Thursday, July 9, 2020

Renewed Malaysia passport in 11 minutes during RMCO period

My passport was about to expire in less than 6 months time. I planned to renew it online, but the system said due to their internal problem, I was not able to proceed with the online passport renewal and need to do it by going to an immigration office.

You can click here to try your luck to renew your Malaysia passport online. Before you proceed with the online passport renewal, you need to take your passport photograph at a professional photo shop to be uploaded to the system. After you've completed the online passport renewal process and made the payment online, you will still need to go to the immigration office with relevant documents, including a printed copy of the payment receipt, in order to collect your new passport.

If you plan to do your passport renewal at the immigration office, it is not necessary to take passport photograph, as your passport photograph will be taken at the immigration office, free of charge. Even though you have brought your own photo, the officer will still insist you to take a new photo at their photo booth.

Since I was not able to renew my passport online, I made an appointment to visit the UTC Shah Alam Immigration Office located at Level 2 of Kompleks UTC Selangor (Anggerik Mall). During current recovery movement control order (RMCO) period, it is a must to make prior appointment before going to the immigration office.

You can click here to make online appointment with immigration office.

Note that you need to make separate appointment for each person going to the immigration office. For my case, I brought my kid together to renew his passport as well. Therefore, I made 2 appointments, one for myself and one for my kid, both at the same timeslot.

Kompleks UTC Selangor (Anggerik Mall) is quite easy to reach with the aid of Google Maps. You can easily identify the building with its big UTC Selangor signage as shown in the photo below. It was quite easy to get a parking bay there. The parking is not free, but its hourly rate is pretty reasonable.


The immigration office is located at Level 2 in the building. We need to fill in a form for each person and submit all the required documents to the reception counter there, before we can get a queue number chit to be served.

Required documents for an adult to renew passport:
  • Existing passport (original)
  • MYKAD (original)
  • Printed copy of the appointment email received after the online appointment was made

Required documents for kids below 18 years old to renew passport:
  • Existing passport (original)
  • MYKID/MYKAD (both original and photocopy)
  • Birth certificate (both original and photocopy)
  • MYKAD of the parent who brings the kid to the immigration office (both original and photocopy)
  • Printed copy of the appointment email received after the online appointment was made

If you forgot to bring any of the required original documents, then that's too bad, you need to make another visit again with the complete set of required documents.

If you forgot to photocopy any of the required photocopies, no worry, expensive photocopy service is available at the shop just next door.

If you forgot to print out your appointment email, also no worry, expensive email printing service is available at the same shop next door, provided that you can access to that email with your handphone.

One more thing! If you forgot to bring the person (such as your kid) along, the passport also cannot be issued to the person, as thumbprints verification is an imperative process. The passport holder needs to be present at the immigration office.

Quite surprisingly, there were very few people coming for immigration office service today, probably because now is still RMCO period. We managed to complete the whole process, from getting the queue number chits for 2 persons, then attended by an immigration officer, had our left and right thumbprints verified, took our photo, made the payments at payment counter, put the payment receipts into a basket at Counter 8, wait for a while and collect our new passport, all completed in just 11 minutes.


Anyhow, the immigration office in UTC Selangor has made a KPI that all passports shall be ready for collection within 1 hour after payment made.

Note that payment can only be made either using credit card or debit card. Cash payment is not available.

Passport cover can be purchased at the passport collection counter. The price is RM5 each. There are 2 types of passport cover, the old type in darker red colour has a more solid feel, and the new type in lighter red colour is a piece of soft plastic. This passport cover is optional.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Choosing the correct cable to connect DVB-T2 television to aerial wall socket

Since August 2019, Malaysia free over-the-air television broadcasting has been switched from analogue to digital.

The good news is, nowadays most newer model of television has built-in DVB-T2 decoder to receive digital over-the-air TV channels.

If your house/condominium/apartment has an aerial wall socket that connects to the external aerial antenna of the building that looks like the one below, you can use a TV cable with male-to-female connectors to connect your TV with DVB-T2 decoder to the TV wall socket and receive the broadcasted digital TV channels.

If your TV is facing problem of missing channels, pixelated screen, snowy screen due to weak signal strength and/or weak signal quality, it can probably be caused by the type of cable used.

Referring to the table below, if you are staying in a highrise building, the cable buried inside the call connecting the wall socket to the external antenna should be coaxial cable of type RG11/U.

If you are staying in landed property which the distance between the external antenna and the wall socket is below 225 meters, then maybe RG6/U cable still be used without much problem.


For the portion of cable connecting your TV to the wall socket, RG6/U cable is recommended. Using RG11/U cable is even better, but its cost will be higher too.

If you are using RG59/U cable but don't face any problem with your TV, then you can continue using it, otherwise, consider upgrade the cable to RG6/U.

In the photo below, the black cable is type RG59/U and the white cable is type RG6/U. You can easily notice that the RG6/U has a much thicker diameter than RG59/U.


If your TV problem persists despite using RG6/U cable, you might probably need to resort to other solution, such as adding a signal booster, using digital TV decoder box, or receiving the TV signal using an internal antenna.



Monday, June 29, 2020

Generating PHP codes for mobile-friendly web database applications with AppGini rapid development tool

AppGini by Bigprof Software is a rapid web application development tool for the PHP and MySQL web service stack.

