Thursday, April 20, 2017

HLeBroking 1Trade - stock trading account with the best of both world

There are several types of stock trading account available for HLeBroking service provided by Hong Leong Investment Bank in Malaysia.

ValueTrade is a type of cash upfront account in which you can only buy with cash in trust account, with the advantage of low brokerage fee of 0.106% (including GST) and also interest to cash in trust account above RM1,000 at the rate of slightly lower than fixed deposit rate.

PowerTrade is a type of collaterized trading account which allows you to trade up to 2x cash in trust account and 2x share collateral value.

1Trade is a hybrid trading account that combine the best of both ValueTrade and PowerTrade. For 1Trade:

  • If your purchase contract is fully covered by cash in trust account, the brokerage fee is 0.106%, same as ValueTrade.
    • If you sell within T+3, your selling brokerage fee is also 0.106%.
    • If you sell within T+4 and T+7, your selling brokerage fee is 0.1908% if the transaction amount is above RM100k, less than that the brokerage fee is 0.4028%.
  • If you purchase without cash upfront, the brokerage fee is still 0.106% for day trading. If you don't sell within the same day, your brokerage fee will become 0.1908% (transaction amount is above RM100k) or 0.4028% (transaction amount is below RM100k). There will be force selling after T+7 if you still haven't settle the contract.
  • If you do day trading, the brokerage fee for both buy and sell transactions within the same day is 0.106%.
  • Regardless how the transaction is done, the minimum brokerage fee is RM8.48 including GST.
Therefore, with 1Trade account, you can:
  • Enjoy low brokerage rate for day trading and T+3 cash upfront buying.
  • Enjoy the flexibility of 2x trading limit like other collaterized ordinary trading account, with the trade-off of higher brokerage fee.
I would advise for you to stay disciplined with ValueTrade trading account if your overall portfolio value including cash and shares is below RM300k. If it is above and you got tendency to trade stock in amount of at least RM100k in a batch, then you can take advantage of 1Trade by converting to it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Instruction manual for S-Sport Coolboss 30m water resistant watch

I have bought an S-Sport Coolboss 30m water resistant watch for my small kid. This made in China watch cost only RM11 at online store.

It is splash proof but not water proof, which means it can resist rain water, but cannot be worn for diving.

This watch has 4 buttons:
  • L: Light
  • M: Mode
  • S: Start
  • R: Reset
It is pretty tricky to set the watch without referring to the instruction manual, and that manual is just a piece of paper.

I am copying down its important instruction here, just in case the paper cannot be found in the future. If you also have this watch (or similar Coolboss watches) and you lost its instruction manual, you can bookmark this page and come back to here for future reference.

Displaying the date:
  • In Normal Time mode, just press the "S" button to display current date.
Displaying the alarm time:
  • In Normal Time mode, just press the "R" button to show the alarm time currently set.
Switching time display between AM/PM and 24 hour mode:
  • In Normal Time mode, press "M" button 3 times to enter Time Adjustment mode.
  • Then, press "R" button 2 times to enter Hour Display Adjustment mode.
  • Press the "S" button to adjust the hour digit and the desired time display mode.
  • When finished, press "M" to return to Normal Time mode.
Adjusting the time:
  • In Normal Time mode, press "M" button 3 times to enter Time Adjustment mode.
  • When the second figure is blinking, press "S" to adjust the second value.
  • Press "R" to make the minute figure blinks, then press "S" to adjust the minute value.
  • Pressing "R" continuously will switch among the hour, day, month and weekday value to be adjusted. Use the "S" button to adjust the blinking figure.
  • Press "M" to return to Normal Time mode.
Setting the alarm time:
  • In Normal Time mode, press "M" 2 times to enter Alarm Adjustment mode.
  • Use the "R" button to toggle between hour and minute figure.
  • Use the "S" button to adjust the blinking figure.
  • Press "M" to return to Normal Time mode.
Using the stopwatch:
  • In Normal Time mode, press "M" 1 time to enter Stopwatch Function.
  • Press "S" button to start the stopwatch. Press "S" button again to stop the stopwatch.
  • Press "R" button to reset the stopwatch.
  • Press "M" to return to Normal Time mode.
Turn hourly chime on/off:
  • In Normal Time mode, press and hold the "R" button.
  • While holding the "R" button, press "M" button to toggle hourly chime on/off. When it is on, all the weekdays on top of the screen will have black background.
Turn alarm on/off:
  • In Normal Time mode, press and hold the "R" button.
  • While holding the "R" button, press "S" button to toggle alarm on/off. When it is on, the alarm indicator at the bottom will be shown.
Alarm snooze and stop:
  • When the alarm is chiming, press "S" button to snooze. The alarm will chime again after 5 minutes.
  • When the alarm is chiming, press "R" button to stop it.
Cold light lamp:
  • Press the "L" button, the cold light will be on for 3 seconds.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Repaired my Alpha Smart 18EP instant shower water heater

Few days ago, the Alpha Smart 18EP instant shower water heater in one of my bathrooms failed its start-up test. All its LEDs were blinking in red colour.

