Building a Smart Home from Scratch [Installing Smart Switches]

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Lengzai the Husky showing you one of the many Smart Switches in our place. 💡

One of the key foundations of having a fully integrated Smart Home is to make sure almost every possible item your house – normal lights, ambient coloured lights, blinds, etc – is well, controllable. This can mean using a controller module or a Smart Switch to turn “normal” everyday things into part of your smart home.

Having said that, it’s important to make the decision to get everything controllable early in the beginning as you will need to get your interior designer or contractor to plan for it in advance. In our case where we designed and built our Smart Home from scratch, we directly got our electrician to modify the wiring circuit that came with the place to introduce a neutral wire (blue wire).

This is a very crucial part of the whole setup: Many smart switches, controller modules, and such require a neutral wire so that they can be “always on” in a low power state awaiting commands.

This way, we could literally turn every existing and new switch in the house to a smart one, one that is remotely controllable via Z-wave.

Why do you need a neutral wire?

Some of you might ask why not just use a WiFi Smart Plug? You know, the ones which look something like this:

Yea, and save all the trouble with complicated platforms, protocols, these cheem wiring setups and all.

I mean, sure, you could. Why not?

Well, in our humble opinion, these huge devices are quite ugly and bulky – really not seamless enough. Also, for high usage (or high power draw) sockets, the chances of the smart plug burning out are pretty damn high.

Do you honestly want your nicely flushed wall sockets to be crowded with these plugs when you could have something way nicer?

Also, WiFi networks aren’t really made to support that many devices at the same time, unless you actually invest in setting up a really high capacity WiFi network, but that’s really another topic for another time.

How to select a suitable Smart Switch for your house?

Currently, we are using mainly two brands of Z-wave enabled Smart Switches – TKBHome and MCOHome.

One of TKBHome’s Smart Switches – they come in a huge number of variants!

For TKBHome, most of their models come with (some sort of) tactile feedback, so that when you toggle between on and off, you actually know that the switch is being pressed. It also has a subtle blue LED to notify you of current the on/off status.

Design-wise, it’s actually very simple and non-intrusive. We didn’t want our switches to actively scream “HEY THIS IS A SMART HOME”, but instead blend into the surrounding home design.

Installation-wise, it’s also a breeze because the size (86mm) fits into our existing Singapore standard switch. You (or your electrician) could easily replace this into the existing socket box after installing the neutral wire. There’s really no guide needed on how to install it because it’s just so simple – unlike the other brand that we use – MCOHome.

MCOHome Smart Switch

As compared to TKBHome switches, MCOHome’s is obviously looking way more “high-tech” with its glass panel and glowing lights. It’s extremely touch-sensitive which can a good or bad thing depending on your habits.

Price-wise, MCOHome is almost triple the price of the TKBHome Smart Switches. Of course, from reviews, MCOHome stuff is supposedly better in quality too.

Installation-wise, it’s a real pain to install them due to the different thickness of the switches. MCOHome switches are built for European standard switch boxes which is slightly different from our Singapore standard – the European boxes are way deeper than the local boxes, and this can pose a bit of a problem if you’re using the existing switch boxes which are inside your wall already.

If you do somehow end up with a Smart Switch with super thick depth like the MCOHome and have no idea how to install it, fret not! I’m gonna write down a step by step guide on how to get it fixed.

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Sushi Jiro – Fine Japanese Dining at a Steal! [Review]

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Sushi Jiro’s entrance is located on the 4th floor of Marina Mandarin – you won’t see an English signage though!

You probably already knew that I’m a huge fan of Japanese cuisine from all my Instagram posts, and truth be told, I am actually quite picky about where I eat my Japanese food too.

Don’t get me wrong – the place doesn’t have to be super atas, but the food has to be fresh and the preparation has to be proper – because hey, we’re going to be dealing with a lot of raw ingredients here… and they’re really fragile!

So, imagine my surprise when I was invited to Sushi Jiro for a tasting session of their new menu!

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Facial Scars Removal with iMedical [Fractional Acne Scar Laser]

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1 week after the Fractional Acne Scar Laser. 💥

If you are curiously foraging the latest and greatest of skincare and beauty products and services, I’m sure by now that you’ve heard (or at least read) about the good ol’ Fractional Co2 laser.

It’s essentially said to be the gold standard but yet also being one of the few lasers having some of the harshest downtime. Uh huh, that means you probably wouldn’t look too fantastic for those few days. It’s no doubt a 先苦后甜 laser that helps greatly in minimizing skin disorder and reparation of damage such as scarring, pigmentation and ageing, etc.

More bluntly put:

The traditional Fractional Co2 laser precisely “burns off” the damaged outer layer so that your baby smooth skin that’s beneath can resurface to the top (again). 💆🏻‍♀️

What’s Stopping Me From Traditional Fractional Co2 Laser?

For those who have been following this little space of mine (thank you! 💐), you would probably know that there was a period of time when my skin was just so bad that even I myself found it disgusting.

Even though I managed to recover within a very short timespan, I was left with many different kinds of scars.

I did consider doing the traditional Fractional Co2 Laser back then, but eventually, I opted not to do so for a plethora of reasons. One of it was probably the post-procedure hyperpigmentations in Asian skin – which undoubtedly meant getting tanner.

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Getting to the Roots of Problems… with Roots Technologies [Review]

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Featuring the two handsome boys – Yandao & Lengzai with Roots Technologies Products.

The boys’ Roots Technologies journey begins with the highly-raved Tonic Spray which almost is a herbal-ish “cure-all” which you’ll probably have heard about from your friends.

For me, I absolutely love the smell and the effects, but the boys get super overwhelmed by it – which I will explain later in this post.

After having such amazing results with their Tonic Spray, I was obviously ecstatic to receive more Roots Technologies all-natural products for the boys to try out!

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