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
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0": At Popular Bookstore
[GADGET DEALS] I blogged about my new iPad Mini 2 purchase some weeks back. In that, I mentioned a strong alternative, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0". Then I happened to see it showed up at Popular Bookstore on promotion at S$468 for the WiFi version.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0": At Popular Bookstore
As mentioned in the previous, My requirements for a tablet are simple; 8-inch display, a minimum pixel density of 300, at least 2GB of ram, a recent mid-range processor, and decent build quality. Mainstream options will probably only include iPad Mini 4 and Tab S2.

I would explain my requirements a little.  8-inch is the perfect because any bigger the arms will be strained from more than 10 minutes. Pixel density is extremely important too because that's what we are staring! Any lower, pixels are apparent. Finally, I use the tablet for media consumption so 2 GB ram and the mid-range processor will do the job.
Compare iPad Mini 4 and Tab S2
So I did a simple comparison table. The one downside of Tab S2 is probably the battery size and probably the design, Tab S2 looks somewhat dated. Besides that everything else matched up. 

At the end of the day, your decision is probably the comparison might not be useful since the Apple camp and Android camp are rather divided. A buyer looking for an iPad Mini can consider the Mini 2 or 4 while the Android can plenty of choices. 

In this case, Samsung Tab S2. And even if dare, some shops in Singapore can go lower than $468 of course at your own risk!

Google Opinion Rewards: On Play store
[NEW STUFF] By chance came across Google Opinion Rewards app in Play store; I have earned quite a few vouchers from online surveys, so I had to give it a try.

What is the Google Opinion Rewards Android app does is it asks you a few questions from time to time and rewards you with Google Play credits when you are done.

The survey questions are short, for example, some questions I can remember "Have you used any of the following Google products in the last months?", "How likely are you to recommend the product to others?".

So the questions are pretty straightforward, probably takes less than a minute per survey. Google Play credit with minimal effort.

With free credits, I am sure you will be happy to purchase the app or game that you have been eyeing but aren't sure if you really want it. Case in point, I installed the App for around 2 months, I have gotten S$5+ already!
Refurbished Apple iPad Mini 2: Delivered!
[GADGET DEALS] My requirements for a tablet are simple; 8-inch display, a minimum pixel density of 300, at least 2GB of ram, a recent mid-range processor, and decent build quality. I wanted to have it to be a living room tablet and the occasional outing. Honestly, the pixel density requirement largely excludes my choices.

Here is my shortlist candidates; Samsung Tab S2 8.0, Nvidia Shield, Xiaomi MiPad 2 or 3, Apple iPad Mini 2 or 4.

Only one in the six are released in 2017! That speaks volumes about how little manufacturers care about tablets these days.

Samsung Tab S2 8.0 is probably an excellent choice because, at $470 (Kaisa Mobile), it comes with LTE. Nvidia Shield has gotten rave reviews but it is only available in export sets without warranty. For about $270 on Qoo10, the value is pretty good and near stock Android experience is a major plus.

Xiaomi Mipad shares the same woes as Nvidia Shield where only exports set are available. Worst, they are come up to around the same price. Without Micro SD card slot and possibly Google Play store, it's not attractive.

Finally, the usual suspects and the manufacturer that sold the most tablets ever in human history, Apple and ultimately my choice, a Refurbished Apple iPad Mini 2 32GB Wifi.

Refurbished Apple iPad Mini 2: Looks absolutely new
In case you didn't know, Apple test and certify all Apple refurbished products and include a 1-year warranty (extended Applecare also optional). All refurbished iPad models also include a brand new battery and outer shell.

For a Refurbished iPad Mini 2 Wifi, the cost savings is S$60 based on the last known retail price but that said the iPad Mini 2 has been discontinued, it is only available as a refurbished set.

That's right I bought a refurbished set from Apple because of cost savings and the device meets my requirement to be a living room Tablet. It is the cheapest tablet in my shortlist and to me, the best build quality too.

Of course being a 2013 device, the iPad Mini 2 gives a slower performance and comes without Touch ID. However, 4 years later, it still has the same display as the iPad Mini 4! Very happy with my purchase!
Mediacorp Online Service: What an adventure
[USER EXPERIENCE] Lately I was called upon to help a friend replace his SingTel router as they just renew the contract and gotten a new router. This should have been a routine job except Toggle app on LG TV is not cooperative.

LG SMART TV's Toggle app doesn't load after the replacement of the router and doesn't show any messages. It's a grey screen and nothing more.

Some closing/opening later it is still as dead as it is. The option of uninstalling the app is as baffling as it can get, because I didn't manage to do it. A factory reset on the TV is the only solution in the end and thankfully it works. Having to perform a factory reset on the TV after a router replacement is such an overkill.

My friend, a big fan of LG TV, have another LG TV with a Toggle that doesn't allow login of the mediacorp account. The error message is "This device cannot be registered.". This has nothing to do with the router replacement since the problem has been there before.

If you get this message, it is might be due to the fact that one mediacorp account limits up to 5 devices to be login at the same time. It took 5 minutes of Google to find out, though I am pretty sure the error message could have mention it.

To fix the limit, one has to login to Toggle.sg on the browser, find the "My Account" link and the list of registered devices are shown there. One will be able to remove the older devices to make space for the new one according to preferences.

One last baffling complication; The TV which was factory reset appeared twice on under the account! I suppose each time a device login, it must be accompanied by a logout.

