Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekend at Desa Cattle dairy farm, Kundasang

A two-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu to a small town, Kundasang, in Ranau district is not a bad idea to spend the weekend and unwind from a hectic work week. That's what we did today.

In particular we drove up to Desa Cattle Dairy Farm before finally checking in at Dream World Resort at Mesilau. Desa Cattle is situated about 100km from Kota Kinabalu and it is an ideal destination for the whole family. Viewed from certain perspectives, you can be forgiven to mistake it for sceneries captured at temperate countries.

Some activities you can do there include feeding the calves with bottled milk, feeding the goats with grass, watching firsthand the milking process, and learn how milk is processed. Of course, you can take all your time enjoying the beautiful surroundings and take nice pictures.

Here's some captures from our trip to Desa Cattle dairy farm:

Trip to Desa Cattle
The road leading to the farm is harsh gravel but it's no more than 500m. Still it's a bit taxing for small compact cars.

Gateway to Desa Cattle dairy farm, Kundasang Sabah
Gateway to the dairy farm. Adult pay RM4.00 and children RM3.00

Trip to Desa Cattle
More parking space than before

Trip to Desa Cattle

Trip to Desa Cattle
The cows are grazing further away from visitors nowadays.

Trip to Desa Cattle
The milking process

Trip to Desa Cattle
This guy loves fresh milk and grass. You can get some for a fee and help feed him.


Dream World Resort is quite new, it opened for business in May 2010 and because it is located right at the foot of Mt. Kinabalu you can expect cool and fresh mountain air with the scenic view of Kundasang town. If you are lucky enough you will be able to see the majestic mountain; more often than not, this area is enveloped by misty cloud.

Trip to Desa Cattle

Trip to Desa Cattle

Happy Holiday!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Copy files between Mac and iOS device using AirDrop

Except for my iPhone 5S, I haven't upgraded the operating system of my mobile devices to iOS 8 yet. Maybe not yet until all the earlier hiccups are de-bugged.

But this would be handy once I've decided to upgrade. I'll keep this for my future reference.

AirDrop was introduced in the iOS 8

With Yosemite, Apple has tried to make it easier for you to move files between devices. This is something we've been able to do with File Sharing between Macs and PCs, but now we have the option to move files between Macs and iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches running iOS 8. 

This is how it works.

On your iOS device running iOS 8 or later, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. You'll see an AirDrop entry. Tap on it and you have three options -- Off, Contacts Only, and Everyone.

  • Off means, that this device will be invisible to others using AirDrop. 
  • If someone who've you added as a contact on your iOS device would like to transfer a file, they can when you select Contacts Only
  • The Everyone option lets anyone use it. We'll choose Everyone. 

Now let's move to the Mac.

On your Mac, open a Finder window and select AirDrop. Anyone around you using the same Wi-Fi network that has AirDrop enabled for Everyone (or if you're in their contacts) will appear. To copy a file from the Mac to the device, just drag the file on top of their icon. The recipient will be asked if they want to accept or decline the transfer. When they accept, the file is copied to their device.

To go in the other direction -- from iOS device to Mac -- select AirDrop on the Mac and configure the Allow me to be discovered by option. Let's choose Everyone. For this to work we must keep this window open as that tells others that we're open to an AirDrop transfer.

On the iOS device, choose a file that you want to transfer, tap on the Share menu, and you should see the person or device you wish to transfer the file to. Tap on their image and the file will start to transfer. The person receiving the file can choose to save or open the file, decline it, or save it. The received file will appear in the Mac's Downloads folder.

That's it.

For a complete and illustrated guide on how to do this, go to Mac Basics: AirDrop lets you send files from your Mac to nearby Macs and iOS devices

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kimanis Power Plant begins full operations

KPP is located south of Papar township. Image credit:

This should be good news for all stakeholders and especially to the consumers, as this would mean lesser power interruptions.

Kimanis Power Plant (KPP), managed by Kimanis Power Sdn Bhd, became fully operational with the commencement of its third generating block on November 7, 2014.

The third generating block will add an additional 95MW of electricity to the Sabah grid, in addition to the 190MW already generated by the first and second blocks, which started operating in May and July of 2014, respectively. The third block is also the final block to be commissioned in KPP.

Long overdue project

The power plant project is scheduled for full completion in 32 months' time, from Apr 1, 2011 and the first commercial operation date for the first generating block is December 1, 2013.

With the many challenges faced during T&C and load rejection test, the first 100MW block began commercial operations on 16 May 2014, way off initial target.

The Kimanis Power Plant will be the biggest IPP plant Sabah (until such time that a bigger one comes in) and it will take great responsibility in supplying reliable and clean electricity to Malaysians in Sabah.

Power plant summary

Petronas, through Petronas Gas Berhad, owns 60% of KPSB, while Yayasan Sabah through its subsidiary, NRG Consortium (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, owns the remaining 40%.

Power supply requirement now fulfilled?

The short term energy demand should be taken care of for now but more such facilities must be constructed to meet the fast increasing peak demand. According to SESB, electricity demand in Sabah is expected to reach 1,500 MW by the year 2020.