This water heater has different warranty period for different parts as follow:

  • Heating element: 5 years
  • Brushless DC motor: 5 years
  • Brushed AC motor: 1 year
  • Anti-leak tank: 10 years
  • Other internal parts: 1 year
My unit has already been used for more than 1 year. I tried my luck and called the company to send technician to my house for inspection and repair, which possibly cost much cheaper than buying and replacing with a new unit.

Alpha customer service supports reporting via Whatsapp, which I found is very convenient. You can find their Whatsapp / SMS number in this webpage. Alternatively, you can also report a problem using email or direct phone call too.

Since my water heater lifespan has already passed its 1 year warranty period, it cost me RM53 (including 6% GST) for them to dispatch a technician to my house for checking and repairing.

After the checking, a circuit board inside the water heater was found faulty and need replacement. That cost me another RM68 (including 6% GST).

So, the total cost of repair is RM121 (including 6% GST). This is indeed much cheaper than buying a replacement unit and get someone to change it for me.

Overall, I am pretty satisfied with their service, particularly the availability of Whatsapp as one of the customer service channel. Their respond is fast, and the repairing cost is reasonable. Now, my water heater is up and running again.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Converting video files to be playable from USB drive in Sony XAV-W650BT double DIN player

Sony XAV-W650BT is a decent double DIN (Duetch Industri Normen) car head unit with DVD player. It has all the functions you need: radio, USB, AUX, Bluetooth, NFC, DVD/VCD player, steering control support, reverse camera support, etc.

It is able to play 3 types of multimedia files in a USB thumb drive: MP3 music, JPEG photo, and XVID/MP4 video.

Playing MP3 music and viewing JPEG photo is pretty straightforward, but playing video file might need some conversion work done to its compatible format, as it will face difficulty playing video that exceeds its maximum supported video resolution of 720x576. It also requires the video to have compatible codec and frame rate.

The conversion can be performed using a free software called Freemake Video Converter.

You need to convert the video file into MP4 format, with the following custom settings:

  • Frame size: 720x576
  • Adjustment: Auto
  • Video codec: MPEG4
  • Frame rate: 30 fps
  • Audio codec: AAC
  • Bitrate: maximum 4096 kbps

Even if your source file is already in MP4 format, it might not work well with the head unit if the setting is different from the above. Therefore, conversion is still required to ensure it will work well.

Now, you can run your conversion and put your favourite music videos, movies (MV), recorded TV programmes, etc. into a USB thumb drive that can be played in your Sony XAV-W650BT or similar head unit in your car.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New 2017 formula to determine amount of EPF Account 1 money that can invest in Unit Trust funds

If you want to diversify the money in Account 1 of your Employees Provident Fund (EPF, a.k.a. KWSP) by taking it out to be managed by local Unit Trust fund managers and invest in EPF approved unit trust funds, which then invest in various markets locally or globally or both, depends on the funds' prospectus, the first thing you need to know is: what is the maximum amount of money you can take out from your EPF Account 1 to invest in those approved unit trust funds?

Begining 1 January 2017, EPF has enforced a new formula for this calculation, and the old formula used before was no longer valid.

While the old formula only allowed you to take out a maximum of 20% of your (Account 1 - Basic Savings) for unit trust investment, the new formula allows you to take out more. The maximum is now 30%.

The new table to calculate your Account 1 Basic Savings is as below:

For example, if you are borned in 1982 and your EPF Account 1 has RM100,000, your Basic Savings is RM50,000. Maximum amount you can take out for unit trust investment is (RM100k - RM50k) x 30% = RM50k x 30% = RM15k.

Same as before, you can withdraw your EPF Account 1 money for unit trust investment once every 3 months.

To make the case simple, assume that your EPF money does not increase.

Amount in Account 1 after the withdrawal = RM100k - RM15k = RM85k

3 months later...

Available amount for unit trust investment = (RM85k - RM50k) x 30% = RM10.5k.

You can continue the process every 3 months until your available amount for unit trust investment become zero or negative.

Note that:
  • Normally, there will be around 3% one time charges by the unit trust company for this kind of investment. Subsequent years' management fees of around 1.5% are reflected in the fund price.
  • Make sure at the end of the year, you are confident your fund can give you return higher than your EPF dividend. Otherwise, it is better to let your money stay in EPF.
  • You are not necessary to withdraw the maximum amount. Any amount less than the maximum allowed is OK.
  • You are not necessary to withdraw every 3 months. You can adjust the timing based on market conditions.
  • You are not necessary to invest into the same fund for each withdrawal. You can choose different fund to invest, as long as approved by EPF.
  • Once you sell out your unit trust, the money will go back to your EPF Account 1.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Neato XV-11 all floor robotic vacuum cleaner

Talking about robotic vacuum cleaner, you might first thought of the famous iRobot Roomba. It is fantastic but it is quite pricy too.

