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How To Install DD-WRT on ASUS RT-AC68U (or any supported routers)

DD-WRT – What is it?

  • Open-source firmware that unlocks a router’s full capabilities and adds an enormous number of features generally not included by manufacturers in stock firmware.
  • Compatible with large number of routers like ASUS, Netgear, Buffalo, Linksys, TP-Link etc.
  • Standardises the user experience across multiple devices and brands so that any knowledge and skills a person acquires with DD-WRT are instantly transferable to any new device.

Choosing a router

ASUS remains my current favourite brand for routers. They may be a bit pricier but the build quality and industrial design remains attractive. The stock firmware is usually decent, and loaded with ASUS Merlin you actually have a robust, high-performance router to use with our local ISPs. (Singnet/M1/Starhub/Viewqwest/MR in Singapore), (Unifi/Maxis/Time in Malaysia). They release custom localised firmware for use with IPTV set-top boxes, so your SingTel TV or HyppTV will work.

The ASUS AC68U has a Dual-core 800MHz BCM4708 ARM-based SoC chip, compared to the dated BCM4706 MIPS-based SoC chip used on the AC66U (and the older N66U as well). For heavy VPN traffic usage, the faster SoC will be beneficial. It is available at S$319.00 (RM957.00) from Challenger.

Continue reading

Procedures For Singapore Vehicles Bearing G / Y Plates To Be Licensed As Commercial Vehicles In Malaysia


 Approvals are solely by the Johor Road Transport Department Director.

1.  The requirements are as follows:-

      1. The registered owner, either a company or an individual, must have a company registered in Malaysia (in the case of a company one of the directors must be a director in both of the companies registered in Singapore and in Malaysia)
      2. Applications must be in writing addressed to the State of Johor Road Transport Department Director and should be sent by hand to counters number 13 to 14 at the Vehicles Registration Section of the Johor RTD in Taman Daya, Jalan Pasir Gudang Johor Bahru.

2.   The following documents must be submitted:-

      1. An Official Application Letter by the registered owner of the vehicle.
      2. A photocopy of Business Registration with the ROC of   Singapore and in Malaysia if   the owner is a company (If the owner is an individual, BR of business registered in Malaysia) only (Form 9 and Form 49).
      3. A photocopy of the Log Book of the vehicle or a letter from LTA.
      4. A photocopy of the insurance certificate for the vehicle to be licensed.
      5. A photocopy of an Identification Card or passport of the owner of the vehicle (if it is a company, the passport of the Director who is a director of both companies in Malaysiaand in Singapore).
      6. The Latest Bank Statement of the Malaysian Company of Business.
      7. Photographs of the vehicle (Front, Rear and Side Views).
      8. Photographs of the business premise in Malaysia (With signboard of the name of the company). 
  1. Upon receiving an approval, the vehicle has to be sent for inspection at PUSPAKOM Johor Bahru to get an Inspection Report.
  1. After passed the inspection, the owner can proceed to the Road Tax counters to get a Malaysian Road Tax at the rate of RM 10.00 per month or at RM120.00 annually.
  1. The licensed vehicle is subjected to a 6 month’s routine inspection but the owner can show proof that the vehicle has passed an inspection by the Singapore Authority, it could be considered as having fulfilled the requirement without bring the vehicle for inspection at PUSPAKOM.

If you have further enquiries, you may contact the Johor Road and Transport Department at the following address:

Kompleks JPJ , Taman Daya
Lebuhraya Pasir Gudang
80990 Johor Bahru
Telephone: 607-3606060
Fax: 607-3542805

Apple Service Centers in Singapore


Looking for authorised service center for your Apple products in Singapore?

Below is a list of service centers (as at April 2017) for sending in your Apple products.

Name and LocationProduct service

+65 6784 1318
Mac,iPad,iPhone,Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport,Apple Watch Edition,iPod,Apple TV,Beats

+65 6555 0500
Mac,iPad,iPhone,Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport,Apple Watch Edition,iPod,Apple TV,Beats

+65 6515 2010
Mac,iPad,iPhone,Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport,iPod,Apple TV,Beats
+65 6784 1318
Mac,iPad,iPhone,Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport,iPod,Apple TV,Beats

For booking of appointment with QCD, go here.
For booking of appointment with A.Labs, go here.

Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus pricing compared

iphone 6s selection

iPhone 6s color selection

It’s that time of the year again. Every September we are presented with a new iPhone. On September 12th, pre-orders began in 12 countries namely United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Most notable here is China which makes it’s debut in the initial launch countries. It is a massive market for iPhones, which also means the grey market would be a whole lot weaker for this launch. I’m expecting the new “Rose Gold” (or pink that some argue) to be a hit in Asia.

Here i explore the pricing differentiation (using 64/128GB models) across six countries – Singapore, Australia, US, UK, Hong Kong and China.
(all USD conversion accurate as of 22nd Sep 2015 via XE UCC)

iPhone 6S

Country6S 64GB Price (native)6S 64GB Price (USD)6S 128GB Price (native)6S 128GB Price (USD)
Hong KongHK$6,388$824.00HK$7,188$927.00
ChinaRMB6,088$956.00RMB 6,888$1,082.00

iPhone 6S Plus
Country6S+64GB Price (native)6S+64GB Price (USD)6S+ 128GB Price (native)6S+ 128GB Price (USD)
Hong KongHK$7,188$927.00HK$8,088$1,044.00
ChinaRMB 6,888$1,082.00RMB 7,788$1,223.00

US is the cheapest of the six countries compared to get the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and UK/China’s selling price is the highest. To put things in perspective, comparing an iPhone 6S Plus 128GB’s pricing in UK (US$1223) vs US (US$979), the difference is almost 29%. This is partly due to the high sales tax in UK (20%) and China (17%). Hong Kong second cheapest due to their 0% sales tax. The weakening AUD has made it almost the same pricing in Australia and Singapore.

More updates when Apple Malaysia releases their pricing.

Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Yesterday Tim Cook announced the new generation iPhone. One size fits all no longer applies.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

We have gotten used to Steve Jobs telling us how the new iPhone looks like and we just decide on the color that fits us. Suddenly now we have to choose between 4.7″ and 5.5″. I still stand by the importance of usability in one hand, so 4.7″ is the natural choice for me. Using the Xiaomi MI3 as my secondary phone, the 5.0″ size is already a tad too big for one handed operation. I’m not one that watches drama on the phone frequently, so the slight decrease in screen real estate will be largely compensated by the usability derived from the smaller size.

Plenty of review sites has the low down on the features and differences so i won’t go into details. Coming from an iPhone 5, i would really want to see how i can utilize the Touch ID to secure applications, notes and also be used for contact-less payments, aka Apple Pay. The missing bit from the current contact-less payment system is the fingerprint authorization. With NFC built in now, i foresee endless possibilities to streamline payments and security system based on the combination of both.

Pre-order opens on 12th September 2014 in Singapore (Hong Kong, Australia and Japan are the other Asia countries) and ships on September 19th. Below are the pricing for Singapore.

iPhone 6 price table Singapore

iPhone 6 price table Singapore

Notice that they have removed the 32GB variant and step up immediately to 64GB. In this day and age, the amount of data stored on the phone is tremendous, so 16GB is probably for very light users. 64GB would be the sweet spot for many, including myself.

Waiting for Singtel to release news on their iPhone 6 pre-order now!

Xiaomi MI3 – Instagram upload turns into black image

The recent update for Instagram for Android has caused some of my Xiaomi MI3 uploads to turn black. It is extremely frustrating, especially after all that painstaking effort to make your picture look the way you want.


Fortunately, there is a fix.

Go to your profile tab (bottom right). The go to the OPTIONS page by click the three-dot icon on the top right corner.



Under SETTINGS, click on Camera.


By default, Use High-Quality Image Processing is turned ON. Slide the switch left to turn it OFF.


Viola! No more black photo uploads!

Choosing the (super) ideal diamond

In my quest to find the perfect proposal ring for my girlfriend, i’ve embarked on a journey to learn more about diamonds. It is something that one rarely pays any attention to, only relevant when you need to get one for your partner. I started on the HWZ forums, where there is an active thread on proposal rings and diamond discussion.  It is also the the place where i picked up most useful and relevant information, mostly from users that went through the same thought process when breaking the cherry on getting a proposal ring. For most,  it is our first time (and hopefully last), and diamond is a huge monetary investment, so most would like to get the best bang for their buck.

