon
  • Salt ................ 1 teaspoon


STEPS

  1. Mix all together with wooden spoon
  2. Cover the mixture in the bowl  overnight.
  3. In the morning, knead for 2 minutes.
  4. Divide into 2 balls and use rolling pin to roll it into 10 x 30 cm.
  5. Cut into 2 cm strips.
  6. Wet chopstick and press the strips, pull into long strip.
  7. Deep fried them.

Oct 5, 2012

RBA cut the cash rate by 25 basis points

NAB and Commonwealth bank have both failed to pass on the Reserve Bank's interest rates cut in full, making a reduction of only 0.20 per cent.


NAB's Group Executive for Personal Banking, Lisa Gray, said the bank had tried to offer the lowest rate of the major banks while ensuring the bank was safe and secure.
"The increased competition for deposits is pushing up costs, making it more expensive to fund our lending," Ms Gray said.
Yesterday ING Direct anounced it would pass on the rate cut in full, slicing its variable home loans by 0.25 per cent.
The Bank of Queensland has already reduced its variable home loans by 20 basis points.
NAB's cut will come into effect on October 8, saving $50 per month on an average $300,000 mortgage.
Commonwealth Bank's cut will come into effect on October 12.
ANZ has stated it would not reduce rates before its regular rates meeting on October 12.
All Westpac would say today was that their rates were under review.
The big four banks' standard variable home loan rates currently stand at:
  • NAB 6.58
  • CBA 6.60
  • ANZ 6.80
  • Westpac 6.89.

Oct 4, 2012

ING Direct - 5% cash back

No everyday fees is just the beginning.
   
The Orange Everyday transaction account now comes with Visa payWave which lets you pay for everyday items securely, in a fraction of the time. Just 'wave and go'!

And now every time you pay with a wave, we'll give you 5% cash back on contactless purchases under $100.

You'll be delighted at how quickly the everyday savings can add up.

And you'll keep on saving until 30 June 2013.

Hurry for this limited offer
This exclusive offer is only available to the first 30,000 new Orange Everyday payWave enabled cards activated. Apply today so you can start saving!

Open a new browser and enter ingdirect.com.au/cashback

Oct 3, 2012

Commonwealth Awards?

Maybe I was too slow to realise this.  This is what I found out today.

Commonwealth Awards is able to redeem points for MasterCard prepaid gift card.  This is the number of points required for $200 prepaid card:

March 2011   - 33100 points
March 2012   - 36800 points
October 2012 - 40000 points

That is around 10% increased every time I looked into it.

What a rip-off!!!  I just want to post this out so people learns how banks are ripping us off.