Review: The Picture Company @ One Utama

Due to the ranting nature of this post, reader discretion is advised. Some language may be offensive.

We found The Picture Company in One Utama some time ago and decided to try it out. We were out of time and unable to look for more options. We called the place to make an appointment and asked about the rates. The person at the other line told us since it’s a birthday the session fee is waived – that’s all, no more explanation. Not really exciting, but okay. Free stuff usually comes with strings attached.

When arrived, we were brought directly inside the studio for a 40-minutes session. The photographer doesn’t speak Malay but weird English. The studio is basic with thick white paper background and two soft boxes as lighting source. I personally was too busy trying to make our son laugh to look at the camera model but it was a Canon.

After the session the photographer took 30 minutes to select and crop the photos. It was when the photos are ready we learned that we have to select and purchase the photos we like for RM68 each, 8R size.

We were too excited to ask for the package details. There is a concept of pay only what you want (no package). The question is only why didn’t they explain to us the rates for the printouts.

They told us that they make money by printing, that’s why the RM150 photography session was free. The only soft copies they will give us are small “email size” – and the photographer even told us we shouldn’t print those as they will come out pixelated on paper. They also told us that they have copyright on those photos.

For RM68 per piece, I would expect we get the high resolution soft copies (at least for the ones we ordered for print) so that we can do anything with them (i.e. nice computer wallpapers, canvas prints). It’s not like we’ll order more prints afterwards anyway, and their retention period is only 3 weeks for non members. They don’t have canvas printing yet, and when available next year it’s gonna cost a fortune. This means, in order for us to get canvas prints we need to become member to make sure they will keep our files for a year. They are that greedy, yes. Heck, if they ask us to pay for the soft copies I would gladly pay.

So this is what I would call perniagaan yang hina dan keji. It’s despicable and dishonorable not to explain to customers beforehand, and it’s obvious that after spending a family session we would love the photos and will pay for them in the end. It’s a smart and dirty trick taking advantage of excited parents.

We ended up paying RM68 (each!) for all the photos we shortlisted (more than 10). It’s going to be ready in a week, I hope they will be high quality prints or I will definitely make a scene. Since they talked about copyright, if they make a mistake by using our photos commercially they will hear from our lawyer as we didn’t sign any model release or any agreement for that matter.

For RM68 each the photos are only bare printouts, inside a huge envelope. The colors are too soft, and the printouts are not sharp. It’s not worth the money.

If it wasn’t such a special day (and since we have spent precious time) I would have paid the RM150 session fee, and told Jo to delete the photos off the Mac and shove the CF card up her ass.

Next time we would consider going to those photographers who specializes in family photos. 90% of them provide soft copies and also photobooks.

I know, we are difficult customers. There will always be difficult customers like us. We’re hard to please, and we don’t take things lightly. Malaysian customers are too kind to businesses so they give crappy service and taking things for granted. Not us.

On a separate note, Cupcake Chic @ The Curve is nice. People are friendly and helpful, the cakes are nice. Highly recommended. They are too small to talk about much, but they are good in what they do – that deserves a good word.

DD-WRT as Wireless Client

There is something very wrong with the wireless module on the DELL Precision M4300 I am currently using – after a while files begin to get corrupted and Windows will fail to write the event log. I have just had the motherboard changed by DELL last Monday. In the office I did not have any problem for the whole week since I was using a wired connection. At home, I mainly use wireless because my access point is in the family hall.

Bummer! I can’t be wired at home, it’s simply not practical and I have no suitable surface to work on near the access point. It’s a Huawei E960, property of Maxis. It’s a HSDPA modem so where I place it is very important.

I have an antique Linksys WRT54G v2.2 with DD-WRT v24 on it so I decided to convert it to a wireless client. It acts as a wireless client to the main wireless router, and provides LAN connection via the wired ports. Perfect for a busted wireless module.

Steps on the WRT54G:

  1. Do a hard reset
  2. Connect to the router via wired port
  3. Open the Wireless » Basic Settings tab
    • Wireless Mode: Client Bridge
    • Wireless Network Mode: Match Primary Router
    • Wireless Network Name(SSID): Match Primary Router
    • Wireless Channel: Match Primary Router
    • Wireless SSID Broadcast: Enable
    • Network Configuration: Bridged
    • Save Settings
  4. Open the Wireless » Wireless Security tab
    • Set Encryption to match the primary router. I use WPA2 with TKIP+AES and it works fine.
    • Enter encryption key to match the Primary router
    • Save Settings
  5. Open the Setup » Basic Setup tab
    • Connection Type will show: Disabled
    • Set STP to Disabled
    • IP Address: 192.168.1.2 (Primary Router IP is 192.168.1.1)
    • Mask: Match Primary Router (mine is 255.255.255.248)
    • Gateway: 192.168.1.1 (Primary Router IP is 192.168.1.1)
    • DHCP Server: Disable
    • Save Settings
  6. Open the Setup » Advanced Routing tab
    • Change Type to: Router
    • Save Settings
  7. Open the Security » Firewall tab
    • Uncheck all boxes except “Filter Multicast” in “Block WAN Requests”
    • Disable SPI firewall
    • Save Settings
  8. Open the Administration tab
    • APPLY Settings
    • Click “Reboot” button

On the primary router I only had to add the MAC Address of the WRT54G to it so that it allows connection (I have MAC filtering enabled). To look for the MAC address I simply use the Administration » Commands tab to run ifconfig (or of course via SSH). I am not sure on how other hardware would work but I use my eth1 address.

This is good enough for now, although I am hoping that the notebook gets fixed. I am not going to pack the WRT54G along to Starbucks or any cafe just to get wireless connection.