Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Books and more books

To be fair to the other major local bookstores not mentioned in my earlier post, I would like to add that they are also having some bargains during this festive shopping season.

I was over at MPH, Bangsar Village on Sunday and there were some titles going for RM9. At this branch there were not many choices and there may be more at their bigger branches. Anyway, I picked up this "Big Book of Blackjack" - everything you'd ever wanted to know about Blackjack - just for light and easy bathroom reading. This has a price tag of US$17.95 and is a 2006 publication, for RM9, it's a steal. There's one on Lewis Hamilton so for F1 racing fans, rush to your nearest MPH store to grab one. (Not sure if all the stores have the same titles on offer, so it's better to call them first to confirm.)

This morning I was at Kinokuniya, KLCC. They normally do not have store-wide sale but for this holiday period, all the English children books are offered at 20% discount. There are also 600 selected titles (English, Chinese and Japanese) with a 30% discount and most are brand new titles.

Have I left out any other major book stores? Ah, yes, Times are also having selected titles with a 20% discount. That's all and I'd better publish this post early so that the bookworms out there can still have time to get your discounted books either for yourself or for you loved ones. Happy reading and Merry Christmas.

Ronald Kwok

Saturday, December 20, 2008

For Book Lovers and Book Givers

If you step into any bookshop during this festive seasons, you'll find plenty of offers and bargains (especially for kids) enticing you to part with your hard earned money to get Christmas gifts for your loved ones as books have always being one of the favourites. In the current economic situation one must stretch his dollar or ringgit and what better place to do it than at cut-price book-shop? Fortunately for folks staying in the Klang Valley, there are two such bookshops that offer books (new ones not the used, second-hand books like in Payless Books) at much reduced price that are available all the year round and not just during promotion periods. Readers who know of other similar places are welcome to feedback so that all can share in this money-saving business.

If you are a book lover, you would already know the two main book shops that I'm referring to. The older one is the Big Bookshop Warehouse that is located on the 1st Floor of Atria shopping mall in Damansara Jaya, Petaling Jaya, above the Giant Supermarket. This started off as a warehouse sale and somehow it became permanent. Not sure how long it has been there but probably about two years. Well, the place is not exactly a place to admire and part of it is rather depressing because of the poor lighting. Who cares if you can get cheap books here. It is very strong in Penguin Classics, travel books (DK series, Rough Guides, some Fodor's and TimeOut). There are plenty of paperback fiction and non-fiction but they are not properly arranged but laid out on tables, warehouse sale style. So be prepared to spend some time to browse through each table. For a while there were few new titles and it became stale when you find the same stuff in the same place that puts off repeat visitors but for this Christmas season, there are a number of new titles and is worth a visit.

The other one is the Book Xcess located on the 3rd Floor of Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya. This is small (area-wise when compared to Big bookshop) but books are generally shelved, better arranged in genre that makes it easier to browse. There are plenty of new titles for Christmas and some very good bargains. too They stated off selling back issues of magazines (all new but slightly behind those currently available in newsstands) and has now branched into books which is good for the consumers.

Which shop offer cheaper books? It depends on the titles and what you want since they don't stock common items except for some popular fiction. At times, you may find some titles even cheaper at the other major bookstore when they are on special offer. So it pays to look around and compare prices, if you have the time.

Since we are on this topic, I should inform the reader that Popular are currently having some stock clearance at 50% off at their stores. Titles are limited but you may find something you want. There are also some odd bargains e.g. the DK visual guide on Humans at RM49.90 where the same title goes for RM59.90 at Book Xcess. (Original price must be more than RM100.) The problem with Popular is that they do not put all the bargain books at one spot (except for those on clearance mentioned earlier) but they are placed together with the normal priced books so you need to go through the shelves or you may miss some bargains. I suppose that's one way to make you stay longer in their shops.

Another of my popular haunt is the bargain books sections at Borders. There are some very good bargains if you look around. At one time, the selection has also stagnated but now it's on the move again, probably because of the festive season. I picked up this volume on World War 2 for RM23.90 (dirt cheap at 1,000+ pages) and being an Oxford hardback publication, it would have cost more than RM200 normally.

So it's a good time now to visit a bookstore near you to pick up a useful Chrismas gift. As for Big Bookshop Warehouse and Book Xcess, anytime is a good time. Their discounted prices are always on and is store wide. Happy book hunting.

Ronald Kwok

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Home for Lenovo S10

Please note that all Lenovo posts will now be posted in a dedicated Lenovo blog, My Affair with Lenovo S10, for ease of navigation. Just click on the link.

Ronald Kwok

Saturday, December 13, 2008

6-cell battery for Lenovo S10

Judging from the posts in the Lenovo S10 Forum, there are plenty of interests shown on the 6-cell battery so I'll give more details and photos on this item in this post.

Here are shots of the 6-cell battery itself. This is the original Lenovo 6-cell battery that came with my S10. First is the overall view and next is the side view that shows it is like two cylinders joined on the side. Note the rail on the straight part of the battery.

The next two photos show the S10 without the battery, one a side view and the other the back view.

The next photo is a close-up on the back of the S10 that shows the "guide rail" for the battery. There is a similar one on the other side. Besides being a guide for inserting the battery in the correct angle, it also helps to relief the stress on the battery connection as part of the weight of the S10 will be resting on the battery itself once it is installed.

The next photo shows the S10 with the battery installed. Note that the battery comes with two rubber feet and this takes over the function of the two back rubber feet on the S10 itself (which is used if the 3-cell battery is installed) to provide support since the battery now lifts up the back of the unit.

This also gives the keyboard a certain slant (sloping towards the user which is good for the wrist if you type a lot) and it also increases the space between the bottom of the unit and the resting surface and improves the air circulation and aids heat dissipation. On actual usage, the unit doesn't wobble and feels very steady indeed. These are very good reasons to opt for the 6-cell battery, not to mention the extended battery life. The additional weight is minimal; my S10 weighs in at 1.3kg with the battery installed.

I noticed in some photos of 3rd party battery, there are no rubber feet and the weight will be on the front 2 rubber feet and the battery body itself and it also reduces the air circulation. Not sure if it has the rail that fits the guide rails mentioned earlier.

So much for the battery. Here are some other comments on the S10. I'm happy that it is very easy to upgrade the memory as well as the HDD if you wish to do so. Just remove 2 screws and lift out the back panel cover. See photo below. I heard it is pretty messy to do the same in some other netbooks.

There are a few cons as nothing is perfect. The click buttons on the touch-pad is very stiff and needs great effort to click. Thinking positively, it means you will never click in error.

The SD card sticks out and the slot is not spring loaded (like in most other devices but not sure about other similar netbooks) so you're not certain if you have fully inserted the card. On the positive side, you can see if you have removed your card or not. See photo below.
Finally, most other netbooks have 3 USB ports while the S10 has only 2. Granted the S10 comes with Bluetooth and an Express card slot which others may not have but such devices are expensive and nothing like the el cheapo USB stuff that is available. In fact there is a perfect space for adding another USB port just next to the LAN port. With this in place, the S10 will thump the competition, hands down.

Did somebody say S11?

Ronald Kwok