Archive for February, 2012

Part 1 – RC Airplanes / Gliders for Beginners

February 27, 2012

On February 5th 2012, I have seriously thought and started my research on RC planes. Actually I had interest in it since I was a kid, but it was very expensive to own or start the hobby at that time, because I wasn’t working, and if I did, it would still be an expensive hobby because those are considered rare items (especially in Malaysia) and there wasn’t much shops that sells those items. So I got stuck with Flight Simulator and such, but these are far from the real flying experience.

Well now things have changed. I think when I’m older, I will not be attracted to all these ‘toys’ anymore, but really – the child inside me is still there (with lots of money now! HA HA HA). And good thing we have the internet, because we could share stuffs, and save money by listening to others advice and experiences, and of course, save (big) money along the way by buying the right things to begin with.

And that is where my purpose is, the best is to share. But of course, all the posts here is primarily for my own reference in future (it’s a low-profile blog really).

This post is for beginners out there that love to join the world of RC planes / gliders, but have no idea where to start, what is required to start, how much money is it needed, and what to do once you have all the necessary items with you.

# The Research – RC Planes / Gliders

First thing I did was to research for the best type of plane (I haven’t know about gliders yet at that moment) to start off as a beginner. And one of the best I found is the Hover One.

Hover One

 This is considered as one of the RC Trainer planes, why you may ask? Because of the stability it carries. These planes have wings on top of the body (we actually call them fuselage). Try and avoid low/mid wing planes (although there are trainers model for these as well) because you do want to save all that extra money for upgrades and hopefully just minor crashes (yes you will eventually crash) then to wreck the entire plane on your first flight.

But of course, another reason to get the Hover One is because of it’s built material, which is EPO – Expanded PolyOlefin. It’s made of very durable foam and easy to be glued back (with hot glue gun) in case of minor crashes.

However, I don’t just recommend the Hover One for beginners, any plane that fits above criteria will do fine. If your pocket is deep, don’t rush things by going for expensive items just yet, instead, go for the cheap trainer planes first to get the hang of it. Once you are satisfied with your flying skills and able to take off and land without any issues, then you may proceed with the upgrades (and give your trainer plane to your son so the legend continues..).

But, I didn’t stop there.. In fact, I researched more about trainer planes and found another good entry level model – But this time, it’s a glider.

Sky Surfer RC Glider

Pictured above is the Sky Surfer, a glider type RC. Notice that it does not have any landing gear and you have to launch it yourself manually using your hand (although other methods are available such as discus, piggyback, bungee launching, etc.. but I prefer the hand method) by holding the fuselage (the body of the glider) and throwing it (with a firm push) into the wind – making sure it is pointed straight and not upwards (to avoid stall – which makes the glider come crashing to the ground) – some throttle speed is needed, but don’t put it on maximum.  This is done above head height of course, as pictured below.

Now this looks exciting isn’t it?

Another good trainer glider is the AXN Clouds Fly, also a glider type that is for beginners, with price tag that is almost the same as the Sky Surfer that was previously pictured above.

AXN Clouds Fly

Now both of these gliders pictured here are 4 Channels (CH) gliders, which means they have controls for
Throttle, Rudder, Elevator, and Ailerons.

There are also 3CH planes / gliders either without rudder or ailerons. I wouldn’t recommend these as with 4CH planes / gliders you can still pretend it to be a 3CH by ignoring either one of it (I recommend you forget about rudder and use ailerons first) and once you are comfortable with it, the extra control is there for your disposal.

And if you notice, both these gliders have wings located on top of their fuselage for stability. Because it is a glider, once you reach a comfortable height (we should slowly start using correct terms here which is – altitude) you may cut off the throttle and let it glide down. Gliders should (have not done much research on this yet, correct me if I’m wrong) be able to glide much longer than planes because of it’s characteristics, and you should be able to get longer airtime by gliding rather than going full throttle all the times (actually, 50% throttle is sufficient).

These planes and gliders above (Hover One, Sky Surfer, & AXN Clouds Fly) can easily be found locally (Malaysia) in most RC / Hobby shops. At time of writing, the Hover One should cost around RM220 (inclusive of kit, motor, esc) to around RM360 (inclusive of motor, esc, servo, Rx and Tx) where Sky Surfer should cost around RM370 (inclusive of motor, esc, servo, Rx and Tx, battery) and AXN Clouds Fly around RM250 (motor, esc, servo) or so. I know there are lots of jargons such as esc, servo, Rx and Tx, and stuffs that you couldn’t understand as of yet, but no worries on that yet as I will guide you through slowly to understand and digest all these terms together.

As to recommend which package to buy (either buy everything bundled or just the plane / glider, and custom match everything else to make a complete set), if you can afford – buy just the plane with stock motor, esc, and servo – then get a good Transmitter and Receiver (Tx and Rx) like the Futaba 6x or Turnigy 9x and all other accessories to complete the set (eg. battery, charger, etc), but.. and I say BUT, I would strongly recommend that you do further research or wait for Part 2 of this post to know more about Tx and Rx and all the other basic stuffs that you need to know before buying your first RC plane or glider.

For those with Android devices, I got a little something for you that relates to RC in Part 2 of this topic. So stay tuned 😉

For my son Hazriq

February 25, 2012

Son, I just wanted you to know that although I may not be the greatest father of all…

I still keep on trying and give you (and the family) the very best.

Love – Dad.

Reading position

February 19, 2012

Muslim woman

February 13, 2012

Bye DiGi, I’m switching to Umobile

February 5, 2012

Before I begin, here is an updated bad experience with Umobile Customer Service representative that I have labeled them “the WORST customer service representative in Malaysia

So it was a horrible journey with Maxis (Hotlink), and I started off as one happy user of DiGi for quite some time ago (almost 2 years if I’m not mistaken) – all these were done via porting Mobile Number Portability (MNP) that allows me to keep my current number no matter to which telco I switched over to.

