Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How to reprogram your Nespresso coffee machine

How to reprogram your Nespresso coffee machine 

Did you know you can reprogram you Nespresso coffee machine?

I was thinking about upgrading my Nespresso machine to a new one until I discovered this neat trick. So I now know how to change my Nespresso machine so I could make Ristrello coffee without having to buy a new Nespresso coffee machine. 

To reprogram your Nespresso coffee machine is very easy. The key is holding the button you want to change for the time you want that option to pour out hot water (through the coffee capsule part of your Nespress machine).

Let me show you how to do so in this short video.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

How to set up Pages list for Dynamic views Blogger theme

Blogger now has better customisation for dynamic views

If you're like me, you've been waiting for an easy way to customise your layout more for your Blogger.com blog on one of the dynamic views theme.

So for me, previously when I tried to make changes in the Layout Settings, these changes didn't fall through into the actual website very well. That is, when I had the Dynamic Views template set for my Blogger.com theme.

Well, there's still some bugs there, as not all the modules/ gadgets that I have added worked. But the key one that I really wanted to work was.

1. Pages - so it lists my pages of my blog
2. Social follow links - haven't managed to have that up yet

Right now, I managed to get a nice pages view up for my blog. So now I have a menu for my page that's visible from the get go! This is a big change from the viewing options that were there in the past (which are now in the "Timeslide" drop down menu that you'll see in the first picture below).

So you may be wondering how I discovered this change? Well, in the AdSense section of your Blogger.com account, there is a "Customise further with Advanced Ad Set-up" link. You click on that and it takes you to the Layout settings and changes made actually kick in now. Some better than others, but it's worth checking out again.

Let me know how you fellow Blogger.com bloggers go when you try make changes.

It looks like I don't need to move to Wordpress now, as I felt like in the paste, since changes are really happening again for Blogger.com

What and where is Pulau Ubin island in Singapore?

Pulau Ubin lake - mySGmyhome.com
A Pulau Ubin lake (former quarry)
You may have heard from friends, family or colleagues about a place called "Pulau Ubin".  So you're wondering what is Pulau Ubin and where is it?

What is Pulau Ubin island?

Well, it's an island. "Pulau" means "island in the Malay language.
It's an island of Singapore that is a 30 minute bumboat ferry ride from the main Singapore mainland. That's right, it is still in Singapore, so it's a place of santactury and a great place to let yourself be with nature.

It's actually of the  few little islands in Singapore that have been purposed for use as a nature island. As most of Singapore's islands (yes Singapore has more islands) are used for different purposes (e.g., leisure, military, chemical/ energy and waste). In this case, it's more the leisure and nature island so you'll find it is sometimes used for school camps, etc.
I generally find Pulau Ubin island to be great for the adventurous type of person. That is, those who keen to explore nature and bike/ walkways. If you're one of those  really adventurous and sportly types, it's a great place to test your biking/ cycling skills in some cycling and BMX tracks that they have on the island.

You can also discovering a new place on foot or riding around on a bicycle. You can bring your own bike or hire one there.

So how to get to Pulau Ubin island in Singapore? 

There is only one way to get there and that's by bumboats. Bumboats operate from Changi Point Ferry Terminal from about 6am until about  8-9pm. It really depends on the bumboat drivers but normally those are the typical operating hours. Here's my guide on how to get to these bumboats and to Pulau Ubin for more details.

What to do at Pulau Ubin, Singapore?

Pulau Ubin - mySGmyhome.com

Follow any of the many walking/ cycling trails

There are trails in all directions at Pulau Ubin island. With the key directions being towards the east, west and north, with most people heading westwards towards a wetland called, "Chek Jawa Wetlands". There's a diamond cycling track and a bunch of other cool tracks depending on your cycling appetite. 

Pulau Ubin Maps/ trails:

Pulau Ubin - mySGmyhome.com
Pulau Ubin map from Singapore National Parks

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What's a good New Year's Resolution for 2015?

Well, what's in a good New Year's Resolution for 2015?

I was speaking to a friend about a New Years Resolution that she was working towards achieving and an interesting way that she was approaching it stuck me.

She thought about this in reverse.

She turned the traditional New Year's Resolution concept to an end goal, instead of the traditional starting goal.

What this means, is say, your goal for the end of the year to run 10 miles in an hour. Rather than starting to work on that goal come New Year's Day. Start working on it two to three months beforehand and then see how you fare come New Year's Day, which will now be your finish line.

