Monday, April 24, 2017

Another Eye (DCS-936L) So That I Can See Better!

[Product Review]

Previouly we had the privilege of reviewing DCS-960L HD 180-degree Infrared Wireless AC Ultra-Wide View Cloud IP Camera from D-Link last Aug and I am glad to report that the IP Camera is still performing great all these while (read our review here). The quality of the streaming via their special app, mydlink Lite (available in App Store and Google Play) is fantastic and definitely fulfilled our family's needs. And if I expected anything more, it would really have to be movie-quality already.

Small box, small size but good performance. LEGO minifigure for size comparison and not included.
This time round, we had our hands on their latest, but cheaper D-Link DCS-936L HD Wi-Fi Camera from D-Link. So how does it measure up to the more expensive model we reviewed earlier? I was sure interested to find out too. Here are the steps in setting the camera up, and it took me 5 mins max -

1) Download the FREE mydlink Lite app onto your mobile device, or mydlink+ (payable but optimized for tablet use);
2) Create a new account for the app, or sign in as per normal if you already had one;
3) Log into mydlink app and add a new device by following the step-by-step instructions;

4) Lastly, enter your desired password for the new camera and you are good to go!

So what difference did I find between this new DCS-936L as compared to our earlier DCS-960L? For one, based on the pricing off Lazada, this new camera is $70 cheaper than DCS-960L. But I must say that the quality of the live-streaming from both cameras were comparable when viewed on my phone but DCS-960L's 180° view was superior to the new DCS-936L's 120° view. Having said that, with their IR LEDs on, both cameras still performed well under dim to complete darkness.

This was taken in almost complete darkness, and I failed to notice my half-naked body on my phone until I saw the photo on my PC!
What do I love about DCS-936L?
  • The camera is small and classy in black. Wall mounting is easy as well but I prefer not to fix it permanently so that I can move it around if required.
  • In my humble opinion, its 120° view would be more than sufficient for most use, and definitely for mine. To give up the 180° view (in the case of DCS-960L) and save some money can be considered. 
  • Having used the mydlink app for quite a long time now, I would say that linking a few sets of DCS-936L for the whole house is a viable choice! One can view and record footages / photos remotely via the easily installed and reliable app too!

What Considerations?
  • The microSD card slot allows footages to be saved directly, but I suggest you consider recording footages remotely through a Standalone Cloud Network Video Recorder as well, since any tech-savvy person (criminal) will be able to remove SD card easily. Unless of course you hide the camera well.
  • With so many camera brands around, D-Link is not exactly the cheapest, and there are definitely IP cameras with more functionalities at perhaps the same price range but I cannot speak for their reliability for sure. DCS-936L is available on Lazada at $119 right now though. *wink*

With the addition of DCS-936L at the other corner of my house, my living room is fully covered now and I can see the kiddos' every move even at work. I will surely be looking at setting up a COMPLETE network camera surveillance recorder with D-Link once I get the keys to our new house as well!

This post is brought to you in collaboration with D-Link Singapore

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tech Saturday (Upsized!)

Technology and productivity is almost like a dirty word for some people who resists change. Humans generally fear the unknown, and perhaps also of jobs being taken over by technology or artificial intelligence. But change is the only constant and just like our generation having a better life due to easier access to education as compared to our parents, the way of life for our future generation will be totally different from us as well. Walkmans and cassette tape players of our times are long gone, replaced by great technological advances that would have seemed far-fetched back then. In fact the smartphone in our possession right now, has such immense computing powers that we can do practically anything with it. 

Whether you like it or not, technology advances is inevitable and it is imperative that we are kept abreast of the development, and ensure that our future generation are really "future-ready". Lifelong learning is the way to go, and my 72 year old father sets a good example with his own Facebook account and keeping constant contact with the entire family within our WhatsApp group chat. Any responsible government will take the effort to ensure that the citizens embraces technology and uses it to their advantage. And one of the ways our government is getting citizens ready is to showcase new technologies and innovations in Tech Saturday, a free tech carnival organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority that is happening on Sat, 29 April at Hall C, Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Level 1. By the way, it's called Tech Saturday (Upsized!) now since it will run till Sun, 30 April and open from 11am - 7pm on both days!

