Month: July 2015

Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in July 2015

Strangely it has become rainy season again. For the last week it has rained every night and / or day. And otherwise been cloudy with some sun.  Thus it’s been cooler, too.

Gathering water for the garden has thus been easy.

plenty of rain water - the one on the right was full but I did some watering. The copper is to keep mosquitos away

plenty of rain water – the one on the right was full but I did some watering. The copper is to keep mosquitos away

And I’ve managed to capture some bird photos as a result of the new camera having a 30x zoom.

mock orange when bird comes to eat

mock orange when bird comes to eat

bird

bird

bird

bird

bird has mock orange  seed

bird has mock orange seed

bird has seed

bird has seed

oreole on large tree

oriole on large tree

oreole on large tree

oriole on large tree

birds eat mango

birds eat mango

birds eat mango

birds eat mango

papayas at back are growing

papayas at back are growing

Just put in seeds on left of very nice papaya I just ate

Just put in seeds on left of very nice papaya I just ate

I had to prune many papaya branches off several papaya trees - mealy bugs

I had to prune many papaya branches off several papaya trees – mealy bugs

mealy bugs

mealy bugs

mock oranges flowering after the rain

mock oranges flowering after the rain

bee visiting

bee visiting

another mock orange

another happy mock orange

very happy

very happy Canna lilies

so nice today

so nice today

so nice today

so nice today

the only baby mock orange I succeeded in growing from seed last year

the only baby mock orange I succeeded in growing from seed last year

plumbago that the killer corner almost killed, but now recovering

plumbago that the killer corner almost killed, but now recovering

the lime tree has a lot of tiny buds and seems happy

the lime tree has a lot of tiny buds and seems happy

tomato plants have come up out of the compost and are so far doing well

tomato plants have come up out of the compost and are so far doing well

tomato plants have come up out of the compost and are so far doing well

tomato plants have come up out of the compost and are so far doing well

tomato plants have come up out of the compost and are so far doing well

tomato plants have come up out of the compost and are so far doing well

passion fruit vines are growing rapidly

passion fruit vines are growing rapidly

the lone surviving papaya in this pot after all leaves on all plants were attacked by bird or grasshopper

the lone surviving papaya in this pot after all leaves on all plants were attacked by bird or grasshopper

aloe vera

aloe vera

bougainvillea is having a rest from flowering

Bougainvillea is having a rest from flowering

doing fine - it likes water

doing fine – it likes water

keffir limes are growing well

kaffir limes are growing well

leaving this bud on plant to collect roselle seeds.

leaving this bud on plant to collect Roselle seeds.

 

Starbucks WiFi saga

Hooray.  Starbucks have improved their WiFi system.

Jpeg

login page

Up until a few months ago one simply connected to Starbucks’ WiFi, opened a web page which went automatically to their site, clicked “I agree”, and then waited 20 seconds. Then one could use the Internet.

Next they implemented a system whereby one had also to put in the code on your receipt in order to connect – and it became very slow, and iPads won’t connect.

The latest is that when you open the web page you see a “Get WiFi” button, and when you click that you get the above page.  My photo missed it, but below the Facebook etc. buttons is another which says, “I’ll do it later”. Click that and you are in.  You don’t need to give them your private info. You don’t need to put in that pesky code on the receipt.

Choosing your (next) mobile phone company in Malaysia

I have been with Maxis for many years on a postpaid plan, and they never offer any good deals, and my Internet allowance is a paltry 250 MB per month, which only really covers emails and not much else.  More Internet with them is very expensive. So I decided to change and get more Internet for around the same price.  But I want to keep the same numbers I have –  changing is known as porting the numbers.

  1. I found a comparison web site:  http://www.lowyat.net/2015/05/the-complete-list-of-postpaid-voice-plans-in-malaysia-and-what-they-offer-celcom-maxis-digi-and-u-mobile/
  2. After reading this and comments on lowyat.net I decided on Celcom or U Mobile
  3. I went to the mall and talked to different companies, including Digi.
  4. I checked the companies’ web sites.  It seems they only really have 3G cover and not 4G.
  5. I decided on Celcom’s Basic 38, where I get 3GB of data.  I check with Celcom, and they say I just fill out the form, pay RM500 per line deposit plus first month’s charge, and show them my (old) passport (the same passport I used when I got the Maxis lines – not my new passport.)  Then I will get a text within 24 hours.  I get a SIM card for each line – whether full size or micro-SIM depends on your phone.  It sounded too easy.
  6. I talk to Maxis’ store in the mall and ensure I have nothing to tie me to them. To get back my deposit (RM500 per line) they tell me I have to go to their office on Northam Road. This is not accurate and was a waste of a trip.

