Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bouncing Checks...Almost!

I have been paying my condominium unit for more than a year already and I admit, it's really been draining my finances. I got the condo unit, somewhere in Pasig and still under construction, for zero interest payable in three years that's why I have such a high monthly payment. I issued three years of checks to pay for it using my Chinabank current/checking account, my salary account actually.

Yesterday, I withdrew P2000 pesos to pay for an unexpected expense with my mommy but this morning when i went to the office, I, again, withdrew P900 but when I looked at the available balance, the amount fell short of my required funds for the check to be deposited tomorrow so I immediately accessed my Chinabank Online to verify and requested my officemate to transfer P820 to my account as I handed him the cash.

Just one of the wonders of Internet banking here in the Philippines that there's no transaction fee for intra-bank funds transfer and also I didn't have to pay P1200 service charge to China Bank for a bouncing check.

I experienced a bouncing check last May when I wasn't able to clear a manager's check i requested from BPI to transfer funds to my China Bank account.

Not that I'm afraid of estafa here since the real estate company can just forfeit my unit in case I can't pay it anymore, but the P1200 is P1200, plus the hassle of looking for additional funds since I can't access my BPI account easily to transfer. There's still no way I can transfer funds from BPI to China Bank except over the counter.

For more information on the Philippines' Bouncing Checks Law, click here

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cheap Airline Tickets Fraud

I've received information for many months now on the proliferation of scams offered in public places where unscrupulous people openly offer cheap flights, domestic or international, to various destinations or discounted air fares.

Uninformed people will pay in cash but the miscreants will buy the plane tickets under the buyer's name using stolen credit card credentials online and pocket the cash they receive.

Upon check-in at the airport, presentation of the credit card used to purchase the tickets will be required for boarding and so the unknowing victim won't be able to board his flight.

Tips to guard against fraudsters and scam artists like these:

1. Purchase airline tickets online yourself or through a reputable travel agency.

2. Make sure names on the credit card and airline tickets match

3. The mode of payment on your e-ticket should always indicate cash if you paid for it in cash. If not, question the ticket issuer.

4. As always, my favorite advise to people: If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't true!

This is not unique to the Philippines but also present in other countries in Asia. I have yet to see ATM card payment options for various carriers like Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific, SeaAir, Asian Spirit and other budget airlines but this would become a reality also

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pardon for Erap is a Mockery of Justice

I was thinking for few days now of posting my disapproval of the granting of executive clemency for Erap floated around. Today, such pardon was granted to Erap by PGMA and as always I see it as a mockery of justice. We've gone through many years of trial and now he's again a free man? So now I know that any powerful person can commit plunder, not admit guilt even if proven to be guilty and still roam free. Only in the Philippines!

News reports tell PGMA did it for national unity. National unity what? Just because of political pressure and the never-ending sword of damocles in the form of an impeachment did PGMA in? Or maybe PGMA is seeing her own future when the law finally catches up with her. This country will never be united since everybody wants to be the one seated in Malacanang. Politicians will always quarrel among themselves and the cycle of impunity will never end.

Regarding the Department of Justice, I have a still pending motion for approval and a clarification on a case I've been pursuing against an uragon fraudster for almost a year now trapped in a tarpit. This Erap pardon recommendation by the DOJ was submitted in no time at all. Injustice by the sitting president, and by the Department of Justice Delayed, if not Injustice!

This nation is really heading to the dogs.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Format New USB External Hard Drive

I just acquired a new external hard drive, a cheap 100GB USB for only P3850 (plus the P250 casing) at PC Bodega in New Manila. My officemate also got one but was unable to use it immediately since he doesn't know how to format an external hard disk via USB.

I directed my officemate to this link in order for him to format the drive, using Windows XP's Disk Management utility, so that it'll also show on My Computer.

Now I have lots of data backup jobs to do, including pictures backed up in various CDs and computers :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Recover Data from Hard Disk Crash or Corrupted Partitions

Crashed hard drives? Corrupted HDD and other media not detected by your operating system?

In case you're led to this page through search engines, I know I don't have to remind you to create backups of all your precious data in your hard drives, compact flash (CF), memory stick (MS), Secure Digital (SD), MMX, USB Flash Disks (Thumb drives), and other media. Losing precious files, sometimes precious memories not just pictures, is really such a pain in the *** but there're services and solutions out there to recover your data even partially if you have the money for it.

