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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Observations

In an apparel store, if you stand in front a mirror and facing away from it, you will realise a lot of people will start to stand in front of you and look at you after a while.

(They are not looking at you. They're just trying to see themselves in the mirror behind you)

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Most Expensive Bubble Tea Yet

Christina and I went to Bugis Junction today after lunch and we decided to have bubble tea. Christina had a hot honey red-tea, which cost $2.4. 

I decided to be adventurous and ordered, Hand-made Taro Milk tea.  It was only after I placed my order, that I realised that it cost $5.20 for the small sized drink. The large one cost $6.30. 

This is the most expensive bubble tea I have had to date. 


At a sweetness level of 20%, I could not really taste the milk, or the tea. There are taro bits for you to chew on as you drink, but I could not smell the fragrance of the taro, milk or tea. I just felt I was drinking bland generic syrup.

So if you are tempted to try it, and $5.20 is too steep a price for you, think twice before you make your order! 

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Silence Sleeper / Snore Stopper Review

The "Silence Sleeper" is a gadget on offer at Groupon.com. Groupon calls it "Snore Stopper" bracelet, while the image shown says "Silence Sleeper".
It promises to help with snoring problems, stop the snoring person from snoring. It says the original price was SG$97, and now on sale at SG$28. There was no other description or tech specs. My wife bought it hoping it would improve my sleep and loud snoring.


So after collecting this we opened it and realise it was a China developed technology (Guangdong, China, actually). You can actually tell it is not from an English country from the grammatically incorrect product name.
The silver round outlet between the 2 rectangular paddings applies an electric pulse to the wearer's skin, thereby stopping the snoring momentarily
The product is a cheap plastic wrist device that detects snore sounds by filtering out ambient noises. After 3 snores, it sends out an electric pulse to your wrist (the user can adjust the intensity).


The instruction booklet has horrendous English translations. Being bi-lingual in Chinese and English, I had to read between the 2 translations to finally get a big picture of what the product was about, and roughly how to use it.


Basically it is applying electricity to your skin enough to irritate you to shift your body in your sleep, changing your position in bed, thus 'eliminating' the snoring. It does "stop the snorer from snoring", but in effect it is also breaking up the wearer's sleep, degrading the sleep quality of the snorer. 


Imagine after the first jolt the sleeper turns in bed, goes back to sleep and begins to snore after 30 seconds. As expected, the jolt would come again and disturb the person's sleep again. This would continue the whole night, preventing the wearer from entering a deep sleep.


After using it for one night, I stopped using it altogether. I don't think the product is even worth $30. Imagine paying $90 for it and then realising how cheap and badly constructed it is.


This is definitely not an elegant solution to snoring. We bought it thinking it may work on some principles of magnetism affecting the body or blood circulation or some such. But we were all wrong.


In a warped sort of way, some people may actually like the product because it 'transfers' the sleeplessness from the snorer's partner to the snorer himself. However, I feel that the consumer should be well informed of how the product operates and decides for himself before buying. The lack of information on the product definitely does not help.


Product quality is very cheap, and the design is bad. Battery compartment needs a tiny screw to keep it closed. Why did they not implement a simple catch system?  There is no on/off switch, so you have to remove the battery after every night's use, else the product will stay on and continue to monitor the surrounding sounds for snoring, and thus battery will continue to be drained.


So imagine every morning after the user wakes up, he has to use a tiny screw driver to remove the screw that keeps the battery compartment shut, remove the battery, before going on with his daily activities. This is simply not good design.


Also, the product is too big and clumsy. With the kind of price range it is selling at, I feel it can be much more attractive in design with more functionality. For example, it could do with a simple LCD or LED display that tells the time (since it's shaped like a watch). It could also use this timing information to activate/deactivate the snore-stopping routine, thus doing away with the laughably primitive need to remove the battery after every use. With the display, it could also come with some statistics, like a counter that keeps track of the number of times a pulse is discharged, and thus how many rounds of snoring it's stopped. Maybe thus it would be useful as a feedback mechanism to the snorer to indicate if the snoring has decreased over time.


After searching for the product on internet, I could find only two places with infomation for this product. One is Groupon.com mentioned above. The other one is Alibaba.com


On Alibaba.com, it's described as "European popular wrist style". Alibaba.com does not list prices on its product pages until you sign up with them and send an email with the quantity required before they will give you a quote. I understand the concept of variable discount based on quantity purchased, however I would also like to know the unit cost before any discount, before I can decide whether to buy. To me all this is quite dodgy.


Check out the glaring typo error. Snoer Stopper. And yes it even comes with the tiny screw driver for you to remove the tiny screw that holds the battery compartment close.


Thus concludes my review on the product. I hope it has helped you with your decision to purchase. In the end, you have to decide if it is suitable for you or not. If there are no discounts attached to this, I strongly advise against paying SG$97 for it. To me it is probably worth about $15 (and I am sure this is still way above the production cost).

Saturday, July 07, 2012

New Tap and Water Filter

We got our plumber to install our new tap and water filter today. 

This new water filter could not be attached to the old tap, so we had to change to a new one with a correct-sized outlet. Old tap was a goose-neck type, so it'll definitely be weighed down by the filter over time. 

New tap costs S$60. Water filter (Mitsubishi) costs S$160. Installation costs S$50.

We have had this water problem since we moved in. The water coming out from our kitchen sink has been littered with flakes like flattened fruits pulp or (gulp) human skin. It is unclear as to whether the HDB pipes were unclean or our interior installation did not do a thorough flushing out of the pipes before sealing them and handing the house over to us, but we worked around this by letting the tap run at high speeds for a while, then slowly filling up our pot with the water flowing at low speeds. This would reduce most of the flakes. We would then boil all the water we were going to drink.

Even though most of the visible flakes can be reduced, but it points to very possible impurity in our water supply. Finally after 2 years staying here, we decided to install a high-performance water filter. This would enable us to drink the water direct from the tap. 

One less thing off our chests!
New tap comes in a box! Inside is a fleece draw string pouch to house the new tap!

New tap and filter installed
The water filter. Mitsubishi Cleansui MD101E-S
New and shiny water filter!
View from the bottom. Outlet on the right is unfiltered. Can switch between straight and multi-nozzled shower kind of water. Left outlet will dispense with the appropriate switch settings.
The old tap removed. Don't know what to do with this ;)


Here's the link to Cleansui's official product page.