Category Archives: interesting websites

Rediscover what makes Chinese New Year special with Google

Chinese New Year is a busy time of the year for Singapore.

A look at the top related searches on Google shows just how busy: Singaporeans are planning celebrations with traditional treats like “Pineapple tart”, “Yusheng” and activities like “Chingay 2014”.

Most Searched Chinese New Year Related Searches in Singapore
1.    Chingay 20142.    Pineapple tart recipe3.    Abalone

4.    Horse

5.    Feng Shui 2014

6.    Chinese New Year

7.    Chinatown Singapore

8.    Lunar calendar 2014

9.    Yusheng recipe

10.  Egg tart recipe

 How many of these search terms did you contribute?

In between cooking for the big family reunion, visiting relatives, and stuffing lucky red packets, preparing for Chinese New Year can feel overwhelming. Google has launched an interesting microsite with lots of tips and tricks to help with the preparations at Google.com/ChineseNewYear.

Here are some tips for how you can use Google as you ring in the year of the horse:

●        Reunion meal prep: Google Search is the first place many turn to for recipe ideas. But let’s say you don’t like certain ingredients, like chives in your dumplings—you can type in [dumplings recipe -chives], and you can take those out of your results. After you’ve picked a recipe you like, you can keep track of all the ingredients you need to buy with Google Keep, which is a bit like sticky notes for your phone. Not sure how to fold dumplings? Search for videos by expert chefs on YouTube to brush up on your cooking technique. You can also share your recipes with friends and family on Google Docs.

●        Visiting relatives: Visiting three relatives in one day might seem daunting, but it’s not a problem if you have Google Now set up on your Android or iPhone. Google Now will automatically remind you of when you need to leave so you can beat the traffic and get the best routes, either by driving or by public transportation. If you’re driving, Google Maps will give you turn-by-turn directions spoken out loud so you can focus on the road ahead.

●        Send greetings abroad: Greet your friends and family face to face, even if you can’t be in the same room. Google Hangouts allows you to have video conversations with up to ten people at the same time, so you can chat to your cousin from Australia and your aunt in Canada all at once.

●        Remember those magic moments: Back up the photos you take on your phone using Google+ Auto Backup so you won’t ever lose those photos again.

Happy Horse Year everyone! I am looking forward to better luck, better fortune and more rewarding experiences in the year ahead. 🙂

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A Year in Singapore Search: Google’s Top Searches of 2013

Yesterday, Google announced its annual Year End Zeitgeist, a look at 2013 through the collective eyes of the world on the web, offering a unique perspective on the year’s major events and hottest trends based on Google searches conducted in Singapore.

So what got Singaporeans buzzing online in 2013?

The Southeast Asian haze grabbed attention and headlines this year, as Singaporeans searched for information about the phenomenon by looking up the latest PSI readings, facts about haze particles, and preventative masks. Singaporeans also kept an eye on other local news and events, including Singapore’s bird flu readiness, the investigation into American engineer Shane Todd’s alleged suicide, and news of local actor, Huang Wenyong’s death from lymphoma. Another celebrity death to make waves in Singapore was that of movie star Paul Walker, who died suddenly in a car crash in November.

Basketball is here to stay among Singaporean sport fans with the NBA’s Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, and the Dallas Mavericks emerging on Singapore’s most searched sports teams for the first time. The nation continued to follow international football favourites as well, with Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur all making the list, along with local team LionsXII.

Ever gadget- and bargain-savvy, Singaporeans searched for key dates for events like the 2013 IT Show, COMEX and the Great Singapore Sale. The nation also indulged its love for food—especially its sweet tooth—with searches for traditional treats like Kueh Bangkit and Snow Skin Mooncake, and contemporary favourites like Rainbow Cake, Leche Flan and Nutella Blossom, spiking on the trending recipes list.

