Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TM AstigCombo ? Unlimited Text and 100 Minutes Call

To register ASTIGCOMBO Access No. is 8888

Rate P20.00


1. Subscriber may register anytime of the day.

2. Once successfully registered, subscriber may enjoy 24 hours of unlimited text and 100 minutes call to TM and Globe subscribers

3. No need to dial a prefix to call

4. No maintaining balance required to use the service.

5. Calls and text to other networks will be charged regular rates.

6. Promo is valid for 24 hours only.

7. This promo cannot co-exist with the following promos:

· Voice: TM TodoTawag Magdamag, TM Astigtawag, UnliCombo and AllNet Combo

· SMS: SuliTxT5, AstigTxt10, AstigTxtAll, and Text Others

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hacked gov?t websites restored

The website of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), the official information arm of the government is now restored after hacker “7z1” took it down yesterday.

Access to the site run by the Presidential Communications Operations Office was temporarily interrupted Sunday afternoon by an error message that showed ‘HACKED by 7z1’ and an image of the Chinese flag.

Bulacan’s provincial government website was also hacked by “”CopyRight 华夏小A & 409882525.qzone.qq.com ~ 2010″. Unscrupulous pages that contained messages related to the Manila hostage-taking were inserted to the site

The hacker, who claimed to be from China, demanded a ‘sincere’ apology from the Philippine government and ‘reasonable’ compensation for the victims of last Monday’s hostage taking drama that killed eight nationals from Hong Kong.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma ordered government agencies to further safeguard the security of all official websites. “We are alerting all government agencies to review and improve security of their Web sites in view of the hacking of the Philippine Information Agency Web site,” he said in a statement.

However, he said that the Presidential website – president. gov.ph and the official government website – gov.ph ‘remain secure.’

Coloma said the government is adopting best practices to lessen the vulnerability of official websites to hacking and other cybercrimes.

Students get connected at school via Smart Tag

Leading wireless services provider Smart Communications Inc. has launched a reloadable wireless broadband Internet access card called Smart Tag that connects users’ laptops or any WiFi-enabled gadgets to the Internet.

Launched in select schools around Metro Manila, Smart Tag gives users high-speed Internet access for P15 per 30 minutes—much cheaper than the P100 per hour offers of other WiFi providers, Smart said in a statement.

Users also have the option to register for a five-day, unlimited WiFi access for only P150.

Smart Tag is available in over 700 hotspots nationwide, including popular coffee shops and fast food establishments such as Starbucks, Jollibee and Chowking.

Chay Cruel, Smart senior manager for Smart Bro Prepaid, said another advantage of Smart Tag is that it is reloadable, and top ups may be purchased from any Smart Load retailer nationwide. Smart Tag uses the network of Smart’s subsidiary, Smart Broadband Inc.

“Unlike other WiFi access cards, the Smart Tag load is valid for one year. Our subscribers don’t have to worry about expiring load,” Cruel said.

To date, over 11,000 students and staff of Smart Tag pilot schools have been given free pre-loaded Smart Tag cards worth P150, which they may consume for five days, 24/7.

Pilot schools include Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), Technological University of the Philippines (TUP), Arellano University (AU), Angeles University Foundation (AUF), Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) and National College of Science and Technology (NCST).

“In Ateneo, the campus is too big for all of us to share the wireless broadband connection the school provides. We would rather go outside the campus to do research and study,” said Rina Go, a BS Health Sciences graduating student and president of Ateneo Resident Student Association.

“Smart Tag affords us the mobility and flexibility of being able to multi-task,” Go said.

Julius Sareno, IT director of TUP Manila, said the product serves students well since it encourages students to stay within the campus when going online instead of going to the mall.

“Smart Tag is much cheaper. With our student budget, we have to make sure we get value for our money,” said AU nursing student Alyssa Lagrosa.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

10 gadgets that could've helped the PNP SWAT during the Manila bus hostage

The country is still in shock over what happened on the night of August 23, 2010. The whole nation is humbled, nay, humiliated because of the hostage drama. The least we could do is to apologize to Hong Kong and to the entire world for our police force's shortcomings.

Seeing as how the Aquino administration is open to criticism and suggestions, we took it upon ourselves to look for gadgets that could help the PNP SWAT team, as well as other law-enforcement groups, to prevent a repeat of the tragedy. And since we're talking about a government with nearly depleted funds (thanks a lot, PGMA), we thought it wise to include the unofficial SRPs. They may be expensive, but it's a fair price to pay for saving lives and reputations.

1 of 10 Gas masks
Gas masks (US$190/each, about P9,500). One of the first things everyone noticed was that none of the police officers were wearing masks. A big no-no especially when you're entering a confined space filled with tear gas.

