Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Where To Find A PhatCap

Last Saturday, I was on a mission to find an item popularized by a local Malaysian Hip Hop group called Too Phat. I'm not really a big fan of them but I do love their songs. You can look at some of their video clips on YouTube. In 2005, they launched their very own wearing item products. One of them is called, The PhatCap. It is basically a cap with a "KL" logo on the front. The concept is really interesting because they are branding the name KL City where I live and the PhatCap name.

I'm not a cap wearer. The reason I bought the PhatCap was because my friend in Sarawak asked me to buy one for his son. At RM59.90, the PhatCap is a quality product. I never had a cap that has a fixed size before. All of my free obtained cap are either came with the adjustable strap or the position hole. The PhatCap comes with different colours but originally, the black one is the main one.

Where to get a PhatCap? You can buy them at Echo Park Outlet around the Klang Valley. They have 7 branches around the Klang Valley. I bought the PhatCap above at Sunway Pyramid Echo Park Outlet. My friend Shaz has a nice snapshot of Echo Park at Sungei Wang Plaza. Other Echo Park outlets are located at The Curve Mutiara Damansara, Time Square Jalan Imbi, Gurney Plaza Penang and soon to be opened Mid Valley Megamall in KL. You can also buy online at Echobuy.com.my or check out the merchandise price over there.

Apart from the PhatCap, they sell other trendy stuff such as T-Shirts, shoes, accessories and many more quality stuff. When I say quality, it is of course more expensive than the "Pasar Malam" version. However, buying an original one can definitely last longer instead of the cheaper imitation product.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Hunting For A Cheap Laptop

Last Tuesday, I took half a day off from my job and accompanied my girlfriend to buy a new laptop for her. She just got her PTPTN loan money and wanted to trade off her PC to her brother who tagged along with a brand new laptop. Being a student, we decided a minimum budget of RM2000 with another RM200 extra just in case. The best place to hunt for computer hardware is definitely at Low Yatt Plaza in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. This blog explains best about the famous IT place in KL. Check out: IT Pasar Borong.

I decided to hunt for the laptop on a weekday because the place will be overflowed with people during the weekend and it's kind of hectic and unpleasant. Arriving there at 3pm, we started the laptop hunt on the 4th floor instead of the 3rd since the floor is less crowded. We walked into a store and my eyes were glued on a white HP Compaq Presario. The price of the laptop was within our range and what I like about the laptop was the built-in Altec Lansing speaker. I was almost sold just by the look of the laptop.

Lucky my my girlfriend snapped me out of it and insisted to do more price hunting instead of drooling over the look of a white shiny laptop. So, we surveyed a few other laptop before walking out of the store. I happened to like a 15" Acer laptop. It look just about the same as the image here.

We finally settled at a booth with a smooth talking laptop salesman. I had a couple of good laughs just by listening to what he was saying. Being a tech junky, I always think about what I can maximize without overbudgeting. So, when the salesman showed me an Acer Aspire 3683 that has a 100GB of hard drive, it was a great bargain. Apart from that, the salesman bundled together a few free gifts. The gift wasn't so attractive if you ask me but still good enough, however when the guy showed a cartoon shape pendrive, my girlfriend was already sold. The total price paid for the new laptop was RM2046. This was what we got:

Cheap Acer Laptop

Here are the specs of the Acer Aspire 3683 that we bought:
  • Intel Centrino Celeron M 1.6 MHz processor
  • 512MB DDR2 RAM
  • 100GB Hard Disk Drive
  • DVD + CDRW Combo
  • 14.1" Wide Screen
  • WiFi and LAN capabilities
Free gifts:
  • An optical mouse
  • A headphone with microphone
  • A laptop key lock
  • A cartoon shape 512MB Pendrive
The reason it cheap because the processor is a Celeron M. A Celeron M is a cheaper version of Pentium M, however I don't think it is a major disadvantage. You'll probably feel a slight slower loading when opening up big applications such as AutoCAD or Adobe Photoshop CS2. It will get the job done and if you are a bootstrapper like me, I don't really mind about waiting a couple of milisecond. You probably wasting more time watching TV than opening up a useful computer application. In my opinion, this is an ideal laptop for a university student. I wish I had one when I was still a student.

