Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Free" Wi-fi and Open Wireless Hotspots in Makati

I made a quick check of our new office somewhere in Makati and found several open wi-fi from nearby buildings. Some hotspots offer encryption but maybe unaware of the dangers of minimal security offered by their "secured" wireless Internet.

I got connected to an open connection in one conference room without doing anything but didn't proceed since that'd be unethical on my part not even fired up Netstumbler and other wireless security tools.

Open wireless hotspots is a common occurrence in Manila (and the Philippines) where people think convenience without an ear for privacy and security. Wardriving will net far too many places for freeloaders.

No law is present to deter freeloaders. The E-Commerce law doesn't contain a provision against it while the still pending cybercrime bill is in the doldrums if not plunged into the abyss of oblivion by good-for-nothing "lawmakers."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mekeni Food Corporation Modus Operandi/Scam

A group of people with a vehicle approached my mom in her sari-sari store and introduced themselves as sales agents of Mekeni Food Corporation and offered mom some products from Mekeni plus a cooler in exchange for cash.

My mom, being not that easy to fool, didn't bite the offer and instead asked for a number to be called but the number given was never answered.

The guys just left sensing they couldn't get anything.

A few days later, another group introduced themselves as the "real" representatives of Mekeni Food Corporation but mommy retorted how did they know another group dropped by before them. Again, the people left without selling anything to my always on-guard mom.

Last week, I read in a paper a few people arrested for doing just the modus operandi pouncing on poor sari-sari store owners for payment of promised coolers and products of Mekeni but didn't come back after receiving the money.

This is a true story that happened at home where unscrupulous people try to scam honest working ones at sari-sari stores with their meager earnings.

Remember: ask for the goods to be delivered first and check for authenticity before parting with your hard-earned money.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nigerian Scam Using Hacked Gmail Account

I received an email today from a gmail contact of mine who's asking for advanced money for help while in Nigeria. Since I personally knew the supposed owner of the email, I sent a text message informing him of the scam and he replied that his gmail address was really hacked big time.

Similar to the old Nigerian 419 Scam, scams like this will ask for advance money to be sent through Money Gram or Western Union that affords them anonynity. The hacker cum scammer sent this email to me as if I'm a sucker for such cheap trick:

To: me

How are you doing today? I am sorry i didn't inform you about my traveling to Africa for a program called "Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Lack of Education, the program is taking place in three major countries in Africa which is Ghana , South Africa and Nigeria . It as been a very sad and bad moment for me, the present condition that i found myself is very hard for me to explain.

I am really stranded in Nigeria because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport, documents and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying, I am facing a hard time here because i have no money on me. I am now owning a hotel bill of $ 1550 and they wanted me to pay the bill soon else they will have to seize my bag and hand me over to the Hotel Management., I need this help from you urgently to help me back home, I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $1600 to feed and help myself back home so please can you help me with a sum of $3500 to sort out my problems here? I need this help so much and on time because i am in a terrible and tight situation here, I don't even have money to feed myself for a day which means i had been starving so please understand how urgent i needed your help.

I am sending you this e-mail from the city Library and I only have 30 min, I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and I promise to pay back your money as soon as i return home so please let me know on time so that i can forward you the details you need to transfer the money through Money Gram or Western Union.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Problem of Off-line ATMs in the Philippines

Ever noticed the long queues at ATMs not only in Metro Manila but the whole Philippines during December besides the horrendous traffic on EDSA and anywhere there's a mall? It seems Filipinos have too much money to burn during Christmas that malls are filled to the brim with shoppers shopping as if there's no tomorrow.

The problem is amplified by the seemingly endless list of off-line ATMs of banks. Do you know the cause of the problem? It's just that bank ATMs cash are easily depleted these days that ATMs will display the ATM as off-line due to unavailability of cash while banks are not loading those cassettes filled with cash fast enough due to operational and risk reasons. This problem is worst at off-site ATMs (ATMs unattached to a bank branch) and those in shopping malls.

Other causes of off-line ATM are: power failure, ATM failure, communications line failure, ATM host switch failure and other IT problems.

In these times, many incidents of debit without dispense wherein an account is debited but no cash was withdrawn by the cardholder is rampant and may be due to the issuing bank problem, not the acquiring bank. It's thus best to try to transact at your own bank ATM to reduce the chances of debit without dispense, avoid transaction charges/fess and avail of higher maximum withdrawal amount per transaction (which is P10,000.00) for internetwork/switched transactions via BancNet, ExpressNet or Megalink.

In case of debit without dispense, contact your bank where your money may be debited back into your account after three banking days. Bank personnel always will check first any system error or reconciliation problems down to the ATM journal tape or records to know if your complaint is valid.

Related Post:

Philippine ATM Transaction Fees and Charges.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Downside of Low Interest Rates on Banking and Insurance

Almost everybody's talking about the good side of low interest rates in the Philippines as the time to buy a new house, avail of an auto loan or just borrow money. I don't need to be told of buying my own house since I've been paying for one more than a year already, at the lowest interest rate of zero for three years, that's been draining my bank account every month.

A casualty of the falling interest rate is my BPI Platinum account that used to enjoy 7% per annum but now earning very low interest due to small remaining balance and low interest rate. Been thinking of closing it after almost eight years but the weak sentimental side of me is holding on to it.

