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Life's Simple Pleasures

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FLIP Duo Official

FLIP Review: The British Plug Reinvented

The last time one of the projects I funded on Kickstarter arrived was a year ago, and that was the Myo. In truth, it has been sitting on my office desk for a while now and I rarely use it. Another project which I funded last year has finally arrived as well. It is the Flip Duo and Flip Quad by the guys from One Adaptr.

FLIP_Review-001

What does it do?

What it basically is, is a USB charging adapter which plugs into the socket. The duo has 2 USB ports whilst the quad has 4 USB ports. What made it unique is the way how it is folded when it isn’t in use, making the adapter quite slimming.

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Flip Duo (L), Flip Quad (R)

Thanks to it’s Kickstarter campaign, it comes with a set of stickers which you can don on the adapter to make it stand out a little more.

In Conclusion

Essentially, with a 4-port USB adapter now in my bag, I can remove my other USB adapters especially the Apple ones which are quite bulky. I like funding these type of tech campaigns on Kickstarter and I am overall quite satisfied with the quality of the product. What I liked about the campaign was that even though there were delays, the campaign creators constantly kept us updated with updates such as the manufacturing in China as well as where there were some delays due to production fault.

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Flip Quad

Other Products by One Adaptr

Another interesting products from the guys at One Adaptr is the “Stack“.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 7.24.19 PM

Stack is a fully extensible power strip with multiple modules for you to customise. Modules such as the standard AC power socket, surge protector modules, satellite surge protection and even USB power charging. Unfortunately, it is only available for US plugs at this point in time.

If you want to purchase a FLIP DUO or a FLIP QUAD, click here.

Check out the gallery below.

 

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ThinCharge: World’s Thinnest Battery Phone Case Review

The one thing plaguing iPhone users is the constant hunt for more power. Now if you are working at a desk relatively most of your time, you would probably have a charger already permanently plugged in there and you have the flexibility to quickly charge up your phone whenever you need more juice. For those of you who are constantly on the go, that might be a problem.

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Initial Thoughts

Recently I had the pleasure to test out a battery case for the iPhone 6 (it fits the latest iPhone 6s as well) and when I received the unit from the good folks over at ChargeTech, I was pleasantly surprised because they had sent over the ThinCharge battery case! The case felt exactly what a normal iPhone case would be, in terms of size. The added benefit is that it also functions as battery case. In terms of looks, it is definitely sleeker and nicer compared to Apple’s hideous looking battery case.

Apple Battery Case

The hunchback of the battery case world

The case was very nice to grip and it had a non-slip coating (a soft satin finish) around it so it felt extremely comfortable to hold, firmly and feel confident that it won’t slide out of your hands. Another point to note that it covers the phone around which protects the phone from drops as well.

Features of the ThinCharge

All of your standard ports are available as well as buttons but the one thing you would notice is that hole in which where the lightning port would be located is missing. As with all standard battery cases, the case itself plugs into the lightning port in order to charge the phone. I had no issues plugging in several earphones my colleagues use into the 3.5mm jack.

The one key issue that most battery cases have during the course of my personal use was that it required a different set of charging cable to charge the case. My old case resorted to a USB type port which rendered the many lightning cables I have purchased useless. The only way I had to work around it was to take my phone out of the case and charge the case separately. Talk about it being extremely inconvenient.

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The lightning port is located at the top of the case

With the ThinCharge case, it uses the existing lightning cable port. This is totally the right thing to do especially when it comes to being customer centric. In terms of case fitting, the phone slides in perfectly into the case. I didn’t have to force anything at all so that was a plus point. Now, it gets tricky if you use a tempered glass screen protector which covers the entire face of your phone, edge-to-edge, or you are using an invisible plastic coating to protect your iPhone, you might have issues fitting your phone into the case. This includes phones that have been bedazzled with little jewelry might have a little bit of trouble fitting into the case.

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The case keeps things simple as well. To charge your phone, simply press one of the buttons (the one also used to control the volume buttons) and hold it for a couple of seconds. This will enable the case to know that you are turning it on and it will immediately charge your phone.

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You won’t forget the instructions because it is printed on the case itself!

In terms of usability, as my line of work requires me to travel between locations for meetings and discussions, that sort of schedule had made me reliant on the battery power of my devices. The first device to run out of juice would be my phone due to the fact that I turn on Waze whilst driving, chatting constantly on the multitude of social apps available and of course, check my email and calendar. This made me constantly on the look out for an extra power socket to charge my phone.

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With the ThinCharge case, what I did was removed my AC wall charger and an external power bank from my bag which made it significantly lighter. Helps a lot, in the long run, especially on my shoulders.

What I Like

  1. Sleek design and extremely slim
  2. Soft satin finish
  3. Protects the phone
  4. Gives my phone another full charge
  5. Worked flawlessly
  6. Uses a lightning cable to charge!

What I Don’t Like

  1. Not easily available in retail stores in Malaysia
  2. Slightly high price for the average Malaysian
  3. Will interfere with some tempered glass protectors

Conclusions

Overall, I am extremely pleased with the case. It is sleek, it has a nice feel and grip to it, it protects my phone and it is extremely practical because let’s face it, everyone complains that they don’t have enough power to last the entire day. You can head over to ChargeTech to pick one up for USD$85 (currently on offer at the time of writing this post). Standard price for this case is USD$130. After the current conversion rate, the price is around RM340 (offer price) which is a little steep for local standards but you definitely get more than what you pay for. Do note that the battery case has been used for more than a week so it has been tested extensively.

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Matthew, I am Your Father

Excuse the pun but I was half expecting baby Matthew to be born on 4th of May and was also half expecting to give him the nickname “Chewie”, short for Chewbacca. But instead, on a bright labour day Sunday, baby Matthew was born a healthy 2.96kg baby.

BabyMatthew-001

I guess the feeling is surreal but I have to thank my wife, mother in law, mum and dad as well as other family members and friends for the constant support, advice and guidance in my new journey in life as a dad!

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.

I hate biodiesel

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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A simple black coffee

It was pretty simple because it didn’t really include a lot of things such as milk!

Making a Latte

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The teacher schooling me in the art of pouring milk…

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!

Cappuccinos and the difference

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My crappy attempt at making a cappucinno

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.

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