It is very easy to use, and very handy to generate up-and-running mobile-friendly web database applications instantly at one mouse click, without the need of writing any programming code.

With AppGini, it is possible for you to save hundreds of man-hours spent in prototyping, programming, design and testing your web application.


AppGini is a Windows application. As such, it is best suit with Laragon as the WAMP development platform to receive the PHP codes generated by Appgini, so that you can immediately test out the generated web application within the same computer.

If you are using Linux or Mac OS, you can also install AppGini in your computer through PlayOnLinux or PlayOnMac.

Below are 2 of the screens in the generated web application, with sample data, using AppGini's default template. You can modify the looks and feels of the screen by choosing another theme of template and layout options.

 
 

The PHP codes generated by AppGini are pretty clean and neat.

In 1 or 2 man-days, by using AppGini, you should be able to produce a fully functional Northwind Orders system with ACL (access control) mechanism from zero. Imagine how many man-days you need to produce the same amount of PHP codes as shown below, by manual coding.


Northwind Orders system is used by Bigprof to demo the work produced by AppGini. You can access to its live demo system here, and can even download its generated source codes here. Beside Northwind, there are more open source web applications generated by AppGini which you can download here.

You don't even need to know about PHP programming in order to create web application using AppGini. Anyhow, you need to have basic knowledge on software development and concept of relational database to master the use of AppGini quickly.

Therefore, I found AppGini an ideal tool for educational purpose to teach and learn about web database CRUD programming concept, and also relational database concept, including the data structure, normalization, joining of tables, keys & constraints, etc.

Of course, AppGini is also ideal for software developer to quickly come out with something, then to further customize on the generated codes. This approach can really save a lot of time and effort.

AppGini is a trialware. You can click here to download AppGini free trial edition, which has no time limit of use, but has limitation on some key functions, including unable to save your AppGini project for future use.

If you like it, you can order its full version at the price of US$79.90 per user. I found that this price is one of the cheapest among its competitor products such as Scriptcase, PHPMaker, CodeCharge Studio, Dadabik, etc.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Update Microsoft Windows to version 2004 - Windows 10 May 2020 Edition

Microsoft Windows 10 May 2020 Edition (version 2004) is available now, free for update from existing Windows 10 to version 2004.

It is also free for upgrade from eligible older Windows 7, 8, 8.1 to this Windows 10 May 2020 Edition.

Existing Windows 10 users can search for this update in Settings > Windows Update > Feature Update and click on it to start the update process.


If you are not able to find the update there, you can also perform a manual update by downloading the Windows 10 Update Assistant from the link below:
 
https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/software-download/windows10

 
Just run the downloaded file and follow the step by step instruction to complete the update to Windows 10 May 2020 Edition.


 
Please take note of the following:
  • This update will download a large number of files from the Internet. It is best to run when your computer is connected to a fast and stable network with unlimited data plan or free WiFi.
  • The entire update process will take about 3-4 hours. Therefore, it is better to run it over the night while you go to sleep.
  • Windows 10 Update Assistant will create a folder in C:\Windows10Upgrade with a lot of files, consuming a lot of storage space. The best way to safely delete this folder after successful update to Windows 10 version 2004 is by uninstalling Windows 10 Update Assistant. That folder will be deleted along with the uninstall process.
  • There will also be a very large C:\Windows.old folder after the update. You can find it under Settings > System > Storage and click on it to delete it safely.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

DIY hair cutting at home with Xiaomi Enchen Boost wireless hair trimmer

Due to the prolonged Movement Control Order (MCO) period which has caused all the barber shops and hair salons to shutdown until further notice, I have bought a Xiaomi Enchen Boost wireless hair trimmer for DIY hair cutting at home.

Enchen is a startup company in ChongQing (重庆), China that has successfully crowd-funded their hygiene care products in Xiaomi Youpin (小米有品) platform. They have several models of wireless hair trimmer product, with the name of Boost, Hummingbird, Sharp3, etc. and I found the Boost model is easier to use and more suitable for novice users.


At the price of around RM50, the package comes with:
  • The electronic hair trimmer with built-in rechargeable battery
  • Cleaning brush
  • USB type-C charging cable
  • A small bottle of lubricating oil
  • 2 stainless steel hair cutting scissors
  • Plastic comb
  • Barber apron
  • User manual in Chinese language
There are sellers selling this Xiaomi Enchen Boost hair trimmer at a slightly cheaper price, but without the scissors, comb and apron.

Before using the hair trimmer, its battery needs to be recharged, and its cutting blade needs to be lubricated with the lubricating oil supplied in the package.

The package does not come with a charger. You will need to use your own wall charger or computer USB port to charge the hair trimmer. When charging, one of its LED will blink slowly, with "breathing" effect. After it is fully charged, the LED light will stop "breathing" and become continuously on.

The hair trimmer can be used while connected to its charging USB cable. Normally, it is used wirelessly after unplugged from the USB cable, so that you can move it freely without being tangled by the USB cable.

It takes about 60 minutes to reach 90% charge, and another 30 minutes to be fully charged. At 90% charged state, it can be used for 80 minutes. When fully charged, it can be used for 90 minutes.

The one button at the front of the hair trimmer functions to turn it on/off, as well as to toggle its normal/turbo speed. You can toggle into turbo cutting speed by turning it on with a long press instead of short press.

