Going Klean

The key to having a healthy life if you live in a hot and humid country like Singapore is to keep your self hydrated.  This is especially true for people like me who sweat a lot.  That is why it is important for me to find a good quality water bottle that I can bring along with me day in and day out.

I have been in the market for such a water bottle and sadly most have fell short of my expectations.  I generally base my expectations on some categories: quality, performance, maintenance, and, of course, looks.

I am happy to say that I think I have finally found the water bottle!  At least so far it is the water bottle for me.

Introducing the Klean Kanteen Insulated water bottle.  Note: Image from http://www.littleacornstomightyoaks.co.uk.

Klean Kanteen Insulated 20oz Stainless Steel Water Bottles

The one I purchased is the “Night Sky”.  It comes in different sizes and colors as you can see from the image above.  I got the 20oz (or almost 600ml) version because I wanted to have max water availability.

Quality

This water bottle is made from non-BPA stainless steel.  The construction of the bottle is solid, smooth, and sturdy to the touch.  Granted, I have only had my Klean Kanteen for a week and I have not managed to drop it yet but just by holding it you can feel that it was well built.  It also has a lifetime warranty but, according to the Klean Kanteen official website, will only apply if you purchased the water bottle from the official website.  That’s a little disappointing but the way I use i think this might last me a long time.

I just wanted to note that if you fill up the water bottle it will be heavy because of the double layer construction that allows for the insulation.

My fear with the bottle I got is the color might fade or chip away in the future.  In the company’s website they have explained that some of their products do have this defect and is covered by their warranty.  So far, no chipping of the paint.

Performance

For me performance is very important.  I always put cold beverages in my water bottles.  I am not usually an avid fan of hot drinks except for the occasional latte here and there.

Science will tell you that condensation can occur on the surface of an object if the temperature inside and outside are different.  That is what I have experienced with the other water bottles I have purchased before.

Before I bought this Klean Kanteen bottle I purchased a stainless steel one from All Deals Asia just because I was already fed up with the plastic water bottles.  It is similar to the Sigg water bottles.  Initially I thought “yeah this might work” and then when I put cold water inside the bottle there you go…condensation all over the bottle.

What does condensation mean to me?  Well, I bring my water bottle with me so I have in my bag.  If condensation happens then that will make everything it touches wet.  Because of the insulation that I mentioned earlier, this condensation does not happen with the Klean Kanteen.

The company has also published in their website that these insulated water bottles can keep cold drinks cold for 24 hours and hot drinks warm for 6 hours.  I have not really put this into a test especially for the hot drinks but so far what I have noticed with cold water and the bottle is that it does retain the cold temperature of the water longer than I have experienced with other water bottles.

Often I fill up my bottle in the morning around 9am before going to work.  I usually get to take my first sip from the bottle around 11am (that’s when my boss usually goes down to smoke so I can take a quick water break).  Normally my drink won’t be cold anymore with my old water bottles but with the insulated water bottle it does retain the coldness of the drink.

For those who might use the water bottle with hot drinks, be careful though.  Make sure you don’t seal that bottle when the drink is boiling hot.  The small piece of glossy paper that comes with the bottle says that you should let hot drinks cool down to a warm enough temperature that you can already drink before closing the bottle.  I guess if you don’t follow that instruction the pressure might build up inside and this is what you’ll probably get:

One thing I am not amused about the bottle though is the smell of metal.  Every time you take a sip you smell the metal.  Good thing though is that the metallic smell does not translate to a metallic taste for the beverage you are drinking.  The water doesn’t taste differently.

Maintenance

Clean-up is easy compared to other types of water bottles because of the wide mouth and the smooth design.  There are no nooks and crannies where water might be able to get stuck in which can cause mold growth on the bottle itself.  The lid, however, may have that problem but lids are easy to clean.

Other water bottles, especially those that follow the Sigg bottle design, have small mouths which are harder to clean with just a sponge.  You’ll need something smaller.

I also like the fact that the inside of the bottle doesn’t smell foul after washing.  It still smells like it did the first time I bought it.  Some water bottles I got smelled like a sock was left inside it after I cleaned it up.

The recommended method of cleaning a Klean Kanteen water bottle is sponge and soapy water.

Looks

To me simplicity is key.  It looks like the canister that held the mutagen that turned the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to mutants.  Simple design, nice color, that’s it.

I was actually thinking of purchasing the stainless steel one because of my fear that the paint might peel off but I am glad I chose the painted one.  It just looks nicer to me.

Although, I would like to see in the future designs like the ones in Sigg bottles.  Those artworks are great and cool looking.

Conclusion

As I said, I’ve had the bottle for only a week but to me that one week is enough to convince me that this might be worth the investment.  No real negative experience with the water bottle so far except for the smell of metal but what to do it is made of stainless steel.

Where to Buy in Singapore

I got mine from The Planet Traveller store at Changi Airport Terminal 3 here in Singapore for S$55.  The official distributor in Singapore for these water bottles is Kool Depot.  You can purchase the bottles from them but if you check the price I got my 20oz bottle from the airport for the price of a 16oz bottle from the Kool Depot website.

