New PowerBank in da House!

Hooray! New gadget in the house! What is new this time? Lately, I have been relying a lot on my PowerBank or Battery Pack or Juicer as my ageing Apple iPhone 6S Plus is draining battery way faster than usual. However, I am holding on to this until the new iPhone 8 is released as there is totally no point in jumping on the iPhone 7 bandwagon at this point of time when we know the release date for the new iPhone 8 is imminent!

As I was doing some window-shopping at Suntec City last week, I walked past the “Mi” Store which is the store for XiaoMi line of products. Feeling curious what’s in store for me as it has been a real long time ago that I have used XiaoMi product. Still remember those days when XiaoMi do not have an official store front in Singapore, I went ahead to buy my first PowerBank (16000 mAh in capacity) and have to collect it from an industry area in Singapore. Time flies and now it is so easy to get this value-for-money line of products almost anywhere in Singapore. So, why the flagship store then? I don’t have the answer either but I am a fan of buying from the original store instead of going through re-sellers.

My old (16000 mAh) battery juicer suffered a damage when I was in Auckland last year where it slipped out of my jacket pocket and create a dent on the cover itself but since then I make do with it all the while. However, when I saw the newer series of the PowerBank, I am so in-love with the design as it looks so sleek! Without further ado, please see below:

Woot, the package is so much better than before. In the past, we do not even have any wording printed on the exterior of the box!

Look at the statistics being published and printed on the exterior of the box, this juicer (a.k.a. PowerBank) can fully charged 7.5x an Apple iPhone 7. *Roar*

More specifications of the specs as such “Fast-Charging” which is something that I can make do without in terms of bi-directional functionality. I need my PowerBank to quickly charged up my device as soon as possible else I will probably not be able to stay connected in this Internet-Enabled World! I definitely can make do without the fast charging of the PowerBank as I always leave it by the power socket for hours adoring the blinking lights on the PowerBank.

More wordings…

Man, artistic shot of my PowerBank. Although the material of the casing is Plastic compared to the older version which I suppose it should be made up of Aluminium. (*Wild Guessing*)

This PowerBank equips with 2 x USB port so that one can concurrent charged up two devices. It works flawlessly for the older version and I have yet to have this tested out on the newer version. The centre socket is the one used for charging the PowerBank which is uses the regular kind of cable used widely for Android devices before phasing out into using Type-C.

I really like the Pearlie White colour on this PowerBank, I wonder if XiaoMi is going to start producing more of different colours! If yes, I will be collecting them!

Cheers,
Milton

New PowerBank in da House!

Using iPad as a 2nd Monitor–Duet Display

Within this year, I see myself spending more time outside of my office than in the office which is rather something that I am looking for. There are times when I just needed one more monitor than just the laptop itself so that I can cross-reference some documents on Excel Spreadsheet along with what is being displayed on the main monitor especially when I am meddling with the system configurations of the customer systems.

Ideas have been storming into my mind all these while but every time a new idea emerged, I will start to think of the Pros and Cons. I did remember my good friend Matt Hitchcock has recommended to me the ASUS MB169+ which is an awesome piece of gadget! However, there are many constraints that prevented me from getting one of those external monitors that are powered by USB.

  1. I am using a HP Elitebook 840 G3 which comes with Two USB ports. I am generally happy with this machine as I have upgraded it to 16GB and it has built-in SSD which makes running a full lab that able to simulate the whole Condeco Enterprise suite of products.
  2. Although I am using a TUMI Alpha 2, it does have space limitation too although it is really huge! Moreover, I didn’t want to intentionally carry a truck full of loots with me each time I travel from place to place.
  3. Do I really need to lug around a 15” monitor with me all day long?

Therefore, I did a search online and chanced upon this software known as Duet Display. This generally fits into my use-case as I recently just upgrade my iPad Mini Generation 1 to a refurbished set of iPad Air 2 which I am really happy with till now.

