[NEW STUFF] I have relyed on Windows Live Writer for a good part of the last 7 years. It was probably one of the most popular blog client around especially for people on Yet despite the popularity, its creator, Microsoft didn't bother to take it further in its product cycle. Instead, earlier this month Windows Live Writer went open-sourced.

 It didn't just happened, apparently, when Microsoft stops developing Live Writer in 2012, there is a group of vonlunteers from the public wrote to Microsoft to ask for Live Writer to be open-sourced. Thank God for them. I have tried several blogging client over the years such as Blogger's web-based, Marsedit and Desk but I still like Windows Live Writer for its full WYGIWYG (what you see is what you get) usage, lightweight and responsiveness.

However I ran into a authentication problem on Windows Live Writer this month. This is because Google upgraded its authentication system to a new one called "OAuth 2.0". And Windows Live Writer as Microsoft put it, will not be upgraded as it is Google's problem. Thereafter, it was reported that if switching on the "Allows Less Secured Apps" option will allow Windows Live Writer to continue to work with Blogger. It didn't work for me though.

Open Live Writer did. To be exact, the original v0.5 version didn't work, one of the nightly version did. I was able to login and start blogging again! Official Website -

[HANDS-ON] I lay my hands on the Astell & Kern (A&K) Junior at the recently concluded International Sound and Sight Exhibition 2015. I am hardly an audiophile but exhibitions like ISS broadens my horizon so much more. I come across so many devices that takes music to the next level with amazing soundstage, clarity and crisp. More often than not, the industrial design are quite on another level as well.

Astell & Kern Junior  is one such candidate.

There is no doubt about the brightest spot on the junior. I could not think of another gadget out there which has a nearly a complete sentence engrave on it. Its loud and unconventional. No one could miss it. Possibly reflecting on a social trend among the juniors shouting for attention. The boxy shape then adds a cool factor to it and topping up it are the premium sliver finish. Everything is so perfect and clean except for the screen which could do with more pixels in it. It’s decent, but for such a premium device it could do with more.

A&K Junior as its name implies, is the entry-level device in the A&K line-up. In the sound department, it is really not as “Junior” as it is. I didn’t get to try with my own tracks but the several tracks that I played, they are just as impressive as any portable device I have tried. Audiophile grade devices require some good listening hours and comparison of various file types to make a good judgment.

So here a professional review for your reading pleasure -

All it is left to say is it’s price tag, a relatively affordable S$699. Expensive? It’s all relative, Astell & Kern 380 is on sale for S$4,999.

DAC: WM8740 (single)
Storage: 64GB internal + up to 64GB expandable memory (micro SD)
Supported formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE(Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF
FLAC, WAV, ALAC, AIFF : 8kHz ~ 192kHz (8/16/24bits per Sample)
/ DSD : DSD64 (1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo (DSD to PCM)
Decoding: 24/192kHz
Bluetooth: V4,0
Weight: 93g

[HANDS-ON] One of the trend in corporate data security; Encrypted USB thumbdrive.

I am no IT security expert but this product page still makes an excellent read. Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 – Link

With the DataTraveler, when you plug it into a computer, you have to run a program that allows you to enter the password for access to the content. As simple as it sounds, the real value is of course the protection of your data. Whatever it is that will justify a rather expensive thumbdrive. Apparently this particular Kingston is not available for sale in Singapore retail stores for some reasons unknown to me.

Google says if I have to buy one from Amazon, a 4GB version may cost you over S$100.


[REVIEW] Following the Marbella VR2 Roadcorder, here is the review of Marbella Geomate 500S. I purchased the Geomate 500s in a bundle deal with Marbella’s VR2 for S$199 at Comex 2015. Since my purchase, I can have consciously looking out for Geomate 500s prices in the malls and on the net. So far, S$199 and a free car camera is still the best deal I can find. Nice!

As at October 2015, Marbella has 6 variations of GPS and Geomate 500s is probably the most likeable one. It has the fastest processor and most RAM in Marbella line-up and matches all other models in the specifications department. The more expensive ones such as UNAV series has integrated car camera function, which of course is better off as a separate device, also the UNAV 7 has a bigger screen. I think 5 inch is a nice size for car GPS, 7 inch is not bad but I think it tend to block up too much space around your dashboard.

