Friday, 27 July 2012

Faster Internet Surfing / Page Loading

At times the internet can be painfully slow, even if you are on the (alleged) faster packages.  What I do find speeds things up somewhat is making sure you have the best DNS servers listed in your network settings to make sure you are using the fastest possible.  DNS servers are basically what the computer uses to translate web page names and such like into an IP address that it can connect to.  For those interested it is explained quite well here.

But which DNS servers are the best?  Fact is it varies by location.  However, there is an application called Nambench which can run on Mac and Windows machines and, once installed, you merely run it and it will conduct a variety of tests, opening the results in a regular browser window telling you the top 3 DNS servers to use under your network settings.  In my case the top one, 'Google Public 2' (, was shown has being 770% faster than the default ISP DNS server selected through the router  O0

The ap, along with instructions, can be found at the link above.  This is not Penang specific of course and can help anywhere but it's sure useful here for visitors and residents in light of slow internet speeds sometimes experienced.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

UK Driving Licence Conversion - Part 2 (Collection)

I previously posted some guidance on how to apply for a Malaysian driving licence as a UK licence holder.  That post can be found here.

Recently my approval letter arrived from JPJ Putrajaya after about a 4 week wait.  There are two parts to the letter, the approval letter and a checklist.  It was all in Bahasa Malay but the checklist directs you to take:

1) Serut Kelulusan ini (Approval Checklist).
2) Borang JPJL1 yang lekap (Form JPJ L1 - I completed this at JPJ - only needs name, address, passport number and signature).

3) Lesen memandu asal dan salinannya  (Original driving licence and copy - did all my copies at JPJ for RM 1 the lot).

4) Kad pengenalan / pasport asal dan salinnannya (iKad / Passport and copy - see above re copies).

5) Satu (1) keping gambar warna berukuran (1 passport photo; 25mm x 32 mm). 

The photo size required surprised me as most are around 40mm x 50mm so I took one of those.  One thing I will stress is that the photo MUST have a light blue background (luckily mine was as it seems the normal format for government agencies and I'd got some done before for other reasons). As it happens the size of the pic on your licence is 25mm x 32mm and they merely scaled my photo down.  I dare say photo shops in Malaysia can do them the right size and most will automatically use the light blue background if you tell them it's for visa and/or driving licence use.  If you don't have the 25mm x 32mm size, just take a regular passport photo BUT be sure of that blue background.

6) Bayaran Pemerosesan sebanyak RM 20; dan (RM 20 processing fee)

7) Bayaran Sebanyak RM30 setahun bagi Lesen Memandu (RM 30 per year of driving licence issued - 5 year in my case)

So, yesterday I drove to JPJ Butterworth to pick up the licence.  Took all of 10 minutes once there.  Thankfully desks 1 and 2 (that issue converted licences) seem very quiet.  Staff are also very helpful.  Copying documents, if you don't have them done already, isvery easy there, there is a photostat machine right outside the block that charges just 20 sen per copy.

So, all done. Not too hard at the end of the day IF you know what you are doing.  One thing that has caused some confusion, and continues to do so and some forums, is the whether as a UK licence holder you need to obtain an embassy letter or certificate to convert your licence.   I stress that UK applicants DO NOT require a letter from their embassy or any other certificates to convert a UK driving licence. If you get this response you just need to get to speak to a JPJ officer who knows the correct procedures.  At Butterworth it's the officer in charge of Desks 1 and 2 (Driving Licence issue) in Block B.  At Putrajaya it should be less of a problem.

The total cost was RM 195 for a 5 year licence and I noticed on the receipt there was a charge of RM 25 for something, maybe a resized passport photo, or maybe some form of admin fee.

Another issue that has cropped up in discussion on forums is people asking why anyone bothers to apply for a local licence.  Many say that they merely drive on their national licence.  To me this is just odd.  You can't drive legally in most other countries for protracted periods without having a national licence so I'm not sure what convinces people that Malaysia is any different!

In any event, while getting my licence issued I asked the senior JPJ officer I spoke to two specific questions:

1) Is it legal / possible for foreign nationals to drive indefinitely on their 'home' (or another country's) licence? Answer "No".

2) How long can you drive for before you must apply for a Malaysian licence.  Answer "3 months".

I would have liked to push for the act and section in Malaysian law covering this but the guy was quite busy. But there you have it. I'm glad I got a local licence.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Johnnie Walker Black Circuit Lounge VIP Race Party

Penang has a number of top quality events throughout the year. One such event is the Johnnie Walker Black Circuit VIP Race Party.  This year the event will be held on 4th August in Penang and is without doubt at the moment it's the most talked about event amongst the clubbing and party crowd.

As with most big branded events invitation is strictly by invite only.  For chances to win tickets to what I am sure will be an outstanding night in Penang's calendar visit the Black Circuit Lounge VIP Pass page.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Night Club: Soju Room - Penang Times Square, Georgetown

Apologies for the lack of posts recently but suffice to say I have been absolutely inundated with photo shoots just lately.  One of the recent shoots was at Soju Room, Penang's hottest new night-spot in Penang Times Square. The shot to the left is of 'The Twins', a recent double act guest DJ team from Australia.

Soju Room is a welcome addition to Penang's night-life and features top DJs, live bands, singers and dancers performing nightly.  The club will, I'm sure, be a great success and I'll be posting a full pictorial review in due course.  Until then, more pictures can be found here.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012