The Wonders of Technology

Back when I was a student in the UK (this was in 2012 – feels like a lifetime ago, lol), I remember walking into a Sainsbury and seeing self-checkout counters for the first time. I was absolutely mindblown. “Whoever invented this is a freaking genius,” I thought in glee, as I scanned my items, bagged them, paid with my debit and left the store, without so much as a hello to another human. This, my introverted self thought, was the pinnacle of technology. 

Fast forward eight years later, and this tech is finally picking up in Malaysia, as people opt for cashless, contactless transactions (accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic). Digitalisation has been on the country’s agenda for some time now, and while we’ve been slower to adopt it compared to countries in the West, or places like Singapore and China things are slowly but surely changing. Menus at restaurants are digital: you scan a QR code on your mobile, and order through the intranet. Delivery apps make it convenient to have food delivered right to your doorstep. You go to the movies, you order your tickets through a touch screen and pay through cards or mobile wallets. At airports, you check-in on a machine, get your baggage tags printed out and attach them on your own before sending them to the conveyor, without having to deal with the airport staff.

But technology is changing at such a rapid pace that it can be intimidating, even for millennials like me who are quite comfortable around machines and the digital space. I was at an autopay machine today and spent a good minute looking for an opening to insert my parking card – before realising that the instructions were to ‘scan the barcode’, and to pay via debit card. In time, I’m sure all of the machines will be replaced with this new mode of payment, and cash will be obsolete.

When I go out with my parents, they usually rely on me (because my brother is an airhead) to figure out anything to do with tech. My dad is good with gadgets, but my mom isn’t very literate in technology. She uses her phone to surf the net but does not know the difference between a Facebook account and a Facebook page. We were chatting earlier about Youtube, and I was explaining to her about subscriptions and the concept of ‘going live’. “Oooh,” she said, nodding after my third explanation. “I see. But I’ll probably forget it in a couple of hours.”

When we went to Yogyakarta a couple of years ago, AirAsia had just implemented a new contactless check-in system at KLIA2, and my mom was absolutely lost. She simply could not wrap her head around the fact that she now had to deal with a machine rather than a human. “You do it,” she said. “I’m not good with these things”. Leaving me to lug our suitcases alone to the self-check-in counter, tag them and send them on their merry way to the conveyor belt.

“What would you do if you’re travelling without me?” I asked half-jokingly, to which she replied in the utmost seriousness, “I wouldn’t be travelling. I’d be lost.

It’s a little sad whenever I hear these things as it conveys a sense of helplessness; not just from my mom, but from some people from the older generation (this does not include aunties who spread gossip and unverified info via Whatsapp – those people are experts) when it comes to adapting to the rapid technological changes that are being implemented in our everyday lives. It feels as if rather than providing convenience, tech limits some people from doing things, like the aforementioned travel. With my mom, there is also a certain degree of resistance – like how she still refuses to open an online bank account lol.

But then again, there’s one thing she has taken to like a fish to water: Online shopping. I currently have five or six orders pending on the Lazada account, from water bottles to cutlery and home decor items.

Maybe it’s all about the incentives? 

 

 

Review: My Experience With The Dah Makan Food Delivery App

Hey guys!

So our Prime Minister just announced yesterday night that the entire Malaysia is under a restricted movement order for 14 days. Businesses and government agencies (excluding the essential ones like communication, electricity, supermarkets and groceries) have been ordered to close, while travel for Malaysian citizens out of the country is banned, and foreign tourists are also banned from entering the country. This comes after a huge spike in COVID cases were traced back to a major religious event which saw over 15,000 people congregating. Why people still organised such a big event in this time I have no idea. I guess they think they’re immune. Well, clearly not. If people could die of stupidity, I wish they would.

Many thick-headed Malaysians also have no self discipline, still going on holidays and carrying on like no one’s business. I’m not talking about people who actually have to go out and make a living, because that’s unavoidable. I’m talking about those aunties and uncles who still want to travel because they’ve booked flights and don’t want to cancel them; and people who still go for domestic holidays because ‘I’m wearing a mask, I’m protected’ (bitch you’re not).

So congratulations, now the rest of us have to suffer because of your selfishness. I bet you’re the same people that are now currently hoarding toilet paper and panic buying and leaving none for people who can’t afford to buy groceries in bulk, like those in the B40 group. Congratulations again on showing how ugly human beings can be.