There are other distributors so just check the Klean Kanteen website.  I believe in the US they are selling the water bottles in combo packs – water bottle, default lid and coffee lid.  The coffee lid will allow you to drink from the bottle without removing the lid much like those coffee tumblers.

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Fotodiox has Arrived

The FotodioX Adapter for Nikon G Lens to Sony NEX Mount I ordered from B&H has finally arrived a couple of days ago.  I have not really gotten a chance to use it the way I wanted to use it.

I have given it a little test drive of course just to check if the product is working.  The auto functions of the Nikon mount lenses really do disappear.  Everything is gone including aperture setting and auto focus.  You have to manually turn that blue ring to set the aperture and to manually focus the lens.

Here is my AF Nikkor 50mm 1.4D lens attached to the Sony A7 body using the adapter.

Below is a test shot using the lens and adapter with the Sony body.

The focus peaking feature of the camera helps with manual focusing especially since I am not good at doing that.  With the D90, I relied totally on auto focus.

I’ll be embarking on a small project soon so that I can at least try to master my new camera, its kit lens, and the adapter with my old lenses.

FotodioX Adapter for Nikon G Lens to Sony NEX Mount

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a Sony A7 camera from Cathay Photo but I unfortunately was not able to purchase an adapter from them.  They were selling a Metabones adapter at over S$500 which means it was out of my budget.

I really wanted to get an adapter so that I can use my Nikon lenses especially my 50mm.  I’ve been looking forward to doing another round of 50/50 wherein I will take photos for 50 days using my 50mm lens.  It’s a good way to hone your skills and to also feel comfortable with your camera.

I was looking around Singapore online stores for a good but not so expensive adapter but unfortunately did not find any.  I was, however, able to find one at B&H.  I chose the FotodioX Adapter for Nikon G Lens to Sony NEX Mount.  It sold for US$59.95 which is around S$75.  I used my VPost address in the US to ship it back to Singapore and based on the VPost website the shipping fee will be around S$20.

That means I managed to save around S$400 compared to the Metabones that Cathay Photo was selling.  I am not sure though if the FotodioX will be of the same quality as that of the Metabones.  Based on what I’ve read, the Metabones is one of the better brands that market these NEX adapters.

The adapter has not reached me yet but once it does I will surely give it a spin.  I will write another post about it and give my feedback on whether or not this was a good plan and if the amount saved (S$400) is actually something I can confirm as savings or a bad deal.  I should be getting the adapter by next week.  Until then I will just have to wait another weekend with just the kit lens.

UPDATE:

I forgot to mention that VPost has a promo for the Great Singapore Sale.  Using the voucher code GSS15 you will get 15% off your shipping.  Mine ended up as being S$17 instead of S$20.  This voucher code is only valid until tomorrow, 25 June 2014.

Sony A7 Camera

I got this urge over the weekend to finally go and upgrade my camera.  I decided to purchase Sony’s full frame mirrorless camera, the Sony Alpha 7 or Sony A7.  This is the model with the smaller megapixels, the bigger megapixels one being the Sony A7R.  I decided to get the A7 model because of three things:

  1. Budget – The Sony A7 and A7R are pretty much the same and the main difference is the megapixels.  Because I had to limit my expenses I decided to go for the cheaper model.

    The Sony A7 was selling at Cathay Photo for S$2,159 (with kit lens) and the Sony A7R was at S$2,499 (body only).

    The same models were selling at Sony stores around the island at S$2,199 for the A7 and S$2,549 for the A7R.  The Sony stores have a “Cash Rebate” promo until the end of June 2014 wherein they reduce S$200 and S$250 from the A7 and A7R, respectively.  The prices I have mentioned already have the “Cash Rebate” reduction.

    Online, I checked Digital Rev’s website and the price was similar to the pre-“Cash Rebate” amount from Sony.

    I did not look at other stores – I’m not really the type who canvasses a lot.

    I bought mine from Cathay Photo.

  2. Lens Availability – Although the Sony E-mount can be fitted with Nikon or Canon lenses, you have to purchase an adapter to do so.  At the time I bought the camera, Cathay Photo was selling a Metabones adapter for S$590.  I do no have budget yet for this so I settled for the kit lens.  It does have a good enough focal range for my personal taste and it would suffice for the things that I plan to use the camera for.  I am however in the process of acquiring an adapter for only S$75 that is assuming I don’t get bombarded by shipping cost.

    The Sony A7R is not sold with any lens.

  3. Speed – Of the two models, the A7 was said to be the faster of the two.  Websites mention it going 5fps compared to the 3fps of the A7R.  Most websites say that A7R is for those who take photos inside studios or do portraits.  That’s not me.

I am satisfied so far with the purchase.  I like how light it is compared to my old D90 camera.  Also, the size of the cam is a relief.  Tourist do not approach me and ask that I take a picture of them which often happens when I have my D90 with me.  I guess the bigger the camera the more “pro” you look to most people, right?

