Sutera Sanctuary Lodges recovered…

Sutera Sanctuary LodgesI went to Sutera Sanctuary Lodges main office in Kota Kinabalu today to complain about the difficulty of travelers to contact them for the past few weeks. I spoke to their customer services and administration, and they admit that there was a shortage of front desk staff to deal with customer services.

Usually they have more than 5 staffs, but last few weeks, they have been functioning with skeletal staffs only (2-3 per day). That is why they could not cope with the calls and emails. It seems that the shortage of staff is because some of the staff was temporarily sent to Kinabalu Park to do some upgrade works.

However, from today, they are back with full force staff in the main office to cope with enormous number of Mount Kinabalu travelers.

Oh, they even give me their 2 hunting lines: +6088 243629 and +6088 244634

Open Office 2.1 – Download your free copy now!

Open OfficeI have been using Open Office 2.0.2 for the past one year, and today, when I visited back OpenOffice.org, I found out that they have a new stable version, Open Office 2.1.

So, if you have been using an illegal copy/pirated version of MS Office (that you purchased for RM5 in Petaling Street), it’s time to change. You will be amazed on how Open Office can do MS Office job, considering that its FREE!

An email from Dan Mazur – An Everest expedition leader

I would like to share with you an email that I received from Dan Mazur, an Everest expedition leader and administrator for www.SummitClimb.com. It sounded like this:

Hello Mountain Friends.

Dan Mazur I hope you are well. What have you been up to? This is Dan Mazur writing to you. Perhaps you heard that, in May 0f 2006, I was part of the SummitClimb team that helped rescue a fallen Australian climber named Lincoln Hall. Fortunately we got him down from just below the summit of Everest and he was allright. We were all surprised when the story reached the national media. I have attached a photo of Lincoln Hall at 28,000 feet, 8700 metres on Everest after we revived him with Oxygen, warm tea and food. Thankfully he lived.

I’m also an Everest expedition leader, have reached the summit of 7 of the world’s highest mountains, including Everest and K2, and have led and organized expeditions to more than 60 Himalayan, African, and South American peaks. Here is an attached photo that my friend Duane took on Ama Dablam.

Lincoln HallI am writing to tell you whats been going on with our non-profit endeavors and to let you know its time to join our climbs and treks for 2007.

Have you received all of the colourful mountain postcards we sent you in the mail? If not, perhaps we don’t have your postal address and you would like to email that to us so we could post you a mountain card? Thanks!

You can see all of our upcoming goings-on at www.SummitClimb.com , now in our 16th year. THANKS FOR TELLING ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO.

We dedicated our fun and rewarding October trek to Mera peak to dearly departed Crocodile Hunter Steven Irwin and to Sue Fear, first Australian woman on Everest. You could see more at: http://heroesforhumanity.blogspot.com/ . If you visit that interesting site, be sure to scroll down to see all of the photos.

We have had the pleasure to meet many of you at recent dvd-slideshows and presentations. In case you know of anyone who would like to host a dvd-slideshow, please let us know. We are doing these to raise money for the non-profit www.MountEverestFoundation.org , helping local low-income families who live near Everest in Nepal and Tibet, but far from any trail a tourist would walk, to help themselves by building schools and hospitals and environmental projects so these farm families can stay on the land, rather than moving to the cities and joining the ranks of the unemployed.

The Everest Foundation is engaged in current projects replacing the roof on the Deboche Nunnery, and now training a new advanced-level health assistant and two new teachers for the health clinic and school in Okhladunga. By the way, the Foundation continues to support women, men, and children equally.

On a recent health visit in June as part of our twice annual service trek, Dr. Phillip Heinegg and his family, along with SummitClimb staff Arnold Coster and Maya Sherpa visited the rural health clinic and treated more than 100 patients in a day. From what we know, these were the only foreigners to visit the entire valley in 2006. You can try watching a video about the Everest Foundation and the service trek here.

NOW IS THE TIME TO SIGN UP FOR OUR 2007 TREKS AN CLIMBS. PLEASE SEND YOUR APPLICATION FORMS AND COMPLETE YOUR PAYMENT NOW. THANK YOU.

By the way, you may know of someone who would like to join our leader in training program or participate in it yourself. Please check out our website: http://summitclimb.com/leaders_in_training.htm , and let us know you are interested so we could send you further information. We are proud to train new leaders for the outdoor industry each year, and we started doing that in 1993.

<–Omitted contents–>

Congratulations you made it to the bottom of this email.

I hope you will join me and tell all of your friends about what we are trying to do.

Please keep the questions coming. I always enjoy speaking about our favourite topic: MOUNTAINS.

Thank you very much. I await your reply, wish you all of the best, and look forward to making your trip a success.

Yours, Sincerely, Dan Ps. I encourage you to ring me in the UK on ++44 (0) 7810 375400 (evenings are best). Thank you.

Ps.

Our postal address is:

Himalaya Expeditions
184 Bishop Road
Bristol BS7 8NB

If we don’t have it, would you please be so kind as to email your postal address, so that we could mail you colour post cards and other information, including photos, maps, etcetera? Thank you very much FOR TELLING ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!

Mount Kinabalu climbing – quotation request and reservation form

I have to remind you again that I am not represent any tour company, and I don’t have any.

January was a hectic month, as I received a lot of email requesting me to advice for a trip, quote a climbing package, book a place to stay in Laban Rata, suggest a good tour operator, asking why Sutera Sanctuary Lodges did not reply them, etc…

Half of the email, which includes quotation request will be forwarded to my partner, Aiden, a freelance tour guide, who will help on quoting and organizing the trip. While doing that, he noticed that the number of request was increasing, and it becomes more difficult to deal with. I did not intend to be a tour company, but it seems that I have to do something for those who are asking for my help.

Aiden came up with an idea of creating a system for our quotation request, as it will simplify our task. As my “upline” said before, “When you work with a system, the results will be more predictable. He created a form to be filled by visitors like you, who would like us to help them on planning their trip to Mount Kinabalu. It took me few hours only to came up with a standard webpage form. After some minor adjustment and 2 trials with the form, it is up and running.

So, if you want us to help you quote a Mount Kinabalu climbing package, just answer few questions and send me this form. Your email is confidential, and I will not forward your request to any tour operator without my permission. Aiden will be corresponding to your request.

This is where the form is: http://mount-kinabalu-borneo.com/form/form.php

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?