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20th Oct
Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Dell Kaby Lake product range at the Alienware launch party

Posted by Shaun at 7:23 pm under Blogs | 443 Reads | Post Comment

Dell too, took the opportunity to announce their new range of XPS and inspirion laptops at the Alienware launch party, targeted to mid-range consumer and business users with their Latitude line. I got to try out first hand a number of new devices on display. Here are 5 products in the Dell lineup

XPS 13
The XPS line first started out as Dell’s flagship gaming series, but with the acquisition of Alienware into the Dell product line, the XPS is now targeted as a premium business laptop line. The XPS 13 prides itself as the world’s smallest 13-inch Laptop with designed and built for good looks, mobility and performance. It features a “InfinityEdge“ 13.3-inch display fitted into a 11.9-inch bezel frame giving it a near “borderless” look. This flagship is now equipped with faster Intel’s new 7th gen (Kaby lake) processors, with improved battery life Brighter display at 400 nit brightness for a great view outdoors.

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XPS 13
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Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1
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Inspiron 15 5000

Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1
The Inspiron 13 is an ultrabook packed with a very capable Intel 7th gen i5 processor, it is a conventional laptop with a reversible hinge as first seen on the Lenovo Yoga range, allowing the keyboard half to be folded almost 360 degrees backward to be used as a slate tablet. This “multidimensional” capability makes it perfect for students or uses in the field. Prices start at $1,199 with a full 13” HD screen and 8GB or RAM.

» Read more…

28th Mar
Monday, March 28th, 2016

Back from my March 2016 China trip

Posted by Shaun at 12:25 am under Blogs | 806 Reads | Post Comment

I recently came back from a 1.5 week China trip. I did a Yangtze river cruise and travelled to tour the beautiful cities of Chengdu and Chong Qing on a budget. The scenery in China, especially those of the 3 gorges and the dam was fantastic.

Chengdu and Chong Qing are both rather modern cities, with world-class transportation and clean sanitation- a far cry from what China was almost 20 years ago. Even the air on the outskirts of the cities are even fresher than that in Singapore.

I am currently in the midst of updating my travel blog and sorting out photos for uploading on the site’s photo gallery, be expecting more awesome blog updates and blog posts of my China travel adventures and photos over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

1st Mar
Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Zootopia, excellent storytelling which both impresses and teaches

Posted by Shaun at 4:50 pm under Blogs | 717 Reads | Post Comment
zootopia art

I caught Zootopia on the opening weekend. Disney always never fail to impress with their animation films. Disney had always have a magical stake in anthropomorphic cartoon animals, whether it’s Goofy the dog, Balo from Junglebook/talespin, Ducktails/Duckwing duck or even Mickey for example, we can agree the animation studio had came a long way into making feature-length animation films with very lovable characters.

Big Hero 6 and Frozen were great hits, but Zootopia brings it further not only through an entertaining, refreshing and rather non-linear storyline, but one which also immerse viewers into a whole new universe- the Zootopia (Zootropolis in UK and EU) which distinct eco-climates to suit the natural living conditions of the inhabitants (Polar bears in Tundra town and camels in the Sahara night district).

Zootopia goes well in hand with Disney’s forte of excellent story-telling capabilities in their films. This one teaches about discrimination and prejudice between people in society, and even if they are animals, the movie allows you to bring back a message that the very differences and stereotypes between people will cause people (e.g. Nick Wilde a stereotypical sly fox) to live their lives not because of who they are, but what society perceive they are. Or Judy Hopps, a bunny, cannot be a police officer, as there had never been a rabbit in the force.

There are many nice puns and great humour for the family- pure slap stick humour understood by all ages, reaffirming you that it is still a Disney movie, as well as humour which only adults will understand (like the notoriously government agencies like the DMV bring completely run by slow sloths and the Lemming Brothers run by Rodents). In typical Disney fashion, Easter eggs and hidden Mickey’s are evident, as well as a scene which pokes fun into their other feature Disney films such as Wreck-it-Rhino (Wreck-it-Ralph), Wrangled (Tangled) and FloatZen (Frozen) for instance.

