Friday, August 30, 2013

Merdeka August 31, 2013

As I stare blankly over the past 5 minutes. And counting. What does Merdeka mean to you? Do we as a nation, as Malaysian, share the same hope and thoughts? For the future of our children and our children's children?

I am still staring blankly.

I am not sure what to write. My view may be misconstrued as racist if I continue. I am born a Malaysian. Right where the (now) Tune Hotel is at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. Right where City Centre is (as GHKL is a bit off centre lah). My wife ancestors are Portugese that has set foot in Melaka nearly as long as Alfonso d'Alberquque has landed. I am 4th generation Malaysian Chinese. We both call Malaysia our home. Our Kampung is in Malaysia. Not in Portugal. Not in China.

But why are we still asked to go back to "our country"? We are in OUR country.

Why are we blamed for the recent General Election (GE13) vote swings? Aren't we voting as...Malaysians?

Are we not paying taxes?

Or contributing to building the country?

Or protecting Her from inside and outside (bad) people trying to destroy it?

Are we really Merdeka?

I am still staring blankly. This will be the toughest blog entry yet.

Have a good Merdeka. May the parade tomorrow shows we are really embracing our diversities and differences and not just tolerating it.
Don't let the real Merdeka fly away.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ultra Trail Mont Blanc : Good Luck Fellow Malaysians!

Ultra Trail Mont Blanc starts tomorrow August 30, 2013 in the Alps. The race will be a single stage 168km mountain foot race. Doubted as the toughest foot race in Europe, 2013 will see 2,300 ultra athletes racing across the Alps, gaining more than 9,400m (that is TWICE Kinabalu) in elevation. 
Photo from Cynthia Gan's Facebook. She is Racing UTMB. First Malaysian Woman to attempt UTMB
The race will bring the athletes over France, Italy and Switzerland, before finishing in France. It will see them traversing over 7 valleys, 71 glaciers and 400 peaks. 
2010 race profile from
This year's race will start (as usual) in the centre of Chamonix, on Friday, August 30th 2013 at 16:30. It is expected a maximum of 2,300 runners to be taking part (as those qualified, registered and paid). The cut-off is 46hours or 2hours shy of two days. The fastest runner is expected to finish in 20hours. Course record is 20hours 5minutes set in 2003. In 2012, the race was cut shorter due to extremely bad weather. This year, as from the photo above, it is all system go!

As UTMB is the Holy Grail for Trail Running, you need to qualify for UTMB. A minimum of 7 qualifying points is needed from a maximum of 3-trail races worldwide recognised by the organiser. The qualifying races changes every year and it is valid for a year only. So for this 2013 UTMB, the racers within Asia get their points from China (or Hong Kong Vibram100 2012 - 3 points), Malaysia (TMBT100 2012 - 3 points) and Singapore (TNF100 2012 - 2points). There are "easier" races carrying 1point and the athlete looking to qualify to race UTMB would just have to plan and play it smart to earn the minimum 7 points. 

There is NO prize money. How is that for passion (and not commercially) driven?

Representing Malaysia for UTMB

In recent years, the growth of Ultra Marathon type of races has been exponential. Running community no longer get turned on with the typical 42.2km marathons and look for ultra distance races exceeding 50km. If that is not enough, many look for tough and challenging races that make mere mortal questioning their sanity. For UTMB, Malaysia will be represented by three inspiring people. Malaysia, you have three more reasons to cheer during Merdeka 2013.
Please join me to wish these three athletes the very best of luck and to bring Jalur Gemilang crossing the finish line at Chamonix!
Allan Lee (right) during Mt. Rinjani Ultra. Photo from Garmin Indonesia
Ng Seow Kong after finishing Badwater Ultra. Photo from his Facebook
Cynthia Gan (right) on location at UTMB with Sebastien Chaigneau of Team North Face
For the record, Cynthia is the FIRST MALAYSIAN WOMAN racing UTMB. She has sacrificed a lot to be at UTMB. Her passion and the drive is admirable. She has completed an Ironman Triathlon and a multiple marathons and ultra-marathon finisher. Passion? You are looking at her now. 