I never have been a New Year's Resolution type of person, but I like this concept. It's a great way to avoid feeling tied up and feeling like you're giving up too much around the Christmas holiday period. Instead, you have been working hard on your New Year's Resolution goals, that it's now a time to celebrate it with your friends and family.

I'm thinking about trying this, not necessarily for the New Year period, but just as a general rule. Thinking about any typical event that starts a goal instead in reserve.

Let me know what your thoughts on this as well.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

What types of oysters are great to eat in Boston?

I was in Boston in September and October this year, and it was oysters season.

Now I don't know if this is the norm, as the last time I was in the US and there was an oyster festival it was after the BP oil spill. So New Orleans had a oyster festival to promote their seafood.

Either way, I was swamped with so much choice of oyster varieties.

Luckily, one restaurant was serving a oyster platter special so I was able to sample a bunch. So I wanted to highlight my favourites from Legal Seafood's oyster platter special.

You will definitely have your own favourites, but if you need help deciding, here are my favorites.

My favorites are:
  • Glidden point oysters
  • Naked cowboy oysters
  • Sandy neck oysters

I liked Glidden point oysters as it was big and delicious. Sandy neck oysters was indeed really Sandy but sweet. I found Naked cowboy oysters had more of a briny taste that I liked.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

National Gallery Singapore's official re-launch - with Art carnival at the Padang

This weekend marks the re-opening of the National Gallery Singapore's official re-launch, with a pretty cool art carnival at the Padang (near City Hall MRT) to kick it off.

This art carnival will run from Friday to Sunday 30 Nov 2015. Admission to the carnival and the National Gallery Singapore is free until 6 Dec 2015. It's also referred as the "Share the Hope" festival.

I'm not too sure what that meant, but I headed to the event to go to a dance festival that's also part of the event. You will find that this art carnival is a great place for kids and adults to join in some of the activities that they have about. There's a mini-play performance, shadow puppets, and pieces of arts designed to be touched and played by kids.

If you're keen on the dance festival, the dance styles at the event are Bachata, Salsa, Kizomba and it's hidden at the back of the event, near the Singapore river. 

My favourite session was the Singapore Life Panel Project session. I stumbled upon it while checking out the exhibitions and lucky enough to score a seat in the action. Don't worry, you can still check it out from the sides as well.

I liked it for the discussion on food memories and history. How remembering  the tastes going up in Singapore. From eating Roti John from Bedok Corner near the Bedok barracks, to yogurt rice and a personal style of Perankan nasi goreng.

I found it engaging and entertaining. It was well thought out with some singing, dancing and even a cartwheel on the table - which was quite a feat!

That was my main highlight for the night. They will also have part two to the show tomorrow.

They also gave us a local treat at the end which was very kind of them.

After the show I explored the surrounding area and found the shadow puppet room where you can pick up puppet sticks to entertain others sitting in another room. A really nice hidden part was this lonely looking tree, which was hidden inside a wardrobe. It reminded me of C.S.Lewis' Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.

A photo posted by Vu Long Tran (@vulongtran) on

Another part of the festival  is an eight-minute light, sound and visual performance titled "Share the Hope Fa├žade Show", which uses the Gallery's exterior as its canvas. It features various artworks from the Gallery's collection that come to life. This is actually the main show.

Over the road nearby as well, is another open area with a stage for live band/ performances. I didn't see anyone on stage, but it's worth checking out if you're in the area (when you're reading this post).

Tip - Head to the rooftop of the National Museum. There's some great views of the city there. You can see Marina Bay Sands, the Observatory Wheel and more.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Discovering the concept of Inbound

I have been wondering for many years now, how the world of business fits into the everyday lives of both you and I. How in many respects, there are constant social demands on each of us to achieve this, and achieve that.  How there was that itchy feeling that something may be wrong and that there is more to life that what we are making of it.

I always felt that we at times have created a world we created of our own, where we create our own stresses and challenges, and we often are so occupied in these challenges that we can often lose ourselves in them. This order leads to use losing what is truly important to each of us, to our fellow colleagues, our friends, our family, and even ourselves - our true self, our true spirit.

Over the years, I have learned that our true self and true spirit, can often be hidden behind our own ego, and this ego is something that we have fostered directly and indirectly through our interactions in society and with ourselves over the years. 

Knowing this, I have always wondered if it was easy to leave the corporate rat race? Knowing that we do need to make a living while at the same time make a life.

While I still haven't been able to find a complete answer to that yet, I believe that finding your vocation is a big part of that. Finding that something that valuable skills, knowledge, and even just enthusiasm and happiness that something that you can bring with you and give back to your friends, your family and society with. So, with that, at least for me, I feel that I am feeling that there may be a way to do some business this while also still making a living.