The movie also see a well knitted cast, including music personality Shakira voicing character (Gazelle) in the show. To date, Zootopia was very well received by critics, with reviews globally surprising positive too. Even the cinema I watched the movie was sold-out. The movie has surpassed Frozen box office taking, setting new records for an animated film opening weekend, well-backed by an undisputed “Fresh rating” (>80%) on Rotten tomatoes and a perfect 5/5 rating by local newspaper reviews.

You know if a good movie, when you get to learn something at the end of the movie, I sure did. The way to be productive is to try, “Try Everything”. So move aside “Let it go”, Disney’s new catch phrase is “Try Everything” now. Many thanks to Disney for an excellent movie, Zootopia is still showing in Cinemas, you should so catch it if you haven’t.

Image © Walt Disney Studios

20th Jan
Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Lego Mini-figures series 15 and identifying the figures

Posted by Shaun at 8:56 pm under Blogs | 1015 Reads | Post Comment

It’s time of the year again where Lego releases their hugely popular Lego mini-figure series for the 2016 New Year. These mini-figures are released twice yearly comprising of 16 unique mini-figures in blind packs. They are extremely popular among collectors and hold their value very well (even said to be a better investment than gold since 2000) given their limited runs and rarity.

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Series 15!
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New orange packaging
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Figure checklist

As with every series, I will write a guide to help you in identifying your figures. Here are the unique features to look for this series.

Series 15 blind pack “Feel” guide.

  1. Farmer: Long rake stick, large straw hat and pig.
  2. Satyr: Shirt flute piece and unique digitigrade leg piece.
  3. Tribal Girl: Single Infant piece with rear loop.
  4. Shark Suit Guy: Largest packet piece, large 4cm long head to tail piece.
  5. Queen: Large 4x2base dress piece. Matching to the Series 13 King mini-fig
  6. Animal Control Officer (The Skunk Catcher): Large single-piece net and Skunk mini-fig.
  7. Jewel Thief: 3 Piece grapple unit and verified by large hair piece.
  8. Dancer/Ballerina: New hard and flat tutu piece.
  9. Warrior/Winged God: Long spear piece with large armour chest piece + wings.
  10. Scary/Grim Knight: Diamond shield with a handle stud at back, chest piece not to be confused with the Winged god and Laser robot.
  11. Wrestling Champion: His trophy cup piece
  12. Awkward/Clumsy Man/ Patient: One of the two unique clutches.
  13. Kendo Fighter: Two swords, verified by a large face mask.
  14. Astronaut: Oxygen tank back unit verified by flag.
  15. Laser Robot: Winged Robot: Large winged chest piece and laser sword (Unique 2 colour single piece).
  16. Janitor: Long stick piece and mop head.

If you are looking to get a full box, you will get 3 copies of the following: Farmer, Animal Control Officer, Scary/Grim Knight, Ballerina, Winged Robot Warrior, Native American Woman, Jewel Thief, and Queen.

There will be 4 copies each of the Winged God, Wrestling Champion, Janitor, and Astronaut.

Lastly, you will get 5 copies each of the Patient, Left Shark, and Faun in the box too.

Currently, the most popular figures are the Left Shark and Grim Knight, run through several Lego stores and Toys-R-Us always seem to yield an absence of these figures. The adorable Left shark is also my favourite figure of the series. Happy lego-hunting!

8th Jan
Friday, January 8th, 2016

Happy New 2016!

Posted by Shaun at 6:58 pm under Blogs | 825 Reads | Post Comment

Wishing all my visitors on my site a Happy New 2016! Every year is always a busy year for me, and resolutions are always a big thing for the New Year. What are your New Year resolutions? I managed to stick to my last resolutions. Last year, I got back to running on a regular basis, totalling at least 15km of runs each week and ending the year with 20km per week. Totalling over xxx km. I had the chance to experiment with many new running aids, watches and health trackers to aid and automate the distance tracking of my runs. It is good to see myself running again after a few year of absence.

Every year, I plan to learn a new skill or start a new hobby. I got back into music again with the Piano, forcing myself to take weekly classes with a school which I am seeing good results and the complexity of songs I am playing now. Good thing I still have a keyboard at home to practice!

Traveling-wise, I plan to visit more of Asia with short trips. Which is sensible too, as the cost of a US or Europe trip can easily cost as much as many small trips in the region. I had never visited areas beyond Thailand, including Laos and Vietnam, so it will be good to check out these places in the near future. Furthermore, with the US dollar expected to appreciate against the Singapore dollar, it makes more sense to visit Asia and even China now, with the depreciating Yuan.

