Taobao product recommendation – Stainless steel ice cubes

Want instant cool drinks but don’t want to dilute the drink with water? Then stainless steel ice cubes are for you. Just cool the cubes in the freezer as you would do with ice cubes, then drop them into your drink to chill it.

Cool your beer without diluting it
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Taobao product recommendation – Bluetooth transmitter receiver

I have previously bought this Bluetooth tranceiver, but ultimately it didn’t work well. In fact, it died. I suspect it was due to charging the battery while it is in use at the same time.

Get a pair of this to enjoy low latency and reliable wireless audio transmission

Well, i now got my hands on a Bluetooth 5 transceiver. It runs on the Qualcomm CSR8675 chip, which is probably the market leader. I ordered a pair so that i can be assured of the most reliable wireless audio transmission possible, but alas, the seller only shipped one unit, and refunded me the payment for the second unit. I will probably have to order another one next time.

Anyhow, i tried pairing this lone Bluetooth 5 transmitter with the built-in Bluetooth receiver on my mixer, and the result was fantastic! The audio quality was really spectacular, despite the Bluetooth receiver on my mixer being at most Bluetooth 4.1 (it is unspecified).

I tried using the Bluetooth transmitter while charging it at the same time and it resulted in some high pitched noise. I guess it is generally not a good idea to do so, the circuitry might be damaged.

I highly recommend this Bluetooth transmitter/receiver. If you need SPDIF input/output, you can get the bigger box and it cost only 20 Yuan more.

Taobao product recommendation – Sous Vide circulator

Before i proceed any further, i must put forth the disclaimer that i have not purchased the product from Taobao that i am introducing today. I still own and use the Anova circulator i have gotten many years ago.

My Anova still works flawlessly, but the clamp for holding it to the pot has broken off. Having used a Sous Vide circulator, though only on and off, i think it’s actually quite worthwhile owning one.

I managed to cook 10 duck legs at one go
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Taobao product recommendation – automatic coffee machine

This is one of the most expensive items I have purchased on Taobao. As with most things on Taobao, it is cheaper than the equivalent coffee machine sold in the stores. The closest competitor is the De’Longhi Magnifica S which sells for around S$900. At 2980 Yuan (S$605), the Thermos is a no-brainer choice. The pricing fluctuates, but the 2980 is about the lowest i have seen so far. You might want to purchase from the official Thermos Taobao store if the price is the same.

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Taobao product recommendation – household ozone sterilizer

This is another product recommended by Dr Tom Wu. I felt it delivers a big impact for a fairly low cost. Food is becoming less safe in this age when there is tremendous pressure to drive the cost of food down. This inevitably implies widespread use of chemicals in agriculture.

An ozone sterilizer is an effective and convenient way to mitigate the problem. It is convenient because it runs on electricity and does not involve any consumables. It is also actually quite effective in killing bacteria and removing pesticide.

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Taobao product recommendation – high speed blender

I never thought i needed a blender until i was introduced to Dr Tom Wu’s nutritional approach. He advocates consuming the Phytochemical found in plants, and he suggests that the best way to get them is to break down the plant cell walls using a high speed blender. This is a very subjective matter, and nobody has a conclusive say on whether Dr Wu’s claims are true. Nevertheless, i was sold on trying out the blender. For one thing, i know i will be consuming more fruits and vegetables when i make it a point to put something into the blender every now and then.

Another valid point is that when food is already chopped into tiny bits, the nutrition is more easily absorbed. Also, unlike a juicer, you will consume the whole fruit or vegetable, which allows you to get more out of it. It is definitely more filling too, so you can make do with buying less food. Good for mother earth.

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Taobao parcel forwarder review – SGShop

I never expected to have to try yet another Taobao parcel forwarder after i have already gone through Taobao official shipping, ezbuy and 86of. I had to ship a piece of phone battery, which is obviously a sensitive item. Taobao official sea shipping does not allow it. Ezbuy still does not work (and probably won’t for the foreseeable future, unless you use VPN as suggested by Aber). As for 86of, i can’t get a definite answer from them whether they can ship a phone battery.

I have actually registered with SGShop for some time, but didn’t find their rates attractive. Anyway, since the other options are not available, i decided to check them out, and I discovered a major advantage they have over the others: instant response local chat service (ezbuy has chat service too). I was able to get confirmation (they verified with the Chinese counterpart) that they can ship the phone battery via sea shipping.

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2019 Cashback Credit Card Strategy

It’s been a long time since i did a check on the ins-and-outs of the world of cashback credit cards. Things have changed tremendously. For the longest time (more than a year), i’ve been relying on the OCBC 365 Credit Card, but they put a stop to the benefit i needed the most from the card and i probably have to kiss it goodbye.

Nevermind if the minimum spending was raised from $600 to $800, the 3% cashback for online transactions (unless it is travel related) was removed. There’s no way i can hit the minimum spending of $800 if i can’t accumulate online purchases towards the $800. So, what’s next?

There are two cards that look like suitable candidates for replacement: OCBC FRANK and Standard Chartered Unlimited.

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Another ezbuy fail – eBay forwarding

Update: Not sure what happened, but i don’t get that error message anymore. So my post below does not apply anymore, and yes, i’m back to using ezbuy for USA forwarding.

I have used ezbuy to forward eBay purchases from the US countless times, but when i tried to checkout my cart today, i encountered this error message: “This item cannot be purchased because this item cannot be sent to your shipping address.”.

Scratch my head.. the address has never been changed and it is correct. I tried to register a new eBay account, and then i discovered the reason – a mobile number must be paired with the shipping address. A landline won’t do. I guess this almost means goodbye to ezbuy, because i can practically ship nothing through them anymore (i haven’t tried their latest China forwarding address though).

Instead, i might turn to SGshop or vPost or comgateway. I have done a Taobao sea freight forwarding through SGshop and will post my review very soon. Now, i might try to forward my eBay purchases through them also. Their USA shipping rates are almost the same as ezbuy – S$3.99 per 500g, plus a clearance fee of $0.98 for each parcel (which also applies to China parcels, lame). ezbuy is still the cheapest, with no per parcel fee, and there is an option of charging by actual weight, at S$3.99 per 500g. Unbeatable. Hopefully they can supply a mobile phone number in the future.

By the way, i am not endorsing SGshop, not yet at least. They seem to be just a “reseller” for uclick2buy, because the warehouse address is exactly identical, and “UCB” is part of your forwarding address, and it obviously refers to uclick2buy. Interestingly, uclick2buy charges S$13.50 for the first 500g and every additional 500g costs $4.25, which is a lot more expensive.

The Google results also show that sellers have been scammed when sending to freight forwarded buyers – the recipient receives the products but they claim they got an empty box and refuse to release payment. Sellers are probably quite wary when they see freight forwarding addresses, so you probably need to have a credible purchase history for them to trust you.

Taobao product recommendation – UHF wireless audio transceiver

I have previously tried Bluetooth as a means of transmitting audio wirelessly, and it was unreliable. Bluetooth 4 is just not good enough (i didn’t try the Bluetooth dongles that supported apt-x though and maybe those work). I have yet to try Bluetooth 5, but it is quite a bit more expensive. Instead, i decided to try UHF wireless transmission (these cost less than half that of the Bluetooth 5 implementation). UHF had been in use for a long time for on-stage wireless audio transmission (microphone, electric guitars and such).

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