What is "Inbound"?
I still feel very early in my discovery journey on this, but I uncovered this concept called, "Inbound".

My definition of "Inbound" is:

helping people by "educating" and creating useful "content" that they may need, rather than simply reaching out to people to help them directly. You create this "content" which people "find" as seek their own "help" and come across your "content". 

With the internet, this helping process is facilitated very well, and we are seeing it being applied to help "people to live, shop, and do business" - so in all areas of life and business.

If we are to focus it in a business sense, this "inbound" concept when associated with marketing and sales, becomes: "inbound marketing" or "inbound sales", and:

"focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be." - www.inbound.com

In that you have created something useful and helpful for people, and they find it when they need information. Be that via an internet search, on social media, and other search and awareness means.
My discovery 
was very surprised and impressed by this concept, as I have always believed that it is important to help other people, perhaps as I was helped by people myself very early on in my life. I know that I love helping and teaching people, but I cannot say that I have always found the best way to do so, as I discovered the hard way that we really do need to ensure we can continue to make a living as well. So after discovering this concept of "Inbound" recently, as I learnt more and more about it, I have found my thoughts unraveling and discovering how I can apply it to facilitate just that. 

It has been a sudden revelation and feeling of, "why didn't I know or heard this concept before?"
As I continue to research and learn more about Inbound, I have found that I continue to see the world in a different way, and how this "helping others" mindset can fall well into this concept.

The analogies I found helped to understand the concept further*
If you're wondering what I mean." My favourite analogy on what I mean is how we see wrestling differently when we truly understand it. When we realise that wrestling is actually fake, we start to view it differently. In the same regards, I too, am starting to really see the world differently.

I can see myself making sense of it and conceptualising my thoughts around this "inbound" definition, or frame of thinking of it. 
As inbound I see it as simply a way to phrase the concept and philosophy, and set of practices. It's nothing new, but it is a great way to define this way of thinking and thoughts.
I see "philanthropy" is one recent example too. People have been helping each other for years and in fact centuries now. It's only now the name "philanthropy" (though, not a new term), has been called out and highlighted to the world. It's even gotten to a stage where it is seen a bit like a must do for some people to be "in" with the tribe. This new concept of "Inbound" seems to be following a similar path. 

So if and when you unravel this concept as I, and many others have, you may discover how "inbound" is already a natural part of our lives. 

It's a concept that brings back that "humanity" to business, through "vulnerability" and just overall helpfulness and education.

If you're like me, your journey of understanding this "inbound" concept is only beginning, and as you discover more and more about it you will be surprised how you or others around you are already practicing the concept and may or may not realise it - as least not in this clearly defined way. 

*This wresting analogy was a concept shared by Seth Godin in his keynote in Inbound 2013. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Insight into the Standard Chartered TigerAir credit card program

If you're like me, you have probably been intrigued by Standard Chartered's (SC's) Tigerair Platinum Credit Card. You have may be considering getting one of these cards, but would like some insight into what's it all about. Here's my insights, based on my own experiences using the card.

You may be thinking one of these things:
  • Is the Tigerair credit card worth getting?  
  • Where can you fly with the Tigerair credit card program? How long does the e-voucher for a flight last for?
  • What are the plans you can choose with the Tigerair credit card?
  • Is there a default Tigerair credit card program?
  • How do I select or change my Rewards program? 
  • Besides free flights, do I get any other benefits with my Standard Chartered Tigerair Platinum Credit Card?
  • Do I get a sign–up gift?
  • How to check Tigerair Credit Card balance? Have I reached my minimum spending amount yet?

Applies to: Tigerair Platinum Credit Card, Singaporean residents

Is the Tigerair credit card worth getting? 
Yes, if you're can charge $5,000 to $8,000 worth of retail transactions over the course of 12 months in order to qualify to fulfil the spend requirement.

Where can you fly with the Tigerair credit card program? How long does the e-voucher for a flight last for?
The E-voucher is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and can be used to make a flight reservation for a one-way Tigerair flight, inclusive of taxes and charges, departing from Singapore to any one of the following 11 destinations – Bangkok, Hat Yai, Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, Krabi, Kuala Lumpur, Kochi, Penang, Phuket, Surabaya and Yangon (collectively, "Destinations"). E-vouchers are for a specific flight fare class and are subject to availability. Flight reservations must be made via the Standard Chartered Tigerair credit card booking portal. 

