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Is keeping all your personal information on your Smartphone is safe?

Between saving your appointments and personal particulars in a physical organizer vs your Smartphone…which one is better?

It is convenient to have all in one place. To have everything you need to help you multitask and lead a productive life. But in the February edition of the Malaysian Chip magazine, it showed how your mobike phone and your laptop’s camera could be used to secretly record and obtain personal, even intiminate information about you.


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Cheap but effective way to organize your luggage and handbag

Last month when I was travelling, I tried to figure out a way which I could organize some items that could cause chaos in my luggage bag- meaning after packing them, I would have problem locating these items in my luggage. These items are:

  •  chargers for mobile phone, netbook, camera, international adaptors, spare batteries
  • SD, media cards, pendrives (I have a number of them) and multi-card reader, small notebook
  • stationeries that includes labeling stickers, mini stapler, staples
  • small little easily missed items- clips, name cards, rubber bands, ‘minyak angin’, paracetemol and tummy ache medication
  • my premixed coffee

Usually I store them in small tote or toiletries that I’ve converted to storage bags. Yet, most of the time I would end up searching through my luggage and my carrying bag as well as all the nooks, corners and pockets for stuff which I knew I brought along but cannot remember where I’ve placed them.

When I search around the internet, I came across suggestions such as storing items in a transparent toiletries or zip lock bag. Transparent toiletries bags sold at the local pharmacies are overpriced. Whereas items can easily fall out of zip lock bags.

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Should You Use a Physical Photo Albums or Digital Frame

If you have photos that you would really like to share with others, should you display them in a photo album or a digital frame?

I have the same dilemma recently- I had embarked on a photo album project where I want to showcase sequence leading on to a successful opening of a place. It would consist of a few hundred photos- and at first I thought it would be too bulky to carry around in physical photo albums.

So, the predicament arises: Should these photos be loaded in a digital photo frame or should I develop the photos and put them into a physical album….just like how we had always done in the past before digital photography. Of course Flickr and Facebook made it so easy to share photos.

Physical photo album vs digital photo frame. Which one is best to place photos that would tell a story in an impactful way?

Pro and cons of each:

Advantages of Using a Digital Frame:

    • save the hassle of developing photo and albums that may gather dusk and turn yellow with age
    • a potential head turner and subject of conversation
    • can display up to hundreds and thousands of photos- the limit is with your SD or memory card. Buy a memory card that is 32GB, and the number of photos are almost limitless.
    • easy to carry around- you can bring it along with you to travel if you want to bring and show your overseas friends.
    • the photos can be left to play in  a slideshow- the frame can be perpectually running
    • when you want to change the selection of photos, just replace with a new memory card and it would be up and running
    • can be mounted to a wall- so instead of seeing a static image, you see ongoing slideshow
    • people who placed the digital frame at strategic places such as their office desk would end up looking at the photos and then being reminded of some happier memories from a forgotten photo. A reason to go to work…
    • for some companies like the Kodak Digital frame with Wifi enabled- you can even email photos to a dedicated email address or upload Flickr and the photos that you took can be viewed from the other side of the world almost immediately

Disadvantages of the Digital Frame:

  • unlike an album which can be flicked back and forth, it takes some effort (for non savvy user) to locate an older photograph
  • the normal ones cannot display captions on the photograph
  • requires electricity to run the slideshow
  • there are reports that people quickly run out of interest on the digital frame
  • grandma and grandpa may need to struggle to figure out how to operate
  • it’s hard to personalize the picture and images- unlike in a scrapbook
  • if you stare too long too much- would it cause discomfort to your eyes like how a computer screen does?

Having mentioned all the points above, in the end, I still decide to develop the photos and put them into a photo album.

Why I choose to showcase the photos in a physical ‘real’ photo albums:

For my project, I would need to include comments on the initiation, before, during and after some events. I asked around- in terms of user experience and effectiveness in conveying the message, a physical photo album have much more profound effects compared to a digital frame.

Physical photos have more profound impact compared to digital photos. That cannot be denied. People would look at it- people would flip albums- and you can see that they can easily flip a physical album back and forth, and forth and back. It’s a great conversation starter. If you buy a photo album with space for memo, you can jot down the significance of the event- from start to finish.

Whereas with a digital frame, you cannot flip the photos without going through the controls menu. If they like a photo and they don’t know how to operate the digital frame, they cannot stop, pause or move backwards.

You may say, well, ‘I have thousands of photos in digital format. It would cause the earth to develop them and storage would be a challenge’.

Well, my answer is, me too. For my project, I had to choose from the few thousand digital pictures that I and a few other people had taken. Few thousand— and I brought it down to 170 photos. Just 170 photos which I could connect the event and tells an impactful story.

We need not select everything. Just like most people’s bedside or office table, there is probably only one framed static photo- but that single photo means more to us that most of the other photos. It is not quantity- but quality. With the digital age, we tend to mindlessly go around snapping at photos-sieve out the meaninful ones from those that meant nothing to you.

