Monday, September 30, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 price - Malaysia

The Galaxy Note 3 has been available in Malaysia for over a week now and the recommended retail price, RRP is RM2,399 without contract.

However, almost all telcos in this country offer the phone with voice and data packages to make the selling price more attractive. The followings show the comparison of prices and packages offered by major telecommunication services providers:-

DiGi - starts at RM1,319

Celcom - RM1,538

Maxis - starts at RM1,199

U Mobile - starts at RM999

For more information and to compare between different telcos, go to their respective websites. But for me, I normally visit their service centres before deciding on which carrier to choose.

Scenic view from Nanpu Bridge, Shanghai

The best way to quickly tour the city without tour guide is by hopping on to the city sightseeing bus operated by Big Bus Tours. The fare starts at RMB100 (approx. $16) and the ticket is valid for 24 hours.

This was taken during our trip to Shanghai earlier this year and the partly-open upper deck of the tour bus makes it perfect for capturing the magnificent views as you cross the Huangpu River via Nanpu Bridge.

Perfect for city sightseeing

The huge H-shape column welcomes you as you enter the bridge

7-lane is wide enough? There are other bridges apart from Nanpu.

Three to four elevated roads criss-crossing each others.

Steel sculpture sighted as we exit the bridge

I love Shanghai & would love to be back here for another trip.

Memorable quotes from WMS Malaysia 2013

World Marketing Summit (WMS) is an initiative of world's most influential marketer Professor Philip Kotler with the objective of "Creating a Better World through Marketing".

The primary purpose of the summit is to showcase the strengths of marketing in approaching global problems that humanity has been striving hard to resolve for centuries. This year the World Marketing Summit is held in Malaysia and is currently on-going at Putrajaya International Convention Centre right now.

The followings are some quotable quotes by the speakers:

Works marketing summit 2013

Works marketing summit 2013

Source: Astro Awani

Friday, September 27, 2013

SEDA Malaysia Open Day with FiAH

For consumers in the Central Region (Klang Valley and its surrounding), this is a good opportunity to get more information on the renewable energy FiT mechanism and how it can benefit them.

SEDA Malaysia is organising an Open Day to provide a platform for the public to learn more about Feed-in Tariff, Renewable Energy and others. The objective is to enhance awareness on the importance of Renewable Energy in Malaysia as well as improving its deliveries to the public through facilitation of discussion and dialogue.

This event is specially organized for Feed-in Approval Holders as a platform for those who participated in the Feed-in Tariff programme to raise any issues related to FiT and others.

Event           : SEDA Malaysia Open Day – Dialogue Session with FiAH (Central Region)
Venue          : Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Time            : 2.30 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Day/Date      : Sunday /20th October 2013

As seats are limited, you are advised to reserve your seat before the dateline given. The sooner you do that, the better.

To register online, go to SEDA Registration Page

Their online registration page mentioned fee of RM10.00 per participant, but this event is free and you need key-in Coupon Code: 1234 during registration to cancel off the payment.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Revolutionary conferencing system launched in Malaysia

Not too sure if this can be termed 'revolutionary' but one thing is for sure - it's a first in Malaysia.

A couple of weeks ago, Bosch launched a new conference system called DCN Multimedia, which uses Internet Protocol-based OMNEO media networking architecture with touch screen conference devices based on the Android operating system.

In a nutshell, what it does is that it enables superior multimedia/remote conferencing experience - that includes audio, video, meeting content and touch-screen technology in "elegant and ergonomically" designed conference devices.

Photo shows Live-testing of the new Bosch DCN multimedia conference system. Photo by Computerworld Malaysia.

DCN Multimedia uses IP-based OMNEO media networking architecture. Photo by Computerworld Malaysia.

Bosch upped the ante on multimedia conferencing

Technology systems provider Bosch has launched a new conference system called DCN Multimedia, which uses IP-based OMNEO media networking architecture with touch screen conference devices based on the Android operating system.

DCN Multimedia is the company's latest range of conference systems that once again shows its innovative edge in developing holistic solutions for digital technology in the conference room. It claimed that the system's sound quality, interactive platforms and diverse practicality offers superior technical proficiency to allow effective communication.

The company now offered a range of meeting and conferencing applications and the new DCN system "combined audio, video, meeting content and touch-screen technology in elegant and ergonomically designed conference devices."

The high-resolution, capacitive touch-screens provide users with the information they need literally at their fingertips, allowing participants to share documents, retrieve and display presentations, as well as access the internet.

How about security standards?

Audio and control data transmitted through the system is encrypted in accordance with internationally recognised standards. This means that it is securely protected against tampering and unauthorized access.

The system allows easy expansion with OMNEO audio devices and a wide range of audio products supporting Dante technology. Enhanced functionalities can also be added to the multimedia conference devices via software and integrating third-party or custom-made apps.

Standard and open technologies can be combined with multimedia capabilities for an enhanced meeting experience.

