It might be the company I keep, but I rarely see or hear of many friends who still listen to classical music regularly anymore, if going by social media posts is any indicator. Just earlier this year, I shared a couple of Youtube videos of live recordings of pieces I enjoyed – including a lovely rendition of Handel’s Lascia Ch’io Piango aria as sung by New Zealander Hayley Westenra – and not surprisingly, very few seemed to respond to it. Not quite like the ‘Likes’ any one of Peter or Hannah’s pictures would routinely enjoy.

I’ve still continued eMusic’s subscription service since my last post about my love for the classics 4 years ago now, and picking up to a dozen classical albums each month under its service package – most of which I’ll go through, select, and pack them into the car audio for listening. If it weren’t for this service, I don’t think I’d ever discover much lesser known classical composers like Johann Fasch, Jean-Marie Leclair, Charles Villers Stanford or Pietro Locatelli. I’ve generally steered away from the well-known works from the mainstream composers on eMusic on the other hand – there are only so many versions of Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s London Symphonies, or Beethoven’s Piano Concertos I want to acquire!

Interestingly and perhaps reflecting also of young people trends, there are fewer manufacturers of dedicated MP3 players these days, what with many preferring to get their music fix via smartphones. Two of the holdouts still releasing updated models regularly are Sony and Cowon. My last MP3 player was a Cowon C2 which I bought from Amazon last year in March and had it shipped here. That little unit produced lovely audio, a very wide range of customization options, and a battery that seemed to run forever – and whose touchscreen zonked out last month. Arrgh. That was my second Cowon MP3 player over the last 5 years, and the first one also failed though for other reasons.

I wasn’t keen to return to Cowon players any time soon again, even though they are still routinely among audiophile’s favorite choices of personal audio units. I was however interested in trying out an Android-based MP3 player, if nothing else that they routinely come with larger touch-based screens, great customization options, and also running off an operating platform I was familiar with and like a lot – if also on the other hand, at the expense of usually shorter battery runlength and also overall stability.

The Sennheiser Momentum hooked up with the Sony F886.

The Sennheiser Momentum hooked up with the Sony F886.

So; in came the Sony Walkman NWZ-F886, and accompanying it a Sennheiser Momentum On the Go – that was picked up early this month. There weren’t that many choices for Android-based MP3 players, quite unlike the almost bewildering range of headphones out there from dirt cheapo ones under $10 to premium ones that have everything and cost a few thousand moola. And after a fortnight of use:

Customization – hooray!

Svelte form factor. Compact, light, and its case that oozes confidence and density – none of that creaky stuff that you get with cheap plastics. Very premium-looking too.

Pretty good audio – and almost as good as the Cowon players.

Android runs well on it. No lag or stuttering observed in music playback. Haven’t quite stress-loaded it with other apps though (no intention to).

Reasonably high-resolution screen for me to squint at the album covers.

Charges quickly.

On the other hand:

Battery isn’t as cracked up as others have suggested. I’m maybe squeezing about 15+ hours of it with some light usage of the screen and scrolling about albums.

Finger-print magnet.

Somewhat low screen viewing angles.

Dated Android OS at 4.1.1, even with the most recent firmware update.

Uses Sony’s proprietary charging and data cables.

On the overall, I’m pretty happy with it – not that I would have had much other choices if i wasn’t!

Discovering Schubert's Overtures - thanks to eMusic.

Discovering Schubert’s Overtures – thanks to eMusic – and also all of Rossini’s Overtures, part of Christian Benda’s series of recordings with the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra.

 

 

Been another long while since I did a post on our kids! So, lots of pictures in this update post. I think we’re blessed in that both Hannah and Peter’s birthdays are in the month of June – which nicely coincides with the stipulated school holidays in the public school calendar. We celebrated both their birthdays at home; with friends in Hannah’s case, and with our larger family for Peter. Hannah is of course at an age now where she recognizes the significance of having a birthday, and that it’s not just about having more presents and toys to play with. Peter on the other hand was completely nonplus about it and probably wondered what all the fuss was about when the family all gathered around him for the celebration song.

