Quest for the perfect Keyboard

As a programmer, hobbyist designer, and gamer, I’m always on a quest for best keyboard. This actually became a thing when I was in university where I started earning a bit of extra cash through part-time jobs which was like during the year 2008-09ish. As usual, during one of those days, I was doing window shopping at Sim Lim Square (a famous IT mall in Singapore), when then I first came across an expensive keyboard that labelled Mechanical Keyboard. I was like why was it so expensive? I tested it out at the shop, and it really felt different from normal keyboard that I was used to. Basically, it was softer and has this satisfying clicky sounds. I felt really good typing on it. So I went back home intrigued and like anybody curious person would, I googled “Mechanical Keyboard”. That was the first time I was introduced to the world of keyboards learning that there are different type of keyboards and the ones I’m used to are generally a type called membrane keyboard. You can find a lot of google result explaining Mechanical Keyboard, but to put it simply, for me, Mechanical Keyboard is really like a very sensitive keyboard with a very good tactile feedback when you type which gives you a feeling that you’re not spending to much effort and energy into typing and that in turn should allow you to type faster and longer without ergonomic injury. On top of that, the 1 extra super fantastic factor for me was the fact you can easily remove button cap from each key to clean the keyboard! or basically change all the keyboard cap with new ones and basically customize look and feel. Awesome! For a long, I have problem cleaning my keyboard. That was like mind-blowing stuff for me to discover! Reading the superiority of Mechanical Keyboard, I was amazed and really really wanted to get 1 without have any further technical idea of anything about the Mechanical Keyboard. So sometime later, when I had enough money that I thought it was financially okay to purchase it. With that, I got myself my first ever mechanical keyboard which was Razer BlackWidow for around 100 SGD. And since then, my world has gone Mechanical, no more membrane.

I really like it. But soon, I realize I have a problem with it. Remember that “clicky” sound that I like. I didn’t realize it could be a problem when I tested at the shop, but when I bring back to my room it became a problem. In university days, I stay in hostel and share room with other students. So yeah, the sounds is actually quite noisy especially at night and it disturb my roommate. So in the end, I had to toggle keyboard to use normal keyboard at night or whenever he is around. Ouch!

So yeah I was stuck with that habit and keyboard till I start working which then I started having my own private room which I can free enjoy the keyboard, but another problem came. By then, I was spending most of time at work doing coding. So I actually I would want to use it at work but obviously I can’t because it would be disturbing for my colleague. So then when another curiosity strike me. Is all mechanical keyboard clicky and noisy? If so, what will be my options for good keyboard? Is there like a super good membrane keyboard? So again another google research.

That was the time I started learning about switches in Mechanical Keyboard. My Razer BlackWidow has blue switches which technically is the lousiest and noisiest of all the switches. So that’s when I learnt about other color switches like Red and Brown. But they were generally more expensive and I wasn’t willing to put my money in, plus my BlackWidow was still doing perfectly fine. Then during IT Show in September 2013, I came across a heavily discounted Mechanical Keyboard with red switch. That was when I got my 2nd Mechanical Keyboard for just 87 SGD – CoolerMaster CMStorm QuickFire Pro. And yes, it was definitely better than the Razer BlackWidow in term of both sound level, sensitivity and feedback feel. However, it still wasn’t quiet enough for me to bring to office for coding. And with that, I parted with my perfectly working Razer BlackWidow by giving it my young brother. With that, we fast forward again to a number of years later, when I already return back which I was still making frequent trip back to Singapore visiting friends. So one of those trip in May 2017, I came to know about this popular online auction and second selling app that really took of in Singapore called Carousel. I was browsing if I can find anything to buy and get any good deal so I can collect during my trip. That was when I started googling for “the best programming keyboard”. I figured why should I buy new Mechanical Keyboard since they are so hard to spoil. All the keyboards I have are still like work perfect and all keys are still very sensitive. So chances is that even the second hand one are good. Plus that I would be I can afford a higher price band of keyboard. Then, I had my target which that time was the Filco Ninja Majestictouch 2 and WASD Keyboard Code which their original price was like 150+ to almost 200 USD. Crazy for keyboard. I couldn’t find any deal on WASD Keyboard Code apparently it’s not a popular brand in Singapore. But luckily I struck a deal on the Filco Majestictouch 2 for just 100 SGD! So my journey with my 3rd keyboard starts. It’s a brown switch keyboard which I felt it was better than the BlackWidow and CMStorm QuickFire Pro. And that was my first tenkeyless keyboard (i.e. more compact). I was like really in love with Majestictouch 2 compactness and simplicity in design. So in the drawer goes the QuickFire Pro.

