Wednesday 26 February 2014

Technology: Welcome Samsung Galaxy S5 !!!

Yes, it's real
Image from Samsung

As always, I am pretty excited by Samsung Unpacked because I can almost guarantee expect something fancy will appear.

Samsung Galaxy S5 is announced!
Image from Samsung

This time round is the Galaxy S5. The opinions so far, are pretty diverged. Some really like it, some feel awfully disappointed.

Want to see how it compares with the S4? Here's a video.

I'm pretty certain that some would really prefer the non-glossy back cover on the S5 whereas others would prefer the one on the S4 because the S5 back cover looks ugly! For me, the S5 back cover looks awfully like sponge with those dimples, it doesn't have the premium feel that Note 3's faux leather offers. (If I were to pick, I would pick blue as the better colour of the lot.) It will be annoying if you are not going to use a phone case but matters little if you are. Designer cases will surely do you good.

The speed when using Touchwiz in those videos looks blazing fast! Clocked at 2.5Ghz, I would love to see how the battery life fares.

S5 with Fit
Image from Samsung

The ultra power saving mode sounds perfect for everyone! If the data is real that 10% battery can last for 24 hours, it can be quite a selling point. Whether this feature easy to duplicate in or ported to other Android phones is my next question.

The camera and the stock camera app sounds awesome, bigger sensor is always better in photography,  but how it performs in the actual world is a huge deal, especially noise control in low light. The Note 3 and S4 cameras are just average in low light so there's a lot of expectations on the S5 camera.

Blue, the better of the lot
Image from Samsung

To clear our heads, I have some opinions from the other end of the spectrum. Forbes' Eric Mack has an article titled The Samsung Galaxy S5 Is Missing 5 Big Things, namely a metal body design: a redesigned UX,
a truly envelope-pushing specs: the next generation of battery technology, and a reason to upgrade. GSMArena says "Unfortunately, the design of the Galaxy S5 is nothing ground-breaking."

And Erica has more!

Actually, the Samsung Galaxy Fit is a much bigger surprise to me simply because it looks cool!!!

In conclusion, this is the one Galaxy that I really have to get my hands on before I can say it is worth it or not. Thus far, I doubt it is worth upgrading if you already have an S4. I even suggest buying S4 instead!! I might change my mine later, but as for now.... I'm sticking to what I think. That being said, anything new from Samsung is welcome!

diverge -- (adj) to follow a different direction, or to be or become different:
blazing -- (adj) very bright and hot or powerful:


Samsung UNPACKED 2014 Episode 1 livestream (full length) @ YouTube

Samsung Galaxy S5 hands-on @ YouTube

Samsung Galaxy S5 specs @ GSMArena

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S4 - Quick Look! @ YouTube

Galaxy S5 First Impressions Vlog @ YouTube

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Is Missing 5 Big Things @ Forbes

Samsung Galaxy S5 preview: simpler in some ways, more 'glam' in others @ Engadget

Samsung Gear Fit First Look and Hands On @ YouTube

Sunday 23 February 2014

TV & Technology: You Who Came From The Stars (aka YWCFTS) feat. LINE & Didier Dubot

별에서 온 그대 (Korean Drama: You Who Came From The Stars)
Image from LINE

I have read hundreds and hundreds of news articles these days, there are big news but nothing really interests me (until...).

Swallowed and Digested
Image from appleinsider
Facebook's acquisition of Whatsapp was big, a huge success story on Whatsapp's part because of the price Facebook paid, and it was a smart move on Whatsapp as its competition is getting stiffer and stiffer. Many of you know that I am not a big fan of Whatsapp and instead I support LINE. That's because Whatsapp's "Less is more" philosophy just doesn't work for me, probably increasingly for the rest of the world too. As other instant messaging (IM) apps such as LINE and WeChat take the stage, Whatsapp was bound to be ousted sooner or later. In my past article Technology & Economics: Nothing Is Too Big To Fail, I predicted LINE to be "the next big thing", and I was right.