How It Works:
If there is one thing to note about car GPS, is that it really connects to the satellite and it will not connect in indoor carparks. You can still get directions from the GPS indoor in its loaded map but it could not detect your current location. Instead it uses your last known position to provide directions.

As I found out, it is great if you would switch on the GPS everytime you are in the road so when you happen to get into a indoor carpark and requires directions, at least it knows your approximate location.

For this, Geomate 500s has a “Navi” mode which you don’t have enter a destination so it works like a live mode where it just shows where you are driving along on the map. “Navi” mode is very useful because sometimes I merely know my way around but don’t remember the road names, so it is useful to show  the road I am travelling on so it improves my knowledge of our local roads. Other times, if I had a rough idea of my route, I would turn on the mode so I can check my location when I get closer to my destination.

Navigating Experience:
“Routing” mode is probably GPS is known for, you could enter your destination and the GPS will show the exact route to the destination. Notes on the function;
    • Reality Junction - Very useful; shows you a picture of the Expressway exit with an arrow to show you to exit or not
    • Lane Assist - Very useful; for example, closer to the Expressway exit, it would display the a number of arrows representing each lane and if in each lane you could exit or continue straight
    • ERP Calculation - Not very useful; somehow, knowing the ERP in advance is not the top agenda unless of course you are running low on cashcard balance. There is also a mode that avoids ERP charges
    • Speed Camera Alert - Not useful at all; it shows a speed camera alert at almost all traffic lights and it does not show up all speed check cameras as well.
    • Refine Search / 100% Postal Code Search – It’s really easy to find a location so far. Except when I was looking for Garden By The Bay, the system had it spelled as “G’den…” or something along that line.
    • Point of Interest – Unless I are in a foreign country,. So far have not use it at all.  
    • Mid-Point – In theory useful but I haven’t had a situation where I need it. 
    • Maps of 70 countries – Unlikely that I will need this function anytime in the future.
    • Quarterly Updates of Map – Really important to have for the longevity of the device. I have not update the maps out of the box and for the last 3 months that I had the device, so it didn’t manage to really guide me around two locations, Stadium Drive and Punggol Marina Country Club.
I was looking for a device that’s cheap and tells a newbie driver like me how to get from point A to point B and perhaps show where I am travelling on from time to time. I could have used my Android phone but GPS mode takes lots of battery juice.
While its my choice of a car GPS, there are much to be improved. The 5” TFT screen coupled with a single core 800mHz and 256MB ram are underwhelming considering today’s technology. Worst, 500s is running on a Windows CE from early 2000s. But the same can be said for the car GPS market.
In the end, Marbella Geomate 500s does its job well and has proven to be a useful device to have on occasions to look for locations and nearby carparks.

Features: Multimedia Player, Ebook (Reading *.txt file from GPS), FM Transmitter, Calendar, Unit converter, Calculator, Games, Picture Viewer

Bundled Accessories: Stylus, USB Cable, Car Charger, Windows Suction and AV-in Cable.

FREE Lifetime Map Updates* Yes
MFM (Quarterly Updates)
SLA (Update every 3 months)
FREE Bundled Maps Yes

Processor SiRF Altas VI 800mHz
RAM 256MB dual core RAM
Display 5.0" 480 x 272 pixels, WQVGA color TFT with white backlight
Storage Built-in: 4GB NAND flash and
External: Micro SD Card (Up to 16GB)
Connectivity Bluetooth, AV (Audio Video) input
Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion
USB 2.0, Mini USB
Dimensions 132 (L) x 9.99 (W) x 90 (H) mm, 155g
Working Humidity 10% ~ 80%

REVIEW] I got Marbella VR2 via a bundle deal with Marbella’s Geomate 500S for S$199 at Comex 2015. It has since been in my car for 1 month now and here is what I think about this device which I hope I never have to rely on it to produce evidence of any sort. For obvious reasons!

These days specifications may not be a direct translation to user experience or actual device performance. But how does VR2 1.3 Megapixels 720p recording perform? Here are some recordings from my Marbella VR2!

