Secretlab Omega chairs – Not for non-airconditioned rooms

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Boxed with loads of foam sheets, bubble wrap

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Boxed with loads of foam sheets, bubble wrap

First post of 2017, and a non-sponsored one hor.

The name Secretlab popped up on my Facebook feed about a year ago. A friend got Secretlab’s flagship model but I didn’t think much about it at that time. $ was the main obstacle. Starting at $500+, it was priced at an uncomfortable level. Very uncomfortable, as the past two chairs of mine cost my wallet <$200 each.


Photo | BIG_MOUSE | From left to right: Novena’s mid-range chair ($199), Secretlab’s Omega ($499) & IKEA’s basic chair ($ – Can’t remember)

My IKEA chair took a beating after just about a year. To be fair, it is the oldest chair in this line-up. My opinion: don’t buy chairs with PVC lining – won’t last.

On the left, a mid-range model from Novena that comes lined with PU, just like Secretlab’s Omega. This chair has been with me for close to three years. The lining’s fine to my surprise, but butt support has degraded somewhat. Bought this no-frills chair from the Novena outlet at the now defunct Funan Digitalife Mall.

In the middle is the Secretlab Omega. Launched in 2015, the Omega comes with pretty-firm foam innards (I like – my bed is super hard too). After a month of use, the PU leather hasn’t creased a bit nor has the foam sagged or even showed signs of compression fatigue. The adjustable hand rests and consistent hydraulic performance (at the lowest setting always) are a good to have, but don’t really concern me. What I like about the Omega are the nice car-seat feeling it offers (+ the ability to recline really far back just like a car seat) and the firm ‘ride’. The tall backrest allows me to keep my neck straight too.

One major letdown is heat. The chair can get quite hot. It doesn’t dissipate heat as well as mesh chairs – like duh right. If you use it in an airconditioned room, not a problem.

The usual price is $629 but Secretlab it seems likes to offer promotional rates. I got mine at $499 with free delivery ($19 usually), after saving up for a few months. Ordering was free of fuss. Would suggest you wait for special occasions like festivals, etc, to get better deals.

Now to see how long the Omega and specifically the PU leather skin will last. Hopefully at least 3 years.

My Mi Air Purifier: 6 months in

Bought in March 2016 at $279 (this NTUC Fairprice promo is still on), the Mi Air Purifier from Xiaomi has gone through six months of light torture.

There wasn’t much haze to test it on (which isn’t a bad thing), but I’m surprised the filter turned this grey. So, I suppose the machine is doing what it is supposed to do, while yet being super quiet.

Filter cartridge on top is new, bottom one is six months of age. The filter costs $49.90 which is priced reasonably considering higher priced variants of other brands.

In fact, buy the Mi Air Purifier at the new Mi Shop at Suntec City to get one filter free-of-charge.
Recommended filter change interval = Three to six months.

And apart from a filter change, the machine needed some TLC. The fan blades and air intakes needed a wipe down. Have a vacuum cleaner nearby for faster maintenance. 

Not a sponsored post.

Shopback’s got my back

On 15 August, I successfully transferred the first batch of hard-earned cash rebates to my bank account. I have about $10 more in my Shopback account to cash out. I signed up for a Shopback account in March.

So for online shopperholics, here’s how you can earn cash rebates on top of the discounts offered by online shopping sites.

Tip #1: Sign up for a Shopback account only when there is a promotion. In this way, you will get bonus cashback to kickstart your digital Shopback wallet. In April, I signed up using a UOB promo code and got $13 added into my Shopback wallet. Not a bad starting point. But don’t be happy just yet. See next tip.

Tip #2: You can cash out the cash rebates earned through Shopback only after you actually earn $10. In my case, I had to have $23 in my account before I could transfer the cash rebates earned to my bank account.

Tip #3: Thereafter, you can cash out the rebates every time you have at least $10 in your Shopback wallet. You gotta wait 7-14 days for the transfer to go through.

Tip #4: You can only earn cashback when you click through Shopback’s website or the recently launched Shopback app. This means you have to visit Shopback’s page, then click on the merchant you wanna shop at, then shop away.

Tip #5: After clicking on the merchant icon, please read the instructions very closely. If you were to miss just one step, no cash rebates for you. These steps, to me, can be quite troublesome. The new app has helped a bit. But what’s a little pain for some extra $.

The $44 or so rebates I have earned, are from Lazada, Groupon, Foodpanda and Uber. Yes, you can get $0.30  $0.20 currently in Shopback cash rebates for every Uber ride. This is on top of whatever discounts/ promo codes Uber offers.

Have fun exploring!

If you want to see Shopback’s how-it-works page, visit

Also note that Shopback now has a coupons page, to help suss out coupon codes and deals. No harm checking it to for more savings eh?

Note: Have been invited by Shopback to review their cashback services.


