Monday, July 26, 2010

iPad in Singapore

The iPad is now available in Singapore.

I had one a month ago, and without iTunes support, it was just a fashion accessory to show off to your friends, similar to a Vertu Phone, however, will there be any difference with the official iPad launch in Singapore?

All iPad models will be available from July 23 in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore for a suggested retail pricesuggested retail price of S$728 for the 16GB model, S$878 for the 32GB model, S$1028 for the 64GB model, S$928 for the 16GB Wi-FiWi-Fi + 3G model, S$1078 for the 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G model and S$1228 for the 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G model. iPad will be sold through select Apple Authorised Resellers iPad will roll out to many more countries later this year and Apple will announce availability and local pricing for these additional countries at a later date.
(No thanks to the Apple Store online in Singapore)

The iPad is not too expensive compared to the US price, but here are a few points to note:

1) iPad's touch features is fantastic, response much better than the other touch screens on tablets.

2) Simple OS, very easy to use.

3) Multi-touch surface for interacting

4) Wifi and 3G support, convenient to use anywhere.

1) You can’t buy Kindle eBooks from Amazon (legally) as Singapore is one of the few countries that is not supported.

2) Many books are not available on iBook in Singapore.

3) Weight... The damn thing is heavy, double that of kindle perhaps?

4) Restricted Application -- Subjected to Apple's approval

5) No USB port -- REALLY annoying at times.

6) No Flash support, really annoying on many sites.

7) Back lit display, sort of like a notebook, which may cause strain to your eyes.

8) 10 hour battery life... Short for an ebook reader.


In short, if you want to use it to read ebook and browse the web, get a Nook or a Kindle. They cost much less, and can last up to 10 days without Wifi on.

If you want more, and show off your new toy, get the iPad. It is definitely novel now as not a lot of people own it, and you can be and early adopter... Which means you will inherit all the problems and bugs not resolved by Apple.

-- Robin Low

Sunday, July 18, 2010

EMS Delivery to Singapore

I've had many articles and parcels delivered from myself to myself in Singapore, and Everytime I tried to deliver fast, it ended up as a waste of time and money.

EMS Delivery to Singapore
A waste of time and money

I've shipped many things before, old clothes, sample products, goods. And when time is of the essence, I tried using the post office. In the past, I have used EMS postage several times, and it never turned out to be "on-time".

In terms of EMS post, the cost is almost as much as DHL, FEDEX and UPS, however, as I can usually find the post office, I have tried using the EMS shipping for my urgent deliveries.

I've shipped samples and goods, and everytime I do it through EMS, I get delays at Singapore customs, and of course, taxed.

When I ship samples using regular airmail, I do not get taxed.

Next, EMS seemed to like to deliver at 6pm or later. I don't understand why, as that is usually my dinner time or I'm not home yet. In Singapore, they do not drop off your package at your nearest post office. Instead, they return it to Singapore Post HQ, unlike regular airmail. Getting them to deliver again will take 2 days.

Recently, I have sandals straps delivered over to Singapore by EMS. They arrived on 14 July, 2010 at 6pm. I was not home and was not aware that they arrived, and delivery was attempted. The straps were in a very small package and I assumed it would be in my letter box.

However, when I checked with the post office again, they informed me that EMS from Singapore Post do not drop items in letter box and do not leave articles at the nearest post office. I did not have any slips to claim my article as I did not receive any.

I used the tracking number and managed to get the straps redelivered ... in 2 days.

Way to go EMS.

So if you have any urgent delivery, DO NOT USE EMS if you are shipping it to Singapore. Use the big names freight forwarders. If you can wait a little, use the Air Mail.

Why pay extra, and have a lot more hassle?

-- Robin Low

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Night Festival 2010 Review (Singapore)

The Night Festival 2010 held in Singapore on the 16th and 17th of July is going on right now, and there seemed to be a series of interesting events happening.

Venue: National Museum of Singapore

Paraboles 2.0

Paraboles 2.0 is a very interesting show with 6 giant satellite dishes right in front of the National Museum. The sounds and experience is pretty surreal and interesting.

There are many other interesting Exhibits at the National Museum of Singapore and the guided audio tour on the second floor is definite worth the wait.

