February 20, 2015

Notebook Power Adapters – Essential Equipment

Filed under: News — csadm @ 2:33 am

Laptop power adapters are probably not the most exciting thing to write about. Yet these days they are an essential piece of equipment. In Papua New Guinea where we have power outages and surges as a frequent occurrence, there is every chance that your current laptop power adapter may give up the ghost.

Like everything in PNG, you need back-up and for many things you even need back- up for the back-up. There are other reasons to invest in a back-up power adapter for your laptop. Power adapters are easy to break and they are easy to lose – especially if you travel often or lug your laptop between meetings.

I travel with my laptop between home and the office every day, so I decided to buy a second power adapter for the office and leave the other at home – one less thing to pack and carry each day, and one less thing to lose or break. One less thing in my growing swag of rechargers.

If you need to replace or buy a second laptop power adapter in PNG it could be a very long wait until you source an official spare part.

My advice is to get proactive and ensure you have a back-up power adapter at the ready in case the inevitable happens.

Huntkey’s Universal Notebook Adapter provides a cheap replacement or spare power adapter at a more affordable price than an official spare part. Even better news is that they are now readily available in PNG in 45w, 65w or 90w.

Huntkey’s adapter claims compatibility with models from Acer, Asus, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and Viewsonic. Ten plugs are provided, along with a table suggesting which plug(s) may suit your make of laptop. The permanent plug on the end of the cable, that connects to any of these ten adapters, is itself compatible with a huge range of laptops, giving you an eleventh option.

It’s a nice thin piece of equipment. The 40w mini adapter is just 86.2mm long x 36mm wide x 24.6 mm high and weighs less than most power adapters weigh, so it really does travel well with notebooks and smaller laptops.

The 65w ES Ultra Edition adapter is 108mm x 46mm x 29mm and like the other models is energy-saving and safety rated.

For higher-powered laptops a 90w version is also available. This measures a larger 129mm x 53mm x 30mm and weighs around 550 grams including the power cable. It supports a similarly wide range of laptop manufacturers, and comes with eight adapter plugs to fit various models. Like the 65w and 40w version it caters only to laptops in the 18-20V DC range.

Before I talk more about the 90w model, a few words about Huntkey.

Shenzhen Huntkey Electric Co (SHEC) was founded in 1995. Based in Shenzhen, China (the home of Huawei), they specialize in the development, design and manufacture of power supplies. Their power supplies cover all market segments from home use to business environments where custom-tailored designs are needed.

SHEC is a member of the Power Supply Manufacturer Association (PSMA) and has been the top PC power supply manufacturer in China since 2000 and is ranked in the top 5 of world power supply manufacturers. Among its customers are Lenovo, Huawei, Haier, ZTE, Dell and Bestbuy.

So we are talking about a reputable and highly-acclaimed manufacturer and their 90w universal notebook power adapter is best proof of their capability. Branded the X-MAN, the 90w adapter is the result of a special production process, allowing its dimensions to shrink so its physical volume is reduced by 45% compared to normal power adapters and at the same time power output remains at high levels.

Thanks to the special design the adapter’s lifespan is increased as well.

The X-MAN also comes with a 5V USB power port which can deliver up to 2A, so it can easily charge a wide range of tablet PCs besides other common devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, speakers and so on. To provide safe power even in unstable power grids such as PNG, the X-MAN is equipped with four protections commonly used in desktop PSUs: Over-Voltage Protection (OVP), Over-Current Protection (OCP), Over-Temperature Protection (OTP) and Short-Circuit Protection (SCP).

If that’s not enough, Huntkey proudly advertise a product liability insurance of US$2 million on the front of their packaging.

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February 6, 2015

Coffee-Making Enters the 21st Century

Filed under: News — csadm @ 2:21 am

To many people coffee is a lifestyle choice. It’s a way to start the morning or to make it through to midday during a busy day at work. To those passionate about coffee there is nothing quite like the aroma, taste and “fix” of a good brew. It’s a love affair that goes back hundreds of years.

Making coffee used to be a simple process as roasted and ground coffee beans were placed in a pot or pan, to which hot water was added, followed by attachment of a lid to commence the infusion process.

The infusion brewing process was introduced in France, circa 1710, and a number of innovations then developed in the following two centuries. Following the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century, things really started to brew. These innovations included the moka-pot, patented in 1933 – well-known for its metallic, iconic design.

Percolators also began to be developed from the mid-nineteenth century and as electricity entered households new ideas and innovations started to change the way we made coffee in the kitchen. By the 1970s the electric drip coffee maker or dripolator had found its way into homes.

