The tech low down

My friends seem to think I am super high maintenance due to the large number of gadgets I tote around on a single day but that’s not true!

To be honest, I use mostly entry-level gadgets that satisfy my  technology consumption habits. I don’t game nor do graphic design. My needs are simple: I need MS office suite, some light photo and video editing and a fast processor for opening multiple applications.

These are the gadgets I have invested over the years since I was financially independent. In fact, the costs of my gadgets are probably way cheaper than what you expected. I’m not including the cost of my phone (an iPhone 5S if you’re keen to know) nor camera (because I don’t own one technically, I borrow from my Dad if I need one).

  • Laptop: Lenovo G470 at $700 (back in 2011 and still functioning perfectly).
  • E-reader: Kindle 5 at $119 (first-hand from a local dealer)
  • Hard disk: Seagate 1TB at $120

Total costs: $1768 – to put it into perspective, this is about the same price as a MacBook.

Kindle 5

I got my first Kindle in 2010 – back then it was super pricey as compared to now. Also, because I am very lazy and usually dislike waiting, hence, I got all three of my Kindles via dealers who ship Kindles into Singapore. Google is my bestie!

It did occur to me if I should just use my tablet as a reader but the reading experience is different different with a e-reader. I would tote around my tablet + Kindle any day. If you’re like me, I’d suggest to get a smaller sized tablet e.g. iPad Mini. I’m using an old 7.7 Samsung Tab at the moment.

My first Kindle was a keyboard Kindle, aka Kindle 3, which come to think of it, I paid a ridiculous amount for.

Sorry Photoshop skills were still lacking then

My second was the Kindle 4, which was still the most basic e-reader then because Paperwhite was not out yet (I think) and the other upgrade was Kindle Fire which is pretty useless in Singapore because we’re not able to access the Amazon ecosystem.

My Kindle 4 lasted me two years of rough tumble before it decided to freeze on me. Also, I had a tiny spot of dead pixels on the bottom left hand corner before it froze. The spot wasn’t an issue because I was still able to read.

So it was farewell baby, hello Kindle 5!

So the question is: why not Paperwhite? I had the chance to look and feel the Paperwhite when a colleague of mine bought it. It felt weird for me to use a touch screen to turn the pages, personally, I preferred the buttons to flip a page.

In addition, I don’t have the habit of reading in the dark at all, there wasn’t the need for me to use the back light Paperwhite comes with. Paperwhite has x2 the battery life of Kindle 5 but it’s not an issue for me too because I update my books very often, hence, it’s plugged in almost every other week. A Paperwhite would have cost me approx $100 more which I probably won’t enjoy as much as I would for a Kindle 5.

I got my Kindle 5 via an online dealer. I don’t know anyone else who ships in Kindle Basic anymore. I paid S$119 for the Kindle. The original price of a Kindle via Amazon is US$69 which is approx S$86. The service the dealer + shipping cost $33 which I thought was a fair price. I didn’t have to wait for the Kindle as the dealer had in stocks and offered a 7 day 1-1 exchange in case of defects.

FYI, my Kindle 4 died on Saturday and I bought my Kindle 5 on Sunday. I knew pretty much it was a gone case as it was a hardware issue. Based on past experience, each Kindle usually lasts me 2 years approx.

So my tactic this time round is:

Hopefully, with some extra protection, third time is the charm.

 

 

Making your own font

I’ve been downloading handwriting fonts for a while but I never got round to making my own font until this year.

I found this website that makes generating your own font a very simple process: MyScriptFont.com. Basically, you download the template, fill up the alphabets and symbols, scan it in and TADAAA you get your own font.

My only grouse is that I filled in the template a little too carefully so it looks more stilted and formal. The font is perfect for making cards and notes that you can print off the computer.

Here’s how my handwriting looks like:

Here’s a sample of my handwriting of a Sony Handycam review.

Camera that I am using

And so, I received a few questions about what camera I’m using.

I use a compact camera most of the time because it’s small and easy to slip into my pocket. I hate lugging around a DSLR because it’s too heavy and I’m typically out more than 8 hours a day. This is a pass-me-down from my hipster Dadster who upgraded to a DSLR.

While the Sony Cyber-shot is serving me well, I’m thinking of upgrading to a semi-pro for better quality pictures, especially, when shooting at night and taking action pictures. The Cyber-shot has been with me for a while and it’s becoming a little wonky. The short battery life is a constant problem for me. Whoever has three batteries for a single camera?

Me, only me.

I usually touch up my photos using either Photoshop or Photoscape.

Sony Cyber-shot

Create collections for Kindle on computers

I have on average 150 books in my Kindle at any point of time and it can get pretty annoying to click through the pages to find a book. Image clicking through 15 pages to find a book. More ever, my Kindle is the version without a keyboard which makes it even harder to type and search for books.

I tried googling ‘Create collections Kindle on computers” for the longest time but I couldn’t find a satisfactory solution.

On my last attempt, I’m really glad to have found The Kindle Collection Manager, a simple to use computer application that allows you to create collections on your computer. This application uses an easy drag and drop method that all computer users are familiar with. However, to see the collections, you need to do a “soft restart” which can get pretty annoying at times. Then again, I will rather get annoyed and see my books nicely organised than to have to sift through pages and have them sitting ugly, unorganised.

