Wavecom Digital Indoor TV Antenna ANT-T25: Razor thin antenna!
[EXPERIENCE] Mediacorp doesn't seemed to impress many around me these days, so I question my decision making ability a little (I thought Channel News Asia is not too bad) when I wanted a Digital TV Antenna in my room. Here are 2 things about this amazingly decent product!

GETTING IT IN

I got it off the back of first, good pricing and second, decent reviews on Qoo10. I happened to have spare Qoo10 coupon so I bought Wavecom Digital Indoor TV Antenna, ANT-T25 for around S$22 bucks. It is originally listed at S$35 (excluding shipping).

Back of the box: Notice it says the antenna should sticked on the wall
Having previously shop around for the Akira Digital Setup Box HDVB-T2A1 (Link), I am clear that no matter how decent the antenna is, an amplifier always give the connection a real boost. So this Wavecom fits the bill perfectly with an external amplifier.

Contents: With exception of two 3M velcro pads and antenna base
Out of the box, I find relatively solid quality parts especially surprised with the 3M velcro pads to sticking the antenna to the wall or window. While the antenna is really razor thin, as advertised, its a firm piece.

The antenna cable is a decent 3 metres long. The USB cable for amplifier and its coaxial cable running to the TV is both around 1.2m.

PERFORMANCE

The Wavecom ANT-T25 impresses me greatly, especially compared to my existing Akira. Here is my case. I have the Akira set hooked up to the living room Plasma TV and the Wavecom antenna connected to my Sony Bravia LED TV in my study room.

External Amplifier: Key component
While in different rooms, the antenna are placed in same rows of windows. Now, the Akira antenna has to be sticked on the highest area of the window in order to get maximum signal strength and intensity. The wavecom, on the other hand, works just by place the antenna near the window on the table! Though to get the Channel 8, the antenna has to be really need the window.

Antenna hold up by the base
I can also report that the Wavecom set works so well because of the external amplifier, compared to Akira's internal amplifier. When i turn off the external amplifier, the signal is almost instantly lost.

I highly recommend the Wavecom ANT-T25 if you have a DVB-T2 compatible TV else, this antenna should also work well with generic DVB-T2 tuner.
Samsung A5 @ Sunget Sungei Kadut Megastore
[NEW GADGET] Samsung is having a rough time now. Not only they are having problems with the phones , the Samsung Group CEO is getting into trouble with the law. Unfortunately, consumer electronics advances rapidly and it would not wait for Samsung to sort out their problems.

Samsung's 2017 latest A Series, Galaxy A5 and A7, gave the impression that Samsung knew that and they do still have plenty of technology in them. Here are a few things about the Samsung Galaxy A5 2017.

Samsung call this pink, Peach Ocean 
Solid and safe

Samsung's best bet is to stick to test and tried methods and create products with incremental updates and keep the features that has been proven to be crowd favorites.

This is what Samsung A5 is all about. Starting with the minimalism outlook with excellent grip made possible by the rear 3D glass. The available colours are rather muted too. In their fancy names, Black Sky, Gold Sand and Peach Cloud. Besides this outlook, the rest of the phone is probably a carbon copy of it's bigger brother, S7 Edge.

Starting with the IP68 rating, offering reliable protection against liquid and dust and as well allowing a bath for the phone when it's dirty. Yep, that's what I do, I wash my S7 Edge occasionally!

Then there is the Always On Display, a feature that is again only limited to the S7 Edge in 2016 albeit in a 1080p five inch display (7 inch for A7). Another of my favourite feature to be able to look at the time discreetly in a meeting!

The biggest feature from S7 Edge is the Samsung Pay over MST terminals, allowing Samsung Pay to be compatible nearly everywhere.

Powered by a 3,000mAh battery (3,600 mAh for A7) and equipped with the latest USB Type-C port and microSD slot for up to 256GB expansion rounds up an excellent mid-range Android phone.

Speaking of mid-range, up till this point, with the exception of the 1080p display, the rest are really flagship stuff. But Samsung A5 will be a mid-range more because it is running on Exynos 7880 chipset equivalent to a Snapdragon 600 series processor typically found in mid-range to low end phones today.