Hannah just turned five!

Hannah just turned five!

And received from us a Nikon compact camera as a birthday present.

And received from us a Nikon compact camera as a birthday present.

Hannah admiring her just taken-selfie, while Peter looks bewildered at the bounced flash that just triggered to take this picture.

Hannah admiring her just taken-selfie, while Peter looks bewildered at the bounced flash that just triggered to take this picture.

We haven't bought Hannah a lot to swim in the new main pool @ Minton, given that our weekends have been quite packed with activities. She's been taking swimming lessons too at school, so is more comfortable now in the water.

We haven’t bought Hannah a lot to swim in the new main pool @ Minton, given that our weekends have been quite packed with activities. She’s been taking swimming lessons too at school, so is more comfortable now in the water.

We've started letting Peter have his tidbits of food with us when we eat out of home. Necessary method of engagement, otherwise he'd just bawl (out of boredom?!).

We’ve started letting Peter have his tidbits of food with us when we eat out of home. Necessary method of engagement, otherwise he’d just bawl (out of boredom?!).

Peter more interested in his birthday cake than the singing.:)

Peter more interested in his birthday cake than the singing.:)

Peter is nearly able to stand unsupported on his own now. At the moment, he can keep his balance for a few seconds, but he's getting there.

Peter is nearly able to stand unsupported on his own now. At the moment, he can just barely keep his balance for a few seconds, but he’s getting there.

Six months ago I picked up the Google Nexus 7, that very compact Android tablet designed by Google. The tablet is still very much alive – to/fro from home and work every day, and inside the side pockets of my berms over the weekends. Something happened though that I didn’t anticipate when I bought the Nexus 6 months ago – specifically, that I’d start developing Old Flower Eyes (short-formed to OFE for this post) earlier this year. For our Ang Mo buddy, Old Flower Eyes is a literal translation of a Chinese phrase that describes Hyperopia, or farsightedness. The funniest thing is that I only realized I was gradually developing OFE in February this year, though the farsightedness started around the end of last year already.

As for what to do with it; the optician I went to to consult if I needed a pair of progressive glasses shared – with a chuckle – that a pair of such glasses will nicely solve the reading difficulties I’ve got, but I shouldn’t get them yet – because my eye-sight has yet to worsen to the point it won’t get worse. Gaaahh.

in the mean time, the Google Nexus 7 and its compact screen was making it harder to read things now. Oh, I had a custom ROM installed on it that allowed for a generous re-sizing on-screen fonts, but it wasn’t fool-proof, and many a time, the font had to get so big, that a simple web page with any length of text would mean a lot of scrolling just to get to the end of it. I’d initially intended to pick up the third generation iPad mini at the end of this year to replace the Nexus 7 then, but the worsening eyesight basically brought forward that purchase, and I settled for an iPad Retina Mini LTE; the second generation model in its series.

The Google Nexus 7 and iPad Mini Retina, both from 2013's line-up.

The Google Nexus 7 and iPad Mini Retina, both from 2013′s line-up.

The new iPad still fits nicely into the side-pockets for most of my berms, though not into the pockets any longer – not quite like the Nexus 7 which could fit easily, and even the jeans backpockets. The battery runs for quite a bit longer than the Nexus too for my usage pattern, though iOS 7 still feels constricted in how far I can customize the look and feel of the tablet, especially coming out from the Android OS. It’ll be interesting to see how the iOS 8 fares, though judging from the many preview articles about it now, it’ll still be some ways off from the sheer customization possible only on Android.

19. June 2014 · 1 comment · Categories: All Posts, At Home, New Home · Tags:

One of the (relatively) more novel things we did for our new Minton home was to invest in a dishwasher machine. We’ve blogged here previously about our thought-process in going with a bit more automation in the kitchen, and the space considerations we had in mind in view of that. The short version of that is that we were lucky to be able to move our laundry machine out from the original Developer-supplied spot in the kitchen into the yard, therefore freeing up that space for us to put a dishwasher and additional storage in.