There are many other robotic vacuum cleaners available in the market now, but not so many can perform as good as the iRobot Roomba. I found Neato as the one which is much cheaper than iRobot and also many people commented that it performs even better than iRobot.

Neato has several ranges of robotic vacuum cleaners. I purchased the basic one called Neato XV-11 from Corvan Asia at the online price of RM1,732 only. This company normally selling this model at the price of RM1,888, so you have to patiently wait for special discount occasion to get the RM1,7xx price tag.

Unlike most other round-shape robotic vacuum cleaners, the Neato robots are D-shape, specially designed to clean the wall and furniture lining better.

The Neato XV-11 consists of 2 main parts: the robot vacuum itself, and its charging station. The robot is intelligent enough to be able to find this charging station provided there is no obstacle (leave at least 3 feet clear space) at the right, left and front of the charging station.

The robot will automatically find its way to this charging base whenever its battery is low, or when it has completed its vacuuming job. It will then recharge itself and get ready for the next mission.

When operate, the robot sounds like a hair dryer. Some people might find it a bit noisy, but thinking on the positive side, the noise enables us to locate the position of the robot easily. Sometimes it might need a little bit help from us to escape from being stuck in places with a lot of obstacles.

I noticed one interesting thing about this cute robot. It is able to step down from dining area to my kitchen floor, which is a bit lower. However, it is unable to climb back up to the dining area later to return to its base. It will keep on trying to climb up the level. A little help from me to lift it up, then it will continue with its journey.

Unlike most of the dumb robot vacuum you see in the market, this Neato XV-11 is really intelligent with a laser based navigation system. It has eyes to scan through your house layout and furniture position, then plan its path to vacuum in a systematic way. You won't find it wandering randomly like those dumb robots. It will seldom knock on something too, and it won't fell down from staircase, since its eyes are able to tell it to avoid hitting on walls and things, and not to fell down a cliff. I believe this is where I paid for its price, compared with those dumb robots that you can get at a few hundreds ringgit only.

The Neato XV-11 can be scheduled to work automatically at a user defined time. Its scheduler is by day of the week, so you can set different schedule for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The limitation is only one schedule can be set for one day. Anyhow, you can always press the Start button for it to work immediately outside the scheduled time.

The dust, dirt and debris collected are stored in its transparent plastic container, which is pretty easy to take out and clean.

Like some other robot vacuum, we can use magnetic stripe to block it from going to the region which it not suppose to go, such as the bathroom. Note that this Neato XV-11 works indoor on dry floor. Excessive water on the floor might cause damage to the robot, so bathroom with potential wet floor is its forbidden place.

One thing I don't like about this Neato XV-11 is that its battery is of NiMH type, which is considered old battery technology. Neato does produce robots that use Li-ion battery for its higher end models, at more expensive price.

Corvan Asia is giving a generous 5 years warranty plus 5 years of free yearly service to Neato robots, which I think is irresistible to bring home this robot vacuum at such a good price. Currently, the seller is also giving an upgrade from normal brush to combo brush to its online buyers, and an upgrade from normal filter to HEPA filter to buyers who reviewed and rated the Neato product at the e-Commerce website where it was bought.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Online renewing Malaysian passport with MyONLINE*PASPORT website

Renewing Malaysian passport at the immigration office has been a time consuming process that can easily cost you half a day to even a full day.

The good news is: now Malaysian can renew their passport using the online service provided by the  MyONLINE*PASPORT website.

With this service, you can complete your password renewal application, together with its payment, anytime and anywhere by using your web browser. Then, you just need to go to the immigration office of your choice to collect your new passport, which will take you probably less than 30 minutes counted from the time you step in the immigration office.

The prerequisites to use this online passport renewal service for Malaysian are as below:
  • You must have a valid Malaysian passport with electronic chip.
  • For children under 18, the renewal applicant must be the same person who applied for the existing passport.
  • You must get ready a JPG file of your recent passport size photo that fulfil the requirement, to be uploaded during the online renewal application.
  • You must have a valid credit card to make online payment.
  • You must have a printer to print out the receipt, to be used to collect your new passport at the immigration office.
The steps are as follow:
  • Get ready your photo.
  • Use your web browser to go to MyONLINE*PASPORT website.
  • Read the terms and conditions, and click on the "Agree" button.
  • A popup window will appear, click on the "OK" button.
  • Fill in your existing passport and IC detail. Specify your choice of location to collect your new password. Search for your passport detail in the system.
  • Fill in the online application form, upload your photo, and submit your application.
  • Make online payment using your credit card. For normal 5-year Malaysian passport, the fee is RM200. Senior citizens above 60 years old will get 50% discount.
  • Print out the receipt.
  • Bring the receipt, your existing passport and your IC to the designated location to collect your new passport.
You can also go to the same website to check for your passport renewal application status.