The completion of this project will deliver the additional electricity supply that is crucial in propelling Sabah's future growth. We've lost ground with other states in terms of foreign direct investment due to our inability to meet energy requirement by the investors.

Preferably, there should also be some investment in renewable energy such as hydroelectric, biomass/biogas and solar photovoltaic.

Source: Bernama - 9 Nov 2014, Daily Express - 10 Nov 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

2014 is another growth year for Solar PV

Despite challenges, renewable energy website, Renewable Energy World believes 2014 is another growth year for solar photovoltaic.

Past 5 years PV industry capacity, production, shipments and inventory. Source:

Below are some changes that made this a wild year for Solar PV:
  • Utilities in Japan have curtailed grid-connections for large installations (an action that utilities in the US state of Hawaii had already taken), and the upcoming end of Japan’s popular FiT has led to lowered expectations for future growth. 

  • The government in China’s early 2014 focus on rooftop PV proved unworkable due to inappropriate roof construction. 

  • In the U.S. anxiety over upcoming changes to the ITC at the end of 2016 is affecting development of large projects.

  • There is continued slowing of markets in Europe including uncertainty over the market in the UK going forward.

Some points to keep in mind as 2014 nears its end:
  1. A project that is sold while in development is not a new project announcement and recounting can lead to oversizing current development activity.

  2. Solar modules that are acquired by a traditional manufacturer should not be counted as shipped by the acquiring manufacturer. For example, a manufacturer with 2.4-GWp of cell capacity and 3-GWp of module assembly can only be given credit for 2.4 (in a perfect world) of shipments, the other 600-MWp came from someone else.

  3. Grid connections and installations are not synonymous. Grid connections can lag installations by months or even a year. The installation comes first; grid connection comes later.

Regional demand shares of the estimated 40.8GWp of solar PV in 2014. Source:

This year the top markets for PV were China, Japan and the U.S. REW expects the market in China to continue growing strongly in 2014 now that the emphasis on rooftop installations has receded. Japan, despite recent actions by utilities, had strong growth for most of 2014.

The Green Mechanics' two cents:

That 1% regional demand share in South East Asia is about 400MWp and most of the installed capacity is in Thailand. We have quite a good FiT model in Malaysia but the growth pace looks a tad slow. Perhaps a 2% levy for renewable energy fund would help.

Source: Renewable Energy World

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Official pricing of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Malaysia

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been in the Malaysia market for some time, made available by grey importers and enterprising retailers. But they are priced at a premium.

Official launching for Malaysia is 6 November 2014, a date that commensurate with the 6th iteration of the smartphone.

The major differences between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the display size, the battery life and the camera's optical image stabilisation. The rest of the comparison is as follows:

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus prices in Malaysia

The official retail price is as follows:

iPhone 6 (16GB): RM2,399
iPhone 6 (64GB): RM2,749
iPhone 6 (128GB): RM3,149

iPhone 6 Plus (16GB): RM2,749
iPhone 6 Plus (64GB): RM3,149
iPhone 6 Plus (128GB): RM3,549

Our initial expectation of the pricing was listed here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

SESB unaware of 1MDB's plan to be major player in Sabah power sector?

Really? Maybe, but for a big news such as this, it is unlikely that the power utility has no knowledge of.

                               Daily Express, Sunday, 2 November 2014

It was earlier reported that Sabah was looking at 3 new power plants with 1MDB expected to secure two:

  • A 400MW gas-fired plant to be located either in Lahad Datu or Sandakan, and
  • A hydro plant in Ulu Padas which is expected to generate 180MW of power

If 1MDB is to be in any way involved with the implementation of these projects, or any power projects in the state, we'd better make sure that it is done in an open bidding process, in line with the government's transparency policy. We do not want to see another lop-sided power purchase agreement with an IPP.

On whether we will have sufficient power in the near future, this is what the power utility has to say:

"Currently, with 2new Independent Power Producers (IPPs) operating in Kimanis - Kimanis Power Sdn Bhd (KPSB) operating 190MW and SPR Energy (100MW) - there is still a comfortable reserve margin of more than 25%. Another 95MW is due to come on stream at KPSB by early next month, which would be sufficient to meet the power requirement for the next one to two years." - Bernama, 1 November 2014

That's good to know. But with many ageing equipment in its keeping, it looks like we are more of doing 'fire fighting' than building reserve margin.

Speaking of transparency, 1MDB had an attempt at bulldozing a big solar farm in Kedah back in April this year. This was supposed to be the largest solar farm in the country with generating capacity of 50MW.

We have no update yet if this has gone into implementation but if it has, then this is robbery. Or in a more polite term, the least fair play in the so called 'electronic bidding' mechanism for solar quota.

                                                The Star, 23 April 2014

The Green Mechanics:

We have nothing against 1MDB making a mark here. In fact this would benefit the people in term of direct investment into the state, and eventually better power for the consumers. But it must be transparent and fair to the other players.

Reference: Bernama