What are the plans you can choose with the Tigerair credit card?
You can choose from either Upfront Rewards (UR) or Future Rewards (FR) plan.

The key differences between the two, is Upfront Rewards program gives you rewards automatically before you have reached the minimum spending requirement. The Future Rewards plan gives you rewards afterwards and at your own convenience, but the spending minimum is higher as you'll see below.

Upfront Rewards (UR) plan
You will receive 1 one–way ticket upfront when your principal card application is approved, and you commit to charge $5,000 to you card over the next 12 months.
Tigerair platinum upfront
From the SC website that state that "Simply charge $5,000 over the next 12 months on qualifying transactions to fulfil the spend requirement. If you select a recurring Upfront Rewards plan, you’ll continue to receive one one-way ticket upfront when your plan is successfully renewed. If you do not fulfill the spend requirement or terminate the plan before fulfilling the spend requirement, a $100 fee will be charged to your card".

Future Rewards (FR) plan
You will earn Rewards Points when you charge to your card. When you have earned and accumulated at least 8,000 Rewards Points, you may use it to redeem an e-voucher for 1 one–way ticket.

tigerair platinum future
From the SC website that state that "Redeem one one-way ticket with 360° Rewards Points earned on your card after you charge $8,000 on qualifying transactions".

Is there a default Tigerair credit card program? If you didn't choose a Rewards program, can I still get my free flight?
Yes, if you didn't choose any Rewards plan when you applied for the Tigerair card, you'll get automatically enrolled into the Future Rewards program plan.

From the SC website that state that "As you did not make any selection, you will, by default, be enrolled in the Future Rewards plan, which you can earn 1 Rewards Point for every $1 you spend. With your points, you can then redeem for an e–voucher".

How do I select or change my Rewards program? 
You can shift to a Upfront Rewards plan or Future Rewards plan by calling Standard Chartered's 24–hour Platinum Service Line on +65 6788 3133 or by visiting any of our branches.

Besides free flights, do I get any other benefits with my Standard Chartered Tigerair Platinum Credit Card?
Yes, you can enjoy the below exclusive suite of complimentary Tigerair benefits when booking flights with your card:
Tigerair platinum - advance seat selectionTigerair platinum - board me firstTigerair platinum - free upgradeTigerair platinum - early access to to hot fare deals
  • Standard seat selector: Any seat(s) in the standard rows with the exception of extra leg room seats and emergency exit row seats
  • Priority boarding service boardmefirst
  • Luggage Upsize™ from 20kg to 25kg
  • Membership to 'Stripes' by Tigerair: An exclusive programme that gives you access to the hottest Tigerair deals and discounts.
Do I get a sign–up gift with the Tigerair Credit Card?
From the SC website:
  • "If you signed up under the Upfront Rewards plan, you will receive a free one–way flight ticket outbound of Singapore to 11 destinations upon card approval".
  • "If you signed up under the Future Rewards plan, you will receive $50 CashBack when you charge a minimum of $500 to your card within 30 days of card approval".

What transactions are included in the Upfront Rewards (UR) Tigerair Credit Card program?
Retail transactions, which includes online transactions and insurance premiums. Please see Standard Chartered's response when I reached out to check with them.

Dear Mr. Tran,  

We have received and acknowledge your email dated 14th August 2014 with regards to your enquiry on Tiger airways platinum card eligible transaction.

Please be informed that online transactions and insurance premium charged to your card will be considered as retail transactions.

Please refer to below details on spending criteria or eligible retail transaction:

• Local & overseas transactions
• Fees paid to other organization (eg school fees for Tuition centre)
• 0% instalment monthly amount
• Easy Pay – original charge
• Online purchases
• Online bill payments (ad hoc via merchant’s website)

• Recurring payments or payments made to all billing organizations using SCB Online Banking platform
• All fees and charges (eg annual fees, late payment fees, interest charges, and/or finances charges)
• Balance/ Funds Transfer
• Cash Advance
• On-going Easy Pay monthly amount
• AXS or ATM transactions
• Any amount charged that is subsequently cancelled, voided, refunded or reversed
• Amounts which have been rolled over from the preceding months’ statements

For more information on our Tiger airways platinum card you may refer to link below:


We hope your request has been clarified.
Should you require further assistance or clarification, you may wish to contact us directly at our 24-hour customer service line at 1800 747 7000 or +65 6747 7000 if you are calling us from overseas.

Thank you for banking with us and have a pleasant day.

