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, 😃 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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Fine Art



Midi2LR – Software to bridge a midi controller to Lightroom

Hi everyone! Hope all is well with y’all! Just wanted to drop a note regarding the availability of an update for Midi2LR to version 3.2.2.0. If you haven’t upgraded yet, here’s the link:

https://github.com/rsjaffe/MIDI2LR/releases/tag/v3.2.2.0

If you’re not familiar with Midi2LR it is a piece of software that lets you use a Midi Controller to adjust the adjustment sliders in Lightroom. The above image is 1/3 of the Midi Controller that I’m using. It is a Behringer XTouch Mini. The labels I stuck on myself using regular stickers including the colored dots on the knobs. Here’s my review of the Behringer XTouch Mini.

I realize that this device may be overkill for many people but if you shoot a lot of RAW images and want a quicker way to edit those RAW files you may want to check this out. I can 100% say that I can edit my images quicker and arguably more precisely with this MIDI controller.

MIDI2LR is donation ware so if you can get your hands on a compatible MIDI controller, give it try!

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, 😃 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



USB 3.0 drives keep being disconnected and reconnected on USB 3.0 but work great on USB 2

I have 5 multi-terrabyte USB 3.0 drives connected to my Dell XPS 8700 desk top PC. Of those 5 drives, 2 particular ones keep disconnecting and reconnecting (one of them has to have its’ power cycled t

Source: USB 3.0 drives keep being disconnected and reconnected on USB 3.0 but work great on USB 2

Mighty_Miro_WD ‘s post WORKED FOR ME after months of frustration (it’s my raw photos/Lightroom drive).



3 days of despair with happy ending on the 4th

Four days ago, while using my computer, an error message popped up. It said windows encountered an error and needs to restart. So I clicked ok and off it went to restart. It didn’t, it went all the way to “windows starting” then black. I’m pretty decent with handling computer issues but this “Black screen of death” was new to me. Having read and tried various “fixes” from KB articles with no success, I pulled out the HD and tried to get my data. That was a no go, I could access the drive but not the info. Whatever, I got backups of backups so I went to reformatted and reinstall windows.

When it came time to restore my data, my backups had recent dates but the data was all from a year ago….OMG…I almost had a heart attack!!! So I dug out a different set of backups. Data a bit more recent but still too old. I’m losing a ton of data, my Access database I built from scratch, my Lightroom presets. ALL gone. While digging through backups, another error message this one was along the lines of HD error back up and replace drive. Restart and box won’t get past POST. Pulled out the drive with Windows installed and tried to boot from CD, same error in POST (HD failure). Finally found the “busted” drive pulled it out and got past POST.

So now I’m sitting on a box that’s good to go, but no data. Thinking about the “lost” data I was dreading the amount of work and research I happened to come across this : http://www.quetek.com that offers a program called File Scavenger. Simple enough website, I’ve never heard of the company or program before but after reading the info on the site, this program should be just what I need. The $50 price tag is reasonable if it works. As a pessimist I always doubt stuff and even more so about buyin stuff online. But hey, the download is free, it’s fully functional (up to a certain amount of data restored). So I went ahead with testing it.

Download, install, ran the easiest test. The whole process was easy but it didn’t find anything I needed. Ran the more thorough test and boy did it find a lotta stuff. Keep in mind my drive was formatted and all programs needed were reinstalled. After digging throught the folders, I FOUND IT ALL !

WITH this sudden surge of excitement I went to get my credit card, paid for the license, entered it and let the program get my data. Easy as 1,2,3 !

File Scavenger by QueTek works. Don’t hesitate to get this program!

Note: I installed the program on a different (fully functional) computer, the reformatted/reloaded HD was put in an external enclosure and connected via USB. File Scavenger scanned the drive and saved what I marked to the computer’s drive.

Once that was done, I put the reformmated drive back into its original computer, turned it on Windows fired up, all the reloaded software worked too.

File Scavenger works and is reasonably priced. If you need it, get it!