Author Archives: drizad

About drizad

A self employed General Practitioner who lives with his lovely family in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. He dedicates his spare time serving people with precious information on climbing the Majestic Mountain of the Borneo, Mt Kinabalu. Reachable at drizad(at)gmail.com

Mount Kinabalu climbing package scam?

Mount Kinabalu climbing package scam?I received an email today, asking wether there is a scam going on with tour operators which deals with Mount Kinabalu climbing package. This is the quoted email:

Name of sender: Steve
Email of sender: yusi…@yahoo.com
————————- COMMENTS ————————-

I have tried booking room in Laban Rata for my July trip. The lodge office told me that all rooms/beds are already occupied. However, when I made enquiry at those tour operators, they seem to be able to get those rooms. Is this some kind of scam? Please advise. Thanks.

————————————————————

This is what I replied:

Hi Steve,

Thank you for your email. No, it is not a scam. The story goes like this:

There are about 100 beds available in Laban Rata, and what happened is, some percentage of the beds have been pre-booked by the tour operators (I am not sure how many percentage). The remaining bed availability will then be managed (sell) by Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (SSL) themselves. As SSL is the only operator which manages the accommodation in Laban Rata, the place will easily be filled and booked by travelers. Most of them will book directly to them, sometimes as early as 6 months in advance.

The beds that was pre-booked by the tour operator will usually be filled a little bit later, as the tour operator usually sell the accommodation in Laban Rata as a package, not individual as SSL.

That is why although there are no place available in Laban Rata from SSL, there are still some place available from tour operators.

Anyway, if you want me to help you on a package trip, please fill in this form:

http://mount-kinabalu-borneo.com/booking/booking-form/

Regards,
Ruhaizad

Open Source – The Basic Idea

Open Source InitiativesThe basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.

I am not a programmer. I don’t know how to read/write code, but I think that Open Source is the way of future software life.

Linux For You – Best available offline magazine for Linux and Open Source

Linux For You - Best available offline magazine for Linux and Open SourceI just feel that having a physical true magazine or books is cool. I like the feel and smell of new book or magazine that I buy. It’s not the same feeling as you read an online magazine. There are many RSS feed on Linux and Open Source in the internet, but I still feel the good-old-style of book and magazine is still the way things are. That is why, I like to buy and read a true affordable magazine about things that I like most – Linux and Open Source.

I have been buying and reading Linux For You – The complete magazine on Open Source for the past 6 months, and I am very impress with the presentation and content. It’s a magazine that is published in India, but easily available here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. I really respect the production team, as I could not find a similar magazine about Linux and Open Source in Malaysia, not even close. Even Singapore don’t have one like this.

LFY January 2007With the price of RM16.90 or Rs100, the magazine is fully loaded with more than 100 pages of latest information and development on Linux and Open Source. The contents of the magazine is written with various level of Linux user in mind – from the newbie to geeks. So, it is suitable for anybody, especially for those who have been using Windows for the past gazillion years who like to seek an alternative.

The best part of buying this magazine is getting the latest Linux distro in DVD, without having to pay extra. It saves me from hunting through various Torrent downloading for the distro that I need, which usually took me almost one whole day (you know how sucks Streamyx is).

Up till now, we Malaysian still have to read about Linux and Open Source offline by having this magazine (I think). I am not sure when will we have our own magazine, a Linux and Open Source that is “Made in Malaysia”. Although with “Malaysia Boleh!” slogan in mind, I don’t think that it will be materialize in the near future.

Oh, I forgot to mention. Magazine and books that you buy is tax deductible (up to RM700 for Malaysian). Keep the receipt as a proof when you submit your income tax.

Mountain Climbing Sites in Malaysia

I received an email asking me about other mountain climbing sites in Malaysia. After so much research (including going to Sabah Tourism Center) to look for the information, I managed to get these. As of end 2006, this is the latest list for mountain climbing sites in Malaysia.

Unfortunately, I only have the information on Mount Kinabalu. You have to look somewhere else for other mountain. For your information, ‘gunung’ is mountain in Malay.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING SITES IN MALAYSIA