Thanks & Regards,
Mathiyalagan Naliah
Customer Care Consultant
Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited

What transactions will NOT count towards the UR spend requirement for the Upfront Rewards (UR) Tigerair Credit Card program?
The following transactions will not be taken into consideration when determining whether the UR Spend Requirement has been:

  1. cash advance,
  2. fees and charges (including but not limited to annual card fees, interest charges, cash advance fees, finance charges and/or late payment charges),
  3. any balance or funds transfer,
  4. any monthly instalment of an EasyPay transaction,
  5. any amount charged to your card that is subsequently cancelled, voided, refunded or reversed,
  6. recurring payments or payments made using Standard Chartered Online Banking;
  7. AXS or ATM transactions made using your card,
  8. any amounts which have been rolled over from the preceding months' statements
  9. any other charge, fee, transaction or payment as we may stipulate from time to time

How to check Tigerair Credit Card balance? Have I reached my minimum spending amount yet?
I reached out to the Standard Chartered helpdesk which kindly gave me this response to find out what my Tigerair Credit Card balance was. I inquired about this twice, so I got two types of responses. The first one is the most helpful, whereas the response from the second customer support representative was not very helpful. 

Dear Mr. Tran,

We have received and acknowledge your email dated 18th August 2015 with regards to your enquiry on the status of spending.

We truly apologize for any delay response and should this have caused any inconvenience to you.

According to our reference, we noticed that the spending requirement for your current cycle (from 04th January 2015 to 03rd January 2016) on your Tigerair Platinum Credit Card has been met.

Please refer to the below steps on how you can re-confirm via our Online Rewards Redemption Portal:
(a) Go to our official website at www.sc.com/sg
(b) Click on “Online Rewards” then log-in
(c) If you are new user on this portal, you will need to perform registration
(d) Once the registration is successful, click on Log-In button.
(e) Insert your Internet Banking username and password, the click on “Login”
(f) Go to “My Rewards Account” on right hand column and click on “View Order Status”
(g) Look for product type named “eVoucher”
(h) Click on the corresponding voucher Order Number to view the e-voucher
(i) You will need to take note on e-vouchers serial number as this number is required when you would like to book a flight.
(j) Expiry Date for this e-voucher will generate on the webpage as well.

You may refer to below steps on how you can perform redemption once you have retrieved the e-Voucher number from our Online Rewards Redemption Portal:
(a) To access the link, you may either proceed to Tigerair’s Login Portal via http://booking.tigerair.com/SCBLogin.aspx
(b) Or proceed to Tiger Airways Singapore’s official website at www.tigerair.com/sg/en
(c) click on the login button of Booking Portal (upper right hand of the homepage)
(d) For booking flights using the e-Voucher, Click on the 1st button “Redeem free flight with e-Voucher
(e) Choose between One-way and Round Trip
(f) Departing from will be defaulted to Singapore
(g) Arriving (destination) will only show the 11 e-Voucher destinations
(h) Then click on continue to proceed with the booking.

For more information on Tigerair Platinum Credit Card, you may refer to below link:

We hope that this has been of assistance.

Should you require further assistance or clarification, you may wish to contact us directly at our 24-hour customer service line at 1800 747 7000 or +65 6747 7000 if you are calling us from overseas.

Thank you for banking with us, and have a pleasant day.

Warm regards,

Client Care Centre
Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited

Should you have any feedback about our services or Client Care Associate who attended to you, please provide your valuable comments to us

We appreciate your time and every opportunity given to serve you.  

Thank you.

Tiger credit card
Dear Mr.Tran,

We have received and acknowledge your email dated 6th August 2015 with regards on your inquiry on the spending.

Please be advised that we are unable to advise you on your spending however we can send you the statements for you the calculate your spending from your end.

Please be informed that we will be able to raise the request to send to you the statements and there will be charges applied as per below:

- Current to 3 months = Free
- 3 months to 1 year = $10 per monthly statement
- 1 to 5 years = $20 per monthly statement

Due to security measurement please confirm if we can send you the statement to your email or address as below:

Awaiting your kind confirmation.

For further details on Tigerair Platinum credit card please refer to the link as per below:

For the latest update of our credit card promotions, you may visit our website provided by the link below:

We hope this clarifies your request.

Should you require further assistance or clarification, you may wish to contact us directly at our 24-hour customer service line at 1800 747 7000 or +65 6747 7000 if you are calling us from overseas.

Thank you for banking with us and have a pleasant day.

