Don’t have $ to buy Photoshop? Try GIMP

Wilber - GIMP IconYou can easily get a pirated copy of Adobe Photoshop CS2 here in Malaysia. I got mine for RM5 (less than USD2) from Petaling Street, few copies, few years back. However, most of the time, the installation DVD was corrupted, and the registration process was invalid. As I don’t have that much money to buy the original copy of CS2 (or even Elements), I decided to turn to open source for alternative. I found GIMP.

My experience with GIMP was also not a very good one. When I got the first installation copy from a bundle cd-rom of a computer magazine, it can’t even installed properly. I still remember, it was version 1.x, and it was about 2 years back. It was really buggy back then.
Over the years, it was really good for GIMP as it has evolved to become one of the most reliable application on photo editing. When the latest stable release of GIMP out (mine currently is 2.2.13), I have found that there are not much bug that could give me problem while using it. Million thanks to all the developers.

I would recommend GIMP for anybody who would like to have an options to their Photoshop. Get it here, for free:

http://www.gimp.org/

p.s. Do you know that you can use your Adobe Photoshop plug-in in GIMP? 😉

Switch your N|vu to KompoZer!

If you have been using N|vu to create your HTML based website, try to upgrade to KompoZer. KompoZer is actually N|vu, but the developers has fixed some bugs that comes with N|vu. So basically, you will get a “re badged” N|vu on your desktop!

N|vu >>>>>> KompoZer

In my opinion, it’s really good. Although there are some dispute on this bug-fixed N|vu and KompoZer issues in the forum, I don’t think it matters most to me. As long as I can edit my HTML files, get my website up into the server, and get my message across to Mount Kinabalu climbers from around the world, it is good enough. After all, it’s a free and open source software.

p.s. N|vu / KompoZer is an open source WYSIWYG HTML generator.

Online Shopping Mall for Mount Kinabalu Borneo.com – Kinabalu eMiniMall!

I managed to set up an online shopping mall, specially made for Mount Kinabalu Borneo.com visitor. The ‘eMiniMall’ is provided by Chitika, a well known online shopping mall in the internet.

I made it because I just would like to share with you what are the appropriate apparel and equipment that you need before you come to Sabah and involve in one of its adventure travel chapter, especially if you decided to climb Mount Kinabalu.

As I mentioned before, Mount Kinabalu is not a technical climb. So, most of the items are pretty basic. You can even use them during your backpacking trip around the world.

By shopping from this page, you are actually supporting this free information website about climbing Mount Kinabalu. A portion of the money that you spend buying the items online will be used to pay the web hosting services and other relevant services to make sure this website maintain its existence on the net.

http://www.mount-kinabalu-borneo.com/mount-kinabalu-mall.html

Feel safe and free to shop here. Hope you can find something that you like 😉

Terminal 2 can take 2.5 million travelers a year

AirAsiaDo you still remember that Kota Kinabalu has two terminal airport? Terminal 1 is for most of international flight, mainly to provide transit for flight by our national carrier, Malaysia Airline System (MAS). Terminal 2 is a low cost carrier terminal (LCCT), mainly for AirAsia and FAX. If you came to Sabah during the last 1 year via Terminal 2, you will notice a massive renovation activity going on with the terminal. Yeah, it was annoying, noisy, hot, dusty and congested. But, no fretting anymore, as it has come to an end.

Read more from New Sabah Times

The History of New Year’s Resolution

New Year's resolutionFor the upcoming 2007, I just remembered that we might need our own New Year’s resolution. Although I don’t really have new year’s resolution (since my childhood), I think I want to have one this year.

Oh, I also search for some Wiki about New Year’s resolution. Look what did I found for you. The History of New Year’s resolution. It has nothing to do with Mount Kinabalu climb, but I think it is good to know.

“The tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 BC. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.

With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.

The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn’t begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.

The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new. The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year’s Eve by giving one another branches from sacred trees for good fortune. Later, nuts or coins imprinted with the god Janus became more common New Year’s gifts.

In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year’s Day to December 25, the birth of Jesus. Then they changed it to March 25, a holiday called the Annunciation. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the New Year was returned to January 1.

The Julian and Gregorian calendars are solar calendars. Some cultures have lunar calendars, however. A year in a lunar calendar is less than 365 days because the months are based on the phases of the moon. The Chinese use a lunar calendar. Their new year begins at the time of the first full moon (over the Far East) after the sun enters Aquarius- sometime between January 19 and February 21.

Although the date for New Year’s Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year.”

Resources : Wikipedia

Maybe you can have “climbing Mount Kinabalu” is one of your new year’s resolution… 😉

WWF discovers new animal and plant species in Borneo

Newly discovered Borneo tree frog (Rhacophorus gadingensis).I came across this article about new animal and plant species that they found in Borneo. Wildlife experts says they have discovered at least 52 new species of animals and plants between July 2005 and September 2006 on th island of Borneo.

