Monday, June 30, 2008

Heavy Traffic on EDSA

This morning I left home shortly after 7 to get headway in driving to makati from Quezon City since it's a Monday and I expect more than the usual traffic during other days...turned out traffic's worst this time.

As as tuned in to DZBB on the AM band, got wind of the accident under the Ayala tunnel where a large truck containing ethanol smashed the center island of the tunnel when the truck (allegedly) avoided sideswiping with a speeding bus. The MMDA closed off the tunnel to traffic due to the dangerous cargo spilled on the road.

I was already nearing GMA Kamuning and I know traffic will really be bad. I didn't even think of finding an alternate route to avoid traffic (possibly to San Juan and Mandaluyong) since I sensed it would be futile since other drivers will also look for one.

I was right! when I got to the office at 10, after almost 3 hours driving, my officemates who tried to avoid EDSA ended up like me.

What happened to the Ayala tunnel? All I know is that it's currently germ-free and disinfected :P

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pacquiao vs Diaz Result: Pacquiao by Knockout in the 9th Round

It's official, after 9 bloody rounds with Diaz with multiple cuts, Manny Pacquiao is no the new WBC Lightweigh Champion, making him also the first Asian to hold a championship belt in four different divisions.

The Lethal Combination is over...

That does not include Ring Magazine's People Champ bestowed on him.

Godspeed, Manny though be wary of Ricky Hatton for it's another weight division and it won't be easy.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Air Car: Air-Powered Car from India

There's news of cars running on hydrogen fuel cells and the still present, yet unbelievable, water-powered cars in the news. The latest in today's race for a viable replacement of gas and diesel powered vehicles are cars running on compressed air to push the pistons.

When I was in Mumbai in 2004, while trying to tour the city to see the Gateway of India, UNESCO-listed Elephanta Cave and visit Mahatma Gandhi at Mani Bhavan, I also noticed the ubiquitous Tata cars practically everywhere in India.

Now, recent news are alloverthe place with Tata,India's largest car maker is planning to produce 6000 units of the zero-emissions Air Cars in August of this year.

Initially priced at $12,700, quite cheap and around the price of most cars in the market, the City CAT, the name of one of the initial models, claimed to hit 68 mph and a range of 125 miles. Refueling can be done ina few minutes for the CityCAT at gas stations equipped with custom air compressor units.

Estimated cost of re-fueling is $2 for the car’s carbon-fiber tanks with 340 liters of air at 4350 psi. There also is a built-in compressor to refill the tanks in about 4 hours using conventional electric power.

Most of all, the car is a true zero emissions vehicle friendly to the environment!

Water-Powered Car: Hoax?

There has been fresh reports lately about certain "breakthroughs" of vehicles that run on a highly available fuel: water. Fueled mainly by the skyrocketing prices of crude oil at historic highs, there's also a race in developing alternative fuels to power the future car.

One of the most controversial is the water-powered car where even the Philippines boasts of an alleged invention by a certain Daniel Dingle even demonstrated on TV from years back.

I do not doubt that we can extract energy from water since I'm aware of hydrogen fuel cells and we all know that water is composed of oxygen and hydrogen.

What I doubt is the commercial viability of extracting hydrogen in water since using electrolysis, you need much more energy, to breakup water into hydrogen and oxygen, than the energy you can produce from hydrogen.

The law of thermodynamics just won't allow that to happen...there however is a new development in India with the latest air-powered car unveiled. That's more reason to celebrate since it's real and feasible.

Free Wi-Fi in Bangkok, Thailand

This is great news for Bangkok residents since the Thai government decided to give away free Internet access to the city's residents to allow them to communicate more and drive less in an apparent move to change the driving habits of Bangkok people and thus lessen energy requirements

Project is targeting 500000 people with 15,000 free wi-fi hotspots and to last for 1 year and require use of access card to use the facility.