The biggest setback in the interest rate game is the effect on my Insular Life insurance I thought will self-liquidate after nine annual payments but, again, due to low interest rates, my insurance agent informed me i still have to pay the tenth installment, one or more than the original target of nine years.

Lesson learned: low interest rates, like the strong peso, is a two-edged sword. It's a blessing to some, and a curse to others!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nikon D90 or D80s Specifications?

Been reading a lot of rumors and speculations to the replacement or upgrade to Nikon's popular D80 camera. Some people think it's a D90, some say D80s or even a D80x.

It took 16 months for Nikon to come up with the D70s to replace the D70, and another 16 months to produce the D80 for the D70s.

The D80 was released in August 2006, so following the 16 months cycle of Nikon, the replacement D90/D80s/D80x should be announced January 2008.

If you hate speculations and rumors like me, I'll just watch this link for the official press release of Nikon International.

Monday, December 10, 2007

BSP/Central Bank Text Scam

I recently received the following text (shown unedited) from a mobile phone number 0927.482.6153 recently:

"Maligayang Bati! Your Simcard # won Php650,000.00 as 2nd Prize winner Pamaskong Pabunos Handog ng Central Bank, Malate Branch last 11.02.2007 to claim ur Prize me now i'm atty. Roberto B. Mendoza NCR-DTI#.7180sir.200"

Note that this is a scam similar to the Nigerian Scam (419) where the "winner" would be asked for advanced money to pay for something in order to claim his prize. After getting the money, the false lawyer of Central Bank will disappear.

Note that the Central Bank is no longer extant, it's supplanted now by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in 1993 (that's why you always see year 1993 on the reverse side of Philippine coins). The BSP also does not conduct promos like this, they don't need to (some people are just born suckers particularly for easy money)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pinay Sex Scandal Video Downloads

Looking for the latest pinoy sex scandal videos and pictures for downloads? I don't think so. I wrote this entry for people to avoid being the latest craze of surging hormone denizens of the Internet much like the calumpit scandal, dumaguete scandal, cebu scandal, la salle scandal and the likes featuring Filipinas or exotic Asians in risque pictures and erotic videos that's choking the Internet.

The only thing common with me is that, like scandals, I also travel to many places. You won't find links to them either.

How to avoid being the latest pinay sex scandal celebrity:

1. Don't allow yourself to be the star of the scandal video by actually not doing it.
2. Taking pictures or videos while doing the act puts in the dangerous situation. Remember, if you're the woman, you're always at the bad side of things in this double standard world of Filipinos.
3. Doing it inside hotels and motels and other untrusted places is also risky. Arrange the draperies and curtains and turn off the lights if you can't control the urge.
4. Copulation with your boyfriends just "to prove that you love him" is non-sense.
5. If you're stupid enough to take videos of yourself, delete it ASAP. If you're the weird type who wants to risk it, try at least to encrypt the video on your PC to protect it from possible change of hands.
6. Remember, if you just deleted the video on your PC, it can still be undeleted so it's better to use a secure deletion software.
7. If you're the man thinking of doing this for blackmail or other things, shame on you. Remember that you have a mother too.
8. lastly, the best way, again, not to be the next star of scandal videos is not to do it.

Hope you learned something from this short Friday post. This is just a simple contribution to the SEO exercise about the subject (as if pagerank of this blog is high)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Blogger and HaloScan

Maybe you've also noticed the stupid move by Google/Blogger to limit commenting on Blogger to people with Google/Blogger accounts leaving out other people using another blogging platform.

This is a screenshot of the new comment form field with only anonymous or nickname is left without a link back to the commenter.

What I did was to install HaloScan for commenting as well as not removing the comments field in my other blog so as not to remove old comments. I need the old comments (as well as it's good for the search engines). My main blog uses a modified classic template so I had to manually edit it plus insert a Google rant.

Let me know if you have other solutions for this stupidity.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Canon EF-S 18-55 IS: A True Super Kit Lens!

Just like Canon's new EF-S 55-250 IS lens, the replacement for the 18-55 kit lens is now the 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS (Image Stabilization).

I've read good reviews for this lens already that's summarized as "cost-effective" optical quality at a price of less than P10k ($199). It's made of plastic, similar to the super sharp Canon EF 50mm f1.8 lens so I have no problems with that.

Getting the 18-55 IS plus the 55-250 IS lens, both economic lenses with Image Stabilization is quite a bargain in a world full of pricey L lenses not intended for hobbyists like me.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Canon EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS is cheap!

While at Trinoma in Quezon City, I looked for Infomax at the second floor to ask for the price of the new Canon EF-S 55-250 with Image stabilizer. I just confirmed it to cost only P11,600.00 (about$275), mall price but the unit was not yet available there and will have to wait next year when market price on Hidalgo St in Quiapo might even drop.

I only asked but I'm not gonna busy since I've already fixed my mind on buying at least the Nikon D80 with the 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 VR (vibration reduction) next year.

I already read canon ef-s 55-250 IS reviews on the Internet and it's always positive for the price. I'm not a Pro so i don't need those pricey lenses.