Image from

Recently the Korean drama 별에서 온 그대 You Who Came From The Stars took LINE and many fashion brands, such as Didier Dubot, up to a whole new level due to its overwhelming popularity. Product placement in action! Inarguably, actress Jeon Ji-Hyun has been monumental in the success of the entire project.

Spokewoman Jeon Ji-Hyun
Images from Didier Dubot Korea Facebook
The fans have even gone the extra mile to research on every piece of clothing, shoes and accessories Jeon Ji-Hyun has worn in the drama!!! You may want to take a look at one of the researches here.

Image from weixin.qq

Image from weixin.qq

Having up to 12 different looks in an episode basically makes it a grand solo fashion show for the actress!!! What is most impressive, personally speaking, is that she has the magic to bring the very best look out of each and every one of the pieces, so much that she even put the actual models in shame!!

Image from LINE
LINE has not only sponsored the show, but also released free stickers for the actress and the main characters of the show, multiplying the positive effect by a thousand times!

Free stickers of the scenes in the show
Image from
Songs from the show, particularly My Destiny by Lyn and Hello/Goodbye by Hyorin, received 793,605+ and 676,444+ downloads in South Korea alone!! The enthusiasm from the fans are pouring into YouTube with their self-made translated romanised MTV. It is almost impossible to miss versions of Vietnamese, Thai, Spanish and Chinese versions when these song names are looked up.

As the show reaches the final 2 episodes, the audience shares and ratings are hitting all time high at 30.8%!!

Image from Wikipedia

Will this male alien-female girl relationship bears fruit? We shall see on the 26th and 27th February, which is just 3 more days away!!!

acquisition -- (n) [C or U] something such as a building, another company, or a piece of land that is bought by a company, or the act of buying it
stiff -- (adj) severe and difficult
oust -- (vb)[T] to force someone to leave a position of power, job, place, or competition:
monumental -- (adj) very big

Technology & Economics: Nothing Is Too Big To Fail @ Locky's English Playground

You Who Came From The Stars @ Wikipedia

Jeon Ji-Hyun @ Wikipedia

Product Placement @ Wikipedia

Lyn @ Wikipedia

Hyorin @ Wikipedia

《来自星星的你》千颂伊着装配饰大起底(1-16集)@ Weixin.qq

[LYn] My Destiny (You Who Came From The Stars OST) Hangul/Romanized/English Sub Lyrics @ YouTube

[MV] Lyn(린) _ My Destiny(My Love From the Star(별에서 온 그대)OST Part 1)

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Auto & Opinions: Concerns Of A Prospective Tesla Model S Owner

Tesla Model S with its Signature Red
Image from Tesla Motors
Ever since The New York Times interview, Tesla has coincidentally moved much much faster. Six days ago, Tesla announced the price of Model S in Hong Kong, to much delight of the Hong Kong buyers, it was again A Fair Price!

Model S Pricing for Hong Kong
Image from Tesla Motors HK
If you want a Model S that looks signature enough, you simply need the 60kWh Battery model plus a Red Multi-Coat Paint and a Panoramic Roof, priced at HK$610,000. Might look like a lot of money but if you are thinking long term economic value, such as no petrol is needed, it's actually acceptable. (For a more calculation, please read Auto: BMW 520iA Review feat. Tesla Model S.)

Quoting SCMP

In Hong Kong, where luxury cars are more widespread, the Model S is retailing at a price similar to its cost in the United States (US$62,400).
“To treat our customers in Hong Kong as fairly as possible, we are offering the Model S at the same retail price that customers in the US pay, adding only unavoidable transportation costs, and applying the current market exchange rate,” said Jerome Guillen, Vice President of Tesla’s international sales and service department.
Pre-orders for the Model S in Hong Kong exceeded 300 last July - a figure that surpasses the number of electric cars currently on city streets.

There are several key messages here which might shed light to the FRT which should be discussed on the 26th February, Next Wednesday -- the 2014/15 Budget Day. 