It seems that many are still unaware about this online passport renewal website, because the website currently shows the number of online application so far is only 3380. Feel free to bookmark this article and share it with your family, relatives, friends and colleagues.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mobile LTE network: moving forward from 4G to 5G

5G is the next generation mobile network coming after the current 4G LTE-Advanced. It is still under research and development, but we can expect it to hit the market in near future.

What can we expect from 5G enhancement from the current 4G technology?

  • Up to 1000 times increase in bandwidth per unit area
  • Up to 100 times more connected devices
  • Up to 10 Gbps connection speed to mobile devices in the field (see picture below for comparison with older technologies)
  • Perceived network availability of 99.999%
  • Perceived 100% network coverage
  • Maximum of only 1ms end-to-end round trip latency delay
  • Up to 90% reduction in network energy utilization

So, 5G is the next generation mobile technology well prepared for the world of IoT, with significantly improved bandwidth, connection speed, stability, reliability, coverage, etc.

With 5G, the necessity of laying fibre landline will be greatly reduced. The world will truly enter into Gigabit Internet era.

Huawei which has just received the "Outstanding Contribution for LTE Evolution to 5G" award at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 is among the industry leaders who lead in the worldwide 5G development. (Unfortunately to investors, Huawei is not a public listed company)

Monday, February 20, 2017

EPF declared 5.70% dividend for 2016

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF, a.k.a. KWSP) has just declared the dividend rate for financial year 2016 to be 5.70%, which is 11% lower than the 6.40% dividend declared for 2015 (last year).

Calculation: (5.70-6.40)/6.40 = -0.70/6.40 = -11%

This is the 2nd year of dividend decline since the historical highest dividend payout of 6.75% declared for 2014.

If you have already registered as an EPF i-Akaun member to access your EPF account detail with their online service, you can login to your online account now and check the actual amount of dividend in RM added to your EPF account by viewing your 2016 online statement.

With this dividend rate, it seems that those who have withdrawn their EPF Account II savings to reduce their housing loan during 2016 might be regreted to do so, as the effective mortgage rate is generally lower than 5.70% in 2016, due to a lower housing loan financing rate along the year (around 4.35% offered by most banks).

If you have withdrawn your EPF Account I savings for investment in unit trust or fund, your fund manager has outperformed EPF if your 2016 ROI in the fund is greater than 5.70%. Otherwise, you might want to meet up with your unit trust agent or fund manager to find out what's wrong.

Note that in 2016, EPF has recognized a net impairment amounting of RM8.17 billion, compared with RM3.07 billion in 2015 to reflect lower equity prices (meaning, paper lost in share market)!

If you had gain money (had positive return) in share market during 2016, you were indeed doing better than the fund managers of EPF in share market investing.

Monday, February 13, 2017

PTPTN announced 2016 dividend for SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus

The Malaysia National Higher Education Fund (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional, PTPTN) has just announced dividend for year 2016 for both the education savings schemes SSPN-i (Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional) and SSPN-i Plus respectively on 13 February 2017.

The 2016 SSPN-i and SSPN-I Plus dividend payout rate is 4%, amounting to RM76.74 million. This rate is the same as previous payout for 2015.

According to PTPTN, the number of SSPN-i accounts opened to date is 2.7 million, with deposits amounting to above RM2.6 billion.

There are only 53 thousand SSPN-i Plus accounts opened since its launch on 8 June 2015, and the deposited amount is RM15.8 million.

Historical SSPN-i dividend payout rate is as below:

  • 2016: 4.00%
  • 2015: 4.00%
  • 2014: 4.25%
  • 2013: 4.25%
  • 2012: 4.25%
  • 2011: 3.75%
  • 2010: 3.25%
  • 2009: 2.50%
  • 2008: 4.00%
  • 2007: 4.00%
  • 2006: 4.00%
  • 2005: 4.00%
  • 2004: 3.00%

You can proceed to the Online SSPN-i Statement of Account website for checking of the transactions and amount of savings in your kid's SSPN-i account.

Friday, February 10, 2017

A family trip to Kuala Sepetang (Port Weld), Perak

Kuala Sepetang is a fishing village located just 16km at the west of Taiping, Perak, Malaysia. It is about 72km drive from Ipoh, and 99km drive from Penang. Nearer to the confluence is a Chinese village which most of the houses are wooden and built half on top of the water and half on the landside. There is also a Malay village (a.k.a. kampung) at the adjacent inner land.

The Chinese village is pretty traditional. Most of the houses are wooden. There are several temples around the village. There is also a private independent petrol station at its center.