Best regards,

Client Care Associate
Client Care Centre
Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited


Sunday, August 16, 2015

To Cameron Highlands I go, heading to Cameron Highlands by bus from KL

I recently went to Cameron Highlands and loved it. It is an amazing place, one that I would love to visit again when I get the chance. I absolutely loved the cold weather and the hot tea and scones with nature around me.

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

So this post details my recent journey from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Cameron Highlands. With some basic details about it, to help those keen to explore the place as well.

Firstly though, what and where is Cameron Highlands?
Cameron Highlands is nice mountainous town in Malaysia. It has a colder and cooler climate than most of the peninsula and is a town where they often grow tea and various vegetables like tomatoes, and strawberries. You will find tea plantation farms and strawberry farms scattered across this mountain, in small towns such as Tanah Rata and Brinchang. Brinchang has night markets, but from what I understand (as I didn't get a chance to see it this time), it only has them on Fridays and Saturdays - and at times during Malaysian school holidays (makes sense!).

How to get there by bus
I journeyed there by bus, with a journey there varying from 4 to 5 hours, depending on traffic.

My total journey time from Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia - 4 hours, 30 minutes from Pudu Sentral. Pudu Sentral is the Northern bus terminal for KL, in that buses that mainly depart from here head north of KL, to places such as Genting Highlands, Penang, Ipoh, etc. Total cost of the bus ticket if I recall was around 40-50 RM one way.

What to do when you're there
This is the fun part. There many nature based activities to do here. You can visit the Mossy Forest, strawberry farms, tea plantations and even BOH's tea factory (BOH tea is a local Malaysian brand of tea). There are full day tours, half day tours, mainly focused on weather you'd like a guide to drive and take you around the nature walks around the mountain.

Views of the BOH tea plantations

Views of the BOH tea plantation from the BOH tea factory. BOH tea cafe is seen in the right of this photo

BOH's Tea plantation, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Half day tour guide. In this photo, he is explaining the history of BOH tea

How to set up auto top up on your Nets Flashpay card

I like to try different services and functionality that available, so this is my experience and guide on how to set up your Nets Flashcard card to automatically top up credit.  That way you don't have to worry about it too much. 

Please note that these steps only apply to users of "Nets Flashpay" card.

This is service offered by Nets is also known as the "Auto Top-Up (ATU) by Credit/Debit Card" or "Auto Reload Nets Flashpay". It works in a similar way as the EZ-Reload (you can read my guide for that one here).

With Auto Top-Up, your FlashPay card will be automatically topped up with a preset amount ($30, $40 or $50) when there is insufficient stored value on the card to make payment for transit, ERP and car park charges.

Note - While I find the Nets Flashpay card as a great card to use and pay cashless - for products and services such as cabs/ taxis, food, shopping and other goodies. It is convenient, but only when there is sufficient funds available on the card. 

That is, while the auto top up is great (like the Ez-link auto top up), it will only auto reload on public transport/ transit, ERP and car park machines. Just like the Ez link card,  I have tested it a few times and it will not auto reload anywhere else (at this time of writing).

Ad from Nets on this auto top/ reload functionality (ad ran from Sep 2014)

Before I go through the process though, please just check that you have everything you need:
  1. Have the Nets Flashpay card  with you - Please just flip the card that you and have a look at the very bottom. It should have a CAN number and an Nets Flashpay symbol somewhere. You'll need this CAN number for later.
  2. Check that you have your NRIC/ FIN and personal details ready - NRIC is a National Registration Identity Card and for foreigners can be an Employment Pass (EP), etc.
  3. A valid email address/ mobile number - This is as the application status and collection slip number will be sent to you via email/ sms.
  4. Credit card or debit card handy - A credit card or debit card that you want to use for the auto top up. Supported Banks include: DBS/POSB, UOB, OCBC, Maybank
  5. Know how much Nets Auto Top Up-Reload amount you want - At the moment you have to go through whole process again (cancel and reapply) if you want to change this amount, so just think about whether you want to reload $30, $40, or $50 for each auto reload. I'd say to help keep track more easily and to factor in the small admin fee that costs $0.25 for each auto reload, the more the better, but this depends on your personal habits. If you often lose things, it may be worth not loading up too much at once or even using this auto reload option at all.

Steps to set up your Nets Flashpay card for auto reload
  1. Visit Net's webpage, https://www.nets.com.sg/cards/flashpay-card/auto-topup (Right click to open link in a new window) 
  2. Click on sign up for and fill in the form, https://atu.nets.com.sg/schemeatu/showreg.action
  3. Wait for activation code to be sent to you via email/ sms - A 6-digit activation code will be typically sent to you via SMS or email 2 days upon successful registration. I received my activation code via sms. 
  4. Register your card with activation code - There are two ways to do this. Options are detailed below.

