My new Toshiba Pro Theatre Full HD Smart TV powered by Android

4KTV unboxing

I have been using a review unit of the Toshiba Pro Theatre L54 series with a 40” screen for more than a week!

4KTV setup

It’s very easy to set-up using the provided remote (which has a trackball in the middle).

typing 4ktv

Typing is easily done by an on-screen keyboard too (you can also purchase an external keyboard) – this is me setting up the Android system, signing into my Google account and most importantly, linking it to my high speed TIME Home Fibre 30 Mbps connection to view YouTube videos in Full HD resolution!

4KTV WiFi

The set-up process for the Toshiba Pro Theatre 40L54 is so easy it can be done in less than 5 minutes – all you really need is a WiFi connection.

Smart TV Apps

Smart TVs are getting more and more prevalent in the market. No longer can the television set be accurately called an “idiot box” – it’s a lot smarter than humans nowadays!

Toshiba Smart TV

Toshiba is leading the charge with its range of high end large screen Smart TVs powered by Android. The high range Pro Theatre L9450 Series ranges in size from a whopping 84” to 64” and 50” – it’s a UltraHD 4K Immersive Unlimited with more natural color and texture, richer contrast and higher brightness enhanced by Toshiba’s High-brightness panel, wide color gamut panel, revolutionary UltraHD 4K technology and CEVO 4K image processing engine.

UHD Android TV

The narrow bezel makes it perfect for maximum screen real estate – you can really get an immersive viewing experience. It also fits into a relatively thin space – whether it’s your living room or bedroom. There’s Audio Source Filtering, Intelligent Scene Optimizer and Intelligent Auto View to get the most out of anything you’re watching.

4KTV USB

The USB Movie supports 28 different video formats too!

4KTV football

Plus, there’s a Football Mode for fans of the beautiful game out there. The FIFA World Cup 2014 was broadcast in 4K for the first time and I highly regret not having a UltraHD 4K LED TV to watch it for the best experience.

Alchemy 4K

There are people who’re still wary about the availability of 4K content. I’ll tell you right now that there’s a wealth of 4K content out there right now – you just have to know where to look. Netflix is broadcasting in 4K for some of their series like Breaking Bad and you can easily get access to that (they accept Malaysian credit cards) if you use a VPN.

4KTV viewing

I have a 30 Mbps fibre connection at home with no ridiculous restrictions, and with that kind of broadband you can comfortably watch streaming content (it just needs half the speed) on Netflix or Hulu Plus. Just hook up a Xbox One, do a little bit of configuring on your router and you’re good to go. I actually have Netflix at home right now and I’m paying less than what I’ll pay for a local satellite TV provider *and* I get Full HD content to boot!

tv google play

You can do everything you want on the Toshiba Full HD TVs powered by Android too – even run Microsoft Office documents with the popular Android app OfficeSuite 7 and do your Excel spreadsheets! Facebook, Picassa, Twitter, and all Android apps from the Google Play store are available. That means you can play games on your large screen Full HD TV too!

4k apps

Imagine playing the latest Android games like Monument Valley, The Walking Dead, Final Fantasy VI, and Angry Birds: Epic on your large screen Full HD TV! I’m an avid gamer and man, the games look *awesome* – especially Unreal Engine powered titles which can scale up.

4k gaming

Look at the awesome quality! I can’t wait to play Forza Motorsport 5 and Watch Dogs on this high resolution TV!

4k games

Besides playing games, you can also view photos which you take on your camera in the full resolution that it’s meant to be viewed. Do you have a camera that’s above 8.3 megapixels?

4KTV pictures

8.3 MP cameras shoots in 3840 x 2160 and if you’re viewing that using a Full HD 1080p TV, you won’t be able to see the photo as it’s meant to be seen.

4k google

The best part about having a smart TV is that you can multi-task and surf the net using your Android powered TV!

4k sixthseal

I also used my Toshiba Pro Theatre 40L54 to reply comments on my blog. :)

4k cnn

There’s really something for everyone, I found it useful to browse CNN while watching CNN! There’s often updated content on the website that didn’t make it to the broadcast and this is the future of “smart TVs” powered by Android.

4k bookmarks

There’s even the usual suspects provided in the Bookmarks centre – everything from Picasa photos to Twitter.

8MP Photo

You already have the tools necessary to shoot 4K resolution photos. The high end Toshiba Pro Theatre L54 Series Full HD with Android LED TV can support your current camera/smartphone (which is likely higher than 8.3 MP) and show your photos on the large screen in its native resolution.

4KTV YouTube

It’s an exciting time in the Smart TV market and UltraHD 4K resolution is coming – with Toshiba’s UltraHD 4K Android powered TV, you can also watch YouTube in 4K which a lot of content creators are already streaming in. It’s 4 times sharper than FullHD and with the third-generation CEVO 4K Engine you can retain stunning picture quality, regardless of screen size!

4k video

Look, now I can watch all my Youtube videos in Full HD! I wish I can keep this, it’s so amazing you have to see it to believe it!

Toshiba’s Smart Technology, Smart Future UltraHD 4K TV with Android convention in Genting

Toshiba Model

I was excited to attend Toshiba’s Smart Technology, Smart Future convention in Genting. It was a 1 hour bus trip to the highlands but I’ve always loved events there due to the cool weather. Their high end Pro Theatre L9540 Series UltraHD 4K with Android LED TV is something I’ve been looking forward to see with my own eyes.

