Want a free next generation ZIP archiver?

SecureZIPI have been using an old trial version on Winzip for the past few years to take care of all my archived files until yesterday, when I came across SecureZIP – The next generation of ZIP. It attracted my attention (anything free is!) and it seems that it has an up to date file archiving capabilities, plus the ability to secure all my private data and my outgoing email. I was really surprise that they are offering this software a limited time free download promotion.

Functioning similar like other file archiver, SecureZIP is a compression and archiving program but brings an exciting new focus: data security. SecureZIP not only helps you manage your data, but SecureZIP also helps you keep it secure—on your computer, in email, and across the enterprise. By having this special security feature, SecureZIP can protect confidential personal information stored on your PCs such as tax records, bank statements, medical records, passwords, and other private data. This is important especially if you are sharing your PC with other people. You wouldn’t want your secret to be known by your roommate right?

SecureZIP

I managed to fiddle around with SecureZIP after a smooth download and installation 3 days ago. The installation file, which is about 12MB in size, was downloaded after sending them an email requesting the file. The first thing that I notice after installation finishes was the nice and simple GUI. Extracting and compressing files were fast.

However, if you want to use the security feature of SecureZIP, you need to have a digital certificate. Luckily for me, I have my own personal digital certificate from Malaysian Tax Department when I sent my tax assessment few days back. It seems that the certificate is valid and compatible, and I can use the security feature without any problem. Oh, if you do not have one, you can get a free digital certificate from Comodo. I also managed to secure my confidential data in just a couple of minutes.

After 3 days test run, SecureZIP has fulfill its promise to serve as a good archiving with security feature software. These are the other features of SecureZIP:

  1. Secure your email with Outlook.
  2. Secure your body email.
  3. Secure your desktop storage.
  4. Use it with a digital certificate to encrypt and signing emails.
  5. Use it with your antivirus software.
  6. Use it for group file sharing.

So, what are you waiting for? www.securezip.com having limited time free download promotion!

How to choose a good hiking sandals for your trip to Kinabalu

Men’s Teva SandalsOne of my fellow traveler ask me this question: Can we wear sandals to climb Mount Kinabalu? Well, I would answer YES and NO. Yes, if you choose the correct sandals and use it during your day climb (first phase of the climb) and NO, if you choose the wrong one and using it during your night climb. Huh? Isn’t that obvious? The truth is, choosing sandals for trekking/hiking/backpacking up Mount Kinabalu is not as easy as it looks like. I will tell you the secret…

I did several trips up the mountain and I do not have a good experience of wearing trekking boots – on my earlier attempt. Why? Because boots injured my toes, especially during the descend, as the weight of my body seems to fall on my ball of foot, and indirectly pressed the toes. The pain was there for several days after the climb. However, during my last trip up, I used a good sandals. The injuries were reduced.

Practically, not every sandals on the market is suitable for you to wear during your climb. Highly specialize sandals that is made for trekking/hiking/backpacking from most of the known brand is generally suitable for you. Oh, it is elegant for you too. Active Sandals have a lot of various choices on selection of sandals that you can choose and do your shopping online. I would suggest you look on Teva Sandals and Keen Sandals, as they are the specialize producer of these kind of sandals. Active Sandals are a top rated Yahoo! store (5 stars out of 5) for top customer service.

But, how do we choose the best that suits our need? These are some practical tips for you to consider while choosing your good sandals:

  1. Choose either nylon or leather straps, look for arch support, heel shock pad and cushioning midsole.
  2. Look for anti-pronation plugs in the midsole.
  3. Outsole should be sufficiently cleated to offer grip on rough terrain.
  4. Sandal construction integrity and longevity essential – look for straps that are continuous and cannot pull out – failure of the sandals in some remote part of the world could be serious.
  5. Arch support and padded straps and posts are also important for comfort.
  6. Ensure light weight – you don’t want to carry kilos of footwear around with you!
  7. Don’t use leather or synthetic leather footbeds – they cannot take continuous wear over weeks.
  8. Have a pair of leather sandals, or thongs, for casual use.
  9. Make sure you wear a pair of cotton socks with your sandals to minimize blisters.

Oh, the best time to use the sandals on your day climb is during dry season. Your feet can be be a bit cold if you use it during rainy season. You can also use the sandals during your sightseeing trip in Kota Kinabalu city or maybe rafting in Padas River!