There are quite a few homestays available in Kuala Sepetang, of which most are not advertised in the Internet and they prefer to be contacted for booking information by phone. There is also a larger scale one called The Happy 8 Retreat @ Sepetang which is well advertised in most of the major online hotel booking websites in the Internet.

Right before arriving the 2 villages of Kuala Sepetang, there is a small junction on the left of the main road, leading to several charcoal factories. The larger and famous one is owned by Khay Hor Holdings Sdn. Bhd, which is free for tourists visit. They can also arrange a guide to explain about the charcoal manufacturing process to the visitors if the crowd is keen to know more about their operations.

There are quite a number of charcoal kilns inside the factory. The entrance (which is sealed as bullet shape on the whiter lower part of the kiln in the photo below) is taller than an adult.

Beside the factory is a small river, which mostly dried out during our visit. Right at the entrance of the factory, you can buy some charcoal soveniors, and a kind of unique natural vinegar with multiple functions.

After visited the charcoal factory, we went straight to our accomodation, which was the Happy 8 Retreats.

This wooden building with an eagle figure in front has already become a famous landmark of Kuala Sepetang. It is a multifunction building, which in front of it is a fishery wholesaller. Inside ground floor is the Happy 8 Retreat receptionist, lobby and dining area.

Do you notice the "cage" outside the wall, on top of the blue signboard? It is actually a lift, accessible from inside the building.

Its 1st floor is a Chinese restaurant named as Makanan Laut Kang Kao. 2nd floor onwards are the rooms of Happy 8 Retreat.

The Happy 8 Retreat at Sepetang is very artistic with wooden theme. Below is the photo of one of its dining table surrounded with decorative wooden designs. We had our next morning breakfast there. The breakfast was included in the accomodation package. It is fixed for each day, instead of buffet style.

Despite its rustic wooden theme, you might be surprised to find out this retreat is well equipped with modern contactless keycard system similar to those used in 5 star hotels.

Our room was river facing with a queen size bed below and 2 more single beds on top, big enough for family stay. The room is equipped with modern electrical system and attached with a modern toilet. WiFi password was provided and its signal was pretty strong and stable.

After settling down, we went to walk around the village.

There is a KTM train station sign which is another famous landmark in Sepetang, which formerly known as Port Weld. In fact, this is the 1st train station in Malaysia which commenced operation in 1885, with a short railway track connected to Taiping. Notice that during those good old days, the sign has 4 languages on it. Today, the train station has already ceased operation and the railway track had been demolished, leaving this sign as memorial.

Nearby, there is a Chinese hawker stall selling the famous curry mee, laksa, red bean drink, ice kacang, etc.

The stall opened at 3pm, and always crowded with long order queue. Outside the stall is another hawker selling prawn crackers which is pretty famous too.

Beside the riverbank, there is one multi-storey brick house which is actually one of the homestays. The price per room per night is RM100 only.

There are houses on both side of the river. We were told by the villager that last time, there was no road linking the 2 sides. Villagers need to take water transport to go over to the other side. A few years ago, a new bridge was built linking the 2 sides. Now the villagers can cross over to the other side by walking or riding on motorcycle, which brings much convenience to them. The photo below was taken at the middle of the bridge.

There are 2 kinds of boat owned by the villagers in Sepetang. One is the fishing boat, and another is the tour boat. Each of the fishing boats is marked with a large alphabet, either A, B or C. The villagers informed that boats of type A are for fishing in the sea, and the boats normally went out for a few days before returning; B is for prawns and crabs catching, while C is for clams and cockles catching.

We went for river sight-seeing on one of the tour boat. Tickets were sold at counters near the jetty.

The first destination is eagles feeding. There are many eagles at the spot hunting for food.

Then, we went to a floating fish farm for fish feeding activity. The fishes are breed in nested cubicles. The workers on the fish farm also shown us some wild animals found there, including puffer fish and horseshoe crab, for photo shooting.

Then, the boat brought us went along the village before returning to the jetty.

At night, we took another tour boat for fireflies seeing at the mangrove forest researve area, which departed at 7.30pm. The tour was slightly more than 1 hour. There were many fireflies on the trees at both side of the riverbank. The fireflies blinked synchronously, which is different from the asynchronous fireflies we saw in Cherating few years back.

The next day, we visited the mangrove forest reserve in the Matang Mangrove Eco-Educational Centre, located diagonally opposite the junction to the charcoal factory. This mangrove forest reserve is said to be the largest of it kind in Malaysia.

Before entering the mangrove forest reserve, we need to purchase ticket at the guard house. We were given a passbook which we can stamp at each of the visiting stations inside the forest. There were quite a lot of monkeys outside the guard house.

Jungle tracking inside the forest is pretty easy and should not be getting lost, as we just need to follow the wooden bridge built on top of the swampy forest to complete our track.