Its motor is pretty quiet without producing much noise. At normal speed, the motor rotates at 4,500 rpm and at turbo speed, 5,800 rpm. It is strong enough to even cut down fine copper wires, as shown below.


The Enchen Boost hair trimmer can be easily adjusted to trim down the hair from 3 mm to 21 mm at a slide to its back button.


Note that the hair trimmer body is not water resistant, and should be avoided from contacting with excessive water. Its cutting blade can be removed and rinse with water for cleaning purpose.


You can use the comb and scissors to fine tune the hair slope for nicer look after the trimming.

This Xiaomi Enchen Boost wireless hair trimmer is very easy to use and value for money. With it, you can easily DIY your own hair cut, and also help your family members' hair cut, even without any prior hair cutting experience. It is suitable for hair cutting to people from infant to old age. Its low noise operation is generally more acceptable to infants and toddlers, so that they are more cooperative and emotionally calmer during the hair cut.

One thing to criticize is that it only comes with user manual in Chinese language. The user manual has clear instruction on how to operate the hair trimmer, cleaning and maintenance, and also some fault troubleshooting steps. It would be much better if English is included in the user manual.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

What is meant by FOMO, FOBO, YOLO, MOMO, FOMOMO, FOJI, BROMO, SLOMO, JOMO, ...?

You might have heard about FOMO, the acronym for Fear Of Missing Out. It is a psychological need of a person in society, particularly in social media. It is a common term nowadays used in advertising and marketing, applied in strategies and tactics to influence customer behaviour.

Other than FOMO, there are many other related acronyms spun off to describe a person's state of mind in the real-world and/or virtual community. Some of them have also become sales and marketing terms.

You can see these terms in social media hashtags.

FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out, or fear to be left behind. For example, when your friend posted something in the social media, and many friends reacted on it. You feel FOMO if don't follow suit.

FOBO = Fear Of Better Options. There is another one: Fear Of Being Outcompeted. This is commonly seen in a job interview. The employer is FOBO (fear of better options), the candidate is also FOBO (fear of being outcompeted).

YOLO = You Only Live Once. This is a trait of positive personality to live the fullest. It is also a common advertising term.

MOMO = Mystery Of Missing Out. This is a higher level of anxiety than FOMO. For example, when you post something in the social media and anticipate your friends to react, but you get very little reaction, you might fall into MOMO state.

FOMOMO = Fear Of the Mystery Of Missing Out. You are fear to post something, because you are fear of MOMO.

FOJI = Fear Of Joining In. This is another term of FOMOMO. Nowadays FOJI is a more commonly used term than FOMOMO.

BROMO = Bros protecting you from Missing Out. This is an act of solidarity from your friends to avoid you feel FOMO.

SLOMO = Slow to Missing Out. When something has happened in your social network while you are offline or sleeping, and you realize later...

JOMO = Joy Of Missing Out. This is the opposite of FOMO. You feel okay or even happier to be offline.



Tuesday, May 19, 2020

4 habits of highly confident people

In his article about mastering fear, clinical psychologist Nick Wignall highlighted that confidence is a belief that you will be OK despite your fear.

He opined that confident people do not rule out fear, but they view fear and uncertainty as uncomfortable but not dangerous.

He believes that anyone can learn to become more confident. Becoming more confident doesn't mean eliminating fear from our life. It means learning to live with your fear, and achievable through building up the following 4 habits:

  • Accept your fear instead of running away from it.
  • Communicate your wants and needs assertively.
  • Make decisions based on values, not feelings.
  • Be compassionate with yourself after mistakes.
You can click here to read the full article about these 4 habits of highly confident people by Nick Wignall.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

15 habits of genuinely intelligent people

I've just read an article written by Jessica Wildfire about 15 habits of genuinely intelligent people.

To summarize, the mentioned 15 habits are:

  • They don’t talk about how smart they are.
  • They learn best by imitation.
  • They try to figure things out themselves.
  • They are always hunting for knowledge.
  • They don’t brag about what they know.
  • They connect the dots.
  • They are OK with cognitive dissonance.
  • They ask a lot of questions.
  • They abstract from their experiences.
  • They seek out puzzles and paradoxes.
  • They don’t get hung up on crumbs.
  • They move slow, until they hit warp speed.
  • They have no problem with failure.
  • They don’t try to sound smart.
  • They don’t always use big words.
If there is one habit that oversees all the others, it will be: empathy. Intelligent people try to think from lots of different viewpoints. They try to understand how their actions affect everyone - not just themselves, or the handful of people they care about or agree with.

You can click here to read the full article by Jessica Wildfire, and the explanation on each of the abovementioned 15 habits.


Monday, May 11, 2020

The differences between Huawei Watch GT 2 and Huawei Watch GT 2e

Huawei has recently launched the Huawei Watch GT 2e which priced about 30% cheaper than the flagship Huawei Watch GT 2.

While Huawei Watch GT 2 comes in 2 case size variants of 46mm and 42mm, the Huawei Watch GT 2e only has one case size, which is 46mm.


There are a lot of similarities in the specifications between Huawei Watch GT 2 and Huawei Watch GT 2e. Many people has been asking, beside the obvious different in price tag, what are the differences between both of them?

After some fact finding, I have concluded that the Huawei Watch GT 2e is a model with features and functions in-between the 46mm and 42mm variants of Huawei Watch GT 2.

