Funan DigitaLife Mall’s rebirth. What’s the big deal? Something you’ll want to think about.

A new mall in Singapore, different from the rest

So what’s the big deal? I’ll give you something to ponder further down in the post but first a little bit about why I even know about this mall.

Funan DIgitaLife mall WAS my go to mall (almost the whole mall was geared towards IT stuff) when I wanted anything electronic (computers, console gaming, camera gear etc). It is a far more “upscale” and the shops were less controversial than its’ main rival Sim Lim Square (I do buy pc parts from shops in Sim Lim Square since you’d be hard pressed to find parts or repair shops in Funan and not all shops are shady. Nowadays it’s pretty much cleaned up, I’m still cautious in there though. Funan was demolished in 2016 and just reopened at the end of June 2019. It was slated to open in 2020. So yeah, I was excited to go stomping in my old IT haunt!

Artistically, I found it very impressive . The color palette used is quite obvious, you can see it everywhere, starting from the outside. The earthy tones are nice and fit their theme but too dim for my liking. To break the usual ho hum square-ish mall design, the interior incorporates a lot of angles, quite stylish and interesting to look at. The outside still looks like a boring rectangle with a few angle elements and the use of color and reflections at one entrance make it a bit more interesting. Since the opening, I’ve been to Funan twice, the first to check it out and the second to buy a Macbook. There’s just something here that bugs me, other than my first reaction of, “wow it’s dim in here,” when I first entered the premises. Something more than my saltiness at the sheer number of eateries, non IT shops and clothing shops. Gone is Funan the Digitalife Mall. Damn it, arrrgh! I’m guessing that IT related shops account for less than 1/4 of the shops here. In their defense, they are not marketing the mall as an IT mall anymore. Instead, it is a mall with shops “clustered around six passion themes Tech, Craft, Play, Fit, Chic and Taste.” So what else is in here that wasn’t before? How about a huge gym, movie theaters, a climbing wall, lots more eateries (of which there’s Carl’s Jr. and Little Caesars), a media studio, local brand fashion stores and a shop that sells fold up bicycles. I think those bicycles look pretty cool and on top of that, you can ride your bike through the mall albeit only on the main floor, only between certain times of the day and at a max speed of 10km/h. Now that’s gotta be a first, well it is for me, anyways. Noticeably gone is the local, big name IT retailer, Challenger, I guess it’s because Funan is to “posh” now for the likes of the budget friendly, general IT shops like Challenger. Near the center, on the main floor, is a flight of stairs that has areas for people to sit and hang out on, which I found weird and interesting at the same time. Hopefully this will free up tables in the multitude of eateries in the building.

I gotta admit, I got so bothered by this new mall in Singapore that I had to Google it and found some interesting yet concerning things. First things first, I’m going to express my opinions and what I’ve experienced, I’m in no way condoning or trash talking anyone or any organization. The words in quotes are from Funan’s Press Release pdf. Here are the links to the Funan’s website: www.funan.com.sg and the press release pdf that I came across in my search for info: https://www.capitaland.com/content/dam/capitaland-newsroom/International/2019/jun/capitaland-unveils-reimagined-funan/190628_News%20Release_CapitaLand%20unveils%20reimagined%20Funan.pdf

The really cool things I found in the pdf but didn’t see or get to use in the mall are:
1) VR pods for movies and games
2) 24h drive through to support the online shoppers
3) E-paying service at the food court accepting cryptocurrencies (this may not be so cool after reading the points in the “NOT COOL” section below)
4) Food ordering through Facebook Messenger
5) “Using one of the about 40 smart directories in Funan, shoppers can browse and search for trending merchandise before mapping the shortest route possible to reach a store with the wayfinding system”
6) “By year-end, shoppers can expect a robot-enabled handsfree shopping and 24/7 click-and-collect drive-through service”
7) The handful of parking spots you can reserve via the mall’s app.
8) Roof top urban farm
9) “Unmanned futsal facility”
10) “Dedicated Bicycle Hub with end-of-trip amenities”

The NOT COOL things (in my opinion) are:
1) “video analytics to measure and analyse footfall throughout the mall and entering each store”
2) “In-store smart terminals further capture transaction data so that tenants can use the analytics to refine their offerings and enhance customer experiences”
3) “smart directories can also make product recommendations based on the shopper’s demographic profile”

