Fitbit Blaze
[USER EXPERIENCE] I bought Fitbit Blaze (without retail packaging) from Qoo10 about 1 month ago. Here are some thoughts on my second ever smart wearable.

Heart rate sensor: the green lights will blink non-stop
Good looking and fun!

I really like the looks of Fitbit Blaze. It is a personal preference, I asked a dozen of people if they think the same, the opinion is split. But I like it!

For me Fitbit Blaze stood out from the fitness bands and smartwatch market; it is made up of 3 parts, the tracker, frame and strap. A gentle push on the screen and the tracker will pop out. There are plenty of third-party frames and straps that you can get from Lazda or Qoo10 at around S$7+ for the frame S$10+ for the strap.

I think that is what makes Fitbit Blaze fun because for as little as S$50 you can get at least 3 sets of strap and frames. Straps can come in metal, leather, rubber (the default black) or Milanese. Surely a style for any occasion and the frame really adds a differentiator to competition.

The Blaze features a larger 1.25-colour touchscreen with a 240x180 resolution while not as high resolution as I would have like, is a bright display and some smart graphic design of the clock face makes the pixelation much less noticeable.

The only I didn't like the thick bezel at first but well, some things are possible to get used to. This is one of them.

The silver bumper and watch strap are of genuine quality
It's sufficiently useful but not as smart

As much as it looks like a watch, Fitbit Blaze is not the typical definition of a smartwatch. It is a fitness band with smartphone notifications (via Bluetooth) that looks like a watch. For one, there is no app store. Fitbit Blaze also does not allow replies to the messaging notifications like Whatsapp or SMS and only phone calls notifications for iOS devices, not for Android.

Software, it is really dull and there is little interaction. Here is a list of most common interactions with the Blaze;
  1. Hold up to check the time and step count
  2. Hold up to check notifications or when I get a phone call
  3. Startup exercise tracker, for example, Walk or Run to activate connected GPS
  4. Set alarm clock
  5. Turn on/off heart rate sensor occasionally
That said, Fitbit Blaze offers a comparatively excellent battery life to even the most premium smart watches out there. I consistently get 3 days or 72 hours of battery life before I get the low battery notification.

Some glaring limitations are a lack of built-in GPS, not waterproof and depending on whether you like them, eight clock displays might be too little. It is not possible to put up a wallpaper, which I really believe will make Fitbit Blaze a much more attractive proposition.

Fitbit fitness trackers track more than 17 different exercises but for a rather soft man like me, all I have tried are walking and running.

Tracker with rather chick clock display
My only wearable for two months

The only issues I have got so far, are the synchronization with the phone. The Bluetooth connection is great while connected. But once in a while, it doesn't reconnect and I have to reset Bluetooth on the phone. Well at least keeping Bluetooth always on the phone does not suck more battery life than I thought.

Then there is also this problem where the Blaze doesn't show Chinese characters unless Chinese is the menu language.

All said, Fitbit Blaze is very lightweight and for me, I almost don't feel like I am wearing a watch so it seems that I am more willing to wear for the day and to bed. Which of course is not everyone's preference. But it is for me and coupled with the excellent battery life and a design that I dig, it has effectively replaced my daily watch.

So S$148 for a Fitbit Blaze? It's excellent value. Despite being released more than 1 year ago, Fitbit Blaze is still available in retail stores for S$218, a recent price drop of S$100.

For a non-smart watch that looks great, with an array of cheap straps, decent phone notifications, comfortability and decent battery life, it's excellent value.
Screenshot of Samsung Pay Rewards page
[NEW SERVICE] I was eager to pay with Samsung Pay when I first got my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge last year. For a while, I scored cheap thrills out of surprise expressions of the cashier when I tapped my phone instead of a card with Visa PayWave and MasterCard PayPass (magnetic cards) and feeling so state-of-art about it.

Naturally, some months later I don't feel the thrills and as well started to forget about Samsung Pay altogether. Especially because not all cashiers are equipped with PayWave or PayPass, thus I always have to have the physical credit cards (those that are already in my Samsung Pay) in my wallet, and the first instinct is to draw the physical card instead of Samsung Pay.