Battery powered locks for the keyless


Away with the manual deadbolt.

[Not a sponsored post]

Ever imagined a world without physical keys? It’s technically possible with battery operated locks that accept pin code, RFID card and fingerprint entry. It’s been on my mind for some years, but delayed the installation due to cost.

Fast forward some years later, the prices of such locks have generally gone down, with some going for as low as $100+ without installation on online shopping sites. I decided to go with a local retailer and installer to put my mind at ease, and leave Qoo10 behind this time round.

What were my considerations?

Firstly, price. I wasn’t going to part with $1K just to replace locks. Not that this point in time. Price will determine what kind of features you get with the lock though. To save some, you can buy from lesser known shops. I got this lock from Interlock.

Secondly, complexity. As my fire-rated door is more than 10 years old, it is not going to make much sense overhauling the locks completely. I wanted a simpler solution which doesn’t involve much drilling and tearing out of old locks.

Thirdly, brand. While I didn’t need a top of the range model, I didn’t want an unbranded, unreliable one. A reputable-in-the-market system with some form of warranty would make more sense.

The world calls this a digital lock. I call it a glorified battery operated lock for the lazy.

This particular assembled-in-Korea model from Gateman (Yale’s the parent company according to the installer) costs $368, a good hundred bucks cheaper than its sibling that reads fingerprints and over a couple of hundred moolahs cheaper than the Yale equivalent.

The Gateman A20 is quite a looker. Sleek front plate with a fierce looking locking rear mechanism that locks with confidence and is supposedly more secure with the added ‘claws’. The A20 accepts up to 20 RFID cards or tags (reads my tags a little slowly, imo) and allows you to set a security pin code that allows you access if you were to forget your cards or tags. Installed within 30 mins; only one drill hole needed to mount the front plate and connect it to the rear locking mechanism.

Like all battery powered equipment, the A20 is susceptible to battery leaks. The installer advised me to change the 4 AAs every six to seven months, even though they may last nine to 12 months. And it’s best to use dry cells, if not, alkaline ones.

While I have one less key in my pouch, the A20 doesn’t relieve me of all my keys. I still need keys to unlock my home’s first layer of defence – the old school wrought iron gate – and my letter box.

Installing a battery operated lock on a gate like mine isn’t smart imo, if you are looking for a secure solution. Essentially, your gate will only be as secure as the old-school lock used to secure a metal box that covers the battery operated lock. The locked metal box is meant to keep ‘malicious’ fingers off the unlock button at the back of the lock. No issue with wooden doors, as there is no easy way for someone to press the unlock button from outside.

Here are a couple of photos:


Front plate – a looker


The Claws

Would I recommend you the A20? Yes, if you just want a no-frills lock. No, if you only want to unlock your door using your fingerprint. I couldn’t bring myself to pay $100 more.

Teardown: Diamond Water Filter System

My first teardown in forever. For years, my family relied on Diamond Energy Water, after having put the water through various tests which showed the benefits of drinking Diamond (instead of drinking directly from the tap).

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Diamond Energy Water System

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Diamond Energy Water System

The time came for us to change almost all of the six filters embedded within the system. We decided not to, mainly due to cost and the age of the system. The white cabinet is no longer white.

For me, I have always wondered why manufacturers don’t encase their filters in transparent materials. A water filter system is defined by its filters. Show off what your filters are made of. Be proud.

So, for you guys, here’s a teardown, a look into – and inside – the filters. We put them filters under the knife, for you. You can then make a decision on whether to get a Diamond system, or not.

Filter A

Official description: The world’s best impregnated ceramic filter, which has been awarded NSF Certification, thoroughly removes bacteria and impurities like dirt, silt and rust.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter A

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter A

The ceramic filter inside Filter A, when new, is pure white.

Filter B

Official description: Activated carbon removes unpleasant odours and colours, while natural mineral stones regulate mineral content.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter B

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter B

Filter C

Official description: Composed of Grade A activated carbon and a KDF metal ion converter (meeting the standards stipulated by the FDA and EPA of the United States), this filter completely removes heavy metals, chlorine, and other chemical contaminants.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter C

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter C

Filter D

Official description: The CE3000PI Energy Conversion technology of Japan effectively breaks water molecules into the smallest possible clusters; making it easier for our body to absorb. It also increases the dissolved oxygen content in the water.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter D

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter D

Filter E

Official description: A high-tech ID3 energy stabiliser with far infrared technology stabilises energy in the water to keep water molecule clusters at the smallest size for a prolonged period of time.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter E

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter E

Filter F

Official description: High-density activated carbon combined with natural magnetic stones help balance the water to a mild alkaline level and increase the number of calcium ions to further enhance health.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter F

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Filter F

After dissection, filters B, C, E and F look similar + Black material plus some stones, just in different colours. Filter C comes with an additional thingy – KDF-55. Filter D is filled with whitish balls in two sizes. Filter A is expected and required in water filtration systems, just implemented differently.