The main differences of Huawei Watch GT 2e from Huawei Watch GT 2 42mm
  • The case size of Huawei Watch GT 2e is 46mm which is larger than 42mm.
  • Its battery life of about 14 days is longer than the 42mm's 7 days.

The main differences of Huawei Watch GT 2e from Huawei Watch GT 2 46mm
  • It has a smaller RAM size of 16MB, compared with the 32MB RAM of Huawei Watch GT 2 46mm.
  • It does not have a microphone and unable to make phone calls.
  • It does not have a speaker and unable to play music directly or listen to phone calls.
As such, the Huawei Watch GT 2e can be seen as a scale-up version of Huawei Watch GT 2 42mm but a scale-down version of Huawei Watch GT 2 46mm, with a new attractive price tag. This can be summarized in the table below.


By the way, since the Huawei Watch GT 2e is newer, it comes with a firmware with more features, such as the SpO2 blood oxygen saturation measurement. The sports mode also increased from 15 to 100, with sport activity auto-detect capability.

Anyhow, these software features improvements are anticipated to be made available to the Huawei Watch GT 2 as well through new firmware update. For example, right now, the SpO2 measurement is now already available in Huawei Watch GT 2 after firmware update to version 1.0.6.26 and above.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Huawei/Honor car charger comparison - AP31 vs CP31 vs AP38 vs AP38C vs CP37 vs CP39S

Huawei produces several models of car charger under its own Huawei or Honor brand. Different model of the car charger looks about the same, but their maximum charging output is different, and their price is different too.

Let's take a look on their differences, so that if you want to buy one, you could buy the correct model at the right price tag.

Huawei CP39S


Technology: SuperCharge wireless
Maximum power output: 27W
15-layers safety protection
You won't get this wrong, as this model is a wireless charger which looks different from the other models. It can only charge handphones that support wireless charging, such as Huawei P20 Pro, P30 Pro, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 30 Pro 5G, Mate RS, Mate 20 RS, Mate 20 X, etc.


Huawei CP37

Technology: SuperCharge 2.0
Maximum power output: 40W
12-layers safety protection
Charging USB #1: 5V2A
Charging USB #2: 10V4A max


Huawei AP38

Technology: SuperCharge
Maximum power output: 27.5W
Charging USB #1: 5V1A
Charging USB #2: 4.5V5A / 9V2A
5-layers safety protection
This is the same as Honor AP38C, but under Huawei brand.


Honor AP38C

Technology: SuperCharge
Maximum power output: 27.5W
Charging USB #1: 5V1A
Charging USB #2: 4.5V5A / 9V2A
5-layers safety protection
This is the same as Huawei AP38, but under Honor brand.


Huawei CP31
Technology: QuickCharge
Power output: 18W + 5W
Charging USB #1: 9V2A
Charging USB #2: 5V1A
5-layers safety protection
This is the same as Honor AP31, but under Huawei brand.


Honor AP31
Technology: QuickCharge
Power output: 18W + 5W
Charging USB #1: 9V2A
Charging USB #2: 5V1A
5-layers safety protection
This is the same as Huawei CP31, but under Honor brand.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Using Android phone's camera as webcam for PC and Mac with Iruin

Not long ago, I wrote about DroidCam which can turn the camera on your Android smartphone into webcam for your Windows or Linux computer, to be used in Skype, Zoom, and other applications that utilize a webcam.

The main limitation of DroidCam is that, right now, it does not work with Apple's product. You cannot use it to capture and stream video from iPhone or iPad, nor use it as webcam in iMac or MacBook.

Not to worry, because there are alternatives to DroidCam that can also work with Apple's product, such as Iruin.


Similar to DroidCam, in order to make use of the camera of your smartphone as webcam for your computer with Iruin, you will need to install the Iruin webcam app in your phone, and then install Iruin webcam software in your computer.
and then
Iruin is very easy and straightforward to use. It has a very clear-cut Settings page too.


It is simple, yet powerful. It's free version can support high resolution and even 4k video (3840 x 2160). I found its video brighter, clearer and finer than DroidCam too.


To use Iruin as your webcam, just select "Iruin Webcam" as your video camera source. Below is an example of how to set it in Zoom.



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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Buying guide for electronic dance mat for TV / computer

Nowadays, particularly during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, a kind of electronic dance mat that works together with TV or computer has become a hot selling item in many e-commerce platforms.


This kind of electronic dance mat is a kind of portable floor blanket with electronic sensors underneath, so that it can become an input device to its dancing/gaming console box, using TV or computer screen as its interactive screen display.

It is ideal for home aerobic exercise, and to have a fun interactive time with children.

Normally, the electronic dance mat system has 3 main functions:
  • Dancing with music by accurately stepping at the right region on the mat at the right timing, which could also include waving your hand at the right timing.
  • Aerobic exercise and yoga training by on-screen coaching.
  • Playing console games


Below are some of the key considerations when buying an electronic dance mat for your reference.

1. Dance mat for 2 persons

There are 2 variants of this kind of dance mat. The square single person mat, which is cheaper, and the rectangular 2 persons mat, which is double the size of the single person one.

Unless you are living alone and always using the dance mat alone, otherwise you won't be regret buying the 2 persons mat, so that you can dance together in 2 persons, and playing interactive console games in 2 persons mode.