Click here to follow the race (with video feed). Be inspired and cheer for these awesome Malaysians!

More awesome view of the Alps from Cynthia Gan's Facebook

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Improving Your Triathlon Run

Many I know struggle to put in the same commitment in the run league of a triathlon race like they did on the swim and bike. Many takes it all out on the swim - as it is a league that relies heavily on the upper body strength (if you swim front crawls) and then they hammered the bike (requiring 100% leg muscles). 
PD Tri2013. T2.
Coming into Transition 2 (T2), they started to fumble and have what we call the "Jelly Legs". The good timing they put in for Swim-T1-Bike all goes to waste the moment they started the "Run" league, which to many are reduced to Walk. 
Sound all too familiar?

Triathletes swear by this. So does some Duathletes. However how much of this is true? BRICK or Bike-Run = ICK (as in icky, not pleasant, not nice thingamajigs) is an essential part of the life as a multi-sports athlete. However, that is just one part of the equation. BRICK prepares you for the Bike-T2-Run transition. But it doesn't prepare you to put in as much commitment to your final league of your race. And you know that matters.
Imagine this scenario:
You swam your best 1.5km. Never felt everything gelled more together. You went onto the bike feeling great. "I can PB this today", you said. You been training on the bike and the bike trainer, knowing you will be able to pull in a good timing on the pedal.
40km done in 70mins. Good timing. And you know you pushed it harder than usual when chasing that PB. You came into T2, pushing your bike and your legs started seizing up - it felt weak. Not giving up, you went for the run... started to walk and you walk most of the last 10km. Or if you were a little bit more prepared, you ran. But you know that run was a "jog". You missed your PB. And that chap you overtook proudly on the bike ran past you with ease. Leaving you to nurse your bruised ego. 
What Happened?
You need to recalibrate your run. As a triathlete, we will never go into a run with our legs fresh. 
Speed is a perception. Example : You drive along at 80km/h at a 70km/h zone. You see a Polis and you slow down to 65km/h. It suddenly felt slow. But if you were to drive at 50km/h and speed up to 65km/h, you will feel fast(er). Same with running. A fresh leg run will NOT be representative of how fast you will run after the Swim and Bike. If you been "running" at 7:30 pace during a triathlon race when you can hold a 4:30pace on a (run) race, your 7:30 pace will feel super slow. But if you can muster up to run at a 6:00pace on your next triathlon, you will feel it to be FAST. To recalibrate, you will need to run MORE at your RUN RACE PACE. 
PD Tri 2013. Out of T2.

A few things will happen when you start putting in more time into your run and commit to a more structured training routine. Your VO2max will increase. VO2max is a measurement of your oxygen uptake per unit of time. The higher your VO2max, the more oxygen you can "send" to your muscle, which in return used to breakdown stored fuel (both carb and fats) and allow you to be more efficient and faster on the race course.
The biggest gain in the VO2max comes in when you are racing/training at your maximum heart rate; and the easiest to reach this maximum heart rate is no other than RUNNING. However, not all running will give you this benefit as the longer you run, the less likely you will go near or reach your maximum HR. You will know that between running a 5km race and a marathon (42km), chances of you hitting the HR roof will be higher with the 5K race. So, to improve your triathlon run, you need to run 21km or less - and in my opinion, nothing beats a 5km speed work or HITT, or a 10km Tempo Interval
Good Luck!
PD Tri 2013. Caught up with many that has lead me on the biking.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review : Givi Jet M11 D-Visor Helmet