So I was enjoying the Majestictouch 2 for like a year before I started to really miss the numpad especially when I was working with numbers and excel spreadsheets which I was doing a lot in my corporate position. That was when I realize, I’m not really not a tenkeyless person. I don’t really need the compactness since I barely bring it around and generally my working desk space are very spacious. So at that point, I was toggling back and forth between the Majestictouch 2 and QuickFire Pro depending on needs. At that point, I was still on occasion casually researching for my next go to keyboard but due to the fact that any next upgrade beyond the Majestictouch 2 the cost would be prohibitive (we’re talking more than 150 USD for a keyboard) and really not sensible other than just something really nice to have. So sometime back in mid 2018, my colleague was looking a good wireless keyboard that he could get quickly without waiting for shipping. You see, normally in Cambodia if you want to get any these kind of gadget there isn’t much seller locally because there wasn’t really a demand for these things. Only in recent years, that the demands and supply started picking up. So I figured since he was needing for office work coding, I would recommend him the best higher end office brand I know – Logitech. So I shared 1 local online seller Facebook page to him to buy and he could afford it as well. He got himself a Logitech G613 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard. So of course, I would try his. To my amazement, the Logitech G613 felt really really good which really struck me. Why have I never looked at Logitech Keyboard? Well, obviously the answer is the google research never showed up any Logitech result. That was when I learnt about a new type of switch from Logitech for their mechanical keyboard- Romer-G mechanical switches. So now I like Romer-G better than brown switch? Guess so. I really really wanted to get the Logitech G613 not just because the sensitive feedback feel and very low noise level (even lower than my Majestictouch 2 which is perfect for office use) but also I’ve never had a wireless keyboard. There was only 1 thing that prevent me from getting it. It was the fact that the G613 has no back-lighting. And I really don’t why that somehow stopped me. The Majestictouch 2 doesn’t any back-lighting but I bought it anyway. So why not the G613. So here’s the context. You see, at this point I was at the point my career were I have pretty comfortable income that I could finally afford things I used to dream about during teenage and university days. And that is a high performance gaming PC with really cool casing, large monitor. So at this point, I’m pretty accustomed to RGB lighting in both mouse and my whole CPU. So with my next purchase, subconsciously, I think I would also want an RGB back-lit keyboard to complete the set. But an RGB back-lit keyboard just add to the cost of being mechanical keyboard. I never really got around to have compelling reason to actually buy one. All things considered, that was when I ultimately came across the Logitech Orion Spectrum G810 that got me decided. This is the one! I didn’t dare to buy it at first stilling thinking that it’s not really a necessity but then again I think at this point it’s long past debating about the question of necessity, it’s always been about comfort and luxury which I need to accept it. So guess the question now is should I spend on the next luxury upgrade? Well I did give it some time to research around for secondhand on various online marketplace apps. Until eventually I resigned to temptation and finally cross my 100USD threshold for a keyboard and get the Logitech Orion Spectrum G810 in Oct 2018. I’ve been using it at office for a year now and recently, there is long public public holiday which I need to quite some coding work done at home, so I was reminding myself to bring it home for the holiday. So that was when it really hits me that this is such a perfect keyboard. It stops me from ever even thinking about keyboard and wondering if there is better keyboard out there at all. It has everything I need and want in a keyboard. It take 4 keyboards for over 10 years period to figure out what I really need and want.

