Kristian Widjaja’s Blog

03 May, 2009

Palm Pre: iPhone Killer?

Posted by: Kristian In: Gadgets|Technology

This is Palm’s latest phone. Could it be an “iPhone Killer” as mentioned in the video? Even though the Palm Pre seems to have many technical feats, the iPhone has gained large momentum in its number of apps, and many happy followers.


30 Apr, 2009

Posted by: Kristian In: Do-It-Yourself|Leadership
Wow! My wife just launched her own blog: She really is into bags, and now she found a way to share her passion with the world!

I am quite impressed with her drive and initiative to make this happen. Please check it out!


29 Apr, 2009

“Green” Grass?

Posted by: Kristian In: Uncategorized

Do you have a lawn in your garden? How many of you have spent a lot of time mowing your lawns, or paid a gardener to do it for you? How much effort have you spent in fertilizing the grass, and watering it every day, such that it would continue to look green?

I used to do all that, until I realized that it cost a lot of time, money, and effort just to keep your lawn looking decent. That’s when I started to look for artificial grass. I evaluated several manufacturers ranging from the pricier Heavenly Greens and Fieldturf, to the more affordable Pregra, which is available at I ended up getting Pregra, and had it installed by a local gardener.

I must say that I am very pleased with the results. Gone are the days of mowing and watering the lawn. My water bill was cut down in half, and my lawn always looks luscious green! You tell me which one you think is greener? Real grass or artificial grass?

Here are the various stages of development:

Preparing the soil and wall foundation.

Preparing the soil and wall foundation.

Defining the contour of the lawn, and building up the wall.

Defining the contour of the lawn, and building up the wall.

Laying the foundation of crushed rock.

Laying the foundation of crushed rock.

Finished artifical grass lawn

Finished artifical grass lawn


wtr_couple-stairsFor those of you who are married, how is your marriage doing? Is it still fresh, new, and exciting? Are you busy in your daily routines? Have you grown distant? Or do you hate each other?

Whichever situation your marriage is in, I would highly recommend attending a Weekend to Remember conference by FamilyLife. I have attended this conference twice, and I think it sets a great foundation for your marriage.

I happen to have some heavily discounted (transferable) coupons for a Weekend to Remember  conference.

Normally, the registration fee for such conference is $129 per person. With my coupon, it is only $39 per person, that is a 70% discount!

The next conference is this weekend (5/1 – 5/3) in Santa Clara. Please let me know if you want to use this coupon, and I’ll send it to you for free. You can also use the coupon for any other location in the US. Check out the Weekend to Remember website  for other dates and locations.


24 Apr, 2009

MealCare: Meals for new Parents

Posted by: Kristian In: Christianity|Service

2 person mealHaving a baby is a joyful but also challenging event. Things that we take for granted, like a good meal, could become an extra burden for new parents. I am running a ministry at my church, Great Exchange Covenant Church in Fremont, called GrX Mealcare. GrX Mealcare helps new parents by providing meals within the first few months of their baby’s birth.

This month in particular, we are experiencing a higher than usual birth rate. 3 babies were born this past month alone. I’ve been busy recruiting volunteers and scheduling them in to bring meals at regular intervals. With this ministry, I hope to achieve the following:

  • Immediate relief and support for new parents by providing meals.
  • Building relationships by connecting volunteers with new parents.

23 Apr, 2009

Bring your Kids 2 Work Day at eBay

Posted by: Kristian In: Family

Today, I am bringing my kids to work! eBay has an annual tradition for parents to bring their kids to work. This gives a good opportunity for kids to connect with their parents and get familiar with eBay, PayPal, and Skype.


Joshua’s favorite part are the informational sessions about eBay, PayPal, and Skype.


This day also allows Yuli to have a nice day off :)


22 Apr, 2009

Using Google Mail for your domain

Posted by: Kristian In: Technology

So you registered a domain, and you have started a website. How can you easily use e-mail with your new domain name?

The answer is simple: Use the powerful interface of Google Mail for your domain. E.G.

By using the Google Messaging app and updating your domain’s MX records, you can achieve this. See these detailed instructions on how to do this.


22 Apr, 2009

Toastmasters Contest

Posted by: Kristian In: Leadership|Public Speaking

Toastmasters Logo

I am the President of eBay’s Hot Buttered Toastmasters club, where I won the club level contest. I then went on to the area level contest at Cisco, which I won as well. This evening, I will be participating at a Division level Table Topics contest from Toastmasters, which will be held right here at eBay.

The Table Topics contest is a contest where you are given a random topic to speak about for 1 to 2 minutes.

Wish me luck!


21 Apr, 2009

Servant Leadership by Jean Tabaka

Posted by: Kristian In: Christianity|Leadership

Today I attended a presentation at eBay by Jean Tabaka about Servant Leadership, popularized by Robert Greenleaf.

There are 10 characteristics of a servant leader:

  1. Goal Setting – aim for a larger and greater purpose
  2. Principle of Systematic Neglect – highly focused prioritization
  3. Listening – hone your skill to invite insights through questions.
  4. Language as a Leadership strategy – words count when listening and evangelizing.
  5. Values – be responsible for building, not destroying team sense of values.
  6. Personal Growth – educate yourself on work and on your personal path of growth.
  7. Withdrawal – knowing when to let go, trust the instincts of the team.
  8. Tolerance of Imperfection – rely on team’s guidance for what is best.
  9. Being Your Own Person – be true to yourself
  10. Acceptance and Empathy – receiving what is offered with approbation, never rejecting. (Instill a sense of love in your organization)

I am stilll processing these to see if they are relevant to me, and how I would apply these to my work / life.