Just hope that the network is secure and not open to eavesdropping

Related Posts on Amazing Thailand:

Bangkok Tour
Backpacking Bangkok
Grand Palace
Ayutthaya: Old Capital of Siam
Bridge on the River Kwai
Nong Nook Tropical Garden Resort

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NLEX Over-speeding Ticket LTO

A few months ago when my friends and I went to Clark Field in Angeles City for the Clark Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and Pampanga Food Trip, Y drove my car since I don't want to drive on NLEX, I'm more of a passenger than a driver. On the return trip, he stepped on the gas too hard and snaked his way on NLEX hitting as fast as 123 kilometers per hour (kph). As we got near NLEX toll gate in Balintawak, we were stopped by uniformed traffic police and informed us of the violation. It seems they only have the doppler radar to detect over-speeding on the southbound lane and apprehends only those going beyond 120 kph even if the speed limit is 100 kph and minimum speed of 80 kph. The policemen were courteous and handed a ticket to Y who informed him to get his license the following Friday at the LTO Office in Quezon City.

When I asked J, Y's girlfriend about the ticket recently, I was informed Y arrived at the Land Transportation Office at 9:30am and finished at 3pm due to lunch and afternoon breaks and too many people queue. There also was a seminar that you can "pay" should you not pass it. He paid a total of P577.63 with P500 fine for reckless driving, P67.63 for computer fee, and P10 for legal research fund.


UPDATE:
it's now PhP1277.00 fine for overspeeding on NLEX where you need to claim your drivers license at LTO East Avenue, Quezon City. You also need to attend a two-hour seminar with any of these schedules: 8am-10am, 10am-12nn, 1pm-3pm, 3pm-5pm

There you go, folks! Next time you're on NLEX, just stay within the 80-100 kph limits to avoid a ticket. Same goes for Skyway and probably soon on SCTEx, SLEX and StarToll. But the general rule is to always drive at a manageable speed. Over-speeding kills not only the driver but also other people who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

CURE ümobile! Acquired by Smart Communications

I used to work at Eastern Telecom (ETPI) and so anything that happens there is of particular interest to me. One of the news I got wind of last year was Cure's acquisition of ETPI by CURE (Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprise, Inc.) from the former Australian owners was a big one.

I've known of CURE for quite a while already being a customer of ETPI Internet services from years ago but the latest news about the company, according to my informant whose an insider, CURE was recently acquired by Smart Communications.

That makes the possible list of 3G providers into three since only four licenses were issued by the NTC (Smart, Globe, Sun and CURE) with CURE's ümobile! controlled by Smart.

I prefer CURE to be independent to increase competition but at this latest turn of events, it'll be back to 3 operators slugging it out with Sun 3G, solidly on third place :P

How to Win PowerLotto: PCSO's Version of the US's PowerBall

Patterned after the popular Powerball in the United States, “555+1 PowerLotto,” the newest and biggest lotto game of the state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has a minimum winning jackpot of P50M.
At P50 per play, bettors will generate their number combination from two sets of numbers.

How to play the PowerLotto:


Choose five numbers from 1 to 55.
Pick an extra number, called the “power number,” from 1 to 10.

In order to win, bettors need to pick the right number combination in any order from the first set and the exact power number from the second to win the jackpot.

Although the minimum bet costs five times that of the 6/42 lotto, the new game offers a bigger jackpot prize

PowerLotto prizes:

jackpot minimum of P50M ,
consolation prizes:

P700,000 : five number combination from the first set
P50,000 : four of the winning number combination and the power number
P4,000 : has three of the winning numbers and the power number
P400 : two numbers and the power number
P100 : one of the five-number winning combination and the power number

How to win the PowerLotto(PowerBall)?


Similar to my earlier post on How to Win the Lotto, you need to know how many possible tickets you need to buy in order to know the odds and the investment:

Using mathematical probability, it's a combination of C(55,5) x 10 which is equal to: 3478761 x 10 = 34787610.

In comparison, the SuperLotto has a total combination of 13983816 about 2.5 times less odds than that.

With a total of 34787610 possible combinations at P50 each, total investment needed to be 100% sure of winning the jackpot prize is P1,739,380,500.