Concern 1:
Will the government extend First Registration Tax waiver?

Judging from the price listed on the China Model S pricing blog post, the tax is actually in the calculation. Such tax isn't included in the Hong Kong pricing or in the words from Jerome Guilien, which could signal a possible extension of a FRT waiver. Together with a piece of insider news that the government is going to extend the FRT waiver, it is looking very promising.

However, I have other concerns.

Concern 2:
Monthly-paid parking space with charging points?

Reasonably priced monthly-paid parking spaces with charging points are extremely rare in Hong Kong.

Take for example, I asked Hang Lung Properties last year and they quoted me

  1. $2400 monthly in a designated Hang Lung Carpark but no charging
  2. $3200 monthly multiparking at all Hang Lung Carparks but no charging
  3. $3800 monthly multiparking at all Hang Lung Carparks with unlimited charging

What they didn't (maybe still don't) offer is the $2400 with unlimited charging.

This year, they have up the price of plan 2 from $3200 to $3700!!!! Blood-sucker!!!

What should I do if I can't find a place to charge my car and park it at the same time?

Shopping malls such as IFC does offer electric vehicle chargers, but you can't get to it unless you pay for the parking and their chargers are not exactly "quick". We are talking about hours of parking for the charging.

Concern 3:
Where would Tesla build their supercharging stations In Hong Kong?
Tesla's supercharging stations
Image from Tesla Motors

What makes Tesla superior and successful is not only their amazing EVs, but the infrastructure the company builds for the Tesla EV owners which are free of charge.

But will they do the same in Hong Kong? Let's not forget, it's FREE super high speed charging plus FREE-parking like you see in the vidoe above. Is that even possible in Hong Kong where ever inch is gold? If they do build supercharging stations in Hong Kong, would it be real remote?

"Tesla is planning to build a network of Superchargers in Hong Kong"
Image and wordings from Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors Design Studio has this subtitle under the "Supercharger Enabled" option, stating

"Tesla is planning to build a network of Superchargers in Hong Kong"

Charging Stations in Hong Kong by EV Power
Image from Hong Kong EV Power

I hope they do realise that most of the EV chargers in Hong Kong are standard chargers inside paid carparks which make them almost completely useless other than looking good on Google map.

Concern 4:
Will there be enough charging points for all EVs in Hong Kong?

The short answer is No!

According to Environmental Protection Department, at the end of 2013, there are 592 EVs in use and only some 1 000 standard EV chargers plus 10 quick chargers in Hong Kong. When they say quick chargers, it means the 50kW CHAdeMO standard, which is largely popular in Japan.

My worry is that with 400 Model S and 592 other EVs on the road, I might have to get up at 3am to get an available charging space.

CHAdeMO charger
Image from

Worse comes to worst, if I cannot find a monthly-paid parking space with charging, then I will go for a cheap parking space without a charger and then visit one of those "CHAdeMO" standard charger once to twice a week, should there be no superchargers available by then.

The best case scenario is that there is at least one supercharger near where I live. I don't mind Causeway Bay, but Heng Fa Chuen and Chai Wan are good enough for me.


Auto: Interviewed by The New York Times @ Locky's English Playground

Auto: BMW 520iA Review feat. Tesla Model S @ Locky's English Playground

Design Studio @ Tesla Motors

A Fair Price @ Tesla Motors Blog

Tesla announces Hong Kong prices for its Model S electric car @ SCMP

Latest News - Motor Vehicles First Registration Tax System @ Custom Excise Department

Promotion: Hong Kong @ Hang Lung Properties Limited

Promotion of Electric Vehicles in Hong Kong @ EPD

EV Charging Stations @ HK Electric

Bjørn's Tesla Model S #3: Driving 1600 km/1000 mi and sleeping in the Tesla @ YouTube

Thursday 13 February 2014

Sports & Vocabulary: The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

Skeleton Gold Medalist Amy Williams in 2010 Vancouver
Image from Olympics/ YouTube

A freaky cold day gives me shivers all the way, and a little interest in learning the names of events in The Sochi Winter Olympics 2014.

