Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pokemon Go - Gym Updates

Pokemon Go has recently released a new update for the Gym System and with the new Raids in place, many players have returned to play the game.

There are a lot more gyms, and you can now spin the gyms for drops. You get a Raid pass every day (you can only have one) and buy premium raid passes for 100 coins to join in the raids.

In the US, Europe, Japan and Singapore, I've seen players gather in masses for rare raid like Tyrranitar and Snorlax.

The raids seemed to require coordination and teamwork. The rare raids have big pokemons which require many trainers to take down. In Boston, players coordinate and have groups on Discord to form local teams to take down raids and take over gyms.

The new gym system favors coordination. As the gyms are still very unstable. A group of 4 - 6 people from a team can take down a gym in minutes, and when they coordinate to put in their pokemons together, all 6 pokemons can go in at once, making it easy to defend.

In Boston, I joined the local team in Allston / Brighton / Brookline and in 2 hours, we can take over all the Gyms locally.

I would say the new gym system is a big improvement, but the way the coins are rewarded is still far from desirable.

You cannot change your teams once you pick it, and being in a team locally with poor coordination, you can NEVER earn any coins. I'm back in Singapore, and when I talk to several adult Team Valor players, they don't seem to understand coordination and attack on their own. Sadly, with the slightly broken system, when these people from the same team attack at their own pace, they may come to a point where they get to put their pokemons in, and when an opposing team is attacking, no one else can put theirs in, and the result is that, the only pokemon in the gym gets taken out really quickly.

The problem of spoofing is still around in Singapore, and many people simply want to fight in the gym and "win" rather than form groups and play the game as it should -- socially.

In Europe, I've met people and went to bars after a raid. In Boston, I've joined Gym raiding groups to take over gyms, and we take breaks and have meals together. The game does have potential, but the bugs are still present. Hope it more of the bugs get fixed in the next few days.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, June 15, 2017

94th Laconia Bike Week review

The 94th Laconia Bike week is here. from 10-18 June, a lot of bikers from New England converge to this historical event.

So what is the charm of this event?

1) Location.

Weirs Beach is beautiful in the summer.

Lake Winnipesaukee is beautiful and Weirs Beach is simply one of the best fresh water beach in New England.

The water is clear and warm, and the sun is bright. The location feels cool with a nice breeze in the summer.

2) Stuff to buy, see and do.

There are a lot of live music, great food and motorcycle swag. T-shirts, leathers, accessories. The whole event area at Weirs beach is very big, and it will take hours to browse through each store.

3) Bikes

Lots of bikes on display. There is the Indian Motorcycle Booth and Harley Booth that offers test rides. The motorcycles that are in the parking lot are also beautiful and unique. There are some vintage bikes -- 1929 Harleys, and some custom bikes.

If you are a bike lover, you will love these bikes.

4) People

Bikers are a special kind of people -- pretty crazy in their own way, however, there is one thing in common with everyone here. Everyone enjoys riding -- Japanese bikes, Italian bikes or domestic bikes.

Although everyone there may be different and have different beliefs, it is easy to strike up a conversation with anyone regarding bikes and riding.

In this environment, there is something magical -- there is no discrimination and no one talks about politics, sexual orientation or genders. You can see a guy wearing a "President Trump" badge having beer at the same table with a guy with a "Bernie or Bust" shirt.

You get to see guys having ice cream and the guys in the line are chatting -- one who gave out bibles and the other person looking like a cross dresser in leathers.

5) The journey.

The journey to Laconia is also a very enjoyable ride. Laconia is located away from busy cities, and there is not much traffic.

Whether you go up alone or with a group of friends, riding on the smooth roads with the wind in your hair (because you don't need to wear a helmet in New Hampshire) is am amazing experience. When you ride long distances, all your worries are gone. It is man vs the road, you get to see long roads, corners and beautiful skies and mountains.

The area is beautiful and the ride is memorable.

There are also other events during the bike week. From stunt riding to museums to rallys. A lot of interesting things to do, nice bikes to see and great food to eat.

This is an event to at least try out once in your lifetime.


1) Drink lots of water. The weather may be nice, but it is easy to dehydrate when you ride long distances. And dehydration when riding is especially bad and may cause accidents.
2) When you have a chance to go to a toilet (at a gas station, hotel, restaurant) -- go... Don't try to find one when you REALLY NEED IT.
3) Be prepared for any weather. This is New England, It can be 90 degrees out there but goes below 50 degrees at night. What may be sunny may turn into a thunderstorm that lasts 5 minutes.
4) Ride on Roller Coaster Road. I would suggest going to Laconia through Route 106 and enter through Roller Coaster Road from the back. You save time on traffic especially on the weekends.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Shorai Lithium Battery - Service Review

I've used Shorai for a few years now, on a BMW K1200LT, Harley Softail, Harley Street Glide, Sportster 48, Suzuki Burghman 650, etc.

Initially, I am a little skeptical. Will something that small power my bike? With such a new brand in the industry, will I get good service?

As you may experience, whenever you change the battery of your bike, one of the reasons is because you may have a faulty electrical system. On my BMW, the bike does not charge the old battery well, and my Shorai could power it for weeks, and eventually run out of juice. It was hard to diagnose as the battery was so powerful that you do not feel anything wrong. And finally, when the fault was found, there were a few shorts in the way and the battery was dead as well.

This was a 3 month old battery in Singapore, and when I got new wire harness, voltage regulator, coil, etc, the battery still could not hold charge, and when checked, there was cell imbalance and the battery was dead.

It created a little stress and unhappiness, but once everything was fixed and I got a new battery (from warranty) I slowly gain confidence.

