Monday, December 01, 2014

Surfing Food Blogs with the Linksys WRT1900AC

My first router I bought was the Linksys WRT54G. That must have been so long ago, I can't remember the year. Shortly after that when I started my blogs. It was the time when ISP used to auto upgrade your bandwidth without you needing to sign a new contract. Soon, my broadband speed was faster than what the WRT54G can transmit, so I changed to other routers.

Time passes so quickly. Linksys was acquired and it became Linksys by Cisco. It got acquired again last year and it became Linksys again. For the last few months, I have been testing the Linksys WRT1900AC that was gifted to me. It was the familiar design and colour of my first router, but on steroids, a 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM CPU if you wish to know.

I know that most people reading this blog are not technical folks, so I will write this blog in 'an easier to understand' and 'how I used it' easy reading manner. If you need a more technical review, there are the more technical reviews out there.

Linksys WRT1900AC

So, how has this router performed the last few months?

The people and also the equipments in our home are quite internet dependent. We have multiple mobile and tablets running at the same time. Other gadgets connect itself to the internet to update things for us as well. Remote controls that will switch on lights via wifi, weighting machines that will update our weight as we stand on it, Apple TV, VOIP home phone, etc.

When the 'clan' is at our place for dinners, we have an additional 10 or more devices that will also connect to our router. So scrolling through your Instagram feeds and posting would not be no problem in our household.
Linksys WRT1900AC

This is the top view of the WRT1900AC. Does it look like the old WRT54G? It has 'grown' over the years. It is now bigger, measuring 24.8 x 19.5 x 5.1 cm. There are also more visible ventilation holes on top and at the bottom. More memory too, it has a 128MB Flash and 256MB DDR3 RAM.

Like the old WRT54G and if you want, use third-party firmware too.  It has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, but we use wifi at home, so we don't use them at all. We did not want to rewire the house last time. If you have devices that connect directly to it, this might be useful.

Linksys WRT1900AC

There are 4 directional antennas so you can adjust it in the direction so that all your rooms will have signal. There is a room in our house that will only have signal if you open the bedroom door. I also had low signal in my bathroom (don't laugh, I know many people use mobile phones while sitting on the throne too).

With this current router, I can receive wifi, but not at the highest speed, but it works now. One reason why it works now is because our previous router was either a 2.4GHz or 5GHz. If I set it to use 2.4GHz, the signal can travel further, but the speed is low. If I set it to 5GHz, I can get higher speed, but with every wall or even door, the signal drops until it's non existent. (Higher frequency allows faster speed, but walls or wood will block the signals. Lower frequency travels further but have lower speeds)

This WRT1900AC is a simultaneous dual wireless band router. So I can have the name SSID (the wifi name) for both bands. For example, when I am in the living room or bedroom it will be connected to the 5GHz and I can surf at high speeds. When I move to the toilet or the 'ulu' bedroom, it will get connected to the 2.4GHz and still allows me to surf but at a lower speed.

Linksys WRT1900AC

Setting up the router is rather easy with the instructions that comes with it. You can connect it using the 'one button' connect if your notebook supports it (if you have old folks, this is so useful), or just the usual connection to SSID available and password.

The router administration is also easy to navigate and set up. The interface is easy to understand. The 'network map' in the admin screen is the most interesting to see. You can monitor and see which devices are connected and which bands. 

If you want to connect an external storage to it, you can. We don't use that at home, we back up everything to the cloud and since network is fast for us, we just back them all up on a combination of Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive.

Linksys WRT1900AC

We are subscribed to a 200Mbps Fiber Service.

From our notebooks at home, the speedtest is rather good. Yes, at times, and depending on the host we are connecting to, we get different speeds. This was to the SGIX server and the upload speed was not satisfying this morning.

Linksys WRT1900AC

When I changed to Viewqwest to test the speed and I could connect at 204Mbps on both download and upload speeds. You might not get this speeds if you notebook or mobile phones are using the older chips. I am testing using a Macbook Pro Retina in the same room as the WRT1900AC.

Linksys WRT1900AC

For mobile phones, the speed is usually slower than notebooks. With the iPhone 6Plus, which has a newer chip,  I could get speeds of 160Mbps for download and 188Mbps for upload when I connect to the router at the 5GHz band. I was quite surprised because my previous mobile phones never had this speed.

Linksys WRT1900AC

From the ahem, bathroom, the speed does drop a bit when it gets connected to the 2.4GHz band. Spotty, but I am happy I don't get dropped to 4G or 3G.

