Making A Hello Kitty Phone Case With A 3D Doodling Pen :D

3D Doodle Pen project

I’ve been loving STEM projects recently. And it all started with the Micro:bit, then I moved on to the drones, the robot, and finally, it’s the 3D doodling pen now! ๐Ÿ˜€ It was my first attempt at making my own phone case and I tried to make it a Hello Kitty one. With the time constraints, it certainly was no easy task. But one certainly feels a sense of accomplishment at the end. And if you’ve never seen one of those 3D doodling pens before, here’s what it looks like:

3D Doodle Pen

You insert the “filament” (which looks like thin plastic wiring) from the top, and it comes out from the tip like ink you can use to draw based on your design. In a matter of minutes, you can create any object you’d like. And when it cools and solidifies (which happens quickly), tah-dah!

It’s fun, intuitive and relatively inexpensive, I’d say. You can get one of these pens online for S$40 or less. And the filament can be purchased (in bulk) from SKP in a variety of colors.

You’ll be able to make your own toys, spectacles, gifts, etc. But I won’t recommend letting kids under the age of, say, 9 play with this as the tip of the pen can get pretty hot. ๐Ÿ˜€

MAKER UNO: Your Robot Pet With A Motion Sensor

Motion Sensing Robot

I spent an hour today learning how to make this robot pet you see in the picture above, and I consider it an hour well-spent. This Maker Uno project turned out to be even more difficult than learning to program and fly a drone. I have zero knowledge of circuitry and things like motion sensors, breadboards, and even jumper wires! (>_<) So it was certainly an intense hour. Once the robot is assembled, though, it can move forward on its own and once it detects an obstacle in front of it, it reverses. Apparently, the sensor uses echolocation (like bats do) to measure the distance between itself and the obstacle. How cool is that?!

Here’s what it looks like when all the wires are in the ‘right’ place, and before I stick everything together with tape:

Maker Uno Singapore

If you think it looks like one big mess, yup, I think the same way too. ๐Ÿ˜€ But it’s really cool – when you connect it to your laptop or a powerbank via USB, the wheels start turning immediately.

Now I just have to figure out the coding portion for the Maker Uno, and dress up my robot pet! ๐Ÿ˜€ย 

How To Eliminate Pesky YouTube Ads And Get Around Annoying Paywalls

YouTube Ad Blocker

Back when YouTube was still new, and we still watched something called “television programs” (now I don’t even own a TV set!), YouTube’s draw was that there were no ads and I could watch my favorite channels without being interrupted by commercials. Now, YouTube has all sorts of ads (seen any 30-second unskippable ones yet?) to drive people up the proverbial wall. So I had no choice but to download an ad blocker, and I might go so far as to say that it has been life-changing. No need to wait in anticipation of the ‘Skip Ad’ button or look out the window while the 30-second ad plays. It’s awesome. And as a bonus, I’ll tell you how I’ve been skipping paywalls too.

So simple, it’s ridiculous.

First, the YouTube ad blocker. Simply do a Google search for an ad blocker for whichever device or browser you are using. Mine’s the Youtube ad blocker for Chrome (since I use the Google Chrome browser).

It’s awesome because now I don’t see any ads at all unless I remove the ad blocker for that particular site or video. If you want to support your favorite Youtuber e.g. Superwoman or Ryan Higa or what-have-you, go ahead and watch the ads on their channel. For those channels which constantly spam ads (like 10 ads for a 1-hour-long video), BLOCK those ads! And thank your lucky ad-blocking stars.

And as for paywalls such as those for news sites, there’s a quick and easy solution. Know those sites which you subscribe to and they send you an overview of the latest articles to your email account? Then when you click on those links for articles you want to read, you hit their paywall. You’re asked to pay a subscription fee before you can view any of their articles, right?

The solution is really simple.

If you’re using your laptop (like I’m doing right now), make sure you ‘right click’ on the link and open it in an incognito window. And you get to read the article for free. It is that… simple.

If you’re using your handphone, then what you can do is click on the link and just when the article is loading (you’ll have to move quickly), switch off the data on your phone. This keeps the article you want to read on your screen, and prevents it from loading the page that asks you to pay up. Done reading? Turn on the data again.

Of course, there are some news sites you really want to support because of the quality of the articles they produce: impartial, informative, in-depth reporting, and not being a mouthpiece for any individual or government. You can simply choose to subscribe or make a donation.

You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Kata i4 – Better Than An iPhone?