The exchange was simple. I went to Racewerks -- where I got the battery -- they checked that battery failed, ordered a new one, and I got a new battery, no questions asked.

I could see the improved CCA, ability to hold charge for a longer time (without riding) and light weight and small size, I decided to try out when my batteries are too old.

A few Shorai later, my Harley had electrical problems after installing new Shorai battery, and I decided to change the coil and voltage regulator after the Shorai ran out of juice after a week -- problem solved.

On my Softail, the Shorai lasted 18 months, and somehow could not hold charge. I checked for shorts, wiring but everything looks ok. I brought the battery in again, and there was a battery error, and I had to pay 25% of the battery price to get a new one!

Come Sept 2016, I bought a Shorai for my Shovelhead in Boston. It was a much older Carb bike. Works good until I kept it for the winter and had power problems since.

When I check the battery again on the BMS-01 charger, it had errors - 4 flashes - cell imbalance. I discharged the battery and charged it again and the same thing happened. After spending 1 day, I gave up, contact Shorai USA and sent in some information to request for them to check my battery.

I sent in the request on Saturday 13th May and I received a new Shorai Battery on Tuesday 16th May.

I did not expect the turnaround time to be this quick and efficient and the exchange was rather hassle free.. I send in my old battery (with all the fittings attached) and I hope the warranty conditions was valid as the battery seemed to be only 9 months old, and stopped working.

Of all my other Shorai batteries, this was least expected, but I could see that manufacturing flaws do happen, and Shorai was standing by the quality of its products.

However, the service and experience was very fast and efficient, better than my expectations and I would totally recommend Shorai batteries as they are high quality, and the Shorai Service in Singapore and USA seems to be excellent as well.

Thank you Shorai.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, April 20, 2017

《拆弹专家》SHOCK WAVE - Andy Lau - 2017 Movie Review

Shock Wave is the latest Andy Lau movie in 2017

It is an action movie, glorifying the HK police.

Besides you typical plot where Hero cop betrays the antagonist, Hero cop falls in love, antagonist comes back and kidnaps the girlfriend, the movie is pretty much straightforward.

The action scenes and special effects however are pretty good in the movie and there is much explosions and bodycounts. The stunt driving was very good as well.

The pace of the movie was good, dialogue was pretty ok and premise a little believable. Many things made a little sense in the movie.

Overall, I rather enjoyed the movie and I would recommend watching it.


-- Robin Low

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Gen 2 Pokemon are out. #PokemonGo

It was rather annoying to download the 60MB update outside but Gen2 Pokemons in the Pokemon Go game is out.

With more than 80 new Pokemons out, and some of the original pokemon can be evolved.

Sadly, there are items you need to get for some of these new Pokemons to be evolved.

You need 
Metal Coal for 
Onyx to become Steelix
Scyther to be Scizor

Dragon Scale for Seadra to become Kingdra

KingsRock for 
Slowpoke to be SlowKing
Polywhirl to be Polytoed

Sun Stone for Gloom to be Bellosom

So you can see, not only do you need candies, there are items needed for evolution. 

Happy Hunting!

-- Robin Low

Friday, February 10, 2017

KFC's Chizza is NASTY

How bad can it be?

I've had delicious Pizza Chicken in Taiwan before, and it was innovative and great.

Basically, it is just fried chicken cutlet with ham, cheese and pineapple on top. How can it go wrong?

Well, KFC did it. In Singapore, KFC is Halal, and they use Turkey Ham (of the worst kind),  liquid cheese sauce (not melted cheese) and canned pineapples. Even eating it fresh from the oven, it tastes pretty nasty.

I would expect KFC to know how to fry a chicken cutlet, but the breading is thick with a tiny piece of meat. I could not taste any tomatoes in there and the cheese and turkey bacon is simply foul tasting.

Costing $7.50 with a drink and fries, the price is not too bad, but sadly, this food is inedible. Don't even bother to go try this. Its a big waste of money.

By the way, I do love KFC original recipe, and I'm a big fan of fried chicken, and for me to hate this, you have to fuck it up pretty bad.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ichiran, Brooklyn, NY Review

Ichiran recently opened an outlet in New York. This store is located in Brooklyn, at 374 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (Phone: (718) 381-0491)

The cool thing about this is the hours are from 11am to 2am.

About the location.
This location is not so close from Manhattan. probably will take you about 30 mins from Downtown to get there. Feels like an industrial area with construction work around. Probably not the best place to be at night.

The good thing about this location is that this is not too crowded, so probably less crowded?

There are 2 types of seating available, so don't worry if you want to talk, there are regular tables besides the booth seating.

So hows the Ramen?

Well, I love Tonkotsu Ramen. And Ichiran is one of the best Tonkotsu Ramen you can get. Ichiran in Brooklyn does not disappoint. I ordered the strong flavored, rich soup with firm noodles. Some garlic, Chilli and scallions. I remembered to save some broth for extra noodles. I added a side order of seaweed.

Everything was fantastic. Can't complain. Best ramen I've had in the US by far.

Hakata Issou (博多一双) is still my favorite (located in Fukuoka)

Is it worth the trip from Manhattan to Brooklyn to try this?
-- YES!!!!

On a weekday afternoon, it was not too crowded, seats were available during lunch, and service was ok, and quality was top notch. Taste was authentic like the Ichiran I like.

One thing to note, this restaurant is a no tipping restaurant and I felt that the price is rather high. The price for basic ramen with 2 pieces of pork is $18.95++, and with Ice Matcha, Extra noodles, side of seaweed, it costs $30++.

I probably can have the same thing for under US$15 in Tokyo. But heh, instead of flying to Tokyo, you can taste it here in NYC!


-- Robin