Do you know them all?

Alpine Skiing
Skiing downhill with boots not fixed to the skis.

Biathlon in different sports means different things. In the Winter Games, it combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.

Also read Sport & People: Bobsleigh & Steven Holcomb, and give him support! He's one of Locky's English Playground readers too you know?

Cross-Country Skiing


Figure Skating

Freestyle Skiing

Ice Hockey


Nordic Combined
Athletes compete in both cross-country and ski jumping.

Short Track Speed Skating


This is not a scary cage inside your body, this is a sport in which a person rides a small sled down a frozen track while laying face down. Remember Amy Williams VS Mini-Cooper on TopGear?


Ski Jumping

Ski Slopestyle

Snowboard Slopestyle

Speed Skating

Hope you enjoy watching these videos and got to learn some sports terms. I'm going to get a glass of hot chocolate now!!

(Thanks to YouTube's Olympics Channel for all videos above)

Sochi 2014 Olympics - Olympic Tickets, Sports & Schedule - Sochi 2014 Olympics

Sochi Olympics: What's behind the empty seats at the 2014 Winter Games? @ CBS News

Sport & People: Bobsleigh & Steven Holcomb @ Locky's English Playground

People: Welcome Steven Holcomb To Our Playground!!! @ Locky's English Playground

Listening & TV: Skeleton VS Mini-Cooper @ TopGear @ Locky's English Playground

Olympics @ YouTube

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Baby Care: The Pampus Diapers Comparison

Is the Pampers Premium Care (left) better than the Baby Dry (right)?
Image from Locky's English Playground
Ever since my baby Muse arrived to this planet, numerous relatives and dear friends have offered their best wishes in the forms of baby clothes and baby products. One form that is always welcome is of course diapers. There are many brands available in Hong Kong but Pampers is one of the best choices out there. For the purpose of gifting, the general impression is that it is best to buy the more expensive version.

The question is, is the more expensive version necessarily better than the standard?

In this post, I would like to share not only my opinions, but also opinions gathered from friends about the two versions of diapers -- Baby Dry and Premium Care.

Price Difference

Image from Locky's English Playground,
Source from Consumer Council
Hong Kongers are smart, particularly when it comes to saving money. Let's assume you are able to get the cheapest of each version from the supermarkets listed below, then the cost per diaper as of 10th Feb 2014 will be,

Premium Care (NB):  $49.9  / 36  = $1.39
Super Dry (NB):          $44.9  / 40  = $1.12
Premium Care (S):     $108.5 / 62  = $1.75
Super Dry (S):             $108.9 / 76  = $1.43
Premium Care (M):     $129.9 / 56  = $2.32
Super Dry (L):              $121.9 / 54  = $2.26
Super Dry (XL):           $121.9 / 46  = $2.65

Several key points worth noting here:
  1. everyone of the version and size above comes with different number of diapers. Tricky!!! 
  2. premium care is more expensive than Super Dry by roughly $0.2 to $0.3 per piece.
  3. sizes not listed for Super Dry (M), Premium Care (L) and Premium Care (XL) are available but prices are not listed in the Consumer Council Price Check webpage.


Pampers Premium Care
Image from Locky's English Playground
Premium Care has a white packet with 5 golden stars and a "Imported from Japan" emphasis in Chinese to make sure that you know this is a more superior version. The English words on the packet are at its minimal, showing only "Pampers Premium Care".

Pampers Baby Dry
Image from Locky's English Playground
Baby Dry has a green packet showing a baby sleeping very well, a couple of cartoon giraffes and human baby and a mother(or maid?) without a face. The only English word on the packet is "Pampers".

From this I can conclude that they do not care much about the non-Chinese customers and they assume that you know what you are buying anyway.