Visa Paywave terminal: Image from uob.com.sg
So for months, I did not make a single Samsung Pay transaction. Until last week, I got a pop-up titled "Samsung Pay Rewards". Well hello again, Samsung Pay!

The program essentially offers accumulated points via each transaction regardless of the payment amount. Based on the number of payments made each month, the points accumulated will be given on a tier basis, for example, the start out level is Bronze, one tap gives 10 rewards points, no matter how much you paid.

I guess for consumers like me that always liked a little extra for my money paid, such reward program does entice me. That said, there are very little options redeemable with the Samsung reward points at the moment.

There are the Wheels of Rewards, pay 10 Samsung Rewards points to spin for a pair of Liverpool vs. Manchester tickets or redeem 600 points for a Samsung wireless charger or redeem 1,000 points for $5 Grab voucher. Decent, though it will take a while to accumulate the points redeemable for something.

What is surprising is that I did not see a single advertising material about this new Samsung Rewards program except in the Samsung Pay app itself. Probably coming soon then!
No Brand Multi-Function Jump Starter: Box
[USER EXPERIENCE] While owning a car offers lots of convenience at times, it may also be some work to take care of it. For instance, just 2 weeks back, my car battery went totally flat. So the natural course of action is to power up via another vehicle battery.

But then I recall seeing this car jump starter on Qoo10 and at the IT shows, so following the principle to buy a gadget whenever necessary, I invested. And it really work as advertised!

Back of the box
This one that I bought is a no-brand one, supposedly an OEM product, mainly because a search on Qoo10 shows many products that looked the same albeit with a slightly different specification. The differences are largely the battery size ranging from 20,000mAh to over 60,000 mAh.

The specification of the unit I bought is;
  • 68,800mAh
  • 4 USB ports (output 5V)
  • Short circuit proof
  • 3 LED SOS modes
  • Laptop Output 15V/16V/19V
  • Window breaker
Contents
There plentiful in the box. The start jumper itself, the connector to the car battery and an array of cables such as various types of power adaptor tip converter, car cigarette port and USB converter to lighting, micro USB etc.

The array of accessories gave me a hint the car jump starter will do more than just jump start.


Out of the box, my device is nearly full charged as I can see from the battery gauge meter to the left of the power button you see in the image above.

So I tried it immediately, connecting the blue-red power connector to the device, where it says "Engine Start", then to the car battery and viola! My car started when previously it's completely died.

I had to jump start again the next day to drive to the workshop and it works well again to prove that a small device like this packs in enough to start a car a few times!


The main objective fulfilled, I proceed to check out the USB ports and the flashlight and it's SOS modes. There is also an cornered edge on one end of the device that the user manual says is used to break the car window in emergencies.

I guess features that we shouldn't use often, at least we hope not.


All-in-all this will be a life saver when the car battery runs out and in some other emergencies. Though the build quality of the device looks below decent, thus I somehow have this concern of placing it in the car where temperatures can get high. That said, the specification states the operating temperature up to 60 degree celsius, I am probably paranoid then.
Yale Look Door Viewer: Box front view
[HANDS-ON] My brother-in-law acquired the Yale Look Door Viewer yesterday in an attempt to make his home smarter and as well monitor what is happening outside his door.

Yale Look Door Viewer is essentially a door viewer on steroids. Replacing the traditional door viewer, the device allows you to video chat to whoever is at the door via the Yale Look App with a 720p camera and live motion detection at your door providing snapshots/videos.

Yale Look Door Viewer: Box back view
It is an intriguing gadget because it seems to be a cross between a CCTV camera and a door walkie talkie you see at some condominium and on top of it, it offers video chat.

My time with the door viewer started with the installation process for the viewer to be mounted to the door. It is safe to say not many have the experience of removing the original door viewer. A few Youtube videos later, we have a gaping big hole in the door with the original door viewer removed.

We are eager to find out if the hole meets the minimum requirement of 14mm diameter. Luckily it does, and FYI, it's an HDB (built in 2015) door in this case. The next step is easier, the put the camera through from the front and tighten it to the metal plate holder with 2 screws.

The final step is to connect the physical monitor to the plate. Removing a small cap on the hanging wire, it will be connected to the back of the physical monitor.