I did some testing at a WiFi hotspot place and found out that the laptop is working perfectly well. As for heat issues, I think my Dell Inspiron 630m is way much hotter than the Acer Aspire 3683. Being cheaper RM1200 than my Dell laptop with an additional 20GB of hard disk space, this was definitely a good deal.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Job Hunting Is Over

After more than a month with last week I got my interview done, I have finally agreed to accept a job position offered to me last Tuesday. That's quite quick considering that it has just been only a week since I found the job. Answering Miss dAia's question, yes I am quitting my job. The reaction that I get from my boss when I send him my resignation notification letter was, he told me to do a better job in my new career or I'll get screwed. My boss is kind of hard to say 'thank you' to me or any other staff he had or has, so I don't really mind about it. Just to let you know, the job responsibility I was carrying was so big but the reward is puny. So I am very relieved to let go of the position I held for more than 2 years and move on to my next one.

There are two topics that I will write about based on my job hunting experience last week. First one is 'Tips on Job Hunting Online'. Second would be 'How To Make A Good Notice of Resignation Letter'. Hopefully by writing this 2 articles, it would be a great value to anyone who needs information regarding this two topics. I'll write for you all again very soon.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Trying My Luck Getting A Job As A Webmaster

I have always been interested in the web. Ever since my first encounter with the world wide web back when I was 13 years old, I've been hooked to online based activities. The habit that I've accustomed to in whatever I do is to figure out how everything works. So in order to understand how the web browser is displaying what you see, you can always go to the source code by looking what is behind the scene of the web browser. Anyway, HTML is the only computer programming that I am interested. Other programming languages such as Visual Basic or even QBasic doesn't appeal to my preferences.

Getting back to the topic, being a webmaster is the job position I was referring to in my previous post. I would suggest you read How To Get a Job in the Web Industry by Smiley Cat. The article is written from a perspective of a web team manager. I'll try and describe what I've done right and wrong according to the tips Smiley Cat has given.
  1. Resume- In my resume that I sent to the potential employer, I've included all my small web projects. That is the most significant thing that I highlight since the job position is all about the web. However, my paper qualification doesn't reflect my hard earned self learned skill sets. I should have plan my career life earlier though.
  2. Be Focused- My life has been a series of dabbling pursuits in different kind of thing. My diploma is in mechanical engineering. I have the ability to understand what happen under a hood of a car. I can draw technical drawing in AutoCAD although it is the thing that I hate doing. I was doing tele-sales for a month before getting fired. Now I'm doing administrative work in a small office. What I should have do is to focus on the thing I love the most which is to do stuff online and the most obvious thing is to build websites. That was the past but if I could turn the clock around, I would go for the right paper education and get an early exposure to what I really like doing. That would really appeal to any potential employer.
  3. Use Lists- Some parts in my resume is not done in a form of list. However, making too many list can be overwhelming even for the job interviewer. I've selected the best work and my best skills set and relate it to the position I'm trying to get.
  4. Sell Yourself!- Its been a while since I've done a sale job. For me to make a sale, I need to believe in what I want to sell and be comfortable about it. Being a skeptical person, it is not an easy task to sell myself. I wasn't able to sell the company I work at the moment to the job interviewer during the interview. Of course even as a normal employee, while not doing any hard selling it is crucial to build rapport with clients and sell your skill sets in doing the job.
  5. Be Human- As human, we talk about the things around us. So, making the interviewer comfortable by asking them questions, getting to know them better is a good impression for yourself.
  6. Be Concise- It is good to know that my job interviewer know the stuff that I read and deal with. Now, that simplifies thing as I'm not so good in describing details.
  7. Provide URLs- I can give ample of my URLs. The only problem is to make the link as short and simple as possible can cost me a domain name and web hosting if I really want to make it good. Still, a link like www.geocities.com/ashrufzz is good enough in my opinion.
That was what I did during my last week's job hunting adventure. I'm looking forward to see what will the outcome will be for me. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Got So Nervous