So it sounds to me, like as soon as people are picked up on camera, they are profiled and followed by someone/software and that is stored somewhere accessible by someone(s) so that the data can be shared. Admittedly, shared (in a repackeged form) on a public display and to their tenants as detailed reports on shoppers’ choice of store(s), purchases and movement patterns? So how am I supposed to know that the data that’s been captured of or about me isn’t being shared/sold anywhere else and only used for what they say they’ll use it for? How does the smart directory get my demographic profile in the first place?! This is a lot of surveillance going on which raises privacy issues. If you’re the sort who uses crypto currencies for the anonymity, well, if you use it in Funan, you won’t be so anonymous anymore. Couple all this data with the mandatory finger printing going on when you enter and exit customs/immigration at many airports these days a very detailed report can be compiled very quickly by many people/organizations. I can see the point for surveillance as a security measure but to track people and profile them? That seems excessive and I’m pretty sure the majority of people entering Funan do not know they are being surveilled to this extent.

Yesterday, I went to visit Funan Mall just to get some imagery for this post and to see if I could find any of the surveillance, I mean, video analytics cameras. I couldn’t. I did find the facial recognition devices use to access the other areas of the building like the office towers and serviced apartments though. Maybe I’ve just interpreted things very badly and this may all be just fluff, like “who cares kinda stuff” but I really think that we all should care, or at least give a reasonable amount of consideration to. At least consider our willingness to wantonly give this type of access to our personal habits, to a shopping mall no less. How about you? How would you feel if a mall in your area did this? How would you feel if all malls started doing this?

As I was finishing up this post it occurred to me that I watched how data can be used to get sales. I watch this happen on Harajuku’s main shopping street (in Japan) but without the high tech. As I was standing on a corner waiting for my “girls” to finish shopping at one shop, I watched these guys holding binders with images of their wares (basketball related stuff like shoes, jersey’s etc). There were at least 3 of them walking around within a block or two of their shop. Every now and then they would stop a target that they picked out of the crowd (acquiring visual data etc) and try to peddle their wares and at the same time herding them towards their shop. At times they got grabby too. I just pictured myself walking into Funan and as I pass a shop, a sales rep runs out and tells me of a deal “just for me” or something like that, lol. OR if you have the mall’s app, you’ll start getting a barrage of notifications informing you of deals and discounts. Since it’s so easy here in Singapore to pay using your phone, this could be bad, very bad for impulse buyers like me. Food for thought…

All images used in this post were shot using my Samsung Note 8. Consider following me for updates and to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, πŸ˜ƒ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

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Nintendo Switch not as region unlocked as you might think

Nintendo Switch Joy con’s in the remote holder accessory

I found out the hard way! So, having done some research and learning that the Nintendo Switch console and games are region free, meaning I could buy a game/console from anywhere and it’ll work. Just in case you’re not a gamer, this is not how it usually works. For example, my Sony PlayStation 2 from the U.S. won’t play games from Japan and vice versa (without having the console modded/hacked, that is). So convenient, right? Actually, although the console and most games are region free/unlocked, that does not mean that the DLC’s are region unlocked too! DLC is short for Down Loadable Content.

So here’s the situation. I bought my Nintendo Switch in Japan because it’s way cheaper than in Singapore. I also bought the official case (which included a screen protector) and a game. Back in Singapore I bought a few more games and downloaded another. Here’s where it gets a bit confusing.

In the game from Japan, there was a sheet of paper with a download code on either side (it’s in Japanese and I have no idea what it says. All I know is there’s extra characters obtainable using that code). I was not able to redeem what the code was offering because my Switch is set to the “Americas Region”. After some research I found out that to be able to redeem the code, I had to create an account, more accurately an Eshop account for which the region had to be set to Japan (since the game is from Japan) and create another player profile in the Switch and link the two. Sounds easy but not really as you gotta figure out which reason your game is from too. I got it done after a try or two and was able to redeem the codes. The other code was for, what looks to me, like the very first version of the game. Pretty cool! I wasn’t able to find it in the “Americas Region” Eshop either so not all games are available on all Eshops. A good enough reason for diehard fans, like me, to have more than one region’s Eshop on their Switch.