In conclusion, I think what compels me to start writing this blog post is really the revelation in reflection that never strike me for more than 10 years. That when it struck on such a mundane thing like keyboard, one can really take time, effort, reflection and research to really figure out what you want and what fits you best in your own time and affordability. I’m always looking at significant reflection of life and so on but it never really struck me that sometime mundane and small things can also teach us a lot into how we look at bigger things in life. It’s always about constant improvement and getting better then yesterday in anything we do.

What about wireless, you may ask? Somehow, I’ve never really been a wireless device person. What with the signal radiation and all. And then there is battery and charging. I really hate it when I have to keep monitoring battery because I really have OCD over batter life somehow always want them to be above 50%. So below 50% is like 0% to me. Too much hassle. My wife on the other hand is someone who likes the mobile compactness and slimness which actually gave me another reason to just get a wireless keyboard to try out. I bought her a Logitech K780 to put on he working to give her a complete wireless setup with mouse and keyboard. I tried it a few times the feel was really good. Soft and very quiet. and of course very thin. My only mainly issue with is really the keyboard layout. I hate it. It takes away the whole 6 insert-home-end-pgupdown buttons group and push the arrow key to the main key layout making it really small. I need those group to be exactly where they are! as all other keyboards. So I’m very very uncomfortable with the layout slowing the typing a lot. However, yes it’s a really good alternative when I was moving around the house or toggling between work and personal PC.

Quest for the perfect Keyboard

Bangkok Trip Tip

This is my 2nd time visiting Bangkok. This time it was a 4D3N trip. On my 1st time, I didn’t really pay much attention as it was mostly prepared and guided by brother. This time round I was there on my own, so I payed more attention to things. So here are some little tips in going around.

  • For 299฿, you can get a SIM card with 3 GB of Data and 100 baht of call/SMS credit valid for 8 days. The telecom network I went with was AIS. The 4G internet is very speedy almost everywhere I went.
  • Taking public taxi from Suvarnabhumi Airport to my hotel which as at Nana station costs 500฿ if go by highway.
  • Don’t forget hotel deposit. The hotel I stayed at which was Ambassador Hotel, the deposit is 1000฿.
  • BTS is used full to travel especially around heavily jammed area where Grab is not that practical. It’s quite a simple ordeal to purchase a 1 way trip ticket for BTS. You simply exchange for coin at Ticketing Counter if you don’t already have. Then go to the ticketing machine which looks like below photo. Do a look up on Fare Information diagram to see how ticket price you need to purchase. Once identified, you simply select and press the price button on the machine for your desired trip. After that, you can start to feed in coin till the required coin number go down to zero then a train ticket will be ejected at #3 area in the photo and coin change will be dropped at slot in area #4 in the photo.
  • One of the days, I planned to go clothes shopping at Platinum Pratunam and then to have seafood dinner at Siam Seafood next to Shibuya Pratunam. So instead of searching Google Map for direction from my hotel to Platinum Pratunam, I somehow was more focused on finding how to go to Shibuya Pratunam. So Google Map told me take 4 station from Nana to stop at Ratchathewi then walk about 800m to Shibuya. When we arrived at Shibuya, then only we realized that we need to walk like another 200 m to reach Platinum fashion mall then walk back after shopping. Only later then I realized that we could just stop at Chit lom (2 stop) or Siam (3 stop) and walk to Pratunam which is about the same distance but we would get to see and pass by famous shopping malls like Siam Paragon, Central World etc. Because of this mistake, we ended having to have another schedule to come to Siam for Siam Paragon and Siam Square One.
  • Don’t go Big C first. We made a mistake of heading to Big C first when we were there we had to buy a lot of stuffs (food, snack, toiletry, etc) that we don’t have enough hands to carry and it wasn’t possible to carry those stuffs around while exploring other shopping malls. And we also found out that Big C opens till 2 am. So we dropped the stuffs and leave Big C for Central World and other place first before coming back to it later at night to get those stuff back all over again then return to hotel.