While there are quite a few dishwasher models from major brands on sale in home appliance stores here, I’m not sure if these appliances are really staple items for Singaporean households. For starters, our parents’ generation had no such appliances in the kitchen, and within our generation of friends and people of our age with families, we do observe one or two families with these devices but it’s not a common household item either; unlike say vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, laundry machines and the like.  We decided early on we’d go with a compact/half-height dishwasher, largely on account that:

We wouldn’t be using the dishwasher that often. On non-school holiday periods, the only times we’d cook would be during weekends.

We don’t have that many mouths to feed at this point. Peter is fed separately, and Hannah uses children-size crockery.

We didn’t like the idea of having the entire cavity vacated by the laundry machine used by a full-sized and relatively tall dishwasher.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have quite a wide range of compact dishwashers to choose from, so eventually settled on the Bosch SKS62E12EU. This dishwasher now sits in a customized cabinet our Interior Designer constructed, with a quartz hard-surface counter-top too. Our experience six weeks into using this machine has been on the whole positive. Great things about the machine:

Reasonably cheap. The compact dishwashers we saw were routinely cheaper than the full-height ones.

Easily accepts all-in-one capsule detergent solutions, though the makers of such detergent solutions seemed limited to just two at the big supermarket chains.

Very quiet. Whisper quiet even!

Great for small families.

Great for already small kitchens, like our Minton home.

Utensils and crockery come out clean, for the most part. Ling remarked on the first use that there was some mild residue on a few of the cleaned items, but we didn’t observe it further on.

But on the other hand:

Difficulties fitting medium-sized and larger pans with their long handles. It’d be a non-starter if use big frying pans with long handles and must wash them in these machines.

Long wash-cycle (3 hrs on default settings).

Will be too small if you use a lot of crockery in food preparation, or have a lot of mouths to feed

In particular, the long wash-cycle is something we had to adjust to – since washing crockery by hand would routinely take just minutes, making those items quickly available for re-use.

Still, the appliance has proven quite handy. It doesn’t draw attention to itself when it’s operating, and when not in use, blends in nicely with the rest of the kitchen finishing too. Though I suspect when over time when there are finally four adults to feed in our household, we might look into a larger unit then.

Our Bosch compact dishwasher sits in a customized cabinet. We gave some finger clearance  when deciding how large the cavity was going to be to house the appliance.

Our Bosch compact dishwasher sits in a customized cabinet. We gave some finger clearance when deciding how large the cavity was going to be to house the appliance.

Typical rinse cycle is 3 hours. Runs very quietly.

Typical rinse cycle is 3 hours. Runs very quietly.

Not fully-loaded. The dishwasher can contain more material than this.

Not fully-loaded. The dishwasher can contain more material than this.

Straight on view of the interior. Do observe the height clearance for utensils and cookery.

Straight on view of the interior. Do observe the height clearance for utensils and cookery.

 

 

There was a news article not too long ago reporting of workmanship issues at The Canopy Executive Condominum, a newly completed apartment project here on our island. In that instance, the general issues faced by new apartment owners apparently were so pervasive and widespread that news media took interest in their story.

To be fair again, our Minton unit was in a reasonably good state when we got the keys in January, and the first defect rectification went more/less smoothly helped by a jolly worker in-charge and an effective customer service officer who acted as the go-between us and the worker team. We were aware however of several neighbors who weren’t quite so fortunate over the last couple of months, though now that most units are already moved-in or in the middle of renovation, we’ve been hearing less of early defect issues coming out of newly received units. Still and mindful of what the The Canopy EC residents encountered, I wonder though if such workmanship issues are endemic to mass market apartment projects, and that it seems whether one gets a unit that’s in an alright state against one that has numerous issues is a crap shoot.

Now that our unit has been lived in for almost 6 weeks now, we’ve started to also observe little issues coming out of it. Nothing that poses danger to life and limb thankfully. Several of these annoyances we just shrug away – I’m certain that the longer we stay in it, the less these minor things will bother us – but one issue did bother Ling, and that was specifically how grouting was done in the living/dining hall and the kitchen. We heard a couple of our neighbors sharing that the grouting for their units were so badly done that they came off after a few floor cleanings.

