Saturday, 26 May 2012

Travel Essentials: Ex-Officio vs Uniqlo

I travel for business regularly. As I mentioned in my earlier postings, it is important to keep things light for one's travels. My objective is to keep things simple. 

For underwear, I would rather avoid any washing because it might not dry in time, leaving a soggy underwear. I cannot send for laundry because the company will not pay. So I used disposable undies. I started out the with the paper undies and then moved to the cotton disposable undies. It was easy and light. After used, disposed. But at the end of the day, I just feel that the disposables is not giving me the right 'support'. I would be out and about the whole day for appointments and meetings. And I will only be back in the hotel room after dinner, which is around 8pm or 9pm. By that time, the disposable undies will be really fit for the bin. The cotton disposables absorb moisture but retains it, making it very damp and sticky. That is not the feeling I want at the end of a long day.

I have heard of technical underwear from my hiking friend for quite sometime and he swears by it. Just wash by night and dried by the next morning. I googled it and this Ex-Officio Give-N-Go brief underwear keeps coming up

I bought 2 pairs from Amazon and shipped it to my vpost US address. The Charcoal grey costs USD13.97 and Black costs USD16.99 with free local shipping. Definitely cheaper than the Ex-Officio website.

 It arrived the other day in the office.



I do not know why the ICA sticker is there. Is it a matter of national security what undies I buy?

Opening the box.

That is their tag-line, 17 countries, 6 weeks and one pair of undies. Wow!

 What it says at the bottom:
'Engineered with ExOfficio Give-N-Go fabric, this underwear is incredibly quick-drying and treated with Aegis Microbe Shield to control odor causing bacteria.

Save valuable space by packing one or two pair. Wash one at night while you wear the other for unmatchable support, comfort and convenience. Pack less. Do more.'

The icons, from left to right:
Quick Drying; Wicking; Odor Resistant; Lightweight; Breathable.


 Behind the pack. According to the instructions:
'Washes in a sink, dries in mere hours.
After washing this underwear with soap, simply wring it out, lay it flat on a dry towel, roll it up like a burrito and stomp on it. Hand dry in a well ventilated location. It should be dry in about 2-4 hours depending on humidity.'
It says soap and not washing detergent. That is good. Soap is mostly available in hotel rooms but not detergent.


It is quite light.The material feels nice and cooling.

I came across another technical underwear, this time in Uniqlo. Its called the Smooth Dry. According to the tag-line 'Innerwear with a smoothness that almost makes you forget you're wearing it.' Very cryptic. It was on sale for SGD6.90.

On the back, what caught my eye was 'DRY: Perspiration is quickly wicked away to prevent a sticky feel.' That is important. It must be dry fast after washing and also perspiration.

Despite the looks, this is taken fresh out of the packaging.

Verdict: I just got back from a short trip to Jakarta and I used both undies. Both are comfortable. The Uniqlo gave a very cool and smooth feeling. It has a modern stylistic profile i.e. low-rise trunks. The Ex-Officio is what I would call 'granny undies' style. It can be quite unflattering to wear it if you pulled it up.

I followed the instructions of washing and drying it. Both dried overnight. Both kept me dry the whole day. Both are comfortable. Its difficult to choose when both are quite good. I would continue to use both for my trips. But maybe, I would also use the Uniqlo for everyday as well. My CKs would have competition it seems.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Otterbox Commuter for iPhone4

The wife decided to upgrade her iPhone to 4S and I get to use her old iPhone 4. When the iPhone4 came out 2 years ago, I had plans of upgrading to it. I was all prepared. I even bought this Otterbox Commuter iPhone4 so that I can use it the minute I bring the iPhone4 home.

But for whatever reason, I put off the purchase of the phone until 4S came out. I thought I had no chance of using the Otterbox. Until the wife was kind enough to give me hers!!!

I am quite fussy about how I protect my phones. My friends sometimes mock me for my fastidious nature. I always try to retain the original plastic wrapping but sometimes that does not last long. Then I would buy those crystal plastic cases but those crack quite easily. Until I did a search on the Internet and I came across Otterbox.

I first used them for my Blackberry Bold, the Defender series.  The Defender is an excellent product. It provides 3 layer of protection for the Bold. It even has the clear plastic for the keyboard. It will make the Bold a bit fat but I had all around protection.

When the iPhone4 came out, the Defender was not available. Only the Commuter at that time. So I bought it.