And you may have noticed the different filter label designs – Older design = the blue and white ones labelled Diamond. Newer design = the green and pale yellow ones labelled TDM (I don’t know what is TDM).

I’m just glad we moved away from this bulky, costly 6-stage system, which to some is filled with (activated) carbon and only carbon.

See Pea Argh – #NationOfLifeSavers

In the most useful in-camp training yet, I successfully completed all requirements of the ‘Home Team First Aid with Basic Cardiac Life Support and CPR + Automated External Defibrillator’ course, together with about 40 other participants.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Lifesaver

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Lifesaver

As part of certification, we had to do CPR on a high-tech dummy with an embedded metal structure simulating the human ribs. And my, it was tough. After just 5 cycles of 30 compressions and 2 breaths each, I had to wipe beads of perspiration off my forehead while catching my breath. This test, one of many, was conducted in a freezing cold room, by the way.

The AED training is useful. I finally had the opportunity to get acquainted with the machine that works hand in hand with CPR to increase victims’ chance of survival.

In Singaporean style, there is an acronym for everything (to help make sense of the world around us). Keep ‘DRSABC’ in mind, while you watch this CPR+AED video uploaded by SCDF.

D – Check for Danger
R – Check for Response – Tap victim’s shoulders firmly and seek a response
S – Shout – Get someone to call 995, and another to get an AED
A – Airway – Open the victim’s airway and…
B – Breathing – …check for signs of breathing and pulse
C – Compressions – If ‘B’ isn’t present, start CPR.

Go get yourself certified!

Eye Mac

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | The 2010 Macbook Pro as compared to its larger cousin

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | The 2010 MacBook Pro as compared to its larger cousin

My first Apple machine was a 2008 MacBook Pro. In fact, it was my first portable computing equipment. Costing over $3,000 then, it was meant to support me through university. Problems plagued the unit, and after about two years and multiple phone conversations, Apple replaced the entire machine, for free. Thanks to AppleCare, I got a Unibody MacBook Pro as replacement. Save for battery issues, and most recently, hard disk capacity issues, this 2010 MacBook Pro has been with me for five years, and counting.

Now out of school, portability isn’t a main requirement. I needed something that could give me computing power, and yet not clog up my desk.

Apple’s latest update to the iMac family was good motivation. Who can resist the new trackpad, updated high resolution screens, and upgraded internal specs? Having saved up for quite a while, I decided to jump in to make this purchase right after Apple updated its product line-up last week.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Well padded carrier

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Well padded carrier

It took Apple (and DHL) about a week to get this to me. Slow, but to be fair to them, I was warned that shipping would take two to four working days. The perils of customisation – switched to a full Solid State Drive (SSD) setup (after reading about the headaches caused by Fusion drives), and replaced the unergonomic mouse with a trackpad. The RAM upgrade is too expensive, Apple.

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Keyboard plus Magic Trackpad 2

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | Keyboard plus Magic Trackpad 2

After taking much time to restore files from my MacBook Pro and sorting out the many please-enter-your-licence-key prompts, I got down to testing key applications and services like Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Photos, Steam games, Ookla speed tests and some HD videos.

Speedy, is an understatement. Moving up from an aged 5400RPM hard disk drive to an SSD is like strapping a snail with tonnes of Turbo rockets. Applications open instantaneously, no insufficient memory errors while scrubbing through HD video/ audio files, setting graphic requirements to high or very high is no longer a dream, and with the upgraded wireless AC chip, I can now cross 500Mbps on my 1Gbps broadband connection. 200Mbps was all I could hit on my five-year-old MacBook Pro. Note that the theoretical transmission speed of my iMac (option-click the wireless icon on your Macs to find out) is 585Mbps as there is no clear line of sight between the iMac and the router.

Now to see if this iMac can last another five, or even ten, years.


  • The AppleCare warranty coverage starts from your purchase date, online or at the brick-and-mortar store. If you ship directly from Apple’s online store, warranty coverage will commence even before you receive the unit. A call to Apple to appeal may help.
  • Time Machine backups cannot be easily restored on a different model, i.e. you cannot restore backups made on your MacBook Pro to the iMac. Migration Assistant should be your go-to application for this – time consuming and complicated, but better then starting from scratch.

The worse nightmare has begun

Image / BIG_MOUSE / In megabytes

Image / BIG_MOUSE / In megabytes

At least storage is counted in megabytes and not megabits. Dropbox, Google Drive and all have stopped working. Final Cut Pro keeps prompting me to clear my render files. And sluggish is the word to describe my five-year-old Macbook Pro now.  As if it wasn’t sluggish enough.

Apple, please announce your new line-up of iMacs soon!