Device attached to the door
Physical connection completed, it's time setting up the door viewer to the Internet. Step number 1, the Yale Look Door Viewer is in WiFi-direct mode, your phone is supposed to connect to it directly and so your router information can be entered.

However, we tried it several times, Yale Look App setup wizard could not automatically connect, we have to sort of connecting it manually by looking for a Wifi connection named "DDV-XXX" and apply the Yale default password, 12345678.

I suspect this could pose trouble for more than a few because the App does not say the device is Wifi-Direct mode and Wifi-direct mode might be a concept not everyone might know instantaneously.

Thereafter onwards, the setup wizard poses no more problems though it took like more than 5 minutes or so for the wizard to complete.

Front view of the door viewer
Finally, when everything is done, we await the moment of truth when we press the doorbell (I forgot to take a picture of the front part camera with the doorbell button on it). Viola! The moment the doorbell is pressed, my Brother-in-law got a notification on his phone.

Opening up the notification, the app will ask if you would like to pick up the doorbell and speak with the visitor.

However, generally, this process isn't as good as it sounds. First, the doorbell button is not noticeable, it is more likely the visitor will press a regular doorbell if there is one. Also if the door is looking out to the sky, the backlight affect the images taken, faces of the visitor might be darker than you expect. Finally, the times when the video streaming did connect, the images are rather choppy.

Security is other concern too because the door viewer is connected to the net, maybe not be much of a big deal since the camera is facing out of the main door.

All in all, Yale Look Door Viewer is does what it claims, you should be able to get good updates on what's happening outside your door and remote communication with the person at your door. The latter is somewhat not as smooth as I would have like and I get a feeling it is something that a software update will take care of. That said, I fancy the door viewer more like a novelty rather than something is that is actually going to be productive unless you are really interested in what's happening behind your closed door.


Updated 8th October 2017: Feedback from Brother-in-law, the door viewer works fairly well to capture movements in front of the door, he caught mostly flyer distributors. What will work better is that when the door is not close, no more images should be captured since it is then capturing of movement within the door way, which is not very useful.
Dreamcore One: Official Website Image
[NEW GADGET] Desktops seemed to be a thing of the past for awhile then it makes its comeback somehow through the gaming folks. It appears that they are the main type of consumers that go for Desktops today where laptops are cheaper.

That said, Desktops should still be an option for in an use case where one would bring out a tablet on-the-go and go back home to a proper Desktop because it is still cheaper to build a powerful Desktop than buying a top-end laptop and as well Dreamcore is probably another reason why you would want a Desktop, style!

Dreamcore is a Singapore-based custom PC shop. The box you see the image above is one of their flagship product called, Dreamcore One. The case features a compact design weighing 4kg (without the power adapter, the case uses an external power supply) and more interestingly an industrial outlook that would fit into any hipster home interior design.

I visited the Dreamcore booth at the recently concluded Comex 2017 and personally loves the Dreamcore One design.

Dreamcore operates a build-to-order model where one can customise order a PC with options to the cases, CPU, storage, GPU, essentially nearly all computer parts. Check them out at the link below.

Link - Dreamcore Website

Sennheiser CX 7.00BT In-Ear Wireless Neckband Headphone
[GADGET DEALS] This one is coming from media release; Sennheiser, the premium German audio specialist, announced the launch of its first direct-owned online store in Singapore. The new ecommerce platform offers Sennheiser’s most holistic of  consumer products, audiophile headphones, prosumer microphones, as well as sales exclusive models for music lovers, artistes and videographers. Even business communications solutions and mobile wireless conferencing systems!

APAC Exclusive: Sennheiser CX 7.00BT

To celebrate the store opening, Sennheiser Asia will be unveiling the new CX 7.00BT wireless earcanal headphones on the online store, which is only available in selected APAC markets ahead of the global launch at IFA 2017.

The CX 7.00BT offers Bluetooth 4.1 and Qualcomm® apt-X™ for true wireless Hi-Fi sound. The headphones employ NFC one-touch pairing to immediately connect to smart devices with multi-connection capability enables simultaneous pairing with up to two devices such as a smartphone and a computer. 

The CX 7.00BT provides users with a ten-hour battery life, which can be recharged via USB in only 1.5 hours. CX 7.00BT retails at S$239.