Link - VR2 Footage

My verdict is Marbella VR2 barely made the minimum requirements in terms of clarity. Even in daylight, only the car (in front) within a car length is visible. It gets worse in the night time, luckily not very much.

VR2 will do what is suppose to do, though by today’s standards, I would have like higher clarity.

Having said that, VR2 like other car cameras, also possess the function to take photographs instead of video. I can’t think of any use case where photos are preferred over videos since the whole purpose of having a car camera is to capture the proceedings of any incidents rather than a series of stills.

Though in most cases, the stills probably has more Mega pixels than video. As in the case of VR2, it take 5 Mega pixels photos and 1.3 Mega pixels video. Switching between the video mode and photo mode is really easy, short press on the physical button ‘M’ does the job. Also interesting it VR2’s audio recording which is surprisingly quite clear.

Getting Started:
Installation of car camera certainly is the hassle that many sidestep with installation at workshop. I installed it myself with the help of my always-mighty Dad. Here are my obvseration;
First, the bundled USB charging cable is too short. It is approximately 1.5m so if one were to lay the cable from the car ceiling to the car cigarette lighter port where the USB charger is, the cable will not be long enough.

Second, VR2 is a car camera without built-in display. To access its settings menu, I have to hook it up to an external display like Marbella’s GPS or TV. It is mandatory to access the settings menu at least once to set the date and time and also other adjustments such as G-sensor sensitivity. You also note that if you happen to remove VR2 from its charger, the settings (including the date and time) will be reset.

It’s a hassle, but I like car camera without built-in display because the design is better and stylish. Due to the size limitation, car camera can at most feature a 1.5” to 2.5” LCD. Which is not a lot.  

VR2 looks more expensive than it looks. Despite the cheap plastic feel, it does ooze the impression of a spy camera with its cylinder shape. I have seen quite a lot of cheap car cameras and my bet is that you find this one quite good looking.

There are 5 dedicated button on the panel which allow you to perform functions such as activation of recording, deactivation of voice recording and file protection button when incurred an accident.

My only complaint is how Marbella expects you to take out the Micro SD card. The card when ejected is still very much out of reach from my fat fingers. This is not completely illogical. The SD card slot is further in because in this strategic position is also a suction slot where the suction kit hooked the camera up.

Unless you have long fingernails, good luck!

Since I got my VR2 via a bundle deal with another Marbella’s product, I have no idea what is VR2 retail price. Marbella is not directly selling this model anymore as far as I can search on the net. Meanwhile, Marbella claims VR2 is worth S$129 when I bought it in Sep 2015.

That might be a little of hard selling since it appears that most of the car cameras on Lazada with the same or higher specifications goes for just about half of S$129. However, taking into account that this is a bundle deal with a car GPS, it sounds like a good deal.

Price aside, VR2 is primitive when comparing the higher end car cameras. I would very much like a bigger sensor, higher clarity (both day and night recording), Wifi connection, parking mode (only available if you connect the camera to the car battery), and the list goes on. Yet I know should not be having such a comparison with the kind of price I am paying.

Ultimately, VR2’s recording clarity is OK but if you are buying a brand new car camera, look elsewhere.

You can visit VR2 Official Product Page for more information.

Bundled Accessories: Windows Suction, USB Cable Splitter, USB Car Charger, AV-out Cable and 3M Sticky Pad.

Dedicated button for File protection
Lens 1/4” sensor, 5 Mega pixels CMOS Lens with 1.3M Mega Pixel Recording Lens
120 degree wide angle
Built-In Infrared lens
G-sensor 3 Axis, 4G
Recording Resolution 1280 x 720(30fps), 848 x 480(30fps)
Recording Format AVI (H.264)
Recording Media External: Micro SDHC or Micro SD Card (Upto 32GB)
Motion Detection Automatically record any motion and then turn off after a certain period of inactivity
File Protection During an vehicle accident or collision, files are automatically saved. These files are automatically locked to ensure such critical file will not be overwritten even the your memory card is full.
Audio Mic and Speaker (Mono) Built-In
Shutter Speed 1/2 - 1/1000 second
Display No display
Battery 3.7V 500mAh Lithium-ion Battery
USB 2.0, Mini USB
Dimensions 70 (L) x 40 {W) x 33 (H) mm
Working Humidity 10% ~ 80%

Edited 22 August 2016: OnePlus has announced its closure of their Beijing and Shanghai stores effective 22 August 2016. Link - GizmoChina

[STORE VISIT] I was in Shanghai earlier this month for Business trip and one of the first things to do is to visit the OnePlus store at Xi Zang Nan Road!