There are many free data recovery software/utility available in the Internet that you use to successfully recover files from a corrupted USB thumbdrive. The free tools can can also be used to undelete files.

Recovering data from physically damaged hard drives involves qualified engineers and technicians, often involving a clean room and spare similar hard drives to replace damaged parts of the disk including the electronics, heads and motor.

There also were claims that freezing your defective hard drive will correct the clacking sound and make it work again but most of them are accidental "magic" recovery for a limited time only after the drive is taken out of the freezer and data copied immediately. (try booting Knoppix or other bootable CDs, mount the hard disk then copy the files you need)

Data recovery services in the Philippines is still scant and expensive, you can have your data/pictures recovered by professionals but for a stiff price.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Escalator Ipit Gang in Glorietta

I received this email about an incident in Glorietta, what those cretins do in buses they now do inside malls with all the security guards present

be warned, unedited email below


Dear All:

I would like to share with you my horrible and scary experience last Friday night at Glorietta. Maybe, by being aware of this incident, you will be more vigilant as you do your leisure shopping.

It was one rare moment on a weekday that we, my daughters and I would have the chance to have a leisure evening together. And a rare occasion that I would go around Glorietta as I am used to the South shopping malls.

Anyway, we took the escalator leading to the Rustans store (the Bon Apetit entrance). The same escalator to the bus stop at Ayala Avenue . I was about 5 steps away from my daughters and in front of me were 2 people (a gay and a girl) in white.

They were about 5 to 6 steps ahead of me. I noticed that these 2 people were walking backwards and to my mind, how could adults play in the escalator. I only see children doing this. They continued stepping backwards until they were about 2 steps away from me. I noticed that the gay removed his pony tail band from his hair.

Then as I reached the top, the gay bent forward trying to pick up something from the floor. I was standing there trying to hold my grip for fear of falling down. All I could say was "Ano ba, Ano ba!" and I felt I was being squashed. I did not know that my daughters were overtaken by another 2 people and they thought that it was rude of them to do this. The next thing they saw was that I was being squashed in front and at the back.

They thought that the one in front of them got their shoe stuck. I finally got out and was cursing the two people in front of me for being so ignorant in the use of the escalators. My daughter noticed that my bag was opened and she asked me to check it out. My celfons were there, but my wallet was gone.

She immediately ran outside to chase the 2 but they were gone.. The other 2 according to my daughter went the side way. I told the security guard by the door leading to Ayala. All he asked was that "Inipit ba kayo"? I said yes. And then he said that it is the modus operandi and if I were to interpret what he said, this is not the first time this happen ed. I was shocked for a while. I did not feel like looking around anymore and just confined myself inside Rustans.

The next day, a construction worker called my house to say that he saw my wallet in a planter box near the bus stop. He saw a receipt with my name and phone number and called hoping he can find the owner of the wallet.

Am passing this email to you so that you will be more alert when you go out. This can happen anywhere where they have these escalators. For those who have connection with the Security of Ayala, please tell them to pose some guards at the escalator areas.
Pass this on to as many people as you can.

RGMA Network, Inc.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

DIY Hardware Keylogger

Browsing the net is just one of my primary job requirements just to stay updated on many developments in this rapidly changing world. Though this is not new, I got interested in the DIY Hardware Keylogger featured here using a microcontroller. I don't have a microcontroller programmer so I won't be able to build this one.

I'm also looking for a DIY hardware kelylogger for USB like this one.

I want to have one of those devices since I'm always trying to find new ways to defeat keyloggers and other malware.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Quo Vadis, Paete?

Paete, my beloved hometown sandwiched between the slopes of the Sierra Madre mountain range and the moribund Laguna de Bay, is the home of world-renowned people famous for woodcarvings, ice and vegetable carvings, sweet lanzones and papier mache.

This pride of place of mine got a beating when I got hold of Manila Bulletin's September 29, 2007 (Saturday) issue that contained the Commission on Audit's annual report of Regions 3 and 4 was published.

Look at what I've found:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Click on the Picture for the hi-res one

In a nutshell, Paete ranked 27th out of 27 towns in Laguna and the 198th of the 200 towns in Region 4 in terms of income, or in this case, the lack thereof, owing to a net loss recorded in 2006,

The accountant's report trumpeted by the ruling party during the recent elections showed a rosy picture of Paete's financial statement but didn't tally with the audited report's negative income statement.