The second issue I have is that from the games I purchased in Singapore, one is from the US and two are from Europe. How this happened, I have no idea and even if I did they’re not region locked, right? Yes, but the DLC’s might be. For example, for the US game, I was able to buy DLC’s (extra characters and stuff) and everything shows up in game. Then I bought a DLC from the game that’s from Europe and I can’t access it at all. I had no idea what region any of the games I bought (in Singapore) were from, the boxes were all in English so I wasn’t too concerned. To tell where your game is from, you have to look at the code on the cartridge, it’s on the front at the bottom edge of the sticker. The last three letter will tell you the region ie USA, EUR, JPN etc. Great way to know when buying used games. For more details you can go to your home screen, highlight the game and click the ‘+’ then click the [Support Information] button. Doing it this way may give you additional compatible countries. So apparently, my game is from Europe and the Eshop I bought the DLC from is “Americas”. So for me to get what I already paid for, I have to buy it again from the Europe Eshop! Apparently Nintendo doesn’t give refunds, I read it somewhere in their FAQ’s which I think is BS since there are no indicators anywhere that DLC’s are subject to region locks. I have been able to get in touch with Nintendo support and they have been very helpful and understanding so far. The service agent forwarded my issue for a refund review and gave me a link with info on the process that included some stern wording that this is a “one time review.” I’ll know the results in a few days. I’ve got my fingers crossed!

Nintendo Switch with Joy Cons sliding on

Anyways, if you want to know how to make multiple Eshops on your switch here’s the details:

First off, you need to make a new user on the switch console, best to have some way of identifying which region when you name this new user account. Go to [settings] then [add user] then [create new user] .Then choose your icon and background color, click [link account] then [create a new account] then [send account creation instructions via email]. Enter the email address you want associated with the account you’re making now and click [ok]. This will now put a box on the screen for you to enter your confirmation code. Leave that on your Switch’s screen and go to your email. Click the link in the email which will take you to Nintendo’s account creation website. Fill in the details there and make sure you input the correct region, the region you’re creating this account for. When you’re done click the [submit] button then click [display confirmation code] button and enter the resulting number into your Switch and click [ok] then click [link] to link them. You’re done. Now you should have two users on your switch with different Eshops. Both accounts can access the games that are on your Switch so you don’t have to worry about which account has which game on it. The only issue is that funds are not shared across Eshops so you’ll have to find a way to buy things from foreign Eshops as some credit cards won’t work in some Eshops. Good Luck!

In case you want to know more about the Nintendo Switch. In the box is the console, 2 controllers, a charging dock, AC adapter, HDMI cable, 3 controller accessories. No case and no screen protector. I HIGHLY recommend a screen protector as I scuffed a bit of my screen not even an hour after opening the box. I purchased mine at the airport shop in Narita Airport and decided to open and charge it on the plane. I had the Switch with remotes attached (to charge those too) in the seat pocket. Thankfully I can’t see the scuff marks after I put the screen protector on. Games can be played with the controller pads attached to the console or detached. The console has a built in stand that also acts as a cover for the micro sd card slot (as seen in one of the pics below). You can charge the Switch using the USB-C port on the bottom edge or by putting the Switch in the dock (connected to an AC power source). The dock can also connect to an HDMI capable display, like your tv or computer lcd. The colors of the controllers in the box can vary, so make sure you pick the one you want. I chose the black one, my daughter chose the “default red and blue” when she bought hers but also bought an extra pink and green set thinking she can use the red and pink ones but it’s physically not possible (she bought the wrong set) as they are both right side controllers and they only slide onto the Switch in one direction. So make sure you buy the correct color for the correct side. The switch and joy cons are highly susceptible to smudges from fingers/palms, so be prepared to wipe a lot, or maybe it’s just me, haha. A large capacity microsd card should be on the top your shopping list as there’s only 32gb of storage on the Switch and it can fill up fast. The technology in the Switch can handle the theoretical 2 TB limit so just focus on the largest and fastest microsd card that you can afford. One thing to note, the Nintendo Switch does not have Bluetooth so you can’t use your Bluetooth headphones/speakers without some sort of Bluetooth adapter. Nintendo has a list of compatible Bluetooth headphones which have a USB Bluetooth dongle that you can plug into one of the dock’s three USB ports (one in the back by the hdmi port and 2 on the side). There are third party Bluetooth dongles as well but I haven’t tried any. I’ll stick to my regular wired earbuds for now.

Dock for the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch built in stand hides the micro SD slot

Nintendo Switch game controllers

Nintendo Switch game controllers in the included accessories

Included accessories in the Nintendo Switch box.

Nintendo Switch game controllers in the included accessories

The case has the Switch logo on one side and the Nintendo logo on the other. There is a folded divider piece attached inside that you can use to prop up your switch. This divider has a mesh pocket as well as 5 slots to hold your games. You can’t really put anything thick in the mesh pockets without feeling the bulge through the hard foam case although I do put my larger than normal ear buds in them with just very slight bulging. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll reply as soon as I can, happy gaming!!