I had previously reviewed the Nolan N91 in my blog and been using that helmet on my daily commuting purposes. The fullface modular helmet has been worn as a full face and seldom as an open face homologation. When i purchased my bike, I bought an extra helmet (top up from the differences of the free scrambler-type helmet) with the main purpose of letting wifey use when I obtain my full B license. 
Givi Jet M11 Helmet
I must say that helmet has since moved from the boring retro cap that were worn for one purpose to keep the head protected to being more innovative and contemporary styled. Givi is an Italian brand and they have a following outside of Malaysia when it comes to protective gears. In Malaysia, they are better known as the "Motorbike Box Storage" manufacturer.
Note the big black box behind the bike
Otherwise, you will see motorbikers wearing the Givi raincoat which were usually given FOC when someone buy a motorbike. No, I do not have a raincoat from Givi if you are wondering.
The Givi Jet M11 retails for about RM250 at the motorbike shop and it is not considered to be cheap by local standard. Many motorbikers will get a free helmet when they buy their bike. These are the basic helmet and some does not carry the SIRIM or Malaysian Standard certification for safe usage on the road. With protective gears like a helmet, your life is as expensive as price you pay for the protection. At RM250, you can get yourself fancier better looking helmet. Do keep in mind that a minimum of a DOT/ECE is your best bet as these are the more widely accepted standard (these helmet able to withstand 250G to 275G respectively). Our SIRIM certification is in compliance with ECE 22.05
Bet you never knew
So, having said that, do look out for compliance helmet and this Givi is one such helmet that will offer you some peace of mind when you wear it for riding. Shape wise, the revised contemporary styled helmet packs in quite a few features.
The helmet comes with a double visor (hence the D) that consist of an internal smoked sun visor and a transparent anti-scratch outer.

There are two air vents at the front/top and three at the back to assist in air flow internally. Some truth about these vents - as with any helmet, unless it is open faced or aggressively designed to allow for air to enter (read : OPEN), air flow is restritive. You will still pespire.

Anti-scratch visor. Visible on the top is the two air-vents
The inner fabric is anti-allergenic inners that are removable and washable. So you have an option to wash it or replace it (not sure about the price) if needed. A better alternative is to wear a headscarf or those Bufff-like scrafs to help absorb sweat. I use it all the time even on short trips. It help to hold the ears down when you put on or pull off the helmet.
The holes with mesh is supposed to aid air flow and draw stale air out
Double-visors helmet has been a norm nowadays. I found that even with the inner visor down, you will still have to put the main visor down when riding above 40km/h. The wind and dust WILL get into your eyes.

Pilot mode
Activation of the inner visor is through a lever situated at the bottom left of the helmet. 

Inner smoked visor lever/Activator
Back of helmet with the large airvent at the top and two vents on the bottom left and right
The helmet strap comes with a D-ring/buckle that essentially allows you to use it to lock/hook onto the motorbike. My bike does not have this feature so it is in the box it goes.
Useful to lock the helmet
Adjustment of the straps is similar to my Nolan N91 where there is a micrometric adjustment that allow for quick and more comfortable use.
One hand adjutment possible
For an open face helmet, this is not considered cheap at the price it is selling. Other parallel imported ECE certified fullface helmet may cost just slightly more compared to this. However, the premium you are paying even out with the features that comes with this helmet not available in other fullface (that are ECE compliance) such as the micrometric adjustment, the nice (good quality) inner, anti-scratch visor and the build-in smoked visor. 
I usually use this on the weekend on shorter ride to the shop or as a spare helmet should the Nolan N91 paddings are removed for washing. As with all helmet, treat it with care and respect. It will save your head (and life) if you have a fall.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Press Release Old Town White Coffee Raya Open House

OLDTOWN White Coffee to host Hari Raya Open House
Kuala Lumpur, August 6, 2013
In conjunction with the Hari Raya festive season, OLDTOWN White Coffee will be hosting its inaugural Hari Raya Open House for the public on 24 August 2013 from 11AM to 3PM at its outlet in Bandar Baru Bangi.

OLDTOWN expects to play host to about 2,000 people from the community in Bangi, including approximately 100 children from three orphanages namely Rumah Amal Cahaya Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (RACTAR), Yayasan Sunbeams Home and Yayasan Chow Kit who are invited as special guests. Guests at the open house can expect to savour some of OLDTOWN’s Hari Raya specials. They can also enjoy and participate in an exciting outdoor carnival atmosphere of fun, games and exciting contest for children and adults alike, as well as stage performances that will make this festivity a delightful experience. Guests can look forward to a special performance by Malaysia’s sought-after talent Hunny Madu.
Photo from Oldtown White Coffee
In celebrating this joyous occasion, the less fortunate will also be remembered by OLDTOWN through its CSR arm, OLDTOWN Children Care Fund (OCAF), which will be handing out Duit Raya to the children present at the open house.