Did Paete become too reliant on IRA and dole-outs for funding? Did the town spend more than what it can earn that led to borrowing funds to plug the deficit? What happened to projects like the Paete Foundation book, already paid P260,000.00 tied with the "world class tourism brochure," that still has to see the light of day after two years? Just three of the gazillion questions that need answers.

I believe the people of Paete need an explanation of this discrepancy to get a more detailed picture, besides the reasons on why the town got mired in debt.

Does this simply confirm that Paete's coffers are simply-- in the red?


On the Audit process, an initial audit report, sometimes called Advance Audit Report (AAR), is furnished to the Auditee (in this case Paete officials) by the Auditor (in this case COA), then a meeting will be called by the Auditee and Auditor where the Auditor will explain the findings to the Auditee.

The Auditee has the chance to formally contest the report findings, submit additional documents to support the claim or explain their side on the report.

After the formal submission of the official reply by the Auditee, the Auditor will prepare the final report with comments on the various findings.

The Auditee can't just claim they don't know why the Auditor included certain findings and audit exceptions without giving a reason and asking for an explanation from the Auditee.

The final report of the Commission on Audit is the one published in Manila Bulletin and posted on their website.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

100 in 100 Photography Tips

For photography enthusiasts like me, professionals, newbies or hobbyists, SLR or point-and-shoot, there are a hundred tips to learn from a cool site 100 Photography Tips in 100 Days by AIRC Editors.

already on its 30th day, visit the site daily by bookmarking it.

keep on shooting!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

UCPB Phishing Website

In another phishing scam where scums of the earth try to lure unsuspecting users to login to their online banking account and fish the username and passwords, a friend of mine forwarded the sample email and phishing website shown below:

note: FROM email address can be faked as well as the Time stamp. I don't have the sender IP address so i can't trace it.


Subject: United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) Security
From: "United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB)"
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 04:53:37 +0500

Dear UCPB Member!

Our system has detected unsuccessful login attempt to your UCPB account! Please login to your account and review recent activity in order to prevent unauthorized use of your account by third-parties. Click here to proceed.

Thank you!

screenshot of email message

the phishing site: www.ucpb1.org

UCPB = United Coconut Planters Bank

Be Forwarned:

for other Phishing incidents in the Philippines, click on the Phishing Category/Label of this site.

From Windows to Mac OS X Desktop

I read a meme of carlotta asking her readers to show their cluttered desktops. Here's the desktop of my notebook at home and you'd be surprised I have such a clean one.

notice also that it my look like a cool Mac but it's actually a Windows XP one running Fly a Kite that transformed Windows to the look and feel of Mac OS X

I love the interface of Macs and I can't wait for the time when my office notebook will turn three years old; a time when I can request for a replacement and this time, I'm targetting a Mac :)

My desktop is not cluttered since I'm practicing something called "clean desktop policy" even at home which is a best practice of information security

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Receive Adsense Payments via Western Union in the Philippines

To all Philippine-based individuals using Adsense, you may now receive Adsense payments at any Western Union agent. To activate, just follow the following procedure:

1. Sign in to your account at www.google.com/adsense.
2. Visit the My Account tab.
3. Click the 'edit' link adjacent to the 'Payment Details' header.
4. Select the Western Union Quick Cash radio button.
5. Click 'Continue'.
6. Click 'Save Changes' to save your payment type.

Details of the news provided by the Adsense Team below:

We're excited to tell you that we're offering a new payment method for some countries. If you're located in Argentina, Chile, China (Mainland), Colombia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, or Romania, you can now sign up for Western Union Quick Cash, a new form of payment that lets you receive your AdSense payments in cash using the worldwide Western Union money transfer service. Payments will be available for pickup at your local Western Union agent the day after they are issued, according to our normal payment schedule.

It's free to receive your AdSense payments by Western Union; you'll no longer need to wait for a check to arrive in the mail. this choice can also cut down on bank fees and long clearing times associated with depositing checks.

Before you sign up, please keep these important points in mind:

* As mentioned above, Western Union Quick Cash is only available in Argentina, Chile, China (Mainland), Colombia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, and Romania. We'll be sure to let you know if we're able to offer new payment options to additional publishers.

* This payment method is currently only available to individual payee names; we can't offer it to businesses.

