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Life's Simple Pleasures

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Diesel Fuel

What to watch out for when owning a diesel car – Fuel types

The number enemy which many diesel owners are facing right now are the plantation owners, in particularly the oil palm industry. Why are they an enemy? Because due to poor planning and also an economic turmoil, the prices of palm oil has been declining.

Prices of crude palm oil over 5 years

Prices of crude palm oil over 5 years

Because of this, Malaysia has a little too much reliance on palm oil and when we do have a stockpile of crude palm oil and low prices, some little smart birdy decides to increase the usage of the crude palm oil by blending it with diesel.

Initially, it started with a 5% blend of  palm biodiesel and 95% of petroleum diesel. That was when you would see the words B5 written at the diesel pumps. Then in 2014, they started with an increased mixture of 7% blend of  palm biodiesel and 93% of petroleum diesel.

Screenshot of the Star Online article

Screenshot of the Star Online article

And now, they are toying with a mixture of 510% blend of  palm biodiesel and 90% of petroleum diesel resulting in the B10 diesel fuel. The problem now arises as some car manufacturers claim that their diesel cars or engines can only take up a 7% blend. On the other hand, some have stated that B10 is fine with their cars.

The one thing which we have to be thankful about is when Singapore decided to impose a ruling that all lorries and trucks entering Singapore from Malaysia had to meet certain emissions standards. This meant requiring lorries who normally pump Euro 2 grade diesel in Malaysia to use the cleaner Euro 5 diesel instead.

Check out here or here to read about European emission standards

Due to the new ruling, BHP and Shell have been steadily rolling out Euro 5 grade diesel at their stations which many diesel users have said made their engines smoother and quieter. I would suggest you save these links into your bookmark as a quick reference guide in order to find out where the nearest Euro 5 station

List of Shell Stations with Euro 5 diesel

List of BHP Stations with Euro 5 diesel

Euro5 Showdown

I have personally tried all of the various diesel fuel types from the different stations and my own personal conclusion after trying it all are:

  • For POWER, the winner goes to Petronas’ Euro 2 diesel. Try swapping from Euro 5 diesel to the Petronas Euro 2 diesel and you will feel the extra “oomph” during acceleration
  • For SMOOTHNESS AND QUIETNESS, I prefer Shell’s Euro 5 diesel

If you are driving up north to Thailand, you get even more options for diesel fuel types such as V-Power Diesel at the Shell stations. Yes, V-Power Diesel! I really wished that we get V-Power Diesel here in Malaysia.

So while we are still using B7 diesel, and the government is still toying with the implementation of B10 diesel, I pray that as consumers we will have a choice of whether to use B7 or B10. The only way to do it is to keep the Euro 5 diesels as B7 whilst Euro 2 can be kept at a B10 blend instead.

Coffee-Training-012

Learning a new skill: Making Coffee

It all started when I was attending a prenatal class at the hospital. The class was almost 4 hours long and I was completely bored to tears. So out comes my iPhone and I started to fidget around. This meant surfing the web and checking my Facebook account.

Next thing I know, I saw an advert on Facebook about Barista training. A quick peek brought me to this page.

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 10.08.07 PM

I dropped a message and the response was extremely quick. After a couple of chats, I was scheduled for a class the very next day!

cafe1

The class was held at this shop located at Taman Tun Dr Ismail. Now mind you all, I am a complete newbie when it comes to coffee and I normally drink Nescafe or the coffee dispensed from machines. I went in with an open mind and decided to learn a new skill.

First few things I learned was to get myself familiarised with the equipment and learning what to actually do with it and what not to touch.

Coffee-Training-001

It was really important because I kept touching places that would potentially be extremely hot.

My first cup of coffee? A long black.

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It was pretty simple because it didn’t really include a lot of things such as milk! Next, the latte.

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To me it gets tougher because it also involves frothing the milk, making sure that while I do it, it produces a “nice” sound and finally, the height and speed at which I am supposed to pour the milk into the coffee. Not to also forget, where I am aiming the milk!

After that, we proceeded to make cappuccinos.

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Mine didn’t turn out that well. Can’t seem to see any patterns on the foam.

My next attempt at hot chocolate as well didn’t really turn up perfect.

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Due to the makeup of just chocolate and water, pouring the milk into the chocolate really shows how shaky my hands were!

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At the end of the lesson, I was quite glad that I learned a couple of skills which include grinding the beans, mixing them into an espresso shot, measuring the milk and frothing it and finally assembling it together into a cup of coffee.

It was a great starter lesson and something I might consider returning to learn more about making other types of coffee.

Learned a couple of great tips as well I can immediately apply in my office.