In recent years, with the rise of technology the single-serve or single-cup coffeemaker has gained popularity.

Single-serve coffeemaker technology has provided various options for coffee-lovers such as the choice of cup size and brew strength, and delivers a cup of brewed coffee rapidly, usually delivered at the touch of a button with coffee contained in capsules.

The technology doesn’t end there. Soon to hit the market is a wi-fi coffee machine that will let you …Prev


control what happens with your brew remotely via a smart-phone app. Imagine being woken just as your coffee finishes brewing, receiving alerts when it needs to be refilled and even getting a “welcome home” note asking if you’d like it to make you a fresh pot.

Coffee makers are also a statement of lifestyle. Moka-pots used for making espresso coffee are made of metal and their iconic design has seen many find their way in to modern industrial art and design museums in Europe and the United States.

Coffee-making has gone beyond a sensory experience to an art-fashion statement and there are many manufacturers incorporating distinctive design elements to cater for the domestic single-serve coffee-maker market.

Companies such as Nespresso and even Starbucks have introduced single-serve coffee-makers that have replicated traditional eye-catching minimalist designs and cram quite a bit of technology into compact units for use in home kitchens.

As an example, the entry level Nespresso U, branded by DeLonghi is stylish but, in a bid to cut down on costs, the Nespresso U is manufactured largely from plastic. Nespresso says that 30 per cent of the U’s plastic is made from recyclable materials. I guess that’s a way of justifying the cost-cutting exercise.

The key feature of the Nespresso U is the fact it has been designed to fit into the tightest of spaces. The crowning feature is what the company calls a “modular design”, where the 0.8 litre capacity water tank at the back sits on a swivelling base. The tank can be positioned at the back of the machine, or swivelled to the right or left sides in order to fit into cramped spaces. It’s a smart concept, though you’ll need to re-adjust the power cord if you want to move the tank from side to side.

Using the Nespresso U is a simple and effortless process, so much so that there isn’t even a power button on the unit. To make a cup of coffee, simply touch one of the capacitive coffee size buttons, ristretto (25ml), espresso (40ml) or lungo (110ml) which will turn on the unit. Alternatively you can slide open the capsule slot to turn on the machine. Once the green LED light on the appropriate button stops flashing, place a cup or mug under the spout, slide open the capsule slot, drop in a Nespresso pod and close the capsule slot to immediately start extracting the coffee.

Nestle’s Nespresso brand is known for its espresso-centric line of at-home brewers. In an attempt to appeal to folks who also like coffee, it recently launched VertuoLine, Nespresso’s very first single cup espresso and coffee maker.

Nespresso’s VertuoLine has a retro-look and comes in chrome, black, or red. It is pricy, but its streamlined approach to brewing makes it an excellent single-serve coffee maker. While you can make coffee and espresso in this machine, you’re limited to Nespresso-brand pods as this machine is entirely (Nespresso-brand) coffee and espresso-focused.

While Nespresso has helped create and develop the market for single-serve coffee makers there are a few very good machines now on the market that have set the bar very high in terms of style and performance.

My pick is the Swedish brand Sjostrand coffee-maker that uses hybrid technology to  combine two different techniques to extract coffee from ground beans and coffee from a capsule in one traditional espresso machine.

Sjostrand has ticked all the boxes. It looks great and is a definite kitchen fashion statement with its classic Swedish design made of stainless steel. It is simple to use, in that you get a delicious espresso by pressing a button.

The manufacturer has also focused heavily on the environment and energy efficiency. Sjostrand uses minimum energy to heat the amount of water needed, the automatically returns to standby mode after each brewing.

A 19 bar pump that heats water to the right temperature to ensure the coffee’s full tastes and aromas emerge in a perfect balance just like in the best Italian cafes, this machine is set to pour for 25 to 30 seconds – the optimum extraction time.

The Sjostrand coffee maker also comes with a milk frother as an indispensable helper, either to fix perfectly frothed milk for your favorite cup of coffee, or simply to rapidly heat milk for other uses.

If you want coffee from capsules, the machine is made for biodegradable capsules from Sjöstrand and compatible with all capsules designed for Nespresso machines. This includes the local PNG coffee capsules produced and distributed by Cool Stuf.

The Sjostrand coffee capsules are interesting as they are made from plant fibres and starch and are 100% biodegradable. As yet the biodegradable capsules are not available in PNG however we are looking to have them in the market mid-year and it may be only a matter of time before PNG coffee is also available in a biodegradable coffee capsule form.

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