I thoroughly enjoyed a recent trip to Japan, this sparked me to revisit my command in the Japanese language, I studied French and Japanese in school, but never commanded much practice of the languages due to lack of practice. So for this year, I am keen to pick up a new language or even revisit one, this may prove useful for my future east-Asia trips.

2016 is also the year of the monkey, the Chinese-zodiac anniversary year for my father. I will be planning many good things for him this year. Other on-going miscellaneous resolutions will also include upgrading this website and brush up my creative skills in drawing. In short, it is Pick up a new hobby, Travel more in Asia and pickup a new language, now that’s more than enough to keep me busy for the year!

25th Nov
Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Future of Us Exhibition Singapore at Gardens By the Bay

Posted by Shaun at 11:50 pm under Blogs, Events | 2818 Reads | Post Comment

Ever wondered how Singapore will be like in the future? The Future of Us exhibition is an immersive and multi-sensory exhibition offering glimpses into the possibilities of Singapore’s tomorrow through living, work, care and play. It is themed as a probable/plausible technology showcase of what Singapore will be like in the future. Tucked within the compounds of Gardens by the Bay, Singapore right beside Bayfront (CE1/DT16) MRT Station, the venue comprises of four inter-linking domes housing various exhibits in air-conditioned comfort accessible to visitors of all ages. One dome leads onto the next in a linear manner covering various aspects of the exhibition journey. If you are driving, set your GPS to 30 Marina Boulevard, parking at Marina Bay sands is nearer, but cheaper at the Gardens by the Bay.

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Welcome!
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Autonomous tour vehicles
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Main entrance

The display is the capstone event to round up Singapore’s Julie year and SG50 celebrations and runs from Dec 1st 2015 to 8th March 2016 with free admission to all. The exhibition is open 9am to 9pm daily with last entry at 8.30pm. The exhibition starts off with a small multimedia area at the entrance which doubles up as a holding area and crowd control for the Theatre in the first dome. This display area has a number of interactive “newspaper” snippets of the purpose of the exhibition, covering key past events of Singapore, the identity of Singaporeans and the vision to look forward into Singapore’s next chapter.

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Entrance displays
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Theatre of generations
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Symphony of the city

» Read more…

24th Nov
Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Microsoft Surface 4 Pro Singapore retail launch party (Device Review)

Posted by Shaun at 11:32 pm under Blogs, Events | 1810 Reads | Post Comment

Microsoft introduced their newest addition to the Surface Pro line of 2-in-1 PCs with a bang at the MAD art gallery in Tanglin today. Riding on the success of previous Surface generations, Microsoft has stuck to the still-winning formula of a 2-in-1 platform in this 4th generation and improved on it incrementally with small nuances. Arthur Huang, Director of Microsoft Singapore consumer channels group was there to give an introduction to the release. Most of the keynote were based-off Panos Panay own unveiling at Microsoft’s Windows 10 devices event earlier this year. There is nothing mentioned here about the Surface Book for Singpaore though.

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Event space
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Arthur Huang keynote
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Surfaces!

Noticeably with the new Surface, you get as a larger screen, an improved drawing N-Trig based pen and a more ergonomic keyboard on top of the Skylake processor refresh. The “PC-tablet” so as I will like to call it, comes decked with a choice of the said 6th Gen Intel Core processors. With the considerations that users are more app-centric (than device centric) these days, technical specifications hardly really matter now. The device line-up comes in 3 main flavors packaged in 6 different hardware configurations starting with the lowest-spec-ed Intel Core m3 with 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM to an Core i7 with 256GB SSD and 16GB RAM.

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Up close & personal
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Mugshot
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Full range rear kickstand

You also get a full range rear kickstand, which unlike the cheaper Surface 3 with only 3 discreet positions hinges into another angle you want. Having a fused screen with the magnesium body allows for a very compact and optimised design, but similar to the majority of Apple products, upgradability of the Microsoft device is still horrendous (with an ifixit score of 2/10). It is still non user-upgradable and you will have to stick to your purchased configuration for your product’s entire lifespan- not quite the future-proof trait synonymous with Windows-based PCs. The best performance-to-price configuration will be the Core i5 with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM ($1,999). I find the i7 version over priced ($2,499 to $3,399) for a Surface and the m3 base model ($1,399) is too underpowered, with insignificant additional battery-life benefits.

