Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Merdeka 2016 F&B Promotion Compilation

It's Merdeka Day! Independence day of Malaysia. Being Malaysians, there's no better way to celebrate than with food! In conjunction with Merdeka 2016, most of the Food and Beverage players in Malaysia had come up with various promotions to spice up the day for us. Here's a compilation of all of the on-going promotions, feel free to drop me a message on Facebook or email me if I've missed out any!

Without further ado, here's the list of on-going promotions, sorted, alphabetically.

Auntie Anne's Malaysia

2 pieces Specialty Pretzel for only RM 5.90!

Ayamas Roasters

2 whole Roasters at only RM31.80!


31% off your favourite Baskin-Robbins ice cream!

Boat Noodle

FREE 4 Bowls! *voucher required

Boost Juice Bars Malaysia

 Original Dairy-Free Crush for only RM8!
4 flavours available: Mango Tango, Berry, Watermelon Lychee and Pink Guava Berry!

Durian King TTDI

100 bowls of FREE* Durian Cendol from 2pm for those with Merdeka outfits or flags!
*For eat-in only. Limited to 2 bowls per table.

Famous Amos Malaysia

30% OFF on 200g & 300g cookies in bag!
*Limited to 2 packets per customer

Juice Works

Special "Merdeka Honey", Midi (450ml) sized, at RM 5.90!

Kenny Rogers ROASTERS Malaysia

Country-Style Chicken Soup at 59 sen only!
*T&C Apply. (Valid for Dine-in only. Valid for every purchase of RED Hot Meal or House Favourite Meal only)

Kenny's Whole Chicken at only RM 29! (NP: RM 49.50)
*Valid for take-away only. Limited to three (3) packs per person per day.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Malaysia

Original Glazed for RM 0.59 only.
*Limited to a Dozen (12) per customer.

KyoChon Malaysia

TWO (2) Red / Original or Mix Series drumstick for only RM 0.59! (NP: RM 11.50)
*First 59 dine-in customers on 31st August 2016 only. T&C Applies.

Secret Recipe Malaysia

RM 5.90 for any slice of your favourite Secret Recipe cake!
*T&C Apply:
- Valid for dine in and take away from 12pm – 5pm, on 31st August 2016 only.
- Customers who come after 5pm are not entitled for the promotion.
- No pre-order, pre-payment or phone orders will be accepted for the promotion.
- Limited to 4 slices of cake per transaction.
- Premium range cakes, brownies and chocolate lava are not applicable for the promotion.

Teh Tarik Place

Teh Tarik at only 5 cents!
*T&Cs apply.

Wendy's Malaysia

Signature Mushroom Melt (Chicken/Beef) for just RM 5.90!
*For dine-in and take-out. Valid at all Wendy’s Malaysia outlets except KLIA2. Promotion valid only for a la carte Chicken/Beef Mushroom Melt.

Stay tuned to this site for news updates, reviews, and more. Also, don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram too!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

[REVIEW] ABS Y40 10400mAh Power Bank

With the recent Pokémon GO craze and the fact that there hasn't been any break-through in battery technology for smartphones in recent years, most of us would pack a power bank with us whenever we head out. The same goes to me, coz, being stuck with a flat battery on my smart device is a pain. Power banks, or also known as battery packs, had long been a staple alternative to extending your smartphone battery life, ever since the introduction of touchscreen smartphones.

What is it?

ABS might sound like a foreign name for a Power Bank manufacturer, as they are the new kid on the block in the Malaysian market. The first of its kind, it boasts a 2-years 1-to-1 exchange warranty by its sole local distributor, C Two Gadget.

ABS has various models of power banks, but today, we'll be taking a look at the Y40 model, which defining features are its 10400mAh capacity, dual USB outputs, as well as compact design. You get a short, yet beefy, microUSB cable in the box, which can be used for charging the power bank off any standard USB wall charger, or be used for charging your smart devices via the power bank.

While it comes with dual USB power outputs, one of it has an output of 5V/1A, while the other has 5V/2.1A. While it may not be the latest Quick Charge standards, it is more than enough to charge at a fast pace. Charging of the power bank is done at 5V/2A max, which will cut down the time it takes to recharge it, and be ready to go again.

What's good?

  • 10400mAh with dual USB outputs is great. I can charge my Huawei Mate 8 almost two full times before the power bank is drained, giving me a total of 3 times of charge if I started off the day with a fully charged phone and power bank. More than enough for my daily use, even enough for a day of Pokémon GO hunting!
  • Quick to charge. Thanks to the 2.1A max output from Port 2, it's quick to charge up any connected device. In addition to that, having dual ports mean you can charge up to two devices simultaneously.
  • It recharges quickly too! The maximum recharging current is 5V at 2.0A, which means that it gets recharged to ready-to-use state a lot quicker than most other power banks that usually only take recharging current of 5V at 1.0A.
  • Compact size. The compact size of the power bank also means it is easily stored, perfect as a daily companion.
  • 2 years 1-to-1 exchange warranty! No other brands in Malaysia offers a similar deal.