Official Nintendo Switch case

Official Nintendo Switch case

Nintendo Switch in the official case

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed making it. Have fun with your games !!!

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other toys and collectibles posts but also my travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans posts, photography related news/reviews posts and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, πŸ˜ƒ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

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ShutterGrip, the missing piece to my cel phone image making dilemma!

Clip on, bluetooth camera trigger for smart phones.

Thank you, Just Mobile for putting out the ShutterGrip! I haven’t gotten this excited over a gadget since the Nitecore USB camera battery charger for my Canon Cameras! Here’s the review if you’re interested. Like the Nitecore USB charger, I’ve been looking and longing for a better, more efficient way to do things when I’m out in the field. The convenience of using my phone instead of my DSLR’s is a bonus in situations when I don’t have the right lens on camera or in my bag (think minimum focus distance) then there’s the issue of my fingers not being able to reach the shutter button without some insane finger yoga’ing which makes my grip on the phone too precarious for my liking. The solution for me is the ShutterGrip.

First things first, I am not paid by Just Mobile for this review nor did I get the ShutterGrip for free. I saw this product on sale on the web page of one of my favorite camera stores in Singapore, I literally got on the bus to go check it out. Really! The ShutterGrip is a smart phone shutter release handle that clamps onto your phone and connects via Bluetooth. It is available in 3 different colors (black, blue and rose gold), has a threaded hole on the bottom of the main handle so you can attach it to a mini tripod (like a Gorillapod). The battery is the coin type CR2032 (one is included in the box) so pretty easy to find especially in watch stores. The portion of the handle where the button is located slides off so you can remote trigger your phone’s camera and it’s in this portion that the battery compartment is located. Also included is a thin wrist strap that attaches at the bottom of the ShutterGrip, next to the mini tripod mount. It feels like plastic, kinda cheap (but website says it’s got a copper core) and is semi rigid. I won’t be using it so don’t really care. You could attach your own wrist strap if you want to.

At the camera shop, I got a feel for the ShutterGrip, it feels sturdy and grips my phones tight! The upper and lower jaws have a ridge that prevents the phone from twisting out. I tested out the grip of the ShutterGrip on a Samsung Note 5 without a case and with a generic, thin silicone case as well as on a Samsung Note 8 without a case and with a generic thick, bulgy plastic case. The phone definitely feels more secure in the grip with the cases on. Without the cases on, the ShutterGrip slides and twists pretty easily. It won’t twist off thanks to the ridges but I guess it would be possible that your phone may slide out of the ShutterGrip if you squeezed too hard when holding it in picture taking posture. Not an issue with the cases on unless I went full Hulk on it and squeezed as hard. The plastic feels smooth but even with my oily, slightly sweaty hands, it didn’t feel slippery.

Getting the ShutterGrip onto the phone is a bit weird for me. The bottom jaw is the one that slides down to accommodate the phone so I put the bottom edge of my phone in first and press down. This leads to the shutter button portion (remote) to slide out. Same with taking the phone out, I always manage to slide the remote off. You’d really have to pay attention to how you’re holding the ShutterGrip when putting it on or taking it off, to not slide the remote up and off. Not really a big issue but kinda cumbersome, especially if I’m trying to get off a shot as quickly as possible somewhere where dropping the remote will be an issue. Maybe a button release would have been better than a sliding release. It really doesn’t take much effort to slide the remote off.

So why? Why this product? For me, I don’t like sticking things directly on my phone and I’m leery of the sticking power of products when applied to a phone case (if it’s even possible due to the case’s design). Then there’s plenty of grips that, in my opinion, don’t hold the phone tight enough or don’t alleviate my issue of being able to push the shutter release button without compromising my hold on the phone. With the ShutterGrip the button is at the top of the unit and you can maneuver it to wherever it’s comfortable for your index finger to press. Plus it’s Bluetooth (no cables to worry about) and it can function as a remote shutter release. Another bonus is the mount option on the bottom but in a pinch the ShutterGrip will stand on its own while holding a phone on a flat surface but not so well if you have the hand strap attached.

Clip on, bluetooth camera trigger for smart phones.