Most are familiar with the 4Cs – Carat, Clarity, Color, Cut.



The social norm focus mainly on carat, which usually is mistaken as the size of the diamond, but is actually the weight(mass). Reason i pointed this out is that you can have two diamonds of the same carat weight but one will appear larger than the other depending on way the diamond was cut.


Diamonds occur naturally in all colours of the rainbow. Generally, the rarest diamonds exhibit no colour at all (apart from fancy colours). Polished diamonds are graded for minute variations in depth of colour, from ‘colourless’ to ‘light colour’. This is universally known as the D (meaning ‘exceptional white’) to Z (‘tinted colour) colour scale. D, E, F are considered colourless. From my personal experience, I would actually go all the way down to a “G” color, as you can’t really see the yellow tint unless placed directly beside a much whiter diamond.


When we speak of a diamond’s clarity, we are referring to the presence of identifying characteristics on (blemishes) and within (inclusions) the stone. It is graded as per below:

F – Flawless: No internal or external flaws. Extremely rare.
IF – Internally Flawless: no internal flaws, but some surface flaws. Very rare.
VVS1-VVS2 – Very Very Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions very difficult to detect under 10x magnification by a trained gemologist. VVS1 means the inclusion is on the bottom half of the diamond, and VVS2 means it is on the top half of the diamond.
VS1-VS2 -Very Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification. VS1 means the inclusion is on the bottom half of the diamond, and VS2 means it is on the top half of the diamond.
SI1-SI2 – Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions more easily detected under 10x magnification. SI1 means the inclusion is on the bottom half of the diamond, and SI2 means it is on the top half of the diamond.
I1-I2-I3 – Included (three grades). Inclusions visible under 10x magnification AS WELL AS to the human eye. Not recommend buying diamonds in any of these grades.

Some common inclusions, as represented on the diamond’s cert, are Cloud, Feather, Pinpoint (the shape of the inclusions and blemishes).  My personal recommendation is at least get a VS2 diamond that is eye clean (can’t tell with naked eye looking VERY closely and carefully). Unless you are very concerned about the resale value of your diamond, you will need a 10x loupe to see the inclusions.

NOTE: Do not get blemish or inclusions that are near the girdle (edge of diamond), as it makes the diamond vulnerable to cracking when impact is applied. Diamond are the hardest element, but under these circumstances, can be brittle.



The cut is perhaps the most important factor in a diamond.  Cut is expressed in terms of the brilliance, fire and scintillation of a diamond. To maximise sparkle, a diamond must be cut to very specific parameters of angle and dimension with a strict attention to the polished finish of the diamond. General norm is that so long a diamond has a GIA Triple-Excellent or AGS Triple-Ideal (on Cut, Symmetry, Polish) rating, it is guaranteed to be a good diamond.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but a 3EX grading does not surely ensure a well cut diamond. This will only give you an Ideal cut diamond. To get the best diamond, we need to find the Super Ideal cut diamond.


Finding the Super Ideal diamond

If you inspect your GIA cert, you will see a number of values on the diamond. These values can help you filter out the great diamonds from the not-so-good ones. As the fire and scintillation mostly depends on light reflections, there are some values to take note of to ensure a well cut diamond. This will separate a Super Ideal cut from a normal Ideal cut.


1. Firstly, use the Holloway Cut Advisor (HCA tool) to determine it’s potential Light Return, Fire, Scintillation and Spread performance. A score of  below 1.5 is recommended. The lower the HCA score, the better the performance.

The Light Return, Fire and Scintillation should all return “Excellent“. Spread can be “Very Good” or “Excellent”.

URL: http://www.pricescope.com/tools/hca


2. Choose a diamond with values within these ranges for optimal performance

Pavilion Angle: range 40.3° – 41.1° (40.6° – 40.8° is optimum)

Total Depth: 59% To 62%

Crown angle: range 33.4° – 36.4° (34° – 35° is optimum)

Table Size: 53% To 58% (54%-57% is optimum)

Lower Girdle Halve length: 75% To 80% (77% is optimum)

Star Facet Length: 40% To 58% (45%-50% is optimum)

(values adapted from heartsandarrows.com)

To know more about what these values does, you can check out Hearts and Arrows DNA page.