That was a ranty intro lol.

Anyway, the good news is that while restaurants and cafes are closed for dine-in, you can still do takeaway and order food from Grab, Food Panda and other food delivery apps. Before this whole shit storm (I was actually going to blog about it anyway, so this is timely) I tried out a local food delivery service called DahMakan, which has been around since 2015. Unlike apps like GrabFood and FoodPanda, which collaborate with local restaurants and cafes for the food, Dah Makan has its own fleet of chefs, promising to deliver ‘fresh and healthy, chef made meals’. They used to be much more expensive, but prices now average about RM15 – RM25.

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DahMakan offers a selection of international and local dishes, neatly categorised according to the type of cuisine, such as Western, Chinese, Malay, etc. For example, a Nasi Kerabu with Ayam Berempah costs about RM14.99 (excluding delivery charges)

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Once you’ve made your choice, the app will allow you to select an estimated delivery time for you to get your food. You can also order in advance for several days. For those who order regularly, there is a Prime 5 package (last time I checked it was RM99) which allows you to save up to 20% on meals, with free delivery and priority fast track with a 30 minute delivery window.

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I made my order around 11.30AM, and scheduled for it to arrive around 12.30PM. Once the order is confirmed, a counter with the image of a chef will pop up on the map, stating Chef so-and-so is preparing the food, along with an estimated time for cooking. DahMakan has these ‘kitchens’ in areas all around the Klang Valley, so the nearest kitchen to my workplace is about 10 minutes away. Even so, it got delayed by over an hour, and the rider couldn’t find my office building even after I gave him directions. If I was an entitled customer, I guess I would have asked him to come up to my block by hook or by crook, but in the end, I went downstairs to the lobby to meet him there and pay (I paid in cash but you can also pay through debit/credit).

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As a first-time customer, I had an RM8 discount. The app also offers a discount code for your friends. The Cheezy Chicken Rice looked enticing, so I got that. It was originally priced at RM15.89 with a delivery charge of RM0.99, so with the discount it was RM7.89.  

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Nice paper packaging.

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… a far cry from the photo though lol.

To be fair, the flavour of the chicken chop was decent. The portion, though, was pretty small. I wouldn’t say I’m an extremely big eater, but it left me still feeling hungry and unsatisfied, especially since I had waited for over two hours for the food to arrive. The sauce in the plastic tub was bad – watery and tasteless – I’m not even sure what it was supposed to be. I definitely would not have felt it worth if I had paid the full price of RM15. But then again, it might just have been a case of ordering the wrong item, as I have yet to try their other dishes.

In conclusion:

  • App – fairly easy to use, although the location thing is a bit wonky. It had difficulty detecting my exact location when I tried keying in my office suite’s unit number and building.
  • Rider – I understand riders are busy people and they would rather not layan kerenah customer2 yang gila demanding and unreasonable, but I felt that my rider was not being very helpful despite me patiently explaining to him where my office was. He actually asked me if I could go to his location (he had gone to another building at the back, which was a 5 minute walk away. I’m not trying to sound like a whiny entitled millennial, but isn’t the point of a food delivery app to deliver it to the customer’s doorstep? I ended up meeting him downstairs anyway.)
  • Promos – They give you an RM8 discount for first time users, and discount coupon codes for your friends to try it out.
  • Food – Was not especially impressed. It was okay, just not “wow!” For chef made food backed by investor funding numbering in six figures, I actually enjoyed food from other small, local delivery services more. Portion was not big either.
  • Pricing – Without the discount, a bit on the hefty side. RM15 can buy me a nice set meal in a chic cafe.

Verdict:

I would probably not order from DahMakan again. I know I’ve only tried it once, but weighing the pros and cons, perhaps I’m better off trying out other food delivery apps, or just eating out (once this whole COVID thing tides over). If you would like to try it though, do utilise the code and get your discount – perhaps you’ll have a better experience! 🙂

 

 

Review: RAGE Bangsar – Where Coffee, Tech and Communities Meet

Good news for coffee lovers!

There’s a new cafe in town, and it’s more than just your typical Instagrammable spot. Setting itself apart from the typical copy-and-paste coffee chains, RAGE Bangsar aims to reinvent the scene with a refreshing new cafe concept that combines technology, coffee and the local community.