Being a proud owner of an OnePlus One, I was excited to see the OnePlus Two in action. This is despite fairly average early reviews of the OnePlus Two. But first more about the store, photos I took in the store are in the album below.

Stepping into the store, the first thought in my mind was that the store is selling pretty much nothing and then the second thought was why are they setting up a store to sell pretty nothing. Ha.

Of course there are products for sale in the store; namely the OnePlus One and OnePlus accessories such as PowerBank, earphones and phone covers for OnePlus One. Yet though, the one product that anyone is really going to buy is the OnePlus Two but it is not for sale off the racks.

But it was fun to be there in a product store that will not appear in Singapore anytime soon. The simple-but-lacks-character decoration resembles a niche brand that is still trying to make its mark.

I spent the next 5 minutes hands on on the OnePlus Two (more one the Two in the next post!) and then I realised there isn't that much people in the store on a Saturday afternoon. When this is one of the best "Made-in-China" phones at the moment and I expect the Chinese will be more enthusiastic about the device.

Which probably sums up the OnePlus situation at the moment. I have asked more than a dozen of my Chinese colleagues if they knew OnePlus. Only 1 did, and he is a gadget enthusiast.

One Plus Two is a flagship phone competitor with a very affordable price. But not everyone can get it with it's invitation system and not everyone have heard about it given it's secretive presence. OnePlus is perhaps not going to change that perspective just yet.

[GADGET UPDATE] With the latest firmware 1.3.94 in Xiaomi Mibox 3rd Gen, it appears that Kodi Helix 14.2 doesn’t seemed to work very well on it.

With this setup, Kodi seems to crash most of the time.

The easy way out was to go for the latest version of Kodi, Isengard 15.1, which works surprisely well.

[NEW GADGET] Dad bought a new cover for his 1+ year old Redmi first generation at Century Mall for SGD 15. A flap cover with excellent build quality. The rubber padding around the edges added width to the phone but provides great protection.

The problem is Xiaomi Redmi does not come with smart cover function by default. Therefore the phone won’t wake up or go to sleep by opening or closing the flap.

The solution is in the PlayStore where I found an app called “Smart Cover” and alas it worked near perfection.

As you can see in the video, the cover has a window that allow user to check the clock on the phone but the app worked in a way when the flap is closed, you can’t wake the phone up even via the power button!

[Hands-On] What if you run into this error, "该应用存在安全风险,请使用其他方式安装!", when performing a remote installation into Xiaomi Mibox?The workaround is to move the apk to a thumbdrive and perform the installation from the thumbdrive!

Weird but works!

Untitled 2

[HANDS-ON] Lately my MacBook Pro got incredibly slow and a reformat had done world of goodness for the poor MacBook Pro. The downside is to have to re-deploy the computer. For one thing, I had to setup my mail accounts again. of course it was easy peasy  up until the Yahoo! account seemed not to be configured correctly automatically when you choose Yahoo! on Mac’s mail setup wizard (as seen in the screenshot below).

The problem was in the “User Name” column and “Email Address” column, the abbreviation of “” is not included automatically although I had included them when setting up the mail wizard.

So if you are using instead of, watch out!


[NEW GADGET] Samsung S6 Edge teamed up with the most popular marvel character to become possibly the most brilliant Marvel merchandise ever. It is so good that it looks like one of Tony Starks’ super high-tech toy in the movies.

At the back of the phone with a gold drawing of the Iron Man helmet and also in the package is a limited edition wireless charging dock resembling the Arc Reactor designed by Tony Stark in the Marvel movie series.

