Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Living & Science: Magical Home Science of Range Hood Cleaning

What can Baking soda, dishwashing detergent and hot water do?
Image from Locky's English Playground
Feeling upset by the greasy range hood in the kitchen but too scared by the foreseeable elbow grease you have to put into the cleaning job? I have a magic to share with you today! I have been wanting to try this out for awhile, and I finally mustered enough courage (hm... actually, I was  just lazy) to try it. 

This is nothing new and have been widely shared on the internet, but the first time to be reported to you from my personal experience. 

Sink terms 1
Image from techques.com
Sink terms 2
Image from Visual Dictionary.com
Range hood terms
Image from rona.ca

You will need
  1. Baking soda / Bicarbonate of soda / sodium bicarbonate. I bought this from ParkNShop for about $18. I am sure this is a rip-off but it is the only way I can get hold of it.
  2. A good dishwashing detergent (DWD). I use AXE.
  3. Boiling water, freshly boiled!
  4. Gloves, make sure it can protect you from the hot boiling water
  5. A sponge 
  6. A piece of kitchen cloth
  7. The terms involving a sink and range hood (see images above).
Effervescence once baking soda meets hot water and detergent
Image from Locky's English Playground
(I should have taken a photo of the greasy, dusty, black and crazy hood filters, but I was over-excited that I have completely forgotten about it. I will probably take the missing photos again in the future to perfect this article, but as for now, these are all I have.)

Step 1:
Make sure you have the stopper firmly pressed down.

Step 2:
Add a generous amount of DWD and 1/4 cup of baking soda into the sink.

Step 3:
Add boiling water. You will see an exciting display of effervescence once the hot water comes into contact with the baking soda.

Step 4:
Stir the mixture gently to mix the solution well, then let it sit there for 10 minutes, although from my observation, the filters were actually immediately cleaned within 10 seconds, but you don't have to rush, right?

Step 5:
While your filters are being auto-cleaned, put on your gloves and wet the kitchen cloth with the hot hot hot solution and clean everything else in the kitchen, such as...

Don't waste the solvent, clean everything else! Good as new!
Image from Locky's English Playground
 ... the faucet, the handle, the escutcheon, the water filter,...

Look at this range hood!
Image from Locky's English Playground
 ... the motors...

Range hood never looked better!
Image from Locky's English Playground
... the fans, the hood body, the kitchen walls, etc.

Cleaned! Very clean!
Image from Locky's English Playground
By the time you have completed the other stuff, your filters should be grease and dirt-free!!! Exactly how effective is this method?

Shiny without dirt or dust!
Image from Locky's English Playground
 You can easily see it from my photos, can't you?

Wanna bet this is more effective than scrubbing hard with elbow grease?
Image from Locky's English Playground
 Simply put it, they are as good as new!

There's more! A very clean sink!
Image from Locky's English Playground
And you have a beautifully polished-like metallic sink once more!

Huge success!!!! Have a go yourself!


Difference between baking soda and baking powder
According to About Education, baking soda is the pure sodium bicarbonate / sodium hydrogen carbonate form  NaHCO3, while baking powder contains an acidifying agent and so you are not getting 100% of the sodium bicarbonate you pay for. For cooking it is fine, but for cleaning, it is the pure form you want.

Baking soda is an amphoteric compound -- reacts with both acid and base, and this allows it to remove different kind of stains, dirt, proteins and grease. Since there are too many to be listed here, maybe you can check out this A-Z Stain Removal Guide, HowStuffWorks and Wikipedia for more details.


Vocabulary:
greasy -- (adj) covered with or full of fat or oil
foreseeable -- (adj) A foreseeable event or situation is one that can be known about or guessed before it happens.
elbow grease -- (n) informal a lot of physical effort


Resources:
How To Clean a Greasy Range Hood Filter — Cleaning Lessons from The Kitchn @The Kitchn

The Chemistry of Cleaning Clothes +HowStuffWorks 

What Is the Difference Between Baking Soda & Baking Powder? +About.com

Sodium bicarbonate @ Wikipedia

A-Z Stain Removal Guide: Instructions For Over 100 Types Of Stains 






Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Technology & Opinions: iPhone 6 iReserve HK, ISP, Android, PC & Browsers


Image from reserveiphone
I admit, I am a newbie in reserving and ordering iPhones. I have one-year of experience and practically learned very little about this. I mean, everything from 'Available' to 'Sold out' happens in a matter of 1 to 2 minutes only, what's there to learn? Getting up before 6am every day was the lesson.

Yet, I was very wrong, there are tonnes to learn indeed. Touts are really really professional! It is the first time I have ever heard that someone can usually order 80 iPhones within minutes using fake accounts, and it is also my first time to hear someone actually loaded up their webpage sharp at 8:00am, received their SMS reply from Apple and had their orders confirmed before 8:01am! He even succeeded in his second round!