Reference: Computerworld Malaysia

Protecting solar projects with Insurance

I read about this in the regular update I got from Renewable Energy World magazine and I thought it makes a lot of sense protecting your solar PV investment with insurance.

Insuring your solar project is always a wise move especially if you are to sign a 21-year contract with the local public utility. The article discussed mostly on large scale projects but with the emergence of many  individual rooftop solar PV installations in this country, it is a very interesting preposition for both the insurance companies and the individual investors.

Take a shelter! Image by REW

Think about the 12kWp solar PV on your rooftop worth RM120,000 which you've entered REPPA with TNB for 21 years.

Somewhere down the road, say, 10 years later, something happened to the panels, some vandals broke them, or the panels don't meet the promised performance on energy output. Your ROI could be prolonged further, or worse still, you could never recoup your investment.

So, where there is risk, there is mitigative measure required.

Why insure? Insurance premium will eat away my already thin profit margin!

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) warranties would normally be already factored in during the project costing. These warranties are one of the most relied upon methods to reduce risk in the solar industry, but there are other things to consider, such as:
  • Warranties commonly exclude defects caused by failing to properly maintain the product, limit liability for damages and include disclaimers for implied warranties.

  • They also do not cover the cost of labor for repairs or shipping costs.

  • Manufacturers are the ultimate arbitrator of whether a problem with the equipment is deemed defective and covered by the warranty or not.

  • A warranty from a foreign manufacturer may be difficult to enforce if that company’s provisions are governed by laws and regulations of their home country.

  • A warranty could include a jurisdiction requiring privity of contract, which voids a warranty unless the party seeking to enforce its terms purchased the product directly from the manufacturer.

  • And the biggest concern, of course, is that the manufacturer may not exist to honor their warranty 5 or 10 years from now. It may be impossible to make a claim and have it honored once a company is dissolved.

TheGreenMechanics: A good reminder for prospective rooftop solar photovoltaic investors such as myself and you. Also, for the huge corporate players, but being the bigger investors themselves, this would have probably been taken cared of at the very beginning.

Further readings at Renewable Energy World

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Singapore's largest rooftop PV system to be completed this year

Singapore prospers in many aspects but lacks one thing - Land.

But this does not stop the city state from venturing into this space-consuming solar PV project with the installation of its largest photovoltaic arrays on rooftops measuring 2.7 acres in total.

The CMM building rooftop is expected to be fully utilised with this PV installation. Photo by Phoenix Solar

1.2 MWp rooftop solar PV, Singapore's largest so far

Phoenix Solar will develop a 1.2 MWp rooftop installation for CMM Marketing Management HQ  and centralised distribution centre at Mandai Link in the northern part of Singapore. CMM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sheng Siong, the third largest supermarket chain in Singapore.

The PV system will cover around 11,000 square metres (approx.2.71 acres) and have a rated capacity of at least 1.2 MWp. The system is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Approximately 15% of CMM's electricity consumption will be covered by the rooftop PV system. This will mitigate at least 730 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year from Singapore's gas-fired power plants.

"The commercial and environmental returns of this project make it a viable business decision, which will continue to yield benefits for a long time."
- Lim Hock Chee, CEO of  Sheng Siong

Potential main source of electricity in Singapore?

Phoenix Solar believes the demand for bigger PV systems is growing in Singapore, where an industrial rooftop PV system can be expected to pay for itself in 7-10 years resulting in an unlevered project internal rate of return of 8 to 13%.

The attractive returns on investment is expected to spur further installations and by the end of 2013, Phoenix Solar predict that there would be at least 20 MW installed capacity in the country.

If this growth rate continues, then within a decade PV will become a mainstream source of electricity in Singapore, the company believes.

In February this year, Phoenix Solar also announced the development of a 435 kWp PV system for Greenpac (S) Pte Ltd, a manufacturer of environmentally-friendly industrial packaging solutions on its new integrated manufacturing and R&D centre facility.

TheGreenMechanics: Average retail electricity price in Singapore is currently SGD0.2628/kWh (approximately RM0.67/kWh) based on Q1/2013 data. That makes solar PV investment pays itself back faster than in Malaysia.

Reference: pv magazine

Malaysia launched $100mil (RM320 mil) green fund for South East Asia

Malaysia and Japan-based Asian Energy Investments Pte Ltd (AEI) have launched a US$100 million venture capital fund to invest in clean energy projects in South East Asia.

Malaysia-Japan partnership in venture capital fund raising

Green bank for South East Asia

Focusing on investments in small-to-mid-sized technologies and enterprises, a management company to be established called Putra Eco Ventures, will channel the investments and provide business consultancy services to green technology companies - such as wind, solar or tidal energy.

The announcement comes a little over a week after New York City launched its own US$1 billion green bank and in the wake of the new Australian government's decision to scrap its own green bank, the US$2 billion-a-year Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak announced the launch of the fund on Monday at a meeting of sustainable development experts in San Francisco in the United States.

