Thursday, 7 July 2016

6 Days 5 Nights Hong Kong Free & Easy with kid

I have been to Hong Kong many times and this time we wanted to bring my kid along since it was school holidays.

I think for Hong Kong, 6 days 5 nights are just right and maybe you can do with 5 days and 4 nights. You will probably need two days for Hong Kong Disneyland and one day for Ocean Park. We only planned one day each for Disneyland and Ocean Park.

Day 1

Star Wars display at T3

We took a Sunday morning Singapore Airlines plane to Hong Kong. The flight was full and I was "lucky" to get a seat with a spoilt monitor. So no KrisWorld for me. The attendant did serve me meal earlier than the rest, but I told her that I needed to be compensated. So, near the end of the flight, the lead stewardess gave me a $75 dollars voucher to purchase things from the KrisShop. My wife used the voucher to buy SKII on our flight back. I had encountered this before 10 years and the compensation was only $50 dollars. So, if your monitor was spoilt and not working properly, please ask for compensation politely and you will be given. You had paid for the full ticket and it is only right that they compensate you.

Of course, SQ flight is great and we landed in Hong Kong on time. We took a taxi from the airport to our hotel at Mong Kok. Cordis hotel offers free wifi and complimentary IP phone. You can call home or anyway free of charge. You can bring the phone with you when you go out and search for location using it. We used the phone a number of times to navigate to our locations as well as calling home.

The hotel manager that day was Nicole and she is very polite. The room is big and the view is picturesque. My wife said that she had the million dollar view of the city and Victoria Peak. Nicole had help us to reserve a table at Super Star Chinese Cuisine seafood restaurant at Tsim Sha Tsui. This is a very popular restaurant in Hong Kong that serves very good roasted duck. They had double-boiled soup which was very tasty and you can't get it elsewhere.

They had the LINE characters at Langham place where you could take photos.

Day 2

We decided to go to Victoria Peak on Monday as we think that the crowd will not be huge on a Monday. We had lunch at the Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine restaurant. It is about 10 to 15 minutes walk from Jordan MTR station. We had the IP phone from the Cordis hotel to guide us there. You could use Google Map to navigate to that area. It is just beside a park.

The dim sum and food are ok level. It is a themed restaurant and normally, the food is so-so level. Don't expect much from the quality of the food. It is a place for you to take photos and be merry about it. Another thing which I was disappointed is that the tea cups are very dirty, they had stains in them. I had requested the waitress to bring me new ones. Of yes, the washroom was under repairs and we need to use the toilets in the park.

After the lunch, we set off for Victoria Peak. We took the MTR train from Jordan to Central. At Central MTR station, you can walk to the Peak Tram station via J2 Exit and walk up to ground level. Turn right and walk through Chater Garden, then cross Queen's Road Central, and make your way up Garden Road. You will pass the Bank of China Tower and Citibank Plaza on your left and St John's Cathedral on your right. Watch out for the tram bus at the crossings. The journey up to the Peak Tram station is quite steep and you may want to wear comfortable footwear.

If you need to go to the washroom, there is a sports hall nearby (on the left side), you can use the washroom there. Depending on the timing, the queue to purchase tickets as well as the queue for the tram can be very long. You can expect to queue for at least 20 minutes for the tickets and then another 15 minutes for the Tram. Inside the waiting area for the Tram, it is air-conditioned.

Trickeye museum.

Day 3

Tuesday Ocean Park

Day 4


Day 5


Day 6

Home sweet home

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Growing strawberry from seeds in Singapore

Recently, I have posted on my sgmygardenisgood blog on starting the growth of strawberry in Singapore using seeds. I think planting strawberry in Singapore is a challenge that can be enjoyable and yet satisfying. This is because majority of the people in Singapore will think that this is an impossible task. But I can tell you that it is something that can be done if you know how. Of course, in the course of growing strawberry from seeds, you will learn how to be patience (same as fishing I guess). Another thing is that you may not know what kind of variety of strawberry you are planting. The other way of getting strawberry plant is to buy one. There are occasions where the local nurseries may carry the strawberry plants from Malaysia (I think). You can get the plants from there.

One month ago, World Farm had many strawberry plants on sales. I managed to get two pots.

However, I want to share with you my journey of growing strawberry from seeds and we can learn and share experience together.

Growing strawberry from seeds in Singapore
Growing strawberry from seeds in Singapore

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Kids Haven Children's Bed

We went to the Kids Haven at 31 Woodlands Close, Woodlands Horizon, #07-11, Singapore 737855. You will need to call them to confirm the timing.