Short trips and weekend getaways remained popular as Legoland Malaysia, the first Legoland theme park in Asia, came in as the top travel destination for Singaporeans for the second year in a row, along with Hong Kong, Penang, and Bangkok, cities famed for good food and shopping. On the whole, however, holidaymakers preferred to relax under the sun with well-known beach destinations such as Bali and Langkawi snagging 5 out of the top 10 travel hotspots.

Google spokesperson Sana Rahman said: “Google’s year-end Zeitgeist is a cultural barometer showing us what quickened our national heartbeat and drove our curiosity in 2013.”

As someone is online 24-7, I couldn’t agree more. Online trends often mirrors what goes on in the real world and sometimes give clues and insights on human behaviours.

Trending

Searches

1.       PSI Singapore

2.       Harlem shake

3.       Little India riot

4.      Anonymous

5.       N95 mask

6.       Malaysia election

7.       Deepavali 2013

8.       Gwiyomi

9.       Boston

10.   Tampines accident

People

1.       Paul Walker

2.       Cory Monteith

3.       Huang Wenyong

4.       Nelson Mandela

5.       Gordon Ramsay

6.       Margaret Thatcher

7.       Lea Michele

8.       Jennifer Lawrence

9.       Rowan Atkinson

10.   Tom Hiddleston

Songs

1.       Wrecking Ball

2.       Gentlemen

3.       Blurred Lines

4.       Counting Stars

5.       Clarity

6.       Royals

7.       Get Lucky

8.       Thrift Shop

9.       Road

10.   Heart Attack

Movies

1.       The Conjuring

2.       Pacific Rim

3.       Despicable Me 2

4.       World War Z

5.       Man of Steel

6.       Iron Man 3

7.       The Great Gatsby

8.       Gravity

9.       Oblivion

10.   Warm Bodies

What is…

1.       PM 2.5

2.       Gwiyomi

3.       Twerking

4.       Obamacare

5.       Lymphoma

6.       OOTD

7.       Hail

8.      Mastectomy

9.       Gluten

10.   H7N9

How to…

1.       Rap

2.       Harmonize

3.       Cycle

4.       Twerk

5.       Paint

6.       Beatbox

7.       Factorise

8.       Crochet

9.       Deadlift

10.   Blog

Gadgets

1.       iPhone 5s

2.       Samsung Galaxy S4

3.       Samsung Note 3

4.       iPhone 5c

5.       iPad Air

6.       Nexus 5

7.       iPad Mini 2

8.       HTC One

9.       Sony Xperia X

10.   Xbox One

Recipes

1.       Shepherd’s Pie

2.       Kueh Bangkit

3.       Lasagne

4.       Snow Skin Mooncake

5.       Nutella Blossom

6.       Rainbow Cake

7.       Chicken Wings

8.       Beef Steak

9.       Leche Flan

10.   Cornflake Cookies

Most Searched

Travel Destinations

1.       Legoland Malaysia

2.       Bali

3.       Hong Kong

4.       Maldives

5.       Bangkok

6.       Taiwan

7.       Bintan

8.       Langkawi

9.       Krabi

10.   Penang

Local News

1.       Bird Flu

2.       Shane Todd

3.       Huang Wenyong

4.       Kovan

5.       Khaw Boon Wan

6.       Flood

7.       Singapore haze

8.       Singapore property

9.       Tey Tsun Hang

10.   Singapore riot

TV Shows

1.       Running Man

2.       Game of Thrones

3.       Breaking Bad

4.       Suits

5.       Naruto Shippuden

6.       The Big Bang Theory

7.       The Heirs

8.       The Voice of China

9.       The Walking Dead

10.   We Got Married

Korean Stars

1.       Kim Jong-kook

2.       Super Junior

3.       Girls’ Generation

4.       Hyuna

5.       Park Shin-hye

6.       Yoon Eun-hye

7.       Lee Min-jung

8.       Gary Kang

9.       Jo In-sung

10.   Jang Geun-suk

Events

1.       Singapore F1

2.       IT Show

3.       Australian Open

4.       COMEX

5.       PC Show

6.       Standard Chartered Marathon

7.       Wimbledon

8.       Sundown Marathon

9.       NATAS Fair

10.   Great Singapore Sale

Sports Teams

1.       Arsenal

2.       Manchester United

3.       Liverpool

4.       Chelsea

5.       LionsXII

6.       Tottenham Hotspur

7.       Houston Rockets

8.       L. A. Lakers

9.       Miami Heat

10.   Dallas Mavericks

Sportspersons