Baby Dry (left, M) and Premium Care (right, S)
Image from Locky's English Playground

My baby has used both version of Pampers from newborn (NB) to small (S) to now medium (M), I can say that the difference between NB and S aren't that much different, that the overall length and width is about 0.5" longer. If you are thinking that you want to save more money, then of course go for the NB first and then upsize when your baby gets bigger. However, if you are getting discounts to buy then obviously you should get the S to avoid not having the right size diaper when you suddenly realise your baby has grown much bigger overnight. Generally speaking, I don't look at the suggested age part, I simply go by how comfortable it looks on my baby.

That being said, the M is really much bigger than S, yet you should still get some M for your baby when you realised that the S is not containing all that faeces. My baby girl started using M at less than 3 months old.


Microhooks that attaches to furry material but does not scratch baby's skin
Image from Locky's English Playground
Microhooks, not so magnified
Image from Locky's English Playground
Both versions have identical resealable tapes in the form of microhooks that attach to fibrous material but does not scratch baby's skin.

Baby Dry (left, M) and Premium Care (right, S)
Image from Locky's English Playground
Both have the same elasticated leg cuffs, both have the moist indicator line running through the middle of the diaper in NB and S size.

Baby Dry looks less detailed in manufacturing than Premium Care as you can see simple piece of cotton on the left diaper whereas the net pattern is prominent on the right. Surprisingly, the liquid absorbent in the Baby Dry version seems to perform much better than the one in Premium Care, so much that when the diapers are wet, the Baby Dry one remains dry inside while the Premium Care one soaks the buttocks, causing diaper rashes.


Needless to say, I prefer Baby Dry than Premium Care because it costs less and it more comfortable for my baby.

If there is a complaint to make, I would pick the absence of the moist indicator line in M (probably in X and XL). Why is Pampers going stingy on a line like that?

gifting -- (n) [U] The act, right, or power of giving.
faeces -- (n)[plural] formal (mainly US feces) the solid waste passed out of the body of a human or animal through the bowels:
elasticated leg cuff -- (n)[C] the material at the end of the diaper near the legs
resealable tape -- (n)[C] a tape that can be use multiple times to seal a diaper at the waist level
fibrous -- (adj) made of fibres, or like fibre


Baby Dry @ Pampers

Premium Care @ Pampers

Consumer Council 消費者委員會 - Supermarket Price Watch @ Consumer Council

Diaper @ Wikipedia

Monday 10 February 2014

Living & Furniture: How To Remove Tape Residue?

Tape Residue... a tough enemy?
Image from Locky's English Playground
You know what the Chinese usually do after Chinese New Year other than counting their earn and loss of their red pockets? Most people would have not guessed this, and the answer is taking down their decorations. For my case, my wooden door.

Though there are amazing adhesives out there like 3M's, people like me go for (much) cheaper options. As a result, we have work to do when we take the decorations down.

And what do we get? Tape residues, a real tough enemy.

A scraper
Image from Locky's English Playground
We all know a scraper is a must, but with just the scraper you will end up with a very scratched door. You need something that dissolves the tape residue and offers some sort of lubrication.

After a little research, I found I have one at home.

Image from Locky's English Playground

 Yes!  A can of WD-40 (Priced HD$42 at Japan Home).

Wet tape residue with WD-40
Image from Locky's English Playground
 The steps are simple, spray an adequate amount of WD-40 onto the tape residue.

Scrape sideway if residue short
Image from Locky's English Playground
Then scrape residue sideway if it is short enough. As you scrape, you kind of get the feeling whether there is enough of WD-40 on it so you are not scraping the protective layer on your door. The perfect situation is when you do not feel the door being scraped, but you feel the tape is smooth and it is coming off as you move the scraper along.

Scrape bottom-up if residue is long
Image from Locky's English Playground
If the tape residue is long, I recommend you try scraping it from bottom-up. That is because the WD-40 applied will most likely be running down the door, scraping the residue bottom-up allows you to bring the solvent back up to the tape as scraping continues, allowing you to recycle the liquid.