It will also help find cheaper biodiesel feedstocks for Malaysian biodiesel plants which have been idled because they rely on expensive crude palm oil.

This we hope, will further transform Malaysia into a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy that is environmentally friendly while aiming to join the ranks of developed nations.

Malaysia aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 40% by 2020 from 2005 levels and increase its renewable energy capacity to 4,000 MW by 2030.

TheGreenMechanics: More options  should now be available for the small and medium-sized enterprises to venture into sustainable energy business.

Source: Malaysian Times

Monday, September 23, 2013

Top 10 greenest universities in the US

This initiative by Sierra Club reminds me of the several programs by our own Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) to promote energy efficiency, energy saving and environmental sustainability. Check it out here.

The ranking: How it's done

Universities are ranked after an extensive questionnaire that asks about everything from where a campus gets its energy to whether its landscapers use native plants and its cafeterias offer recycled napkins. The United States has more than 2,000 four-year college and universities.

162 responses were received from qualified schools, which was further reduced in numbers. A perfect score is 1,000 with top-ranked school netting 850.

Top ten greenest

Now, let's look at the top ten and take some inspiration from what our friends are doing on the other side of the globe:-

10. University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California

Score: 756.69 | Students: 22,218

UCSB has 44 of its buildings LEED certified, 47% of academic departments offer a class about sustainability (for a total of 321 classes and 217 faculty members who do eco-research), 50% of food served is local, and 75% of waste gets saved from the landfill via recycling and composting; the goal is to get that latter percentage to 100 by 2020. The Gauchos have also, since the late 1990s, lowered their electricity use by a third, their water use by a quarter, and their food waste by almost 35%. A whopping 94% of students take alternative means of transit to class.
Photo courtesy of Jonas Krant/UC Santa Barbara

9. American University
Washington, D.C

Score: 759.34 | Students: 12,693

Aiming to be carbon neutral by 2020, AU is off to a strong start, with 30 buildings on track for LEED Silver certification, a 27kW solar array, D.C.'s biggest solar hot-water system, and a contraption called the Vegawatt, which turns old cooking oil into electricity. The university's plan is to divert 100% of its waste, and it's already two-thirds of the way there, thanks to a new campus-wide composting program, trayless dining, quarterly e-waste drives.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Watts/American University

8. Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia

Score: 759.76 | Students: 20,941

The EPA named Georgia Tech as one of the "best places for commuters" for its range of eco-transit options, from carpooling to mass transit; natural gas–powered buses move more than 2 million riders per year. The 440-acre Atlanta school was also named a Tree Campus USA for its 25% arboreal cover. Despite all that foliage, water usage hasn't increased since 2001. Everything built after 2008 is LEED certified, and a 1.4-million-gallon stormwater cistern helps conserve. The Yellow Jackets have been recycling since 1996, diverting an annual mass of 600 tons.
Photo courtesy of Rob Felt/Georgia Institute of Technology

7. Stanford University
Palo Alto, California

Score: 763.82 | Students: 15,666

Over 5 years, the California school raised more than $430 million for its Initiative on the Environment and Sustainability, a chunk of which is headed toward a new energy facility that'll halve the 8,180-acre campus's carbon emissions and cut its water use by almost a fifth. Some 130 professors spanning 40 departments teach at least 700 sustainability-related classes. 36 student clubs are green-themed and that recycling and composting are big: The waste-diversion rate here tops 66%, and the goal is zero waste.
Photo courtesy of Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service

6. Green Mountain College
Poultney, Vermont

Score: 767.09 | Students: 637

One of the first U.S. universities to achieve climate neutrality, this tiny school in Poultney has a $5.8 million biomass plant that burns locally sourced woodchips to heat 85% and power 20% of the campus's two dozen buildings. Since 2006, GMC has also sourced 1.2 million kWh of its energy per year from cows. Students visit local farms to learn about the bovine methane-generating process and are required to take a 37-credit environmental curriculum, which is delivered in LEED-certified classrooms. In the photo, GMC students plant trees to create a riparian buffer along the banks of the Poultney River.
Photo courtesy of Don Hamerman/Green Mountain College

5. Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

Score: 776.72 | Students: 21,131

Cornell offers 340 classes, across almost every department, about sustainability, and this is one of the only colleges where you can minor in climate change. School officials pledge that Cornell will be a net-zero-carbon campus by 2050. Over the past two years, its greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 25 percent, and over the next five, $45 million will go toward energy-conservation projects. Plenty of open space remains, however: The 2,300-acre campus in Ithaca, New York, has two stunning gorges, a 35-acre botanical garden, and a 100-acre arboretum.
Photo courtesy of Lindsay France/Cornell University Photography