1.       Cristiano Ronaldo

2.       David Beckham

3.       Jeremy Lin

4.       Roger Federer

5.       Wayne Rooney

6.       Oscar Pistorius

7.       Rafael Nadal

8.       Jose Mourinho

9.       Thiago Alcantara

10.   Andy Murray

on Mobile

1.       PSI Singapore

2.       SGX

3.      Weather

4.       Arsenal

5.      Manchester United

6.      Liverpool

7.       iPhone 5s

8.      Restaurants

9.      Running Man

10.  Samsung Galaxy S4

To see more information about Google Zeitgeist across the globe, use interactive data visualizations and to watch Google’s annual video, visit google.com/zeitgeist.

What is Google’s Year-End Zeitgeist?

Google reveals the Internet “Zeitgeist” (German for “the spirit of the times”) through an exploration of the over one trillion search queries received each year. In addition to the Year-end Zeitgeist, which highlights the top trends of 2013, Google also have several tools that give insight into global, regional, past and present search trends. Google Zeitgeist tools can never be used to identify individual users because Google relies on anonymized, aggregated counts of how often certain search queries occur over time. These tools are available year-round for us to play with, explore, and learn from at google.com/zeitgeist

Launch of HashtagAsia.com and Alvinology.com site revamp to usher in 2014

As the year draws to an end, I am happy to have accomplished two major tasks:

1. Launched HashtagAsia.com

HashtagAsia.com is a project which I have been working on with a good friend, Tay Weikiat.

There are many hard news sites in Singapore and Asia, but we figured life need not always be so serious. Majority of online readers are probably looking for fun, casual content to read and we set up this site to cater to this group of audience.

Do visit HashtagAsia.com, LIKE our Facebook page and FOLLOW us on Twitter. Appreciate all the support!

2. Revamped Alvinology.com

The template which I have been using has been in place for over two years. Time for an upgrade. Since WordPress just released their WordPress Twenty Fourteen theme a month ago, I decided to ride with it.

How do you like the new look?

I like that I can highlight selected content now in the form of a grid at the top of the site. However, the core content column has shrunk… I would prefer to keep it at around 800px width for larger embedded images, but will have to make do.

Anyone know if this is possible on the WordPress Twenty Fourteen theme? If so, drop me and email at alvinologist@gmail.com. 

Online food delivery portal FoodPanda comes to Singapore

Online food delivery service is not new in Singapore, what is important is the variety of food offering and the assurance of quality service.

FoodPanda is an online food delivery portal which delivers food from various local restaurants, right to your doorstep. They are currently operating in 30 countries worldwide, including Singapore and is founded by Rocket Internet, the same company behind online shopping site, Zalora.

Sick of the usual fast food delivery options? Why not try ordering from FoodPanda for a variety of international cuisines from a slew of local restaurants?

Welcome to FoodPanda
Welcome to FoodPanda

I just made a dinner order on FoodPanda last night and was pretty satisfied with their service.

There is a variety of different cuisines available on FoodPanda, ranging from Italian to Japanese to Indian. I had a craving for briyani last night and was very happy to see a few Indian restaurants which deliver to my home.

I made the order at around 7pm from my office. The estimated delivery time was indicated as 70 minutes and the charges were all reflected upfront, with no hidden costs:

Browsing through the menu for Aromas of India
Browsing through the menu for Aromas of India

My wife texted me at around 7.30pm to inform me that the delivery has been made. Love it. Fuss-free and easy to use. Dinner is just a few clicks away with FoodPanda.