Store Exclusives: Limited Edition Sennheiser Mystery Bundles

More excitingly, from 12pm on 19 August 2017, seven specially-packaged mystery Sennheiser product bundles with an original Sennheiser warranty will be on sale! See below for more description of each bundle from Sennheiser media team.

Limited quantities are available, while stocks last. Excellent value from the looks of it, as much as 65% savings!

Mystery Bundle Categories Description Price
Home Recording Kit The Home Recording Kit offers great value with 70%
savings, featuring two mystery Sennheiser recording
products and branded merchandise: A Sennheiser
true condenser digital recording microphone paired
with a premium pair of Sennheiser headphones, so you
can have your mobile studio everywhere you go.
Simply connect the mic to your preferred iOS device
or laptop and you are ready to capture great sound.

This bundle is perfect not only for the everyday
musician, but also in the rehearsal room and
interviews for YouTube podcasts. Unrivalled studio
sound is now available anywhere, anytime.
S$299
(worth S$1,045)
Mobile Journalism Kit The Mobile Journalism Kit comes with a massive 65%
savings, featuring a Sennheiser mobile recording
microphone, earphone and branded merchandise.
Perfect for multi-location shoots and interviews, it was
designed for the busy journalist and budding digital
marketer in mind.

Containing the only essential accessories you need for
your iOS device when it comes to high-quality audio
recordings on-the-go, your Facebook, Instagram,
Snapchat and even webinar videos will now help you
capture only what you want your followers to hear.
Make lasting impressions with impressive sound,
S$149
(worth S$420)
Videographer’s Kit At almost 60% off regular retail prices, the
Videographer’s Kit is one value buy for new
videographers. The bundle comes with a rugged,
compact and versatile mic for great video sound, along
with branded Sennheiser merchandise.

Perfect for users of cameras with a lighting shoe
mount and external microphone input, this mystery
video recording microphone features an all-metal
housing and integral shock-mount for handling noise.
S$149
(worth S$352)
Singer/Songwriter Kit With over 70% off, the Singer/Songwriter Kit contains
one of Sennheiser’s bestselling vocal and instrument
handheld wired microphones.
Ideal for live stage performances, this microphone is
made in Germany and produces a warm and powerful
tone with exceptional signal clarity. Experience the
difference a German-made microphone can make.
S$39
(worth S$139)
Sports Enthusiast
Kit
If you enjoy outdoor sports or running marathons, the
Sports Enthusiast Kit is for you. Available in iOS or
Android variants, this bundle contains our branded
merchandise and a pair of sweat and water-resistant
Sennheiser sport earphones that offer maximum
ruggedness and durability.
These earphones will remain securely in place,
whether you’re running up a hill or sprinting to the
finish. Control your music and pick up calls during your run with an inline smart remote and mic on the cable.
Make workouts great again with your new sporting
buddy.
S$79
(worth S$212)
Home
Entertainment Kit
Love watching TV in the comfort of your own home?
Home entertainment just got more entertaining with
the exclusive Sennheiser Home Entertainment Kit –
complete with our most popular wireless closed,
around-ear home entertainment TV headphones and
branded merchandise at over 55% off.
Equipped with an ergonomic design for enhanced
wearing comfort along with state-of-the-art Bass Boost
and Surround Sound listening modes, this pair of
wireless cans will allow you to experience your
favourite movies and music from home sweet home like
never before.
S$189
(worth S$415)
Gamers-Only Kit Game time is your time and we know that. Want to level
up your gameplay for the eSports arena? Sennheiser is
the sound games are made of. Game developers use
Sennheiser recording equipment and Sennheiser
headsets to develop game audio.
The headset in our Gamers-Only Kit is engineered to
bring you the same high level of detailed acoustical
quality that the game developers intended you to hear.
Just ask the people behind Guild Wars, Hitman, Far Cry,
Assassin’s Creed and many other games. They all use
Sennheiser.
With a limited 60% off, snag a pair of our bestselling
multi-platform gaming headset for PC, Mac and PS4
along with a gaming amplifier packed with 7.1. Virtual
Surround Algorithm developed with the needs of
professional gamers in mind. Experience an immersive
game on a whole new level.
S$229
(worth S$534)
VBscript Icon
[CODING] Desktop programming is one of the fastest way to develop a program on a manged computer without administrative rights. For example, Microsoft Visual Basic Advanced and Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition.