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At the official launching at their outlet in Menara UOA Bangsar, which I was privileged to attend! 🙂

The community aspect of the cafe is reflected in the cafe’s interior, with communal long tables (there’s one that’s actually converted from a ping pong table) as well as a ‘RAGE room’ where you can let out some steam after a stressful day at work (complete with actual punching bag and boxing gloves!). Wood and ambient lighting create a cosy atmosphere, while the raw concrete and exposed ceiling lends it an industrial chic vibe.

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“Most relationships start over a drink and very often that happens to be a caffeinated beverage. It can be as easy as ‘Hey, let’s go and grab a cup of coffee’,” says co-founder, Jevin Singh. “We want everyone to walk into any RAGE outlet and feel the close-knit communal spirit that we aspire to create across all outlets. Even the interior is built with a focus on Relationships-First.”

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Meanwhile, the tech aspect comes into play via their mobile application called DrinkRage, which allows members or ‘RAGERs’ to pre-order their drinks and even get them delivered. Delivery areas are currently targeted at high density office areas such as KL Sentral and the Bangsar LRT station, so you can get your caffeine fix in just a few taps, without having to leave the office. Talk about convenience!

With our hectic lifestyles in the city, time is of the essence, and RAGE aspires to help make the experience of offering coffee a smooth and efficient one. Upon placing an order, RAGERs can expect their coffee to be ready for pickup when they arrive or delivered within 20 minutes by an assigned runner. Great for groggy mornings when you need a caffeine booster to get the day started!

Beyond just selling coffee, the app also aims to deliver inspiration on demand. Within the app, there is also a specific community tab which allows fellow RAGERs to sign up for events and build relationships with people who enjoy the same cup of coffee.

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Quirky names and descriptions. Also RM8 for a cup of coffee in KL is a very reasonable price !

Their specialties include items with localised ingredients, such as Milo-spresso Dino, Matcha My Asam and Matcha Gula Melaka. For vegans/vegetarians and the health conscious / lactose intolerant , choose from several milk options such as oat, coconut, soy or regular dairy.

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Tried their “Dirty Chai”, which was pretty strong. The frothiness of the milk helped to cut through the spice and slightly tart bitterness. 

RAGE Bangsar also offers food on their menu, including full breakfasts and substantial meals like sambal aglio olio, rice bowls and mala chilli pan mee.

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The brand is also heavily invested in curating workshops in hopes to support aspiring individuals and tie the working community closer together. From movie nights to personal branding and motivational talks, RAGE has curated a fascinating lineup of interactive activities in store for all its members.Just stay updated on the app and join in on the convo!

RAGE is a strong proponent of working with other local businesses. Collaborating with eco friendly beauty brand ‘The Mineraw’, RAGE’s coffee waste is the star and vital component in their body, face and lip scrub produced by these ethical connoisseurs. You can get these items in store too.

RAGE BANGSAR 

Menara Uoa Bangsar, Unit LGF-3A, No 5, Jalan Bangsar Utama 1, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

Business hours: 7.45AM – 8PM (Mons- Fris), 8AM – 2.45PM (Sat). Closed Sundays.

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*Images not watermarked courtesy of RAGE/SuppagoodPR 

 

Review: The New Harry Potter Mobile Game – A Money-Grubbing Disappointment

I consider myself a massive Potterhead, so when I got wind that they were releasing a new mobile game called Harry Potter: A Hogwarts Mystery I was super psyched. The trailer looked pretty awesome as well:

…. they made it look more interesting than it actually is.

Gameplay-wise, at least.

Summary: 

You play a 1st year starting out at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The events unfold somewhere between the fall of Voldemort and Harry Potter attending school (yeah, you don’t actually meet Harry and his friends – but the school teachers are all there, as are a few main characters in the books like Nymphadora Tonks and Bill Weasley).

Your character carries baggage upon arriving, as the story goes that you are searching for your missing brother, whom everyone says went mad looking for the Cursed Vaults. Determined to find out the truth whilst proving your worth, you set out on your very own Hogwarts adventure…

So this is me.. or my alter ego, ‘Lynx Athena’. Yeahhhhh I would have named myself that irl if I could lol judge me all you want. 😀

I’ve always felt that if I were to go to Hogwarts for real, I’d be a Ravenclaw, but for some reason the Sorting Hat on Pottermore put me into Gryffindor (twice, on two accounts) so I wanted to stay true to that.