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Rafflesia – Kinabalu’s biggest flower in the world

Rafflesia is perhaps one of the two groups of plants that are associated with Kinabalu more than any others, besides orchids. The spectacular Rafflesia grows wild in these forests as well. A parasite, Rafflesia has no stem or leaves of its own and gets its nourishment from thread-like filaments spreading through the roots and stem of its host forest vines.

Rafflesia keithiiThe buds appear as small knobs covered in dark brown bracts on the stem of the vine and take about nine months to develop to the size of a cabbage before they open. The flowers are notorious for their bad smell, but this has been exaggerated and in any case lasts three to four days. Two species have been found on Kinabalu, the huge Rafflesia keithii, which really is a giant, growing up to a whopping 94 centimeters (37 inches) across and the smaller R. pricei, about 30 centimeters (12 inches across).

If you want to see Rafflesia, Tambunan Rafflesia Center is the best place for you to go. It is located an hour’s drive from Kota Kinabalu city.

Trekking should be prepared and a moderate level of fitness is needed. The trek can be slippery during the rainy season. A guide will lead you along the way to point out any sightings of the elusive Rafflesia (usually snuggled between tree trunks) in full bloom or in bud.

The Centre is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. The entrance fee is RM20 (for single person or per group, maximum 6 people), inclusive of a guide.

To obtain further details on the whether there are any Rafflesia in bloom at the Tambunan Rafflesia Centre, Sabah Tourism Board at +6088-212121 or Sri Pelancongan Sabah at +6088-232121. Otherwise, you can contact me to help you plan your next trip there!

Get 2GB free encrypted online backup service from IDrive-E

I think it is about time for me to look for a good file backup service, as my notebook hard disk is getting full and all my important folder on Mount Kinabalu Borneo.com website is increasing in size. I never take this “back up your files” matters seriously, until Aiden told me that his PC blow itself out because of a nasty Trojan. I don’t want the same thing happen to me, as I still intermittently use Windows to do my daily computer task (I told you I use Xandros).

I came across IDrive-E Explorer – a “leading online backup service provider” which also offers encrypted online backup for free up to 2GB! I dont know what to expect, as I never use one before. Thinking that I have nothing to loose, I tried their FREE services.

IDrive-EAfter downloading the 7MB file on my notebook, the installation of the executable file runs smoothly. The application will then act as a virtual drive, and it will connect itself to the IDrive-E server. File transfer is done as easy as “drag and drop” style with Explorer interface (Windows XP). The files that you are working with will be transferred to the server, by using a secure key with a user supplied password known only to the end user. IDrive-E uses industry standard AES 256-bit encryption on storage ideally suited for higher security needs of Financial, Healthcare and Government organizations. That will make sure that your files can only be viewed by you!

I upload my ‘public_html’ folder up the server, which house ALL my Mount Kinabalu Borneo.com HTML files, including the pictures and subfolders inside. After finished doing that, I felt really releived, knowing that if anything happened to the folder in my notebook, I can rely on IDrive-E to retreive my website!

Only one reminder. IDrive-E application is designed to perform backup operations from a single computer and not from multiple computers. Please note that you can perform restore operations from multiple computers using IDrive-E. This is to maintain the consistency and to preserve the integrity of backups. Users are requested to install IDrive-E on a machine and use only that machine to perform backups. If users really want to perform backup operations from another computer, they have to install IDrive-E on that computer and re-register the application.

Oh, if you think that 2GB storage is puny, paid IDrive-E $4.95/month or $49.50/ year (and get 2 months free) for unlimited amount of storage.

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Practical white water rafting tips

White Water Rafting in Padas RiverAll rafters will be given a safety briefing before the ride and will be shown paddle-handling, basic backward and forward paddling techniques and other safety precautions. Paddles, life jackets, safety helmets, life-lines, first aid its and rescue bags provided by the operator. The rafter only needs comfortable clothing which does not hinder movement.

Always check that the helmets and life jackets provided fit you well and are not too tight or too loose. If you have over-turned close to the river bank, don’t use your raft paddle, as you may hit someone else. Never attempt to use the paddle as a lever against rocks as you risk getting hit by it.

Additional points:

  1. Bring a change of clothes. A warm-up jacket is also a good idea.
  2. Wear secure, well-fitting shoes or diving booties.
  3. Jewelery which cannot be secured firmly should not be worn while rafting.
  4. Those wearing glasses should use an elastic sports holder to anchor their spectacles.
  5. Contact lens users are advised to wear spectacles instead, in order to cut down the risk of lenses getting contaminated.