Toshiba Convention Genting

Thus, I was rather impressed by the way they transformed GICC (Genting International Convention Center) into a HUGE stage featuring their best *and* an enormous side hall reserved for Toshiba’s newest products – everything from washing machines to the latest multi-door refrigerators!

Toshiba girls

The best thing about the gigantic hall with Toshiba’s new series was that it’s interactive – we could not just watch the presentations of the various electric appliances, we could actually touch and (in some cases) eat the final product. It was the best tour I’ve ever had!

toshiba smart technology smart future

The event started off with Mr. Hitoshi Katayama, the Managing Director of Toshiba Sales & Services Sdn Bhd officially launching the Toshiba Pro Theatre L9540 Series UltraHD 4K with Android LED TV.

We were seated at different tables and I got to ask a couple of questions when the Q&A session came up.

me questions

My question was about the Toshiba’s new UHD 4K TV which is also powered by Android…

Toshiba panel

…and it was answered superbly by the panel.

Mel headset

Our table was outfitted with a radio and led into the convention hall. The radios are necessary for the best experience – we could hear the presenters through the headphones while the entire hall remained silent.

Mandy

Mandy was leading our group through the various stations and I’ll show you some of the more interesting ones.

latest washing machine

This is the new Magic Drum S-DD Inverter 16 kg washing machine by Toshiba. I actually went up and wrote my name and “sixthseal.com” on the drum.

me magic drum

It shows the Magic Drum technology used by Toshiba and what regular washing machines use.

magic drum

It really makes a huge difference – the coating on the Magic Drum allows dirt and other stuff that tends to be stuck to the side of your washing machine drum to be washed off easily.

dual tornado

I was quite impressed with the new Torneo vacuum cleaner with Dual Tornado System as well!

Toshiba first vacuum cleaner

It has such a high suction power and the Futon Brush is so amazing that it can deal with hard-to-vacuum things like lentils, beans and cotton pieces with ease. It can also suck up bed bugs and mites, which causes a lot of sinus problems for a lot of people. Best of all, it only weighs 2.7 kg!

glass fridge

Toshiba also had a new and stylish premium fridge out which really impressed me. I wanted it so badly! I have no idea how much it costs – the price hasn’t been released, but I aim to save up for it!

fridge compartments

It’s their premium Multi-Door G-Series INVERTER Refrigerator – the front of the fridge is glass and it’s operated by touch!

touch fridge

The inside of the fridge is divided into several compartments, where the temperature is optimal for storing vegetables, fruits, meat, drinks etc. The G-Series Twin Cooling System and PICOION technology makes your food last longer too.

ice maker

There’s also an automatic ice-maker!

latest fridge

The freezer compartment is at the very bottom. This is definitely a fridge to lust for – I couldn’t stop imagining it in my condo. The technology is great and it looks beautiful too.

Toshiba L Series

However, the best of the show went to the Toshiba Pro Theatre L9450 Series UltraHD 4K TVs powered by Android. 4K resolution is the next step in TV evolution – the Toshiba UltraHD 4K TVs are also Android powered, which means it’s not just a TV, it’s a “smart TV”.

Android TV

In fact, there’s no difference between the Android powered Toshiba UltraHD 4K TVs and a powerful Android powered netbook/smartphone/tablet device, except that the screen is HUGE when compared to other Android devices.

Android games running on TV

You can do everything you want on the Toshiba UltraHD 4K TVs powered by Android too – Facebook, Picassa, Twitter, and all Android apps from the Google Play store are available. That means you can play games on your large screen 4K TV too!

me 4KTV

Also, if you can’t wait for future content to come out in 4K (a lot of current movies and TV shows are already filmed in 4K – it just needs to be remastered to come out in 4K native format) there’s always YouTube! YouTube has 4K videos already uploaded in the site – using Toshiba’s UltraHD 4K TV is the only way you can view it the way it’s meant to be viewed.

4KTV image quality

…and you can always make YOUR own content by taking photos or making videos by shooting in 4K resolution. :)

smart technology smart future

It’s an exciting new world indeed and I’ve been wanting a 4K TV since the standard was announced. I was so impressed by Toshiba’s UltraHD 4K TV powered by Android that I can’t wait to try it out. I do hope I get a chance to test out the TVs – I’m one of the lucky ones to have TIME Home Fibre and I have a stable and super fast 30 Mbps connection.

4ktv with android

Toshiba’s UltraHD 4K TV powered by Android is something you need to see to believe. The pixel density and colors are so amazing that you’ll never look at a Full HD (1080p) TV in the same way again. You’ll want a 4K TV for the crisp image, bright vivid colors, true blacks and ultra high definition – you can’t even spot individual pixels!

4KTV

I’ll be back with a review of Toshiba’s UltraHD 4K TVs powered by Android, but in the meantime, go and check out their offerings at your nearest store! It has to be seen to be believed and it’s really a smart TV for the entire family – you can use a keyboard to Facebook with someone studying in another country, upload your own 4K videos to YouTube and watch the best 4K movies and TV series in Netflix!