 

Bangkok Trip Tip

Fix Khmer Unicode Display In Google Chrome

This post is a simple tip on how to fix Khmer Unicode font display weirdly in Google Chrome for Facebook and various other sites. Below is how the weird font looks like.

So we’re going to fix it to display in proper Khmer unicode font like Khmer OS Battambang.

screenshot.1526822834

  1. Go to Chrome Setting
    screenshot.1526822171
  2. Scroll down (or use “Search settings”) to look for Customized fonts.
    screenshot.1526822260
  3. In Customize fonts, menu scroll to the bottom to look for Advanced font settings.
    screenshot.1526822999
  4. If you haven’t had “Advanced font settings” chrome extension installed it will route you to add it to chrome.
    screenshot.1526823151.jpg
  5. Now that “Advanced font settings” extension is added you should be able to see the advance font settings page as below:
    screenshot.1526823252.jpg
  6. Simply configure the same as screenshot above. For font, you don’t have to necessarily pick Khmer OS Battambang, you can pick any Khmer unicode font.
  7. Then click Apply settings, then your font should change.
  8. However, no change is observed.  Then go to setting again then Customize font.
    Unders Standard font also select the Khmer unicode font that you want. Then it should reflect now.
    screenshot.1526915735

Result:

screenshot.1526915866.jpg

 

 

Fix Khmer Unicode Display In Google Chrome

Lmut Tum Restaurant

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  • Meal: Dinner
  • Rating:
    Food: 8/10 | Ambient: 9/10 | Variety: 8/10 | Price: 8/10 | Service: 8/10
    Cuisine type: Local (Khmer)

This restaurant was introduced by my brother. At one point, we go there for family dinner quite often. I’ve tried plenty of their food. Some of them are really good, some are so-so.

Some of my favorites are:

  • Green Mango Salad With Dried Fish / Smoked Fish / បុកស្វាយត្រីងៀត / ត្រីឆ្អើរ
  • Hot Roasted Chicken
  • Fish Amok In Coconut / អាម៉ុកត្រីចំហុយដូងខ្ចី
    Image may contain: food
  • Snail Amok / អាម៉ុកខ្យង
  • Bay Kdang / បាយក្តាំងបំពង
  • Lort Dessert (បបរលតអង្ករ)

I haven’t tried much else. They have a lot of exotic food as well but normally, I always go for a safe choice. The only really bad one that I tried are their fried dishes. So generally try to avoid fried dishes. Seems like it’s not their strength.

Then there was once where I had a team function, the restaurant has a private room upstairs with a floor seating arrangement for us. My team loved the private space. The service pretty good too and not too pricey and some time if you’re lucky, you may get good singer around as well.

They also have delivery @ Nham24.

For more details can go their Facebook Page and Nham24 for the menu.

Lmut Tum Restaurant

MALIS Restaurants

Image result for malis restaurant

  • Date: 02-May-2018
  • Meal: Dinner
  • Rating:
    Food: 6/10 | Ambient: 7/10 | Variety: 8/10 | Price: 6/10 | Service: 9/10
    Cuisine type: Local (Khmer), Western

Finally, I get to try this exclusive restaurant. This is one of those restaurants that I would never go on my own expense. I just happened to be lucky enough to join my new company on the day that they have function there. So I’d be sure to take not write a post about it 🙂

Our group was about 15-16 people so we booked ourselves a private room. The room was quite simple not that impressive. But yeah I guess the cost mostly goes to the services, which is excellent.

Base on this one-time experience, I didn’t find the food that fantastic. Not to my taste.