Yesterday, I received a phone call from a company I had forgotten I've sent out my resume to them. The caller, most probably the secretary or the reception officer called me while I was walking to my office and she briefly told me the to come to their office the next day and prepare a 10 minutes powerpoint presentation slide about my university final year's project. I had a lot of questions to ask her but I was busy walking so I just said okay and that was the end of it. I have no idea where my project were and I don't really think the project it is relevant to the job I am applying. I'll let you know about the job positions in my next post.

I then shot a thank you e-mail to the company I went for the interview the day before and the rest of day was an overwhelming feeling of nervousness. I had no idea why I felt so nervous, I never felt this feeling for quite a long time. During the evening, the company who interviewed me called me and asked me to come to their office this weekend and show them what I've got. This had lead me to rethink about going to the next day's interview over and over again.

After having a good night sleep, I've decided not going to the interview today because it doesn't suit what I'm looking for. So, now I need to make sure that I can impress and not screw up this weekend's evaluation with the company I had the interview with. Now my success would be determined by my creativity and skill that I've been practicing. I'm working hard on it as you are reading this.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Going Through Job Interviews

This is a follow up of Alternative Job Hunting post. My first job interview was when I tried to find a moonlight job when I was still studying. It was a sale job selling some special bed sheet that would get rid of some microscopic bacteria. At that time, I got some financial issue and needed some money to pay off something. I never did the job because went I was getting back from the interview, I crashed my dad's Volvo 204GL car into a Perodua Kembara. The front hood of the car was badly damage. There goes my job motivation.

After that incident, I never attempted to find a moonlighting job ever. I did my industrial training in a small turbo servicing workshop but never intend to have any jobs. I don't know why I had no interest to earn money eventhough I had the chance to do so. It was not until before I graduated that I was introduced to a network marketing program. That is when I was introduced to the Rich Dad Poor Dad book that change my perspective entirely. However, after a few years of soul searching and wandering about what I wanted to do with my life, I found that I should really get a job and when the time comes which I have no idea when, I'll do something else. This maybe sound like I have no direction in life...maybe I am. It's a question that I have no answers yet. I should really get a mentor I think.

So right after work today, after exchanging a few e-mails and some phone calls. I went through an interview with this two native Englishmen. I was really nervous at first but I kept my composure although I was cold sweating in the air conditioned room. Firstly, the managing director asked me what the company I work with do, I replied by trying to explained what the product of the company. However, I failed to sell the current company I am with because I wasn't really sold the software solution the company is selling. I realized that making a good impression about the company you are representing is the key for an employment but I couldn't pull it off. So, moving on to the next thing, the MD told me about what they do, what they are planning for, what they need and what they are looking for. It was an insight to a world I have no idea off. Well, at least I'm learning something.

After more than 30 minutes of interrogation, I was handed over to the creative director where he showed me some stuff on his big 32 inches LCD display. He has this 3 LCD display monitor on his desk, it kind of impressed me though because I always want those multiple LCD displays. I managed to answer all his technical questions and that was the end of it. The MD wasn't so happy to know that I had to give out 2-4 week of resigning notice to my current employer. Still, he said he will contact me later on for a decision. I was glad interview meeting was over. Now what I need to do is wait for their call. In the mean time, I'll try my luck with other jobs opening as well.

After going to the experience, I realized that there are a lot things to work on to improve myself. It has been too long I've taken things for granted. Now what I need to do now is to step up to a new level. Best of luck to me!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Selesa Resort Outing 2006

During the last Christmas holiday, my family and I went for a big family outing. The place that was chosen was Selesa Resort, Bukit Tinggi, Pahang. If you are not so sure what "Selesa" is, in Malay language Selesa means Comfortable. Selesa Resort is about 40 minutes drive from my house. We rented 4 units for 6 families to stay over there. We had so much fun.