So what can you expect at such a fair? We were keen to find out too, and hence popped over to PIXEL Labs@NLB over the weekend with the kiddos to participate in the “Little Artist VR” class by Presence Pictures. Here the kiddos were introduced to the basic concept of depth perception, re-imagining their world and drawing it in a special template, and finally using their proprietary app to turn their 2D drawings into VR photos with just a few simple clicks. They were then able to view their creation in 360 degrees on the smartphone, but the magical moment was when they put on their VR headset and experience true immersion into the world they just drew!

It was a wonderful experience for Steffi to be stepping into her own magical world!
This VR experience is just one of the many activities that the whole family (including the kiddos) can participate in at the upcoming Tech Saturday (Upsized!), and discover that technology can actually be simple and fun, and not something to be afraid of! There will be activities for everyone during the fair such as -

Interactive Showcase

There will be 14 projects in total, ranging from painting in 3D Space through Virtual Reality using HTC VIVE by Science Center to 3D-printed Superhero costume design by Pathlight School for the hero in you and me! Get to see innovative projects by our very own undergraduates from NUS and NTU Engineering too.

“Nanyang Venture 8 - 3D Printed Solar Eco Car” by NTU Engineering Undergraduates

Check out the First Lego League (FLL) Junior on Sat, 29 Apr and the The National Coding Championship (NCC) organized by Institute for Application of Learning Sciences and Educational Technology (ALSET), NUS on Sun, 30 Apr.


There are a total of 32 free sessions available for the public to book with something for every age group. Even my dad can try drawing in the air with 3D pen or creating a VR world which are sessions from amongst the 6 meant especially for our silver generations. Having said that, do note that reservation is open now, on a first-come-first-served basis. So you better hop over here to register your interest!

And learning never stops!
Tinker Space

There are more than 25 different tinkering stations for you to try your hands on coding, robotics, remote control flying and even life-size 3D printing.

There will definitely be stations that pique your interest!

Do you own and play RC 1/16 IR Tank? Well you can take part in the Remote-Control (RC) Tank Battlefield by signing up here. Otherwise go fly some drones or take part in the inaugural Tech Saturday Super Cup Challenge 2017 and compete with other serious esports gamers!

Try for yourself and see if flying drones is as easy as it looks!
Useful Information

Date: Sat, 29 and Sun, 30 April 2017
Time: 11 am – 7 pm Location: Marina Bay Sands Hall C Level 1
Find out more:

I don't know about you, but having the kiddos try out one session of VR fun, sure got them pretty excited! Looks like a lot of educational fun for everyone young and old, and I will definitely be bringing my brood down for more tinkering at this free event!

This post is brought to you in collaboration with IMDA. So are you ready for the future? 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dengue in Singapore

The Danger Is Real

Often, we underestimate the possible consequences of getting mosquito bites and I am guilty of this myself. I will bring along insect-repellents for my family when we go outdoors with chances of mosquito bite. Because I hated applying any stuff on myself, and I will not attempt to spray any unless I really get a few bites first. So I was really more concerned about the discomfort and itchiness of the bites instead of the very dangers of mosquito-transmitted diseases such as dengue. I should know better now, after getting to know about my sister-in-law’s close brush with death, which still gives her the chills whenever she thinks about her hospital stay.

Dengue is not only a local problem.
The year 2016 had seen an increase of dengue cases by over 16% to 13,115 from 11,298 the previous year and there were 9 deaths based on NEA’s data. Overwhelming majority of those infected recovers from the disease and mortality rate remains low. Amongst those infected, many suffered greatly, experiencing muscle aches and weakness day by day. They all had to fight their own battles, required daily blood tests and can only hold on to the hope that their body recovers and their white blood cells count get back to normal. But the fact remains that dengue KILLS!

Dengue occurs all year round in Singapore, with 4 sero-types strains co-circulating in Singapore. In year 2016, DENV-2 was the predominant strain for the first half of the year but was overtaken by DENV-1 in the last few months. The one good thing about getting dengue once, is that you develop immunity from that particular sero-type BUT having 4 different sero-types here in Singapore meant that you can potentially get dengue up to four times in your life, and developing severe dengue hemorrhagic fever as well. And the worst part is that a re-infection by a different strain places one at a higher risk of developing hemorrhagic fever! The hypothesis on this phenomena is that the antibodies produced after an infection may actually aid another strain of the virus in infecting cells, rather than blocking it. Hence the only possibility for one to get full protection from dengue, would be after one gets infected with all 4 strains. Definitely not something I will want to try!