Deep inside the forest, there are also huts and houses for homestays, as well as camping area for campers.

There is also a jetty beside the river, with tour boat service going to sight seeing activity similar to those offerred by the tour boats at the Sepetang village.

If you are interested to have a trip to Kuala Sepetang, you can download the tourist map below (click to enlarge) to plan for your itinerary.

This trip of my family did not cover all the attractions. We didn't visit the Matang Museum nearby, we didn't visit the cockles factory, we didn't visit the Kuala Sangga fishing village, which is a small village only accessible by boat. We also didn't go for dolphin watching, as we were told that dolphin is hardly seen at the season.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

REMAX RC-FC1 handphone/GPS/tablet holder mount stand with magnetic charging cable for car dash or table top

I have just purchased this REMAX RC-FC1 car dash or table top mount stand for handphone, GPS, tablet or other similar gadgets. Beside being a mount stand for the mobile device, it also comes with a magnetic charging mechanism to keep the battery of the mobile device charged.

I found this REMAX RC-FC1 to be very innovative and useful. Its non-slip silicone base can stay firm even on curved surface.

It is very flexible and fit for most mobile devices up to 10" size and not too thick after wearing their case. If the mobile device is too thick, then it might not be able to slot into the 2 holders, which consist of 4 legs each to be attached into the holes of the base.

The base consist of multiple holes to make it very flexible to configure the holder position for different size of mobile device, which you can make them closer for smaller device or for upright screen display, and to make them further apart to support for larger device in landscape display mode.

The magnetic charging cable consists of 2 charging connectors: micro-USB for most Android devices, and Lightning connector for iPhones. Therefore, this car holder is suitable for all mobile devices that use either one of these 2 charging connectors.

The cable is 24cm long, which might be too short to reach the USB port of large tablet in portrait position. It is designed to be magnetically attached to the charging base, so that you can lift your phone or device from the holder without worrying of dragging the whole thing, as the cable will be easily detached from the base if you pull it too far away from the base, to reach your ear, for example. This will ensure the base is still staying firmly on its place, and nothing will be dropped or harmed due to the pulling.

The charging mechanism is essential for your phone or other mobile device to keep its screen on (in "car mode", if possible) and not worrying about its battery being drained out.

Although its main use is for putting your mobile device on car dash, you can also use it to place your phone or tablet on your table top at home or office. In this way, you can make your phone or tablet to be your digital clock / calendar / photo frame, or any other creative display gadget.

You might be interested to watch the video below to know more about this product and its usage.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Garmin DriveSmart 50LM GPS navigator

I planned to replace my 8 years old Garmin Nuvi 255W (which is still working fine, but just old and a bit slow compared with the new models nowadays) with the new Garmin DriveAssist 50LM which is a 2-in-1 device combining GPS navigator with driving cam recorder.

However, the Garmin DriveAssist 50LM cannot be easily found in local market yet, and I'm unable to get its price detail. I ended up purchased the Garmin DriveSmart 50LM, which is similar to the DriveAssist but without the driving cam recorder function. The price for this AECO set is slightly below RM950 with some free gifts (screen protector, carry case and home USB charger).

This Garmin DriveSmart 50LM GPS navigator contains most of the functions in my Garmin Nuvi 2565LM, and with quite a number of functions not found in the Nuvi 2565LM.

The main improvement found is its ability to integrate and work with smartphones (Android and iPhone) via Bluetooth connection. Apart from the normal Bluetooth hands-free calling and address book function which is already available in Nuvi 2565LM, after installing the 2 apps: Foursquare and Garmin Smartphone Link in the smartphone, you will gain these functions in the DriveSmart 50LM:
  • Getting notification from smartphone and popup on the GPS screen, including new SMS, Whatsapp, calendar alert, etc. There is also an option for the GPS to read out the notification message for you.
  • Searching of POIs to encompass the numerous up-to-date Foursquare POIs.
  • Viewing Foursquare location information including user ratings, restaurant pricing information, operation hours, etc.
  • Sync of favourites and travel history with the phone.
  • Display of weather information and temperature provided by the phone.

There are also some small functions not found in the Nuvi 2565LM available, including the fatique warning which will remind you to take a rest after 2-3 hours of continuous driving.

The search function has also been improved and easier to use.

This DriveSmart 50LM comes with 4GB internal storage, which is large enough to accomodate many maps, JCVs and other data. There is no need to put in micro-SD card for additional storage, although the micro-SD slot is still there.

This AECO set comes with lifetime free MalFreeMaps and City Navigator Singapore/Malaysia NT map, updatable from Garmin's website.

Similar with the Nuvi 2565LM, software update of this DriveSmart 50LM can be done using Garmin Express installed in the computer.