The Best Day of My Life

riding bicycles

Greetings everyone! I am back after a short hiatus – major stuff to sort out and everything is peachy now. In fact, I just had one of the best days of my life with my dear and the kids. It was actually quite a simple thing, I wonder why we didn’t do it earlier.

bicycles

We got a bicycle for the little one (second hand, person is moving out of the country) for just RM 40 and the big one got a new (and larger) bike for RM 200. There’s one bicycle at home, which is for adults and one day after work we just took the kids to the park!

happy us

It actually started out with me trying to ride the new bicycle with the little one while the big one is finishing her school. She had a quick dinner after that and we all cycled to the park. The kids kept wanting rides so it was the most exercise I did for to date! I also had to cycle with my dear at the back – we tried it the other way round, but she couldn’t even start cycling coz I was too heavy. smirk

setting sun

I gave so much rides and raced with the big one so much that I felt like puking. It didn’t help that I was still wearing my work clothes so I overheated and was nauseous for a good hour! I had fun though, and so did my dear and the kids. It’s the wholesome family fun that I’ve always wanted to have and I’m glad we did that!

elise dustbin

The funniest thing was watching the little one run with her short legs chasing after her sister. Haha! Too cute. The simple pleasures in life are the best.

It was nice that I could take a lot of awesome photos with just my phone too, which reminds me…

Short mention:

tranfering smartphone data

I’m using my Sony Xperia Z1 [link to my review] now and I’m constantly amazed at the new things that it can do. My previous phone is a Sony Xperia S and I used the Xperia Transfer app to sync everything on my old phone to the new one so it’s up and running.

xperia transfer app

The Xperia Transfer app can be downloaded from Google Play and it works for *all* Android devices. What if you have a Windows or iOS phone? Sony PC Companion and Sony Bridge for Mac (it’s an executable on your new Sony Zperia Z1 smartphone – just connect the microUSB) performs the same function.

how to use xperia transfer

Thus, whatever platform you’re using right now, you can do a direct transfer of your data, contacts, photos etc into your new Sony Xperia Z1 so you’ll be ready to go! :)

Trade-in and get RM 650 cashback!

intel extreme masters

I’ve been watching the Intel Extreme Masters 2013 that was held in Singapore recently. It’s one of the biggest Starcraft 2 (and other electronic sports) tournaments of the year. It got me really interested in playing Starcraft 2 on ladder again but unfortunately, my laptop is too slow to run Heart of the Swarm.

Thus, I have been looking for great deals to get myself a gaming notebook that will run Starcraft 2 so I can play again and I have found it! It’s an awesome deal where you trade-in your old laptop for up to RM 650 cashback! You can choose any of the models below:

trade in

I love the simplicity of this – there are just three HP models for you to choose based on your lifestyle and neeeds. The models available will start from RM 1,349 and the higher end touchscreen model will be yours for RM 1,749 after cashback!

The best thing about this is that they have an Intel Core i5 processor, Windows 8, and an nVIDIA GeForce GT 740M which will allow me to play Starcraft 2, watch all my favorite movies, blog and do video editing! It’s everything I need in a laptop for just RM 1,349 – that’s less than 5 dining-out sessions if you think about it!

iem singapore

The Intel Core i5 processors in the laptops are the new 4th generation chips. That means vastly improved graphics, performance, battery life and security. There’s support for Windows 8 Connected Standby and it’s the biggest improvement to battery life in history, which means that the #1 concern of laptop users is now addressed – you can run your notebook for *a lot longer*!

Also, enhanced security services such as Intel Identity Protection Technology and Intel Anti-Theft Technology, malware detection and vulnerability-resistant BIOS/firmware protection is built in, as multiple safeguards embedded deep into processor hardware. This means you don’t need to worry about using your laptop on public WiFi hotspots. :)

The participating resellers are Thundermatch, SNS and MTCS. After you purchase the three (3) qualifying models – HP Pavilion 14-n060TX (Mineral Black), HP Pavilion 14-n059TX (Silver), HP Pavilion Touchsmart 14-n049TX (Silver) – you just need to login to www.tradeupmypc.com to register for the trade-in program.

how to

Approval will be granted within 3 days and once the claims are approved, you just need to courier your old laptop to the designated recycling center. Once the technician at the recycling center to checks your old laptop and approves the trade-in value, the money will be deposited right into your back account directly so there’s no need for you to run around. The trade-in mechanics makes it very easy and simple for you!

vespa

Plus, you also get the chance to win a Vespa worth RM 12,000 when you purchase the three models listed above! That’ll be the icing on the cake, along with the RM 650 trade-in cashback! You can get more information about the Vespa contest at the Intel Vespa contest website. The Vespa contest ends 31st December 2013. Remember to get to form from the participating resellers or email gentoday@in2ideas.com for more information.

rm650

The trade-in program runs till 31st January 2013. Surf on over to www.tradeupmypc.com to get more information and the list of participating retailers for this awesome RM 650 cashback!