The Singapore government recognizes this as an economic threat as well, and spends a considerable amount of resources on public education because a pandemic in tiny Singapore can easily happen if we ever let our guards down. I am sorry but it is not the economy I care about personally, but I do know that it is going to affect my own whole family if my loved ones are affected, just like in the case of my sister-in-law.

I had just recovered from a bout of serious flu recently and it took me over 2 weeks to get back to my usual routine. I was basically sleeping in whenever possible and felt lethargic all the time. Thus kudos to my wife for holding the fort during this period. I know for a fact that if any one of us were to fall ill due to dengue, it would simply be too catastrophic!

Keep Homes Free of Mosquito Breeding Sites

The largest proportion of mosquito breeding sites found remained to be in residential premises. But I should know better that a simple oversight could lead to a potential life-threatening situation in my own home. There was once when I only topped up the water bowl for my pet, without realizing that there were already larvae growing out in the bowl. Luckily I managed to kill them before they metamorphosed into flying blood-sucking females! Mosquitoes don’t discriminate and will go for any human. We certainly do not want to contribute to the dengue statistics, so what exactly can we do about it? For starters, how about these steps -

5-Step Mozzie Wipeout
  1. Change water in vases / bowls on alternate days. 
  2. Turn over all water storage containers.  
  3. Remove water from flower pot plates on alternate days. 
  4. HDB: Cover bamboo pole holders when not in use. 
  5. Private: Clear blockages and put Bti insecticides in roof gutters monthly.

Dengue is a potential killer and mosquitos should never be taken lightly. Take precautions with insect-repellents whenever you had to go outdoors, especially within dengue clusters and set a good example for the kiddos by applying insect-repellents faithfully. Report any possible public mosquito-breeding sites to through NEA website and we can all play our part in making Singapore a safer place for everybody.

Do share with us any of your dengue story on this blog or in the Facebook post! #BeAWallAgainstDengue

[Sponsored Post]

Friday, April 14, 2017

Play-Doh Comes To Life!

The kiddos are no strangers to Play-Doh and they all love to play with soft squishy stuff. Especially Steffi, whose obsessive love for slime resulted in a very unfortunate incident due to it. While they are contented with making odd shapes out of the doh and mixing the colors up despite my pointless attempt at separating the colors at the end of the their play. But Play-Doh has now taken it a step further, but incorporating technology into play.

To be honest, this is nothing revolutionary, since technology is already touching every aspect of our lives these days, but I must admit that the downloading the free Play-Doh Touch app from Apple Store or Google Play added a whole dimension to Doh play, even for adults like me! The Play-Doh Touch Shape To Life Studio set ($39.90) comprises of 7 tubs of Doh, 10 digital stampers (moulds), 19 cutters and tools, as well as one studio (base plate), but the magic, is really the app itself.

WIth the kiddos' imagination and creativity (or even the lack of it), all that is needed to turn their creation to life is a simple scan with it in the middle of the studio. It was magical and we were amazed the first time we tried it! The creature appeared in the app, exactly the way imagined and modelled, and in an almost 3D form! And as long as the creation resembled any lifeform with appendages, the creature will also move in a fluid movement, with legs moving or tails swaying! Gameplay was simple and the whole fun was seeing the creature one created, come to life and moving around. One do however need to hold the device quite high to capture the doh and that may prove to be a little difficult for the younger ones.

Steffi got to stand up (after this photo was shot) to be able to capture her creation.
The blob can actually move like a living being!
Hasbro wouldn't like me for saying this, but you don't exactly need to buy the Play-Doh Touch Shape To Life Studio (which you can order here btw). You see, the app does not discriminate between Play-Doh, plasticine or even a blob of bluetack and will still bring any darn thing in any white background to life in the app. Having said that, this would make a perfect gift for IT-savvy kiddos, and encourage some physical play instead of only all screentime. Thank you Hasbro for sending the kiddos your love!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Kidzania Singapore Turns One!

[Media Invite]

Wow it's already been a year since KidZania Singapore opened in Singapore on 12 April 2016. We've been to the place a couple of times since, but there are still new discovers and jobs that the kiddos have yet to try! You can check our previous visits to KidZania Bangkok and KidZania Singapore! So what are the new stuff that happened at the city?