All-in-all, Toggle app does need more efforts be more robust, especially being the online service of our national TV!
Plantronics BackBest Sense
[USER EXPERIENCE] I am hardly into audio like an audiophile, that said, I have seen the wonders of today's audio equipment gave all consumers better music on-the-go. So I am happy that recently, a kind vendor from work loaned me a on-ear wireless headphone, Plantronics BackBeat Sense.

Head Cushion: Extreme comfort! 
Plantronics Extreme Comfort

Plantronics is best known for monaural headsets of the wireless and business/call center. Not many I asked heard of the brand, though we have been using their headsets in the office for a long time. The audio quality of those were impressive, so I wanted to try their consumer headphone too.

When I put on Plantronics BackBest Sense, I was pleasantly surprised by its comfort. I have a relatively big head; I could not fit in any of the helmets in the driving school and need to buy a size L helmet outside.

It's lightweight and have 10 levels of marks to extend the size of the headband. This mobile friendly on-ear Bluetooth headphone comes with memory foam earpads with the left/right indicators on it. Chic design and importantly I feel no stress from prolong period of usage. I had it on usually on my bus ride home, an hour long journey.

The Sense comes with a contemporary canvas case for storage, a 3.5mm audio cable (for wired connection), a USB cable for charging.

Plantronics logo on top
Features and Connectivity

Plantronics BackBeat Sense comes with some fun features. It has a sensor that would pause your music when you have them off and intelligently resumes playback from the same position when you put it back on. It's an amazingly convenient that I am puzzled why this haven't been more commonly deployed.

It also has a red button on the left that would pause the music and allow you to listen to your surrounding in at amplified level via the dual microphone. It's kinda fun and convenient to talk to someone with the headset on. Also people around you may think you are listening to music when in fact you are listening to their conversation, loud and clear!

As well you can pick up calls on the connected mobile phone, again without removing the headphones.

Other buttons includes a call answer/end button on the outside of the right earpad and a pause/play button along with track back/advance buttons on the outside of the left earpad. Volume is adjustable using a ring control on the left earpad.

On-Ear Cushion with Left/Right indicators
The Sense works on Bluetooth v4.0. It is capable of simultaneously connecting two Bluetooth source devices and switching between them. I have great experience by first switching bluetooth on my mobile phone then subsequently the Sense. Upon connection, the headset will notify via a robot voice that the headset has been connected to "Phone 1" and/or "Phone 2", the names for the Bluetooth source.

The Sense claims extended wireless range up to 100m instead of the standard 33 feet/10m with a common Bluetooth device although I experienced interference from to time to time on the road causing the audio to be intermittent.

Battery life is rated at 18 hours of music playback, for a daily 2 hours of usage, it last much more than a week before the next charge.

Highly recommended!
Sound Quality

Plantronics BackBeat Sense does not come with noise cancellation, a rather popular feature in the market, yet that's how I like it to be because I prefer to be more aware of my surroundings while on the road especially in public transport.

For someone who is in a regular company of audiophile, among them my father, cousin and friends, I like a balance of comfort and sound quality for a headphone that I would use for my daily commute.

The Sense is exactly that. It is a well-balanced headphone with decent bass and rather good clarity. For the time I have it with me, I played LalaLand OST nearly daily. It was a spectacle of audio performance given that it doesn't support noise cancellation.

I like the crisp piano notes, soundstage that reminds me of the movie and clarity of all the musical instruments playing at the same time, my top favourite is Credits track (track number 40). Someone in the Crowd, track 4, by Emma Stone, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno & Jessica Rothe is also incredibly decent experience.

If I have to be picky, I would say that I have to play at near highest volume as the Sense is seemingly rather soft even when compared the original earphones from my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. As well, at a recommended retail price of S$279, the Sense is pricey.

Besides these, I would highly recommend the Plantronics BackBeat Sense to anyone, except audiophiles, looking for a great sounding and comfortable wireless Bluetooth headphone. However, please note that Plantronics is releasing an updated version of the Sense, you might get this at a better price later or you might simply like the updated version better!
The ever popular Bugis Junction: Home of Challenger New Flagship Store (Photo from Capitaland web)
[NEW STORE] From the publicity agency today is Challenger's new flagship store at Bugis Junction! The new store at the basement of the ever popular shopping mall will span a whopping 14,000 square feet. A Olypmic Swimming pool is approxmiately 13,500 square feet, go figure!

For those that are familiar with Bugis Junction will probably remember an existing Challenger store on higher levels. Not sure it will continue to operate though the new Challenger store will be taking space not in basement leading to the MRT station but over at the space where the old Arcade is.

The new flagship store will feature 15 concept zones such as "Fitness Station" showcasing the fitness gadgets; essentially the typical splitting up the store to much organised shopping and try-out experiences.

I will look forward to some very interesting happenings like Samsung showcasing the Galaxy Plus VRcade, allowing shoppers to experience a truly immersive gaming experience with the ergonomically designed Gear VR with Controller. And as well DJI and Parrot, unveils its first-ever experiential counters in Singapore.

With this expansion, Challenger will now have 40 stores island-wide consisting of 1 flagship, 25 superstores and 14 small-format stores. As well to complement the physical stores, Challenger has a online store call Hachi.tech (which i never understand why it is never call "Challenger Online", a straightforward and relatable name!).
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