Bukit Bendera 821M Penang
Gunung Jerai 1217M Kedah
Gunung Korbu 2183M Perak
Gunung Bubu 1568M Perak
Gunung Angsi 825M Negeri Sembilan
Gunung Ledang 1276M Johor
Gunung Belumut 1010M Johor
Gunung Tahan 2187M Taman Negara, Pahang
Gunung Gagau 1376M Taman Negara, Pahang
Gunung Brinchang 2032M Cameron Highlands, Pahang
Gunung Berembun 2075M Cameron Highlands, Pahang
Gunung Jasar 1696M Cameron Highlands, Pahang
Gunung Perdah 1529M Cameron Highlands, Pahang
Gunung Stong 1422M Kelantan
Gunung Chamah 2171M Kelantan
Gunung Silam 883M Lahad Datu, Sabah
Gunung Lotong 1667M Maliau Basin, Sabah
Gunung Kinabalu* 4092M Kinabalu Park, Sabah
Gunung Tambuyukon* 2580M Kinabalu Park, Sabah
Gunung Trusmadi* 2643M Crocker Range, Sabah
Tama Abu 2113M Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak
Bukit Batu Buli 2082M Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak
Bukit Batu Lawi 2046M Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak
Bukit Batu 2092M Sarawak
Gunung Penrissen 1329M Sarawak
Gunung Santubong 810M Sarawak
Bukit Batu Iran 2018M Sarawak
Gunung Mulu 2376M Mulu National Park, Sarawak

* = The highest three mountains in Malaysia is situated in Sabah.

Clothing and Equipment Advisory

  • Comfortable long-sleeved shirts and pants for protection from leech bites, abrasions and the elements.
  • A hat with a wide brim against intense sunshine and light rain.
  • A poncho or rain cape.
  • A pair of gloves and a balaclava will help protect you from cold summit winds.
  • Wear roomy lightweight jungle boots with good ankle supports and deep-ridged sole, and wear two pairs of socks to prevent blisters.
  • A comfortable rucksack with padded shoulder straps, hip belt and internal frame is a must.
  • A map and compass for navigating jungle trails; under some dense jungle canopies the sun might not be clearly seen.
  • A whistle is a useful tool for attracting attention and signalling others.
  • A basic first aid kit for the treatment of abrasions, insect bites and wounds.
  • Extra batteries for your tochlight; candles and matches.

10 FREE Firefox extensions and add-ons for Webmasters

I have been using Firefox as my web browser for the past 2 years (yes, just recently). It is because I am overwhelmed with the additional feature that you can add to boost Firefox to become one of the best tool around, especially as a webmaster. Apart from it being platform independant (it also helped as I use both Linux and Windows as my operating system), it is also one of the fastest browser around.

Until now, I have done few trials and errors on the add-ons and extensions for Firefox, on particular, tools for webmasters. I will share with you all the add-ons that I use to enhance my task as a webmaster. Here are the list:

  1. Adsense Notifier – The most handy tools for webmasters who use Adsense as one of their multiple streams of income. Adsense Notifier simply shows your adsense stats on the status bar and updates the stats automatically. This is wonderful for anyone with OCD (Obsessive Compusive Disorder) who needs to check their stats every three seconds to see if they have gotten any more clicks :-p
  2. Fasterfox – If you want to feel your “Firefox on Steroids”, Fastefox is one of the extension that you should have. It tweaks your performance and network for Firefox. The features are: prefetch links, tweaks network, block pop-ups and page-load timer.
  3. FireFTP – FTP client for Firefox. I use Filezilla as my regular FTP client, but I use FireFTP as my back-up and alternative FTP client. So, if you crash your FileZilla, you still can load your html file to your server.
  4. Gmail Notifier – I have to admit that Gmail is the best email client that I have, A whole lot better than Hotmail and full-of-junk Yahoo. Gmail Notifier will err… notify when you have new email in your inbox. It’s really handy if you use Gmail as your official email client.
  5. Google Toolbar for Firefox – The best toolbar that I have. Even better than the bloated Yahoo.
  6. Greasemonkey – Allows you to customize the way a webpage displays using small bits of JavaScript (that’s what they say). I am not really sure how it works, but it works with my Blogger. I use some script to insert Technorati tags into Blogger.
  7. IE Tab – This is a great tool for web developers, since you can easily see how your webpage displayed in IE with just one click and then switch back to Firefox. I sometimes find that my website looks a bit funny in IE. By having this, you can edit your html file to be IE friendly…
  8. Online Bookmark Manager Synchronizer -This is a powerful tool to synchronize your bookmarks between your Firefox browser and the OnlineBookmarkManager. Keep your Firefox bookmarks in sync between multiple computers and for me, between operating system. Better than del.icio.us.
  9. Search Status -Display the Google PageRank and Alexa popularity score anywhere in your browser, along with fast keyword density analyser, keyword/nofollow highlighting, backward/related links, Alexa info and other SEO tools. Basically, its a tool where you can know other website’s Google PR and Alexa, compared to yours.
  10. Wizz RSS News Reader -A fairly good RSS and Atom news reader. It’s useful to get yourself update with the latest news from the net.