Option 1 - Visiting Transit Link office
  1. Visit a Transit office. Transit Link offices in Singapore locations are detailed on this website
  2. Pass your Nets Flashpay card and activation code to them - Show them your activation code and your Nets Flashpay and they will activate it on their system. It should only take a few minutes for it to be activated.
  3. Enjoy the auto top functionality on your card!
  • Note - The process above refers to activating this by visiting the Transit Link Ticket office, you can also try the app process (option 2 below) as well.

Screenshot of Nets Flashpay app from Nets

Option 2 - Activate using the Nets Flashpay app
Android Phone (with NFC) users can activate the FlashPay ATU service instantly on their phones after receiving their activation code without having to make a trip to the TransitLink Ticket office. Cardholders will receive the activation code two days after they have registered their card details on the app and the code is valid for 7 days for instant activation.

App requirements - 

  1. You'll need NFC on your phone for this to work
  2. You'll need an Android phone

Follow these steps to activate ATU via the FlashPay ReaderApp:
  1. Place FlashPay Card on the back of the phone with NFC turned on or launch the FlashPay Reader App
  2. On the home screen, select ‘Top-Up Service’
  3. Select “Auto Top-Up Activation”
  4. Enter the 6-digit ATU activation code
  5. Select “Activate
  6. Enjoy the auto top functionality on your card!

Related posts:

Monday, August 10, 2015

My experience upgrading from "Windows 10 Technical Preview" to "Windows 10"

This is an overview of the process I took to upgrade from "Windows 10 Technical Preview Beta" to the new "Windows 10".

This overview only applies for Windows 10 Technical Preview testers
This overview only applies to the beta testers that are part of Microsoft's Windows Insider program. If you were like me, when you heard the announcement that Windows 10 was made available globally, you have been looking to find a way to easily upgrade from "Windows 10 Technical Preview" to "Windows 10".

Now, I wasn't able to find a clean way to upgrade to Windows 10 - from the Windows 10 Technical Preview version. Not at this stage anyway. It may be something that Microsoft may release down the track, but not right now.

I had to reinstall my Windows 7 operating system and then upgrade to Windows 10 from there.

This is the steps I followed:

  1. Reinstall my Windows 7 operating system. 
  2. Registered for free upgrade to Windows 10 via Microsoft's website.
  3. Upgrade to Windows 10 manually using the Media Creation Tool

Tip 1 - if you're missing your Windows 7 Installation CD - Download it again from Microsoft's website. You will need your CD key to download it

Tip 2 - if you're looking for your Windows 7 CD key as you have misplaced it, try this free KeyFinder program (please read the steps in the installation process carefully - to help, I also have written a brief guide with screenshots and details).

If you're wondering, I did try some other ways to install Windows 10, but it was to no avail. You may have some luck with it, as things change and also, one solution does not necessarily work for us all.

Downloaded the Upgrade Adviser
I tried downloading the upgrade adviser, but it only let me upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8 only. I did find some guidance online, but it required some coding which I didn't want to do - since I wanted to ensure I had a clean and complete install.

Download the Windows 10 ISO file
The other way is to get Windows 10 is download the Windows 10 ISO file.

Hoping you'll be able to enjoy the new Windows 10 - it's refreshing change!

Other useful guides:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

How to find the CD key for the Windows you are using now (no coding required)

If you are like me and have placed your CD key for your Windows somewhere and do not have it on you. Then you might be wondering how to find your CD key for your Windows computer?

Well, after doing some internet searching, I found a good free program that you can use. It's called "KeyFinder" by Magical Jelly Bean.

You can download a free version of this software https://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/

I have tested it and it works on Windows 7 and Windows 10 computers and works as described. In that it helps me to find my CD key for my Windows computer.

This is great if you are too lazy or can't find your Windows 7 CD key or lift your laptop to find it pasted there. No coding to find your CD key required.

Just be sure to read the options in the installation steps very carefully. As there is a freeware offer in the installation steps that I know I did not want installed. So keep that in mind and read the steps carefully.

Here's some screenshots to assist you as well, so you know what to expect.

Page 1 - KeyFinder Setup Initial page

Select "I accept the agreement" and click "Next"

Click "Next " if you are happy with the location to install the program. Normally the default location is okay. 

Tick any of the options here depending on your preferences. Then click "Next". I just leave this unclicked as I don't need to use this software everyday. 