Lazada Screenshot

Great Customer Service by Lazada

Recently I saw a deal online at Lazada for a tempered glass screen protector for my iPad for RM30. This was due to a tip-off by the good folks at the Lowyat. For such a cheap price, it really couldn’t hurt to just try it out.

So I went online and decided to buy one. The process was fast, searched for an iPad Pro screen protector and managed to find it rather quickly. The item was delivered within the stipulated time (honestly I can’t remember haha!) and I had it delivered to my office.

The delivery was prompt and interesting as I get email and SMS updates of when my items were shipped and delivered. I knew that by the time it arrived, I would be out of the office attending an offsite meeting, so I got a colleague of mine to help me receive it.

Early the next morning, I arrived at my desk and tore open the packaging, the plastic ones which the courier companies use. Those are normally large and comes in standard sizes. When I took out the box in which the glass screen protector was kept it, there was a peculiar bent at one of the edges of the box.

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Yes, the box was bent at an angle. Probably due to it being exposed to certain forces whilst en route to my office. Thinking perhaps the screen protector was sturdy enough, I continued unpacking it and finally, my fears were realised.

Lazada-Return-002

The glass screen protector was shattered. It sort of did its job before starting its actual job.

Well, I was about to write it off at the time but being the newer me (someone I am striving to be), I decided to call their help desk, and by their, I mean Lazada. The helpdesk was extremely helpful. I gave them my order number and they sent me a link in which where I needed to send the images of the damaged item.

After a couple of hours, I received an email with a voucher code of RM30 in order for me to reorder it again.

Not too shabby, love the quick response and I guess because it was a glass protector, I didn’t need to send it back in again to them.

Kudos Lazada!

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The popSLATE 2

popSLATE2-01

When Amazon introduced the Kindle and it’s E-ink reading tablet, the technology hasn’t really caught on in the world of mobile phones where retina displays and companies sought to challenge each other to produce the highest pixel per density (pixels per inch or ppi). Now, previously a little company thought why not bring that technology to the back of the phone to indicate what notifications you may have.

That sounded cool  🙂

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It was crowd funded on IndieGoGo and was launched. The response was expected because there were a number of niggling issue such as the case having a different type of cable port to charge up and there were very few notifications it can use. The device was called popSLATE.

popSLATE2-03

The company hasn’t given up yet and now, they have come up with the next evolution of the popSLATE. It’s called the popSLATE 2. Duh!

This time it promises a lot more and has improved on all the previous issues that they had initially such as opting for the lightning cable adapter as well as integrating an additional battery into the case!

Again they have decided to crowdfund it again on IndieGoGo and at this time of writing, the campaign has garnered close to USD$500,000. At USD$79 (+USD$20 for international shipping) you get a single case and at USD$149 (+USD$30 for international shipping), you get a pack of two cases. They target July 2016 as their delivery date.

This new evolution of theirs has serious amounts of feature. Definitely something you might want to back, especially if you just purchased an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6+s.

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App Review: DUET

What is a duet? Wikipedia states that “A duet is a musical composition for two performers in which the performers have equal importance to the piece“. In this context, let’s look at it from a technical point. In a nutshell, Duet is what Ex-Apple Engineers have created to turn your iPad into an extra display for both the Mac and PC.

Now thanks to a new spanking office design and open concept, we don’t have any monitors to pair our laptops with. Once I heard about this software called Duet, I jumped at the opportunity to use it with my Mac.

DUET_Review-002

As pictured above, I have paired my iPad Air together with my Macbook Pro Retina Display. Now the software works flawlessly and the movement is smooth thanks to the lightning cable interface. I would assume that if I had an iPad Pro, I would appreciate the extra real estate display.

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Macbook Pro Retina 13″ running DUET on an iPad Pro

And thanks to that wishful thinking, I tried out DUET on the iPad Pro was so much better as it had better specs and performance as well as the screen’s real estate came in handy. In some cases where I played a YouTube video on the external screen, volume would come from your laptop even though the iPad had it’s own built in speakers.

One thing I really like is the ability to use the touch screen interface on the iPad screen. Yes! You can easily use your finger to launch items or access certain programs on your external screen, something you can’t do with an external monitor.

Duet with PC

Screenshot of the iPad working with a Dell PC using DUET

Another thing to add, DUET works with the PC as well. So if you have a PC at work and you have your own personal iPad, you still can utilise DUET.

One year ago they released the following trailer.

Now they continue to push their own boundaries to improve on the connectivity and the smoothness between devices.

Overall, I think it is a nifty thing to have and it is always good to have an external screen to make you a little more productive. You don’t need any new hardware, just an iPad and a lightning cable, pay for the app and you can start being more productive.

Download Duet here.

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