Ours was thankfully in a relatively better state on the overall – in that they didn’t dissolve and stayed sealed for the grouts in the living and dining halls even though they still aren’t as nicely done as we would have liked them. Just as well, since it’d be hard for grouting to be redone for the living/dining hall now that all our furniture has gone in. The kitchen grout was a different story though – they were of uneven color. Some of it was white, others cream, and several were even grey.

Visible grout hole where the skirting is in the kitchen.

Visible grout hole where the skirting is in the kitchen.

Different grout colors.

Different grout colors.

And Ling would have had none of it, since she spends so much time in the kitchen and she’d have to look at it everyday. So, we contacted our customer service officer – a different lass as the previous one who served us very well had since left the company – over for an inspection a fortnight ago, had a short inspection to ascertain the scope of work, and re-grouting work started shortly thereafter and over the weekend. We also took the opportunity too to get cracklined tiles around the rubbish chute replaced, likewise also for a chipped marble floor tile in the master bedroom toilet – though the worker ended up accidentally damaging a neighboring tile, meaning two tiles had to be replaced.

Kitchen floor re-grouted.

Kitchen floor re-grouted. Looks much better now!

Looking much better after the excess dried up grout had been sanded away.

The excess dried up grout had been sanded away.

Two tiles removed. One which was chipped, and another which was the result of collateral damage.

Two tiles removed. One which was chipped, and another which was the result of collateral damage.

Laying down the new tile!

Laying down the new tile!

 

Newly laid tiles in the master bathroom. Not quite exactly the same tone, but at least no chipping.

Newly laid tiles in the master bathroom. Not quite exactly the same tone, but at least no chipping.

27. May 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: All Posts, At Home · Tags:

The several news articles reporting of the worsening smog in Beijing this year had a side-effect; they reminded those of us in Singapore of the dreaded haze from last year, and that it was only going to be a matter of time when the effects of slashing and burning tactics employed by Indonesian farmers coupled with weather phenomena would once again reach Singapore. So, when local news reported last week that the haze was not only going to return soon, it looks to be even worse than last year’s, it was largely received by persons here with a mix of mostly disappointment and resignation as opposed to shock, going with social media at least.

We went without air purifiers last year, and instead relocating most of what we did at home to the master bedroom at our old home. This year with Peter at home, we’re even less inclined to risk living with the bad air. So, we started scouting around for air purifiers over the last week. Our requirements were quite specific again; we’d likely be relocating most of what we do at home to the master bedroom at our new Minton home, so the air purifier unit would need to easily work with a room of that size. We wanted also a unit that was True Hepa certified, and also with filter parts easily available for end-user purchase.

The Honeywell purifiers were the most consistently highly-rated units on online chatter and are priced attractively in the US but apparently heavily marked up by the local distributors. We thought of picking them up through Amazon but didn’t want to have to deal with having to use stepped-down transformers. Of the bunch of alternatives, the Sharp and Philips purifiers seem to be quite popular, but we eventually settled on a Novita NAP 611-i. The Novita purifiers seem to be relatively well-received on online forums and popular purchases too. We eyed the the NAP 611-i which ticked all the boxes. The unit was a $599, but we got it at $500 at Goh Ah Bee, a home appliance store located at Kovan and quite near The Minton. The unit came with a extra complimentary filter set – nice – which immediately extends the longevity of the unit, assuming if everyone else works to expectation in the years to come.

Very stylish looking too.

Very stylish looking too.

The complimentary filter pack; the pack contains one each of the cool catalyst, granular activated carbon, and the True Hepa filters.

The complimentary filter pack; the pack contains one each of the cool catalyst, granular activated carbon, and the True Hepa filters.

Fan-intake,

Fan-intake.