I did feel some uneasiness with the way the semi-auto functions like aperture priority and shutter priority operated.  It’s as if there is something wrong with them, which led me to use the camera mostly in manual.  I am not used to going all manual but it somehow felt easy with this camera.  I’m thinking it is probably because of the electronic viewfinder.  Whatever changes you make to your settings you see it right away in the viewfinder.  Unlike my D90, which has an optical viewfinder, you won’t see the changes.

The battery sucks though.  With my Nikon D90 I don’t have to worry about battery drain.  For the Sony A7, I started at 100% and ended my day at 20%.  I only took around 100 shots!  It was published that one full charge would last 304 shots.  I guess the suggestion from most websites are true then – get an extra battery.  It might be related to the software of the camera much like your usual smartphone.  Normally you see Apple release updates that say fix their battery issues and I feel it will be the same for any mirrorless system.

I loved having the ability to share my photos from my camera to social media in an instant.  This camera has wifi capabilities and getting your photo from the camera to your phone is easier compared to having to download your photos to your computer then upload your photos to either an online site like Flickr or directly to your phone.  However, the Sony proprietary software to download the camera, PlayMemories Mobile, is not too user friendly in the iPhone.  I noticed that for me to be able to copy pictures from my camera to my iPhone I had to constantly turn my phone’s airplane mode on and off again – basically resetting my network.  If I do not do the camera and the iPhone, even if you put them right next to each other, will not be able to find one another.

It has an NFC chip so I assume getting the pictures to your phone will be easier for most Android phones.  Apple still has not introduced NFC to the iPhone at the time of the writing of this post.

Overall, I am happy with the camera especially the connectivity it offers.  I am hoping that Sony will find a way to reduce the battery drain and also to improve their PlayMemories app.  As for the lenses, Sony is reported to be releasing 14 or 15 lenses within 2014 – currently they already have 5 including the kit lens.  The lenses are not cheap though but they are Carl Zeiss lenses.

Below are some samples of the photos I took with the Sony A7.

iOS 7 Issue with iPhone 4s? – Phone Shuts Off Even with 10% Battery Remaining

It’s been almost a month now since I migrated to iOS 7.  So far the experience has been ok for me.  I haven’t encountered those horror stories related to iMessage and the other bugs that were documented by various websites and news organizations.

I did try that bug with the Passcode screen which allows anyone to bypass the security and it does happen.

I didn’t have that issue with the motion sickness as well but that is not entirely iOS 7’s fault.  It’s more of each individual person’s composition – if you get dizzy easily or not.

Anyway, I haven’t updated my iOS 7 to the latest version as of the writing of this post.  I’m a bit hesitant to do so right now because I am in a time of my life right now when I need my phone to be behaving properly.  Like I said so far my experience has been ok so far so I’ll keep things the same for a while.

On that note there is one major experience which is not ok.  It’s somewhat related to the battery drain issue raised by a lot of people.  Battery drain in iOS and iPhone’s is nothing new.  It’s always been there since day 1.  What do you expect?  With more features you’ll need more power, right?

The issue I encountered is that when my iPhone 4S reaches 10% of battery remaining my phone would suddenly turn off.  That behavior only occurred to me during iOS 6 days when I’ve totally zeroed out my battery.

In iOS 7, even if I still had 10% remaining it just shuts off and when you try to turn it back on it won’t.  It will show an icon that tells you that you need to plug in.  It will only come back to life once you start charging your phone.

I don’t know if this is a bug or if my battery is just no longer performing at optimum levels.  I hope it’s a bug of course because I don’t want to upgrade to iPhone 5S as of now. 🙂

iOS 7 Released – Product Review with iPhone 4S

Instead of me getting some shuteye earlier today I did what a normal IT geek will do – upgrade his/her phone’s OS to the latest version. 🙂

And yes that’s what I did.  It didn’t take long for me.  I spent around 30-45 minutes with the whole process of backing up my phone, upgrading iTunes to the latest version (because that’s the only way I would be able to upgrade my phone according to iTunes itself), upgrade my phone’s OS, redo some initial setups after the iOS 7 was installed, and checking out some of the new features.

Once I was satisfied with the results that’s when I decided to catch some sleep.  Told you!  Typical IT geek.

Just to give everyone a background, I’m using iPhone 4S which isn’t the latest model for iPhones at this time.  This combination of an old phone plus a new OS normally leads to lots of issues for the phone owner (i.e., ME) based on past experiences.

So here are what I have so far observed after upgrading to iOS 7’s production release version.

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MyFitnessPal | Product Review

In my goal to become fit I have often looked into technology to help me gain an advantage over my on-going battle with obesity.

One way technology has contributed is by providing people like me access to free calorie counter applications both in our mobile devices and in our desktop.

These year I have tried several calorie counting applications to find the best fit for me and as of now the app of choice for me is MyFitnessPal.

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