OLDTOWN’s Chairman Datuk Ahmed Tasir said he looks forward to meet and greet with the community in Bangi and he welcomes every Malaysian to join in this fun-filled event. “This is OLDTOWN’s first open house and we would like to make this event special and as exciting as possible for everyone,” said Datuk Tasir.
OLDTOWN White Coffee akan menganjurkan Rumah Terbuka Hari Raya
Kuala Lumpur, 6hb Ogos, 2013
Bersempena dengan musim perayaan Hari Raya yang bakal menjelang, OLDTOWN White Coffee akan menjadi tuan rumah kepada majlis Rumah Terbuka Hari Raya yang julung kali dianjurkan dan akan dibuka kepada orang ramai pada 24hb Ogos 2013 ini jam 11 pagi sehingga 3 petang di rangkaian kedainya di Bandar Baru Bangi.

OLDTOWN menjangka akan menjadi tuan rumah kepada kira-kira 2,000 penduduk dari kawasan Bangi, termasuk 100 orang kanak-kanak daripada tiga buah rumah anak yatim iaitu Rumah Amal Cahaya Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (RACTAR), Yayasan Sunbeams Home dan Yayasan Chow Kit yang akan diundang sebagai tetamu istimewa.  Para pengunjung akan dihiburkan dengan pelbagai aktiviti menarik dalam suasana karnival yang menyeronokkan. Aktiviti-aktiviti menarik yang disediakan termasuklah pertandingan yang boleh disertai oleh kanak-kanak dan juga orang dewasa dan persembahan hiburan yang akan menjadikan sambutan perayaan ini satu pengalaman yang indah. Pengunjung juga akan dapat menyaksikan persembahan istimewa daripada artis pujaan ramai, Hunny Madu.
Photo from Oldtown White Coffee
Dalam meraikan acara yang meriah ini, mereka yang kurang bernasib baik juga tidak dilupakan oleh OLDTOWN, menerusi bahagian Tanggungjawab Sosial Korperatnya, OLDTOWN Children Care Fund (OCAF) yang akan menyampaikan Duit Raya kepada kanak-kanak yang hadir ke rumah terbuka tersebut.

Pengerusi OLDTOWN, Datuk Ahmed Tasir berkata beliau tidak sabar untuk bertemu dan beramah mesra dengan penduduk daripada kawasan Bangi dan beliau turut mengalu-alukan kedatangan setiap warga Malaysia ke majlis yang penuh dengan kemeriahan ini.  “Ia merupakan rumah terbuka OLDTOWN yang pertama dan kami ingin menjadikannya sebagai majlis yang paling istimewa dan paling menyeronokkan untuk setiap orang,” kata Datuk Tasir.

Old Town White Coffee Facebook page :

Thursday, August 22, 2013

United Voice : Thank You Contributors!

On August 17, 2013, I sent out a pledge on my Twitter for a pledge to raise fund. The benefactor is United Voice which is a society that aim to help and empower those with learning disabilities.

The event went well and I believe the fund raising were successful as well. 

The quick call for funds saw the amount going from Zero to MYR1518 as of 4.30pm on August 21, 2013!.

Oh behalf of United Voice and the teams that took part to raise the funds, we would like to thank all of you contributors and for myself, those that has pledged the funds through me. It is very motivating to see the pledges coming in and for that I put in the same effort to run as fast as I can on the treadmill. 

The 44:37 10km is for all of you contributors.
Enjoy this short video montage captured using JVC Adixxion XA1 on the day of event.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Running Bukit Kiara with JVC Adixxion XA1 : Usage Review

I've been toying with the JVC Adixxion XA1 since the day I got it from JVC Kenwood Malaysia. I've been running with it (in hand) and attaching it on my bike helmet (motorbike) while commuting to and fro work. Never have I taken that many videos until I own this unit now. As with every new gadget (or toy, you would say), I will use it and explore every single possible thing I could do with it. 
Secured on the hydraulic
reservoir with a Velcro strap
For example, trying to mount it on my motorbike handlebar using the supplied goggle mount.