Hooray for a new Kindle organisation solution.

iPhone Apps: Phoster

So a while ago, I was on a photo editing mission. I was determined to make full use of all the apps I have by taking more pictures and posting them on my social media accounts.

I searched high and low for an app that allows me to write and format text on my photos. Good copy and pretty filters make a nice picture for me. I found Phoster which creates photo posters. These are great as invitations or cards too! Phoster has a set of standard templates to which you can add on your own copy.

Creation 1

Invitation

Invitation 2

Phoster is available on Apple devices. Purchase it for USD1.99 for over 50 templates including themed holiday templates.

The Kindle basic or Kindle 4

I mourned the sad demise of my Kindle 3. The screen was stuck, there were dead pixels at the top left hand corner.

I got myself the Kindle basic, otherwise known as Kindle 4. This is the ads supported version which costs USD79. I got this because the ads are not in the least intrusive as you can see from the pictures below. I got this because I think this might last me a little longer than Kindle Touch and I don’t want to have to deal with the possibility of unresponsive screen.

I got this from an online dealer for about SGD138 with a basic cover. If you’re interested for the contact, drop me a comment below and I’ll get back to you. If you have any questions on Kindle, drop me a comment below as well.

Got myself the new Kindle (Basic)

Continue reading “The Kindle basic or Kindle 4”

Kindle in Singapore

I got my Kindle in December 2010 and it has been my reading companion for the last few months. Kindle is a product by Amazon.com, an American company.  Amazon does not deliver Kindle to Singapore direct, hence the only way to get it is through concierge service like comgateway or vpost.  I got mine through a dude who ships in Kindle first hand to sell. It was more expensive to get it through a dealer, about $30 more than I would have paid if I get it myself.

My Kindle

In total, I paid about $240 for the Kindle, and $40 for the 3rd party cover. If I had gotten the Kindle by concierge service, it would have cost about $211. The cover would have cost about $28-30 with shipping.  So in all, dude earned a cool $40-$50 from me but for the sake of instancy and convenience, I went through the dealer route. He sent me a print screen of the purchase for warranty sake. Amazon offers a 1 year limited warranty.

So let’s say I paid about $280 for the Kindle. Each book in Borders/Kinokuniya/Harris/MPH (which is closing down) costs about $20. I would need to read 14 books to recover the cost – which I definitely have!

The home page showing the number of books I have in my Kindle currently. That’s 74 items.  A Kindle can store up to 3.5k books at one go.

It’s also cheaper if you like to read books in a series. I hate reading like the 1st 2 books and having to wait around for the 3rd and 4th book.

In Singapore, you can’t purchase books direct from Amazon.com but there are ways to get around it. I did a lot of research and the Kindle owners in Singapore posted a lot of information and research on it as well. My mantra to Kindle was via this blog. There are also several f*rums that you can d*wnl*ad books from.

There are several versions of ebooks out there. Here’s a comparison. This article from Straits Times pretty much summed it all up.  Contrary to the article, I have read latest titles, sometimes even before it is released in Singapore. You just need to be smart to work your way round it.

I like using my Kindle to read as opposed to an Ipad because of its ink technology. It looks like a book so its not glaring as opposed to that of an Ipad. There’s also a keyboard for you to take notes for the book that you are reading. You can use the keyboard to type words to search as well.  I used to put my readings in my Kindle for easy reading as well.

How words look like on a Kindle. It is possible to adjust the light, the size of the font and to zoom in. 

Each charge on a Kindle last pretty long. I think I have gone on weeks without charging and I do read for long hours each day.  There are wireless and web browsing functions but I do not require them. I turn them off to save battery. I heard that Facebook in Kindle is black and white.

Sometimes, books have images such as book cover and it comes out in black and white.

Book cover of the book i’m reading.

In hibernation mode, the kindle shows screen savers. I think its possible to change the screen savers but it’s a lot of trouble so I didn’t bother.

Famous author screensaver

I enjoy my Kindle because of its portability and also, it’s cost savings as well as it enabling me to save book space in my room. I used to think that “hmmm, maybe an ebook reader is not for me because I do like the feeling of turning the page of a book and seeing the pages accumulate”. I’m glad that I am a convert now.

A short summary…

The good:

1. It saves space in my room. My room is too cluttered already.

2. It saves money which could be spent on other things: dance lessons, gym lessons, clothes, food…

3. I get to read serials which I previously might not be willing to spend that much money on buying a 4 books collection.

4. I still get to read latest titles and good books with a little more resourcefulness and adaptivity from myself.

5. It is a perfect travel companion – provided you can read on  public transport.

The bad:

1. It is irritating to spend time on the web trying to find a good and “clean” copy of the book you want. Sometimes the ebook could come in an entire text without proper paragraphing (this is usually the problem).

2. Some titles might not exist virtually. Probably there is a copy, you just have to spend a bit more time finding.

3. The initial cost might be high, especially for those earning their own keep.

Kindle baby

I just bought myself a new Kindle and its awesome. I love reading and I always want to buy old releases that I have missed. These books are usually pricey (mostly about 20s) and the books that I want typically on the higher end.

The worse things are those books that come in a series; those really burn a hole in my pocket. However the thing is: I can’t get myself to buy just book one of the series!! It annoys me when I cannot read the second book just because I didn’t have it. I’m known to spend eight hours a day reading during my vacations. To save myself from such heart wrenching dilemma, I usually just buy the whole series.