2 of 10 Flash/Flashbang grenades
Flash/flashbang grenades (US$68/pc, about P3,400). Pricey for something that's good for one-time use. If you have a team that could breach the hostage area in less than 5 seconds, however, all you need is one.

3 of 10 Frame charge
Frame charge (US$100/each about P5,000). Instead of fumbling about with a sledgehammer, a frame charge can disintegrate tempered/laminated glass in less than a second. The instantaneous mini-explosion will give the hostage-taker little or no time to react.

4 of 10Intimidating SWAT uniforms
Intimidating SWAT uniforms (US$34.95/set, about P1,750). Once you're able to enter the premises, you have to be able to strike fear into your opponent's mind (think Batman Begins). Regular PNP uniforms just aren't intimidating enough even with the bulletproof vest.

5 of 10 Thermal Imaging Infrared Camera
Thermal imaging infrared camera (US$5000/each, about P250,000). The PNP SWAT are no supermen, that much is clear. They can't see through walls or even curtains, so they're basically left guessing where they need to shoot. Had they arrived with this gadget in hand, they might have been able to snipe Mendoza, or at least disable him, without having to break into the bus.

6 of 10 A.R. Drone Quadricopter
A.R. Drone Quadricopter (US$500/each, about P25,000). Believe it or not, this is a toy, but its built-in camera and remote flying capabilities (via the iPhone or the iPad) could have given the police a better view of the situation.

7 of 10 Ladder / Platform
Ladder/platform (from P2,500/each). Tour buses are tall. Filipinos are short. Do the math.

8 of 10 M4 carbine rifles
M4 carbine rifles (US$1,270, about P63,500). M16s are designed for full-on military assault. It's great for when you are in wide open spaces, but when you're trying to enter a bus full of people, you'll need a shorter weapon. The M4 carbine rifle is roughly 5 inches shorter than an M16, thus making it easier to carry and more maneuverable.

9 of 10 Armored Personnel Carrer (APC)
Armored Personnel Carrer (APC) (US$3 million, about P150 million). The way the trigger-happy PNP SWAT acted that night, you'd think they have acute hoplophobia. If that's the case, then maybe they could have borrowed an APC from the military (or an armored car from a nearby bank) just to get close to the action. It's a little more hands-off, yes, but it's better than tucking your balls behind your legs on live TV.

10 of 10 High-powered lamps
High-powered lamps (US$496/set, about P24,800). Visibility was poor that night, and nobody, not even the media's cameras, can see inside the bus. Was it so hard to position lamps from behind the bus? Heck, there was a construction area near the Quirino Grandstand. Couldn't the police have borrowed sun lamps?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Smart Buddy Prepaid Micro-SIM for Php40

Aside from the micro-SIM only postpaid Plan 999 for Smart Bro, I also got access to a prepaid micro-SIM card for Smart Buddy.

I am told just today that these micro-SIM cards are now being distributed to select Smart dealers nationwide and should be available to the public by September or as early as next week.

The Smart Buddy micro-SIM will retail for Php40 in stores. It will work with the iPad WiFi+3G and any other mobile handset that requires a micro-SIM, including an open-line iPhone 4 (the SIM pack puts a disclaimer that the “Apple iPhone 4G is not available from Smart Communications Inc.”).

For details on availability and additional information on the prepaid micro-SIM, you can ask @smartcares on Twitter.

Super All Txt 20 and SuperUnli Txt 20

First is the Super All Txt 20, the all-day offer that allows your P20 to text up to 200 messages to all networks. The second one is the SuperUnli Txt 20, another all-day offer that gives your P20 unlimited texting to all Globe and TM subscribers plus 20 more text messages to other networks.

To register for Super All Txt 20, send ATXT20 to 8888. To register for SuperUnli Txt 20, send UTXT20 to 8888. Promo is valid to all Globe Prepaid and Tattoo users starting August 31, 2010.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chikka begins free smartphone-to-PC

Chikka Philippines Inc., a mobile messaging provider starts its new service that allows smartphone users to directly send messages to personal computers (PC) and other mobile phone users for free.

The new Chikka services initially allows iPhone and Blackberry users to send unlimited IM messages to all telecom network subscribers for free, but replying to the messages will cost P2.50 during peak hours and P1 per text during off-peak hours. It is available beginning today August 25, 2010.

In a recent interview, Dennis Mendiola, Chikka founder, said that with the launch of Chikka’s new service, he expects the mobile instant messaging traffic to increase by 30 percent in the next six months.