Pairing was really easy. Put the supplied battery into the ShutterGrip, press the button and a green LED flashed (it will flash each time you press the button). I then turned on Bluetooth on my phone and ‘ShutterGrip’ appeared on the list of devices, I press it and it paired, on both phones. When the camera app is not launched and active on my phone, the button on the ShutterGrip increases my media volume when pressed. Pressing the button when the phone is locked/sleep will just wake it. When the camera app is active, pressing the buttone takes a photo (there’s no 1/2 press) but if I hold the button down it’ll keep taking photos until I let go or my phones memory buffer is filled. Not sure if that’s the behavior on all phones but that’s how it behaves on both my Samsung phones. Just Mobile’s website does list some incompatible phones so you should check it out before you order one. If you go to a shop you could just test it out there. Other things to note is that it’s really light, website says it weighs 45g, battery life is stated to last 180 days if you press the button 500 times a day (even I’m not that trigger happy, lol). To save battery power the remote auto powers off and auto connects on the next button press (it’s kind of slow though). If your camera app is in video mode, ShutterGrip will start recording when you press the trigger.

Because my thumb is shaped like an inverted drumstick, if I place the ShutterGrip too close to the bottom edge of the phone, the palm portion of my thumb touches the screen or home button or something and that usually gets me out of the camera app so to alleviate that I have to slide the ShutterGrip as far as possible towards the middle of the phone while still being able to press the button with my index finger. This stretches out my hand and gets my thumb off the screen while still holding the phone securely too. Kind of hard to explain, hopefully the photos below will help.

For me, the ShutterGrip is a must buy, even after seeing the price, I still headed down to camera shop to check it out. The $40 (on sale) price tag made me pause and think about it for a minute though. Maybe I’m just too stingy? I think for that price the remote shouldn’t be so easy to slide off. Maybe I’ll just gaff tape it, lol. But you know what, in the end I still bought it knowing it’ll help me get more keeper shots because I have a better, more stable grip on the phone. If you think so too, I would suggest you try to find it in your local shop because it may be cheaper than ordering it online. Mine was the same price, after discount, in my local currency as it was on Just Mobile’s website so I saved on currency exchange as well as shipping. Have fun shooting!!

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other toys and collectibles posts but also my travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans posts, photography related news/reviews posts and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, πŸ˜ƒ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

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Oral B Pro2 2000 electric toothbrush. Why this one?

Oral B Pro 2 2000 electric toothbrus and brush heads

I don’t know about you but I found it so perplexing having to sort through all the different electric toothbrushes that are available, even from just one single brand! I opted for the Oral B brand who’s parent company is Proctor & Gamble. They are supposedly the “dentist most recommended brand.” Anyways, please keep in mind that I am not a dentist or expert in the matter of oral hygiene. I’m just recounting my experience and offering my thoughts in hopes to help anyone in a similar “dilemma.”

First off, if you want to know why I decided to get an electric toothbrush in the first place, it’s because of my recent dental issues as recounted in my post entitled Dental Holiday in Chiang Mai. Wait what? Seriously?!?! Have a look if you like, there’s before and after shots, lol. So after my dental treatments, my dentists (I had 4 different ones doing different things) recommended that I don’t brush so hard, that I use gauze to clean the teeth that don’t have adjacent teeth, that I floss regularly, I use non alcoholic mouthwash and that I massage my gums. Hmmm let me think about this…

Apparently brushing too hard wears out the enamel quicker and can push your gums up. Like how am I supposed to know how hard to brush? Using gauze to clean the sides of my exposed molars because the molar next to it is gone. Imagine shining your shoes…that’s how I’m supposed to clean those molars but using gauze instead of a cloth. Ya, I don’t see myself doing this, it’s so…tedious. I’m not even sure I spend the recommended two minutes it should take to brush my teeth and I don’t floss. Now I have to do all these extra things including massaging my gums by “pinching” the areas above the teeth that had gum surgery using my thumb and index finger. This is supposed to increase circulation and therefore help heal faster and promote gum growth. Yeah, I tried doing that, not a fan. I really do want to take better care of my teeth as I don’t want to go through what I just did and I’m not even done yet. Anyways, I did some thinking and research and came up with the electric toothbrush as the solution. An electric toothbrush would solve so many of my issues, I think, provided I get an appropriate one. So I need one that has a built in timer, a pressure gauge and a brush head small enough to get at my exposed molars so I don’t have to gauze buff them. I’m thinking also that the smaller brush head will make me go over each tooth and being able to oscillate/pulse much faster than I can manually brush should fix my “not brushing properly” issue too.