The total bill from Aromas of India restaurant came to S$28.27. Food cost was S$25.70 with an additional 10% (S$2.57) service fee. There is no 7% GST.

My order
My order

Here was how my order looks like when it came:

A salad, mutton briyani and chicken briyani to share between two pax
A salad, mutton briyani and chicken briyani to share between two pax
Salad to share
Salad to share
Chicken briyani
Chicken briyani
Mutton briyani
Mutton briyani

The portal also offers periodic discounts and alerts, much like many of the online coupon websites, except that they will be tempting you with food offerings exclusively.

FoodPanda is also available on both iOS and Android mobile platforms.

I had a good experience ordering from FoodPanda and will do so again.

Men’s Shirts from ButtonNStitch

I was introduced to ButtonNStitch about a year ago. They are one of the rare e-commerce sites in Singapore which targets males instead of females.

ButtonNStitch‘s focus is on formal dress shirts; with attention to details on the choice of fabric and cut, at a reasonable price.

They do not make bespoke shirts like CYC, but they do offer a variety in style, carrying straight and slim cut formal shirts for every style listed on their site.

ButtonNStitch has a very user-friendly navigation environment. For men, there are just a few key items to take note of when buying a formal shirt – size (in inches), fit (slim or straight), colour and pattern on the fabric. All these options are available on the left-hand side bar on the site:

To me, ButtonNStitch feels like the Japanese no-frills express haircut services in the online world, catering to the same group of time-starved, wallet-conscious, yet style-demanding urban men.

Your shirt will come individually wrapped in a box like this
Your shirt will come individually wrapped in a box like this
Inside the box
Inside the box
Blue stripe shirt I ordered
Blue stripe shirt I ordered
16.5
16.5″, straight fit

The site holds regular sale. Hence do check back for discounts.

ButtonNStitch has a free delivery free returns policy.

The business is based in Singapore and they use Singapore Post (Free) and DHL Express (Chargeble) to handle your dress shirt package and ensure timely delivery. Dress shirts purchased for standard delivery will be free of charge. If you opt for express international delivery via DHL, actual cost of carriage will be billed to you. You will be informed of the cost for express delivery and will be required to agree to pay such costs before confirming your purchase.

Finalists for Singapore Blog Awards 2013 Unveiled!

The 190 finalists for the sixth Singapore Blog Awards have been unveiled. Voting has begun in fervour, with bloggers rallying on their own blogs and leveraging on various social media platforms to garner support.


Organised by Singapore’s leading news and entertainment portal, omy.sg, the award is presented by Panasonic this year, the second year the global brand has been fronting this exciting campaign to engage the online community.

The winners in the ten main award categories this year will stand to win a trip to the Northern Territory, Australia as well as a trophy designed by Singapore’s most expensive living artist, Tan Swie Hian.

The list of finalists saw a good mix of old and new faces in the blogging community. Some blog highlights include:

Here’s a fun video by the Ninja Girls:

Winners for the Singapore Blog Awards are determined by a combination of online voting (30%) and professional scoring (70%) by a panel of independent judges appointed by omy.sg

The theme for the event is “60s Fever”, in line with this year being the sixth year of the Singapore Blog Awards. The award ceremony will be held at the chic Shanghai Dolly club in July.

Official hashtag on Twitter and Instagram is #omysba2013. 

Voting is now open till 23 June 2013. Visit http://sgblogawards.omy.sg for more information. Voters stand to win attractive prizes like speakers from JBL.

The Singapore Blog Awards is part of a series of events branded under Social Media Fiesta (http://project.omy.sg/social-media-fiesta), an omy.sg social media initiative.

Why am I plugging this?

If you really don’t know, I am part of the organising team behind the Singapore Blog Awards since the inaugural award six years ago. 🙂