Prepping in Malaysia Part 2

Read Part 1 here

Before we proceed further, here’s an interesting revelation on the Mayan calendar that I recently read in the internet:-

Many, many people have tried to work out why the ancient Mayan Long Count calendar ends in 2012. Relatively few people have investigated why it began in 3114 BC. This date is long before the existence of the Maya, and even the Olmec. So what sorts of things were happening around the date of 3114 BC?

In Egypt the Pharoanic age began with Narmer, (aka Menes – the Scorpion King), who became ruler at roughly 3100 BC. He unified Egypt. The current age of the Hindu religion, Kali Yuga, began in 3102 BC. 3100 BC is when the first stage of Stonehenge was constructed, as well as the first stage of Newgrange. And the Tarxien Temples of Malta were also built at the same time.


Just an interesting thought that the Mayan calendar calculation started at about the same time as the start of Kali Yuga (considering that we are about to enter the last month of the year 2012).

(A must have for doomsday preppers or anyone who often misplaces the batteries – more durable LED lights without any batteries! Image source: Tesco)

My “doomsday” storeroom is going quite well with the number of my canned food increased and not “reducing” so drastically as before.

But it takes a good sum of money and time to properly stock with the necessary items (namely foodstuff) and presently a portion of that money is now channeled to my baby’s diapers and milk powder which we now buy upfront and in a larger package and stock up in the “doomsday” storeroom. But then, there are also other developments for the storeroom – a couple of boxes of charcoals (in smaller boxes that nicely fits the storeroom shelves) are recent new addition. And I also got a large packet of a good quality charcoal from Pasar Borong (for less than RM15) which I know will come in handy when our 2 LPG gas cylinders (1 in use, another is a spare and is in full capacity) goes empty (I already bought a large charcoal stove several months before).

It was time to kick-start the next stage – having a basic bug-out-bag when I am on the move. Most of us spent more time outside and far from the comfort & safety of our homes during the weekdays and we also need to consider the possible readiness that one can do if there is an emergency and it is not possible to drive back home. The roads that we often use may be flooded or severely damaged, the weather may be too severe to venture out, the integrated public transportation may break down and on a worst case scenario, violent riots may break up causing us to hole up at workplace as how many of the New Yorkers found out recently during Hurricane Sandy.

I started with looking for a bag big enough to keep enough items to last couple of hours assuming I have to make my way without driving or taking public transport back to the house. The suggested contents of a bug-out bag may contain the followings:-

  • Enough food and water to last for seventy two hours. This includes (4 litres (1 gallon) of water per person per day, for washing, drinking and cooking, non-perishable food, water purification supplies, cooking supplies & cutlery and cups/dishes).
  • A first aid kit. Fire starting tool (i.e. matches, ferro rod, lighter, etc.)
  • A disaster plan including location of emergency centers, rallying points, possible evacuation routes etc.
  • Professional emergency literature explaining what to do in various types of disaster studied and understood before the actual disaster but kept for reference.
  • Maps and travel information.
  • Standard camping equipment, including sanitation supplies.
  • Weather appropriate clothing (poncho, headwear, gloves, etc.)
  • Bedding items such as sleeping bags & blankets. Enough medicine to last an extended evacuation period.
  • Pet, child and elderly care needs.
  • Battery or crank operated Radio.
  • Lighting (battery or crank operated flashlight, glow sticks).
  • Crowbar (weapon, building and vehicle entry, etc.)
  • Cash and change, as electronic banking transactions may not be available during the initial period following an emergency or evacuation.
  • Fixed-blade or folding knife.

But that list above is for a bug-out-bag when one had to leave the comfort of the house in case of an emergency. I needed a “lighter” version of it and I decided for start, to have these items for the mobile bug-out-bag (wrap with plastic bag to keep the bag dry)

  • A change of dry, clean clothes
  • A crank operated flash light
  • A couple of cans of tuna (one with easy ring pull tab)
  • A multi-purpose Swiss knife
  • 2 bottles of water
  • A spare dry shoes and a pair of socks
  • First aid bag
  • A couple empty plastic bags

It does not take too much space in my car boot too and I know that I usually not that far from my car (which explains why my wife complains when I do not want to go to places where I have to park my car far), so that means I am not that far from my “mobile” bug-out-bag.  I need to stuff the bag with more items as and when I have the time to get them but still within the “light” version borderline.