So before I switched over, allow me to write down some good, fun, and bad, sad, horrific stuffs that I’ve experienced whilst I was with these telco’s for all these years.

Maxis Hotlink was the most expensive start up prepaid pack I have ever bought – this was back in the 90’s and I still keep this number up until now (which shows how much of a good person I am, heh). In between, I have also used Celcom Prepaid, and Celcom Prepaid mobile internet (they come up once with that cheap package, which is worthless and I regretted, and hated it so bad that I threw the card away when it’s still full of credits) but let’s keep all of that aside, and let’s talk about Maxis Hotlink first.

Back in the 90’s, the most used service (for me) was SMS followed by voice calls. Voicemail was turned on of course (because the telco doesn’t make money from it YET – read about it here and I shall reveal my experience). Everything went better than expected. Service and coverage was good, as long as everything works as normal…

But then, when something does goes wrong – No matter how hard you screamed for help, no one will actually save you from disaster. What you do is you wait until the suffering is over, alone… Yes, and this is exactly what happened to me over and over again when I was with Maxis Hotlink. There was once where I wasn’t able to send SMS for nearly a week (SMS was sent, but not received at the recipient end), until I had to buy another SIM card just to send the SMS (that time MNP was not available yet). I couldn’t make calls, but received them without issues, my credit was wrongly deducted and had to wait for more than a week to get a refund (happened more than once), and let’s not talk about the pathetic millions of SMS spam I receive on a daily basis.

Talking to their customer support every time seemed like me going to war. It doesn’t matter how I say it, I will either get no help, or plain gibberish from them – either they don’t understand what my problem is, or I don’t seem to know how their answer would fit into the issue – but one thing I know is that they are not providing any solution to me whatsoever.

But still, I continue to use the ridiculously expensive Maxis Hotlink although I knew there were other cheaper alternatives out there, just because I ‘think‘ Maxis is one of the big players, and if I stay with one, I will be OK.

Now that is where I am wrong.

So next, comes the era of mobile internet. Maxis Hotlink is expensive. I was lucky that my company was paying for the bills. Internet was good, speed is fast – when it’s normal. When it’s not, prepare to die because there is nothing you can do about it.

Frustrated, and getting bald with poor customer service of Maxis Hotlink, I made up my mind and switched over to DiGi.

I honestly was very happy when I first ported to DiGi. It took me under 24hours to get my number ported which was a very good first impression (well done DiGi). Whenever I had problem and called their customer support, I feel like I’m really talking to another human being instead of a puppet scripted robot! Heck, no need for the formalities and stuffs, all your customer need is for you to solve their problems (trust me I know after being in customer management for so many years) and I must say that

DiGi has the best customer support agents that bring value to their business

So why am I porting out from DiGi if they have the best customer service? Simple, it’s NOT their customer service then. It’s their service!

Remember their advertisement “At DIGI, consistency rules?” well yeah, for a while. Then quietly it’s gone? Speed is not what it’s used to be, wghich was unlimited previously (and they amended this quietly as well). I was one of the lucky last to have my usage capped to a pathetic 100mb per day (RM15/week mobile internet package) usage? Seriously, what can I do with 100mb? I watched some youtube for half an hour and there goes all my bandwidth for the day. Throttled to a puny 128kbps? Heck I think it’s lower than that…

Then there’s this coverage issue. I was getting strong 3G / HSDPA signal before and now I’m getting weak 3G which sometimes drop to EDGE in the same exact spot as it used to. What happened? Towers got robbed or something? And internet on 2G network is close to none. I have no idea why but based on checks with a few of my friends, if network switches over to 2G, just consider that the internet has died.

Then SMS spams starts to get in. Either from those 5 digit CP numbers or personal numbers which have been bought to spam, yes, they have too started to notice DiGi and making good use of their networks. DiGi was very good in preventing these sort of spams before, but now I’m feeling that ‘Maxis Hotlink’ feeling again.. (that means tonight’s NOT gonna be a good night for you DiGi!). Issue not able to send nor receive SMS, not able to call out.. Not to mention my SMS appeared like twice or even 3x when I only send it once to a recipient. No I didn’t bother to check my credit, feel free to rob me.

So bad coverage, not that good anymore mobile internet – although much lighter on my wallet than Maxis Hotlink, I finally made up my mind to switch to Umobile and got this SMS tonight…

The process took me 4 days.. (and not completed as of yet, my old SIM is still active) which started off quite not that well (especially with recent news on 2nd Feb about Umobile nationwide outage) that made me think “Am I making a good decision by porting to Umobile?” – and even few of my friends were complaining that Umobile customer service is close to nonexistent! Because they can’t reach them most of the time (heck, why all of the sudden urge to eat Nandos at this hour)

Well whatever it is, I’m not looking for telco which can impress me (if they can, it will be good), but (this will serve as an advice to all telco’s out there) just a telco that is reliable, making sure to keep their promises as advertised, and have a ‘solution’ to their customer’s issue (instead of giving excuse). Umobile was hit once with outage, and I respect how they responded back by apologizing and giving away free unlimited SMS and free data allocation for it’s subscribers.

Incidents happen, but when they do, make your customer happy and remember about the good service instead. I always look for opportunities in incidents and escalations, when something goes wrong and you do your best to provide a ‘solution’ to it, that is where complaints may become compliments instead.

Inception was not an Original movie

February 4, 2012

The movie was nicely done and I got glued to the seat from start till finish (which is rare because most movies took me two days or more to finish unless it’s real awesome, such as this one)

However, interestingly I stumbled across this post in 9gag that shows ‘inception’ was originally told in Donald Duck’s cartoon years ago?

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