4. University of California, Davis
Davis, California

Score: 782.74 | Students: 32,653
Last year's "Cool Schools" winner, an agricultural-education powerhouse, churns out research that helps shape California's water laws and push new farming practices into the mainstream. Its West Village, a neighborhood for students and staff, is America's biggest planned zero-net-energy community. UC Davis's climate action plan has already cut campus emissions to below year-2000 levels. Recycling, composting, and reuse divert more than 60% of would-be trash from landfills, and aim for 100% by 2020.
Photo courtesy of Karin Higgins/UC Davis

3. University of California, Irvine
Irvine, California

Score: 794.30 | Students: 27,479

UC Irvine's 19MW cogeneration facility and other energy-preserving projects have helped the school save 20 million kWh of electricity per year since 2009. Solar panels generate enough power to run 500 homes for a year. The 1,475-acre campus is anchored by a 16-acre botanical garden, and all new buildings must be certified at least LEED Silver. Living green is important at UCI: Meatless Mondays are strongly encouraged, and a dozen student clubs focus on eco-issues.
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Johnson/UC Irvine

2. Dickinson College
Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Score: 807.04 | Students: 2,380

Since 2008, Dickinson has bought enough wind power to offset all of its electrical needs. And since 2006, students have been collecting grease from local restaurants and turning it into biodiesel for the Carlisle, Pennsylvania, campus's vehicle fleet. If all goes according to plan, the school will achieve zero net emissions by 2020. Meanwhile, cafeterias serve student-grown produce, construction crews build to LEED Gold standards, and paper use has dropped by 60% over the past four years.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Crowley/Dickinson College

1. University of Connecticut
Storrs, Connecticut

Score: 850.14 | Students: 22,301

This year's winning school offers almost 600 sustainability-related classes taught by some of the greenest minds anywhere — more than 40% of UConn's research faculty does original academic work that benefits the environment. Since 2005, the main campus, in Storrs, has slashed its water use by 15% and over the past two years, 13 of its buildings were retrofitted to prevent 2,640 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. In the trayless dining halls, 30% of meal options are vegetarian, and more than a quarter of the food is processed within 100 miles, with many ingredients harvested right on campus: Honey comes from UConn's apiaries, fresh eggs from the agriculture department, and seasonal produce from student-run gardens.
Photo courtesy of Peter Morenus/University of Connecticut

Click here for the full article at Sierra Club magazine

How many people can use a café’s Wi-Fi at once?

I was visiting our HQ the other day and was unable to connect to the Wi-Fi, and I was wondering why, because I could tell the number of people there was no more than thirty.

A colleague told me that the maximum number of connection may have already been exceeded at that time.

Do you normally connect to the free Wi-Fi when at coffee shops? Image source

So, how many people can connect to a cafe’s Wi-Fi at once? Or for that matter, to a single Wi-Fi spot anywhere?

Hardware-wise, most routers will handle 255 simultaneous users, more than enough for the average coffee shop. The main limiting factor is the cafe’s incoming broadband speed. If it has a cable connection offering 25Mbps and wishes to keep its customers happy by offering a consistent speed of at least 1Mbps per user, then the coffee shop’s limit is 25 people.

But with our situation in Malaysia - the 3G connection of 3Mbps to 7Mbps at best effort and fixed line broadband speed from TM of less than 5Mbps - it is far from good to satisfy 15 to 20 customers with decent speed.

You may end up getting a mere 400kbps to 800kbps (0.4 - 0.8Mbps) at a medium sized cafe. Not good enough to surf the internet.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New Apple iPhone 5S price in Malaysia

How much would the new iPhone 5S cost in Malaysia?

In the US, unlocked price for the iPhone 5S was announced ten days after its official launch on September 10, 2013. T-Mobile contract-free prices for the the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB are $649, $749 and $849, respectively.

Some say the new iPhone 5S is awesome from the inside, not from the outside

Closer to home, the iPhone 5S is now available in Singapore at the following retail prices:

16GB : S$988.00
32GB : S$1,148.00
64GB : S$1,288.00

A direct conversion of Singapore prices to Malaysian Ringgit would give us a price range of between RM2,502 and RM3,262 which is quite unbelievable.

iPhone 5S Malaysia prices

It has not been announced yet but from past experience, prices for Malaysia market are most likely to be as follows (at current exchange rate):

16GB : RM2,199.00
32GB : RM2,499.00
64GB : RM2,799.00

I won't confirm this but I'm quite certain of the Malaysia pricing. Stay tuned, this space will be updated when the official pricing is announced. Bear in mind though, that retailers other than Apple Store will start selling the sets at RM200 higher.

Compare specifications of the new iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and old iPhone 5 here.

New iPhone 5S price in Malaysia

The US unlocked price for the iPhone 5S was announced ten days after its official launch on September 10, 2013. T-Mobile contract-free prices for the the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB are $649, $749 and $849, respectively.