What's Bad?

  • USB cable. While it might have came with a beefy USB cable, only 1 cable is bundled for a power bank with 2 USB outputs. Also, it would have been nice if the USB cable is one of those 2-in-1 type that has a swappable Lightning and Micro USB interface for both iOS and Android devices.
  • Dim LED indicators. While the ABS Y40 came with cool blue LED battery indicators, they are a little dim to check in brightly lit environments, which could be due to the design that has a plastic piece over the LED(s).

Should I buy it?

Are you looking for a power bank for your phone? If you are, especially with the recent Pokémon GO craze, well, yeah, you probably should. That game drains so much battery that you’re lucky to get a few hours of use out of your phone. Keeping a power bank in your backpack or handbag would be a good idea.

With 10400 mAh on tap, it'll be more than good enough for 2-3 full charges on your smartphone depending on your phone model. If you’re travelling soon, packing a power bank in your carry-on is a great idea too. You won't want to run out of battery on your device on a long-distance flight. That'll make the difference between a boring commute, or one filled with movies, games, or music from your device.

The best part of buying power banks from the ABS brand? You’re paying for the peace of mind, 100% satisfaction guaranteed, 2 years 1-to-1 exchange warranty! Well, as long as you're purchasing the original ones distributed by C Two Gadget and their dealers listed below.

Where to buy?

The ABS Y40 10400mAh Power Bank costs RM99, you may purchase it from:
  • The entire list of ABS Product Dealers in Malaysia, click HERE to find out!
  • Official ABS Malaysia 11street online store, click HERE to visit their store. (In conjunction with Merdeka month, they are also running a sale with 20% - 30% discount. Promotion runs until 31 August 2016.)

Please follow ABS Malaysia on their Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates of their products and promotions.

Stay tuned to this site for news updates, reviews, and more. Also, don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram too!

(Disclaimer: You should note that, while the product is supplied to me for reviewing purposes, this post is un-moderated, and hasn’t been edited by any parties in any way. The opinions expressed are those of my own judgement, based on my user-experience of using it.)

Saturday, 13 August 2016

A lesson in Monochrome Photography - Leica Camera X Huawei Workshop feat. Morpheuse a.k.a. Aqmal Hadi Shapee

Group photo of the participants with Aqmal Hadi Shapee, as well Shannel Woo, the Retail Manager of Leica Store Malaysia

On the Sunday morning of 31 July 2016, Huawei Malaysia, in collaboration with Leica Store Malaysia, held the first of its 3 photography workshops, specially for users of the Huawei P9 and Huawei P9 Plus.

The theme of the day? Monochrome photography. And, our teacher of the day is, photographer Aqmal Hadi Shapee, or, as he is better known as, Morpheuse. (You may follow him on Facebook as well as Instagram.) With more than 10 years of professional Black & White photography experience behind him, he offered workshop participants some valuable tips, on how to improve their monochrome photography, especially with the dedicated monochrome mode available on the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus.

For the uninitiated, the Huawei P9, along with its bigger brother, the Huawei P9 Plus, both come equipped with two rear cameras. While one camera captures images in full RGB colour, the other captures in monochrome. Using a Leica co-engineered merging algorithm, Huawei managed to combine the colours taken by the RGB sensor, with the detail of the monochrome sensor. The end result? Images with richer details, depth and colours. The monochrome output from the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus is not a mere filter, it is the result of images captured from its dedicated monochrome sensor, creating deeper, more contrasty black and white images, without further editing.

Without further ado, here are Aqmal's five tips, on how to get better monochrome photographs with the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus!

#1 Visualize in Black and White

In Aqmal's words, when viewing the image we are trying to capture in black and white directly when composing, it helps us see the gradation in tones and shades immediately. He also mentioned that, if you can help it, don't take a shot in colour, before converting it to monochrome, it would not result in a good black & white photograph, as our eyes interpret details differently when visualising in colour. Thankfully, there's a dedicated monochrome mode on the Huawei P9/P9 Plus that can be taken advantage of, to visualize in Black and White.

So, what does one look for to create better black & white photographs? 3 simple things. Lines, Shadows, and Shapes. Lines makes your images more dynamic, it also serves as a guide to the lead your eyes to the main subject of the photo. Shadows adds drama and tension, while shapes creates familiarity.