Duet Display is free to download on your Mac OS X or Windows computer as the licensing is count towards the device you used as the additional screen. In terms of pricing, it is on the high side of an iOS application as it is priced at SGD 28.98.

Nevertheless, being productive at whatever one is doing is getting more and more important to me. I aimed to be able to improve and increase productivity for not just myself but for all the people around me who are keen to do so. On the flip side, the money spent on the App isn’t that significant anymore because I always believe that if one can splurge on good meals, they should be responsible for their own productivity. Therefore, one should invest in their well-beings. In the past, I have used other application which taps on the Wireless Network in order to connect as a secondary screen but the disadvantage of that would be it is always dependent on the wireless strength.

The setup of the application and have it connect to my Windows 10 laptop isn’t that difficult and can be done swiftly within 10 minutes including the time taken to download the application. Connect the iPad with the lightning cable and everything works like a charm. Here is a photo of the end result.

 

Below is the step of step setting up of the application on my iPad after downloading from the Apple App Store.

1. The Application is easily found in the Apple App Store.

 

2. Welcome screen

 

3. Guide you to install the necessary software on your Mac OS or Windows computer.

 

4. Typical application behaviour where they will ask you for permission to allow notifications to be shown. One thing that caught my eye is that it will keep track on how many hours that the software provides in terms of Productive Hours. This just co-relate with, how much frustrations has been saved and how much time was saved just by able to be more productive.

5. Next is the signing up of marketing mailers.

 

6. Now the most essential part where it is awaiting for the iPad to be connected.

 

Once the iOS powered device is connected, it will automatically launch iTunes (if you have it installed) and automatically it will connect and display as a secondary screen as shown earlier in this post.

Some of the highlights of this Application is the help screen which generally gives me a very neat feeling.

 

If you have an Apple iPad and wish to increase your productivity by having an additional screen, please go ahead and try out Duet Display.

Cheers,
Milton

Using iPad as a 2nd Monitor–Duet Display

Milton and his Microsoft Band

Kudos and big thank to Matthew Hitchcock (Microsoft PowerShell MVP and the Lead for Singapore PowerShell User Group) for bringing me one of this Microsoft Band from the US after his trip there for Microsoft MVP Summit (one of the perk as a Microsoft MVP! I am waiting for this chance to go too!).

Unboxing Process

So I collected this from Matthew on the day where we had our Community Technology Update (CTU) in Microsoft Singapore office. So it looks like this before I unwrap it.

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Finally I ripped off the bag to unveil the surprise inside (of course I know what I was expecting!) but still there is “WoW” factor!

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Matthew has helped to get extra charging cable and I am more than happy to buy it from him because I felt it is really helpful in this scenario.

  1. I could have one plug to my home computer and use it for charging when I am home during the evening.
  2. I could have the other one in my bag where I lug around everyday!
  3. I could use the one in my bag when I goes travelling.
  4. Act as a spare one if either one spoiled.

Now have a closer look at the FRONT OF THE BOX.

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Now have a closer look at the BACK OF THE BOX.

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Now have a closer look at the SIDE OF THE BOX. Now it tells you that this Band is friendly with all the three popular mobile platform but definitely have better integrate with Windows platform such as Cortana.

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I really like the way Microsoft has done this sizing thingy as I have never come across this before! Prior to getting this Band, I did print out the sizing guide downloadable from Microsoft Store US site to do the sizing. Of course with my big size wrist, I am definitely not hanging on with anything below Large.

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Now, after so many images, we are still UNBOXING it. We unbox it from one box to unveil another box.

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Microsoft has packaged it in a way that you are like opening the next watch box such as Hamilton one. (Well, I am aiming for one too but for now, I am still going for Smart Watches.)

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Connecting it for the First Time

First thing to do is to remove the cable from the box and connect it between the Band and your computer.

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Take a look at the back view of the Band.

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The next thing the Band instruct is to get the Application (Microsoft Health App) from the various store.

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It will toggle between this message and how you can connect it via BlueTooth to it from your phone.