Four of the five filters. From left to right; 1. Washable mesh filter 2. Cool catalyst filter 3. Granular Activated Carbon filter 4. 99.97% True Hepa filter The fifth filter is the ionizer is built-in and can be turned off from what I've read.

Four of the five filters. From left to right;
1. Washable mesh filter
2. Cool catalyst filter
3. Granular Activated Carbon filter
4. 99.97% True Hepa filter
The fifth filter is the ionizer is built-in and can be turned off from what I’ve read.

The unit seemed to work just fine, though we’ll have to wait till the haze actually returns in a couple of weeks to see how it’ll operate under stress. More to report when that time comes!

Most new condo projects on our island routinely try to design their blocks such that each unit’s living and bedroom areas are in the north-south orientation, and in so doing avoid the afternoon sun that can otherwise blast unrelentingly into the rooms. Most of the units in The Minton are north-southerly facing (with the exception of one block!), including ours.

A year ago while I was doing my fortnightly photo-visits to the ongoing construction site then, I observed that our front balcony would get some morning sun. Not quite an issue for us. And when keys were collected in January this year, we again observed that there would be some mild afternoon sun getting into Peter’s room – but not the other bedrooms. Whew – we thought. But then, exactly as Ling feared, this was a seasonal thing, and since 3 weeks ago, our Tranquil World facing bedrooms have been getting some direct sunlight into the rooms. Not full-on thankfully in the east-west sense, but sufficient to heat up the room to the point that it’s noticeable. Hannah’s room and our workroom are especially affected, since the Zebra blinds we’ve got there can’t block a sufficient amount of sunlight.

So, we had to look into window films and specifically of the solar control type. There were already several advertisers promoting their various brands on different web sites and the like, and it was some intensive fact-finding on our part. And also because solar control films are a commonly-requested product for new built-up apartments on a hot and humid equatorial island, our mail box over the last months have been stuffed with flyers and brochures from many, many window film contractors.

Without getting too much into our exploration process, what we’ve learned in the last one week – from deciding to go with films to learning about the different film types and specifications to inviting different contractors down for measurements to deciding who to go with and finally actual installation – include:

Competition in this industry seems extremely intense. We heard and read of stories of companies badmouthing their competitors products.

The more affordable films seem compacted around the same price range (about $4 to $6 per square foot).

Most films we saw all offered 99% UV rejection, and Solar energy Rejection was routinely between 45% to 55%. The other characteristics (Visible Light Transmission, Warranty, Infra-red Rejection) varied significantly however.

Some characteristics of the film are (a lot) more important than others. The important ones are Total Solar Energy Rejected and Visible Light Transmittance if you’re also concerned about how much darker your room might be once films are installed.

With regards to the last point, there are quite a few online resources that debate on the often-cited Infra-red rejection film characteristic how what it really means, including here, here and here. The long and shot of what those resources all say is that IR rejection statements needs to be read with caution.

Lots of brochures and flyers from window film contractors.

Lots of brochures and flyers from window film contractors.

As for the other characteristics; after having been convinced about the importance of the selected film characteristic indicators, we invited several film contractors down for their sales pitches, measurements and quotations. Not quite easy deciding between the lot, but we eventually settled on LLumar solar control films, and with a contractor who was its local distributor. The film manufacturer seemed well-established and having been in the business for decades, and their films well-reviewed and received too and used across different purposes. The cost per square foot of their solar control films were just a little higher than their competitor products, but we were persuaded to take up their package largely on account that their films seemed in our exploration to be most premium of the bunch.

The installation took 2 afternoons, and we had different film types installed for the living/dining halls and the bedrooms. The two films’ Visible Light Transmittance was 48% and 60% for the Living/Dining halls and bedrooms respectively, and both offered 53-54% Total Solar Energy rejections. Total damage was almost $1.9K. Ouch!

Photos.:)

Workers going about it in our workroom.

Window Film Workers going about installation in our workroom.

And in Hannah's room.

And in Hannah’s room.

Oh yes. We had roller blinds installed in our front balcony too. The contractor was the same fellow who's done all of our blinds and curtains too.