Do you have P1.8B to bankroll the risky game? Even if the jackpot prize reached P2B, there is also the risk that more than one person will win :P

Related Post:
How to Win PCSO Lotto
How to Claim Lotto Prize


Lottery; How to Win the PowerBall; How to Win the Lottery

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Palawan's Energy Deposits: Gas and Oil Fields

Palawan, apart from potential magnet of Philippine tourism, sits on a huge energy deposits. Earlier it was the discovery and now operational Malampaya Deep Wayer Gas to Power where natural gas supply is piped to Batangas then the recent start of operation of the Galoc Oil field.

The Galoc oil field's production can produce 10% of the Philippines' oil supply needs, not much compared to neighboring ASEAN countries i.e. Brunei and Malaysia, both members of the powerful OPEC block, but at least brings a ray of hope to more discoveries for oil deposits not only in Palawan but in other areas of the country.

The recent entry of ExxonMobil, the world's top oil producer, in oil exploration in the country bodes well of the confidence of foreign firms in the potential gas and oil finds after 2D and 3D seismic explorations.

Related Palwan Posts:


Cuyo Island
Iwahig Prison Farm
Coron, Busuanga, Calamianes
Crocodile Farm, Tubbataha

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Watch Pacquiao vs Diaz Free on HBO Pay-per-View

I was able to watch the blockbuster boxing match of Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez for free on HBO pay-per-view (PPV) except that I didn't pay for it.

How I did it? I didn't use special tricks nor some free live streaming available on the internet with the use of TVU and SOPCAST.

Simply channel surf on your Skycable on June 29, 2008 during the fight and look for the black and white signal or encoded channel but visibly a boxing match. You only need to make some fine-tuning for the signal to be intelligible. Suggest also tune in to a radio station where blow-by-blow accounts of the "Lethal Combination" fight is aired since the "live streaming" of the boxing match does not have sound, only buzzing and static.

Now you don't have to make the trip to SM Cinemas to pay for tickets, parking and gas besides eating out. Here's your free ticket to watch Manny Pacquiao vs David Diaz live in your own home.

Let's all chear for Manny Pacquiao, who is gunning for the lightweight crown of David Diaz and also for more glory aiming to be the first asian to hold championship belts in 4 different divisions.

Cheap CECT CellPhones with TV looks like Nokia N99i

About ten of my officemates bought a certain brand of mobile phones without any markings, most with Nokia N99i stickers, tht comes with a PDA and TV tuner. They bout the unit in Greenhills costing P5.7k each. Quite cheap for a mobile phone that look so much like Nokia.

I was also offered to buy one in order for them to get a larger discount due to volume purchase but I begged off since I don't need a new phone, I'm happy with my simple phone that i merely use to call and text. I don't even have a new ringtone. I simply told them I'll buy one after about a month after I got their feedback and reviews.

After a month, all of the phones are still working but all of them are complaining about the non-display of caller's name or texter when being called even if the name is stored in the phone's address book. Tried to find out if there're duplicate entries, a fix you find in Nokia phones, but even if you've already deleted all names in the address book, the calling number is not displayed making it hard to know who's calling.

Aside from that defect, I also reminded them that I can't use it while driving since it requires the use of stylus for the PDA to compose SMS.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Text Reloadable AXS Card as MRT Pass

I've been seeing new RFID readers installed at MRT entrances and definitely sure they're not like Globe's G-Pass and Smart's Metropass. It's just recently that i've learned the readers are there for yet another way to buy a supposedly hassle-free ticket to the MRT though I always see to it that I have stored value ticket (SVT) with me whenever I use up my card and buy before leaving the station.

AXS Card, I was informed, is a product of LoadXtreme, that multi-level marketing company, selling prepaid loads and other stuff, who kept their investors in the dark last year, without word of recouping investment, website taken down and telephone lines left unanswered FOR MONTHS, to suddenly appear again as if nothing happened.

If you're thinking of buying AXS Cards, caveat emptor!

I'd rather stick with my tested routine of buying a SVT immediately after using up the last one-- that's only during Thursdays, by the way, when my car's banned due to number coding.

Lastly, I long to see the day when a unified ticketing system for MRT, LRT, Pasig Ferry, even taxis can be paid using a system similar to Singapore's EZLink cards and Hong Kong's Octopus cards.