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The overall setup is very easy and seamless, there is no complex games in it and no difficulty was faced during the process. For this, we give it a 5 stars out of 5.

 

Setup Process

Welcome screen of the Mobile Application.

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Sign in with your Microsoft Account (Live Account) and you are good to go!

Upon successful pairing up the phone with the Band, you will expect this screen.

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You are able to do some customization and personalization of the look on the face of the Band. Look at how the display changes when different colour and wallpaper is being selected. This will then be synchronized to the Band via Bluetooth.

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It continues to get things set up……

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So by default since this is the best time the Band was setup, there isn’t anything in the statistics.

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Using it for the First Time

The next important thing after buying the Band and Setting it up is, to wear the band. So I put on the band for the first time on a Monday where I set off to work.

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For whatever reason it is that the face of the Band has to be faced down, I wouldn’t know why and I wouldn’t want to pursue it. However, I only know that it is much easier to view messages coming in in a discreet manner compared if the face of the Band were to face up.

I took a long walk but was a little early so I stopped over at the cafe to have a cup of Milk Tea.

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What I like it to measure?

So after wearing it for an hour before grabbing a cup of tea, this is the number of steps that I have walked and measured by the Band.

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The things that I like how the Band gathered is:

  1. My Heart Rate
  2. Steps that I walked
  3. Calories Burnt

 

There are a lot more apps that can be connected to the Microsoft Band for now and definitely more are in the process of building. I have full trust with Microsoft that the next version of this band would definitely have significant improvement!

Cheers.
Milton Goh

Milton and his Microsoft Band

Unboxing of Gadget–Toshiba Encore Mini

This post serves as my thoughts after viewing the blog post from the SharePoint Guru & MVP Todd Klindt.

I couldn’t see no reason not to buy one set of this to meddle with since it is really selling at a cheap price! Where on earth could you find a tablet with full load of Windows 8.1 at just USD 99?

So here is just my unboxing experience of this little monster. I will explain on how do I go about ordering one of this from the States later on since I resides in Singapore.

 

General Unboxing

The box is designed rather normal, just like any laptop that you can find in the market. I find it rather decent – probably this outlook earns a 4.5 out of 5.

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This is the side of the box clearly stated this is a Toshiba Encore Mini WT7-C16MS. My feel of the reason why the code “MS” appears is because this was a set that is resell by Microsoft US directly out. (I may be wrong, do not fault me!)

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Now, I shall open up the box and get welcomed by Windows 8 along with the Microsoft Signature Experience. This is the program that is available in the US where computers sold by Microsoft US that is enrolled into this program will have some perks tagged with it. Click on the link to check it out.

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One thing that I love about getting Microsoft products is that, I am never lack of getting other perks like Skype World Unlimited or Office 365 plans. Seriously Microsoft, I salute you!

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We are all good with the packaging, let’s now dive in deeper with what is inside the box.

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Does it look pretty decent too? Well, there must be something that you think it is short off such as the power adapter? Well, I think that isn’t on the mandatory list since the price is so cheap! The set itself is so light and battery could be charged easily via USB to another computer or if you have some of the 3rd party adapter; it will get the job done.

Let’s take a look at the side of the tablet.

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Remember to read the notices carefully! (Well, I ripped it off after taking this photo!)

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Comparison (vs Apple iPad Mini Gen 1 & vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3)

Let’s have the Toshiba tablet as a benchmark.

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Then we put the Apple iPad Mini Generation 1 beside it.

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I feel that the Toshiba tablet is about 2/3 of the size compared to the Apple iPad Mini. Screen size is definitely way smaller because of the Microsoft Licensing to the manufacturer that if anything that goes below certain inches (from time to time, this may change – therefore I am not quoting any sizes here), the license to the Windows client will be made free. This in terms bring the benefits to Manufacturer and Consumers. (Cheers to Microsoft again!)