Sony Xperia Z1™ waterproof review

sony xperia z1 waterproof

You might have heard about this new wonder device. It’s not just a phone, but a high quality digital camera! It has everything except the kitchen sink…which leads us to the next point. Xperia™ Z1 is not just water resistant, it’s waterproof! To illustrate that point, I have submerged it in 6 inches of running water in my (you guessed it) kitchen sink.

xperia z1 waterproof

It still works perfectly and I have sent a joke text to my better half asking her where my phone is. Haha! It’s actually waterproof up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. This is achieved by flaps covering the microSIM, microUSB port, microSD card slot. In a smart move by Sony, the headphones jack in the Z1 doesn’t have a flap you need to keep closed. It’s rated at IP 55 and IP58 which means it’s not just waterproof, it’s also dust resistant!

sony xperia z1

Yup, this beautiful smartphone has been called “an almost perfect balance of form and function” by Forbes Magazine. The Xperia Z1 has it all:

20.7 MP camera with BIONZ™ for mobile

xperia z1 camera

The Xperia Z1 is powered by a large 1/2.3” 20.7 MP Exmor RS™ mobile image sensor, Sony’s award winning G Lens (the same kind you’ll find in their conventional compact digicams) and their tried-and-true BIONZ™ for mobile image processing engine.

I bought the Sony Xperia S when it first came out and one of the things I noticed is that the night mode takes a huge toll on the processor, which causes the screen to lag. This doesn’t happen anymore – the Xperia Z1 has its own dedicated processor!

The Xperia Z1 takes awesome photos, and handles the tricky light-and-dark situations well with the HDR mode. It also has four major Social Camera Applications to deliver new experiences and there’s a widget which allows you to put that right on the screen by default.

info eye

Info-Eye™
This is a “visual search” feature that provides related information on landmarks and other items such as books, wine or even groceries simply by capturing them with the camera. It’s like Google and Wikipedia combined, except you don’t type in your search string but take a photo instead!

info eye search results
Info Eye search results using bar code…

info eye search
…and the Image results! It works perfectly!

Social Live
This broadcasts the shots that you take to Facebook and the best thing about it is that you’ll get your friend’s comments right on your camera screen! This is the best in-house app I’ve had the pleasure of using and I’ll write about this in more detail soon – you need to be at an awesome event like a concert or while traveling to get the full impact of what this can do and what it means! :)

Timeshift Burst
My favorite feature by far – the Xperia Z1 takes 61 images in 2 seconds – a second before and after pressing the shutter – so you can scroll back and forth to find the perfect image. This is for all those times you “missed a shot” coz you took out your smartphone too late, it’ll never happen again.

AR Effect
There’s also a range of overlays that automatically detects faces and people and creates pictures using augmented reality app. I’ll dedicate a post to the camera and video features of the device – there’s just too many awesome features to describe in a general review.

ar effect

The Xperia Z1 also can shoot full 1080p HD video with stereo sound!

(and you can take a still image while the video is recording too)

5” Full HD screen

The Xperia Z1 has the latest Sony BRAVIA™ technology optimized for mobile. The beautiful and rich 5” screen uses a Full HD TRILUMINOS™ display which results in vibrant and incredible viewing experience. It’s the best screen I’ve ever seen on a smartphone!

sony xperia z1 screen

You can try it out at any Sony Center and be blown away at the crisp text and wide palate of natural colors. The Z1 also includes X-Reality™ for mobile and ClearAudio+™ for optimized video viewing. These are technologies usually found in their high range LCD TVs!

Software and performance

The Xperia Z1 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2.2 Ghz quad-core CPU and 4G LTE. It’s the first consumer smartphone to come up with this latest and super fast quad-core processor. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 features a GPU and dual ISP for incredible graphics and 3D performance – you’ll notice this if you play Unreal Engine based games on Android.

xperia z1 screen

Sony has also made changes to the stock version of Android and there’s four toggles in the notifications drop down that’s set to sound, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, brightness and settings by default. Swiping to the right in the app drawer brings up a menu that allows you to sort apps and also uninstall apps – you no longer have to go to the exact page in Google Play to do that anymore.

The Xperia Z1 also has 4 shortcuts at the main phone screen to reflect Sony’s concept for this phone- WALKMAN™, Album, Movies and PlayStation® Mobile. Yup, it’s an MP3 player, camera, video recorder and gaming device all rolled into one portable smartphone!

It does all those tasks very well too – there is no lag or slowdown of any kind even with intensive widgets on the screen that pulls Facebook and other social media feeds, multiple tabs open on the default browser (Chrome) and it tackles the most graphically intense Unreal Engine games with ease.

The 3000mAh battery performs well too – I can easily use the Xperia Z1 for a full day without having to recharge. That’s largely due to the highly effective Battery STAMINA Mode which uses a lot of useful tricks to preserve battery life. It shuts off certain apps when you’re not actively using them (you can customize this so that your favorite apps will run all the time) and turns off functions you don’t need until you wake up your screen again.

Design and other features

The entire phone has a premium feel to it from the single piece of aluminium (which also acts as an antenna) surrounding the front and back tempered sheet glass. The Sony Xperia Z1 is a long rectangle shape with an impressive build quality.

xperia z1

The On/Off button is now located on the right hand side in the middle instead of top right. All the buttons are placed right and the headphone jack is the lone item on the top which is perfectly situated to prevent snagging or accidental pressing of buttons while listening to an audio book in MP3 (which is what I do more than listen to music).

The speakers produces surprisingly well-defined sound too.