After connecting the Garmin GPS to the computer with USB cable, the Garmin Express can be used to:
  • Register the product for warranty.
  • Perform software update.
  • Install additional language files.
  • Backup favourites to PC.
  • Transfer favourites among different Garmin navigators own by you.
However, there are still things I don't like about this DriveSmart 50LM, including:
  • It is using mini-USB cable (same as the one used by 255W) and not micro-USB cable (the one used by 2565LM). As most of the smartphones and tablets nowadays are using micro-USB (and the latest such as HTC 10 is already using the new USB type-C), this means mini-USB cable is rarely used. This means the GPS cannot share the same USB cable with your smartphone as the connector is different.
  • When connected with smartphone using Smartphone Link, it is able to display new Whatsapp notification, but not until the Whatsapp message detail. When tap to read, it will just read out the sender's detail, but not the message content.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

myFreeview digital TV by MYTV has come and end of analog TV in Malaysia by 2018

If you have a television at your home in Malaysia and you are watching the free analog TV programmes (TV1, TV2, TV3, NTV7, 8TV, 9TV, ...) without subscribing to Astro satelite TV or HyppTV broadband TV, you must be aware that there will be no more analog signal broadcasting to your television from 2018 onwards.

In other words, your television will be unable to show any channel and will be pretty useless by 2018, unless you perform either one or more of the following actions:

  • Get a MYTV digital terrestrial television (DTTV) decoder box (DVB-T2 receiver) to receive the myFreeview digital TV programmes using your existing UHF aerial and send the DTTV signal to your television via HTMI cable or other compatible signal cables.
  • Buy a new television with built in DTTV decoder, certified by MCMC. This kind of television is called integrated digital television (IDTV) and will have a SIRIM approved DTTV sticker on it, which looks like the logo below. You can connect it directly to your existing UHF aerial to watch the TV programmes.

  • Just forget about myFreeview and subscribe to alternatives such as Astro (including Astro NJOI) or HyppTV. 
  • Buy an Internet TV box such as HiMedia to stream TV programmes using the Internet.

The existing free channels (TV1, TV2, TV3, NTV7, 8TV, 9TV, ...) are still free in myFreeview DTTV service. In future, there might be additional payable channels.

Under this DTTV initiative, the Malaysia government is giving away free decoder box to 2 million eligible families. The free decoder will be sent to them via Poslaju service.

The eligibility criteria for the free MYTV decoder box is:
  • Must be registered BR1M beneficiary in 2016.
  • Fall within the B40 income group.
  • Address is within the initial DTTV broadcast coverage area.
In fact, you can click on this link to check for your eligibility to receive this free MYTV decoder box.

Another way of checking is by sending SMS to 15888 with the following content: "MYTV DEKODER ".

The benefits for you to use myFreeview include:
  • Continue to watch the free TV channels after 2017.
  • There will be more upcoming TV channels available.
  • Better quality of picture and audio in digital format. HDTV is possible.
  • Personal video recording functions using the MYTV decoder box sold in the market.
The benefits for the Malaysia government to switch over from analog to DTTV:
  • The 700Mhz band currently occupied by the analog TV broadcasting will be freed up in 2018. This band can be reallocated for mobile LTE (4G & 5G) services.
  • It is easier to track your TV watching behaviour and pattern using the digital box, perhaps for big data analysis.
The benefits for Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary in this initiative:
  • His company Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd got the 15-years contract to operate MYTV.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

TM UniFi free bandwidth upgrade 2017

Under budget 2017, the Malaysian govenment has initiated a move to increase the broadband Internet speed in the country while reducing the broadband subscription fee.

Following the budget announcement in October 2016, broadband service providers in Malaysia, both wired and wireless, have respectively announced their bandwidth increment and/or price reduction plans.

For domestic TM UniFi and Streamyx users, TM has promised to provide free upgrade to existing bandwidth subscribed by their users, at no additional cost. Now, this has come to reality!

If you are existing domestic TM UniFi or Streamyx user, you can check for the free Internet speed upgrade detail of your subscription with this webpage:

In general, if your existing UniFi package is 30 Mbps, you will be upgraded to 50 Mbps, at the same subscription fee as before, and all the components in your package remains the same except for the increase in bandwidth. If your existing UniFi package is 50 Mbps, you will get 100 Mbps after the upgrade.

This bandwidth upgrade exercise is called the "TM Thank You Surprise Free Speed Upgrade Campaign".

Eligible TM broadband customers will receive email and/or SMS about this campaign, together with the link above. If you have not received the message from TM, you can still click on the above link to check for your eligibility.

To accept this offer, you need to visit to the above link, and fill in your basic personal details.

Before filling up the online form and giving out your personal detail, it is always advisable for you to check for the validity of the website's SSL certificate to ensure the website you visited is genuine.

If you are using Google Chrome browser, click on the word "Secure" with lock icon at the left of the URL address bar, then click "Details" under "Secure connection", then click the "View certificate" button.