LOOK CAREFULLY HERE - I suggest selecting "Custom Install" and leaving this unticked so you don't install Wander Burst, unless you like ads...

Click "Install" when you are happy and ready

The software program will run and you will see your CD Key for your current Windows.
Happy CD key finding!

PS - I do not work for Magical Jelly Bean. Rather, I just stumbled across this useful app and would like to share it with you! ;)

Other useful guides:

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Durian season in Singapore

I think like most people not born in a place in abundance of durian, I have developed a love hate relationship with durians. Sitting on the fence and always wondering whether I really like durians or not. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

I have always known that I loved the more processed and candy versions of durian. I also used to have the odd durian here and there. All the while, my mother and sister often savored and dived into durians like they were absolutely delicious cakes. But now, I finally see why they loved it so much!

It's not the immediately captivating fruit to eat when you first "see" it, and unforgettably "smell" it. It has an acquired taste like Australian Vegemite, that really needs you to be mentally prepared for the unexpected!

Well, something that really tipped me over to liking durians recently. And that is discovering that there are actually sweet durians!!

That's right, there are sweet durians. Durians do not always have to be bitter, unless of course you like them like that. You can get sweet durians, bitter and sweet durians, and you can bitter durians. I think this is why in the past I may not have immediately liked them. But now that I know there are sweet ones, I aim for those.

It's just a matter of choosing one that suits your preferences, budget and what is available where you are. My favourite is Red Prawn durians and D24 durians.

So, what types of durians are there available in Singapore?
Well, one nice and savvy durian store (Ah Seng Durian) created this brief photo overview of it.

Source: AhSengDurian Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AhSengDurian/photos_stream

The prices and availability of these durians can vary year to year. But here are some prices from ChannelNewsAsia:
  • Golden Phoenix durians a S$12 a kilogramme (2015), compared to S$15 last year (2014). 
  • Mao Shan Wang durians were going for about S$15 to S$18 a kilogramme (2015), S$25 to S$28 per kilogramme (2014)
  • I personally brought some of Potong Pasir, where prices ranged from three D24 durians for $10, $5, $10, $15 for one D24 durian depending on size. Mao Shan Wang durians were selling at $15 labelled as A1s and $18 for Mao Shan Wang durians from Pahang. 

Durian season in Singapore:
Generally June to August every year

How to select durians?
It takes time to learn how to select the right durian, it's like selecting a watermelon or rockmelon as you can never see what's inside it. The great thing is though is that the seller/ vendor should always like you feel and taste the durian, after cutting a small portion of it open. Make sure you taste it and feel the meat of it. 
  • HungryGoWhere gives a good guide on how to select the right durian
  • JohorKaki also gives great insights on how to select the popular Mao Shan Wang durians

Where are durians in Singapore come from:
Most come from the Southeast Asian country of Malaysia, from the regions of Johor and Pahang. But sometimes, you may find them imported from other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.

Where to buy durians in Singapore
I have seen them sold in, though there are many across Singapore:
  • Chinatown (People's Park Complex)
  • Geylang (there are many location along Sims Avenue)
  • Balestier (there are a few stores here on Balestier Rd)
  • Potong Pasir (just off Potong Pasir Ave 1)
  • Tanjong Pagar (below Tanjong Pagar Food Court, Tanjong Pagar Road)
  • Toa Poyah (there are many stalls around Toa Payoh Central Blk 183)

Sometimes you can find them in supermarkets/ hypermarts such as Giant and NTUC Fairprice. I have seen them at Giant Vivocity.

If you're looking for a good lists of durian stores in Singapore, here are some with good insights into the durian stores.

  • HungryGoWhere also has a good list of where to buy durians in Singapore. 
  • HungryAngMo has his list of trusted sellers in Singapore

Outside of Singapore
Outside of Singapore, you will see them in floating stores in Malaysia.

For example, I recently went on a work offsite to Desaru, Johor. 

I think these ones store here in Johor are D13s or D-something. This store was located near a local supermarket, roughly along this road leading to the resorts at Desaru (on a parallel road on a hill). 

90, Bandar Penawar, 82200 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia 

They were selling their most expensive ones for about 7RM per kg. The taste varied for each ones, with some more smooth and sweet, while others were dry.

Here's the ones we brought that we're eating at the resort. No eating in the hotel rooms, so we ate this outside by the beach. It was fun enjoying them with my fellow colleagues.

I hope this has helped give you a quick overview of durians and where to find, buy and try them in Singapore. Happy durian hunting! ;)