Dream on!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Cheap iPhone 3G from Apple

At the recent Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Steve Jobs announced the new iPhone will be available worldwide starting July 11. It's reportedly faster than Nokia's N95 smartphone. Apple is set to release the new model in the Philippines through Globe Telecom as well as Singtel, Bharti Airtel and Optus for Singapore, India and Australia.

3G iPhone features and applications:

Comes in 2 Colors: 8GB Black and 16GB - Black/White


Battery life:

Standby: 300 hours
2G talk-time: 10 hours
3G talk-time: 5 hours
Browsing: 5 to 6 hours
Video: 7 hours
Audio:24

Price: iPhone 3G 8GB $199 and iPhone 3G 16GB $399

* six hours of Web browsing and five hours of talk time
* also comes with global positioning system (GPS) mapping capabilities.
* support applications like Microsoft Exchange and the new
* support for EDGE network (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution)
* access to App Store, Apple's virtual store for all free and commercial iPhone applications
* wireless system that automatically forwards e-mail to other devices,
* a friend-finding service called Loopt
* mobile blogging software from TypePad.
* service from MLB.com that provides a live scoreboard of major league games
* music-making software, called Cow Terry, for creating songs on the phone.

As mentioned above, the new iPhone 3G now works with Microsoft's Exchange office server systems, competing directly with Research in Motion's (RIMM) Blackberry for professional business users

Also, Jobs announced that the new version of the Mac operating system OS X is called "Snow Leopard."

I was hoping to get the iPhone in the Philippines through Globe, I might again subscribe to them for a postpaid line for subsidized cost :P

Apple iPhone 3G Review to follow...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hydrogen Fuel Cells: Energy of the Future

With the skyrocketing cost of crude oil int eh world market, nations and scientists are racing to develop, perfect and market a new generation of fuel and power systems to wean away from the volatile commodity whose price is at the mercy of speculators and produced in the world's most volatile places.

One of the most promising source of energy are fuel cells powered by hydrogen, whose principle has been known since the end of the 14th century though the first practical use was only in 1965 on-board the Gemini 5, an American spacecraft. The fuel cells produce power through a chemical reaction between hydrogen (extracted from natural gas or other fuels) and oxygen with water as the only by-product.

In Japan, there has been news of fuel cell-powered homes supplied with electricity from the cells plus hot water.

At the forefront of fuel cell-powered vehicles, there's Toyota's zero-emission FCHV-adv with nickel-metal hydride battery and Honda's FCX Clarity with lithium-ion battery.

Car models are already roadworthy though expensive plus the lack of fueling stations and the high cost of development are hindering commercialization.

Today it may be costly, but in the future, as technology improves, it'll be a commodity in the days when OPEC lost their black gold.

Promac DVD Player Service Center

Being a really frugal pinoy that I am, I finally found the time to buy my first DVD player. The first player I bought was a VCD player but I gave it as a gift to my parents in Paete, Laguna, and not for my own use a few years back.

While snooping around at SM Appliance Center in SM North EDSA, I saw the cheapest one was the Promac DVD player was the cheapest DVD player on display at PhP1850 and what attracted me to it is that I know it's a Philippine-made player-- I prefer Filipino-made products as much as I can without sacrificng quality. Despite futile attempts by people trying to influence my decision (and thus earn commissions).

I bought the Promac DVD-N3652U model that comes with a 5.1ch Audio output with USB port for viewing pictures in a USB thumbdrive or memory card using a card reader. I can play MPEG4, DVD, MP3, Karaoke, CD, JPEG and also decode Dolby digital sound.

Before buying the unit, I called up an officemate of mine who has the same unit and got favorable feedback from an actual user that also prompted me to buy the unit.

Sadly, after a week, my DVD player acted up by not ejecting the loaded CD. I called up Promac customer service number printed on the manual and got information that I can take the unit to their service center in Quiapo (Evangelista St near Raon) or near to my place in Barangay Manresa Quezon City at the corner of Biak na Bato and Panalturan Streets. I decided to have it serviced at the Manresa site where I discovered it's an unassuming place with no signage but a red gate. I got my unit back after a week (can't get it during weekdays due to work) without paying anyhting since it's still under warranty.