Skyward (Image: GRexer Lee)
This is one of the photos I took using the Huawei P9 during the workshop. By placing the ladder on the foreground, I utilised the "lines" concept to draw the attention to the sky.
Jammed straits (Image: Aqmal Hadi Shapee)
This is one of the pictures by Aqmal himself, utilising the "shadows" concept to create drama, where the sun shone through the clouds, hitting the ships with its rays.
(Image: Hadzrul)
In the image above, Hadzrul, one of participants of the workshop, used the "shapes" concept to apply familiarity and repetition to the photograph.

#2 Contrast is your friend

Contrast makes a picture more interesting. So, what exactly is contrast? It is the scale of difference between black and white in the photos. How do you create a visually stunning image based on this concept? Try using a black background combined with light foreground or vice versa. To create this effect, you'll need to have a basic understanding of light, and how to make use of it for photography. The simplest form is to shine a light onto your subject, thus creating a darker background. Did you know that your Huawei P9/P9 Plus has a constant light function on it's flash called "Steady On" thru the flash menu? Try it out, make use of it.

(Image: GRexer Lee)
On this photo that I also took during the workshop, I utilised a darker foreground with a lighter background, creating a contrast, coincidentally, my main subject, one of the members of the family walking down the stairs I was photographing, was staring up curiously, creating a bit of a drama.

(Image: Aqmal Hadi Shapee)
This photo was taken by Aqmal himself, and clearly explains the concept of creating contrast. The difference in black and white makes this photo stand out as a monochrome photograph.

#3 Texture

Textures, anything that isn't smooth as a baby's bottom, makes for an interesting three dimensional view. Adding in some play in lighting increases the sense of dimensional. Direct lighting will make your image look flat, while side lighting will bring out textures even better.

(Image: GRexer Lee)
Using "texture" as the concept for the photograph above, the rough textures on the fire hydrant was highlighted when shot in black and white, something we could have missed if this was a colour photograph. (Admittedly, this was a somewhat poorly composed image, but it serves to highlight "textures")

(Image: GRexer Lee)
In this photo above, side lighting (the sun is shining in from the top right corner) is used to bring out the textures on the sides of the Twin Towers, giving it a more dimensional feeling. (Again, it might not have been a very good photo compositional wise, but, it serves to show how side-lighting helps in bringing out "textures")

#4 Get close

According to Aqmal, the Huawei P9/P9 Plus has amazing close focusing capabilities, and one can even go closer, by adding on one of the third party clip-on lenses, or even, make your own pseudo macro lens, out of a laser pointer and a hairpin!

(3 in 1 Clip-on Mobile Phone Lens. Image: AliExpress)
Aqmal is quick to quip that, "There are hidden worlds around us thru macro photography. Close up, and macro photography makes a usually plain subject, into something interesting."
(Image: GRexer Lee)
One of the many photos I took during the photography workshop includes the above, while it might not be a macro shot, I did try to get as close as possible that I can without the macro lens. It does give a different perspective! 
(Image: Aqmal Hadi Shapee)
This is one of Aqmal's own photos, using macro lens to capture the insides of a flower. It provides a different perspective, giving us, perhaps, the view from a bee's world.

#5 Apps

"Apps Is Not A Dirty Word", said Aqmal. Don't be afraid to do a little touch up on your photos, adjust the contrast, tweak the highlights and shadows, and many more. Learn how to use image editing software! There's plenty of free software that we could use, which includes, according to Aqmal's recommendation: Snapseed, Instagram, or Lenka. Lenka is actually a pretty cool camera app that shoots in Black & White too! (All links are for the Android version, for iOS, here are the links for SnapseedInstagram and Lenka.) I personally use Snapseed and Instagram a lot, and, to a certain extent, VSCO (iOS here). You'll be surprised that there's actually a very decent advanced editor on Instagram!

For comparison's sake, here's one of the photos I took during the workshop session, on the top, is the original photo without any tweaks, and, on the bottom, is after some adjustments done in Instagram. Which one do you like better?
(Image: GRexer Lee)
(Image: GRexer Lee)
So, that's about it, all the 5 tips for better monochrome photography. Lastly, Aqmal added that digital photography using smartphones like the Huawei P9 or Huawei P9 Plus, is basically free, as we do not need to pay for each shot (unlike if we shoot in film), and we can always just delete shots that we aren't satisfied with. "Experiment, have fun, try out different styles!" Those were his advice to anyone wanting to improve on their photography using smartphones.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself during the photography workshop, and learnt quite a few things that would hopefully bring my monochrome photography to greater heights. I appreciate Huawei Malaysia's efforts in making available, such workshops to Huawei P9 or P9 Plus users, on how to fully utilise the capabilities of their smartphones.

(All photos featured shot by me were taken using the Huawei P9.)

A big Thank You to:
- Aqmal Hadi Shapee (Facebook | Instagram)
- Huawei Mobile Malaysia (Facebook | Instagram)
- Leica Store Malaysia (Facebook | Instagram)

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