The Offspring (finally) birthed Let The Bad Times Roll, their first new album since 2012

The Offspring (finally) birthed Let The Bad Times Roll, their first new album since 2012

I’ve listened to the new Offspring album twice now – LOVING the energy in this that was somewhat missing from their post-Smash albums.

Days Go By, Ixnay on the Hombre, Americana, Rise and Fall Rage and Grace, Splinter, Conspiracy of One, each usually had a couple of filler songs that were kinda fun to listen to every once in a while but not regularly (yes, even Pretty Fly).

Many of the songs here have the energy of a jacked up The Kids Aren’t Alright 😉 Only a couple of mid tempo songs in this album to mix things up in terms of pacing and they’re still good offerings (Coming For You is a great song! It was apparently selected as the official theme song for the WWE Elimination Chamber 2015.) – no instantly divisive tunes like Walla Walla or Worst Hangover Ever.

Of the more downtempo tunes in this album, I loved the piano version of Gone Away which they’ve apparently already included in their live set lists in recent years (I haven’t had the pleasure of catching them live).

They usually like to include one experimental song in their album and their punked up version of In the Hall of the Mountain King is great fun. They also include one fun(ny) song in We Don’t Have Sex Anymore which is possibly The Offspring at their most overtly humourous in terms of songwriting.

The Offspring’s Let The Bad Times Roll is definitely one for the fans, especially if you yearned for edgier songs since Smash, and is already on my regular playlist.

Review: Amcrest AWC205 1080p streaming webcam

Review: Amcrest AWC205 1080p streaming webcam

With this year’s shift into online meetings and meetups, particularly through Zoom and Teams, I’ve been strongly considering an upgrade to my old workhorse, a Logitech C200 webcam. Picked it up over 5 years ago now so was looking for something that would be a good upgrade.

Enter the Amcrest AWC205 1080p webcam. Found it on Amazon after a bit of searching for HD webcams and as a bonus, it has low light capabilities too (not that I’d be regularly using this under those conditions!)

Amcrest bills this in their Amazon UK product listing as a Amcrest 1080P Webcam with Microphone & Privacy Cover, Web Cam USB Camera, Computer HD Streaming Webcam for PC Desktop & Laptop w/Mic, Wide Angle Lens & Large Sensor for Superior Low Light (AWC205). Try saying that three times fast…

Product features

According to the product specification sheet, this webcam, the AWC205-B model, has:

  • 1/3″ CMOS (active pixel) Imaging Sensor
  • 1920*1080 / 1280*720 / 640 * 480 video resolution
  • 3.6mm lens
  • 70 degree angle view
  • Privacy cover included
  • Tripod attachment capability – 1/4″ diameter, 20 threads per inch
  • Built-in high sensitivity microphone
  • USB 2.0 Plug and Play
  • Compatibility with Windows XP / Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10 / Mac and more
  • Dimensions of 3.54″ x 3.34 ” x 0.94″
  • USB cable length of 5.90ft / 1.8m

So, a nice set of features right off. I like the sleek black shiny plastic look of the Amcrest AWC205 over the more matt dull plastic of the Logitech C200. Of course, the two product differ quite widely in terms of productions years!

Trying out the AWC205, the first thing I noticed was it had built-in mirror image capability. Why is that important? Because it means that whatever written stuff you show to the webcam is whatever others would see on their screen. Without the mirror image, others would not be able to read the words properly because they would appear to be backwards. It’s a really handy feature and one that I’m pleased to see already built-into the webcam.

I tried recording a couple of videos to test out the HD capabilities of the webcam and I’m pleased to say that it does meet the product specifications. Also, the HD quality doesn’t require a fixed focal point and can maintain image quality at various distances from close up to further away. In contrast, the Logitech C200 requires you to set a fixed focus point and you need to manually adjust the focus when the distance changes.


  • Glossy.
  • Comes with a stick-on privacy cover
  • HD quality video
  • Built-in mirror image capability


  • Glossy. Attracts fingerprints.
  • No capability to rotate the webcam without turning the whole unit.