The black market will benefit from a limited supply of stocks with Samsung releasing only 1,000 units available in Korea on May 27th 2015, and in China and Hong Kong by June.

Link -

[FEATURE] Just got a freshly in Xiaomi Box 3rd Generation Enhanced version. Time for low-high, inside-out on this one of the prettiest Android TV box around (pretty on the inside and outside). First draft as of 14 May 2015.

Buying Xiaomi Box:
Xiaomi Box is officially sold by Xiaomi in China. Globally there is not a second country that Xiaomi is selling the box. This is primarily because the Xiaomi box content (the movies and dramas etc) are only for distribution in China. Xiaomi box is on sale in China for RMB 299 or SGD 60.

You can buying Xiaomi Box in Singapore from the likes of Hardwarezone Forums, Carousell, Sim Lim Square. Of course you can also get it from other sources except for the Singapore Xiaomi website because as mentioned, Xiaomi does not sell Xiaomi officially in Singapore.

Hence all sellers of Xiaomi Box are resellers, they would all earn a margin, and as of 14 May 2015, the best price I have seen is approximately S$100 to S$120. So the math is S$120 – S$60 = $60! Resellers earn S$60 on each unit? No quite.

Resellers also have to pay for shipping from China to Singapore and it’s not a lot, approximately S$7 depending on how much they are bringing in. Finally, usually a Xiaomi Box going for more than S$100 will include other apps pre-installed for you so you get a Xiaomi Box that will work very well for you out of the box.

A Xiaomi box from China will not work out of the box in Singapore. By default, a Xiaomi Box comes with Xiaomi preconfigure channels to watch the national TV and all province channels in China. Those will not work out of the box in Singapore and you find the menu are all in Chinese.

Hence, resellers would provide the additional service to install APKs (ie. Apps you see on your phone except that there are apps made specially for TV boxes) that would allow you to watch nearly all the streaming available out there, sports, TVB, movies etc. Usually they would say something like they install thousands of channels for you but the channels are scattered across many APKs If there are particular channels you want to watch, ask them for it!

Version of Xiaomi Box:
This page sums it up so well:
But the page is in Chinese, in short, you need to know there are 3.5 generations of Xiaomi boxes; Generation 1, 2, 3 and a Generation 3 enhanced. There is also a Xiaomi Small Box, without going into details, you should know its really small but has slower processor, no 4K output and USB port.

Generation 3 Enhanced is the current version on sale in China. Funny thing the Enhanced version has 1GB RAM less and is RMB 100 cheaper than the original Generation 3 and almost everything else is the same. Having just 1GB RAM is not a disadvantage though, Xiaomi says its this 1GB is a dual channel RAM thus can perform as well as have the ordinary 2 GB RAM.

Change UI to English:
Change of UI to English does not translate to having everything in the box in English. It just meant that the basic menu have been changed to English. Chinese apps will remain Chinese.

  1. Download Shafa market -
  2. Download XH Home from the market
  3. Go to settings
  4. Find “Language and Input” on the list
  5. Choose “English”

[FEATURE] Technology advancement meant consumers today are increasingly sophisticated. Aren't we? Network-Attached Storage, switches, audio network system...

I certainly have 3 fold the devices on my home network than a few years ago. And with my latest addition to the network, the now obsolete Cisco SLM2008, I draw up a network topology map in order to track track of satisfying and increasingly complicated home network.

Simply put, Network topology is the map of the various elements of a computer network.

One of the must have for drawing a network topology is the icons representing the various devices. Cisco icons are globally recognised and generally accepted as standard for network icon topologies.

I mean since I am drawing one already, might as well add some spice to it!

Link -

[FEATURE] Technology sites that I enjoyed largely stayed the same over the years. Once in a while I come across a thoroughly enjoyable one. MKBHD is one such that I come across and it's content have been terrific.

MKBHD is a  technology-based YouTube channel started by Marques Browniee with over 2.3million subscribers and one of the most subscribed tech channel on Youtube as of 2015. MKBHD covers gadget reviews, technology introductions and also any other tech stuff that Mr Marques cares to cover. That's incredible achievement considering this guy did it all by himself and when he is in this late teens.

