Friday, December 28, 2012

The (Weekend) Writer's Gift Ideas

Personally, I prefer receiving travel gears and knick knacks for the holidays. So when asked for my wish list for the office Christmas party give away, I gamely listed the Bobble (highly innovative, envi-friendly water bottle), headware, and some book from Witty Will Save the World. I honestly forgot about the other part of me that also needed some upgrade - the weekend writer.

What are the stuff we really need that we never really had the chance to purchase/get? Here is my list of gifts that we word-weavers would love to receive.

Computer and Gadgets

Yes we're in the 21st century and jurassic computers? typewriters? Are anybody still using those? If you love a writer with their worth, some indispensable, pricey tool such as a handy netbook or laptop would the be perfect gift for them - make sure it's has a fast processor too. Slow internet connection is one thing, slow processor and timely hang-ups is an entirely-frustrating-other matter.

For me, getting some sleek gadget such as 1TB external hard drive would be a neat add-on and convenient tool for working on tasks wherever I go. And a reliable wireless mouse is also an essential tool I cannot do without!

However, something that is hugely sitting on my writer's wish list is an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5. I've dishing out the fact that I would actually need it and now I'm in a rush to apply for an unli-data iPhone plan from one of strongest networks in the country! Why iPhone by the way? I realized that many of my clients now are contacting me via FB messaging and while on the move, opening the lappy or accessing FB via my qwerty mobile can be frustrating. With an iPhone or similar smartphones I can also create content for my blog while on the road. Isn't that neat?!

If I get an iPhone, would I still need an iPad or similar tablet computer? Maybe not, but having one can be quite fun too. Paired with some bluetooth keyboard, iPads can easily replace the role of lappy for mobile computing. (Truly tempting!)

Some Pretty Knick-Knacks

A lot of writers are coffee or tea drinkers.  I'm sure your writer friend would also appreciate quirky coffee mugs, or mug warmers that will keep their java fix within easy reach.

Another worthwhile gift that you can give to writers, bloggers or author friends is a nice and durable notebook or journal. I carry one at all times and jot down notes whenever I remember or think of something. Even if I have 2 right now, another one would be highly appreciated! :)

Gift cards and some cash bonus are also great gift ideas from clients to their writers, ghostwriters and contracted writers. I'm lucky to have such thoughtful clients ever since and for this season, I got enough from bonuses to book another RT airfare to Kota Kinabalu in February.

So, have you thought of anything to give the writers in your life yet?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Work on the Road: Choosing Hotels with Wi-fi Connection in Kota Kinabalu

I recently took a 4-day trip to Kota Kinabalu to spend time with Baba. I booked flights from Clark, Pampanga to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in after considering if I should grab cheap flights to Atlanta by using promo code FL15 on CheapOair instead. AfterwhichWhen travelling to another country, wi-fi availability of great importance especially if you carry with you online tasks and assignments. So this is my number 1 requirement when I looked up hotels for my first ever trip out of the country.

The three accommodation arrangement I made are:

1. City Park Lodge at Jalan Pantai

Among the three choices, I wasn't really sure about booking this because of the "Pleasant" rating it has on Agoda, but arriving here was really a "pleasant surprise." The place looked clean and well maintained. The staff were all friendly and the wi-fi connection is really good! They charge from RM 64-73 per night and wi-fi is available at the lobby/reception and public areas. I actually gave this hotel a very high rating (8.7)

2. Borneo Gaya Lodge

We were a bit disappointed with our stay here though the wi-fi connection is good enough to reach the rooms. I booked a double room from Agoda for RM 68, the pictures looked nice but we were given a room without a window and the hot shower wasn't working. If it's not located centrally in Jalan Gaya, I wouldn't give it a passing rate. Next time I visit Baba in KK, we won't be coming back to this hotel.

3. Cititel Express

For our last night in Kota Kinabalu, I choose a nicer hotel and though there are several complaints on the small-ish rooms, we were quite satisfied and really had a great stay here. I booked a sea-view room for RM 103 and we paid an extra RM10 for 1 day unlimited wi-fi connection. The hotel was a short walk to the waterfront and surrounded with shops and restos. Baba and I decided that this hotel was really a great choice, though we wish that wi-fi will be free next time!