With this experience, I don't stereotype Promac as a cheap electronics company. I may have gotten a lemon in my DVD player but I also saw branded electronics items malfunction after a few days in my years of being an electronincs hobbyist/technician before becoming an electronics engineer by profession.

Promac started out as Maclin electronics and I still remember Maclin "transistor" radios from the 80s with wooden cabinets. My wish for them is to continue innovating and improve product quality to penetrate the highly competitive world of consumer electronics and perhaps one day become a global brand.

---
to get to Promac Service Center in Manresa, Quezon City, it's on Biak-na-bato street near C3 road. if you know the way to Sto Domingo Church on Quezon Avenue, just turn right on Biak-na-bato St coming from Sto. Domingo St then drive straight until you reach Panalturan St. Knock on the red steel gate on the warehouse on your left side.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

LoadXtreme Resurrects and Now Owned by Vmobile Technologies

A friend of mine who took a dive and invested his hard-earned money last year to a networking firm LoadXtreme that primarily sells cellphone loads, Internet cards and other stuff using a single retailer SIM card.

Bad news is that after just a few weeks, LoadXtreme suffered frequent downtimes and once shut down that appeared to be for good. No official word came out from the owners until a few days ago, after months of "darkness," when an SMS message suddenly appeared out of limbo.

The four part text message goes:

"Good News! LoadXtreme is back and is now under the management of VMobile Technologies, Inc. owned by a leading investment banking company. Migrate your account now!

To migrate your LX ID, type PLX VMOB // (Smart, Globe, TM, Sun, TnT) and send to 0921-5500078(S)/0916-7534744(G)/0922-9995555(Sun).

New depository bank accounts (next day credit):
BDO(464-006-2675),
BPI (4021-0110-91)
Bills Payment (same day credit)
Unionbank (VMOBILE)

Please include your ID#

Visit www.loadxtreme.ph or call 706.3818-19 for details.

(NEW) Sell AXS card for MRT rides and reload AXS via LX. Email us at loadxtreme@vmobile.com.ph"

I can only say that LoadXtreme is really insensitive to all their clients due to lack of official statement from them regarding their absence and also this resurrection. They owe a lot of explanation for this. They just can't send a message to all their distributors and retailers that who were left in the dark. How about the lost deposits of people during the unexplained downtimes? They can't even name the investment bank behind their re-opening for due diligence.

I have to warn them though, there's an upcoming BSP circular that aims to regulate emoney/e-wallet systems like theirs. Prepare for stringent regulations, anti-money laundering controls and KYC stuff.

LoadXtreme, shape up lest people tag you as a fly-by-night scam!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Juday on Meralco Systems Loss

Such pathetic TV and radio commercial, might be trimedia since I don't know if they have it on print, where Judy Ann Santos tries to explain the current issue of systems loss on-passed to hapless consumers using a simple ice analogy.

To Meralco, I don't think people are that stupid to fall for your cheap analogy. Many Filipinos may be ignorant and watch lame telenovelas with lame twists and predictable story lines. Comparing systems loss to selling ice won't cut it since it's much more than melted ice that's the problem, that can't be compressed in 30 second commercial ad that's why hours and hours were spent on explaining the problem in senate hearings.

Lastly to Juday, was the paycheck really too hard to resist that's why you accepted to "explain" to the people the inexplicably high electric bills these days?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Free Big Black Security Shirts Jackets Hats

Ever the information security officer that I am, i'm always on the lookout for the latest trends and happenings on the security front. While fiddling with Google Trends, i found a keyword peaking with Big Black Security

It seems Big Black, Christopher Boykin in real life, is really a celebrity security guard with his 6'6" and 414 pounds frame, almost four times my own weight, stars in the MTV Reality Hit show "Rob and Big".


Now I can't even wear those supersize shirts, jackets and hats if they come in small sizes, but if anyone can give me one for free, that's another story, even if I'm not black and not really BIG! :P