Newly discovered Borneo tree frog (Rhacophorus gadingensis).
© Alexander Haas

According to a report compiled by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF),the new species discovered include 30 unique fish species, two tree frog species, 16 ginger species, three tree species and one large-leafed plan species.

Stuart Chapman, WWF International Coordinator of the Heart of Borneo Program, said that the “more we look the more we find” on Borneo. “These discoveries reaffirm Borneo’s position as one of the most important centers of biodiversity in the world”.

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://mount-kinabalu-borneo.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/hob_animation_v1_swf.swf” height=”230″ width=”450″ /]

© WWF-Canon / Martin HARVEY, © WWF / Sylvia Jane YORATH, © WWF-Canon / Alain COMPOST, © WWF-Canon / Gerald S. CUBITT, © WWF-Canon / Michel TERRETTAZ, © Menno Schilthuizen

Read more from the WWF official site

More about the Heart of Borneo Forest

Anti-malaria medication for travelers to interior of Sabah

While doing my daily work today in the clinic, a guy from Canada came to see me regarding prophylaxis (preventive) medication for malaria while traveling here in Sabah. He planned to join a volunteer work that involved in providing ‘gravity feed water’ in few villages in the interior of Sabah. It occurred to me that this is also a good way to provide you the information about taking anti-malaria medication before coming to Sabah, especially if you plan to go into the virgin rain forest here.

In my medical school days, there are only few numbers of mediation that you need for malaria prevention. However, as the time goes by, there have been known that some species of malaria are resistant to the earlier treatment and medication.

I look into this website, International Association For Medical Assistance To Travelers (IAMAT), and found out specific guidelines on malaria prevention to travelers who wants to travel to anywhere around the world. Specifically, I look for ‘malaria’ and ‘Sabah, Malaysia’.

I found out that I have their “World Malaria Risk Chart”. I can’t remember where I got it, but it is the most relevant information that I can share with you. The leaflet was printed as at March 15, 2005. I don’t think that there are a lot of new anti-malaria medication for the past two years.

So, what are their recommendation?

Sabah is considered a place with high incidence of choloroquine-resistant and/or multi-drug resistant Plasmodium faciparum in Malaysia. You need to follow ONE of the following suppressive medication regimes:

FOLLOW A LARIAM (MEFLOQUINE HYDROCHOLORIDE) REGIMEN:

LariamTake one tablet of LARIAM 250mg ONCE a week. Start one week before entering the malarious area, continue weekly during your stay and continue for four weeks after leaving. (Lariam should not be taken by persons suffering from cardiac diseases, liver or kidney disorders, epilepsy, psychiatric disorders, pregnant women and children under 30 lbs/15 kg in weight.)

FOLLOW A MALARONE (ATORVAQUONE + PROGUANIL) REGIMEN

MalaroneTake ONE tablet daily (250mg Atorvaquone +100mg Proguanil). Start 1 to 2 days before entering the malarious area, continue daily during your stay, and continue for 7 days after leaving. MALARONE should be taken at the same time every day with food or milk.

FOLLOW A DOXYCYCLINE (VIBRAMYCIN) REGIMEN

Take ONE tablet daily of 100mg Doxycycline (Vibramycin). Start one day before entering malarious area, continue daily during your stay, and continue for four weeks after leaving.

DoxycyclineWhen taking Doxycycline avoid exposure to direct sunlight and use sun screen with protection against long range ultraviolet radiation (UVA) to minimize risk of photosensitive reaction. Drink large amounts of water to avoid esophageal and stomach irritation.

Doxycycline should not be taken by persons with known intolerance to tetracyclines, pregnant women and children under eight years of age.

ANTI-MALARIAL REGIMEN FOR PERSONS WHO CANNOT FOLLOW ONE OF THE ABOVE REGIMEN

ChloroquineTake Chloroquine (Aralen) in weekly doses of 500mg (300mg base). Start one week before entering malarious area, continue weekly during your stay and continue for four weeks after leaving. It is imperative to use a mosquito bed net to avoid the bite of the nocturnal Anopheles mosquito. Use repellents and insecticides.

Persons following a Chloroquine regimen must be aware these drugs are much less effective than Lariam, Malarone or Doxycycline. They must seek immediate medical attention in case of flu-like symptoms – fever, headache, nausea, general malaise – appearing about seven days or later after entering malarious area.

Persons traveling to or working in remote areas where medical attention cannot be sought within 24 hours should consult with a specialist before leaving their home country for advice on possible self-treatment regimen in case of a malaria breakthrough attack.