We were served by Vivien and I think she is the founder for Kids Haven (correct me if I'm wrong). She is knowledgeable and is very patient with us. We were deciding between the loft or the normal bed. As our daughter's room is quite small and we want to create some playing areas for her in the bedroom. The only way to do it is to have a loft bed and create the play area under the bed. However, the bed will be quite high, about 1.5 m above the ground. My daughter has a habit of tossing around the bed and we are afraid that she may fall. But my daughter likes the loft bed and we ordered one for her and also a Hello Kitty canopy. The Hello Kitty canopy is quite new and Vivien has not figured out how to assemble it yet. But we like it so we proceeded to order it.

We ordered on 21 Dec 2015. The item is Victorian Lovely Hearts Loft Bed with Lovely Cottage Canopy (includes rooftop, wall pockets, metal frame and curtains) plus castle curtains. The total cost is $1200. We were told that the leadtime is about 2 to 3 months. We were hoping that the bed can be delivered before the Chinese New Year on 8 Feb 2016.

One day, my daughter fell from our King-size bed. We were worried that she might fall from the loft bed in future. We went back to Kids Haven to change the bed and Vivien was kind enough to let us change it. We made some amendments to the requirements and removed the castle curtains as we didn't have the loft bed. We added in the three drawers under the bed. In the end, the cost is $1100. We had paid a deposit of $600 and the remaining $500 will be paid by interbank transfer.

We waited patiently and luckily my master-room bed is King-size, there is no problem squeezing 3 of us on the bed. The week before CNY, I received a call from Kids Haven that the bed will arrive in 2 weeks' time and will arrange for delivery once they receive them.

However, the Hello Kitty canopy had missing parts which were not delivered to Kids Haven. They had to air-flown the parts in and would take a couple of days. Two workers came to deliver and assemble the bed. We were quite excited and the assembly took quite some times. The finished product is quite good and my daughter loves it very much.

The Hello Kitty canopy arrived after a week and we had to assemble it by ourselves. Luckily, I'm an engineer and it was quite easy. There were 54 poles instead of the 60 poles as mentioned in the instruction guide. Anyway, the instruction guide was quite complicated but to an engineer, it was rather easy to read and understand. Just need to make sure and identify all the poles with the numberings.

However, the connection between the poles will be quite loose and the structure is quite unstable if there is any stress on any pole. It will be better if you can glue or secure the connections.

Bed & Canopy from Kids Haven
Bed & Canopy from Kids Haven

Monday, 4 April 2016

Growing grapes in Singapore

I have heard of someone in Singapore who grows grapes successfully. It was reported in Yahoo news last year. I was fascinated about this but I think if you were to grow from seeds, it will take very long or in the worst case, the seeds will never germinate.

Last weekend, I was at the World Farm (aka Hua Hng) and I saw about 10 pots of plants with very faint label. Looking closely at the label, I saw it was written "Grapes $6". I was surprised and inspected the plants. I googled on my iPhone and found that the stem was the grapevine cane.

Grapevine at World Farm
Grapevine at World Farm

It was not very common to find grapevine here in the nurseries. After visiting the farm and selected some pots for my Phalaenopsis orchid, I had decided to buy two pots of the grapevine since there are relatively cheap. I selected the two best ones and quickly went home. It was very hot here, almost 35.6 degrees. Strangely that they didn't have the orchid mix for Phalaenopsis. So, I just have to use the sphagnum moss for the orchid.

I asked the worker about the grapevine and he said that it is green grapes. He said that it needs plenty of sunlight and water, also the fertilizer is quite important. He recommended a 5-5-5 organic fertilizer for the grapevine. The fertilizer is $4 per pack.

I was very excited about this grapevine and hopefully the plants can survive at the balcony. I think I need to make a trellis for the grapevine.

Yes, I had made a DIY trellis for my grapevine to climb. It was very simple to make and I had actually made two versions. For the first version, I had used 5 extendable rods from Daiso (3 rods @ $2). I tied them to make a fence-liked structure and attached it to the pot hanger. The second version was much simpler, I bought garden wirings from Daiso @ $2. It is 3mm in diameter and 1m long. I bent and wrapped it around the hanger to create a fence.

Check out my Instagram @tanbk168 for the DIY Trellis.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Total Solar Eclipse messed up the automatic headlights - 9 Mar 2016

The total solar eclipse today has messed up my car's automatic headlights. At about 8.45am, the automatic headlights are still turned on even though the sun rays are shining on my car. I was quite puzzled and I thought there is something wrong with my car's sensors. At about 9am, I heard from the Radio News that there was a total solar eclipse going on and I thought that this had messed up with my car's sensors.