Now you get 10 of the best webmaster tool as an extension for your Firefox. I think it is more special than IE extension, as it is free and updated regularly.

Personally, if I know how to write code and make one, I will do it. Anymore suggestions?

Jungle Adventure Tips – For Kinabalu Park Trail-ers…

  • My son in one of the jungle trail of KinabaluFind out about the trail and surroundings, be sure that you have enough time to complete the entire route before darkness falls. Do not stray off the path to chase after animals.
  • Use good judgment regarding fitness level required for the trek, and know your physical limits.

  • Always inform the park officials or let someone know your plans and destination for the day, especially if going alone.

  • Take plenty of water and pack a few easy snacks to keep energy level up. Unless trekking with a local guide, it is not advisable to eat jungle fruit or drink from any water source.

  • In the highlands try to trek on the ridge tops to save energy traversing the steep slopes and to catch a cool breeze.

  • Be as quite as possible to avoid scaring any wildlife. Getting an early start during the dawn provides the best chances to sight animals seeking food and the warmth of the early morning sun.

  • Wear thin, loose preferably cotton clothing to remain comfortable.

  • Cover arms and legs with long trousers and long-sleeved shirts to ward off mosquitoes and to provide protection against thorny plants.

  • Wear leech socks or long socks to prevent leeches from finding an entry way.

  • Choose sturdy footwear with proper ankle support and good traction.

  • Be prepared for sudden rain showers by carrying poncho that wraps over both body and your carrying pack to keep everything dry.

  • A white brimmed hat helps to shade a trekker from the heat of tropical sun.

Kinabalu Park itself have more than 10 jungle trails that you can use, although you have no intention to climb the mountain. The trails varies in distance, and you can choose whether you want to follow the 30 minutes trail or 3 hours trail. Information can be obtained from the Kinabalu Park office, and maybe you have to inform the park rangers on your trip and activities. Most travelers take the trail to see the flora, fauna (mostly birds) of Kinabalu.

2D1N Mount Kinabalu climbing package from Viewmalaysia.com

I came across a travel & tour website, Viewmalaysia.com, which provides a good package for Mount Kinabalu climbing in 2D1N. The cost of the package includes:

  • 1 night accommodation at Dormitory (Multi Sharing)
  • 1 breakfast, 1 Packed Lunch and 1 Dinner
  • 2 Ways Transfer (Kota Kinabalu Reservation Office at Wisma Sabah – Kinabalu National Park)
  • 2 Ways Transfer (Reception – Timpohon Gate – Starting Point)
  • National Park Entrance Fees, Climbing Permit, Insurance Certificate of Achievement
  • Mountain Guide

As this is a package that is provided by third party, please don’t email or contact me to make inquiry on the package. I am just showing you an options for the climbing package, apart from you deal with me directly.

And, as there is still no feedback from any of the climbers for this package, I am hoping that one of you can be the first to give me feedback!

Mount Kinabalu climbing package

Open source file archiver – 7-zip

I have been using a cracked copy of Winzip for the past 2 years, but I don’t think that is a good way. As I was also not be able to upgrade the software, I opted for Open Source Software. So far, the best open source file archiver that I have been using (since December 2006) is 7-zip.

7-zip is a file archiver with high compression ratio. It gives you the same function as Winzip and Winrar, but for you to use for free.

7-zip

The main features of 7-Zip

  • High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression
  • Supported formats:
    • Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR
    • Unpacking only: RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS
  • For ZIP and GZIP formats 7-Zip provides compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip
  • Self-extracting capability for 7z format
  • Integration with Windows Shell
  • Powerful File Manager
  • Powerful command line version
  • Plugin for FAR Manager
  • Localizations for 63 languages

Personally, it’s the best alternative for Winzip and Winrar for me. I use to have both as my file archiver, but I am not really easy with illegal/cracked copy of the software. 7-zip did what I wanted and for a free software, I have no complain. It worked with both my OS, Windows XP and Xandros Linux.

Mount Kinabalu climbing identity name tag

I did some cleaning of my old stuff in my store room yesterday. Guess what did I found? My 4 Mount Kinabalu climbing identity name tags! It reminds me of the dates that I went and summit the highest peak of Borneo.

Mount Kinabalu identity name tags

You notice the discoloration of the above two tags? It was because I hanged it in my car (under the back mirror) for few months. It turns yellowish due to the heat. The tag in the center is my wife’s.

Anyway, the above name tag will be given to you (of course it’s your name on it) the morning just before you start your climb. It is for security and identification reason, apart from being a good souvenir for you to take back.

Now I remember all 4 dates of my climb: 26 January and 16 April 2002, 27 January 2003 and 9 July 2005. I went up there twice – as a doctor…