* You'll need to bring your government-issued ID to pick up your payment, so please make sure that your AdSense account payee name exactly matches that of your ID. Please contact us if you need to update the payee name in your account.

* Payments must be picked up within 35 days of issuance or they will expire. If this happens, a payment hold will be placed on your AdSense account and the payment will be credited back to your account.

* Payments will be made in US dollars, but depending on your local Western Union agent, they may be picked up in your local currency.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

How to Unlock the iPhone

Got an iPhone but want to use the phone feature in the Philippines or elsewhere?
follow this iPhone Hacking video:

The iPhone SIM Free Unlock

i got hold of the slick iPhone two weeks ago by a friend of mine. I may be a techie, but i don't like buying things I don't really need.

I prefer to buy a new camera or lens :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cheap, Unlimited Calls to the Philippines

I got an email, blasted like spam to one of my email distribution list, advertising unlimited calls to the Philippines from the USA

Judging from the way explained here, you need to dial a local number in the US then you need a Sun Cellular number in the Philippines. It seems the US number would be connected to the Internet convert it to VoIP then to the Sun phone of the operator then finally to the Sun mobile phone of the called party.

VoIP is free of charge since calls do not pass through an international gateway (e.g. PLDT, Globe, Bayantel) while a Sun-to-Sun call is also free except the monthly fee of P350 (I used to have this feature)

This scheme is like an ISR: International Simple Resail, challenged by the powerhouse telcos but now junked by the Supreme Court


Unlimited Calls to the Philippines
• No Sign-up Fee required
• One (1) month subscription allowed
• Use your existing phones, no need to purchase new phones
• No Contracts
• No hidden or other charges
• No need to use computer or internet to call
• Worry Free fixed monthly flat-rate
• Secured and Encrypted Payment System
• You can cancel anytime
Call us now for a FREE Trial
GUARANTEED SERVICE: We activate you first before you pay us

Call Philippines Unlimited (How it works)
Use your regular phone in the USA to call Philippines.
We will provide you a local number in your area code to call,
our system will connect your call directly to your relatives in the Philippines.

Receive Calls from the Philippines (How it works)
Your USA number will be connected to a Sun Cell number in the Philippines.
Your phone in USA will ring once your relatives and friends call you on your
new Sun Cell number. Answer and talk unlimited.

Requirement: Contact in the Philippines must be a SunCell user in order
to take advantage of Unlimited Calling of Sun Cell network.

Pricing and Packages
Receive Calls on your USA phone from the Philippines ( Pay Pal )
Package1: Receive 500 minutes of calls
(PhP700 or US$15) monthly

Package2: Receive 1,000 minutes of calls
(PhP1,000 or US$20) monthly

Package3: Receive UNLIMITED minutes of calls
(PhP1,500 or US$30) monthly

Unlimited Calls from your USA phone to the Philippines ( Pay Pal )
Package4: (PhP2,500 or US$50) monthly
Personal Access Number
Unlimited Call to the Philippines
Philippines gets 500 minutes FREE to call you back

About the Product
Receive Calls from the Philippines on your local USA phone
Detailed Procedure:
1) We provide a dedicated Sun Cell access number in the Philippines
2) The new Sun Cell access number is connected to your local USA phone
3) Your relatives and friends calls your assigened Sun Access number
4) On beeping tone: They enter your Pin Code (ex: 1#)
5) On dial tone: They enter your Speed Dial Code (ex: 1)
6) Your phone in the USA will ring.
7) Answer and talk
Special Terms & Conditions:
1) Any phone in the Philippines can call your Sun Access number
2) Sun Callers should have a personal load to call your Sun Access number
3) Each subscription can only call one USA number

Unlimited Calls from your USA phone to the Philippines
Detailed Procedure:
1) We provide you a local USA access number to call (simillar to your area code)
2) Use any phone from USA to call your USA access number
3) On beeping tone: Enter your Pin Code (ex: 1#)
4) On dial tone: Enter your Speed Dial Code (ex: 1)
5) Your Contact's phone in the Philippines will ring
6) Answer and talk

7) Your contact in the Philippines gets 500 minutes FREE to call you back
(similar procedure with "Philippines to USA")

Special Terms & Conditions:
1) You can use any phone in the USA to call your USA access number
2) Each subscription can only call one Sun Cell user in the Philippines
3) To call other Sun Cell users purchase of additional subscription is required

Cheap Calls to Philippines