» Read more…

18th Nov
Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Starwars BB-8 astromech droid anatomy exploded view, How BB-8 works

Posted by Shaun at 12:53 am under Blogs, Interesting Stuffs | 5150 Reads | Post Comment

BB-8 is arguably one of my favorite adorable little astromech droids in the Starwars universe (Sorry R2D2). Ever wonder how BB-8 works? I had spent some good time drawing up an exploded view of BB-8 in all it’s engineering glory. Have a peek into what makes him tick, courtesy of yours truly! (click the image below for a full-sized version).

BB-8 astromech droid anatomy exploded view
BB-8 Droid Exploded View StarWars BB-8 Astromech Droid Anatomy Working

At the center of BB-8 core is an omnidirectional drive unit which always stays upright (or in any orientation BB-8 wants to lean in). This Omni drive unit sits in BB-8 core which rotates an encompassing hemisphere housing a variety of droid repair tools (i.e. called the tools Hemisphere). This hemisphere is part of the first layer hollow sphere contains a “swiss army style” array of interface arms, manipulators essential for droid functions. These hemispheres are bolted on with protective tough durasteel external paneling, giving BB-8 traction when rolling on steel surfaces and loose sand, courtesy of 4 internal omnidirectional threaded wheels. This serves as the droid’s main mode of locomotion by rotation of this entire spherical body assembly.

Inside the omnidirectional drive unit is BB-8 primary power source (Central power unit) and IMU unit housing secondary Gyros which stays upright and does not rotate with the spherical body assembly when BB-8 moves. BB-8 head is kept upright courtesy of this IMU unit mentioned earlier, this is “fastened” to the body through superconducting levitators (i.e a kind of superconducting magnet) which does not interfere or induces parasitic currents through the tool hemispheres. This makes it an ideal method to attach and keep BB-8 head up with a minimal clearances from his body, as well as serve as a wireless mode of power transmission to feed the power-hungry Intellex computer located in BB-8’s head.

There is alot going up in BB-8’s head, it too has it’s own IMU unit which knows it’s orientation with respect to it’s body. The head is also not tethered to the body using wires and is powered by induction, allowing full 360 rotation along the superconducting Levitator axis. The Intellex Computer is a battle-proven piece of hardware which compliments the combat starfighters. A variety of visual, audio and electromagnetic sensors also reside in BB-8’s cranium allowing him to detect and identify with his surroundings even without a line of sight.

Feel free to share this! And may the force awakens! 🙂

11th Nov
Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Huawei Android Wear Smart Watch in Singapore

Posted by Shaun at 7:03 pm under Blogs, Computers | 2681 Reads | Post Comment
huawei watch

The Huawei watch will be sold in Singapore, that is the latest release I was informed by Huawei Singapore last month. The watch is possibly the best-looking Android wear watch you can buy today, even surpassing the likes of the LG Urbane and Moto 360 2nd Gen. Huawei has invited me to have a try out of their watches, following a rather excited call from their staff on the launch of their much-anticipated Huawei watch in Singapore- A tad late as the Americas already have the watch on sale for the past 2 months. Better late than never nonetheless.

If you want to have a go at trying out the watch, do check out their flagship store at Plaza Singapura level 3. The watches are not ready for sale yet, but in the likes of Apple store style exclusivity, there are sample watches in store for try outs and fitting where you can pre-order your watch configuration of choice.

The Huawei watch will come in 3 main flavors, you essentially get the same watch unit with the gorgeous 1.4-inch, 400 x 400 full circle screen (286ppi) and compatible with iOS 8.2 or Android 4.3. It is differentiated in an array of body colours and interchangeable watch bands.

Variants and Prices.
Retail prices are in Singapore dollars.

  1. Silver face in leather strap- $549 (There is a rose gold in brown strap variant too)
  2. Silver face stainless steel link strap- $649 (Fine bracelet links and traditional chunky links)
  3. Black in black leather strap- $649
  4. Black in black stainless steel link strap- $749
  5. Rose gold body and leather strap- $899
  6. Rose gold body and metal gold-link strap- $999

You do pay a premium for the watches and it comes in a pretty box as well which seems to hold it’s age with time. Huawei is marketing the watch as a premium product, contrary to their array of low-priced/affordable phones synonymous to the Chinese OEM. Only the Rose gold option is unique in terms of it’s body and strap colour combination. The first two variants are just mix-and-match variants of the same silver or matte black body paired with permutations of different watch straps material and colour.