A few pictures


I like it! It does enough to feel like a worthwhile upgrade over my previous Logitech C200 webcam.

Get one today

Confessions of a job seeker

Confessions of a job seeker

Recently, I joined the crowd of job seekers out in the market. Looking to find a new home. A place to belong. Where I can make a difference.

For a long time, I struggled with the hunt. I looked at my skills and experiences and thought, “I’m an experienced marketer. I should know how to market myself in a way that makes me look like the next best thing since the iPad.” And, “I’m a copywriter who creates taglines and copy that sings. Words that paint pictures in heads with different images depending on what the communications goal is. I should know how to write to sell myself.”

None of those thoughts were particularly useful in building interview-getting CVs. And I wondered why. It was also getting demoralising spending hours crafting CVs and cover letters to fit the job and getting zilch in response.

A different perspective

Then recently, something clicked in head. A smidgen of an idea that grew in shape. I didn’t recognise it for what it was until my subconscious finished working it out. And then I started writing what I knew to be true for me. Writing it out in my head as I went about my day.

That something? I had worked out that I had to look at it from a different perspective. Recruiters and hiring managers probably weren’t ‘judging’ me thinking, “hah, this guy says he’s got writing skills to persuade and I ain’t persuaded” or “this guy’s a marketer and I don’t see how he’s marketing himself to me”. They would be just screening and thinking, “would he fit into my team and help achieve my goals?”

A puzzle to solve

When that mindset shift happened, something clicked about how I could approach this job hunting exercise. Each job description is a puzzle waiting for the right person with the right tools to crack it. If a job didn’t fit me then I just didn’t have the right tools (skills/experiences) at the time.

I imagine a puzzle like The Incredible Machine, a Rube Goldberg-like system where my skills/experiences are tools in the puzzle, and I need to find the right ones to achieve the result I want – which is to get my CV considered for the job.

And several job sites I’ve read talk about the right CV is whatever it takes to land the job, so don’t get so hung up on the how. I needed to focus on the ‘product’. Me.

A product to market – me

When I thought about how to market myself as product, my mind started thinking about the little word hooks I could use to arrest attention, even if it’s just for a second. I also thought about how I make my CV a story. A story of growth and challenge. A story about what drives me. What is my goal? What is my purpose?

Sure, I can write about my purpose being get a new challenge at a large company. But it wouldn’t be very interesting. And it wouldn’t be from the heart. My best writing, even if it’s not perfect on a technical level, comes from the heart. When words combine together to paint pictures from my imagination.

A thank you to you, dear reader

It’s not going to be the same thing for everyone. Even you, reading this. You might have a different way of approaching CV writing or a different way of landing other jobs. And that’s just fine. As long as you’re getting good results, why change for someone else?

But if you aren’t, like I was, a mindset shift could be just the thing to tip the scales and have recruiters think, “maybe I’ll read just a little bit longer”.

If this little post spoke to you, please share it. If it didn’t, well, thank you for reading this far anyway. As a writer, every word is precious. The fact that you read more than one word already causes invisible choirs to sing in my head.

It’s better than a ‘like’ on Facebook or YouTube.

Pinterest: Pinned on pinning

In 2012, I was asked my thoughts about Pinterest.

One of the things I believe still holds true five years later: “One of the tricky things about Pinterest is that you need to be a very visual person in order to take advantage of its potential”.

Below is the article in question:

Pinned on pinning.

Originally published in The Star on 8/9/2012.

Written by Lee Mei Li



Saturday September 8, 2012

Pinned on pinning


Pinterest, or virtual pinboards, is the latest trend to hit the social network – but what has it got that others don’t?

AS a child, Ben Silbermann was a collector of stamps, leaves and the occasional insect. Fast forward two decades and the political science graduate has become the CEO and co-founder of Pinterest.

What’s Pinterest, you ask? Well, it’s only the fastest growing social networking site in history, currently valued at US$1.5bil (RM4.69bil).

That’s pinterest-ing: Enthusiast Hemavathy Suppiah assures that the Pinterest appeal is not about collecting followers.That’s pinterest-ing: Enthusiast Hemavathy Suppiah assures that the Pinterest appeal is not about collecting followers.