What I like about this resort is the ambient. The place has an astonishing hillview and the fresh air is so refine. I wished I could live over there, well maybe I could. As long as there is an internet connection. By the way, I've found a way to be online eventhough you are somewhere in the jungle using a satellite dish. I'll write about that later.

Here's a slide show taken using my own digital camera. Eventhough it is not that exclusive but I think the place is superb.

As for Selesa Resort website, I really think the webmaster should be sacked. The website is made using images as such the website is the brochure of the resort. They should have made it in a text version so that search engines can pick up and index a few interesting keywords and make the website more visible.

Anyway, I had fun being there. I think I'll plan a trip there again once I get married for one of my honeymoon trip...hehe..

Saturday, January 13, 2007

N2Growth Blog Review

This post is brought to you by

When I look at a business entity, I cannot stop but figure out how they make money. In business, cash is the oxygen to sustain the life of a business. There are so many ways to generate cash however, we can simply put it into two different categories which is selling products and providing services.

So, what does N2Growth do? N2Growth provide business consultations which means they have clients that pays for their services. Consulting is a big business so I suspect they make a lot of money out of it. Some of the listed services they provide is Branding & Identity, Executive Search, Leadership Development and Strategic Growth. Normally, topics like these is for people who have higher thinking level but that doesn't mean a small time business minded person like myself couldn't comprehend what they are talking about. The only different is the environment between small businesses and big businesses both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Moving on to N2Growth Blog. The author of the blog is Chief Strategy Officer of N2Growth, Mike Myatt. The first blog post is posted on May 2006 which makes the blog less than a year old. Mike writes about interesting topics such as The Power of Personal Branding, Leaders vs. Managers, ROI Reexamined and more juicy interesting business articles.

If you need some business inspiration or some ideas to cultivate your business thought, then N2Growth Blog is worthy place for some useful advice.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Getting Stumbled

I never understood what StumbleUpon is all about. I first read about it at LiewCF Blog, I did read about StumbleUpon at their website but I thought it was just another social bookmarking tools until recently when I wrote about Web Scripts on Ashrufzz's Blog. This is what happen to my blog's traffic:

Ashrufzz Jan06 Stat

I then re-read about StumbleUpon and install it for myself on my Firefox browser. Now I know why my traffic spike this month. It is basically a toolbar on your web browser that when you click, it will go to other website other StumbleUpon user has saved. I've StumbleUpon a lot of websites and they are really quite interesting, you'll never find such interesting website when you search on Google or somewhere.

Alright, I'll StumbleUpon some more website before I do something else afterward. Happy Stumbling!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Alternative Job Hunting

Last month was my second anniversary of my employment in the company that I serve. So far, there is no hint of a career progress and therefore no pay raise for my income. Imagine for the last 2 years, I've only got 1 small bonus. I can't really blame the company because the company is not making money anyway. The problem is, I couldn't sell the product that the company is representing because it is too complex and I think a higher level of management planning plus some higher business connection is needed to get the company off the ground. That doesn't count the need of fundings. Either way, from what I heard if there is any increment in salary, my salary would just be raised 50% of what I'm earning now. Looking at the current situation, I doubt that my company will bring in any businesses and with the upcoming resignation of my fellow colleagues who are my dearest friends, it's making my motivation to go to work turned off.

Being in a low income category and with the rate of inflation which is rapidly increasing, a 50% raise would do no good for me. It is either I try find another job with a higher pay or I got to try and search for a job nearby my parent's house where I'm living to cut cost on my expenses. I don't have any funds yet to build up any small businesses, so entrepreneurship is out of the picture. It has been 2 weeks now I've been on a job hunt online. So far, no luck for me yet but I'm going to try applying to as many as I can and see what the outcome would be. However, I have come up with other alternatives to find a job without having to do what conventional job seekers do.