Sign-in page
Image from ringhk

As for me, my Note 3 on one2Free (CSL) using Android browser was the fastest, loaded up before 8:01am. My PC on ISP Hong Kong Broadband (HKBN) using Google Chrome was not able to load up the sign-in page till 8:05am!!! Hong Kong Broadband sucks at connecting to Apple, having to route to HKIX at CUHK.

tracert reserve.cdn-apple.com takes such a long time to get to the CTI HKBN Gateway
Image from Locky's English Playground

But that's not the end, because all my data was prepared on my PC for copy-and-paste while there is nothing on my Note 3 (even if there were, copying and pasting will take even longer time), my only choice was to type in all information one by one, that slowed the progress down very much. To make the situation even worse, the SMS I sent out at 8:03am, did not receive a reply until 8:05am. A complete waste of 2 minutes!
My SMS send and receive time
Image from Locky's English Playground
Mistakes keep happening as I keyed in the wrong verification code twice and was shown the line,
"You are allowed to login only once per minute. Please wait for a minute before you try again". And I did not wait that one minute and it worked. By the time I finally reached the phone selection page, and having wasted even more time checking store after store for available phones, only iPhone 6 4.7" 16Gb Grey was left, adding another typo at the Hong Kong ID field and just as I reached the selection of timeslot and pressed that final confirm button, a message told me that my slot was no longer available, and nothing was left.

Images from ringhk

I looked at my time, it was 8:10am, and I was dumbfounded. Had it really been 10 minutes? It felt more like 5.

The loading and the SMS should not have taken so long! I blame HKBN and one2Free (CSL) for their slow connections with everything they have got to do with Apple, and I blame them even more because they have some of the best connectivity in Hong Kong any other times!

My complaints do not come out of thin air. This poll said it all!

Poll till 2:27pm, Sep 16 2014
Image from unwire.hk

As I and many other disappointed new iPhone miners look on as the fruit farmers collect their iPhones on the 19th September, the next ray of light will shine at 8am, 20th September. The problem is, professionals will have their bots ready for the hunt. With my worst of the worst combo of HKBN+CSL+hand-typing, the chance of me successfully getting a phone through the claws of iReserve is next to nothing.

Still, I will give it a go, be sleep-deprived and be like a lamb to the slaughter.



Vocabulary:
dumbfounded -- also dumbstruck (adj) so shocked that you cannot speak
out of thin air -- from nothing
look on -- slightly formal (phrasal verb) to watch something happen but not become involved in it
deprived -- (adj) not having the things that are necessary for a pleasant life, such as enough money, food or good living conditions
like a lamb to the slaughter -- (idiom) If a person does something or goes somewhere like a lamb to the slaughter, they do it without knowing that something bad is going to happen and therefore act calmly and without fighting against the situation.


Resources:
HKIX
http://www.hkix.net/

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english-chinese-traditional/dumbfounded
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english-chinese-traditional/out-of-thin-air
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english-chinese-traditional/look-on
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english-chinese-traditional/look-on
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english-chinese-traditional/deprived
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english-chinese-traditional/like-a-lamb-to-the-slaughter



Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Technology & Opinions: Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Watch VS Samsung Gear series


Apple's new smart watch -- Apple Watch
Image from DNews
So the moment has finally come, and unlike my old self I was rather excited about the latest Apple products. At Hong Kong time 0am this morning, Apple announced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, together with the much anticipated Apple Watch.

Image from Adam Outler's Google+

Since I haven't actually touched and played with the device, my comments below will base purely on the videos I have watched on the internet. For a change, I will start with the watches. So far, Samsung has flooded the market, like they always do, with their Gear, Gear 2, Gear Fit, Gear Live and the latest Gear S. All these experiences of making smart watches have not been wasted, as their smart watches do get better and better with time. In Gen 4, the Gear S is already a device with standalone 3G capability and a much anticipated curved screen. Still, we can't compare without getting to know them, so here are some videos of the better ones from Samsung, and Apple's.



The Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit is not really a complete smart watch, rather it is a smart band, but I think it has the best look. Coming in second, the Gear Live is the best-looking smart watch with the perfect size, while Gear S is a bit too large as a watch despite having a cool curved screen. As for the Apple Watch, since it is still in Gen 1 of Apple, it definitely looks better than Samsung's Gen 1 Galaxy Gear, but definitely needs a few more generations before it can be considered "handsome", right now it just looks too kiddy, especially at US$349.

(Here's an Apple Watch parody, just for the fun of it.)