The front and rear cameras are both 16MP and offers excellent image quality as I tested albeit in a nicely lighted gallery.

Ocean Cloud, probably the prettiest pink smartphone around
Worthy Competitor!

The Samsung A5 2016, from last year, costs exactly the same as its successor here and that means the 2017 version is more competitive in the market. If you would like the top features of a Samsung Flagship but not the price, Samsung Galaxy A5 is an excellent choice.

The best $500ish phone at the moment goes to OnePlus 3T and the A5 is not far behind, only it's mid-range processor holding it back. Though there are just so many great phones out at the moment, even moving down the price range, there are excellent sets like ASUS Zenfone 3 or even Samsung J7 Prime is a very decent option.

A decent price at $548

Samsung S7 on SingTelShop Online
[COMMENTARY] Probably coincidentally, I was asked a few times this week if it is a good deal to get a particular zero dollar phone from the telcos.

The answer to the question usually depends on the phone in question. If you are getting a decent phone, then it is probably a good enough deal since you don't pay a cent apart from the monthly subscription.

Though in this relatively bad economy climate, there is a part 2 to the question.

Calculations with prices as of end January 2017
In the chart above, row 2 to 5 shows Samsung newest phones on sale in SingTel shop online in January 2017. Column B shows its respective prices with a SingTel Combo 3. Column C shows its retail prices in the non-telco shops.
 
Row 8 to 13 is similar to row 2 to 5 except that in column C it shows the approximate prices that you can resell the corresponding iPhone for.

I think the chart is pretty self-explanatory. Essentially you do a bit of homework and understand which phone offers the highest amount of rebate. And if you would like a budget phone, you are more likely to be better off with recontracting an iPhone, sell it and buy phone of your choice from non-telco shops.

In this example, you can also try to recontract a Samsung S7 due to it's higher savings against the retail price. But that retail price is what you can buy the Samsung S7 for and if you try to sell a brand new set outside after recontracting, you certainly get a much lower amount. iPhone has a reputation for better resale prices and take-ins.

I want to point out the retails prices are quoted from the trusty Kaisa Mobile and Mobilehardware Zone. They offer good prices and genuine Singapore sets.

Link - Kaisa Mobile
Link - Mobilehardware.


The box!
[USER EXPERIENCE] Recycling hardware always has that satisfaction that I contributed to green efforts as well as feeling geeky about it. One of hardware that is easily recycled is the disk drive in your unwanted computer whether it is a hard disk or solid state drive.

Mostly likely a 2.5" disk, it could then fit into Orico 2.5 inch SATA USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure, my recent purchase!

Solid plastic
I bought the Orico 2.5 inch SATA USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure (model number 2588US3) from Qoo10, seller ID: Goodmart for about S$10.90.

Simple design
It is a fuss-free disk enclosure that provides good value for its price. The good build quality and tool-free installation and a USB 3.0 connection are fundamentals to a quality buy.

As well Orico is not unheard of in Singapore, it's range of products like USB hub are available in Singapor Apple stores such as Nubox. Of course, for premium prices.

No tool required for installation

It doesn't look terrific on the inside but it's decent especially when the disk is loaded.

Proprietary cable connection to PC

The proprietary cable is probably what's not the best solution given a cable that would be hard to find a replacement.

LED when in use

In terms of performance, I am able to achieve the maximum performance or thereabouts of 30MB/s on my USB 2.0 port. Don't have a USB 3.0 port to try but if you are getting this inexpensive enclosure, optimal performance may not be your top priority!


Entrance of First HDB Mechanised Parking System
[EXPERIENCE] Consumer Technology is not always about new gadgets. For one, check out HDB first Mechanised Parking System (MPS) at Changi Village. The automated parking system would automatically park your car in it's five stories building.

The system is operational since December 2015, but I only discover this gem during the pokemon craze earlier this year where Changi Village is a hotspot. The MPS is a real saver at Changi Village with 121 additional slots where parking lots are quite limited and car queues are often seen especially on the weekends.  