For the Commuter, there are 2 levels of protection. The inner silicone and the outer polycarbonate shell.


Includes the screen protector.

The screen protector goes on first.

Next the silicone layer.

And next, the polycarbonate shell.

Quite a smart looking casing. The polycarbonate casing is quite tight and it holds the silicone in place.

I am also using the Otterbox Defender for iPad2. It provides reliable protection for the product. I had to replace the polycarbonate shell and Otterbox changed it, no question asked. You can read it here. Amazing product, fantastic customer service. I recommend.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Innergie 2-in-1 USB Cable Charge and Sync for iPhone and Blackberry

There are a lot of challenges when one goes for business travels. One has to keep things light and minimal. If one does not intend to check-in the luggage, no liquids, aerosols and gels.

In this age, there are lot of electronic devices that one needs to bring for business travels. With these devices, comes the cables, be it for charging or data transfer. It is always good to keep these cables to a minimum. One good news is, the European Commission has decided to adopt a universal micro-USB as a de-facto standard for all smartphones. It is not known if Apple will follow this. But that means, there will only be 2 type of pins, the Apple and micro-usb. That would make things so much easier.

I came across this at Challenger recently. It is the Energie 2-in-1 USB cable which is catered for both iDevices and micro-usb.

Another view.

The various devices supported

The length of the cable is quite generous at 79cm


There is micro-usb can be slided into the Apple pin.

The Apple pin can be rotated. This is how it looks separated.

How it looks connected.

Connected to the iPhone.

Connected to the Blackberry.

So with one cable, I can charge 2 devices. This would well with my Morris Worldwide Travel Adapter MS005 with USB here.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Morries Worldwide Travel Adapter MS005 with USB Charger

I travel regularly and one essential travel item that I bring is a universal charger. At the moment, I bring 2 universal chargers for my trips. With the laptop and other gadgets that I bring for my trips, you can never have enough universal chargers.

I came across this universal travel adapter in Challenger. Its the Morries Worldwide Travel Adapter MS005. I have several universal chargers but this one comes with a USB charge outlet. This is useful if you want to charge an iPhone or Blackberry. It comes with  a car charger as well for USB cable and an iDevice cable. At SGD20.61, why not?

I ordered something similar on but it is taking so long for its delivery. I think that website is a scam but thankfully, I only bought 3 items.  

The instructions on the back.

The different plug configuration.

Instructions for the car adapter.


The items.

I did a test with an Energie USB cable and it works!!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Ikea Samtid Lamp

Another example of a good Ikea product failed by its inferior supporting product.

We have the Samtid lamp. I like this lamp because it has an industrial design to it. It has cantilevered arms and springs. It reminds me an Artemide Tolomeo floor lamp. The Ikea lamp gives out a nice light, both up and downlight and the shade diffuses the light. We placed it at the corner of our dining area.

Ikea did well to design such a nice lamp but the lampshade simply failed it. Take a look at what happened to our shade.

The shade warped out of shape.

The view inside. The 3-spoke fitting is the only thing holding it in shape.

I tried to fix it but the plastic shade crumbled further.

Another view of the shade.

I came across this at my trip to Ikea with The Wife today. The Lobbo shade. The displayed set looks the same as the Samtid shade. At SGD6.90, why not?

The 3-spoke fitting, same as the Samtid.

It is connected the same as the original Samtid shade

The 3-spoke fitting is slight longer than the Samtid. Maybe someone in their Quality Control (QC) unit realised that the heat from the lightbulb might have contributed to the shade being warped out of shape.

Original Samtid spoke on top. You can see the length difference.

The Lobbo fitting is on the left and the original Samtid is the right.

The assembly is quite straightforward. Roll the shade into place and
screw the fitting in.

Before (left) and after.

Insert it back to the lamp.

Screw the bulb back.

A nice light.

Speaking of similar lamps, another Ikea lamp that reminds me of a designer lamp is the Ikea Stockholm floor lamp (left). Does it look similar in design to the AJ Floor lamp? You can say the Ikea designers might have taken 'inspiration' from the the AJ Floor lamp. The Ikea lamp costs SGD299 but the AJ Floor is in the thousands. 

Please view our other Ikea related items and project on this blog

1) Ikea Orgel Table Lamp here. Ideas to replace the original lampshade.

2) Ikea Ljusa Hang Powered Flashlight here. No more batteries.

3) Ikea Sansad Table here. How to install.

4) Ikea Stuva Wordrobe for the kids, here.