Oral B Pro 2 2000 electric toothbrush LEDs

Oral B Pro 2 2000 electric toothbrush warning light

So after much research, I chose the Oral B Pro 2 2000. Why? Mainly because it’s the model that offers a lithium Ion (Li-ON) rechargeable battery as opposed to the older less reliable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) rechargeable battery and doesn’t offer the smart phone app connectivity. I know I would not take my phone with me to brush my teeth, nor would I make the effort to review my brushing on an app plus those “smart” toothbrushes are significantly higher in price and probably drains the battery faster. As far as I’m concerned as long as I get at each tooth with this electric toothbrush and floss I should be good. I hope that’s how it works, lol. The Oral B Pro 2 2000 also only has 2 modes, regular and sensitive. Since switching modes is all done via the power button, less is more in my opinion. One press of the power button turns on the brush in regular mode and a second press for sensitive gums mode. After watching Youtube videos and reading some reviews, I was so leery about how loud the brush would be and would it irritate me so much I’d stop using it. I decided that my oral health would/should outweigh any volume irritation. The first time I turned on the brush, my immediate thought was “HA! not so loud!” I don’t find it loud at all. The manual says it takes 15 hours to fully charge but mine fully charged in about 5 hours. After a week of using the the brush, the need to charge indicator still hasn’t come on (the manual says 2 weeks before needing to recharge) so I’m still on track but there’s no way to tell exactly since the battery led only indicates battery status when its charging, bummer. Grip wise the handle isn’t too small nor too large, ridged hard plastic on the back and softish, ridged rubber on the front. No feelings of it slipping out of your hands while brushing. It’s water resistant and supposedly you can brush your teeth in the shower but I haven’t tried. I do put it under the facet to rinse it off after every use and no issues thus far. If you’re like me and worried that you may be brushing too hard, there is a red light around the top of the handle that will light up when it senses too much pressure is being applied. The light is bright enough for you to see if you’re not looking in the mirror but not too bright to hurt your eyes. The built in timer starts as soon as you press the on button and will give you an alert via pulsed vibrations every 30 seconds and a longer pulsed vibration when the 2 minutes are up nothing too fancy but really cool feature, I think.

The coolest thing about these Oral B electric toothbrushes is that you can get different brush heads for different “needs” and each brush head has this collared color you can put on the base of the head to differentiate your brush head from someone else’s, in case you want to share the handle (cost effective). I’ve only seen 2 colors though, a light teal one and a pink one. The not so cool part is that these brush heads are pricey and that it’s recommended you change them every 3 months or sooner if anything is physically wrong with them.Β  When I bought the Pro 2 2000, I also bought some “floss action” brush heads thinking I could skip the manual flossing with this brush head. NOPE! Still need to manual floss and even in sensitive gum mode, I found this brush head uncomfortable on my gums but feels like it gives my teeth a stronger scrubbing. Maybe it’s because my gums are still sensitive and recovering but maybe not. So I bought some “sensitive gums” brush heads and boy oh boy do they feel better on the gums. So instead of using my fingers, I just use this brush head to massage my gums. Below is a pic with the different colore collars as well as the sensitive brush head and ultra thin brush head. I can’t tell the difference.

Oral B Pro 2 2000 electric toothbrus and brush heads

So, at the moment I’m always using sensitive mode and the sensitive gum brush head. I may switch to the “floss action” brush head after a couple months just to use up the brush heads I bought but maybe not, I’m quite happy with the current set up. I haven’t used any of the other brush heads yet and not sure if I will since I’m thinking that even though I don’t brush as hard, these electric toothbrushes brush way more than I can manually which may affect the rate of enamel loss? Before you go out and get an electric toothbrush, you may want to consult your dentist. There’s still a nagging question in the back of my mind as to why my dentists (including my bro) weren’t that supportive of the idea of me using any electric toothbrush but had no negative things to say about electric toothbrush use. As i rarely do what I’m told anyways, I just went and got mine and so far don’t regret it.

Overall I feel that I’ve made a good decision with switching to an electric toothbrush and that the initial costs are justified. I picked the cheapest Pro 2 2000 I could find. They come in different arrangements depending on the included brush head and if it comes with a travel case or not. A travel case would be important as it’s a hard plastic case that would prevent accidental powering on of your electric toothbrush, if you don’t plan on bringing your charger on trips. I just went and bought a $2 plastic pencil case from the dollar store for those trips that are longer than 10days for which I won’t bring the charger. So which one you pick will depend on your preferences. The only thing I would highly recommend to get is the one with a lithium ion battery because they get about twice the battery life as the NiMH batteries. The best way to make sure you get one with a lithium ion battery is check the box details as opposed to relying on the model name. Oral B has many similarly named models and I almost made bought the wrong one, lol.