The content-sharing service is essentially a “virtual pinboard” sparked off by the idea of helping people build collections online.

Members are given a space to showcase their interests, via images “pinned” off the web. Each “pin” is linked to related articles or web content.

The images can then be categorised under different boards, allowing other members to browse through them, “follow” selected boards, and “re-pin” an item or two if it strikes their fancy.

Once you have a Pinmarklet tab installed on your Internet browser, pinning literally becomes a one-click process.

Part of the Pinterest allure is perhaps the simplicity in letting one “curate” images and build an individual profile.

Up until last week, Pinterest took new users by invitation only, not that it stopped the site from garnering over 20 million monthly visitors since it was launched as a beta (test) product in March 2010.

Pinterest is not just for women. Feature writer Johnathan Sia hopped on the bandwagon last year and sees the site as a great sharing platform that aims to inspire.Pinterest is not just for women. Feature writer Johnathan Sia hopped on the bandwagon last year and sees the site as a great sharing platform that aims to inspire.

By April this year, Pinterest had become the third most-visited social network site after Facebook and Twitter, according to digital marketing firm Experian Marketing Services.

Facebook recorded more than seven billion total (US) visitors in March this year; Twitter had 182 million; and Pinterest, a whopping 104 million total visits. Trailing behind were LinkedIn, Google+, MySpace and Tumblr.

What’s interesting is that women seem to be the driving force behind Pinterest’s surge in popularity.

Reports reveal that the network comprises 60% female users, mostly between the ages of 25 and 44.

Even US First Lady Michelle Obama is on Pinterest, joining celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen de Generes, Jessica Alba, and Martha Stewart.

The virtual board is often largely governed by pinned images of home décor, crafts, holidays, fashion and food.

Virtual scrapbooking

That’s precisely what got Nur Aziemah Azman, 25, hooked on Pinterest.

“I was creating a mood board on the computer just to add cheer to my office workspace sometime last year when a colleague happened to notice. She told me about Pinterest, sent me an invite, and from then on, I was hooked,” says the marketing and communications executive.

“I’ve always loved pretty pictures, and collaging is one of my favourite activities. Pinterest was an extension of this for me. There are great photos, all linked to a huge expanse of additional information.

Nur Aziemah Azman regards Pinterest as a clutter-free alternative to scrapbooking.Nur Aziemah Azman regards Pinterest as a clutter-free alternative to scrapbooking.

“There’s no longer a need to print things out, add to the clutter or risk losing them. Visiting Pinterest is like browsing through a mesh of all my favourite magazines for free,” she adds.

Nur Aziemah currently has 12 virtual pinboards to “curate” images with.

“I have one entitled ‘Making a home more homey: A wishlist”, where I collect ideas for my dream home.

“There’s also ‘Café inspirations’, featuring great interiors of restaurants and cafés or random stuff I hope to include when I open up my own café someday!” she enthuses.

“As they say: a picture paints a thousand words. So for me, Pinterest’s collection of images creates a more lasting impression compared to reading lines of text on Facebook or Twitter. It is less a platform to ‘talk’, and more of a way for me to develop my own interests. I like the aspect of discovering new things and learning from other people.”

Nur Aziemah is limited to pinning on the weekends.

“I’d probably be on it a lot more if the site was not blocked in the office!

“Ironicially, Pinterest has been a great source of inspiration for my work. and I feel that it has helped me to visually explain ideas better now,” she says.


To events organiser Hemavathy Suppiah, 30, Pinterest represents “a great patchwork of people and their interests”.

“Other social media sites seem to put an emphasis on the individual and their circle of friends, says the events organiser.

“Pinterest, on the other hand, is like a stream of virtual coffee-table books. It’s all about the aesthetics – how things look,” she adds.

A self-professed Pinterest “addict”, Hemavathy stumbled upon the site just last month, but has since collected over 2,156 pictures across 30 of her boards.

Some members have a massive following on Pinterest, with numbers amounting to over 900,000.