Here's a few of ideas that popped out from my head for alternative job hunting:
  • Contact a job placement agency. They can match a job matching your preferences for you without having to flip to countless of job listing pages advertised in the newspaper. I just found out that there are literally a lot of these job agencies and they are making a lot of money just brokering for potential employees to be hired for the respected employers. Make sure that the job agency is registered to the governing body of the goverment.
  • For sustainable income, make a preliminary research of the industry you want get involved with. Make sure the industry has growth and a lot of money trading around. Don't go for volatile industry such as the holiday package sales or very competitive ones like computer sales.
  • Choose only companies that are listed on the main board or second board of the stock exchange listings. These companies have too much money and they often overpay their top management. Eventhough your pay as the lowest rank is crap, it is still more than what you get in a small and medium enterprises.
Well, that's about it. This is all what I've been researching, read and thought over the past few weeks. I'm not the type of person who loves risk. Not all of what I write is true. Well, at least with a few points I've highlighted can trigger some light for your brain's unorthodox ideas. Wish me luck in my job hunting adventure.

P/S: I'm also applying for an employment in the public sector. I'll update on my job hunting progress later.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Grumpy Musings About Life Dreams

This post is brought to you by:

When I first read the sentence "Grumpy Musings About Life Dreams", it makes no sense to me. I know what the meaning of grumpy, however musings is a new word for me. After looking up the meaning at The Free Dictionary, musings is a deep thought about something. Another word is ogre. It is a giant monster in legends and fairy tales that eats humans. I'm not really a fan of monsters so knowing that the monster eats people, that is a turn off for me. However, that adds up a few new words for my vocabulary tank.

So, what is GrungeOgre.com is all about. From what I see, it is all about work, movies, tv, art, life, dreams, food, gadgets, etc written by James Allison. I believe there are 2 or maybe 3 writers for the website. After reading a couple posts, the website is kind of a blog type. For me, maybe I've become so use to read wordpress type blogs, instead of using Joomla content management, I would really like if the GrungeOgre uses Wordpress.
Well, that is what I feel. Anyway, as long as there are useful contents, any website is to me, add up value to the world wide web and it makes the internet more colourful and interesting.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Getting Insurance For Your Small Business

This post is brought to you by:

One of my many dreams is to build and own a small business. The reason is very simple, you are free to do any business you want, whenever you want and where ever you want. However like any other businesses, there will always be risks involved. A life of a business is dependable on one thing, cash flow. Cash flow is like oxygen to any business. Without it, your business would be dead. So, in order to protect your small little vulnerable business, you need protection. This is where financial organizations such as BusinessInsuranceNow comes in handy.

Since I don't my own small business yet, I just love to let my imagination run wild a little bit when we talk about small businesses. What would I like my small business to be like. Okay, I picture my small business to be just a small office with virtually no employees, fully air conditioned, having several computers and laptops with several big flat screen LCD displays, an extra comfortable couch with a small home theater and a small mini bar. Wow, I'm getting a bit too ambitious I think.

So, what does my business category that I've picture fall into when choosing a business insurance? My small business would be in a low-risk business class. Eventhough it is low risk, with all those high-tech computers, laptops, home theater and fancy furnitures, they are prone to theft activity. Beside theft, small businesses can be sued and the cost of getting to court can get pretty expensive.

If this has gotten you nervous, then consider having a safety net by searching for small business insurance in your area/country or visit BusinessInsuranceNow for more informative knowledge regarding business insurance.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Web Scripts On Ashrufzz's Blog

One of the advantage of using free Blogger blog is the ability to insert your own web scripts. In my blog alone, after tracking down what scripts I've put in. It seems like I have 17 different kind of scripts. Some of the scripts I had little use of, so I think I better review it back to see what is their functions. There was also scripts I have used but I discontinued it because it gave me little or no use at all, plus it doesn't gave me any value. Let's check them out:

Advertising Scripts

Apart from Google Adsense, I have also put in Amazon Associate. Another one is Blogkits. Blogkits is an alternative advertising scripts targeted for low traffic websites or blog. Well, my blog has low traffic, so what? I had put Darkblue Ad before, but they don't seem to have any interesting ads that I like so I'll check them out later.