Oral B Pro 2 2000 electric toothbrush Sensitive brush head

Oral B Pro 2 2000 electric toothbrush Floss Action brush head

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, πŸ˜ƒ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

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Collectibles: Transformers Power of the Primes – Jazz

I love toys! There I said it! I’m not talking about big kid toys like electronics, and such. I’m talking about figurines of my favorite super heroes, Transformers, anime characters etc. Truth be told, I don’t hold a figure in each and make fight sounds as I bash them together, like I used to. These days, I just display them on shelves and every once in a while I’ll change their position or posture for a different look or I’ll use them as photo props. Some of my favorite toys are still in the original packaging! Anyways, I thought it’d be helpful for those of you who, like me, score a lot their loot online because it’s just way to hard or not possible to find them in stores anymore. Maybe extra images or my ‘take’ on the toy, will help you decide if it’s worth adding to your collection or not.

Hasbro’s has introduced this remake of the Autobot Jazz as a Deluxe Class figure in the Transformers – Combiner Wars toy line in 2015. He is now a part of a ‘combiner team’ consisting of Sunstreaker, Prowl, Iron Hide, Rodimus and Battle Core Optimus. Together they combine to form Optimus Maximus. Not to be confused with the red and blue Optimus Prime combiner that forms Ultra Prime with four other random bots, of which Jazz isn’t a part of. I didn’t even know there was a white colored Optimus until I went looking for a torso bot after seeing and impulse buying my two childhood favorite vehicular autobots, Jazz and Mirage. After months of looking/waiting for something “cool” enough to complete my version of Optimus Maximus, I settled on Moon Racer and Nova Star, my first female bots. Rodimus is a Legends class figure and is the optional chest piece of Optimus Maximus. You don’t have to get it I suppose, but I find the torso really, really ugly without something in the chest. If you don’t like a red chest piece, or can’t get Rodimus, you can use the Decepticon Blackjack as it’s the same toy mold as Rodimus. Other bots that can fit the torso, I’ve seen is MP Bumblebee, Legends Pipes (and the other variants).

Jazz’s white and blue color scheme looks good as does the Lemans style race car vehicular mode, I think the vehicle mode is still based off a Porsche model like the original Porsche 935 Turbo Jazz, but don’t quote me on that. The paint job on my figure is good, I haven’t spotted any issues. I really like the vehicle mode, very Porsche-esque. All for wheels touch the ground making it a very easy roll around your desk. Just thought I’d let you know, that I tested the rolling of the car, just for you. I definitely wasn’t racing it around my desk. If you flip the car over, Jazz’s face is, bam, right there. If this bothers you, you can rotate the head 180 degrees. There are two ports, one on either side of the car, just in front of the rear wheels. The port will fit both the weapon and the hand/foot attachment. The hand/foot attachment has a port that will fit the post just in front of the rear spoiler, which looks better than off to the side. Like most Deluxe Class vehicles, Jazz will fit inside Ultra Magnus’ trailer. This is where all the good things end with this figure…

Straight out of the packaging, you can feel that this figure is rather thin and light. You can’t really tell from looking at him in the packaging, well, I couldn’t lol. The panels feel really thin and brittle although nothing has broken yet. Jazz’s head is on a swivel and a hinge joint at the neck (to allow the head to move out of the way in limb modes). The arms are hinged and swivelled to allow for a shrugging and full arm rotation. A ball joint at the elbows finishes off arm articulation. The waist is on a swivel as are the thighs. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and pop off rather easily but easy to pop back on. Finishing off the leg are joints at the knees as well as the foot, specifically to allowing the toes to flip down to form the foot. Overall I’m quite pleased with the way this figure looks but maybe I’m biased because Jazz is one of my favorite characters and Porsche is my favorite car maker. I feel I should mention that all the joints and swivels range from the snug to loose so there’s a fair bit of flip floppery on my figure. If you’re looking to get this figure, the prices have dropped significantly, making it worth it but then again, I’m a bit biased.

SPECIAL NOTE: Not all deluxe class figures are the same height when in limb mode which makes a difference when used as legs, as in my case. Mirage and Jazz are different heights. You can check out my write up on Mirage here.