If you are using Internet Explorer browser, click on the lock icon (security report) at the right of the URL address bar, then click "View certificates".

You should then be able to see that the SSL certificate of the website is issued to and the expiry date is in the future.

After submitting your details which include your UniFi phone number, the screen will show you your eligible upgrade. You can then choose to accept or decline the upgrade offer.

  • If you declined the offer, nothing will happen. You will continue to pay your UniFi subscription fee at same amount, and your bandwidth remains the same as before. All the components in your package: voice calls, HyppTV, TM WiFi, ... remains the same.
  • If you accepted the offer, your bandwidth will be upgraded in a future date (before July 2017). Your subscription fee remains the same as before the upgrade, and all the components in your package: voice calls, HyppTV, TM WiFi, ... remains the same.
  • If you do not indicate accept or decline, I'm not sure it will default to which option. Most likely it will default to declined.
Important: if you wish to accept this offer, you need to click on the Accept button in the website latest by 31 January 2017.

According to TM, once your bandwidth is successfully upgraded, you will be informed by email and/or SMS. You will need to reboot your modem or CPE equipment for the new bandwidth to take effect.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Malaysia schools festival holidays in 2017 (Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri & Deepavali)

Here are the Malaysia schools' festival holidays in 2017 for Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Deepavali, as announced by Ministry of Education (a.k.a. Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia, KPM).

Note that individual school can apply for additional off days  during these festival holidays period, which might subject to having replacement class for the additional off days applied.

The 2017 festival holidays for schools in Group B, which weekends fall on Saturday and Sunday, is as follow:

The 2017 festival holidays for schools in Group A, which weekends fall on Friday and Saturday, is as follow:

For your knowledge and information:
  • Chinese New Year falls on the first day of the first month of a new Chinese lunar calendar year.
  • Hari Raya Aidilfitri (a.k.a. Hari Raya Puasa) falls on the first day in Shawwal (the 10th month in Islamic calendar year) after the last fasting month of Ramadan (the 9th month in Islamic calendar year).
  • Deepavali celebrated in South-India, which followed by the Indian race in Malaysia and Singapore, falls on Ashvina Krishna Chaturdasi which is the lunar day before the new moon (Amavasya) in the Hindu lunisolar calendar. The date is between mid-October to mid-November every year.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Auspicious dates for wedding / marriage in 2018

Many couples plan for their wedding more than 1 year ahead in order to have sufficient preparation time.

Here is the list of auspicious dates for wedding/marriage in year 2018 (year of Dog), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Auspicious dates in 2017 for housewarming, open house, party, gathering, etc.

Here is the list of auspicious dates in 2017 for organizing and hosting meet-up with friends and/or relatives (会友), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

The dates are applicable for housewarming, open house, home party, gathering, potluck, and any other similar functions to meet up with friends and/or relatives. (Click the image to enlarge)

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Auspicious dates in 2017 for signing contract, register for marriage, etc.

Here is the list of auspicious dates in year 2017 for signing contract, signing offer letter, register for marriage, receiving religious baptism, and other similar agreement-related activities. It is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Auspicious dates for baby first haircut (Mundan) in 2017

In many culture, religion and/or tradition, the first haircut of a baby is considered an important milestone for his/her life. The day is known as Mundan, Chadakarana, Halaqah, Upsherin, etc.

Here is the list of auspicious dates for baby first haircut in year 2017, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Auspicious dates in 2017 for getting a baby

Here is the list of auspicious dates in 2017 (year of Rooster) for getting a baby (求嗣), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

The dates have good element(s) to embro/faetus. Traditionally, the dates are referred for conception planning (making love and expecting a baby to the family). Nowadays, people also make reference to them for Caesarian delivery of new born.

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Auspicious dates for marriage proposal or engagement in 2017

Before becoming the life partner, marriage is proposed by lover and engagement is made.

Here is the list of auspicious dates for marriage proposal or engagement in year 2017 (year of Rooster), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Auspicious dates for moving to new house / office in 2017

Here is the list of auspicious dates for moving to new house/office in year 2017, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Auspicious dates for starting new job / post / assignment in 2017

For employees, especially those in leading/managing position, here is a list of auspicious dates  in 2017 for starting new job/post/assignment, including joining new company or joining new team in existing company. It is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

It can be applied to first day reporting to new company/department/office/position, go for the post to lead/manage a new business unit/team/project/programme. It can also be applied to assuming new job position after promotion/restructuring/relocation exercise.

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Auspicious dates for renovation in 2017

Here is the list of auspicious dates for home or office renovation in year 2017, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Auspicious dates for opening business in 2017

Here is the list of auspicious dates for opening business in year 2017, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

It can be applied to new business opening, or reopening of business after a break/holiday. (Click the image to enlarge)

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.