Some say the new iPhone 5S is awesome from the inside, not from the outside

Closer to home, the iPhone 5S is now available in Singapore at the following retail prices:

16GB : S$988.00
32GB : S$1,148.00
64GB : S$1,288.00

A direct conversion of Singapore prices to Malaysian Ringgit would give us a price range of between RM2,502 and RM3,262 which is quite unbelievable.

iPhone 5S Malaysia prices

It has not been announced yet but from past experience, prices for Malaysia market are most likely to be as follows (at current exchange rate):

16GB : RM2,199.00
32GB : RM2,499.00
64GB : RM2,799.00

I won't confirm this but I'm quite certain of the Malaysia pricing. Stay tuned, this space will be updated when the official pricing is announced. Bear in mind though, that retailers other than Apple Store will start selling the sets at RM200 higher.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Invisible skyscraper? Yes, it's possible and South Korea is building one!

If you once thought constructing an invisible skyscraper was impossible, think again. You may not see something like the Invisible Man, but, yeah that's the idea.

Infinity tower
GDS Architects aims to provide the world's first invisible tower, representing the Power of Absence and the Strength of "Nothingness". Image: GDS Architects

According to a recent press release, US-based GDS Archictects will be building an invisible 450m tower in Seoul, South Korea, a first of its kind to be ever built. To give you an idea, the skyscraper, called Infinity Tower, is slightly taller than our own Kuala Lumpur Tower which stands at 421m high.

Infinity tower invisible technology
How it works. This concept image shows how the LEDs will work to make the tower seem invisible. Image: GDS Architects

Michael Collins, Director at GDS, says the tower will boast the third highest observation deck in the world and will use a sophisticated LED façade system with optical cameras to create the illusion of invisibility.

The building will feature a significant amount of clear glass with open floor plans, allowing visitors to look down multiple levels. There are plans to make the skyscraper a mega billboard where advertisements and special screenings are expected to be broadcasted across its surface.

The tower is also set to include a water park, movie theaters and restaurants, making it a truly unique multipurpose building.

No completion date has been set yet, but when completed, it's expected to come in 6th on the list of the world's highest towers, behind Tokyo SkyTree, Guangzhou's CantonTower, Toronto's CN Tower, Moscow's Ostankino Tower and Shanghai's Oriental Pearl.

Without a doubt it will become one of the great attractions in Seoul.

Complete article and more pictures at NDTV

9kW Solar PV installed at SMK Langkon, Kota Marudu

Educating people on the importance and significance of renewable energy sources should start early. SMK Langkon did just that. With some help, of course.

A couple of weeks ago, SMK Langkon in Kota Marudu, Sabah became the recipient of a 9kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) system that will generate electricity while saving the school on electricity bills.

9kW solar PV at SMK Langkon
Dr. Maximus at the launch of the solar PV. Photo: Borneoinsider

Solar PV for SMK Langkon

The installation of the system is a project undertaken by the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry with Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) and SESB to promote and spread awareness to the students and local community on the importance of renewable energy.

The project would be a model as it is the first time net metering system is used in Sabah by SESB. With this system, the balance of energy produced in the premises that is not utilised is sold back to SESB. The school will only pay the net electricity bill after the amount of energy generated from the solar PV system is deducted.

The project cost around RM90,000 and is sponsored by Syarikat Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd. This means that it cost the company RM10,000 per kWp, slightly higher from the current market rate of RM9,000/kWp.

The school was chosen because the site houses two schools – the SK Langkon and SMK Langkon, enabling the students there to have first-hand exposure on the subject of renewable energy.

The school is also often used as a temporary relief centre for flood victims in the district and electricity disruption can easily occur during a flood.

Not a first for school, but a good start nonetheless.

SMK St. Michael in Penampang launched its 5.4kWp rooftop solar PV in March this year thanks to an initiative by German company, Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH.

I believe more schools in the interior should be fitted with solar PV, there are still many schools out there without grid power. Students can then be taught to become installer/entrepreneur in anticipation of the implementation of the Feed-in Tariff mechanism in Sabah later.

TheGreenMechanics: There's nothing wrong with installing solar PV at SMK Langkon, but priority should be given to schools without power supply from SESB. Agree?

Reference: Bernama

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Global green event 'Xperience Efficiency' includes Malaysia

A global event, promoted by energy management specialist, Schneider Electric, shares knowledge on energy and sustainability with governments and companies.

For Malaysia, the event, called Xperience Efficiency 2013 Malaysia will be held in Selangor next week.

Xperience Efficiency 2013 Malaysia is a free event.

Series of the 'green' roadshow began in June with events in the United States, China, Colombia, Brazil, and Russia, will be held at Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre, Selangor, on 24-25 September this year.

Schneider Electric noted that green movement in Malaysia is considered in its infancy, but the focus on sustainability and the drive for corporate social responsibility, is paving its rapid expansion.

"This event is a step taken to inculcate and highlight the value of saving of energy among Malaysians. With the participation of government agencies, businesses and community leaders, Malaysia will be moving in the right direction towards a green environment."
- Peter Cave, President, Schneider Electric Malaysia

The event will show the future of efficiency with solutions that deliver energy management, energy access, and business-process performance answers right across the energy chain.