Many people upload photos in Facebook or photo sharing sites like Flickr. It is a fact- because when I wanted to look for a reasonable priced place to develop my photos, my friends whom I know love to develop photo ….could not recommend any place. For the simple reason that they have not developed a single photo for a year, or one friend-since 5 years ago.

But in Facebook and Flickr, how many people do go in and appreciate it long after the event is over? You upload photos of your dream wedding and after the initial awww…oohhhs…so pretty….. and all the good wishes, the excitement dies down. No one looked at it anymore.

Yes, I agree it’s the same with a wedding album after a year. But you know the album is there- it sits there- waiting for you and you know where to get it when you want to see it. I prefer that than to click through my Facebook timeline and wait for the page to load.

Really- you would feel different looking at a physical photo than a digital one- that is what at least a lot of people tells me. When I give people a photo that I’ve taken of them, a smile (genuine and spontanous…not fake one)  instantly lit up their face. Some of the people I know also don’t have a Facebook account (yes, these people exist) and without a physical photo, they would depend on their memory.

Anyway, I bought myself a photo album that could fit in 200 photos of 4R size (4″x 6″). Surprisingly, it was small and compact and would not be too much of a burden even if you need to bring it to travel with you:

The album costs me only RM26.90 (good quality- the outsides are velvety). The front size you can put a photo as the album cover- a photo that can encompass what your entire album is trying to say.  The size of the album is about the DVD holder- so it is very portable. Each page can hold 2 photos of 4R size. I got from Jaya Jusco- and you can find a variety of choices from department stores- no need to buy online/internet as it may be expensive and you have no way of seeing before buying. On the left of the picture above are the 170 photos which I’ve developed and they all fit nicely into the album.

By the way, before buying the photo album to document any project or event, it is always good to know how many photos you intend to develop. From there, then only you make your buying decision. And do you intend to put the album at home or take it to travel with you? If you intend to take the physical album to travel with you, then it is better to get a small and more compact album.

Always inspect the photo album before buying. I’ve noticed the ‘made in China’ type to have attractive design but flimsy structure that would not withstand the age of time.  The thing I like about Jusco is that they have an unwrapped album which they used as display- so that I can check first before buying.

Above are the inner pages- section for you to write the message. I’ve mentally created the storyline (you may know by now how long winded I can get…hee hee). When I develop the photos they are properly numbered in sequence that I want to put in the album. The shop gave me the photos in sequence. It took me only few hours to put the entire project together.

Afterwhich, I passed the album over to my family members for inspection. Aside from a frank comment- “er, your handwriting is not nice leh” (yes, I do have ugly handwriting)- it was agreed that the physical album is more meaningful. The event writen on the side gives a clearer explanation compared to the confusion caused by the ads on the Facebook photo albums that was fighting for their attention.

We need not develop all of our photos and travels into a physical photo album or scrapbook project. Select only a few meaningful ones so that you have it handy on your bookshelf- where you can always take and flip through when you are feeling down. Or that you want to bring around to explain on sudden things or show an event from before, during, and after (ie start to finish).

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Simple act of writing down tasks in the book helps to keep you organized

There would always be the latest technology gadget and software out in the market that have all kinds of functions including helping us to record our tasks and set reminders. These features would be useful provided we find use for them.

If we cannot afford to invest in technology or an expensive planner, a simple notebook or a Diary would do just fine. In fact, it can be even more effective.

Previously I used Microsoft Outlook to help me organise my task but after a while, I find the blinking reminders too annoying. In the end, I switched back to just the simple act of writing down tasks at hand.

I have 2 books that I use:
a. A simple small notebook for personal use- I would buy the RM5 inexpensive by cute books from Hinode. And then I would jot down my tasks, blog ideas in the book. After I’ve typed out the post, I would cross out those that I’ve done.  Because I would put the book in whichever bag that I carry, I need not write down bits of information on pieces of paper that would eventually go missing when I need them. It is all in the book and once it has been dealt with, I would cross it out.

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Keeping a tidy and organized desk will improve your productivity and focus

Some of us a naturally untidy people- even though after extensive spring cleaning, the desk quickly become a cluttered mess each time. And after a while, we just give up trying.

Then one day, as again we are not able to find our stuff, this time an important document, we vow to tidy up our desks and put everything in their rightful order and files. So we dedicate about half a day just cleaning up.

Things seemed fine for a while….and a few days later, the desk becomes cluttered again.

Even though some may protest that they work better in a cluttered desk, the truth is, if we are disorganized, we really spend longer time looking for stuff and going through things. And at the back of our minds, something will always bug us- perhaps we forgot to do something important, and we find that on some occasions, we are right because we really forget because the important to-do list get buried in the piles of documents.

There’s something about clutter that messes with the mind- causing it to be knotted, stuck and stifle the flow of creative energy. No doubt, you can still complete our tasks but we would require more brain energy and more cups of coffee. We have to strain ourselves more- so we end up feeling more exhausted- even when we are doing things that we like.

Once you start throwing away things you don’t need, or filling them away in their proper place (a process that takes you just a few minutes once you dedicate 5 minutes a day to doing it), you will find that your mind seemed to be more light and less cluttered. Ideas flow more freely, you will feel more focused instead of being chronically ‘overwhelmed’.