What makes the combiner teams special is their ‘ability’ to merge into one giant robot. This means that each member of the team will have a third transformation mode, one that’s specifically for the giant robot. The groups will typically consist of five members, one of them being larger than the others (Voyager Class figure) and will transform into the torso/head of the giant robot. The other four will transform into a limb, either an arm or a leg and you can place them however you like. NOTE: Some combiners, whose 3rd transformation is a limb, (when sold/purchased separately) only come with the hand attachment (Prime Armor) which means that the foot attachment will then be included with the torso figure. Since Combiners from the Combiner Wars and Power of the Primes toy lines are interchangeable and not all of them have the same hand/feet pieces you’ll have to really look at the included pieces if you’re planning on mixing and matching to create your own Combiner team. Battle Core Optimus DOES NOT come with any hand or feet attachments and 3 of the 4 limb bots that I bought had Prime Armor attachments so I had to look for solution for the feet attachments. What I found online was something called a Perfect Effect upgrade kit. They make a whole bunch of different kits for Combiners. Some are just hands and feet, others have weapons, chest plate add ons and limb widening add ons. Some of them look really awesome and I’m considering a couple of kits, however, they are quite pricey. While searching I also found some cheaper, different styled, different colored sets that were not from the Perfect Effect brand. I ordered the least expensive one I could find. It was a very pleasant surprise that both the hands and the feet can be transformed into weapons. The feet can transform into a really big double barreled blaster or separated into two blasters while the hands transform to something like a rifle. In foot mode, the tips of the barrels can be removed so that they don’t protrude from the back of the foot. I think the feet look better without the protruding barrels. The peg for the leg port is on a swivel for better posing stability but is a very tight fit.

Another nifty thing about combiner teams is that some Legends Class figures have an alternate mode for use in combiner teams, either as a chest plate or a weapon. For example, Optimus Maximus officially uses the Combiner Wars, Rodimus as a chest piece. You don’t have to use Rodimus because the Decepticon Blackjack is the same mold and used as Menasor’s chest piece. I’ve also seen Thundercracker, Wind Charger and Power Glide used as Optimus Maximus’ chest piece although I kept my Power Glide as a fan mode, chest piece (officailly he’s Superion’s weapon). As for my Optimus Maximus since I have to use Drag Strip I might as well try to find Blackjack too.

Pictured below are the Prime Armor and original feet attachments. The Prime Armor is a gimmick designed to induce more sales of toys, in my opinion. It’s an add on weapon/shield/engine part or whatever you make it out to be, and meant to accommodate a Prime Master. A Prime Master is a little figure that transforms into a ‘spark mode’ to fit into a compatible component, like the Prime Armor. This transformation is as easy as folding it in half to make it look like a cube. It is sold with an exo suit which just opens up to fit the Prime Master inside. This exo suit transforms into some kind of weapon (different Prime Masters have different exo suits). I included this info because some Combiner teams don’t have a large weapon for the merged figure so I got some of these Prime Masters to use in weapon mode. The foot attachment is from another figure that I wanted to show just as an example of roughly what some of the older hand/feet look like. The older ones are also dual purpose, they can be either hands or feet. The original one should look similar but have a Prime Master port, a swivel peg and cannot transform into a hand. Just make sure to look for a peg that sticks out from the top. That’s the peg that inserts into the leg.

Original Hand
(Jazz’s is black)
Original Foot

The moral of this story is, if you’re like me and collect toys based on how much you like the toy, set, theme or whichever and whatever, then you’re probably going to mix and match. If you do, please make sure you are set on parts as mentioned above and that the figure you plan on using for the torso is actually capable of that third transformation. For example, just because the figure is from the Combiner Wars series doesn’t mean it is a Combiner. I made that mistake…now I have two Ultra Magnus’! Lucky he’s one of my favorite characters, so I don’t really mind. If you have older Combiners using the older feet (like the one picture above), you can use the hands for feet then the Prime Armors for hands, that way you don’t have to buy an upgrade kit.

Official Build:

Autobots Merge into Optimus Maximus
Battle Core Optimus Prime Transforms into Torso
Sunstreaker Transforms into Right Arm
Mirage Transforms into Left Arm
Prowl Transforms into Right Leg
Ironhide Transforms into Left Leg
Rodimus Transforms into Chest Plate

My Build:

Autobots/Decepticons Merge into Optimus Maximus
Battle Core Optimus Transforms into Torso
Nova Star Transforms into Right Arm
Moon Racer Transforms into Left Arm
Mirage Transforms into Right Leg
Jazz Transforms into Left Leg
Rodimus Transforms into Chest Plate

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed making it. Have fun with your toys !!!

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other toys and collectibles posts but also my travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans posts, photography related news/reviews posts and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, πŸ˜ƒ please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art