The software department is Apple's strength area and I expect it to outperform Samsung by a fair margin, turns out, the Apple Watch looks pleasant and smooth on demo mode, but lack of surprise that can differentiate itself from existing smart watches in the market. The presence of a map is a nice touch, though you probably need a bigger screen for this functionality, maybe this point helps to justify the size of the Galaxy Gear S, but I think the Gear S does not have map capabilities.

Samsung Galaxy Gear Live, released on June 25, 2014, excluding Hong Kong
Image from PhoneArena
The Galaxy Gear Live therefore remains as the best smart watch in the market at US$199 but surely the next one will have to look even better than the Gear S to capture more customers, including me. Maybe on top of that, they will have to first include Hong Kong as their market as the Galaxy Gear Live is not marketed thus not sold in Hong Kong.

One thing Apple did do well in making this watch is the sapphire display, others should seriously consider following, though I was expecting to see sapphire on its iPhone 6 instead because then it will truly be first.

Huawei Ascend P7 Sapphire
Image from Huawei
But all is too late, because Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei has announced its Ascend P7 Sapphire stole the headlines for being the first smartphone ever to have sapphire as their display.

For those of you who are interested in videos regarding the latest Samsung products, you can head to my other post titled, Technology: Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Edge, Gear VR & S!!! Here I will just save the space for comparative opinions of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and the Note 4.



Initially, I was thinking this is going to be a 'bye-bye-Android killer' iPhone, because few can resist buying the next iPhone with a sapphire display. I had my Apple ID and credit cards ready for action and then I was brought back to the ground from cloud nine. It has got to be the most severe anticlimax of the year for anyone to know that the iPhone 6 will be without sapphire display. Without the sapphire display, iPhone 6 is just, as summarized in the image below, another outdated Android.

Image from Ron Amadeo's Google+
But to be fair, and it's a cliché, that specification isn't everything, and having used the camera on the iPhone 5s and be impressed by it, I am sure that the 8 megapixel f/2.2 camera on the iPhone 6 which allows slow motion video shooting at 240 frame per second, is going to be even better than that on the 5s. My only worry is, the Sony sensor powering the iPhone 5s camera will once again power the iPhone 6's, because that will mean, Sony will always leave the best phone cameras for themselves.

iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and HTC M8
Image from Marques Brownlee

Other than a better camera, a bigger screen, faster CPU and a design which completely looks like a replica of the HTC M8, I do not see how attractive the iPhone 6 will be to the non-Apple fans without the killer sapphire display. Sure enough, you have the iOS 8, but older iPhones will get that too, making an upgrade even less reasonable.

Thus my verdict is, if your old iPhone battery is functioning alright and you are not in desperate need for a bigger screen, then you do not need to rush for an upgrade, otherwise, upgrade before your battery crosses the two-year-old line. It does not matter how much you trust Apple, the battery manufacturers in China is another story.

My cousin's iPhone 4
Image from Adonis Lau


Resources:
Technology: Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Edge, Gear VR & S!!! @ Locky's English Playground
http://lockyep.blogspot.hk/2014/09/technology-samsung-galaxy-note-4-edge.html

Technology: Welcome Samsung Galaxy S5 !!!@ Locky's English Playground
http://lockyep.blogspot.hk/2014/02/technology-welcome-samsung-galaxy-s5.html

Technology & Science: Sapphire iPhone 6 VS Unknown Samsung Note 4 & Mohs Scale feat. Oppo Find 7 @ Locky's English Playground
http://lockyep.blogspot.hk/2014/08/technology-science-sapphire-iphone-6-vs.html

Samsung Gear Live Review @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak91BV6wais

Samsung Gear Fit Review @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MytOhOYTyKc

Apple Watch hands-on @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn8jj9KuKDc

Head to Head: How Apple's New iPhone, Watch Compare to Samsung's Products @abcNews
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/head-head-apples-iphone-watch-compare-samsungs-products/story?id=25385809

Huawei Ascend P7 Sapphire: now with sapphire display @WhaTech
http://www.whatech.com/mobile/reviews/29427-04-huawei-ascend-p7-sapphire-now-with-sapphire-display

Why the iPhone 6 isn't rocking a sapphire crystal display @CNet
http://www.cnet.com/news/why-the-iphone-6-isnt-rocking-a-sapphire-crystal-display/

The Apple Watch (Parody) @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yioL7MRQvHM

iphone 6 trailer - iphone 6 PLUS trailer official apple - iphone 6 official video by apple @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr0_byEB3bo

The iPhone 6 Model! @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVpfhoi_uOM




Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Culture: What Do You Know About Celebrities?


Kate Upton, self-posted to Instagram
Image from wwtdd
This iCloud leak of celebrities nude photos has been quite a stir, it kind of makes me rethink about what I know about them from their characters in their movies and roles in their industry.

My conclusion is, I don't know anything about them because I was never interested in their personal life. But there is one very fitted Chinese saying, "Do it not if you not want it be known", and in English, "What is done by night appears by day".