As the unit did not come with any handlebar mount, I have to make do with whatever that I have or given. A little bit of imagination will usually go a long way. 

As the unit was still new to me and I am still trying to "visualise" the viewing angle, the first 15 videos taken either were from really odd this one below.

Screen capture photo from the Full HD. If I were to extract the frame from the video, this image will be very high resolution
Agree with me that the above looked like I am on a "constant taking a corner" angle? The camera was set exactly like what you saw on the hydraulic brake reservoir. I now know that spot is a no-no (and so was the four other videos taken at that angle). I so need a handlebar mount (hoping JVC will read this)
However, today's sharing is NOT about using Adixxion on the motorbike. It was used during my run in Bukit Kiara. The day of carrying a compact camera to capture video is now over (though I will still carry it to capture still images). 
Running With Adixxion - In Your Hand
This camera is small enough to comfortably grab and hold while running. I showed this to a GoPro user and the first thing that strike him was how "natural" he can hold it without any monopod/tripod if he wants to video. It did not occur to me as I do not have a GoPro to compare against (hoping GoPro will read this, too).

As you can see from the photo on the right (taken with my Panasonic FT4), the Adixxion can be held with two fingers and one thumb against the palm and it is still stable. 

I tried a another way to hold it via my existing (available) Gorillapod which I shape to be a handle. It also provides me additional reach (read : Distance) so I capture more things into frame. 

However as the Gorillapod isn't a stiff attachment, no amount of Digital Image Stablisation would lessen the shake due to the extreme movement when running. That decision to use the Gorillapod cost me 2 videos. I then removed the pod and tested it with full hand (or fingers) grab.

Running With Adixxion - The Video Point Of View or POV
Not needed actually. 
Photo from my Panasonic FT4.
It was a case of trial and error as I try to get used to the viewing angle or "point of view" POV angle of the Adixxion. At 170degree wide, I need to remind myself that I need to hold it in a more extreme angle in order to compensate and/or prevent my head from being cut out of frame. 

It took me about 4 videos to get used to the angle. So those earlier videos will not be shown as it is not at the angle approved by me.

It was a case of missing the HIGH and LOW, literally.
Too LOW. Screen capture from the FIRST video.
Too HIGH. Screen capture from second video.
After a few more tries, I finally got the hang of it and know where to hold and aim the Adixxion for maximal effect. It improves as I applied it to different angle and consistently get the shot I wanted. Doesn't take me too long to get it right -all one need is to keep using it.
If you want to view the video in Full HD, skip to the end of this review.
The Adixxion Super Sensitive Microphone 
One thing i noticed during the first day use of the Adixxion running was how sensitive the mic was. It picks up everything including the breaking of small branches under my footsteps. Then it became even louder when I run against the wind. I was told by the JVC rep that the Adixxion mic is super sensitive as the unit, unlike the competitor does not reside in a casing that reduces the sensitivity by a notch.
Sounds legit.
With that in mind, I took a piece of sticky tape and tape over the mic. The mic was still sensitive, so I put another sticky take over it. It became more bearable for normal run and when running against the wind. 

While this may look crude, I am (almost) always function over form. :) For motorbike riding, a piece of folded tissue bits need to be used to muffle the wind noise.

Adixxion Battery Life
The rated battery life is 70minutes on constant recording at Full 1080p HD mode. I find it not to run too far away from actual usage. My first use were recording slightly longer than 70minutes perhaps due to the start-stop recording. 8gb of memory card were almost used up (7.5gb) for that period of recording.
Setting the Adixxion to recording no more than 5minutes each time, the battery lasted about 80minutes with about 50minutes of real recording. I did not switch off the unit but let the LCD play in the background (ready to record mode). 

The plus point I can think off with Adixxion over GoPro is that the battery change will be less cumbersome as it is as easy as just flipping open the back cover. With GoPro, there is a need to remove the housing, which may (or may not, depending on the proficiency of the user) to drop the casing or camera while replacing the battery. 