Venue: Singapore Art Museum

At the Singapore Art Museum, there are many interesting displays. Many interactive art which even children could participate, and some adult themed entertainment.

The Abusement Park

Singapore Art Museum is turned into an underground dungeon where instruments of pain become a form of entertainment. Along with music and dance, it is rather interesting, but very popular!


More information on the Night Festival 2010 Event Can be found here.


My thoughts.

I've attended many night arts festival in Montreal, France and London, and I felt that this one in Singapore is particularly weak, not only for the choice of displays, the whole organization seemed a little poor. There seem to be a main draw to the Singapore Museum, where the crowds gather, and queues are very long.

I expected some street performances, or even street magic shows within SMU, but alas, since Singapore is such a "restricted" country, I guess there was not enough time to get the necessary permits for ad hoc performances to happen when you walk from one venue to another.

I have asked the shops/Food and Beverage locations about the Night Festival 2010 a week ago, and no one knew much about it. On the actual day, I'm sure ALL the Restaurants and bars would close early, and there is not much other support other than a restaurant/bar that is located at the National Museum. (The bar does sell beer) Many locations close around midnight or 11pm except the bars.

The whole experience seemed to be not very inclusive. There are lots of loud music, and performance targeted at teens, however, there are not much "street stores" selling beverages other than beer. Is everyone expected to drink?

With the road closures, and lots of people who are directing traffic, there seemed to be very little extra lighting. Much of Campus Green is very dark, and navigation is hard. The lack of signs is also troubling.

Lack of Public Transportation Support. The Bras Basah Station is right there, and since the festival is happening till 2am, it would be nice for trains to run till 3am perhaps. Even at 15 minutes a train, I would still think that the people attending the Night Festival could get home easier. There are not really any form of public transportation after midnight (Other than the overpriced Taxi)

Basically, I think many of the other Night Festivals end REALLY REALLY late, and for Singapore, 7pm - 2am feels a little short, as I do not have much time to see anything else after visiting National Museum and watching Paraboles. Thought it is a 2 day event, I felt that the museums should be opened till 7am, where people can have more time to enjoy the performances, and later visit the museums at their own leisure through the night!

-- Robin Low

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Shokudo (Singapore) Revisited

My friend Harean is in town and I went to Shokudo again.

I decided that this was a good place to meet, and try them out again.

Shokudo Japanese Food Bazaar @ Raffles City
Raffles City Shopping Center
252 North Bridge Road, #B1-44E
Singapore 179103
Tel: +65 6837 3793


For those that do not know what Shokudo is, Shokudo is a Japanese Marché. Within Shokudo, there are many little stores selling different Japanese food, from ramen, hotpot, Tonkatsu, Teppanyaki, Japanese Pizza, Japanese burgers, Omelette rice, sushi, Japanese deserts.

I would say that the concept is interesting, and it is worth checking out for one, and if you interested in getting a little bit of each type of Japanese food, this is the place for you.

From my few past experiences, I felt that the food was ok, and rather expensive. Nothing much has changed, however, I realized one big difference which I thought, made me spent a lot more than before -- The reduction of MAINLAND CHINESE STAFF.

On a few past occasions, I had really really poor service. The staff could not understand English, they were very argumentative, and most of all, serving up errors all the time. I was overcharged several times, and once undercharged, but today, thought the staff did nothing exceptional, the reduce in the number of staff that I could not understand actually made the experience slightly better, and I ordered more food.

I would say I personally ate more than S$40 worth of food, and though it was pretty ok in quality, I still feel it was expensive, and not really value for money. But for all the Japanese things you want to eat under one roof, this is the place to go.

Overall, I felt that it was self service, and the ambiance of the place is very conducive to meet friends and have a good time. The food was a little expensive, and pretty much you do not encounter the staff until the exit where you pay, and I did feel that the counter staff, chatting amongst themselves, and then walking away without any explanation was pretty rude.

Then I was charged one extra item which I ordered 1 and paid for 2, but I realized this after signing, and the queue of people wanting to pay was simply too long for me to really want to spend time and hold up the line to argue about $7.50.

Value for money: 5/10
Food quality: 7.5/10
Variety of food: 8/10 (Japanese food)
Quality of staff: 4/10 (an improvement from previous times)

-- Robin Low