Kata i4

I was highly amused as I unwrapped the new Kata i4. The white box it came in reminded me of Apple’s product packaging. And let’s not even discuss the name – i4. ๐Ÿ˜€ As you probably already know, I’m not an Apple fan (oops!) and what I really want to know is whether this Kata i4 will make me a convert. I’m currently using the Samsung S5, and to borrow a phrase from McDonald’s, “I’m lovin’ it”.

First things first:

Kata i4 Samsung S5

The Kata i4 (on the left) is flatter than the Samsung S5, and just a little taller. I weighed both phones, and found that the Kata i4 weighs 163g, or a negligible 19g heavier than the S5, which weighs 144g.

And I usually use my smartphone for product shots, or at events, because I don’t like lugging a camera around with me. So I was definitely enticed by Kata i4’s 16 megapixel rear camera and 8MP front camera.

I’ve put together a few Sonny Angels, and taken the same ‘picture’ using both the Kata i4 and the Samsung S5:

Kata i4 Samsung S5

The two photos were taken without any camera flash. And as you can see, the image produced by the S5 is superior – vivid, brighter and with less obvious shadows…

Kata i4 Samsung S5

The reverse is true when I turn on the camera flash for both phones. This time round, the S5 gives a ‘harsher’ image while the Kata i4 gives me a photo that’s more pleasant to view:

Kata i4 Samsung S5

I also found that the images produced by the Kata i4 can easily be used on websites or retail sites as ‘product shots’. No need to hire a professional photographer or rent a studio! I can simply upload the picture to this blog, and start selling Sonny Angels! ๐Ÿ˜€

Kata i4 Samsung S5

As for the 8MP front camera, you may have read online that it has a ‘Beauty Mode’ function (it’s nothing new, right?). BUT there is an awesome ‘Gesture Capture’ function. When you do the victory sign, the phone will automatically snap a picture of you. This function will come in very useful when taking group shots, or ‘wefies’! Just have one person hold up two fingers in the victory sign, and the shot will be taken! Perfect! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m just waiting to test this out. Group shot, anyone?

~

Other perks that come with the Kata i4 include FREE 35GB Online Storage (KataCloud), 32GB storage + 2GB RAM, and a 5.0 inch Super HD Display. I love phones with big screens! ๐Ÿ™‚

As for the pricing, it’s S$358. Get it online at Lazada:ย http://www.lazada.sg/kata-store/

To answer my own question of whether the Kata i4 is better than the iPhone (6)… I’d say the price makes it more affordable, for sure. A 16GB iPhone 6 costs S$988 while a 32GB Kata i4 costs S$358. It’s a no-brainer.

The iPhone 6 is lighter, has a smaller screen, and a less-attractive 1.2MP and 8MP cameras.

If you want to buy a new phone but you are put off by the price of iPhones, and don’t want to get a Samsung phone, then Kata might be a good choice.

I’d definitely like to see Kata phones in more colors please! Perhaps with a fingerprint identity sensor too! ๐Ÿ˜€

To find out more about the Kata phones, head to their website HERE or their facebook page.

Phone Review: Nokia Lumia 930

Nokia Lumia 930

Nokia Lumia 930

I received the Nokia Lumia 930 for review recently. It has been a really long time since I’ve got my hands on a Nokia phone. ๐Ÿ˜€ I love the bright orange case though the home screen saturated with icons can be a little intimidating.

Strangely enough, there was only the manual in Mandarin in the box. Where are the instructions in English when you need them? LOL.

The screen is slightly smaller than my S5’s but they have similar-looking travel adaptors. While my S5 uses a micro SIM, the Nokia Lumia 930 uses aย nano sim card. So I did not fully experience what the Nokia Lumia 930 has to offer. I did get to test out the camera though!

[ Samsung S5 vs.ย Nokia Lumia 930 ]

Nokia Lumia 930 vs Samsung S5

The Nokia Lumia 930 is a clear winner over the Samsung S5 with its camera and display. It has aย 20MP camera versus the S5’s 16MP. And colors appear more vivid on the Lumia 930’s screen (as you can see above).

It’s awesome for people who love taking photos with their phones. Just note that it can be a little heavy atย 167g – the S5 weighs 145g.

For a full list of specifications for these two phones (both pretty awesome in their own right), check out the links below. ๐Ÿ™‚

[ Check out their specs ]

Nokia Lumia 930:ย http://www.nokia.com/sg-en/phones/phone/lumia930/specifications/

Samsung S5:ย http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxys5/specs.htm