What I did observe was that the presentation had many Spiritual undertones. It reminded me of the ultimate example of servant leadership in Jesus Christ. The passage that comes to mind is John 13:4-14 where Jesus showed servant leadership by washing his disciples’ feet.


21 Apr, 2009

Shazam: Identifying music on your iPhone!

Posted by: Kristian In: Gadgets

Have you ever listened to a song on the radio, liked it, but didn’t know what song that was, or who performed it?

The same thing happened to my friend April who shared on Facebook that she heard a song on the radio which she liked. She used Shazam on her iPhone to record a sound clip, and it was able to identify that song: “Infinity” by “Guru Josh”, a song from the 1990′s! Amazing!

I wished I had this app when I was still DJ-ing for the Stanford Ballroom Dance Club. It would have saved me some research.

If I ever get an iPhone, I’ll be sure to install this app.

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23 Mar, 2009

The 2010 Honda Insight: A Toyota Prius copycat?

Posted by: Kristian In: Cars

I have a 2007 Toyota Prius and I love it! Not only do I get 46 mpg on average, but I also get to drive it on the carpool lane, by myself!

I also pay attention to the competition between Honda and Toyota. Remember how Honda used to call the Toyota Prius shaped like a “Cheese Wedge”? See this Honda commercial from September 2007:

“The Honda Civic Hybrid: All the gas mileage, all the style, none of the hype.”

Fast forward a year and a half. Honda announces the new 2010 Honda Insight, and it looks very similar to a … Toyota Prius. Looks like the “Cheese Wedge” shape is not so bad after all!

2009 Prius and 2010 Insight

Left: 2009 Toyota Prius. Right: 2010 Honda Insight. Image from

2010 Insight vs Prius

Top: 2010 Toyota Prius. Bottom: 2010 Honda Insight. Image from


Apparently, my 2004 Sienna JBL Amp was not 100% compatible with the Tundra’s E7006. Once again, eBay saved the day. To handle voice navigation, I discovered that I needed a 86280-OW420 JBL amplifier. I bought this amp on eBay, swapped out my old amp with this new one and it works beautifully. So now I have a Tundra Nav unit with a JBL amp from some other Toyota working nicely in my Sienna.

Here are the steps I took to swap these out.

Toyota Sienna Glove compartment
1. I found the location of the amp behind the glove compartment.

Toyota Sienna amp front
2. After I carefully removed the glove compartment, I could see the amp.

Toyota Sienna amp from bottom
3. The amp connectors are oriented towards the bottom. I disconnected the connectors from the amp. It was very tight in there and I needed need to cut some of the tie binders to allow some more flexibility, after which I could remove the amp.

The 2 amps in their brackets
4. After I took out the amp, I laid them side-by-side. They look identical except for their brackets.

Amps part numbers.
Amps disassembled.

5. Once I put the 86280-OW420 in, I had to pull a wire for the voice navigation:

Toyota E7006 pins for voice navigation.
6. Connect Pin 11 and Pin 13 respectively to …

Toyota amp 86280-OW420 voice navigation pins
7. Pins 23 and 22 on the 86280-OW420 amp.

I put everything together, and voice navigation works!


I bought my 2004 Toyota Sienna as an almost fully loaded XLE Limited edition. The main thing that was missing was an in-dash navigation system. Since I really value having an in-dash navigation system as opposed to a portable navigation unit (which is more prone to theft), I decided to retrofit a stock Toyota navigation unit into my Toyota Sienna

Typically, you can install an E7001 from a Toyota Solara into a Toyota Sienna. However, I found an E7006 from a Toyota Tundra on eBay, and I was wondering whether it would work as well.

After some research on, I learned that the E7006 is the same unit used on a 2005 Sienna with a JBL digital amplifier.

I went ahead and bought the E7006 taken from a 2005 Tundra on eBay. The part number is 86120-0C160 / DW468100 – 0170. Although the part number of this E7006 is different from an E7006 used in the Solara, I was able to install it and everything worked fine except for the voice navigation.

Here are some pictures:

The E7006 taken from a Toyota Tundra
The E7006 taken from a Toyota Tundra

Toyota E7006 rear connectors
The rear connectors look identical as the ones on the Solara Nav Unit. I have connected the VSS signal and the brake signal into E5 pin 17 and E8 pin 17 respectively (on the Engine Control Module).

E7006 part number
The Toyota part number.

Removing the original Toyota Sienna 2004 CD changer
Removing the original stereo.

Toyota E7006 plugged into 2004 Toyota Sienna
Plugging in the Tundra E7006.

Toyota E7006 at night
Unit shown at night. Button lights are green and match the Sienna’s.

Toyota E7006 during the day
Unit shown during the day.



My name is Kristian Widjaja and I am married to my beautiful wife, Yuliany Widjaja. We have two kids who keep us busy at all times!

I have started this blog, primarily to jot down random thoughts that I have, as well as to document some interesting projects that I have done around the home.