Of course as with anything that claim to be "proof", it is often best to be careful when opening the lid (as you can see, the sticker that is moisture sensitive has turned pink as when I received this unit. This usually is enough to void warranty).
Rough and Tough
I've managed to put this unit to test 3 (out of 4) of the "proof" design. The unit withstand aggressive use in the sea. Was fully buried in (beach) sand and were dropped from the top of the head (about 173cm) to sand/gravel. It survived all instances. I am hesitant to drop it on hard ground though, and if that ever happened, it is really accident and not on purpose. Happy to report that the unit is still working as normal - except the lense protector is a bit scratched when I buried in the sand. Small issue as that was what the lense protector supposed to do!
Seawater in PD - PASS.
Other Thoughts
After almost a week of using the Adixxion:
1. I've noticed that the unit turns warm to the touch if left to record more than 30minutes continuously (used as in-car camera). This could be the LCD being switched on all the time OR the unit being exposed to the sun near the dashboard. This does not effect the performance of the camera.
Immersing in water to wash away salt water
2. Using the unit as an in-car camera allows you to have the power stayed plugged in for endless (or as long as you drive) function. There is the endless recording where it will keep recording and over-write any recorded tracks. This way, the unit is highly usable as a "black box" for driving. Suggested to use the flexible tripod mount and stick it to the dashboard or right behind your rear-view mirror. Only limitation is the mini-USB cable is not long enough. You may have to get an aftermarket cable to keep the unit charged all time.

3. I am yet to fully utilise this to it's full potential. Not tried the WiFi connectivity yet and that will be on the next to do with Adixxion.
The Video Sample
Here is the Full HD (1080p in 30FPS). Produced using Windows Movie Maker and where appropriate, the video were sped up or slowed down to test the Full HD recordings. So remember to switch it to FULL HD playback in Youtube.
More to come with this Adixxion.
Hope you enjoyed the video. For more videos, please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Distraction On The Road : Lethal On The Road

This is my 10minutes bike ride on August 15, 2013 from home to office. I've compressed it to 4mins and if you see the video, the first 4:30 (of actual time) saw 3 distracted drivers on the road using phone and 1 having his breakfast. They were lucky to escape with no accident - but for how long?

Video is captured in Full HD and if your bandwidth allows it, view it in that resolution and you may just catch what I saw when I played back to see the car numbers and evidence of them being on the phone. 
Two days after I uploaded this video, a runner known as Ms Lai was hit by a 4wd that the driver was distracted and tried to pick up his phone, swerve across the road, hit her and roll her under the 4wd. He then tried to run away but was caught by fellow runners.

So drivers out there, motorcyclists out there. Stay focused on the road. Distraction is not just handphone and food, but I've seen how drivers even get distracted by their passengers shouting or pointing to objects/buildings etc as they drive. These are all potential for disaster too. 

However, handphone usage is the Number 1 distraction while driving. Give it a thought and impose a self restrained ENGINE ON, HANDPHONE OFF policy.

Help yourself stay alive and stop being being a hazard on the road!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Distracted Driver Hit A Runner

Hi Morning. Distressing news isn't it? This happened yesterday morning around Hartamas and I received a tweet from fellow runner @JulesMohd informing me about a man trying to run away but was caught by a few runners after he hit (with a 4wd truck) a lady runner.
Photo from JulesMohd tweet to me

The driver tried to run away by running up the slope (accident happen near the nursery under the Jalan Duta flyover, Hartamas side near Istana Negara). The driver claimed he was trying to retrieve his phone that has dropped onto the floor. By doing that, he swerve from his lane to the opposite lane. 

If there were another car/vehicle, the accident would had been major. 

It also appeared (from those that were there on Sunday) that the 4wd roadtax has expired. This meant insurance claim against the driver or vehicle owner will not be possible. 

When I read about this, It angers me. My wife was hit by a distracted motorcyclist last year October. She suffered and still recovering from the accident with the backache a constant bother nowadays due to compression of the spine at T10. 
The victim of this accident, Ms. Lai, was rushed to GH and were reported to be under went operation to remove blood clot and is warded at intensive neuro unit. 
Photo from JulesMohd twitter. 
From the photo above, I know exactly where this is. Coming from Publika, this is right before the underpass/flyover and this is where the nursery (plants) were. This road is a curve (left curve) and for the driver to crash through this way, he would had been so distracted, went across the road, hit Ms. Lai and rolled her under the car.