The game allows you to choose your own house… which took away the whole sorting hat ‘suspense’. Character appearance customisations are limited until later in the game.

Now here comes the disappointing part: gameplay. 

I was expecting a more open, MMORPG experience where you can walk around and explore Hogwarts. Instead, we get a very linear gameplay, where you basically complete a ‘story’ by … wait for it…. tapping. Like one of those Kim K games. And waiting for energy to fill. Which requires no skill whatsoever.

Major. Downer. 

Granted, some of the stories and events do give you choices to pick from which will grant you attributes (Courage, Empathy, Knowledge) which will further give you better choices in future events, but then comes the next infuriating part – the wait itself.

Unlike games where you can watch ads to refill your energy, HP: AHM has NONE. You’re basically forced to buy gems, or wait a really, really, really long time. The gems are not in small amounts either eg 55 gems for 10 energy wtf.

Also, when you’re doing a major story, you’re not allowed to ‘leave’ the event to go explore or do other stuff – you’re basically FORCED to wait it out. WHAT?

The story itself is pretty interesting, but having to wait for so long takes away from the immersion. Its obvious the developers are forcing players to buy energy – it’s either that or progress the story by playing for 10 minutes and waiting 8 hours to complete an entire event. I also really hated the fact that after waiting for the energy to fill, you also have to WAIT BETWEEN EVENTS WTF. As I’m writing this, I have to wait three hours in order for the next event to be available. So a full energy bar is wasted, coz I don’t have anything else that I can do during this waiting time. They should call it Harry Potter: A Waiting Game. 

That being said, the game’s few redeeming qualities, including a beautiful design that remains true to the movies. I feel like players will get bored of this quickly though. There is only so much detail you can look at before you get bored and uninstall this forever.

As of now, I’m keeping the game because I’m curious to know the story, but with it panning out at a snail’s pace, I doubt I’ll have it around for long. Which is really disappointing, seeing that I was so excited as to how they finally have some new Hogwarts material after so many years. I understand it’s free, but it would have been nice if the app wasn’t such a blatant money grubbing attempt on Harry Potter fans.

Overall: 2/5 – purely from the story and graphics. I have no nice things to say about the gameplay, other than the ‘story’ part where they give you choices to pick.

 

 

New Toy

Guess what I won from a lucky draw at an event yesterday.

 

*drum rolls*

 

…. it’s an iPod Shuffle!

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People say I have good luck at lucky draws, and I think so too. I’ve gotten an iPad Mini from a gala dinner, a Lip watch worth RM1,500, and now this.

Let’s hope I don’t jinx myself by blogging about it. 😛 

It’s funny because each time I’ve won something, I always get that feeling beforehand… like they’re going to announce my name. And it happens. Maybe I’m a witch.

I should learn how to use this ‘Secret’ at lotteries. Or casinos lol.

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Coming back to my new toy, I’m loving it so far. I’ve been thinking of getting a new mp3 player ever since my old one slipped and fell into the cracks of doom (that space in the car between the handbrake which I’m unable to reach), so winning this is timely! 🙂 The iPod shuffle is sleek, simple to use and portable. Kinda wish they had a different colour but hey.. if its free, I can’t be choosy.

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The thing about i-anything is that they tend to be so ‘exclusive’.

Everything has to be done through the Apple app store, or iTunes. With my old mp3 player, I could just transfer my  files by copying and pasting directly into the device – whereas for the Shuffle, I had to download iTunes, copy files into the iTunes library on the computer, and then sync it to the device. Loads of work.

I’ve got about 90+ songs in it now, which barely made a dent in the 2GB space. Bet it can easily store up to 300 songs. Since I was going through a list of artists and bands I’ve liked on FB, the songs I downloaded are a mix.

What are some nice songs you think I should include in my playlist? Suggest them to me in the comments! 🙂

iPod Shuffle (2GB) retails for RM186 on lazada.com.my and comes in silver, gold, space grey, blue, pink and red.

 

 

**PS: I’ve given myself a week’s ‘rest’ from working out. I hit a plateau some time ago and just haven’t been losing weight for months now. Next week, it’s time to refocus and really go the extra mile if I’m going to shed those last few pounds. Gambate!