3. Put the diamond under an ASET & IDEAL scope to see the symmetry of the cut. Nothing beats seeing it with your own eyes. Below is a reference comparison on the high performance diamonds compared to the rest of the common diamonds.


ASET scope and Ideal scope images comparison

The performance qualities in round brilliants are predominantly direct light (RED in both tools) contrast pattern (BLUE in ASET, BLACK in Ideal Scope) and leakage (WHITE in both tools) so both tools are well-suited to analyzing rounds.

High Performance (Rounds)

In high performance rounds RED is dominant, broken by an even BLUE contrast pattern. GREEN is present in small, symmetrical quantities. WHITE leakage should be minimized.

Brightness and Dispersion

Abundant RED indicates abundant light return, which most people find appealing. The balance of dispersion or “fire” seen will depend on the diamond’s configuration or “make” and must be assessed in-person. Large tables and shallow crowns have more whiteness then fire. Small tables and high crowns have more fire than whiteness. Middle combinations are balanced.


BLUE creates the contrast pattern in a round diamond. These areas are obscured by the observer in the face-up position. Tilt the diamond slightly and those areas erupt in light as others go dark. Tilt it more and they swap again. Keep tilting and the on-off sparkle you see is scintillation. In high performance diamonds the character of scintillation is influenced by the table and lower halves. Short lower halves result in fewer, broader flashes. Long lower halves create more numerous, smaller flashes. Middle combinations are balanced.


The Chosen One

After much tinkering, i settled on getting my diamond ring at JannPaul. I was not disappointed. The immense knowledge that they meticulously went through with me was definitely an eye opener. They have batches of Super Ideal diamonds for your selection, depending on your budget constraints and requirements. Below are the ASET and Ideal Scope images of the diamond i purchased.


JP Ideal Scope JP Aset Scope JP hearts and arrows JP actual diamond



There are of course more in depth research that you can do, but after reading pages after pages on selecting the holy grail of diamonds, i believe the points pointed out above is more than adequate for you to find a brilliant diamond for your beloved partner. Look out for her taking notice on any particular ring setting that she may like, be it vintage, tiffany-style, with 4 or 6-prongs etc. It will save yourself a lot less headache when it comes to figuring out what is it exactly that she will like.

When all else fails, ask. It is something that will be with her forever. The excitement of not know WHEN you will pop the question will still be special.

Apple iPad Air pricing comparion – Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, US, Hong Kong

As with my previous posting on the iPad 3 price comparison, i’m here to explore the pricing differentiation across various countries. With the iPad 3 pricing, Malaysia emerged as the cheapest place to get an iPad. This time round, i am comparing the pricing across five countries –Singapore, Malaysia,  Australia, US and Hong Kong.

I am using the lowest (16GB) and the highest (128GB) capacity for the Wifi-only and the Wifi + 4G models respectively. All pricing used are from the Space Grey models since there is no price difference for color choice on the Apple online store, and USD conversion are done using prevailing exchange rate (as of 9th Dec 2013) from XE.com. For the US Cellular iPad Air, i have used the ATT part number. Again, there is no price difference for the GSM/CDMA models.