Is Sabah really tsunami free?

After the disastrous 2004 Boxing Day Asian tsunami that wiped out 300,000 in a blink of an eye, is Sabah at risk of any similar disaster in the future?

As Sabah is lapped by three different seas, French geophysicist and seismologist Jean-Paul Boeldieu thinks the potential risk may apply differently to the South China Sea, the Sulu Sea and the Celebes Sea.

What’s his projection? “I hope you understand why you live in a ‘kind of sanctuary’ regarding seismic and water waves,” he said in a written synopsis to his scheduled talk tonight (Thursday) at the Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary at 7.30pm, organised by the Malaysian Nature Society under President Kadir Omar. He cited the South China Sea.

But it may pay the East Coast folks to opt for serious long-term tsunami water through seismic recording. Read on.

“Don’t be scare. Be happy,” he cautioned against alarmism.

“The South China Sea is totally protected from any tsunami waves,” said Jean-Paul, Head of the Seismological Laboratory and correspondent of the international tsunami watch net, who was also a member of the 18th French Polar expedition to Antarctica from 1967 to 1969.

“It is completely closed by high grounds, there are no subduction areas, no faults in relation with subduction areas beyond its limits,” he pointed out.

“In other words, it is the most stable part of the Eurasian Plate,” he added. A very remote possibility for any tsunami in the South China Sea would rather have its origin from space, such as a big asteroid collision, than from underground. This risk is very minimal,” he explained.

In the case of the Sulu Sea, there is a “higher probability of big waves.”

“The record of historic earthquakes in the “Sulu Sea” shows the epicentres were in fact below the Bohol Sea. That sea is rather shallow water, far above the epicentres. The Bohol Sea is partly closed so waves, if any, could only escape towards the Sulu Sea as interference. Therefore, risk seems to be very limited,” he said.

The Celebes Sea, on the other hand, is somewhat different and “maybe affected by a local tsunami,” he said.

“Here, the water column is important. The earthquakes count is high, some being quite energetic,” he noted.

“The fault system is very complex, close to three plates,” he added. Hence, he opined: “Around the Sea, there are serious risk of tsunami water waves, as it happened, in a short time after any big intensity earthquake.” So, in Sabah, only Lahad Datu, the Tawau bays maybe concerned. “The reefs and low coasts of Sulawesi Island are at very serious risk,” he reckoned.

Jean-Paul said earthquakes represent successive relaxation of tensions along the plate boundaries.

“The tsunamis are transmission of movements to the water column above the fault emergence at the seabed level and their propagation,” he said.

Hence, a high magnitude quake and a thick water column above such quakes are conditions for tsunami occurrence. The tsunami water waves are propagated at the ocean surface at the speed of a jet plane or few hundred kilometres per hour.

On the other hand, the speed of the seismic waves within the earth is much higher, in excess of 40,000km per hour, he pointed out.

“This is the reason why the tsunami watch by seismic recording is helpful,” he recommended.

“The people who experience the earthquake should deduct that a tsunami wave may arise very soon,” he suggested.

“It will affect them only if they are not protected by land, shallow water, mangrove on the way of the waves. The purpose of tsunami watch is to warn people close to coasts that are far away from the epicentre as they will have time to go up to the hills if they get the information,” Jean-Paul said.

He said when the earthquake epicentres are deep, that is, more than 100km in the bowel of the earth, there is likely to be no fault on the seabed. But when the epicentres are shallow and far from the coastline and into the oceans, the generated waves can propagate across the oceans.

“The waves are guided by the deep channels. They maybe reflected by cliffs. They explode on shallow waters and high grounds. They are destructed by mangroves,” he said.

Thus underscoring the importance of maintaining and maybe restoring mangrove forests all around Sabah, particularly Sabah’s East Coast where future tsunamis are probably more likely.

In his coming talk, Jean-Paul will examine the mechanisms that cause tsunami waves and the conditions that must prevail for their occurrence.

Resource: Daily Express, 6th April 2006

Sometimes, receiving this kind of email satisfy me…

It feels good to received this kind of email. Although the sender is really foreign to you, never seen and never heard about them before, receiving email like this makes you feel satisfied. This is the email that I received from Desmon Kong, one of our reader who happen to be one of my new friends…

Hai Zad,

Thanks for the newsletter, I have enjoyed reading it and have a good laugh by this Leif Pettersen. Also reminds me of some the things I experienced during my trip. I guess everybody got their own story to tell. Unfortunately I’m not the type of person to keep journal even though I know is a good habit. It will be a great tool if we practice that we can always refer & reflect our lives the things that we gone thru and be thankful to God.