2. PU surface material

Normally the dance mat surface material is made of either PVC or PU. PVC type is slightly cheaper, but less durable. The PU type is more robust and durable, and provides better touch with the foot. It is also water resistance, and easier to clean.

The PVC type comes with varies thickness, some can be as thick as 30mm to 50mm, depends on the filler foam inside it. The PU type is normally as thick as the thin PVC type without extra thickness. Anyhow, you can always achieve the same thickness effect by laying a layer of tatami foam tiles underneath the PU dance mat. The cost for tatami foam tiles as shown below is much cheaper too.

3. HDMI connection

Older version of the dance mat console box connects to the TV by composite RCA cables. Newer version connects to the TV by HDMI cable.

Unless your TV has limited number of HDMI ports, it is better to choose the dance mat which uses HDMI connection rather than composite RCA connection, as HDMI supports higher screen resolution.

4. Wireless connection

Older version of the dance mat is integrated with its console box. The distance between the dance mat and your TV will then be restricted by the length of the connecting cable.

Newer version of the dance mat connects wirelessly to a separate console box, which in turn connects to the TV with HDMI or RCA cable. In the way, you can place the dance mat anywhere within the wireless communication distance. The dance mat will need to operate using batteries.

5. Wireless hand controllers

Hand controller is another input device beside the dance mat. Beside buttons, it also has a gyroscope sensor inside to detect hand movement.


If your dance mat is for single person, your package will come with one hand controller; if your dance mat is for 2 persons, your package will come with two hand controllers.

There are 2 types of hand controller. The older version is wired to the console box, and the newer version is wireless. You should get the wireless one which provides you with freedom of movement.

Certain dance mat packages don't come with any hand controller. They are either having a console box with camera that can capture your body movement, eliminating the need of using gyroscope in the hand controller, or the package reduced the price by not supplying with the hand controller.

Hand controller is quite essential which playing console games. Without the hand controller, the games could become very difficult to play, less fun, or even totally unplayable.

6. SD-card external storage

SD-card makes it possible to add more games and music to the dance mat system.

More intelligent dance mats can automatically generate dance steps by analyzing on the new MP3 files you store in the SD-card, while other less intelligent dance mats (usually cheaper) will always generate the same set of dance steps regardless what MP3 file you store in the SD-card.

Some cheaper version of dance mat system is without SD-card slot, and you are confined with the games and dancing music provided in the internal storage of the system. You are not able to add more on top of the existing.

7. Language

Most of this kind of dance mat are made in China. Most of their system only come in Chinese language. Some of them have English user interface. If you need English, make sure you choose the correct one, which needs to be explicitly indicate it has English user interface.


Below are some of the optional features and functions that are nice to have, which you can consider as well. Usually these additional features and functions will raise up the price tag of the dance mat accordingly.

a. Dancing stage light

Some dance mat comes with a crystal ball dancing stage light, making it more fun to dance on it.


b. LED guiding lights

Some PU type dance mat comes with LED lights to guide you to step on the right place when dancing on it. Those dance mat with LED lights will consume more number of batteries.


c. Augmented reality

Some dance mat system with camera can make yourself appear in your TV screen as a character. You can then dance interactively together with animated character(s) in the TV. It is also more fun playing games in augmented reality.

d. Connect to computer

Most newer version of dance mat's console box is able to connect to your computer by using a USB cable.

After installing the correct device driver, your computer will then be able to recognize the dance mat and its hand controllers as input devices.

The dance program, exercise coaching program and games are of separate set from those in the console box, and need to be installed in your computer.

There are also third party dance program such as StepMania which you can download and install in your computer to work with the dance mat.

This feature is good to have, because your computer screen is usually much smaller than your TV, unless you use a projector screen. Normally, people will just use the dance mat with TV, and seldom with computer.

Monday, May 4, 2020

How to get 16GB free VPN every month from Windscribe

Windscribe defines itself as "a set of tools that work together to block ad trackers and web beacons, restore access to blocked content and help you safeguard your privacy online". Basically, it is a VPN service with some additional privacy and security protection features such as the R.O.B.E.R.T.

You should consider to use Windscribe if you are looking for a VPN provider that provides at least 10GB free monthly usage to you, without time limit (lifetime validity), without any ads annoyance, with reasonably fast and stable connection, and rapidly improving with new features and functions as well as servers coverage.


Previously, Windscribe used to provide promo code to provide as much as 50GB or even 60GB free monthly usage, but those promo codes are no longer valid. Anyhow, you can still get 16GB and more free VPN every month, by following the steps below.

Click here to create a new Windscribe account, and you will get 2GB free monthly VPN. Note that it is a referral link to give you an additional 1GB VPN per month. If your Windscribe account is opened without a referral, you will only get 8GB free monthly VPN in the next step, instead of 9GB.

Verify your email address with Windscribe, and you will get an additional 9GB free monthly VPN. That will add up to a total of 11GB free VPN per month.

Login to Windscribe website and go to your Account Overview page, click the "Tweet 4 Data" button and post the promotional info to your Tweeter account, you will get another 5GB free monthly VPN. That's how you can reach 16GB free VPN every month.

If you want additional free data, become a referral by following the instruction here. For each successful referral with confirmed email, you will get an additional 1GB per month together with your friend.