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The back view of the two devices. Seems rather ok but at this time, I feel that the Toshiba tablet gives me a very “plastic” feeling where it may be more fragile than the Apple iPad Mini but anyway, an iPad Mini can purchase how many Toshiba tablet? (Do the mathematics yourself!)

 

Getting Stuffs from Microsoft US Store to Singapore

The answer to this problem is to thanks comGateway service of BuyForMe. I made the order via their online portal by inputting the details of the product I am looking for since Microsoft US Store only allows US credit card to be used for making payment. This is something that happened way before since my Toshiba tablet has arrived to Singapore already.

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The mobile application that comGateway has notified me via Push Notification and email that my items that I have engaged them to assist in the purchased has arrived at the US address and is pending the next action from me.

Administrative Fee

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Now, you must be wondering how much fee I have paid. Look at the image above, it clearly stated that the processing fee is US $4.95. The fee is so low (as it is 5% of the price of the total purchased order) that I could probably missed a cup of StarBucks drink just for this tablet.

Shipping Fee

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The shipping charges from US to Singapore is US $30. Well, does it make sense to you? Ship 3 of this tablet back to Singapore would get me one tablet for free. I see it as a form of investment to calm the little monster in me in which I am always yearning for new gadget. To each its own. If you think that your biggest drawback is the shipping, then probably wait for all these to be made available in Singapore or at least to our neighbouring country.

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This just merely just detailed how much heavy that tablet is in the box. I am poor in understanding how all these shipping charges are tabulated but since I want it OR need it, just get it over and done with.

Is your heart melted by the price tag or are you retreating because of the hefty price to pay for the shipping? Speak to me a little and see how my next purchase could include yours.

Cheers.

Milton Goh

Unboxing of Gadget–Toshiba Encore Mini

Dell HDMI to VGA Adapter

Recently my company started refreshing all the laptops that are given to the employee who are holding onto selected old model of laptop that are due for refreshed. I have gotten a brand new Dell Latitude E7240 and I really quite like how this laptop is being built.

There is one thing that is really troublesome for all is that, employee used to be using Lenovo X220 which still does have the VGA port on the laptop itself. So when employee who are given the newer series of laptop (Dell Latitude E7240 or E7440), they ponder upon the available display output. I have to admit that in this era, we are still stuck with using projectors that doesn’t come with HDMI port but rather come built with two VGA ports. I believe it will take some time before all projects are being refreshed with at least with HDMI display input.

Therefore, in order to solve the problem of using a latest piece of hardware on older technologies or rather bridging the usage, company will need to bundle in the cost to make sure adequate adapter is being purchase to supply to those who needs it.

So I scrambled upon to my department administrator and able to justify that since I am / will be doing presentation based on my job scope, I am able to justify the total usage. Therefore, I can skip the step of raising any request to make purchases. Smile

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This is the Dell HDMI to VGA Adapter, nothing too fanciful about as it works the same as many other 3rd party adapter that is available in the market right now. However, one thing to comment is that I really like how Dell actually design this packaging. It gives me an elegant feeling although it is rather simple. Perhaps it is the colour scheme used which really matches my taste. This adapter cost around SGD 49.00 listed in the Dell website which I think it is rather high because there are other 3rd party one that is priced at SGD 35.00 which can be easily found from any IT Departmental store.

Cheers.

Milton Goh

Dell HDMI to VGA Adapter

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Extra Battery Kit

On the 11th August this year, I went back to army camp to serve two weeks In-Camp Training (ICT) and I was happy that my camp is being flag as Green Zone. This is the kind of initiative that acknowledges what Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has taken into consideration the suggestions given by National Service Men (NSMEN). This has really changes the attitude of NSMEN towards coming back to attend their ICT. It is because, with my mobile phone, I solve a couple of key issues.

  1. I do not need to switch to a non-camera phone candy-bar phone that I have been using since 2008 during my active times.
  2. I am able to catch up with my work email as and when possible during breaks.
  3. Information such as the contacts are at my fingertips through my usual phone.
  4. Entertainment during commuting is possible, not mandatory.
  5. Keeping up with social media. (Yes, my life revolves around social media, connecting people always!)