The Xperia Z1 weighs 170 grams which might seem a tad on the heavy side for people not used to it but I’m loving mine – it’s a high quality digital camera, gaming device, and smartphone in a sleek package that gets double takes. It not only looks good, it feels good too – and the fact that it’s also waterproof and shock and dust resistant is just icing on the cake.

xperia z1 unboxing

The Sony Xperia Z1 retails for RM 2,399 and if you purchase it now, you’ll get three months of free unlimited music streaming from Akazoo, a preloaded social media music app. This is valid from October till December 2013. You can also download six (6) movies (offer valid till 31st December) via Xperia Privilege app, which is also preloaded into the device.

There’s a lot more to talk about but this is already way over 1,000 words so I’ll write more on the awesome 20.7 MP digital camera, 1080p Full HD video recording, nifty apps like Social Live and other apps. I’ll also do a special on underwater photography and my annual Chinese New Year fireworks and firecrackers roundup. I also have the SmartWatch 2, which is a NFC/Bluetooth watch that can sync via NFC to get Facebook updates and allows you to control your phone remotely from your wrist.

smartwatch2

I love my new toy(s)! :D

Check out the Sony Xperia Z1 experience!

5 myths and facts about diesel

1. Diesels cars are sluggish

bosch

No one can be right all the time – not even the inventor of the diesel engine.

This is one of the most common preconceptions and I must admit, I had the same thoughts myself not too long ago. You see, all the vehicles you associate with diesel – commercial trucks, lorries and such typically comes with an image of a loud automobile spewing lots of smoke and getting in your way.

I was enlightened when I saw diesel cars in Australia, Singapore and Europe performing much better than their gasoline counterparts. In fact, during my trip to Germany, I realized that a lot of people actually preferred diesel cars!

mega tower carpark

The torque generated from a modern diesel engine is quite impressive, due to the intrinsic nature of diesel. It accelerates faster than petrol cars – you can feel this when you start from a red light or step on the accelerator to overtake. The power is greater than normal petrol (gasoline) cars, as I found to my delight during a BMW diesel car drive. A diesel engine generates about 50% more torque than a comparable gasoline engine

2. Diesels vehicles are expensive to run

This is not really true, especially when you take in all the factors. It’s especially not true in Malaysia! :)

Diesel: RM 1.80 / liter
RON 95 gasoline: RM 1.90 / liter

The government subsidizes diesel here so it actually costs lower when you compare it to RON 95 gasoline. That’s even truer when you acknowledge the fact that diesel engines are much more efficient than gasoline engines.

A diesel engine requires 30% less fuel than a comparable gasoline engine!

Combined with the savings per litre, this will translate to *truly amazing mileage* when you drive a diesel car – just ask anyone driving one! You’ll get better fuel economy by a more efficient engine.

3. Diesel cars are slow

The winners of the oldest and most well known sports car endurance racing event will beg to differ. Clean Diesel cars (equipped with Bosch diesel injection technology) have been the winners of 24 Hours of Le Mans for several consecutive years. Another diesel car won the 2008 Dakar Rally for the first time. Clean Diesel excels under the high demands of motor sports.

autobahn germany

Most German manufacturers have to voluntarily limit vehicles to 250 km/h though, which makes a lot of sense. You don’t want anyone to get carried away and drive in speeds in excess of that while feeling the powerful torque of a diesel engine.

4. Diesel cars are loud and smelly

This used to be true in old lorries and tug boats, which are a familiar scene in Malaysia. However, that has not been true for a long time. A modern diesel engines actually emit very little smoke. I was surprised to see how little when I drove a diesel BMW 3 series a couple of years ago.

dresden

It produces less smoke than a regular gasoline car!

In fact, the wind noise of the Audi R15 TDI is often louder than the diesel engine so it’s almost impossible to hear the change of gear by ear, like they used to.

The new environmental standards of Euro 4 and higher diesel has some surprising figures – a two-liter diesel engine would have to idle for 100 minutes before it generates as much fine particulates as one cigarette!

5. Diesel damages the environment

The new Euro 4 and even higher rated Euro 5 standards in diesel make this statement totally untrue. Of course, combustion engines of both the gasoline and diesel variety isn’t exactly compatible with the environment.

Bosch Clean Diesels emit about 25% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than a comparable gasoline engine.

Compared with a typical diesel engine from the 1990’s – Clean Diesel’s emissions are more than 96% lower! It can meet the most stringent emission legislation worldwide, including in European countries like Germany!

clean diesel

Bosch Clean Diesel has a really good chart that shows the total carbon footprint for a diesel car is actually on the same carbon footprint level as an electric vehicle. This is coz there’s a lot of factors to consider when calculating carbon footprint e.g. the production of electricity.

ecological footprint

A lot of people have understandable misconceptions about the diesel engine due to the lorries and trucks still operating from 20 years ago. However, a lot has changed since then. Malaysia is planning to switch to Euro 4 diesel (it is currently Euro 2) and with the free trade agreement kicking into place in 2015, it would be to Malaysia’s best interest to do it before then.

Singapore will have Euro 5 by then and Thailand will have already adopted Euro 4 and with Malaysia sandwiched in the middle, changing to the more environmentally friendly Euro 4 for compliance by then would seem very likely.

dresden serene

Interesting fact: More than 50% of new cars sold in Europe are diesel cars!

berlin germany

For the end consumer, like you and me, getting a diesel vehicle is actually a pretty good choice due to the advantages it has over the gasoline engine. With electric vehicles realistically several decades away for all the infrastructure to make it possible to operate, the diesel engine is a pretty good bet. Find out more and get fun & interesting facts about Clean Diesel at the Bosch Malaysia Facebook page!