To be fair, on some days, I get super low speed and that's when we know it's time to reset the router. We never bothered to find out if it's the router's fault or the ISP's fault. We just reset the router and 5 minutes later, everything gets back to normal.

Linksys WRT1900AC

On an older phone like the iPhone 5s, the speed I get is lower on the 5GHz band and even lower on the 2.4GHz. That was why I switched to the 5GHz on my previous router, so get faster speed, but you won't get signals with every wall that blocks you. Yes that is one reason why we upgrade our phones.  So I am glad this router can run both bands simultaneously.

If you are on Fiber and want to connect directly to the ONT modem, you can. There are instructions for it that comes with the box and it works, I have tried it.

I have also positioned my router in a way that when I outside the house at the bus stop, I can still surf with the 2.4GHz signal. You know we got to 'like' those Instagram feeds right?

I know there are other routers that are similar, but I am not a router reviewer and this has been my experience with the Linksys WRT1900AC for the last few months. If you are interested in getting a new router, you can try this, or like what I tell friends who ask me, get someone who has it and trial it at home.

Now, back to surfing other food blogs and viewing Youtubes of others preparing food.




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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Boiler @ Tai Seng Industrial Estate

Here in Singapore, Louisiana inspired seafood restaurants are popping up and one of the latest opening is The Boiler. If you have grown fond of the various cajun-style preparation of seafood, you can add this place to your place to go.

Crab and shrimp boils or a more generic label, "seafood boil" is a Louisiana Cajun tradition and you can find them here. You can prepare these boils yourself at home, or you don't like cooking, just eating or don't like to clean up, just pay them a visit.

The Boiler, Singapore

One difference The Boiler has to other similar restaurants is their location. They are located at the Tai Seng Industrial Estate. No, it's not that 'ulu', it's just a short walk from the Tai Seng MRT. One thing about being in an industrial building is the high ceilings! Coming in here just gives you a nice airy feeling of space, something that many other restaurants in Singapore can only wish for.

The Boiler, Singapore

This visit was an invited session and the things featured here are what most of us thought is good or interesting.

If you just coming for drinks, they have some crafted beer here plus a selection of Louisiana Crafted Beers as well. You can take a look at what they have here.


If you want something different, try their Beerita ($11.90). It is a glass filled with Margarita and a bottle of upside down Corona that flows out of the bottle into the glass as you sip your drink.

The Boiler, Singapore

If you want something non alcoholic drinks, The Boiler's Lime-Mint Freeze ($5.90) is quite addictive and you will probably need 2 because you will finish them very quickly. I like this drink.

The Boiler, Singapore

It's a place where you can safely wear your whites because they provide transparent bibs, or it's more like an apron because it's so big to protect your clothing. I laughed at their wordings because they sure are as corny as me on Instagram. LOL

The Boiler, Singapore

While waiting for your mains, dig in to some starters. We had some Fish and Chips for starters. The fish are are crisp outside and moist not oily inside. I forgot to ask what fish it was, but they have done it pretty well here considering because it's in an industrial building, they have limitations in what they can do in their kitchen.

If you order this, I recommend that you save some of the chips, so that you can dip it with the sauces of the seafood.

The Boiler, Singapore

Another starter we had is an absolutely sinful dish. Southern Fried Chicken with Waffles! Crispy chicken with crispy waffles that had maple syrup on it.

Nothing healthy at all, but everything so addictive.

The Boiler, Singapore

Another sinful starter. Prawns wrapped with bacon! Bacon Shrimp with Hickory BBQ sauce.
With these starters, I said you need more Lime-Mint Freeze.



The Boiler, Singapore

This is also a place where it's a very communal kind of place. You share the food and you eat right off the table. They lined the table with fresh clean grease proof paper, so don't worry. The food's poured on the table and you dig in!

They way to order the mains are simple:
1) You can pick your seafood, either Live Dungeness Crab, Live Brown Crab, Live Boston Lobster (all seasonal), or if you are on a tighter budget more of the Prawns, Mussels or Clams.
2) Choose your sauce: The Works, Garlic Butter or Peppa' Butter.

The Boiler, Singapore

Oh hi! Handsome Boston Lobster! This guy was having a sauna and has been drenched in Peppa' Butter sauce.  Their sauces had been formulated to have quite some uumph. If you like it a little peppery, try the Peppa' Butter sauce.

The lobster are $75 per piece, when we had this earlier in September, they were having an offer of only $49 per piece, if you went followed me on Instagram, you would have seen it. Hope those of you who saw it went and got to enjoy the deal!