So, this being Malaysia I didn’t expect it to go smoothly – and it didn’t.
Wednesday:

  • My bill with Maxis is up to date except for this month’s bill, which I’ve not yet received. Maxis and Celcom said no problem.
  • I fill out the form with Celcom and I give the numbers that I want to port – they say wait for a text within 24 hours. Show passport and pay as mentioned above.  I receive SIM cards.
  • My wife gets a text on her phone in the evening saying to reply with a Y if I want to change mobile companies before 1400 the next day, but I don’t get a text.  She doesn’t notice and I don’t know.

Thursday:

  • I hear my wife’s phone get a text and I see that the change was rejected due to no reply.  Then I see the earlier text.
  • I phone Maxis and they say call Celcom and get them to resubmit the form
  • I call Celcom and they say they will
  • Then I get a call from Celcom where I submitted paperwork saying that Maxis want me to pay this month’s bill and then they’ll resubmit
  • I go to Maxis and pay
  • Then I drop in to Celcom and say I’ve paid. He says he’ll resubmit.
  • A couple of hours later I get a text from Maxis on both phones asking to confirm. I reply Y
  • I get a confirmation text from Maxis

Friday:

  • I get a text from Maxis saying good-bye.  And another text from Celcom saying SMS confirmation to change SIM card will be sent within two days.

Saturday:

  • Nothing.  Note to self – start procedure on a Monday so I have all week for it to go through.

Sunday:

  • Lunchtime – got text from Celcom that the service is activated and to insert the SIM.  I shut down the phone, inserted the SIM, and started.  It picked up the signal and data signal immediately. But data speed in not 4G, but HSDPA, I guess.
  • But on doing this it had reset the keyboard, the wallpaper and phone app to default. And possibly other things I haven’t yet noticed.   So I had to set them up again.

A week or so later:

My bill for the last month came. Of course, I had already paid it.  I went to Northam to get back my deposit, and they told me the following.

DEPOSIT RECOVERY PROCEDURE

  • Wait until the final bill comes.
  • Phone 123 – for Maxis.
  • They will deduct any amount owing from deposit, and post a cheque for the balance.

NEXT TIME

So, once I have decided on the company, next time:

  • Start a week before the end of the billing cycle.
  • Make all the phone calls I need to.
  • Go to the current mobile company and pay to date, and not use phone thereafter if possible, except Skype etc.  Phone them also and ask the deposit recovery procedure. (At least one second opinion saves trouble.)
  • Sign up with new company and monitor mobile for texts like a hawk
  • Collect deposit at the appropriate time

Tail of two doggies and other stories – 1

Once upon a time when we moved into our house, two dogs, Jupiter and Venus, lived a few doors down.  They were locked into the front yard, and looked through the wrought iron gate and barked loudly at passersby.  If I went and talked to them they still barked.  But when their owner took them out for walks on their leads they didn’t bark if I chatted to him.  The owner sold the house a year or two ago,  and the word was he was going to abandon the dogs. Very irresponsible and unkind, I thought.  But then he seemed to take them after all when he moved out.

Jupiter

Jupiter

About six months ago Jupiter showed up again for a few days.  Just by himself.  Then he went away for a few days. And then came back, and more or less lives in the street with the other dogs.  As for Venus, I have no idea.  But Jupiter seems to enjoy life much more now, and doesn’t bark at anyone. Someone took off his collar recently. He is free, and roams around with the other dogs happily.  He is fed, like other local dogs, by residents.

Dogs come and go in our street.  Almost none are actually strays.  They are owned by local people or businesses, and either fed by them or by others in the area. Some are kept in houses or yards, and others roam around the street. They are calm, non-threatening and seem to be pretty happy.

More dog stories in the future.