If you like Windscribe, you can also upgrade your account to Pro by paying subscription, which will provide you with unlimited VPN data usage, much more servers and locations availability, accessible with same account from unlimited devices, and full features. You can click here to upgrade to Windscribe Pro account with special discount.

Windscribe can be installed in:
  • Computers: Windows, Linux and Mac OS
  • Smartphones and tablets: Android and iOS
  • Web browsers: Chrome and Firefox (will only protect web browsing activity)
  • Routers that support OpenVPN connections
Windscribe supports the following VPN connection modes, and by default will automatically pick the best mode for you:
  • IKEv2
  • OpenVPN TCP
  • OpenVPN UDP
  • Stealth - encapsulates OpenVPN in a TLS tunnel via Stunnel
  • Wstunnel - encapsulates OpenVPN in a WebSocket
Why you need VPN? There are many reasons, to name a few:
  • Protect your privacy from the website or server you visit by masking your actual IP address and location.
  • Stay anonymous to the websites you visited by various privacy tools provided by Windscribe in addition to the VPN connection.
  • Block unwanted ads, malware, etc. with tools provided by Windscribe.
  • Hide your Internet activity from the network devices of public WiFi, company's network device, ISP network device, etc. which might have interest to log and trace your Internet activity.
  • Escape certain kind of data throttling imposed by WiFi provider, school, company, ISP, etc.
  • Escape certain kind of QoS bandwidth throttling imposed by WiFi provider, school, company, ISP, etc.
  • Bypass censorship imposed by WiFi provider, school, company, ISP, government, etc.
  • Access to website, service and/or content that only made available to certain region.
  • Enjoy discounted price available to certain region for online purchasing.
  • Securely access to your internal resources by using Windscribe Port Forwarding.
  • Manually route your network path to oversea server to achieve faster and/or more stable connection by selecting a strategic VPN location.
You might need to make use of Stealth or Wstunnel modes mentioned above in order to escape throttling and/or bypass censorship in certain tough situation.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

List of smart watches, bands, weighting scales and wearable devices that can be linked with Huawei Health

Huawei Health is an integrated mobile application for health management, physical activity journaling, professional exercise coaching and wearable device management. It is available for free download in Google Play Store, Apple App Store and also Huawei App Gallery.

 

Although Huawei Health can work as a standalone mobile app in the smart phone, its power is only unleashed when it is wirelessly paired with smart watch, smart band, weighting scale and/or other wearable devices with Bluetooth.

Huawei Health has a pedometer which can intelligently takes your step counts collected from the handphone and also from all the connected devices, and display the composite result.

It can display the total distance travelled by your body from combined activities of walking, running, climbing and other. It can also display the amount of calories burned from such activities. It can even display the height climbed by your body from the composite data recorded through the barometer in your smartphone and connected wearable devices.

It also provides dashboard for heart rate records, SpO2 blood oxygen saturation measurement, sleep quality analysis, stress level analysis, weight measurement, exercise records, and even menstrual cycle tracking for women (by using data from another mobile app called Huawei Cycle Calendar).

Huawei Health is also a wearable device management center for paired devices. You can use it to upload and change watch faces, upload and manage music in the wearable, configure device settings, and even perform firmware update to the wearable.

Currently, the list of officially supported devices that can work with Huawei Health are as below. Devices not in the list are not yet fully tested by Huawei for their compatibility with Huawei Health, which you can still try your luck to find out if their can successfully paired with Huawei Health without much problem.

Huawei Health supported smart watches:
  • Huawei Watch GT 2 (both 46mm and 42mm)
  • Huawei Watch GT 2e
  • Huawei Watch GT (both 46mm and 42mm)
  • Huawei Watch 2
  • Huawei Porsche Design Watch
  • Huawei Fit
  • Honor MagicWatch 2
  • Honor Watch Magic/Dream

Huawei Health supported smart bands:
  • Huawei Band 4 / 4 Pro
  • Huawei Band 4e
  • Huawei Band 3 / 3 Pro
  • Huawei Bend 3e
  • Huawei Band 2 / 2 Pro
  • Huawei TalkBand B5 / B5 Lite
  • Huawei TalkBand B3
  • Huawei Color Band A2
  • Honor Band 5i
  • Honor Band 5 / 5 Sport
  • Honor Band 4 / 4 Running Edition
  • Honor Band 3

Huawei Health supported weighting scales:
  • Huawei Body Fat Scale
  • Honor Scale 2
  • Honor Smart Scale
  • PICOOC S1 Pro Body Fat Scale

Huawei Health supported heart rate monitors:
  • Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Headphones
  • Suunto Smart Belt Heart Rate Strap
  • Polar H7 Heart Rate Chest Strap

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

My Tx8 3.5mm AUX to Bluetooth 5.0 converter for audio transmitting / receiving

My Ruizu X02 MP3 player is without Bluetooth output function, and I think it would be good to add Bluetooth function to it, so that it can output audio to wireless earbuds, Bluetooth speaker, soundbar, etc.