Here come the problem… Can smartphone out-win the battery life of a dumb phone? Well, the advantage of dumb phone is that the battery life is really really long! So I search on the forum and make sure that I optimize the settings to make sure it uses the least battery as much as possible. Here is some points that I have realized in order to get longer battery usage lifetime:

  1. Turn of the ever-synchronizing email – Well, my phone kept me connected to my work/personal/community email and make sure that I am reachable as much as possible. Turning this off means shutting the means to alert me whenever an email has arrived in my mailbox(es).
  2. Dim down the brightness of the screen – This is really painful especially when I am under bright sunlight and I could barely see anything on the phone.
  3. Use 3G cellular only! – No more speedy connection on the 4G network. – Well, not that bad right?
  4. Turn of data – Well, to be honest, this wasn’t an option to me. It just meant that I am using my smartphone as a dumb phone which is something that I will never ever compromise on.

So what kept me through the possible number of nights of outfield without power source? Yes, I could bring lots of power-bank with me but definitely there are a lot of downside to it such as being bulky and heavy.

I chose to try out the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Extra Battery Kit. It looks like this…

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Pricey? Yes and No. Samsung do carry and sells the battery itself but it is just SGD 9-10 different and this kit reminds me of the past where people always fancy “desktop charger”. It’s the kind of luxury where you need not be hooked on to the charger at the wall plug all the time while the phone is charging.

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So it does Enhance my mobile smart life?

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Photo with all the items laid out on my desk…

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It possesses a simple but elegant look. There is something which I realize after using it for two weeks. The LED indicator as shown above only turn green if I uses the original Samsung Charger to charge. If I were to charge it with the 3rd Party Charger (Innergie Duo USB Wall Charger) ones, it doesn’t seems to be able to turn green even charging it for hours! It’s straight but it is kind of “smart” or would you regard it as “dumb”?

Cheers.

Regards,
Milton Goh

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Extra Battery Kit

Innergie Duo USB Wall Charger

As a mobile warrior who travels around Singapore for work purposes, I always complain how much I hate lugging on to heavy backpack that consists of my work laptop and other devices that keeps me connected to the internet world. So it has came to attention that because of the number of mobile devices that I have with me (Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Note 2); I realize that relying on the battery is totally impossible and therefore whenever I end up on one of the client site, I would definitely take all my charger to ensure that my devices are at least packed with more juices before I set off for another meeting.

I enjoy music while on the road a lot and whenever I left my earphone at home, I would complain that I am really lifeless! So music-less == lifeless? Oh well, that’s me! So recently I hooked up with a Bluetooth headphone (Jabra Rox) and I really love the convenient that I get for not tangling myself with cable. The headphone connects to my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 which I plays music of Spotify.

So with so many devices and each has it owns connector and different power consumption, I decided that I should end my pain of bringing so many chargers with me everyday and aim for a change with Innergie Duo USB Wall Charger that I picked off the shelf at the local computer store, Challenger.

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It looks simple just like any other charger head right?

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One thing that attracts me to pay over (SGD 40) for this is the keyword “Fast”! Well, who wants a slow charger? If I want a slow one, I would rather sticking back to USB charging via my laptop. One thing in fact why I need the “Fast” charging is because in the Samsung Galaxy Note series of the phone, the battery is huge, so is the phone! Therefore, charging via USB really kill my time. What is worst is when I am on the phone while charging, the amount of battery it drains is much more than how much it is consumed via charging it.

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Some of the specifications, those pretty much standard stuffs.

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Another thing that it is cool about is the 3 years warranty that I will be enjoying! Of course I wouldn’t want it to fail me…

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It’s in action right now!

I have not really tested the different between charging using Innergie and the original charger that comes with the various devices. I think it is worth while to take the measurement, I will do that the very next time!

Cheers.
Milton Goh

Innergie Duo USB Wall Charger