The view from the waiting room where car retrieval is completed
Parking my car

Situated behind HDB block 1 within an uncovered HDB parking area, MPS offers 4 parking bay and motorists will be assigned a bay by the gantry when they arrive.  

That said, when I was there, there is a parking attendant Uncle to guide me through the process. It was quite simply to drive into the bay and apply handbrake. Lock the vehicle and step outside of the bay to enter a 8 digit pin of your choice.

That's it, the door of the bay shuts and my car is transferred away. The process is simple but in the digital age somehow the human, parking attendant Uncle, offers a lot assurance.

The whole procedure took approximately 5 mins excluding the queue to enter to parking bay. Of course parking in the regular open space lot is much faster, if, a big if there are lots.

The car retrieval screen
Retrieving my car

The retrieval process begins in the air-conditioned waiting room where I key in my 8 digit pin and wait patiently for my car plate to flash on the queue  number screen in the room.

My car then magical appears like the picture below. The retrieval procedure took around 10 mins excluding the queue in front of me.

All in all a happy experience and my first time in a automated parking system!


My car appears!


Programming tab order from field 1 to field 2 
[TIP] The first post of 2017 has gotten to be what I work most with in 2016, Visual Advanced Basic. An extremely useful programming for automation in offices. Of which, forms are useful when inputting data into spreadsheets.

Technically, there are two forms controls in Microsoft EXCEL, ActiveX and not. In this post, I am referring to ActiveX. It is also possible to setup the latter but not without VBA codes, hence when it comes to forms controls in the spreadsheet, ActiveX controls offers more control.

So here it is, the codes that move the cursor from field 1 to field 2 in the example above when the user press tab while the cursor is in field 1.    

Private Sub cb1_KeyDown(ByVal KeyCode As MSForms.ReturnInteger, ByVal Shift As Integer)
      If KeyCode = 9 Then cb2.Activate
End Sub
 Where cb1 is the name of field one.
28 Dec 2016 to 2 Jan 2017 @ Marina Square
[EVENT] Following their press release (read here), Newstead is following up the "Gift Your Tech" campaign with it's roadshow from 28 December 2016 to 2 January 2017 (12-2pm), at Marina Square, Main Atrium.

I visited day one of the roadshow and it is worth a visit for many reasons;

You could bring your old gadgets for trade-in (at the Newstead store right beside the roadshow), enjoy promotions deals there (see the brochures I got from the roadshow in clockwise) and as well Marina Square is one of the favourite malls for it's spacious walkways and excellent variety of shop mix including a growing corner for consumer electronics!








Lightroom 5 default Facebook app didn't work?: Get Jeffrey Friedi's instead!
[USER EXPERIENCE] My day's job is to automate as much digital processes as humanly possible. That has become a passion somewhat when it comes to computing. This spurs me to find a solution to my problem with the default Facebook's plugin in Adobe Lightroom 5.

My problem is quite simply the following two errors when publishing the album.

Error 1 when publishing from default LR Facebook plugin
Error 2 following error 1
I tried everything that I could find on the net but none of the solutions worked. The key to the problem probably lies with the way the plugin handle App Settings in Facebook. Somehow, "Posts on my behalf" or similar item is not found in the App Settings for the default Lightroom 5 plugin.

Thus when I try to publish from this plugin, the errors above shows up one after the other. The manual way out of this, as suggested by many whom I ask, is to export Jpeg to a local folder then upload via Facebook interface. As I said earlier, this is just unacceptable in 2016.

Luckily I found, Jeffery Friedi's version of Lightroom Facebook plugin. It works on my first attempt after installation (via plugin-manager)!

It works (now I can see "post on behalf" in its Facebook "App Settings") and even offer more features than the default version like the following.

  1. Import comments from Facebook
  2. Triggers republish with changes in Metadata
  3. Prompt to delete Facebook copy when a local delete take places

Head on to Jeffery's blog if you are having this problem like me!

Link - Jeffrey Friedi's Blog
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