Crowd Control

We all know that learning through play is one of the best methods and this is what Kidzania is advocating. It's been a year but the crowd is still going strong and the flipside would have to be the queue. It is a really tough call, because as parents of kiddos waiting for their turn, I would wish for the ones inside to finish up fast whilst on the other hand when my kiddos are inside, I hope they take their time to play and learn. Hence a delicate balance need to stuck and the city restricts guests to 1,500 at any one time but it doesn't help that some activities are more popular than others. Previously the pilot and cabin crew attracts such long queues. So to address the problem, the kiddos are only allowed one aviation job per visit and are also issued queue cards so that they can try out other activities first before coming back. 

One of the stuff the kiddos can do while in the queue, is to make new friends!
I guess these improvements were based on feedback gathered and I am sure there can be further improvements! In fact I just thought of one. How about having a big electronic board with information on all the jobs, such as time started, number in queue, estimated waiting time etc. So that the parents can make an informed decision with their kiddos on where to go without wasting precious time. Embracing technology and making a difference to the experience too! 

Parents Play!

Then of course there is this feeling of "paying for nothing" for parents accompanying their kiddos into the city because only the kiddos were allowed into the establishments. Thus one is really paying money to get into the city only to look after the kiddos. But do you know that you can also play along with your kiddos at 19 selected establishments now? Such as going shopping with the kiddos at 7-Eleven store, styling the kiddos for their photoshoot at Canon, walk with your kiddos as they deliver packages to outlets or help them clean windows too! So yup, I guess KidZania Singapore heard us loud and clear... so how about giving us some kidZos to spent ya? We would Zank U for that!

Look our for the parents welcome sign at the door of the establishments!

And for adults who are not contented with playing along with the kiddos or be their sidekicks only, do note that there will be another adults-only session on 28 Apr 2017 between 6pm - 10pm. Come dressed in your school uniform (as the time for this event is Back-To-Skool) and stand to win the best-dressed. For that day, one gets to do EVERYTHING that the kiddos get to try on a regular day. Based on the good response from the previous sessions, this adults-only event will now be held on a regular basis! Check out their website for more info and note that there are early bird pricing for now. 

Performing surgery is kinda fun too!
I tried laying wall and floor tiles too with their new partner, Evorich!
KidZania Go!

Okay, so KidZania Singapore is coming to town. To Plaza Singapura from 14 - 23 Apr 2017 (11am - 9pm) daily to be exact. Shoppers will get the chance to participate in some of the role-playing activities, view stage performances and take part in games as well. Of course, Urbano and Vita will also make their appearances too and look out for exclusive ticket promotions on site.

1st Birthday Celebrations

In celebration of KidZania Singapore's first birthday, all kids aged between 4-17 will enjoy 30% off their walk-in tickets from 01 - 30 April 2017. Parents of B.KidZanian citizens also get to purchase up to 5 sets of One adult + One Kid tickets at 30% off per admission and the offer is valid from now until 26 May 2017 (except on Public Holidays). 

Take part in the KidZania quest from 07 - 23 Apr 2017 and get a goodie bag upon completion! 
NETS will also be coming onboard and one will soon be able to use the machine to top up kidZos.
Spent a min of $50 at KidZania Shops and get a limited edition tote bad plus stand to win admission tickets to other KidZania cities too!
Thank you KidZania Singapore for the sweet invite to your 1st Birthday Celebrations and we look forward to many more! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Smurfs Invades Bird Park

[Media Invite]

The little blue creatures have overrun the African Waterfall Aviary in Jurong Bird Park from now till 30 Apr 2017. They are not that shy though, and you can catch all of them out frolicking in the water or amongst the plants!

The Smurfs may be around for the whole month but the special free activities for the kiddos will only be available for the next weekend, 14, 15 and 16 Apr 2017. Check out what the kiddos got to try out during our visit last weekend!

Find the full set of colored eggs to get a lucky spin for prizes. If you find the purple eggs, you get an instant Smurfs prize too!

Get up close and personal with the residents of the aviary while you go on the Great Aviary Egg Hunt with the kiddos and end your aviary visit with the kiddos trying out the free Easter-themed crafts. Kiddo get to do two activities from the four different activities available and the activity card will be issued at the entrance. Do not miss the meet-and-greet in the aviary at 10.45am, 12pm and 1.30pm over the next long weekend only! Check out the website for more information.