Hemavathy, who is content with the 16 she currently has, assures that the Pinterest appeal isn’t about “collecting” followers.

“I log on to Pinterest every day; sometimes several times a day. I’m always finding something I like, but I try to steer clear of controversial issues – such as sex, religion or politics.

“Basically, I joined Pinterest for myself, so I add pictures that I like looking at.”

For the guys

And the men, too, have joined the pack.

Feature writer Johnathan Sia hopped on the bandwagon at the end of last year.

“At first, I thought it would be a good place to start a virtual record of all the books I have. I like the fact that I can have a visual library of stuff I own – I tend to lose a fair bit of things by loaning them out and forgetting about them later.

“Soon after beginning my book catalogue, I realised it was also a great way to share my writing, especially every time an article of mine gets repinned.

“A few repins later, I was hooked. It also energised me to go back and edit some articles to pair them up with visually arresting images – much like how magazines would do them,” says the 34-year-old, who currently manages 10 pinboards.

“When I read an article that interests me, the ‘Pin It’ button is the first thing I aim for.

“A lot of my colleagues aren’t really sold on it and have felt it places too much emphasis on visuals related to fashion and the arts.

“One of the tricky things about Pinterest is that you need to be a very visual person in order to take advantage of its potential,” Sia opines.

Sia feels that Pinterest allows for an appreciation of third-party visuals in its entirety. But some would argue that the site is opening up a whole can of worms regarding copyright infringement.

The issue was first highlighted in a blog post by photographer and lawyer Kirsten Kowalski, who apparently shut down her account over concerns that Pinterest users could be sued for reposting images they did not own.

Sia, however, has a different take.

“I just don’t feel that anyone’s copyright is infringed through Pinterest. It’s simply a case of re-exposing existing materials to a different audience.

“It’s also a wonderful marketing opportunity for brands,” he adds.

Visual stimulation

Indeed, a survey by behavioural commerce company SteelHouse found that Pinterest users are 79% more likely to purchase items they saw pinned on Pinterest compared Facebook users.

However, critics and Facebook fans see Pinterest as being a visual rather than literary medium and lacks the conversations that build true customer relationships.

Sia is of the opinion that a Pinterest repin carries more value than a Facebook “like”.

“Since its inception, Pinterest has evolved into a social-shopping site that has enough potential to disrupt e-commerce as we know it.

“The prospect of shopping via Pinterest based on the recommendations of people whose opinions I value is pretty attractive,” he says.

Pinterest receives a referral fee or a portion of revenue over Pin-related purchases.

Grasping the opportunity offered by the new social network site, online marketplace Rakuten, dubbed the Amazon of Japan, led a US$100 million (RM313 million) investment in Pinterest earlier this year.

Sia feels that while the various social media strands become increasingly interconnected, each major network remains unique.

“They all serve different purposes and operate in different areas of the social media ecosystem. If I were to summarise them, I’d say: Facebook is a place to broadcast highlights of your life; Twitter is a place for general day-to-day musings; Instagram is your visual diary of the world around you; and Tumblr is a quick blogging option that caters for expressing yourself in the visual or written form.”

As for Pinterest, one would think that it speaks to the hoarders within us all – visually-stimulated individuals who are on an eternal quest to express ourselves through the things we own.

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On writing: One simple check for clearer messages

Over my time in the UK, I’ve been constantly surprised at how things like word order within a sentence don’t receive enough attention.

For example, this line –
There should be a couple of videos floating around of me singing.

would read totally differently if the words, “floating around” was shifted towards the end of the sentence: There should be a couple of videos of me singing floating around.

The first means videos of this are available from several sources:


While the second can mean a couple of videos of this: 

floating singer1

The lesson here?
Pay attention to what goes at the end of the sentence because more often than not, that’s what’s going to define the message:
[There should be] [a couple of videos] [floating around] [of me singing]

Try to think of a sentence as having several sections and you’ll be able to better see how they interact.

While both are largely correct, the second adds ambiguity – and when every second of attention is precious it’s an unnecessary, unwelcome complication.