CountryDescriptionPrice (native currency)Price (USD)
MalaysiaiPad Air Wi-Fi only 16GB (MD785ZP/A)RM 1,599.00$ 496.58
SingaporeiPad Air Wi-Fi only 16GB (MD785ZP/A)S$ 688.00$ 550.40
AustraliaiPad Air Wi-Fi only 16GB (MD785X/A)A$ 598.00$ 548.62
USAiPad Air Wi-Fi only 16GB (MD785LL/A)US$ 499.00$ 499.00
Hong KongiPad Air Wi-Fi only 16GB (MD785ZP/A)HK$ 3888$ 501.68
MalaysiaiPad Air Wi-Fi only 128GB (ME898ZP/A)RM 2,579.00$ 800.93
SingaporeiPad Air Wi-Fi only 128GB (ME898ZP/A)S$ 1,108.00$ 886.40
AustraliaiPad Air Wi-Fi only 128GB (ME898X/A)A$ 899.00$ 824.77
USAiPad Air Wi-Fi only 128GB (ME898LL/A)US$ 799.00$ 799.00
Hong KongiPad Air Wi-Fi only 128GB (ME898ZP/A)HK$ 6,288.00 $ 811.35
MalaysiaiPad Air Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD794ZP/A)RM 2,029.00$ 630.12
SingaporeiPad Air Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD794ZP/A)S$ 870.00$ 696.00
AustraliaiPad Air Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD794X/A)A$ 749.00$ 687.16
USAiPad Air Wifi + 4G 16GB (ME991LL/A - ATT)US$ 629.00$ 629.00
Hong KongiPad Air Wifi + 4G 16GB (MD794P/A)HK$ 4,888.00$ 630.71
MalaysiaiPad Air Wifi + 4G 128GB (ME987ZP/A)RM 2,999.00$ 931.37
SingaporeiPad Air Wifi + 4G 128GB (ME987ZP/A)S$ 1288.00$ 1030.40
AustraliaiPad Air Wifi + 4G 128GB (ME987X/A)A$ 1,049.00$ 962.39
USAiPad Air Wifi + 4G 128GB (MF015LL/A - ATT)US$ 929.00$ 929.00
Hong KongiPad Air Wifi + 4G 128GB (ME987ZP/A)HK$ 7,288.00$ 940.39

From the comparison table above, US is the cheapest place to get an iPad Air, with Malaysia coming at a very close second.

If you look at the 128GB 4G version, Singapore is retailing at US$1030.40 compared to the US at US$929.00. That is almost an 11% pricing difference, considering the fact that Singapore remains one of the cheapest country to get an iPad. This is partly due to the different taxes and duties, with European countries carrying an extra 25% premium over their US counterparts due to the higher sales tax across Europe.


How to: Transfer Google Contacts into iCloud easily

With the mobile platform war converging to two key players, Android and iOS, i am often asked how to migrate from one platform to another.

Here is a simple guide for Android users to migrate over to iOS via the use of Google Contacts (in your GMail) and iCloud. You will, of course, need to have a valid account on both.

1. Login to GMail.  Go to your Google Contacts (below the Google logo, click for drop down menu, select Contacts).

2. Click the More menu > Export.

Export to vCard format to import to iCloud

3. Choose the group or all of your contacts you wish to export, whichever you prefer. I selected “All Contacts” to export. Choose “vCard format” and click the Export button.

4. Choose “vCard format” and click the Export button.

5. Your browser will now automatically download or ask you to save a file named contacts.vcf. Put it on your desktop or a location you remember.

6. Log in to iCloud. www.icloud.com

7. Click on Contacts

8. Click on the gear button, and select Import vCard. Select the contact.vcf  file that you exported from Google Contacts in step 5. This will import all the contacts and might take a while, depending on the size of your contact list.

9. Once done, you should be able to see contacts propagated on your iCloud contact list.

10. On your iPhone/iPad, go to Settings > iCloud (sign in with the SAME iCloud account if you have not) and make sure Contacts is listed as ON. Contacts will slowly be synchronized over a period of time. (Mine took about 15minutes)

How to setup RSYNC backup on Linux (without password)

The following steps explains how to setup rsync over ssh that doesn’t ask for a password. This is helpful when you are scheduling a cron job for automatic backup using rsync.

1. Test rsync over ssh (with password):

Do a rsync to make sure it asks for the password for your account on the remote server, and successfully copies the files to the remote server.

The following example will synchronize the local folder /home/calvin to the remote folder /backup/calvin (on server).

This should ask you for the password of your account on the remote server.

rsync -avz -e ssh /home/calvin/ [email protected]:/backup/calvin/

2. ssh-keygen generates keys.

Now setup ssh so that it doesn’t ask for password when you perform ssh. Use ssh-keygen on local server to generate public and private keys.

$ ssh-keygen
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:

Note: When it asks you to enter the passphrase just press enter key, and do not give any password here.

3. ssh-copy-id copies public key to remote host

Use ssh-copy-id, to copy the public key to the remote host.

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

Note: The above will ask the password for your account on the remote host, and copy the public key automatically to the appropriate location.

4. Perform rsync over ssh without password

Now, you should be able to ssh to remote host without entering the password.

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