Generation Today – Win a laptop if you can steal it!

Interesting fact: The Intel Anti-Theft Service is a *tied* into the hardware so you can’t bypass it by changing a HDD and re-installing a new OS or by flashing the BIOS. You can lock and track your device by just logging into a web page, thus rendering it totally unusable for the pilferer. That’ll effectively turn it into a brick or a very large paperweight!

starcraft collectors edition

I’m a huge fan of Starcraft. I played the original, the Brood War expansion and Starcraft II. I have Wings of Liberty installed on this very notebook I’m writing on and my girlfriend saw me drooling over the Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition and secretly bought that for me. I used to compete in Quake III professional tournaments too (ranked #42 in PGL 2001 Melbourne).

My notebook needs a bit of extra processing power for the latest games though so I thought I’ll get the newer Intel CORE i7 ones with more RAM. This is where Generation Today comes in! It’s an absolute blast of a road show extravaganza till 30th June lined up with awesome events!

notebook

Heck, you get to win a brand new Ultrabook if you manage to defeat the Intel Anti-Theft Service with the given clues!

How cool is that?

steal notebook

beat anti theft

I’m a Computer Science graduate and I’ll certainly love to give it a go! :)

Oh, and there’s also exciting stuff going on like The Longest Touch Challenge (get your mind out of the gutter) which gives one school a complete computer lab and the participants gets to walk away with awesome prizes to boot.

intel roadshow

Also available is the Graffiti Touch Challenge where 2 units of Asus Fonepad will be given away!

There’s also a promo where you can trade-in your old PC/notebook for a brand new Intel PC at up to RM 600 off! I’m not quite ready to trade mine in yet but I’ll certainly be going for the fun and games, the biggest being a contest where you can win an experience of a lifetime worth RM 8,000!

intel contest malaysia

It’s based on the 5 senses:
Taste
VIP Fine Dining at an Exquisite Restaurant for 2
Feel
Luxurious Spa Trip to Bali for 2
See
KL Skyline Helicopter Ride for 2
Touch
Langkawi Sunset Dinner on a Yacht for 2
Hear
Captivating Musical in Singapore for 2

The Intel Generation Today Road Show will be held at the following till 30th June:

longest touch

You just need to purchase an Ultrabook or Intel-powered device to qualify for the Experience of a Lifetime Contest by filling up the form and choosing which experience you want! I’m due for an upgrade anyway and a vacation sounds fun!

You can join the contest by surfing over to Generation Today or get more details on the promos, contests and road show venues and locations! It’s happening in 14 cities around Malaysia. The Generation Today campaign is sponsored by Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo. I’ll be either at the Publika or Sunway Giza road show for the fun and games, and maybe trade-in for a new Intel CORE notebook, see ya there!

generation today

Join the coming roadshow at Publika, KL to collect the final clue that will be released on 21/06/2013, 5 pm!

Plus, I really, really like the idea of walking away with an Asus Vivobook S400 Ultrabook if I manage to nick it in the Unlock The Ultrabook challenge! :D

My love, my life, my universe

melbourne

Well, most of you know that I just got into a new relationship. I’ve been keeping it under wraps for a while since my girlfriend, in her infinite wisdom, doesn’t like publicity. I just recently revealed who it was during a trip to Melbourne about a week ago.

limited edition candy ripe

It was our first overseas trip together and it’s kinda how we got together. I like showering her with gifts – little ones that says “I love you” and lets her know that she’s always in my heart whenever and wherever I go.

bali

I do travel quite a bit – I went to Bali straight after that and we spent several days physically apart. It’s all good though, with communications the way it is nowadays, it’s always easy to keep in touch. We’re the digital generation – with data roaming and WiFi connections, using Facebook or Whatsapp to message each other is easy.

whatsapp

It’s always important to stay in touch – data has always made a lot of difference for us. I can send photos of what I’m doing to my girlfriend. I snapped a photo of something that means a lot to us (it’s an inside reference to our relationship) the moment I got off at Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar.

whatsapp images

Little things like this can make a lot of difference in a relationship. It shows that you’re constantly thinking of her. <3

I honestly would be hard-pressed to name disadvantages in the gift of data in a relationship…unless you’re cheating on your other half and is somewhere you’re not supposed to be – say, KL instead of overseas – and your GPS location settings on Facebook shows that. smirk

It’s all good, all the way for me.

chat

We actually got together thanks to Facebook and Whatsapp. It’s what made this relationship *possible* – how I noticed her and started chatting with her and finally made my feelings known to her. It was a big step coz I thought it would have alienated her but luckily it seemed that we were meant to be.

Data is what brought us together and I’m thankful for that coz I’m lucky to have Ling in my life. :)

relationship

Anyway, that’s my story. There’s another interesting around that’s doing the rounds on the net. I’m sure you’ve seen the Don’t Lose It All videos circulating around but in case you’re one of the few who hasn’t, you can view the previous short videos on that link.

There are 3 episodes in the rather interesting love triangle of Amy, Nick and Joe. The most riveting part about this is that the audience (which is you and me) gets to choose the plot via voting!