Participants to the free event will get to experience the followings:
  • More than 12 breakout sessions addressing market, industry and solution trends
  • Latest developments in systems, solutions, and technology
  • Internationally renowned experts from government, business, academia, and industry
  • First-hand stories of companies experiencing efficiency today

For more readings, log on to the company's website.

HTC One Max to come with fingerprint scanner to rival iPhone 5S

Apple is not the only one that will rush into use the fingerprint recognition technology in its mobile devices. The upcoming HTS One Max is one that will rival the iPhone 5S as soon as it becomes available soon.

It's good that your phone will finally be able to 'recognise' just yourself, the rightful owner, with a touch of your finger.

HTC One Max with fingerprint scanner. Image: Computerworld Malaysia

The first 5.9-inch phablet with fingerprint recognition coming your way?

Computerworld Malaysia showed a leaked photo of HTC's One Max phablet that has a fingerprint scanner on board. The leak via Android Community gives us the best glimpse of the One Max yet and it's complete with a fingerprint scanner to rival the iPhone 5S.

The HTC One Max, codenamed the T6, has been talked-about for a while with an alleged 5.9-inch screen. That would put it in competition with other phablet sized smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (5.7-inch) and Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

Word has it that the HTC One Max would be powered by a 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2 GB of RAM but the generally accurate evleaks says otherwise. Other specifications include 16 GB of internal storage, an Ultrapixel rear camera, a 2.1 Mp front camera and unlike other HTC One phones, a microSD card slot.

HTC has plenty of competition from rivals including LG with its G2 and Apple with its iPhone 5S, but competition should be good from the perspective of the consumers. We shall see.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Panasonic’s high-efficiency solar module now in full production

Panasonic Energy Malaysia Sbn Bhd, a solar module manufacturing plant established by Panasonic Corporation in December 2011 at Kulim Hi-Tech Park, has started full-scale production with an annual production capacity of 300MW.

Panasonic Corporation officials with Kedah state government and MIDA representatives during the official opening. Photo: The Borneo Post

Panasonic Kulim Factory Overview 

Factory:Panasonic Energy Malaysia Sdn Bhd
Location:Kulim Hi-Tech Park, Kedah, Malaysia
Establishment:December 2011
Products:HIT® solar modules
Floor space:Approx. 70,000 m²
Production capacity:
300 MW annually

Panasonic begins full-scale production at 300 MW Solar Module factory in Malaysia (Heterojunction with Instrinsic Thin-layer, HIT)

The solar plant manufactures HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin-layer) solar modules. The RM1.84 billion solar manufacturing plant started operation in December 2012. The Kulim plant is pushing Panasonic’s overall annual production capacity to 900MW.

The new manufacturing facility plays an important role in helping Panasonic meet robust solar demand in addition to delivering cost competitiveness.

The Panasonic HIT solar modules offer top-class solar cell conversion efficiency of up to 22%.

The global solar market is expected to grow further with increasing environmental awareness and the introduction of stimulus measures such as the feed-in tariffs and subsidies in various countries, including Japan and Malaysia. In less than a year, the Kulim plant has reached its full-scale production.

“Our solar factory adopts a fully integrated solar manufacturing system that converts wafers to solar cells and modules. This helps strengthen our cost competitiveness through reduced transportation costs and the use of local materials."
- Yasuyoshi Kawanishi, managing director of Panasonic Energy Malaysia.

Doing the environment a favour, Panasonic HIT solar modules play a leading role in reducing carbon footprint while enabling more and more people to have access to clean energy.

Japan remains the largest importing country at the moment.

Source: The Borneo Post

Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy Malaysia Day (Selamat Hari Malaysia 2013)

The Malaysia Day celebration is special this year. The peak of the celebration took place simultaneously in Kuching, Sarawak and Tanjung Aru in Sabah, beginning 15th September.

The 50th celebration was launched by Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah at Kuching Waterfront on a wet evening.

50th Malaysia anniversary
Cat statue in Kuching city. (Kucing means cat in Malay)

50th Malaysia anniversary
One of the 50 decorated floats that night

50th Msia annuversary
Shot earlier in the evening. Rain deprived us of better shots from the hotel room.

50th Msia annuversary
Happy Malaysia Day!

From Kuching, Sarawak
Shots taken with the Galaxy Camera.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Malaysia at forefront of renewable energy in Southeast Asia

SEDA claims that Malaysia is at the forefront in Southeast Asia in managing renewable energy as it has established strong mechanisms for this purpose.

Malaysia's objectives for the introduction of renewable energies. Source: Asia Biomass Office

Chief operating officer of the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA), Ir Dr Ali Askar Sher Mohamad said the Malaysian government was committed to encouraging the public to contribute to producing renewable energy by establishing Seda and introducing the Renewable Energy Act 2011, thus making Malaysia a role model.

