Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gene Loves Jezebel Live In Manila Concert Tickets?

Come and get, come and get it, come and get it...

I remember in the late 80s, my kuya bought two tickets of Gene Loves Jezebel concert in Manila. Sdaly, the concert didn't push through for some reason and the tickets were never refunded for we had no time to to do so. We used to have tapes of their albums including Twenty Killer Hurts.

It's just lately that a friend of mine emailed me an invite and sample concert poster to the Gene Loves Jezebel concert next month that got me excited.

Details below:

Club 80s Flashback Tour
A Concert Dance Party

featuring songs: Desire (Come and Get It), Heartache, Jealous, Twenty Killer Hurts, Kiss of Life, Suspicion, Motion of Love, Upstairs, Gorgeous,

Gene Loves Jezebel has already toured Mexico, Brazil, Peru, France, Canada, and the UK and now coming to the Philippines particularly Clark, Pasig City and Makati with the concert venues and schedules below:

Hotel Sotsenberg, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga
November 14, 2008 (Friday) @ 9 PM

Alchemy, Silver City Mall, Pasig
November 15, 2008 (Saturday) @ 9 PM
(this is near Metrowalk and Tiendesitas)

Hard Rock Café, Makati (Glorietta, Ayala Center)
Date: November 17 (Monday) @ 9PM

Where to buy Tickets?

call Ticketnet at 911.555. Ticket prices don't come cheap at P1,500.00 at free seating.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pay SSS Contributions Online for OFWs, Self-employed, Voluntary et al

Ever wanted to remit your monthly SSS contributions without going to an SSS branch or bank nearest you? You can now do this online via BancNet, if you happen to have an account with the following banks:

Allied Bank, Asie United Bank (AUB), Chinabank, Chinatrust, Citibank, Citystate Savings Bank, Eastwestbank, ExportBank, Metrobank, Postal Bank, PSBank, RCBC, RCBC Savings Bank, Security Bank, Standard Chartered, Sterling Bank of Asia

To pay your monthly SSS Remittance, just follow these steps:

1. Open your browser and go to Bancnet Online Website
2. Select your bank (a new window will pop up)
3. Click I Agree (If you've already read the terms and conditions)
4. Click Payment on the left navigation pane
5. On the Biller/Institution dropdown menu, select your category from the list:

SSS Farmers and Fishermen
SSS Contribution - OFW
SSS Contribution - Self-Employed
SSS Contribution - Voluntary
SSS Non-Working Spouse

6. Enter your SSS Number (follow this format: SSS Number + month and year of payment period e.g. XXXXXXXXXXmmyyyy), ATM Card Number and Amount to be paid on their respective fields, select your Account type (Savings or Checking Account)

7. Key in your ATM Pin (or mPIN, depending on your bank) using the onscreen keypad (note the use of scrambled numbers there)

8. Hit the Submit button.

9. You may print or capture a screenshot of the resulting transaction receipt for record-keeping and reference.


this is a free transaction. Not all banks have online banking facility simply because they need an eBanking license from the BSP. No transaction fees required, no hassles, waiting time and long queues at the bank. :P

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to Identify Made In China Products from the Barcode

There's an email circulating in the Internet on how to identify products made in China using information "hidden" in the barcode. The email claims all barcodes with the first three digits 690, 691, and 692 are all made in China.

Is the email a hoax? No
Is is true? Partly, yes!

According to GS1, the authority behind the "UPC" stands for Universal Product Code, the barcodes only indicate the country who issued the code and NOT THE ORIGIN OF THE PRODUCT.

Second, Made in China Products use barcodes with the first three digits of 690 to 695.

the authoritative list can be found here

a made in Taiwan code (picture source: unknown)

Other barcodes can be identified e.g.

000-019, 030-039, 060-069 Made in USA
300 - 379 Made in France
480 Made in Philippines
690 - 695 Made in China
471 Made in Taiwan
450 - 459 & 490 - 499 Made in Japan
880 Made in South Korea
884 Made in Cambodia
885 Made in Thailand
888 Made in Singapore
890 Made in India
893 Made in Vietnam
899 Made in Indonesia
955 Made in Malaysia
958 Made in Macau

I would like to reiterate that the barcodes indicate the issuer of the code to the product but not the actual origin. A certain product can have A "Made in the Philippines" barcode and label but some parts, or all of it, were made in China.

Another problem, similar to the current melamine scare in milk products, is the use of raw materials, that came from China or elsewhere. For example, a certain chocolate drink may use dairy products imported from China but the information is not mentioned in the product information.

Lastly, there are also unscrupulous persons who import banned items from China at a low price, repacks it and issues a barcode issued in the Philippines. Dangerous indeed!

I expect this page to be filtered by Big Brother China one of these days!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Starbucks: Coffee Shop Risks and Information Security

Do you have an idea where potential information disclosure is possible? It's not hacking through servers of installing bugging devices in offices or meeting places. It's actually a place popping out of almost every street and buildings in Makati, Ortigas, Fort Bonifacio Global City and other places where yuppies and oldies are present: Starbuck!

Ever notice people dressed in office attire, with laptops and other mobile devices, conducting meetings in Starbucks? The meet up up with officemates and clients and presentations and product pitches. Some of them even discuss confidential items in a public place endangering trade secrets, marketing plans and other information that should only be divulged in the hallowed and secure halls of meeting rooms in their own offices.