The Boiler, Singapore

If you like garlic, the garlic butter sauce might be your choice. It's not too difficult to whack the flesh out of the lobster shell. Get a few friends to go along and you can order a few to taste it all and share too. Looks good doesn't it? The lobster above.

The Boiler, Singapore

If you are here with 3-4 friends, you can order The Boiler's Bombdiggity Bag ($139).
We were looking out for the guy with the big bag. A few went to other diners and when he finally walked over, we were ready with our phones!

Let me warn you, keep your mobile phones when you are ready to eat, your hands will get really yummy with the sauces and you don't want to be tempted to hold your phone!

The Boiler, Singapore

What you get in The Boiler's Bombdiggity Bag: Dungeness/brown crab, prawns, mussels, clams, sausages, corn and bun. (The bun doesn't get served in the bag, it comes separately)

The Boiler, Singapore

We were eating in quite a big group, so we had 2 The Boiler's Bombdiggity Bags. The sauce for this bag was "The Works", they have different heat levels for "The Works". I prefer the mid level spice because it's more balanced to me.

I also recommend that you leave the food in the bag when it's served because it keeps the food warm longer and it's easier to scoop up the sauce using the clam shells.

The Boiler, Singapore

Well, if you wanna take photos of your food, then by all means, spread it on the table! It's easier to pick your food this way too if you have a bigger group. It's really up to you. This was the garlic butter sauce. Having tasted all their sauces, my personal preference for the night was the mid level The Works sauce.

They have a more different style of food lunch menu, it's a more burger, sandwiches, ribs kind of place in the afternoon. I want to try out the ribs, as I am a ribs person.

Thanks to The Boiler folks for the invitation to try out the place.

The Boiler
18 Howard Road,
#01-06, Novelty Bizcentre
Singapore 369585
 

Tel: +65 6635 1285

 



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Monday, November 17, 2014

Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014 - 22 November 2014 @ Suntec City Convention Centre (Plus Giveaway)

Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014

The Ultimate Hawker Fest is back and if you have not planned this coming weekend's brunch, why not consider visiting Suntec City this Saturday for some food and at the same time support the over 32,000 beneficiaries of Touch Community Services. The beneficiaries are from all races and religions.

UltimateHawker

To help navigate what's going on at the Hawker Fest, it will be divided into 3 zones:

1) Ultimate Original Recipe - where stalls have been around for multiple generations.

Here's the menu:
Menu1
2) Ultimate Pursuit of Happiness - where young folks who have left their cushy jobs in other sectors to come into the food business.

The menu:
Menu2

3) Ultimate Ingredients - featured hawkers who will replace their usual ingredient with special ones to make their dish more extraordinary.

The menu:
Menu3 Menu4

Now introducing the folks who are curating this year's festival.

Curators

My friends and Singapore Food Bloggers that you are all probably already following,  Maureen Ow (www.MissTamChiak.com), Derrick Tan (www.SgFoodOnFoot.com) and Ian Low (TheSilverChef.blogspot.sg) have been working tirelessly to talk to the 20 over hawkers, visited farms to check the ingredients and many more.

The hawkers are also taking taking time off from the usual business and coming to Ultimate Hawker Fest to bring you the food and for them and you to help support this charity.


Date: Saturday, 22 November 2014
Time: 11am to 5pm
Venue: Suntec Convention Centre Halls 401 and 402

Buy your coupons at www.ultimatehawkerfest.sg



But wait... what about a Giveaway:

For the giveaway, 2 persons will get 1 set of $50 coupons to spend at the Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014.
  • Look for my Instagram post on this giveaway. Share it with your friends and say how you will spend your $50 based on the menu above on Instagram.
  • Hashtag your post #ultimateHawkerFest2014 and #keropokmanGiveaway and tag @keropokman in your post so I can browser through it easily.
  • Contest is for readers who will be living in Singapore only.
  • Closing date is 2359 hours, Wednesday 19 November 2014.
  • The winners will be randomly picked and informed via Instagram.
If the winners do not reply within 24 hours, new winners will be picked.

Terms and conditions:
The curators of the Ultimate Hawker Fest is solely responsible for contacting the winners. No refunds are allowed and the prize is not exchangeable for credit, cash or in kind. If unclaimed after the redemption period, the prize will be forfeited, and the winner shall have no further right to claim it thereafter.

Winners of the Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014 Giveaway are not eligible to win the same prize in similar contests hosted by any other person or organization on Facebook, blogs, magazines and online publications.



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