» Read more…

9th Oct
Friday, October 9th, 2015

Lee Kuan Yew and Us Memory in Print Exhibition at Plaza Singapura

Posted by Shaun at 7:40 pm under Blogs | 1594 Reads | Post Comment

Lee Kuan Yew and Us Memory in Print is a traveling photo exhibition organised in collaboration with Lianhe Wanbao and freelance photographers. It was opened by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Finance, on 1 August 2015 at Big Box in Jurong and now is on it’s leg in Orchard at Plaza Singapura Mall. The exhibition features photos of the seven-day state funeral of the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew held on 1 August 2015.

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Presented in the four official languages, the pictorial exhibition showcases photographs from Lianhe Wanbao (SPH) and freelance photographers from the seven days compiled in chronological order. Each funeral day has it’s own exhibition display board housing 3 or more photographs with captions. The photos captured a variety of different touching moments in which the entire nation bid its final farewell, including the funeral procession from the Istana to the Parliament house, and the commendable efforts by the various volunteers and people helping out with the queues from the Padang.

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At the end of the photo displays are a variety of painting and caricatures drawn in tribute to Mr Lee all framed and lining the walls on the far end of the exhibiton. The photo exhibition will be at Plaza Singapura, Level 1 from 1st – 31st October 2015, open during mall hours from 10am – 10pm.

6th Oct
Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Massive North America trip update coming up!

Posted by Shaun at 1:37 pm under Blogs | 770 Reads | Post Comment

Am back from a 3 week overseas trip to Washington State and Vancouver Canada! Being hosted by my overseas friends there. The trip was exciting, Seattle was awesome with rich aviation history and Washington with Mount Rainer offers fantastic mountain driving roads, I even had coffee first Starbucks in the world! Vancouver is bustling with life and still have a place as one of my few favorite cities of the world. I am totally hyped to put up the massive trip update, which will definitely keep me busy throughout the month sorting and typing out my travel log. Be expecting a travel-related blog posts coming up here over the next few days covering the various sights and experiences of my trip.

Alrighty then, may the floodgates open!

Tiny little gem finds on the internet are always worth sharing, this time; it’s a rather handy and unique IPPT scorer and calculator (accessible on myIPPT.com) based on the new IPPT scoring standards. This IPPT calculator not only just calculates your IPPT total point scores and determines your corresponding award/cash returns for you from your given number of push-ups, sit-ups and 2.4km running time, but also gives you personal recommendations on how to do better for your next best award.

myippt 24km running
2.4km timing recommendations
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Determine my IPPT award
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The Mobile site

After toying around the site, it appears the site has 4 other methods to score for your IPPT too- a thing I particularly like about the calculator is the inclusion of 3 other station calculators which allows you to calculate the minimum number of station repetitions/run timing for your chosen target station, when you specify any other 2 station combinations. Say for example, if I will like to determine how fast to do my 2.4km run for a Gold Award, given that I know I can do 60 Push-ups and 50 sit-ups in one minute, the calculator will recommend I run at least a 11:30 2.4km timing. Likewise, if I specify a number of sit-ups and my known 2.4km run time, it will correspondingly recommend me a minimum number of push-ups I need to do for my desired Individual Physical Proficiency Test award grade.

The calculator also allows calculation for all age groups, female participants and the heightened commando/NDU standards as well. I tried breaking the calculator by specifying a “Pass” grade for the similar number of push-ups and sit-ups and the site is smart enough to tell me that I am over qualified and recommends me to go for a higher award instead, the calculator is indeed smarter than it looks.

Usability-wise, the site has rather simple and intuitive clean layout and appears to be both desktop and mobile phone compatible, with large mobile-friendly interface and sliders making it very handy for quick one-handed checks of your score points out at the IPPT test centres, making this calculator is a very viable alternative of having a dedicated app. This tool goes into my toolbox collection as one of my favourite IPPT training aid tools. Go check it out!

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