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Bring a notebook and pen wherever you go to jot down ideas

Have you ever encountered times when your brain are brimming with ideas when you are out and about when your computer is not nearby. Then few hours later when you find the time to finally sit down and write, you start to suffer from the writer’s block.

At most, we may just have the habit of scribbing information on bits and pieces of paper- and then when the information is required later, we scrambled around to look for it- high and low.

Why not just spend a few bucks to buy yourself a small notebook, it can be even in a design that inspire you. It’s really a simple way to stay organise and to keep your information in one place. Wherever you go when you see something that you need to jot down- write it down in your notebook.

There are times when our minds feel inspired and story or article ideas literally narrate themselves off our heads. If we fail to jot the ideas or storyline down, the idea would be lost.

Furthermore, when you write down things, it frees your brain from cluttered and the burden of having to remember to many things.  And you would be surprised that you will feel less stressed and less scattered. You can then use your energy for more important things at hand until you have time to sit down and write about it later.

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Simple way to declutter your mobile phone number tel list

Many people are more concerned about losing their contact lists if ever their mobile or cell phone goes missing or is damaged. And yet, we also want to keep all numbers in one place…so as we add and add in new numbers, we find ourselves with a cluttered phone number list.

The sign that we need to do housekeeping on our mobile phone’s contact list is:

  • we are unable to save new numbers because the tel number storage has maxed up
  • takes awfully long time to scroll down that list of phone numbers
  • there are 2 different persons with the same name and we no longer know who is who

Solution to decluttering the mobile phone:

Simple: Just buy a durable book– perhaps one that comes with alphabetical arrangement- and then jot down ALL the contact numbers there by alphabetical order. Never mind if the book does not come with alphabetical order. You can manually count the number of pages and allocate the alphabet yourself- as some alphabet tends to have more names and some less (example Q, X or Z)- and you can take that into account when allocating pages.

This will free your mind of the worry that you may one day need to call a friend whom you have not contacted in the past 5 years.


Just a few bucks to take away your mental worry

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Decluttering from the inside out

People can tell a lot about us by the way her house is arranged. It is organised and tidy or it is cluttered and crazy?

If our minds are organised and under control, our surroundings would be as well. If not, even though we go through the painful process of decluttering, the chaos would built up again in no time.

However, homes and places that are ‘too clean’ and where the owner is too obsessed about even a little speck of dust also denotes a controlling personality, perhaps on someone who is afraid to lose control. It’s tough to live like that….and to spend too much of time cleaning and arranging things.

Still, you need not be too hard on yourself when you cannot control clutter. Clutter is just an outward symptom of a deeper inner issue. It could be that you are holding on and unable to let go (not of the clutter but it can be of ideas, opinions, views). Or that you are feeling overwhelmed or afraid to face something in your life. And the thing that you are trying not to face could have nothing to do with the clutter at all.

It is not something that you can grit your teeth and just force yourself to clean up- if you forced yourself, you would find the experience very tiring and draining- both physically and emotionally. Your sinus or allergies may just act up- a subconsious sign to get yourself away from the task. And you may spend a lot time regretting something sentimental that you have forced yourself to donate away.

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Decluttering- when you feel relunctant to throw away the memories

New things cannot come into our life when there is no space for them to come in. One way to move on to a new phrase of life is to learn to declutter our surroundings. Instead of shopping for storage boxes so that we can put things away from sight, we should aim to remove those things that belonged to another time and place and no longer become a part of our lives.

Everything around us has energy- if we surround ourselves with too many things that remind us of the past, how are we to move ahead?

But it does get difficult to just throw away the memories to the dustbin. So, why not try another way…send them over to recycle centers.

In Klang Valley, we have been quite fortunate because a number of recycling boxes can be seen all around to make it convenient for people to drop items that they do not want. We can give away old newspaper, books, magazines, clothes, dolls, decorative items, etc.


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How to organise newspaper clippings that you want to read later

Some of us like to preserve old newspaper articles. After reading, we feel that some articles may be too good for the recycle bin and so we set aside the article for ‘future reference’.

As time pass by, these ‘useful’ articles quickly work themselves up to a little nasty stack in the corner. Effectively, they become an eye-sore and when we want to look up some articles, we are confronted by a huge collection of paper that are fast turning yellow.

Newspaper clippings that I was saving for later

Newspaper clippings that I was saving for later

Stacked newspaper becomes clutter and is not a conductive item in your living space. Reason being is that they tend to attract dust, some insects, smell and well…stagnant and negative energy. I have even tried to cut them out and stick them to printed business prospectus- but after a while, they have a stale smell.

Even though you do not believe in feng shui or positive energies, just ask yourself, do you feel re-energized looking at that stack of paper each time?

Untidiness and disorganized objects create chaos- and when we look at them, somehow it makes our mind more muddled and less confused. So I would like to make a suggestion for those of you who feel you must have some kind of record to store expired newspaper articles:

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