There are cheap AUX to Bluetooth converters available, some even priced below RM20. Based on their product description and customer review, the follow shortcomings are quite common to them:

  • Single function of either Bluetooth receiving or transmitting only.
  • Poor and short distance connection.
  • Sound is lagging behind due to low transmission rate.
  • Battery only works for short hours before recharging needed.
  • Product quality not so good with high faulty rate after some times of use.
Anyhow, I managed to find this Tx8 2-in-1 Bluetooth transmitter and receiver, at the cost of below RM30, with the following features:
  • Supports Bluetooth 5.0 for better audio data transmission quality.
  • Can work for 8-12 hours before battery recharge is needed.
  • Transmission distance exceeding 33 feet.
  • Able to remember the paired devices.

It is very compact in size, easy to carry along. It even has a fixed folder design. It comes with USB charging cable, AUX cable, RCA cable, and a user manual.


I have purposely put my Logitech M590 mouse beside to give a better idea about its size.

By connecting the Tx8 with cable to the audio output of MP3 player, computer, handphone, tablet, TV, and any other devices with AUX audio output port, the Tx8 can transmit the audio wirelessly through Bluetooth connection to wireless earbuds, speaker, sound bar, Hi-Fi system, car audio system, etc.

On the other hand, by connecting the Tx8 with cable to the audio input of a speaker, radio, sound bar, and any other audio devices with AUX or RCA input, the Tx8 can receive the audio wirelessly through Bluetooth connection from handphone, tablet, computer, TV, media player, smart watch, etc.

The Bluetooth pairing is pretty fast, and the connection is pretty stable.

If you are looking for similar gadget with an affordable price, you can consider this one.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Raspberry Pi - fully working computer at the cost of RM300++ (best for home use during and beyond MCO period)

During current Movement Control Order (MCO) period, there are quite a lot of schools have resorted into online teaching and learning mechanism. There are also quite a lot of companies practicing work-from-home (WFH) concept.

However, this raised a question: what if the family does not have a computer at home? And, what if the family only has one computer at home, but needs to be shared by parents who need to WFH and also multiple children who need to learn from home?

Well, you can buy a fully working computer online, including additional computers needed for all your family members, at the cost of RM300++ each, in the condition that you have a screen (either computer monitor or TV) at home, and Internet access (either phone's hotspot sharing or broadband Internet).

The full set Raspberry Pi (recommended for Version 4 model B with 2GB RAM) with all its required accessories, is a fully working computer at the cost of about RM300-RM360 only. Beside its low cost, it also consumes minimal amount of electricity and requires minimal storage space due to its small size.


It is good enough for normal online learning, doing assignments with office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation slides, database, etc.), and some entertainment including games.

With about RM360, you can buy the following full set of computer:
  • Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with Quad core CPU and 2GB RAM - RM174
  • Casing for the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B - RM25  (*1)
  • Official Raspberry 15W power adapter - RM35
  • Micro-HDMI to HDMI cable - RM10
  • Wired earphone - RM15 (*2)
  • 16GB micro SD card preinstalled with NOOBS - RM36 (*3)
  • Logitech MK220 wireless keyboard & mouse - RM65 (*4)

*1: The casing is an optional item. Without the casing, the Raspberry Pi will be a naked computer board as shown in the image above. With the casing, it will look like below:

*2: If you connect the Raspberry Pi to your TV using HDMI cable, you can make use of the audio output from your TV. You need an earphone or speaker, either wired or Bluetooth, to listen to the audio from Raspberry Pi if you are using a monitor without audio output.

*3: Raspberry Pi makes use of micro SD card as its "harddisk". You can also buy a blank micro SD card, which is much cheaper, and download NOOBS for free from Raspberry's website. That will require some basic computer knowledge to download and install NOOBS into the micro SD card. NOOBS is an installer that will prepare the SD card for Raspbian (including partitioning, etc.), and automatically download and install the operating system into it.

*4: Alternatively, you can also use cheaper USB wired keyboard & mouse to further reduce the cost.

The recommended operating system will be Raspbian, a scaled down version of Debian Linux. It has fully functioning Chromium or Vivaldi web browser, LibreOffice resembling the Microsoft Office, and tonnes of installable free softwares in Raspbian repository. This is good enough to access to Google suite of applications (Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Hangout, ...), watch online & offline video, listen to online & offline music, access to learning portal and other websites, attending audio/video conferencing, etc.

There are also programming tools and graphic design software available in Raspbian for learning purpose.

In fact, you can install a full LAMP stack in Raspbian and turn your Raspberry Pi into a web application server as well.

The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B also supports webcam and voice input with additional module, which will need additional cost to buy and some technical skill to assemble.

Beside Raspbian, there are other choices of operating system that works with Raspberry Pi too, including Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Edition, which you can explore if you are enthusiastic with them.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Huawei Watch blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) measuring feature

Blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) is a feature in the latest Huawei and Honor smart watches.

Image from Huawei's website

This feature is available in the Huawei Watch GT2 sold in China, but had somehow been disabled in that model sold in the international market. Anyhow, this feature has now been enabled to Huawei Watch GT2 sold outside China as well, following its firmware update version 1.0.6.26 and above (latest firmware version as of now should be 1.0.6.32).


SpO2 represents an estimation of oxygen levels in a person’s bloodstream. According to description in Huawei's website, "blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) is one of the important vital signs that can reflect the oxygen supply of the body. Very low levels of SpO2 can result in serious symptoms such as lack of energy, fatigue and light-headedness."

Under normal conditions, a healthy person should have an SpO2 level between 90 and 100.