After we launched the feed-in tariff on Dec 1, 2011, then only the Philippines and Indonesia did the same project. We already have confidence, especially in solar photovoltaics (PV).

"Because of that, we are actually able to offer training and capacity building not only to Malaysians but also to others in the region," he said after a dialogue with the feed-in approval holders in George Town, Penang on Thursday.

SEDA CEO, Badriyah Abdul Malik, meanwhile, said although Malaysia was at the forefront in managing renewable energy, public awareness on renewable energy like its safety aspect and importance to the economy as well as the issue of global warming was still low, especially in the rural areas.

"A country's economy depends a lot on its energy supply. If it does not have enough of this, it will have a big problem.

"We need to have more promotions, to explain to the people on the importance of renewable energy as at alternative source to complement electricity supply," she said.

1,500kW Solar PV Quota for Individuals

The final release of 1,500kW of solar PV quota for individuals would kick-start on Sept 18 at noon. To date, there were 1,585 applications from individuals, with 882 from the northern region.

500kW individual quotas for solar PV was released on Aug 28 and the response was overwhelming. The release of the second batch of 500kW solar PV quotas which should have been done on Sept 4, was called off due to an unexpected overwhelming number of incoming traffic to Seda Malaysia's portal.

TheGreenMechanics: At the forefront? I'm not too sure about that because Thailand is known to be more aggressive in promoting renewable energy and it has more installed capacity of RE.

But I agree that Malaysia is in the right track. We have the policy, and the necessary Act in place to promote and implement renewable energy projects.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Compensation to consumer due to power utility company's fault

I was combing for information in the Electricity Supply Act 1990 to see if there is a clause to give consumers the rights to claim from the utility companies - TNB, SESB, SEB - for electrical appliances and equipment damages due to voltage surges and dips in the power supply system.

I am currently working on a claim against SESB for faulty equipment due to over voltage at their 415V LV supply system with no favourable result so far. I could not find the pertinent clause, but would appreciate it very much if anyone can point me to it.

Go ahead, make the claim

Can you actually claim for damaged equipment, and in what circumstances can you possibly win a case against these power utilities? Well, based on the following cases, you may have a chance:

Case #1: In 2011, Sarawak Energy Berhad paid RM1,695.40 in compensation to two consumers

Case #2: In 2012, Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd promised to investigate and consider compensation

The best option, as it seem, is to go to the Consumer Claims Tribunal and provide to them as much details as possible, but most importantly the followings:
  • Claimant's detailed information,
  • Police Report,
  • List of damaged equipment,
  • Original receipt of equipment repair, etc

In the SEB case, the consumers have written earlier to the power utility company but their complaints went unanswered and that was when they decided to approach Consumer Claims Tribunal Malaysia.

So there. Know your rights and play your role, and plug some holes in your pocket.

TheGreenMechanics: The Acts pertaining to electricity supply seem to be not so friendly when it come helping the consumers. Aren't consumers the backbone for the existence of the power utility companies?

Someone can point me to a clause in the act that can save my day, please?

With tariff revision looming, here are some tips to save electricity in your home

The government is planning another electricity tariff revision real soon. And for Malaysians living in Sabah, this will come as another quick slap on the face as we have just had our revision in July 2011.

When the happen, you can choose to get angry and complain, do nothing, or do something to conserve energy and save money.

Monitor and plan your energy usage

The biggest electricity users in the home tend to be heating (mainly for temperate countries) and/or air conditioning, water heating, washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, lighting, and the refrigerator. When looking to save electricity, spend the most time focussing on these big energy hogs to get the biggest effect for your efforts.

Here are a selection of tips to help you to reduce your electricity consumption:

  1. Turn off your television, video, hifi, playstation, and other entertainment devices when they are not being used.

  2. Do not leave your television etc in standby mode. Devices can use up to 90% as much power in standby mode as when they are on, so it is a serious waste of energy when a device is left constantly on standby. 

  3. Replace all of your inefficient incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient CFL bulbs. Replace halogen spotlights with much more efficient and longer lasting LED Spotlights.

  4. Hang your clothes out to dry rather than using an electric tumble dryer. Ideally use a spin dryer before using the tumble dryer.

  5. Cook many items at the same time when your electric oven is hot.

  6. Use a microwave to reheat food or to cook small portions. Although a microwave uses a lot of power, it does so over a very short time and so saves energy overall.

  7. Purchase energy efficient appliances - washing machines, tumble driers, fridges etc. Although they usually cost a little more initially, the cost savings in electricity will cover that many times over. As an added benefit, efficient items are usually better made and last longer than inefficient models.

  8. Vacuum clean the condenser coils at the back or underneath your fridge freezer. Accumulated dust reduces their efficiency by up to 25% adding that cost to your electricity bill.

  9. Keep your fridge full, but not so full that air cannot circulate properly.

  10. Cool cooked food before you put it into the fridge.

  11. Do not put uncovered liquids into the fridge. Their evaporation will make the fridge have to work harder. 

  12. Heat only as much water as you require for drinks and cooking. If you keep forgetting, purchase an energy efficient eco kettle.