I turned it to normal headlights and back to automatic and the lights still remained switch on. I thought of going to the servicing centre to have it checked. I will check the function again later to see whether it is due to the total solar eclipse or the sensors need to be checked.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Kangaroo Mobile Desktop by InFocus

I have a gigantic desktop PC which I had assembled by myself a few years back. I enjoyed the D.I.Y. portion where you can easily upgrade your hardware as you know what are the possible upgrades when you first purchased them. The one that I had assembled is quite huge and takes a lot of space on the floor. When I have moved house, I have limited space and have forgotten to cut an opening on the desk compartment to allow the wires/cables to go through the study desk and reach the floor area where the desktop PC is placed. There is not enough space on the compartment to allow this hole.

I have googled and searched for information on very small PC or laptop. However, my budget is very small, in the ballpark of SGD200. I know this is very little and I think a monitor will cost this much, not to think of adding a small PC. I have the existing monitor which I can reuse for the small desktop. I googled and most new laptop will be around SGD300 plus. I wanted something very small and portable which I can carry around.

I saw in the internet and Kangaroo Mobile Desktop came up as one of the top searches. It has quite good review and the price is USD99.00. This is definitely within my budget. But the only problem is that it is only sold in the USA. It is available in Microsoft Store and Newegg. I saw that Microsoft Store still have stocks and was thinking of using vPost or comGateway to buy and ship it to me in Singapore. I know that if I were to do this, the cost of the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop will be much higher than my budget. I went to the Newegg Singapore website, this product is out of stock and may not be available anymore. I quickly think of a way and realise that I have a friend in USA who is coming to Singapore in middle of March. I'm not someone who likes to ask anyone to buy thing for me so I was quite reluctant to ask him to buy. But finally, I overcame my awkwardness and emailed him to ask him whether it was convenient to buy for me. He said ok!

I sent him the link and in an hour's time, he bought it and delivery was within 3 working days. He ordered it on the 1 March and the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop was delivered on the 3 March.

Ordered the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop on the 1 March 2016
Ordered the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop on the 1 March 2016

Today, I check the Microsoft Store and the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop is already out of stock. I was thinking whether it is because there will be another version of 4 GB Ram and 64 GB eMMC. But there is no Windows 10 in this latter version and will cost higher. At this moment, I think the Windows 10 with 2 GB Ram and 32 GB eMMC is ok for me. I need the operating system because a new operating system will set me back by a lot.

Out of Stock on 7 March 2016
Out of Stock on 7 March 2016

My friend will bring back the Mobile Desktop from USA to Singapore on 14 March. I hope he remember to bring it back for me! Keeping my fingers crossed! After I receive it, I will do the unboxing and review on the Desktop. Come back again to read my review on the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop. Thanks.

Monday, 1 February 2016

How to turn your iPhone and iPad into a surveillance camera

Have you ever think of buying a surveillance camera for your home or office? You want to see or monitor what is going on at the other place. You went to a mall or internet to look for the best surveillance camera but when you looked at the price-tag, you had to put this aside because the price is too expensive or not within your budget. I got this a lot and had been looking around for the possibility of using my old iDevice to connect to the internet for surveillance camera purpose.

Yes, it is finally here and it is literally free but of course you need to have a spare iDevice around. I have an old iPhone 5 which I didn't manage to sell it off when I bought an iPhone 6. Someone offered to buy my iPhone 5 for $550 but I was looking for $600. In the end, I have forgotten about it and have let it in my closet. When I wanted to sell now, iPhone 6S is already in the market. I think the price that I will get is quite low and not worth it anymore.

So, when I want to buy a surveillance camera for my new home, I think of whether my old iPhone 5 can be used as a surveillance camera. I did some research and found that it is possible now.

The free app that I used is Manything. Go to the Appstore and download the app called "Manything". It is free if you just need to monitor an area with only an iPhone. The basic free plan allows you have live streaming, motion alerts and set detection zones for one camera. If you need more recording options, then you can check out the pricing.

If you have many cameras, you can have the options for multi-camera views or switch between each camera. Also, there is a beta Android app which can be used as a viewer.

I tried out the app using an iPhone 5 as a camera and iPhone 6 as the viewer. I must say that the user interface is smooth and there is a slight lag in the live streaming. But it is quite good and better than I have expected for a free app.

I used the front facing camera and the image quality is quite bad on the viewer. I switched the camera to the rear and the image quality improved significantly because the rear camera itself has higher resolution than the FFC. It is recommended to use the stock or genuine charger to power the device because it is going to consume energy during recording and you wouldn't want the camera to go flat in battery. For non-genuine parts, there will also be a risk of overheating and may cause fire.