Lets all pray for Ms. Lai's recovery and the driver to be charged for attempted murder.

I would also like to remind all friends, family and readers here to STOP using your handphone while driving. Those Facebook updates, Tweets and Instagrams can wait. The Whatapps messages, WeChat etc will not expire if you reply when you reach your destination. Being distracted puts you and those on the road at high risk. You may say you have been doing this and nothing happen - PLEASE DO NOT WAIT for something to happen before deciding what you did was IDIOTIC and STUPIDITY at it's highest degree.


Next : A Video Of Traffic Offender While I Ride To Work

Update August 19. 4.30pm
The Team captain for Pemaisuri runner has reported that the scan shows the blood clot in Ms. Lai's head is minimal and no surgery is needed. She is sedated and they are waiting for her to wake up.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review : JVC Adixxion GC-XA1 Action Camera

Those of you that know me will had seen me racing with a camera in my hand. My tool of choice is my trusty Panasonic Lumix FT series which I happened to have the FT2 and the FT4(not reviewed,but it has GPS function and wifey got it for me last Christmas). 
Camera in hand
The camera was great. Nothing wrong with it. Battery life was good and image captured were awesome. It is weather and element proof (just not idiot-proof). But there was just something missing - the ability to hook onto something so I can record it in anyway I want. More so, the digital stabiliser works great for still capture and less-than-aggressive video. Videos taken with the Panasonic has extreme "Blair-witch" effect and i long for something more stable.
The JVC Adixxion XA1
About two months (or was it three) months ago, I was hooked up by a friend and he introduced me to JVC Kenwood Malaysia. An informal meeting that has turned into an opportunity for me to obtain the JVC Adixxion GC-XA1 for my personal use and review. 
Relatively unknown to many and this is because the market is dominated by the GoPro brand of action camera. I do not have the opportunity to review GoPro and do a fair comparison to the Adixxion. Needless to say, there are many other equivalent as well, with one brand from Korea resembling GoPro to the T. It could be, in my opinion, an OEM product. So, do look for reputable brand with aftersales services support if you are considering (your hard earned money!)
In The Raw
The JVC Adixxion XA1 that was given to me
If you are looking to get an action camera for personal use or as a gift for someone let me start by sharing that this JVC Adixxion is retailing at RM999 (which by the way, is what GoPro Hero2 is at certain shops/online stores).
LCD built-in.Image from JVC website
If you all insist, based on the technical specifications of the Adixxion and GoPro brand, these are what I can share based on my limited period ownership of Adixxion and what I know of GoPro.
To start with, the similarities. Both the Adixxion and GoPro records in FUll-HD-Glory. Both unit on par with 1080p HD at 30 frame per seconds (fps). Both unit come with highly sensitive f2.8 lense suitable for low light recording. Both has capability of capturing video images at 170degree angle (which gives it the "fish-eye") effect. Both are rugged enough to be used in almost all conditions including underwater and harsh condition. Both are made for outdoor. But that is where the similarities end.
WiFi - out of the box. Image from JVC Website

GoPro requires additional hardware to be used with the unit for viewing (LCD pack) while JVC Adixxion has it built-in (via a 1.5inch LCD on the side). Wifi connectivity and control comes right out of the box for JVC Adixxion while GoPro requires additional hardware to link it (including a remote). These two alone add bulk to the whole camera setup.

Connectivity simplified
The winning point for the JVC Adixxion is the weight of the unit itself. The whole package comes in at an impressive 31grams lighter when compared to the most basic setup on GoPro - and we know GoPro need the housing to be waterproof or even to be mounted onto anything. The Adixxion comes with two tripod mount that is sufficient to place the camera in any position possible.
tripod mounting option on the side.
Image from JVC Website