The heart of an average adult normally pumps about 5,000 ml of blood per minute to the tissues and organs of the body, delivering about 1,000 ml of oxygen per minute to the body. Body function will be affected if the oxygen is at low level, causing hypoxemia and even hypoxia problem.

There are 2 types of hypoxemia. Acute hypoxemia occurs over a relatively short period of time, while chronic hypoxemia is ongoing over a longer period.

Common symptoms of acute hypoxemia include: shortness of breath, rapid breathing, wheezing, cough, confusion, headache, fast heart rate, and bluish colour in skin, fingernails and/or lips.

Common symptoms of chronic hypoxemia include: pulmonary hypertension, cor pulmonale (enlargement of right-side of the heart), heart failure, and polycythemia.

People who are having a higher risk of hypoxemia should regularly check their SpO2 level. You are one of them if you are:
  • always on a busy work schedule
  • working or living in a stressful environment
  • working in a situation that needs to use a lot of brain everyday
  • located in a place of high-altitude (with low atmospheric pressure)
  • elderly people (with decreased body function)
  • snoring a lot or having sleep apnea problem (might cause respiratory obstruction)
  • having heart defects
  • having lung conditions, including asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, corona virus infection, etc.
Huawei SpO2 sensor technology makes it easy to measure SpO2 level, anytime, at any place. Clinically, SpO2 level is measured using arterial blood gas (ABG) test, pulse oximeter, etc.

To measure SpO2 with a Huawei / Honor watch or band that supports the feature, just keep your arm still, fasten the strap tightly, and make sure the screen is facing up. Then, swipe on the screen for the SpO2 function, and start your measurement. It will take about 1 minute to complete.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Using Android phone's camera as webcam for computer with DroidCam

You need a webcam in order to do video conferencing, or to do vlogging, or to perform online talks, ...

You might have a desktop computer with a monitor that without a camera (which is usually the case), or you need a better camera than the one on your laptop (which usually has a low resolution), or you need a replacement for your malfunctioned laptop camera, or for whatever reason that you need a webcam for your computer, wait a minute and read this before you go and purchase a physical webcam, because you can turn your Android phone into one.

DroidCam is a solution to let you make use of the camera on your Android phone to become the webcam of your computer running on either Windows or Linux operating system.

It has a pretty low hardware requirement, so you can easily turn your old Android phone with a functioning camera into your webcam. Of course, it is even better when you run it on Android phone with better specs.

All you need to do is download and install DroidCam Wireless Webcam by Dev47Apps from Google Play Store, and then download and install DroidCam client into your computer.

Beside video, DroidCam is also able to optionally stream audio from the microphone of your phone to your computer.

DroidCam can connect and stream to your computer either through WiFi, USB or HTTPS connection. WiFi is the preferred one, as it is the easiest to setup and use.

When you run the DroidCam app in your phone, you should be able to see its connection information, including the internal IP address of your handphone, and the DroidCam server port.


By default, DroidCam is using the back camera of your phone (which usually has a better spec than the front camera). You can switch it to the front camera in DroidCam setting.


If you run the DroidCam Client in your computer with the IP address and port number as shown on the DroidCam app in your phone, and click the Start button, you should be able to see the video captured by your phone's camera in DroidCam Client.

For example, before clicking the Start button in DroidCam Client, there is no webcam video shown in Skype. It will show a blue or green background.


After clicking the Start button, Skype will immediately captures the webcam video.


Note that Skype install through Microsoft Store is not working with DroidCam. If you encounter this problem, just uninstall Skype and install the Skype desktop version from the URL given below. It should work then:
On your DroidCam screen in your phone, you can also find 2 HTTPS links.

The first link is accessible from your web browser such as Google Chrome, and it will open up the DroidCam web client.


The second link is accessible with video streaming client, such as VLC Media Player. The setting for VLC Media Player is as below:


DroidCam has a feature to allow you to protect your HTTPS access with username and/or password.


DroidCam is free for use, with in-app ads support. You can also buy DroidCamX Wireless Webcam Pro in Google Play Store to remove the ads and to get more features.

You might probably also be interested to read about:

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Logitech MK220 wireless keyboard and mouse combo - work well with Raspberry Pi Zero W

The Logitech MK220 is a combo of Logitech wireless keyboard K220 and Logitech wireless mouse M150, both sharing the same USB receiver communicating using 2.4 GHz band with effective connection range of up to 10 meters or 33 feet.


The keyboard is powered by 2 AAA size batteries, while the mouse is powered by 2 AA size batteries. The batteries in the keyboard can last as long as 24 months, while the batteries in the mouse can last for about 6 months.

The keyboard is very compact in size, makes it easy to carry around and also need less space to store. Despite its compact size, it has full size keys of the same size like normal keyboards, except for the first row of function keys which are only half the size of the other keys. This keyboard is pretty quiet. It is also spill resistant.

The mouse is of the same size like other normal mice. It doesn't have fancy features, just 2 buttons and a scroll wheel.

I can't find any power on/off switch on both the keyboard and mouse. I think they are designed to be always on, and will go into standby mode when connection is not made with the USB receiver.

This Logitech MK220 is plug-and-play to Windows, Linux and Android systems. I find this combo pretty ideal to be used as input devices for Raspberry Pi.


It works flawlessly with my Raspberry Pi Zero W, by connecting its USB receiver with a micro-USB to USB converter to the Raspberry Pi's micro-USB port.

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