I won’t give out any spoilers here so go watch the videos if you haven’t already.

xpax wong fu

The final episode is, as usual, chosen by votes – it was a close one between Nick & Amy and Amy & Joe…and guess who won? Fans of Nick & Amy rejoice!

Here’s the final episode of the epic story as voted by you! It’s interactive, interesting and quite frankly, better than a lot of the other locally produced fare on air nowadays. Don’t ruin the ending if you haven’t watched the first 3 episodes – watch from the start!

It’s an interactive extravaganza like no other, with the finale aptly done! Check out the final episode at Don’t Lose It All! :)

P/S – The storyline is a little like mine – couldn’t have done it without data. Haha! You can dial *128# to pick a data pack on Xpax and load up to stay in touch 24/7 with your loved one!

8 features I love about Windows 8

windows 8

Yup, I’ve installed Windows 8 to replace the Windows 7 Home Premium Edition I’m running on my main workhorse.

windows versions

I’ve upgraded my notebook several times in terms on hardware (RAM, HDD etc) and I’m always excited when a new OS comes out. Windows 8 Pro 64-bit (my notebook runs 64 bit natively, though there’s a 32-bit version of Windows 8) has a lot of things that I like and having spent a couple of weeks with it, I’ve managed to single out 8 features that I love.

windows 8 install

It’s hard to go with just 8 since there are a lot of new additions to enrich your experience. Some are essential and some are just stuff that are just plain fun.

I write a lot, love to travel and have been blogging since April 2002 so I’ll keep my experiences on that personal level.

1. Start Screen

This is the much anticipated feature (in addition to Live Tiles) of Windows 8 and it takes some getting used to, but there’s no going back after that.

windows 8 start

This displays my most commonly used apps and I can see various messages flood in via Live Tiles in the People and Messaging apps, which I use the most. This way, I just have to synchronize my email, Facebook, Twitter, IM clients and it’ll all be integrated into one place.

I like to travel pretty randomly (without any plans and flying by the seat of my pants) and this feature allows me to just see what’s going on in Travel, check the Wikipedia app (stating local customs and faux pas e.g. not eating the doughy tops of khinkali, a type of Georgian dumpling and also pronunciation), pull out Internet Explorer 10 for bus/train schedules and all that while talking to people who’re there so I can maybe couchsurf.

That’s taking “keeping in touch” to a whole new level.

2. Enhanced Search

I love this feature coz it’s perfect for lazy people like me. Heh.

windows 8 search

Just type anything directly from the Start Screen and it’ll appear. I typed “Sky” in this case and SkyDrive pops up as one of the features so I don’t have to go rooting about for it. It’s really a time saver.

I can also expand the search to various areas (which is customizable) for it to trawl anything from Windows Store to the entire Internet. Nifty, this one, and handy for finding facts online by just starting to type on the Start Screen.

3. Snap apps

This is a godsend for blogging!

windows 8 blogging

Just hover your mouse to the left and out pops a list of currently running apps. You can actually drag one of those apps out so you have two apps on your screen. This can be resized as you wish so I can dedicate 3/4 of my screen to Photoshop for photo editing and the other 1/4 to WordPress on IE 10 to add the photos to my blog or reply comments.

…and yes, both of the apps work at the same time. :D

4. Easy Screenshots

This is just amazing and it’s how I took most of the screenshots you see in this post. Windows 8 nullifies the need for external apps or the old method of Alt+Print Screen -> Open Paint -> Ctrl+V to take and paste a screenshot.

windows 8 pro

Now I just have to press Win+Print Screen.

It takes the entire screen and automatically saves it in the Pictures folder. You can also use Alt to take the current window but the shortcut where you can just automatically screenshot the entire screen is a lifesaver (or at least a time saver) to me – I do it a lot when blogging, writing and emailing someone about a travel deal. :)

5. Picture Password

This is one of the things which I’ll put under fun to use. Heh.

picturepassword

You can choose your best vacation/clubbing/adventure photos as a Picture Password and draw gestures around it to enter your computer. It not only acts as a password, it also shows my favorite photo while I’m logged out.

6. Windows Store

You can download a lot of free and paid games and apps in here – anything from Angry Birds to Wikipedia. I also found a fun and free game called Ball Strike when I was in Singapore courtesy of Jim Saret (of Biggest Loser Philippines fame).

windows store

It just requires a Windows 8 device with a camera – which is common enough, even my older notebook has a built-in webcam. This is an augmented reality game that gives me a bit of exercise while I’m at home.

I can see it being a hugely popular house party game too. Heh.

7. Charms Bar

This is the uber sidebar that allows you access to everything from the classic Desktop that traditional users would instantly recognize:

windows 8 charms

…to instant share which I use to quickly share travel itinerary PDFs, photos and such via Tweetro (a Twitter client) or email.

It’s awesome and you just have to go to the right of the screen to activate it.

8. SkyDrive

I have personal experience of having my camera stolen while travelling before – all my photos from the trip were lost! Integration with SkyDrive, especially for my photo backups, is essential to me.

The cloud-connectivity that Skydrive offers is wonderful because I like to travel in places that are not necessarily tourist friendly.

skydrive

I’ve also had my HDD crash two times before – and some of my precious photos were lost forever! Now with SkyDrive, I’ll make it a point to do auto backups when I’m done for the day and leave it uploading while I sleep.

It works beautifully for documents too e.g. the blog posts that I write every day.