The JVC Adixxion loses out to the GoPro in the still images it captures. Being able to take only in 5megapixel size and with fixed 170 wide angle viewing, it distort the image to be fish-eye like. Not very versatile when compared to GoPro. I have not verified if the Adixxion could take photos in burst mode (by holding down the Record button) as the GoPro could do so. 
Fisheye like on the Adixxion. Stay off the corners or get distorted ;-)
Clear shot of the rollerblade. Camera was actually about 6inches away
Much better images if stay in the middle of the frame
However, if you are purchasing this to be used as a still camera, then it is likely like buying a compact camera to take video. JVC must improve this aspect if they want to attract more users. For me, it's immaterial as this will be used as an outdoor action camera - images can be screenshot from the video, in Full HD glory!
One more item that the Adixxion loses out to GoPro is the "timelapse" feature where Adixxion only has option for 1second and 5seconds capture as opposed to more choices within the GoPro. However, these are not crucial points but good to have features. Battery life wise, both units share the similiar capacity at 1050mAh and the Adixxion is rated at 70minutes on Full HD recording with WiFi off. The GoPro goes almost 2hours on the same charge. This is mainly because the LCD on the Adixxion XA1 does not turn off once the unit is switched on. A firmware flaw if you ask me. 
My Video-Blog (Vlog) of the JVC Adixxion, captured using the Adixxion XA1 unit while running Kiara
The best way to view this is in Youtube and choose Full HD 1080p. The details are awesome. (results may vary based on your monitor/screen performance too, I viewed mine on HP Elitebook 8470p - which is HD LCD monitor)
You can now expect more video postings using the JVC Adixxion XA1 in my blog. 

JVC Adixxion XA1 Specification - Priced RRP MYR999.00

Dimensions (WxHxD)
74mm x 53mm x 35mm (2-15/16" x 2-1/8" x 1-7/16")

Weight with battery
126g (0.28lbs)

Quad-Proof Design
Waterproof: 5m/16.4ft, IEC Standard publication 529 IPX8
Shockproof: 2m/6.5ft, MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock
Dustproof: IEC Standard publication 529 IP6X
Freezeproof: -10°C/14°F

Image Sensor
Lens Type
F2.8, Fixed focus, 170 degree
Digital Zoom 5x
Auto Exposure

Digital Image Stabilizer

White Balance

Auto and Manual


Video Recording Format
MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (MP4)

Video Recording Mode
FHD: 1920x1080/30p, 15Mbps VBR
HD960: 1280x960/30p, 8.9Mbps VBR
HD60: 1280x720/60p, 13Mbps VBR
HD30: 1280x720/30p 6.7Mbps VBR
WVGA: 848x480/30p, 3.0Mbps VBR

Digital Stills
JPEG, 5 Megapixel

Audio Format

Battery Life
FHD  1hr 10min
HD960      1hr 35min
HD60        1hr 10min
HD30        1hr 45min
WVGA       1hr 45min

HDMI mini, USB mini (chargeable)

LCD 1.5” color

Wi-Fi Function  

PC Software
Wi-Video (for Windows®, provided in camera)

Supports up to 64GB SD Card

Provided Accessories
  • Goggle Mount: Attaches to goggle strap with supplied screws.
  • Flexible Mount: Adheres to flat or curved surface with supplied 3M double-sided tape.
  • Lens Protector x2
  • LCD Protection Film
  • USB Cable
  • Rechargeable Battery
Optional Accessories
  • Roll Bar Mount MT-RB001: Fits pipes from 21mm to 40mm (7/8″ – 1-5/8″) in diameter.
  • Handle Bar Mount MT-HB001: Fits pipes from 21mm to 30mm (7/8″ – 1-3/16″) in diameter.
  • AC Adapter AC-V17UL / AC-V10L: Charges ADIXXION battery from outlet.
  • Float Strap WA-FL001: To help the camera float while in water.
  • Goggle Mount MT-GM001 (same as supplied with camera)
  • Flexible Mount MT-FM001 (same as supplied with camera)
  • Lens Protector GL-LP001 (same as supplied with camera)
  • Battery BN-VH105 (same as supplied with camera)

Full Adixxion website : Click Here

JVC Adixxion Promo Video

At time of this review, I was informed that the Adixxion has came up with a new upgraded unit known as the XA2 that addresses all the "setback" above. I am promised the XA2 when it comes to Malaysia in October and expect another round of review of the improved Adixxion  XA2 at my blog. I will get the exclusive for this. So, wait up.