Some establishments offering free wifi Internet is also inviting for hackers and eavesdroppers looking for vulnerable and unsuspecting coffee drinkers with laptops unaware of the danger lurking. Bluetooth devices left open is another. There are also risks of connecting to rogue wifi hotspots set up by miscreants to lure people to connect to them and eavesdrop on the connection. Dangerous indeed!

There is also the risk of some outlets to robbery/holdups where robbers target moneyed patrons with laptops and cellphones. This is particularly risky for those on street frontage where the robbers can come and get away on motorcycles for easy escape.

This is not limited to Starbucks, btw, there's also UCC, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Mocha Blends, Figaro and other coffee shops.

I only see coffee in those places as overhyped and overpriced coffee that became some sort of status symbols to some pretentious souls out there :(

Sunday, October 05, 2008

How to Sell Your Blog: Price, Copyright and Sentimental Value

I have a dilemma not so tyrpical of bloggers: I received an unsolicited offer from a Singapore-based travel agency to buy my main blog Backpacking Philippines

The company recruited me to their affiliate program but now offered to buy the whole site, domain name and content then intend to hire me as the content writer to continue blogging. that in turn will turn me into a problogger, blogging for money

I'm not a problogger. I consider myself a "fun blogger." I earn quite an amount but still too low to be considered a pro.

I still don't know how to put a price tag to my blog. I asked people and friends to assess its value. It has about 320 posts in 2.5 years yet traffic has been hitting 800 unique visitors and 1500 pageloads lately and rising. There are also about 50 draft posts waiting to be posted at the right time, to coincide with the date of a historical event.

Tell me, if you were in my place what will you do?

What are the considerations on assessment of how much a blog is worth?
Google Pagerank? Site Statistics? Technorati and Alexa rankings?

How about copyright? To whom do the copyright of all pictures and write-ups belong?
AFAIK, copyright of photos belong to the photographer unless relinquished under a special agreement.

My domain is a premium one, something I didn't expect to be still available last january when I looked for one. Bought it for $10 but I know in the future, offers for it will come at a higher price.

How about the arrangements for me as content writer? It's not easy to maintain a travel blog, unlike others. I need to travel in order to post an entry. Can I haggle for freebies, flights and accommodations in order to write something about a place? That will counter my initial aim of unbiased reviews though. The compensation should exceed my current adsense and earnings from other ads as well as allow me to upgrade my camera and other equipment.

I'm a sentimental person. I started my blog as a repository of all my personal travels. I intend to pass on to my future children, and's some sort of an online heirloom in the future.

Oh's a problem some people would want to be in but not me.

How much is your blog worth?

Manila Police District's Automatic License Plate Recognition System (ALPRS)

Steps in the right direction, that's how I call the recent acquisition by the Manila Police District of the so-called Automatic License Plate Recognition System (ALPRS)

After installing security cameras at various locations in the city and equiping mobile patrol cars with GPS (global positioning system) to track their locations, the patrol cars will also be installed with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to capture license plate numbers and using a technology similar to optical character recognition (OCR), compare these with a database of “hot cars” maintained by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Highway Patrol Group. A tagged license plate is alerted to all mobile patrol units to arrest the driver and seize the "hot vehicle," either carnapped or used in a criminal activity. A blackberry device is used to do this.

With these developments, the Manila Police District, also called Manila's Finest, is the best-equipped police unit in the country, world-class that is-- if only they can rid their ranks of pulis patola, kotong cops and goons in uniform!

Note: this system is a good subject for movies. I wonder how the MPD secures their system. The database is a good target practice for hacking by miscreants; but beware of the consequences. I don't want to see the system used in fighting evil hacked.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

BAIPhil Seminar: Information Security Beyond the Basics

For those interested on the latest updates in information security, particularly those in the banking industry, do check this upcoming seminar by the Bankers Institute of the Philippines (BAIPhil) on October 24, 2008 at Best Western Astor on Makati Avenue, Makati City, Philippines.

Seminar programme includes talks about Mobile Banking by Roger Delgado of D3 Systems, Jr., Application Security by Philip Casanova of Chinabank and Computer Forensics by Drexx Laggui of Laggui and Associates.

Seminar fee of P900 for BAIPhil members and P1100 for non members include buffet lunch, snacks and seminar materials and certificate.

Note: I co-organized this seminar and principally prepared the program as well as solicited speakers and sponsors. Expect me to be there.

Manny Pacquiao vs Oscar dela Hoya Live Video Streaming

I know many people will be searching for ways to be able to watch the megabuck fight between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar dela Hoya for free, or with a minimal fee. Several websites you can find on the Internet offering free streaming videos of boxing fights.

Some do it with using a pay-per-view connection coupled to a home computer connected to the Internet.

Since GMA will be broadcasting the boxing fight in the Philippines on December 6, you can watch the fight online or on the road by logging on to the recently-launched portal myGMA.

For those subscribers of Skycable, you may try to look for the scrambled, black and white "leaked" channel of pay-per-view then use fine tuning to be able to watch the boxing fight for free on cable tv or via online video streaming.