You know how important photos are to travellers and bloggers – it’s a pictorial chronological memory for me and I can’t stand losing it.

Now I won’t have to. :)

Do I need Windows RT, Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro?

which windows 8
Here’s a chart to help you decide.

Windows RT
Windows RT is for people who wants a tablet-style easy to use OS where you don’t need new and existing Windows desktop software to work. It’s great with tablets and PCs where you want a user friendly experience – the new Start Screen is where you work from and all apps comes from Windows Store. As an added bonus, it comes with Office Home & Student 2013 Preview!

windows rt

Windows 8
Windows 8 is what most casual users will need – you’ll get all the new features in the Start Screen (actually all of the versions do) but you don’t have to work exclusively with Windows Store apps. The only thing you’ll miss out on is BitLocker. You can still use new and existing Windows desktop software as well as the apps from Windows Store – it’s the best of both worlds!

windows 8 versions

Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Pro is basically Windows 8 for power users or enterprise users. You get all the functionality in Windows 8 (like existing and new Windows Desktop software compatibility) and BitLocker for data protection as well as a host of networking features like Domain Join and Remote Desktop Connection.

windows 8 singapore

Windows 8 special promo info:
If you’ve bought Windows 7 PC from June 2 onwards, you can upgrade to Windows 8 for just USD 14.99 (RM 49.92). Login to www.windowsupgradeoffer.com (yes, this is a real Microsoft link, not some dodgy website) for more details.

Otherwise, if you have a PC and would like to install or upgrade to Windows 8, you can purchase it at USD 39.99 (RM 122). Login to windows.my for more details.

The offers end on 31st January 2013 so get your upgrade today to take advantage of the promo prices! :D

Samsung GALAXY Note – the phone-tablet hybrid

notebook pencil

I get a lot of questions about what I’m doing right now. I’m actually a freelance writer. I do assignments for a wide range of publications around the world.

Now, this is all well and good, but as anyone can tell you, the tools of the trade for a writer is…

(No, not a notebook and a pencil, that was 20 years ago)

It’s a tablet.

However, I’ve always found tablets a bit clunky to carry around. I have to bring a special tote bag when I interview people and cover events and it’s just a bit too unwieldy. I need something a bit smaller and yet does everything a tablet can.

samsung galaxy note

Thus, I’ve been eying the new Samsung GALAXY Note with a lot of interest. I have been hearing a lot of good things about the new it and the first thing that impressed me was the size:


Samsung GALAXY Note – Portability

It fits in your pocket! The same goes for all smartphones but what differentiates the Samsung GALAXY Note is the sheer size of the screen. It’s a 5.3-inch HD WXGA resolution (1,280×800) screen!

That makes it just about perfect for work – you can slip it inside your pocket but the screen is still large enough so you don’t have to squint whenever you type.

Samsung GALAXY Note full specifications:

Network

  • HSPA+ up to 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100
  • 4G LTE
  • EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900

Processor

  • 1.4GHz Dual Core Processor

Display

  • 5.3” WXGA (1280 x 800) screen
  • HD Super AMOLED

screen

Platform

  • Android™ 2.3 (Gingerbread)

android gingerbread

Camera

  • Main(Rear) : 8 MP with LED Flash / Front : 2 MP
  • Action Shot, Beauty, Panorama Shot, Smile Shot

camera

Video

  • 1080p Full HD video recording & playback
  • Recording: 1080p @ 24~30fps/
  • Playback: 1080p @ 30fps
  • Codec: MPEG4/ H.263/ H.264/ DivX, Xvid, WMV, VC-1

Audio

  • Codec : MP3, AAC, AMR, WMA, WAV, FLAC, OGG
  • Music Player with SoundAlive
  • 3.5mm Ear Jack, Stereo FM Radio with RDS

Multi Input

  • Full touch
  • + S Pen (Advanced smart pen)

s-pen

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth® technology v 3.0 + HS
  • USB 2.0 HOST
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct

Sensor

  • Accelerometer, Digital compass, Proximity, Barometer, Light

Memory

  • 16GB Internal memory
  • + microSD (up to 32GB)

Size

  • 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65 mm, 178g

size

Amazing right?

The Samsung GALAXY Note is the most talked about Android phone on the market right about now. I can see how the Polaris Office works for me too:


Samsung GALAXY Note – Polaris Office

It has the full range of features you’ll expect to find in an office productivity suite on the PC. It’s perfect for someone like me who writes for a living! It’s compatible with the Microsoft Office suite, has handwriting recognition and I can just send off articles to my editor right from the phone itself.

Also, for those moments when you feel a need to catch up with your friends on your social feed, there’s always the Social Hub and Reader Hub:


Samsung GALAXY Note – Social Hub & Reader Hub

It’s perfection! The Samsung GALAXY Note is just the thing I need for my work (and play) – it’s not too big, not too small, and does everything I need it to.

This feature packed pocket tablet launched on 11/11/11 in Malaysia. I looked around and the retail price for it is RM 2,299. You can get it for cheaper if you sign up with one of the telcos.

galaxy note

I really love what the Samsung GALAXY Note has to offer. I wish I have one so I can carry a single device instead of a tablet and a smartphone. It has an awesome 8 MP camera too so it can probably replace your digicam for everyday use.

I want! smirk

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