Residue removed
Image from Locky's English Playground
It would be advisable to scrape the same location several times until all the tape residues have been removed.

Clean as new
Image from Locky's English Playground
Once that's done, your door will look brand new again! Or maybe better, because now that your door has got a new layer of polish with the WD-40.

I bet both you and your door will be glad!

For more practical use of WD-40, check out the link "List of 2000+ Uses" of WD-40 below!

scraper -- (n)[C] see photo above.


Saturday 8 February 2014

Auto: Interviewed by The New York Times

Image from Tesla Motors Club

Two days ago, I received an email from The New York Times reporter Alan inviting me to an interview to talk about how the First Registration Tax, if expires, will affect the sale of Tesla Model S in Hong Kong.

Image from Tesla Motors Blog

It was quite a surprise because I had never expected anyone from Hong Kong to read my comment on one of the Tesla Motor Blog posts titled "A Fair Price", which talks about the unconventional fair price that Tesla is placing on the Model S offered to the buyers in China.

Comments by Locky
Image from Tesla Motors Blog
Ever since I have stopped writing for Singtao Student Page, It has been quite awhile since my name last made it to a newspaper.

I selfishly arranged the interview at a cafe in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as I had to conduct my seminar at 4:30pm (or at least I thought so, until I eventually realised that I was one week early as the actual date is in fact next Friday... the students are still on Chinese New Year holidays! Bummer!).

Alan is a friendly young lad, and very tall indeed, at least 15cm taller than me. In the one-hour interview, I particularly appreciate that he was always interested in everything I said -- from the reasons I choose a particular configuration of the Model S (well, would you guess it is because of my little baby girl? ) to my opinions of how might a non-extension of the First Registration Tax would impact the sales of Model S in Hong Kong, his pen and his notepad had been working tenaciously throughout.

Apparently he is no newbie to Tesla, for he has already written several articles about the company, still he was polite to say he had learnt quite a bit from me, that is an act of respect for his interviewee well-demonstrated.

A guy like Alan, who wants to raise the public awareness of government policies towards electric vehicles, deserves more assistance from the Tesla community in Hong Kong, thus on the same day, I posted a message on a thread I started on Tesla Motors Club Hong Kong forum to call for assistance should Alan approach any of them.

When Alan's article is out, Locky's English Playground will definitely not miss it!


A Fair Price | Blog | Tesla Motors

Message: Locky's English Playground on Singtao Student Page!! @ Locky's English Playground

Latest Tesla Motors-Related News (Feel Free To Post Here) @ Tesla Motors Club Hong Kong

Hong Kong Firm Makes Bid for Fisker Automotive Assets @ The New York Times

Monday 3 February 2014

Auto & Vocabulary: What Do We Call The Parts of A Car?

Traditional petrol / diesel vehicle
Image from

We have been talking about automobile for awhile but some of my students are saying they are not familiar with the related English terms. Well, that's easy, here are some of the best illustrations on the internet.

Image from clickbd
Some of the words which frequent appear on Locky's English Playground are

  1. sunroof, 
  2. trunk, 
  3. hood,
  4. grill,
  5. bumper,
  6. headlights
Tesla Model S, look for the capital-letter words
Image from teslamotorsclub
Other which might come in handy are

  1. spoiler
  2. side skirt
  3. muffler

Image from
Image from hondapartworld

As simple as it gets when learning vocabulary with images.

Sunday 2 February 2014

Message: Happy Chinese New Year 2014!!!

Image from LINE Hong Kong
I'm taking a Chinese New Year break, like all others in Hong Kong,

As usual, there are lots to learn in CNY, so don't forget to revise some festive vocabulary in the links below!

Happy Horsey New Year!!!


Food: Chinese Delicacy @ Locky's English Playground 

Food: Festive Puddings @ Locky's English Playground 

Vocabulary: Chinese New Year Flowers and Plants @ Locky's English Playground