Search Script

Google has a searching script which allows you to search your own blog. It will put a search box where ever you wanted it to be. You can also customized it to whatever you like. With that also, if you are registered to Google Adsense, every advertising on search done on your search box is worth the advertising dollar the advertiser pays.

Tracking Scripts

I've installed several tracking scripts. At first all the scripts (except for Statcounter which is my main tracking script) is intended for experiment only. However, I couldn't find any expiry date to the experiment so I just leave the scripts alone. Here's a list and brief description of the scripts function:
  • 103 Bees- A real-time online tool that is highly focused on natural search engine traffic
  • HitTail- Another real-time online tool for natural search engine traffic. The only difference is HitTail has a Long Tail tool for you to analyze search terms which arrived on your blog.
  • Google Analytics- Google's own web statistics tool. I find it too advanced for me to use.
  • MyBlogLog- Beside tracking visitors, it adds a nice widget for the most recent readers who came.
  • Performancing Metrics- A real-time free blog statistics. Acquired by PayPerPost recently.
  • AdLogger- I hosted this free Adsense tracking script engine on one of my shared hosting. Lots of valuable functions.
Other related scripts
  • Feedburner- Simplify your feed services
  • Feedblitz- Getting blog posts in your e-mail (integrated with Feedburner)
  • Blinklist- For the tag clouds you see on my sidebar
  • Cbox Tagboard- Free chatbox on your sidebar
  • Technorati- To display your Technorati profile on your sidebar and to confirm that it's your blog
There were two scripts that I've taken out from my blog not too long ago. One is CoComent and the other is HaloScan. Both of them are comments management tool but I have no idea what CoComent does. I tried to learn about CoComent but I just don't get it. HaloScan is a replacement comment tool instead of the default one. If you use Blogger and you receive a lot of comment from your reader, HaloScan provide quite a useful tool for you to manage comments. For me however, I don't really need to manage that many amount of comments.

That's about it. If I stumbled upon another interesting scripts after this and it is free, I am most likely to sign-up and install the script in my blog. However, with so many scripts I have, I don't think I would like to add more to that and risk my blog to become heavier. Keep it simple is the best way to go, for now.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ashrufzz 2006 Recap

I started blogging using Blogger since April 2004. It has now been 32 months since I have been blogging here. There were time I almost gave up on blogging yet I managed to overcome that feeling and kept on writing. At first I thought I was going to make money out of blogging, however it is quite hard to achieve that when you are swamp with all kind of distractions especially when you are given a lot of free tools to play around with. I've decided to make blogging my part-time career since I've found another way to make money online and it has nothing to do with creating blogs or websites or even sales and marketing. I've been blogging about it secretly but I don't feel like wanting to reveal it yet. I'll tell all about it once I've succeeded in my plan.

I've made up some statistics about my blogging journey:

Posts I've made so far-

2004: 38 posts
2005: 73 posts
2006: 117 posts
Drafts: 14
Total: 242 Posts

It seems like I've managed to improve on the numbers of blog posting. That's quite a surprised for me. So, far I've created 9 blogger blogs and 6 wordpress blogs. Out of the 15 blogs, only a handful of them are active. Blogging is a job by itself, so it requires work. Working requires you to spend time. I don't really believe in creating automated blog because it feels so overwhelming plus a lot of those automated blogs created just by entering keywords and RSS has been terminated anyhow. People in my observation are more likely to choose quality over quantity.

Alright, I'm going to recap some of my highlighted blog posts for 2006:

January 2006

February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
My new year 2007 resolution is to improve and increase the number of blog posts I've made apart from making more money of course. Writing is not something easy for me but I do it anyway. Last but not least: