[Geekiness] 24 Hours with Google Allo

Google Allo Logo from the Play Store

‘Allo! Have you met Google Allo yet?

In case you haven’t heard, Allo is Google’s WhatsApp killer. Probably a little bit of Facebook’s Messenger too but I digress.

If you want to know more, you can check out Android Authority’s extensive coverage. They’ve done a really good job of highlighting the headline features of Allo and how to use them.

So, how has my 24 hours with Allo been?

Quiet, to say the least. There’s a very simple reason for this: I don’t have a lot of people who are on Allo. Part of this is because Allo is not very widely available, no matter what you read online. If you’re in Malaysia (and I suspect the greater part of South East Asia and beyond), you can only register to be notified on the Google Play Store when it’s available.

Still, the Bear (who’s a Google Fanboy as I am Fangirl) and I have been having fun with Allo. The stickers are cute and adorable, I love being able to shout instead of typing in ALL caps and whisper when I want to, but most of all, I love how it’s integrated movie listings when we talk about movies.

I admit, I did not realise how much I enjoy doodling on pics as much as I do until I had Allo.

That said, it does have a few flaws. I hesitate to use the word “flaw” though, since what I think are flaws can be perceived as preferences by others.

No desktop equivalent

Part of the reason why I love Hangouts so much is because it syncs seamlessly between desktop and mobile. It’s even better than WhatsApp in this respect; the latter requires the phone to have a connection to show your messages, but Hangouts doesn’t. Allo doesn’t have this, so it’s limited to a purely phone experience for now.

Images take up the entire screen

I send the bear a lot of screenshots because Allo’s auto-replies are a delight to behold. However, this can be confusing, because it looks like it’s part of the app. Plus, the thumbnails don’t indicate the part of the image I want to draw attention to – perhaps an option to crop or better delineation of the image would be improve things.

Profile photo requirement

I didn’t like that during registration, the camera was switched on and I was to take a selfie. Not quite the way I envisioned it to work.

Slow Release

It’s not an international release. I’ve seen people in the UK saying that they haven’t been able to download it, which tells you enough about their priorities. My biggest worry is that because of this, interest in Allo dies quickly and we will never see it get enough traction to defeat WhatsApp.

But as I mentioned earlier, there are things I love adore about Allo. And they far outweigh the cons (except for not having enough users, that’s something that needs to be fixed).

Auto-replies OMG

Suffice to say, I’ve been using Google keyboard and other Google products a LOT. It’s anticipated a LOT of my responses to the bear, which has made communicating easier and lazier for me. :P Still, I hope to see it be able to differentiate between lover and friend (ahem!).

Stickers

Yes, this seems to have been lifted straight from Line, but I do like how it gets the point across. Might need a search function but we’ll see.

Doodling on images? Much fun, very LOL

Suffice to say, it’s fun. No I’m not going to show that to you.

Google Assistant is quite helpful

She’s quite good so far at picking up things we’re searching for and showing the results to us. Have yet to try the food ideas, that’s going to be a hoot this weekend.

Youtube integration

I like how if I click on a Youtube link in the chat, the video plays INSIDE the app instead of launching the Youtube app. Very nice.

In terms of functionality, there’s a LOT about Allo that I really love. I think it’s unique and it stands out pretty well in the messaging app scene. What I do find annoying about some of its users are those who insist on turning it into a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger clone. Dude, you do NOT need Gif support. Seriously, that’s really juvenile.

You also don’t need to name mentions in a group chat. I hate that they introduced that in WhatsApp. It’s my most hated feature. Really, I muted the chat for a reason, I don’t need a spammer “acquaintance” suddenly adding me to a group and spamming my name (think Instagram random mentions and you’ll know what I mean).

Also, people who complain about it being activated on multiple devices have probably never used LINE, who started this craze. But please don’t let my bitterness stop you. Go play with Allo. And here’s the APK, if you need it. It’s now available for all!

[Review] Dr Shal Dental Surgery

X-Ray of my teeth taken at Klinik Pergigian Dr Shal
X-Ray of my teeth taken at Klinik Pergigian Dr Shal

Name: Klink Pergigian Dr Shal or Dr Shal Dental Surgery
Where: 24A, 1st Floor, Jalan USJ 10/1B USJ 10, 47620, Subang Jaya
Contact: Call 03-8011 6877 OR message them on Facebook (quick replies!)
Operating Hours:
Mondays – Saturdays: 10am to 9pm.
Sundays: 10am to 6pm.
Closed Wednesdays and Public Holidays

TL;DR: 4.5/5 stars, make an appointment before you go. It’s kinda pricey for me, hence the loss of half a star.

So I had to see the dentist after putting it off for almost six months (or more!). The reason’s simple: my previous dentist, while cheap and competent, had very limited working hours. He also had a long waiting list and I did not like his nurses.

What prompted this trip? One of my two milk teeth had chipped, and it was starting to hurt when I ate. I googled and asked people for “dentists open on Sunday” recommendations, and finally came across Dr Shal’s website. The opening hours caught my eye, followed quickly by the description of her waiting room and the fact that her listing on Google Maps was really professional.

I made an appointment for 6.30pm today and walked into the clinic a few minutes before I was due. Several things was apparent to me the moment I stepped in.

  • The clinic felt more like an exclusive spa
  • It had free wifi (YAY), a massage chair you could use for free, one TV playing Nat Geo and the other Harry Potter
  • Free coffee and tea, with a reminder that these drinks stain your teeth. Also plain water
  • Interesting mix of Nat Geo and female mags like Her World, I think, for your reading pleasure
  • Competent, friendly and warm receptionists

Now with all this just from the moment I walked in, I thought the Dr was going to be super cut-throat and not very professional about the treatment and all. I was pleasantly wrong.

Dr Shal was extremely professional and patient. She asked me to list my problems, if I was on any medications, any form of ill health, etc. I naively suggested removing my chipped milk tooth, but she insisted on me doing a digital X-ray first. Turns out, I had missing permanent teeth, so if my milk tooth was gone, there was nothing to replace it.

So she told me how much the x-ray was going to cost, and then the probable cost of the filling, and mentioned other problems I had (a lot of which I kind of suspected but it was nice to be confirmed, though my wallet disagrees). We agreed to tackle the most important issue first (milk teeth decay) and then we’d fill the other cavity in later. She got to work.

I don’t want to relive the entire thing again, but suffice to say:
* Numb lips from gel means I can spit out water properly (kept going everywhere)
* Looking up + dehydrated mouth = #NaoGetsAHeadache
* That took far longer than I expected!

At the end of it all, Dr Shal made me bite and then grind my teeth to ensure she had put enough of the filling. She adjusted it twice before she was done with me, even at that point where I thought I was ok with it. We then had a chat about my next appointment and clearing up some of my misconceptions about scaling (apparently, scaling is to remove the plaque on your teeth and is not to make you look pretty).

How was it? Quite good, actually. Dr Shal is very professional, caring and warm. Her nurses are great too! Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a dentist.

Cost:
X-Ray- RM90
I think this is a firm price. It’s well worth it, cause they take your entire jaw instead of just a selected area (like another dentist did before).

Filling – RM120
According to Dr Shal, fillings start at RM50 onwards. Mine was expensive because she had a large cavity to close. She also added at least two different meds before the actual filling to kill the infection in my tooth. This part of the procedure took the longest.

Antibiotics & Anti-inflammation meds – RM25
The antibiotics are compulsory (my teeth was fighting a bacterial invasion, after all), but the anti-inflammation is not. I took it cause it supposedly helps reduce the swelling and helps fight the bacteria too.

Local anaesthetic – RM10
Some people can do without it, I can’t. It was much more effective than other dentists I’ve been to though.

[PSA] Free Rides on the LRT

This is a quick post: if you’re taking advantage of the free rides offered by Putra LRT aka the Kelana Jaya line this 13 Sept – 15 Sept, note that you will still need to tap in using your concession card or your Touch N Go card. If you have neither, get the free tokens from the counter (thanks Bawang!). 
And in case you’re wondering, this is how the train looks like right now from Kerinchi to Abdullah Hukum. Yes, it’s that empty, and yes, usually packed like sardines at this hour. 

[Quickie] CM Storm Trigger Typing Test

As you can tell, I have a new toy! For our anniversary this year, the bear presented me with a CM Storm Trigger keyboard. It was on sale at Ultimate Zone and I had been lusting for a fully-lit keyboard for months now. The keys are Cherry MX brown. If you wanna know what I wrote, continue reading.

This is a quick typing test for the Cm Storm Trigger keyboard. As you can tell, it is far quieter than my CM Quickfire Pro. This is of course, mainly because this is a Cherry MX Brown switch instead of a Blue. I notice though, that the travel for this is significantly longer than my Quickfire, so getting used to the travel is something that I think I’ll have to practice in quite a bit. It’s the same as my Quickfire all over again; I have to look at the keyboard to type instead of simply typing by looking at the screen.

Got this on offer from the Ultimate Zone store in Jaya One. It was a pretty good deal too; RM299 for this model. The main reason I was gifted this by the BF was because I’ve been hankering over a fully backlit keyboard for quite some time now. He decided to surprise me with this since it was our anniversary. How do I like this keyboard so far?

Well, as you can tell it’s much quieter than my Quickfire. It’s also got quite a few unusual quirks. For instance, to use the Windows key as it was intended, I actually needed to download the CM trigger program and then remap the key. That was quite an odd thing to do. Another thing is that there’s no way to press the Function key once and have it activated till it’s turned off. This was what I used to do with my Quickfire, and not having this is kind of throwing me off. I actually have to press and hold the Alt Macro key to do this, but it’s something minor. Most likely muscle memory will take care of it in a bit.

And that’s it for my initial review of the CM Trigger. Have a thought or opinion? Leave a comment below and let me know!

[Review] Silkygirl Matte Junkie Lip Cream

My first lip cream aka matte lipstick: Silkygirl's Matte Junkie Lip Cream 04 Vintage!
My first lip cream aka matte lipstick: Silkygirl’s Matte Junkie Lip Cream 04 Vintage!

So I’ve been coveting the Silkygirl Matte Junkie lip cream for a while now. The blame for this falls solely on Tenta, because she showed me a very gorgeous swatch and I’ve been wanting them ever since.

But that’s only half the story. You see, Silkygirl released the Matte Junkie range at the end of April 2016 (yes, it’s that recent). The range had two striking shade groups: reds and nudes. There were three nude-toned shades: Retro, Vintage and Glamour. Of the three, Vintage was the most popular.

Matte Junkie Lip Cream 04 Vintage from the Silkygirl Website
Look at those lips aren’t they gorgeous???

In less than a week, Vintage was completely sold out. It was so popular, I had problems finding even the testers for it! According to a source, Silkygirl underestimated the popularity of the shade. Subsequently, even Retro and Glamour soon disappeared off the shelves.

Till last week. I received word that Vintage was coming back into stores and of course I had to get my hands on them! At Watson’s, they currently enjoy a small discount so it’s rm19 instead of the usual 21.

Matte Junkie Review

Silkygirl Matte Junkie Lip Polish in Vintage
As you can tell, it’s a standard-sized bottle. Easy to carry around and fuss-free. The magic happens when you open it.

Wet swatch
This is what happens when you swatch it wet. Dries very quickly (think 2 mins or less) and sets really well.

Dry Swatch
I accidentally rubbed over the wet piece, hence the trail. But as you can tell, it’s dried off to a nice pink. Once dried, it DOESN’T TRANSFER. It stays on your lips (with a caveat, see below). But yes, it IS transfer-proof and kiss-proof hehe.

Final look
It’s really easy to apply. I find putting on a bit of lip liner works to keep the lines in check but even without the lip liner it still goes on smoothly. Trivia: I bought my lip liner from Silkygirl MONTHS ago, it’s a happy coincidence.

The brush
My favourite part of the entire process though, is the doe foot applicator. It’s just so much fun to apply! I don’t know why, but I adore putting the colour on my lips because of this applicator. The applicator is soft and picks up enough product to line your lips.

Matte Junkie Caveats

As much as I love the pigmentation and colour payoff, this is still a matte lipstick. That means it WILL dry your lips out. You should be prepping your lips before wearing this; exfoliate first (I rub my lips with a very old and soft toothbrush) then apply lip balm. Leave on for a few minutes, then wipe off excess and apply the lip cream. Your lips will thank you.

Oily foods are the nemesis of this lip cream. If you’re eating oily food, expect to reapply afterwards, or just wipe the colour off. Repeat lipbalm step above.

Final Matte Junkie thoughts

As you can tell, I really love this lip cream. It glides on easily, is a colour that I like, and fits me very well! However, lip balms are a must and oily foods will affect its staying power. I’ve been wearing this as a daily colour since I got it, and bar the oily food, it remains in place for several solid hours (longest I’ve gone is 4 hours for now, because after that I had KFC :P).