Oh yes. We had roller blinds installed in our front balcony too. The contractor was the same fellow who’s done all of our blinds and curtains too.

 

Catching up on another post of our children in the last fortnight. Another recent thing we’ve gradually realize of our new home is that the Tranquil World-facing bedrooms of our unit – which includes Hannah’s room – gets a seasonal blast of direct sunlight. We didn’t observe this earlier in the year at the time we collected our keys, but possibly also in good part that the weather has turned hot and humid again, their room gets a good toasting in the early to mid-afternoons every day. As a result, We’ve been looking closely at solar films and will have some notes to write on very soon.

We’re still thankful that Peter sleeps soundly every night, but boy – can he make a royal din in the day time. It might be the effect of his room facing inwards against other neighboring blocks and how sound bounces around coupled also with his very healthy pair of lungs, but when he yells, we’re pretty sure everyone can hear it. Yep; he yells for attention, not merely cries for it! Hannah loves playing with him still, but when she’s busy with something else (like her art n’ craft), our boy gets all moody and will holler when he’s left alone in his cot.

Ling was sharing too the other morning that our girl has reported being occasionally called names by her friends in school. Nope we’re not going to step-in at the moment, since this is part of growing up and she doesn’t seem too bothered by it. But if that’s indeed happening, it doesn’t surprise us too much either – on account that Hannah is just a little bossy and has no compunctions telling other kids off when they engage in acts she believes are wrong. She has the makings of a a social butterfly for sure.

And of late, she’s returned again to carrying sheets of stickers that she brings along with her when we’re out of home, and passes them out to other children that she walks past. “Mommy/Daddy/whoever’s nearer, can you cut this sticker out? I want to pass it to that 妹妹 (little sister)!” In fact, we’ve had to reign her in a little one time when she wanted to run off to the other side of a Metro store to look for a girl that walked past her several minutes ago LOL.

The two kids at play at our new home on a weekend morning.

The two kids at play at our new home on a weekend morning.

Hannah having fun with ice water and a straw. This was over dinner at a Malay-Muslim cafe @ Hougang Avenue 1. They whipped up wonderful Roti Johns (our Ang mo friend will be thrilled to hear that!).

Hannah having fun with ice water and a straw. This was over dinner at a Malay-Muslim cafe @ Hougang Avenue 1. They whipped up wonderful Roti Johns (our Ang mo friend will be thrilled to hear that!).

Peter's gonna be one year old very soon.

Peter’s gonna be one year old very soon.

Her new post-it notice board mounted in her room. Hopefully, no more loose pieces of all her drawings all over the house now.

Her new post-it notice board mounted in her room. Hopefully, no more loose pieces of all her drawings all over the house now.

Aside from the carpentry work that we included into our workroom at our Minton home – which was a lot – the only other renovation item we put in was to draw two additional LAN points, one on either side of the room. But we just discovered before the public holiday yesterday that our electrician had made a bloop when the cables were laid a few months ago. We’d requested for Cat 6 cables, but what we got were actually Cat 5e’s. Our ID was shocked when we appraised him of it, apologized sincerely, and promised to get to the bottom of it. Though at this point, we’re not sure what can really be done aside from the usual refund of work that was not quite what we wanted – since the two cables are running through false walls, up to false ceilings, across a good part of the house, and ending where our apartment’s main junction box is.

Oh dear. Says clearly that it's 5E and not 6.

Oh dear. Says clearly that it’s 5e and not 6.

Adding on to another issue we discovered of our electrician’s work (basically that he took a few short cuts when installing those very tricky LED downlights), Ling is so very not-pleased with this subcon’s work. To be fair though, the Cat 5e cables are already reasonably good for our current needs since they theoretically support Gigabit Ethernet networks – but putting aside that we really should get what we paid for, the Cat 6 is simply the higher spec-ed and more stringent standard. And not forgetting future-proofing our home too for better connectivity standards in years to come too. We’re waiting for our ID to get back to us on this and what he’s going to do to make good, so more updates to come at some point, probably.