We had:

  • Takeo Sausage
    Comment: It tastes vaguely similar to one of the local street food called Kong Kep Bouk (Frog with mixed stuffing). Anyway, it’s quite good.
  • Scallops with Green Peppercorns
    Comment: Scallop was good but the rest of the vegetable side and topping not so much.
  • Banana Blossom with Pork Salad
    Comment: Lolz the pork was good but the banana blossom salad definitely not my thing.
  • Fish Amok
    Comment: Amok and Fish have never been my kind of food. But this amok is quite good. Quite mild not too flavored.
  • Grilled Prawn with Pra Hok sauce (served with white rice)
    Comment: As much as I love lobster, they cooked it a bit too raw for my liking plus I don’t like Pra Hok that much. But yeah still by the far the best dish among all others we had that evening.
  • Bamboo Shoot and Smoke Fish Soup
    Comment: Probably the worst dish of the night for me. Didn’t like bamboo shoot nor the taste of the soup. I just left it unfinished.

All in all, I’m not too sure if they didn’t order the right food or that’s basically the standard there but from that one experience it wasn’t memorable, at least not for that price. So yes, if you’re just going for fanciness and quality service, then probably the right place but just for good food, I don’t think I’d go again and recommend anybody to go.

MALIS Restaurants

How to Love Genuinely

I recently come across this video about Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo speaking about genuine love and I feel deeply touched and inspired by it. It’s not the first time that I dwell in this topic. I have been reading and reflecting on myself to try to understand how do I feel love? give love? and receive love? And when I first encountered the concept of genuine love, I was truly moved and inspired to be able to love like that. Since then, I’ve been learning and training myself to be able to love people genuinely and also to inspire my love ones be able to do the same thus hopefully we able to collectively create an environment where everybody is genuinely be happy and having peace in the mind.

Transcript:

The problem is always that we mistake the idea of love for attachment. We imagine that the grasping and clinging that we have in our relationships shows that we love. Whereas actually, it is just attachment which causes pain because the more we grasp, the more we are afraid to lose then if we do lose, then of course, we are going to suffer. Attachment says “I love you therefore I want you to make me happy.” and Gunuine love says “I love you therefore I want you to be happy. If that includes me, great! If it doesn’t include me, I just want your happiness.” So it’s a very different feeling. Attachment is like holding very tight. But genuine love is like holding very gently nuturing, but allowing things to flow not to be held tightly. The more tightly we hold on to others, the more we will suffer. But it’s very hard for people to understand that because they think that the more we hold on to someone the more it shows that they care about them. But it’s not, it’s really just that they’re trying to grasp at something because they are afraid that otherwise they themselves will be hurt. Any kind of relationships which imagines that we can fulfill ourselves through another is bound to be very tricky. Ideally people should come together already feeling fulfill within themselves and just therefore appreciating that in the other rather than expecting the other to supply that sense of well-being which they don’t feel on their own. Then there’s a lot of problems. And also along with the projection which comes with romance where we project all our ideas, ideals and desires, and romantic fantasies on to the other which the other cannot possibly fulfill. Once you get to know them you realize that it’s not prince charming or Cinderella. It’s just a very ordinary person who’s also struggling. And unless one is able to see them with, to like them as well as feel desire for them and to also have loving kindness and compassion then it’s going to be a very difficult relationship.

How to Love Genuinely

Vientiane, Laos Trip

This is my 2nd time visiting Vientiane. This time round I’m here alone on a business trip to train engineer in Laos. And I’m here for 2 weeks which is a long trip. Despite that, I haven’t really been visiting exploring much because of busy schedule. I only have evening and night time to go around but I find that I don’t really dare to go out at night. Along the street is pretty dark and there isn’t much city lighting and it’s quite quiet, very little traffic. So I don’t really feel that safe to go out alone. I thought of renting a motor bike but at the thought of riding alone, I decided not to.

I find that people over here are very laid back. Not much businesses, street not very bustling, and no high rise building. Spending two weeks here is pretty tough. Most of the evening, I just order room service for dinner. Good thing is that the hotel food is quite good. Most of my adventure are trying out different food. So here is some brief snapshot of my Laos trip.