One of his famous videos is a review and scratch test of a rumored 4.7" iPhone 6 glass display, uploaded on 7 July 2014. That video is featured on sites such as The Verge, CNET and Time Magazine.

What makes the channel so successful could have been its high-definition recordings and his ability to explain technology and reviews in simple and clear words. Check them out!

Link -

[FEATURE] So recently I got my brand new OnePlus One 64GB Cyanogen version and I explored the phone quite abit, i mean it has been a long time since I had an Android phone. And Android Device Manager is one of the feature that I come across.

Android Device Manager (ADM) is Google's official tool to track your Android device. Released in 2013, ADM is compatible with Android devices running version 2.2 and above. Due to the fragmentation nature of Android, there is a small possibility that not every device above 2.2 would have ADM included or working 100%.

ADM would require the device to be connected to your Google account, turned on and connected to the Internet. With these conditions, you can track the location of your phone (like the screenshot above), ring your phone and ultimately wipe all data off your phone.

I also trying it out of my Nexus 7 2013 16GB, ADM works perfectly and tells me approximately where my tablet is. And the options to ring, lock or erase my tablet were available.

Well, ADM is not quite what Apple's version can do. Give Google sometime, it will only get better.

Link -
Wow, just wow. We know a piece of world changing gadget when we see one. And Apple has just release yet another MacBook that will change the laptop landscape forever and ever. There’s so much new stuff about the MacBook.

New Colours: Space Grey and Gold
Gold MacBook. What a beauty. Space Grey. So handsome.

Lightest and Most Compact Mac ever
13.1mm, 920g and 12-inch retina display. 2304 x 1440 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio.
And a full-size keyboard.

Force Touch Trackpad
The brand new developed trackpad with force sensors detecting how much pressure you applied. Which translates into the possibility to perform a variety of actions in different apps. This is not the only new tech with the trackpad. Apple also introduces the Taptic Engine which improves trackpad’s responsiveness around the trackpad edges as well as providing some sort of a haptic feedback when using the trackpad.

Fanless Architecture
The new MacBook is the first Mac notebook without a fan. Apple did that with some trade-off on the processor, Intel Core M chip drawing 5 watts of power which is generates less heat.

All-Day Battery Life
Up to 10 hours battery life. Who needs a tablet?

Apple ditches all ports that all laptops use today and in place all those ports were… just… a… USB-C. It will act as power charger, USB, displayport and well just about anything that a laptop can be plugged into.

In the end, this is a MacBook that is so different from all other laptops in the market and it’s not just because it is pretty. This new MacBook is a beautiful chick that has more than just the looks. Perfection is hard to achieve, but this MacBook is so close.
Well the talk point has largely centred around having just a single port thus creating inconvenience in some situations. Yet, it is 2015 and you can do just about everything wirelessly. So what if its just a single port?

Link to Apple Singapore MacBook micro site -

[For Sale] With a new iPhone 6 in place, my sister decided to put her iPhone 5 Space Grey 16GB up for sale.

Still a very relevant phone 2 years since its launch. Its resolution and pixel density are still better than mid-ranGE Android phones thesedays.

So here it is, with box and charger only. I mean I can't imagining who will want used earpiece. She also lost her cable. Oh well.

It is in very good condition except some paint peel along the edges. If you are interested, contact me via my Carousell account.

iPhone 5 Space Grey 16GB for $350 on #carousell

[NEWS] So Mi Pad made its way to Singapore only after almost a year of sales in China, and all it took was 3 mins to sell out. I first featured this Android tablet  Link in May 2014!

At S$299, it's the best tablet you can buy with the likes of iPad Mini, Air and Samsung Tab Pro all going for a higher price.

However only the 16GB white version is available on shore Singapore. Plus it is out of stock at the moment. To get it, you have to join in the next batch of release by Xiaomi Singapore. Which really is holding back sales numbers. Xiaomi always maintained it is due to their limited manufacturing capacity but speculation says its marketing tactics.

And really, with just 16GB model they are losing out on even more sales given 16GB isn't much by any stretch of imagination. Ouch!

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