  13. Use a convection oven. A small fan inside circulates hot air throughout the oven, cutting cooking times by up to 30%.

  14. Don't keep opening the oven door. Every time you do so, your oven loses 20°C of heat.

  15. Put lamps in the corner of a room so that the light is reflected off two walls.

  16. Turn down the temperature on your washing machine. Heating the water uses the majority of the electricity, so by doing a warm wash instead of a hot wash, big savings are possible.

  17. Defrost frozen food in the fridge since this helps to cool the fridge.

  18. Running a full load in an efficient dishwasher will use less hot water than washing up by hand in the sink! Save money, save time, and save electricity.

  19. Boil water in a kettle rather than on a hob (flat metal shelf) to save 50-70% of the energy and to get your water boiled faster.

For those living in temperate countries, these are more pertinent, but it certainly is good for reading and for general knowledge:
  1. In the summer use ceiling fans on a fast setting instead of air conditioning to keep cool. In the winter, running the fans slowly will push warm air collected at ceiling height down to where you want it. (If the slowest setting on your fan is too strong, reverse the direction of the fan in the winter so that the accumulated warm air is blown up against the ceiling and bounces more gently down around the walls and into the living space.

  2. Turn down your heating system thermostat. For every degree you lower your heat between 60° and 70° F you can reduce your heating bill by up to 5%. Wear an extra layer of clothing in the house so that you stay warm. Turn down individual radiators - for example, 16°-18° is warm enough for bedrooms whereas 20°-22°C is more comfortable in bathrooms. Rooms that are rarely used can have their heating turned all the way down or off.

Source: SESB archive

Friday, September 13, 2013

Nissan says 2014 Rogue SUV is more efficient, cheaper than rivals

It's very interesting to see that newer cars get more fuel efficient. It makes cost of owning a car cheaper, and hopefully the car price, too.

Nissan Rogue, or Nissan X-Trail as we know it in Malaysia is now in its 3rd generation and the styling looks fresh, unlike the current X-Trail model which is too boxy for my liking.

The new design remind you of the current Harrier. Image: USA Today

 The Rogue 2014 (X-Trail) was unveiled simultaneously in the US and Europe.

Price wise, it's very interesting (or should I say cheap) in the US, ranging from $23,350 to $30,280 (inclusive of destination and handling charges. That's translated to be about RM76,529 to RM99,242.

The current X-Trail model in Malaysia is selling at RM148,800, not really pleasing.

New Nissan Rogue 2014 is more efficient

Nissan says its revamped Rogue SUV will be cheaper but more fuel efficient than its rivals when it goes on sale in November.

Nissan unveiled the 2014 Rogue Tuesday at its North American technical centre near Detroit.

Nissan says the new Rogue will get an estimated 33 miles per gallon (7.1 litres per 100 kilometres) on the highway, a 20% increase over the outgoing model. That beats its rivals in the highly competitive small SUV segment, including the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape.

The Rogue still has its old 2.5-litre, four-cylinder engine, but it's paired with a new transmission for better fuel economy. For the first time, the Rogue will offer three rows of seating and a cargo area with adjustable shelving.

It starts at $22,490.

Source: Timescolonist

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Apple announced premium iPhone 5S, together with iPhone 5C for the budget conscious

As expected, and rumoured for a long time, Apple unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5S (premium) and iPhone 5C (lower-priced). I was looking at replacing my still-working iPhone 4S and was hoping that Apple has something special up its sleeves.

iPhone 5S looks identical to the older sibling, iPhone 5

A bit disappointing to see the just-a-refresh iPhone 5S as it is basically an iPhone 5 with some sprucing up on operating system and tweaking on the processor. Then again, people say the iPhone 5S is a stunning phone from the inside, not from the outside.

Yeah, maybe it is to some extent. The 64-bit CPU architecture and the re-written iOS 7 operating system is a consolation.

iPhone 5C for the budget conscious. But is it really affordable?

Comparing the iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and the retired iPhone 5

If you go into details, the newly announced iPhone 5S is not so much different from its predecessor. How so? Here is how:

Credit to Tobey of The Washington Post

But if you've been one to fancy colourful choices, you are in for a treat. The iPhone 5C comes in 5 different colours - white, yellow, green, blue and pink.

Verdict: I've been anticipating a radical change from Apple by introducing iPhone 6 with slightly bigger screen, like 4.3" or 4.5", not just a refreshed iPhone 5S. I like them to maintain the form factor for now.

The display seems like a deal breaker for me, for now. But we'll see when it land on our shore. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm looking at replacing my 4S, so, it's an eager wait for me.

Price of the iPhone 5S? Expect a similar pricing with the iPhone 5: RM2,299 in Malaysia for the 16GB variant and ramp up as the storage gets bigger.