To be continued…


Nokia N8 Firmware Update Part 4

Update 1 : It took some time but it is finally here! As at 25.09.2012

Back to the original post

(Nokia Belle Refresh updates comes in 2 mode – OTA or Nokia Suite. Nokia Suite update comes in a bigger file size. and Image source:

It has been almost 20 months since I got hold on Nokia’s 2010-2011 flagship smartphone – the Nokia N8 and over that 20 months, the smartphone have undergone 3 major firmware updates – the last update early this year (Nokia Belle) was major and that brought it somehow closer to other current smartphone in the market.

In the same duration of time, my Nokia N8 has power problems that had to be fixed twice this year (perhaps this is not the right gadget to play HD games – it is putting a lot of strain on the power related components). And when Nokia decided to ditch their battle-hardened Symbian OS for newbie Windows Phone OS last year, we did not really anticipate further upgrades to Symbian^3 OS that powered my Nokia N8 (I was anticipating a change to Android phone instead) but then they did – with Nokia Belle update which most thought would be the last major update before Nokia moves on to Windows Phone on a larger scale (even with Accenture still handling the development & support for Symbian).

And now it seems N8 is going to get another firmware update codenamed “Nokia Belle Refresh” which I think which will close some of the gaps and bugs in the earlier Nokia Belle update (this I think would be the last OS update for Symbian powered devices before Nokia focus it’s full attention on Windows Phone powered phones).

The Nokia Belle Refresh change log from My Nokia Blog:-

  • Nokia Belle 111.040.1511
  • Browser updated to 8.3 – Full HTML5 support, Offline services
  • Nokia Maps Suite 3.09 – Use voice search for Maps & Drive, See photos on Map, Multipoint routing, Explore nearby places from Homescreen, Public transportation integrated with line information & departure times
  • Nokia Social updated to 1.5 – Automatic linking to Facebook and Twitter, New Homescreen widgets, Improved performance, Renewed app layout
  • N8 Specific imaging apps – Bi Screen, Colorize IT, PlayTo, Gallery Widget (photo wall)
  • QT4.8
  • Ovi services renamed to Nokia services
  • Improved Music Player – Refreshed “Now Playing” view, Lists are tabbed for easy access, and are swiped between
    new Artist view, Play & Pause from pull down status bar (Status only, not toggles)
  • New Widgets – Clock, analogue big, Clock, Mechanic, Clock, Text, Calendar, Agenda view, RSS Widget, Bookmark, Contact individual (social upgrades), Contact, group (group support upgrade), Music player – Medium, Weather now, Weather forecast, My location, Social widget, Facebook, Summary, Facebook, Twitter, Mobile Data Counter, Search, Email – New arrival, Gallery, Notes, Email – Detailed, Toggles (2G/3g, Offline, silent, BT, Cellular)

And apparently the update also includes a fix for flash video support (something that has irritated me for sometime now – flv files simply does not play well on N8). The update also has an all new web browser which seemed promising (but then again with the excellent Opera Mobile around, I am not sure whether this new browser will make any difference).

The existing Nokia Belle to be fair, has been impressive todate – it handles most of the multi-tasks well with a free (even with N8’s heavily watered down processing power) and well updated Ovi Maps which can be downloaded for free and without the need for any mobile data on the go and improved GUI wise, it can stand it’s own against Android powered phone. Nokia N8 already had a good design to start with (with anodised aluminium monocoque case, Gorilla Glass, AMOLED screen and yes, the 12MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens) and with Nokia Belle update, it just got better. But somehow, somewhere something was lacking with Symbian which may explains the move to Windows Phone (it’s app store was not the issue).

Tech2 reports:-

Symbian was definitely a powerful platform on its own. With the advent of other operating systems, it did lose a lot of steam, but it’s still chugging on with these updates.

One of the main problems was the limited app store, but besides that, the interface, the media and everything else was pretty promising. Symbian wasn’t too optimised though, and it did face a similar fate as Samsung’s Bada operating system.

As compared to frontrunners Google and Apple, it didn’t really impress that much and Nokia itself started looking at Windows Phone as its future premier operating system.

This latest firmware is yet to be rolled out in Malaysia so let’s keep the fingers crossed and hope that my ageing Nokia N8 does not go too outdated by the time new iPhone 5 comes out. Nokia N8 is still a damn good phone.