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Xiaomi Redmi Note 4: Still the Best Budget Phone in 2018

Introduced over a year ago in January 2017, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is still one of the best phones you can get today for under $200 and $250 (3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB version respectively). I've been using the 3GB/32GB version since February last year and I thought it deserves a special mention and a long-term review.

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Orchard Central: From Dying to Thriving

When it rains, it pours. In 2009, three shopping malls opened along Orchard Road in succession–Orchard Central, ION Orchard and 313@Somerset. Prior to this, there had been no new mall openings along Singapore's prime shopping belt in over a decade.

Both ION Orchard and 313@Somerset found their footing and thrived rather quickly, in part because they were located right next to the MRT, and in part due to their selection of tenants. Meanwhile, Orchard Central struggled.

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Light to Night Festival 2018: Exploring the Civic District

Not to be confused with Marina Bay’s i Light festival or the¬†Singapore Night Festival, the second edition of the Light to Night Festival, which is currently ongoing until 26 January 2018 as part of the Singapore Art Week, spans Singapore’s historic Civic District, from Esplanade Park to Padang and all the way to the Asian Civilisations Museum.

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Endless Wonder: Christmas 2017 along Orchard Road

December. It’s a month of nostalgia, of reflection, where you look back at the past eleven months, and marvel at how much you’ve progressed (or regressed?) since. It’s the Friday of the months, the season of giving, and a month of school holidays (and clearing leave, now that I’m an adult). And in the absence of snow in Singapore, at least we have the annual Christmas light-up along Orchard Road, a staple since 1984.

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Windows Mobile: A Tale of Many Missteps

Microsoft's Lumia 950, its last flagship Windows phone.

Source: Microsoft

Windows Mobile, as we know it, is dead. The writing had been on the wall for many months now, but now we can properly bid the mobile platform goodbye, with Microsoft's Joe Belfiore all but confirming Windows Mobile's diminished role in the scheme of things moving forward.s

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Thoughts on the Reserved Elected Presidency (and the Walkover)

The year-long debate on whether presidential elections should even be “reserved” for a particular race, as to whether Wee Kim Wee should be deemed an elected President to determine if this election should be reserved,¬† and to the Malay-ness of the three prospective candidates, has finally come to a close. No matter what your view on the matter, Singapore will have its first female President come end of September, elected by means of a walkover.

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Buying a Camera in Singapore (2017 Edition)

For a country of its size, Singapore has a thriving photography community. Walk down Orchard Road over the weekend and it’s easy to spot the latest DSLR or mirrorless camera slung around someone’s neck.

Less obvious is how these people acquire their cameras. Unlike the US where most savvy shoppers head to either B&H Photo or Adorama (both being online stores) to make their purchases and return them if they don’t like it, buying a camera in Singapore is still pretty much a hands-on experience. It’s not that Singapore is behind the times. Rather, it’s a combination of Singapore being a small city and the lack of a buyer’s remorse clause that makes shopping at a brick-and-mortar store the preferred choice for big-ticket items. Particularly for second-hand cameras, while a sale may be negotiated through the myriad online platforms, the actual deal is almost always done through a meet-up.

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Quad core processors are finally coming to Ultrabooks

Source: Intel

If you’re looking to buy a new laptop any time soon, such as the ongoing COMEX show, you may want to hold your horses instead.

That’s because, after five long years, Intel is finally doubling the number of cores in its Core i5 and i7 U-series CPUs, commonly used in many Ultrabooks.

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Capturing the National Day festivities and fireworks

With some spare time on my hands, I made my way down to the Promontory at Marina Bay, camera in hand, on 29th July, the final National Day Parade preview before the actual day. My intent was to get some practice with my new camera as well as to soak in the festive atmosphere despite not having a ticket to the show itself.

I had done this once before some eleven years ago with a Canon PowerShot camera. Back then, the parade was still held at the old National Stadium. But after that, it felt like such a chore having to lug a tripod around and camp for a good spot hours before.

This time around, I wasn’t that prepared either. I adopted an “anything goes” attitude and brought my D7500 with kit lens and 55-200mm along.

Read moreCapturing the National Day festivities and fireworks

So long, iPod. Thanks for the memories.

My iPod collection circa 2006.

It was quietly revealed by Apple a few days ago that the iPod nano and shuffle would be discontinued. This marks the end of the non-iOS lineage of iPods, and leaves the iPod touch as the sole carrier of the iPod line. Given that Apple is trying to get people off the 3.5mm headphone jack, it’s not difficult to deduce that the iPod touch, too, is probably on life support.

Being one to jump quickly on the nostalgia bandwagon, I started reminiscing of the times when I still used an iPod. Let’s start at the beginning…

Read moreSo long, iPod. Thanks for the memories.

Taste Test: McDonald’s Nasi Lemak Burger Feast

McDonald’s staple menu of Fillet-O-Fish, McSpicy and Quarter Pounder with Cheese is rather stale by now, even with the seasonal items like the Prosperity burger and Samurai burger. McDonald’s seems to have realised this over the past two years and have tried to mix things up every now and then since.

My favourite of the new mixes was the “Create Your Taste” concept, which I enthusiastically wrote about last year. “Create Your Taste” has since quietly disappeared (to my great disappointment), probably because it took up too much preparation time for a fast food restaurant. It did give birth to two new staple items, though–the Angus Cheese burger and the Chicken with Apple Slaw burger, which they (thankfully) replaced with Buttermilk earlier this year. In retrospect, perhaps “Create Your Taste” was just a crowdsourced experiment all along.

Then, of course, there was the salted egg burger, which garnered mostly mixed reviews. Now McDonald’s is back with another locally-inspired creation, the Nasi Lemak Burger. Or, should it be known as the Roti Lemak burger instead?

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