Coming on May two of my good friends is climbing Mt KK using the Mesilau route. Unfortunately I can’t make it what a shame. One of them also has climbed with me last year Feb. The other one just started practicing medicine but took sometime off, he is in Pulau Tioman right now climbing Gunung Kajang.

I will be climbing Gunung Ledang on labour day with them and few others. This is my 3rd Ledang climb. Of course cant be compared with MT KK but nearer to us and also nice in its own way. Also helps me to keep fit. At the kaki gunung of Ledang its has thunderous waterfall rushing thru, big enough to swim. So at the begining of the climb u can feel the strong ‘clean fresh water washed air’ pushes thru from the reaction of water and air meet in a powerful force. Now that is what I call force of nature. That is the same force that gave you the energy to do what you are doing. That motivation is called nature calls. I believed everybody have calling to do noble deeds if they seek from the nature. Just a way to tell you that your work is appreciated.

Keep me update on the newsletter.

Desmond Kong

Thank you for your nice email. I actually come from Muar, Johor. Gunung Ledang was one of my father’s favorite getaway spot for our family. When I was little boy, we usually go there to just have a nice picnic and swim at the waterfall. Those days, the water was really cool and the environment is clean and green. Well, it was more than 20 years ago. I am not sure about now. I heard, the place has been developed and it was not as good as it was before. Anyway, hopefully I can go there again with my family.

Get Expedia coupon deals from Couponchief.com!

Would you like to save on your traveling budget by shopping online with Expedia using one of the internet’s best place of coupon offers? I just would like to share with you one of our visitors favorite website which offers discount coupon and deals for your online purchasing. Couponchief.com gathers more than 1,000 available merchants which provides up to date online coupons to website visitors.

Couponchief is a large website which serves like a “one stop center” for visitors who are looking for coupon deals and discount which can be used for shopping online. It hosts almost all major known merchants, from American Express to Zappos.

To get the most of your coupon, the first thing to do is know what are you looking for. Go to Couponchief.com, and search for the available merchants in the respective categories. Always compare the coupons between the merchants and look for the best bargain for the items that you want. Most of the time you will be seeing more than 1 offers. Find the best coupons that suits your need. When you click on provided the link, you will then be forwarded to the merchants directly with your coupon attached. For example, if you are an adventure travelers cum backpackers, searching your flight tickets from Expedia and looking for your travel backpack from BackcountryOutlets might save you on your next trip around the world.

So, thinking of coming to Sabah and climb Mount Kinabalu? Why don’t you try Couponchief.com. Work yourself up with all the available coupons for your flights, accommodations and luggage. You might save some of your money for the journey to the Summit of Borneo.

Kota Kinabalu – any nice places to visit?

Aiden received an email from one of our friend who is coming with his friends for a visit to Kota Kinabalu. The email sounded like this:

4) Actually KK any other nice place to visit, shop, eat etc?

Aiden have spend half of his sleeping time last night composing the reply email. This is his reply. (I think it it better for me to share with you the email, so that you will have a rough idea if you then decided to spend your holiday here.)

4) Actually in KK, if you are staying in the City Centre and especially in the Gaya Street area, there will be a lot more stuffs to eat, that is to say, it is easier for you to search for any kind of food. Take a look into the KK Map 1, in the coordinate of B-2, you will see a Hotel, which it’s name is Jesselton. Just located opposite to the hotel, there will be a shop, which it’s name is YAU KEE , or something like that ,I can’t remember the spelling of the name. It is very famous for BAH KUT TEH, or Chinese Herbal Pork with sup in English . They normally start to do their business at around 6 to 7p.m in the evening.

In between the coordinate of B-4 and B-5 , you can see an Restaurant which it’s name is SUANG TEIN in the SEDCO SQUARE area. That was a famous open air seafood restaurant before, combining with several restaurants and several other hawkers in that area, they form an open air restaurant-like food centre. To cut the long story short, it is unique.But now they have built some roof so that when it rains, people can still enjoy their meals without running here and there hiding over the rain. The price is a bit more expensive than those in those in the ordinary shop, but the food is nice, not only they serve seafood but with large kind of variety of food to be chosen, I think it does suit our Malaysian or Singaporean’s taste.