If you do want to know some fun facts about the celebrities other than their leaked photos, here're some interesting ones!


After watching the last one, I finally got myself to search for the meaning of "BFF".


Vocabulary:
bff/BFF -- (acronym) best friends forever


Resources:

Camera Phone Hacking, I’ve Seen Them All Naked @ wwtdd
http://www.wwtdd.com/2014/09/camera-phone-hacking-ive-seen-them-all-naked/

14 Celebrities Who Transformed Their Faces With One Change @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDx23NqnpAU

12 Mind-Blowing Celebrity Facts @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eQiWILsVlA

14 Celebrities You Never Knew Were The Same Age @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X50U9mw-0LY

9 Celebrity Facts That'll Make You Question Everything @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QMV_2Y-w18

What Does Google Think Of Celebrities? @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_dTxZe_uGY

Celebs You Didn't Know Were Australian  @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UBnKCTSFYE

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=BFF





Saturday, 6 September 2014

Technology: Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Edge, Gear VR & S!!!


Samsung Galaxy Gear VR
Image from amazonaws
We know the adage, "you can't judge a book by its cover" and this is increasingly true for Samsung's products. The new Galaxy Note 4 might not look like much of an improvement from the exterior, but in terms of hardware, it is good enough for me to rethink about getting Oppo Find 7 as my next new phone.



The new Note 4 has all the advantages that the Oppo Find 7 once had: the QuadHD display, the super highspeed charging, optical stabilisation and a much upgraded wide-angle mode for the camera, though not as good-looking at the Find 7, the Note 4 may well be the best Android phone 2014, unless of course, the Find 9 comes out, if any.



As for the Note Edge, I think Samsung has missed the boat of wowing the world. This phone should have been released before the iPhone 5s or even the iPhone 5, now with just a bit more edge screen, I seriously do not see the coolness in it.


Now, this Gear VR IS COOL, probably because we don't know the pricing yet, but it this is going to be expensive, it will not be making an impact more than any other VR headset did in the past, which means, no impact at all.


Though still pretty big, it is by far the best smartwatch by Samsung, and it fits even better into the advertisement below:




Vocabulary:
adage -- (n)[C] a wise saying
you can't judge a book by its cover -- saying said to show that you cannot know what something or someone is like by looking only at that person or thing's appearance




Resources:
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Impressions! @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tU-0Uxz6jw

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Impressions! @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uALVIcQXH4Q

[IFA 2014] First Look at Samsung Gear VR @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCX35bCYPjc

Samsung Gear S First Look! @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VnNiZr0CuM

Samsung Galaxy Gear First Commercial - Official [ Best Samsung Ad ] @YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRlJit28d6I

Samsung Galaxy Gear Awesome Commercial 2013@YouTube
http://youtu.be/4fMqIRa_tgc

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/adage
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/you-can-t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover

Friday, 5 September 2014

Movie, Animals & Auto: "6" The Movie X Elon Musk & Tesla Model S!!!


Tesla Model S on a mission
Image from "6" the movie
Hong Kong is a centre of shark fin and other illegal wildlife trafficking / trading and this must be stopped! In the movie 6, the OPS team together with Elon and Tesla Model S are teaming up on a daring mission to change the way we see the world!!!

Endangered sea animals, how many can you count?
Image from "6" the movie
The release date of the movie is yet to be announced, but the trailer has been updated to YouTube yesterday.

Giant clam Vulnerable (IUCN 2.3) shells in huge number appeared to be guarded
Image from "6" the movie
 Some of the images are simply indelible!


I am glad that my small donations including that one from my Ice-Bucket Challenge has in some way helped the production of such awakening documentary.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk,  executive director Louie Psihoyos and race car driver Leilani Maaja Münter
Image from "6" the movie
As a big fan of both Elon and Louie's work, I highly recommend this documentary "6" to everyone who cares about education and believes that our effort today can make a difference to the world for our future generations.

To save the world, we need OPS, Elon, Tesla, and all of us!!! Watch 6 the movie!

Will need your full support!! Our future generations depends on us!

Go to the "6" the Movie OPS page to subscribe to their movie updates.



Vocabulary:
indelible -- (adj) [before noun] Indelible memories or actions are impossible to forget, or have a permanent influence or effect:


Resources:
Event: Locky's Ice Bucket Challenge!!! @ Locky's English Playground
http://lockyep.blogspot.hk/2014/08/event-lockys-ice-bucket-challenge.html

"6" the Movie Trailer @ YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qrw-fVADtv0

"6" the Movie @ OPS
http://6themovie.opsociety.org/

Leilani Maaja Münter @ Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leilani_Munter#Animal_Activism

Giant Clam @ Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_clam

6 @ IMDb
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1618448/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/indelible