They are not the best programming technology but they can do awful lot, likely to work on nearly all other computers without additional preparation, work straight out of standard Office and Windows installation. All the ideal conditions in a small office environment.

That's how I come across to write lots of programs this year. And today I am sharing one excellent resource on how to copy to Windows clipboard without Internet Explorer.

If you have arrived at this page while Googling for a routine to perform the copying, congratulations! I think you found what you want or rather, what you don't want; to use Internet Explorer to copy to clipboard. Somehow it is the most popular or if I may, the one and only option on the first few pages on Google.

The solution to copy to clipboard in VBscript without Internet Explorer, is on one of my favourite blog when it comes to Windows PowerShell. The ironic part is that it is not the content of the post that offered the solution. It is in one of the comment section further down the page.

Nevertheless, thank you ScriptingGuy1 and benj9 for the solutions!

Source: Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog Learn about Windows PowerShell
Set oFs = CreateObject("Scripting.FilesystemObject")
Set oWsh = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
SetClipboard "Hello Clipboard"
WScript.Echo GetClipboard()
WScript.Quit
Sub SetClipboard(sText)
Dim sFile, oFile
sFile = oWsh.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%TEMP%")
If sFile = "%TEMP%" Then sFile = "."
sFile = sFile & "~SetClipboard.hta"
WScript.Echo sFile
If Not oFs.FileExists(sFile) Then
Set file = oFs.CreateTextFile(sFile, True)
file.WriteLine ""
file.Close : Set file = Nothing
End If
oWsh.Run sFile & " " & sText, 0, True
End Sub
Function GetClipboard()
GetClipboard = CreateObject("htmlfile").ParentWindow.ClipboardData.GetData("text")
End Function
Linksys Max Stream AC2200 (EA8300): In Press Release
[NEW GADGET] This one is coming from a press release which I thought is a decent tech buy. Technology may have dominated our lives yet not everyone is keen to understand it more. Here is one example, a less savvy consumer may be more likely to subscribe to a faster Internet subscription than upgrade a router!

If you are still a owner of the free router the Telco gave you, consider an upgrade. This month, the good old brand in the router market, Linksys, released a new entry level router, Linksys Max Stream AC2200 EA8300.

Linksys also sells the same router with different speeds. There is a EA9500 as the model number implies, a faster router than EA8300. The latter should suffice for most networking needs especially the EA8300 comes with Tri-Band, that should allow the network capacity to be spread out among the devices.

SingTel subscribers should look away since EA8300 does not seemed to support Virtual LAN, a necessity for SingTel setup.

Linksys recommended retail price at S$279 with Hachi Tech going for S$259. A AC2200 tri-band router from a reputable brand at these prices sounds as good as it can get!

Features:
  • Tri-Band Technology: Three dedicated Wi-Fi bands deliver combined speeds of up to 2.2 Gbps (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz + 5 GHz).
  • MU-MIMO Technology for Simultaneous Wi-Fi to Multiple Devices: Uninterrupted Wi-Fi for simultaneous power streaming, gaming, web surfing, and more—without lag or buffer.
  • Easy Setup: With the Linksys App, just plug and play, follow the intuitive directions, and enjoy blazing-fast Wi-Fi speeds in minutes.
  • Seamless Roaming: Always stay connected to the strongest Wi-Fi signal so you can move freely throughout your home.
  • Advanced Beamforming Technology for Reliable Connections: Focus your Wi-Fi signal and maximize performance and coverage for both 2.4 and 5 GHz.
  • Auto Updates Keep Firmware Current: Automatic firmware updates so your router is always secure and current.
  • Airtime Fairness Improves Wi-Fi to Wireless Devices: Improve overall Wi-Fi efficiency and reduce lag caused by slower Wi-Fi devices.
  • Smart Connect for Fast, Optimized Performance: Intelligently chooses the best radio band for each wireless device to ensure balanced and reliable connections.
  • Robust Security with SPI Firewall and DoS Protection
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