That aside; a good part of the weekend was spent installing and configuring our home office multi-function printer. We’ve been using dedicated laser-printers for a long while now ever since they reached consumer-friendly price-points just before the turn of the century – but for our new home, decided to bump it up to a multi-function printer instead. My key requirements in the recent hunt for one such were that it would had to:

Support the three functions we use: scanning, printing, copying

Support wireless printing

Support automatic duplex printing

Support scanning to email (but more on this later)

Offer an unexposed paper tray

Use an automatic document feeder

Pretty much everything that I use at my own office printers and have come to require in order to be work-effective. Not surprisingly too, the mainstream printer manufacturers all seem to recognize how important are these printers to small home-offices, so they routinely offer at least a few models that meet all these standard requirements, largely differing only along how large these printers are, their price-points, warranty and support policies, and additional features. We’ve had pretty decent experiences using Fuji laser printers previously, so opted for the Fuji Docuprint M255z, a widely carried model in most computer and electronic appliance stores. The printer is about the most affordably priced in its range at S$309 with an additional $40 worth of everyone’s favorite shopping vouchers – NTUC Fairprice ones – and comes with a hefty 4 year warranty period too.

On the down side, the printer is a little larger at its footprint than competing models, and it just barely fit into the bay window ledge. Particularly; the enclosed paper tray sticks out at the base by a couple of inches while the back of the printer is recessed by about the same amount (duh!) – so if table area is premium for you, then you might need to look elsewhere.

Pretty large fellow.

Pretty large fellow.

Configuring the printer was a different story altogether though. Printing, copying and scanning were easy enough. Connecting it to work wirelessly, and to send content to a common shared directory in our home network were much tougher. The printer didn’t seem to work with 5 GHz wireless networks, which meant I had to also use the routinely more congested 2.4 GHz wireless network for our home. Nor can I get the scan to email feature working properly yet. Bummer.

Many homeowners when putting together the furnishings for their new apartments will routinely check out Ikea. We’ve had pretty varied experiences with Ikea furniture at our Rivervale home. Basically ‘good’ for their baby changing table and baby chairs, ‘so-so’ for lighting fixtures and sofas, and just ‘godawful’ for their book shelving (they started sagging after 6 months). The fact that their self-assembled furniture though are priced so low has meant we still check their two large stores out to find items that we can get that won’t be too painful even if they don’t work as well as expected.

Shopping @ Ikea Tampines

Shopping @ Ikea Tampines

Our purchases for our Minton home this time round have included quite a large number of items on top of the previously blogged lighting and 1.5 seater sofa, and they are:

Bathroom clothing hooks

Bathroom towel rods

Bedroom full-length mirror

Children bedroom shelves and clothing hooks

Living room photo frames

Bathroom full-height open shelf

Foyer shoe bench

Outdoor furniture: rocking armchairs and sidetable

The last three items were packed flat and unassembled – one of the well-known characteristics of Ikea’s offerings. We had the option of having the store deliver and assemble it for us, but like many Singapore families, we brought the furniture back in our trusty family sedan and assembled it at home. I was able to assemble the whole bunch of items pretty easily without hitches except for the Molger shelf. Pretty sure I followed the instructions closely, but the joining screws wouldn’t go in all the way, resulting in noticeable gaps between the supporting struts and beams. Oh well.

Kitchen appliance rods; no assembly required - just drilling.

Kitchen appliance rods; no assembly required – just drilling.

A POÄNG armchair as packed in flat boxes.

A POÄNG armchair as packed in flat boxes. $99 a pop including the cushion.

Two POÄNG armchairs + Lack sidetable - all done. Pretty easy to assemble too.

Two POÄNG armchairs + LACK sidetable ($17.90) – all done. Pretty easy to assemble too.

TJUSIG Shoe bench - easily assembled too.

TJUSIG Shoe bench ($129) – easily assembled too.

MOLGER shelving unit ($99) in the bathoom, and a real pain to assemble.

MOLGER shelving unit ($99) in the bathoom, and a real pain to assemble.