REFERRING TO KK MAP:-
Map of Kota KinabaluIn between A-2 and B-2 , there will be a shopping center named Wisma Merdeka.
In A-3 , there will be a shopping center named KK Plaza.
In between A-4, B-4, A-5, B-5 , there is another shopping center named Centre Point. This map is a little bit outdated I would say, because just right beside the Centre Point, in between A-4 and A-5 it is showing the Mini-bus Station. Just want to let you know that KK has been developing in a moderate speed since Kota Kinabalu has been gazetted as a CITY from a former status – TOWN. So, The mini-bus station has been destroyed actually, and rebuilt with some Higher-class of Recreation shops, boutiques, restaurants, and etc… That place is now name as Warisan Square. And the Mini-bus Station has now been moved to the place in A-7..

In the coordinate of C-1, you can see the Signal Hill Observatory, that is the place where you can have a full view of the city. But please don’t go there at night, if you are not travelling by car. It will be a bit dangerous at night. In the coordinate of C-3, there is a place of interest, the Atkinson Clock Tower, that is one of the several oldest structure that has been left after the World War 2. There will be a small path where it is accessible from the bottom of the hill of where Atkinson Clock Tower is situated. And after you reach the Atkinson Clock Tower area, which is on a small hill, you can then walk to the higher place, where the Signal Hill Observatory is situated.

In B-2 , you can see that in the map, there will be a place called the Sabah Tourism Promotion Corporation or Sabah Tourism Board (STB), I will leave that to you to find out what is interesting in the City area, those people in STB is always happy to help you out.

Hope that all of this info will give you a rough idea on what you should do when you are in our city.

I believe our help that we have contributed is far more worth for what you have been asking for. So, we might need your help in the future, when we have set up a page for our previous online visitors to post a comment or testimony. Hope that you will be able to help us by that time too.

Nuffnang and Advertlets – are they any good?

Advertlets Nuffnang

I came across those two websites while trying to expand my capabilities of my blog to generate some side income. I found Adverlets first – while surfing Redesign Malaysia website. The deal from Advertlets sounds very appealing – with “RM15k for the first 300 blogger”, it will definitely opens some Malaysian bloggers eye. I did register myself as one of the bloggers, although I don’t do it whole heartedly. Just trying to dip my toes in the water.

The registration went smoothly, and I did emailed Josh Lim directly about that RM15k that he offers. He replied within 2 days and ask me to send him a story about Advertlets before I post it on my blog. Then, I went to put on the necessary script on my blog sidebar. After the installation, I notice my WordPress backend behave strangely. It seems that when I click “Save and Continue Editing”, the Post Preview page will show like this:

Advertlets bugs?

It showed “Wrong Code for Wrong Domain”. I think it was a bug, but I don’t mind it to behave like that. I just wonder what happen when a novice blogger saw this. They might freak out.

The next bug (I think?) is that the script does not compatible with some of my WordPress Theme. The post that I wrote published itself automatically, although I just click on “Save and Continue Editing” and not the “Publish” button. However, it does not behave that way with my current theme.

The other thing that make me skeptics about Advertlets was that “Poll” version of advertisement to attract new bloggers and advertisers. I don’t know about Advertlets result, but I don’t have a good conversion/click through rate when I put my own “Poll” on my blog. Why don’t they put the classic banner type of ads instead?

Next is Nuffnang. What’s with the name? Sounds really creative for blogger-advertiser network. Maybe they follow what Google does. It took me sometime to convince myself that this is one of this blogger-advertiser network. I found Nuffnang later on after seeing some of their banner ads. I must say they have a “clickable” appealing banner ads.

So far, I did not found any technical problem with Nuffnang – yet. The banner ads that they provide suits nicely to my sidebar. The only comment is that it took ages to load. I wonder how long for the banner will load on TmNut dial-up.

Anyway, I took the chances to put both the ads on the sidebar, above and below, like the one you see —>. Lets run an experiment for exactly 1 month. Let us see the result which one of those ads give a higher conversion/click through rate.

For the brains behind both of the platform – Advertlets and Nuffnang – I would suggest that you set up a forum site for bloggers of your network. Sometimes we need direct interaction and communication rather than just blogging (like how do you deal with bugs?).

So, to answer the question: Are they any good? Only time will tell…