I was booked for City Inn Vientiane hotel. I like this it here. My previous trip I stayed at Saibaidee@Lao Hotel which is like USD 20 more expensive but not very much better. The wifi at City Inn is so much faster but the breakfast not as good and less variety. Room-wise, I think they are more or less the same.

Day 1

Breakfast at hotel. During lunch, I was brought to this place called Chokdee Dimsum Gold Restaurant. They had dim sum buffet and other non-buffet dishes as well. I ordered BBQ Pork Rice and Iced Milk Ovaltine. And my Laos colleagues ordered some other side dishes. My BBQ Pork Rice was not bad. The Ice Milk Ovaltine was also quite good because they don’t use condense milk like in Cambodia. They use fresh milk and they made it not so sweet. But my highlight of the lunch would have to be the fried dumpling with chili. The fried dumpling was very nice and goes very well with the chili though very spicy.

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For dinner, I ordered room service. Actually, that was the first time, that I ordered meal room service from hotel. Usually, I find that they are very overpriced, so I don’t really order. Anyway, my order were Cream of Mushroom Soup, Garlic Bread, Spicy Chick Wings and Spaghetti Bolognese.

Day 2

Breakfast as usual at hotel. During lunch, my Laos colleague brought me to try their really local food. Lap Lao Beef eaten with sticky rice. They seem to find it very delicious that they ordered like 3 servings of it. For me, it’s not particularly that good because first of it contains pra hok (smelly fermented fished thing) and secondly, there were a lot of vegetables, most of which are not to my liking.

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For Dinner, again room service. French Fries, Corn and Spinach Au Gratin, Chicken Spring Rolls and latte for late night caffeine as it was going to be a long night working. The Corn and Spinach Au Gratin is actually a mistaken order. I placed order for 713 but some how the room service guy must have heard 703. I tried it anyway. It was not bad but it was just too corny that I was unable to each much of it.

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Day 3

Breakfast at hotel as usual. For lunch, I was brought to the nearby Pho noodle store. I ordered a large bowl pho and coconut shake. I had to say it was good Dinner room service: Golden Fried Prawn, Cream of chicken soup, and Chicken Cordon Bleu.

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Day 4

Breakfast at hotel as usual. During lunch, my Laos colleague brought me to Pizza company which would not be my choice of food-to-try in Vientiane. Anyway I ordered seafood spaghetti and chicken wings. Nothing spectacular to review.

Day 5

Again the usual breakfast at hotel. Lunch with Allen at this western buffet restaurant.
Went Swedish Pizza had worst seafood spaghetti ever. Thin Hawaiian pizza and banana shake.
Room service at hotel.

Day 6

Thailand. Porridge at Udon. Seafood. KFC.

Day 7

Breakfast at hotel. Lunch at Chokdee Dimsum Gold Restaurant. Dinner Room Service: Cream of Chicken Soup, Chicken Spring Rolls, Mix Fresh Fruit Juice and Grilled Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce.

Day 8 – Day 10

One of the days, they took me out of town to Thailand (specifically Udong Thani and Nong Khai). We dropped by PTT for a quick 7Eleven breakfast and Amazon coffee. Then at some road side porridge which was delicious. Then we went to Home Pro where I went nuts and wanted to buy everything. Then the highlight of the day was the lunch seafood (pic below). The tom yum was awesome. The grill squid was fantastic. And then there was the mini lobster or tiger prawn whatever you want to call it, which I don’t have time to describe because I was busy devouring them. It was very fresh and well grilled. I ate everything from head to tail. But in order to enjoy the food, you have to have quite high tolerance for spiciness (which Thailand is famous for) because everything is really spicy.

Other than that, I totally lost track hahaha and it’s been a long post. All in all, I think this is the trip that actually gave me a proper introduction to Vientiane. The first time was we were to busy and exhausted by work. Compared to Phnom Penh, Vientiane is still a far more serene, laid-back,  chilled city I think. It’s a good place to visit just to readjust a your tempo and experience a slower pace of life.

Vientiane, Laos Trip