Aside from Philippines, the Smart Communication Inc. subsidiary, plans to introduce the new service in the US, Japan and in selected countries in Europe, to give affordable telecom services to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).

"We have a great potential to dramatically tap this market," Mendiola said.

With the new service, it will be cheaper for OFWs with smartphones to reply to their families’ messages.

Chikka has 5.5 million monthly users, of which 20 to 23 percent are from the OFW market. "In 2010 there were over 16 million visits to the Chikka site from 215 countries during a one-month period, even though there are a lot of technological advancement in the communications industry, Chikka still remains to be the preferred communications toll for Global Pinoy," he said.

Chikka only earns from these services once someone replies to the messages sent by the smartphone users, whether it is from Smart, Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular. Chikka gets 30 to 40 percent from the interconnection charges.

Late last year, Smart acquired the 100 percent stake of Chikka Asia Inc., now known as Chikka Phils. Inc.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Smart *767 SOS Lends Php4 Emergency Load

Smart SOS allows you to have a 4-peso emergency load when you run out of one.

All you need to do is dial *767 (SOS) on your Smart phone and you get 3 free SMS and 1-peso call load for a total of Php4 credit.

This amount will be deducted by Smart on your next auto-load. This will come very useful when you don’t have any load and you don’t have any means to top up your account.

It’s a bit of risky move for Smart especially for people who often switch prepaid SIM cards (those who use the free load of a new SIM and just throw it away afterwards) but I don’t think it’s such a huge risk from the end of the telco compared to the value-added service it offers. This is just a promo though and will last until November 16.

Facebook adds location-sharing feature

Facebook on Wednesday threw the switch on a new feature that lets US members of the social networking service share their whereabouts with friends while on the move.

Facebook Places marks the firm's hotly anticipated first step into "location-based" services that have been catching on with people who own smartphones equipped with satellite position tracking capabilities.

"Starting today, you can immediately tell people about that favorite spot with Facebook Places," said Places product manager Michael Eyal Sharon.

"You can share where you are and the friends you're with in real time from your mobile device."

Facebook members can "check-in" at restaurants, bars, or other social venues and let their friends at the social network instantly know where they are and with whom.

A Places application for iPhone handsets was released, and social network members with smartphones with Web browser software that supports geo-location and HTML5 could use Places at the mobile website touch.facebook.com.

"If you are not in the US you can still see if friends are using it here but you will not be able to check-in," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said at a festive Places launch event at the firm's headquarters in Northern California.

Facebook said it plans to eventually extend the feature to all smartphones and to the social networks more than 500 million members worldwide.

As if anticipating backlash that seems to come with each change at Facebook, executives and engineers there stressed that privacy was being respected and that users control how location information is shared.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chikka Text Messenger is still alive; new version coming on August 25

And you thought that our beloved Chikka has faded into oblivion, eh? Well, think again. The PC-to-mobile phone text-messaging platform is alive and kicking, and is even coming out with a new, cheaper version.

The Chikka Text Messenger Version 5, which can be used with Google Talk and is compatible with operating systems like Windows, Linux and Mac, is the latest incarnation of the decade-old IM service (yep, Chikka is 10 years old!). It retains the same features that made it a hit during the texting revolution. You know, 10 years ago when the Philippines' Internet penetration was a mere 2% and many simply relied on their mobile phones?

But this time around, Chikka is offering a new payment scheme: an off-peak pricing system where replies to Chikka messages will cost only P1. Definitely good news for those working abroad. Also, several "Unli" packages will be offered by Globe, Sun, and Smart.

Expect iOS 4, Symbian, Android, and BlackBerry Chikka apps as well.

Yes, with the focus on social networking and the rise of other PC-to-handset SMS services, Chikka did start to linger in the background. Founder Dennis Mendiola, though, still believes that Chikka is still relevant, saying that more and more are using the Web as a means for communication, which is what Chikka is all about in the first place. So the new version now aims to put Chikka back on the map and in the hearts of today's online population, especially our OFWs. It will be available for download starting August 25. Welcome back, Chikka!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Smart All Text Combo Plus

With Smart AllTXT Combo Plus, you can call, text, send MMS and get in touch with friends on Facebook, Twitter and Friendster -- all on a budget!

There are 2 packages with 3 social network variants each to choose from.

The first one is Smart AllTXT Combo Plus 25, which gives you 110 texts or MMS, 5-minutes worth of calls and 40 posts to 1 social networking site -- all valid for one day only. There are 3 sites to choose from, Facebook, Twitter and Friendster. Again, you may only choose one.

The second one if Smart AllTXT Combo Plus 50, which gives you 220 texts or MMS, 10-minutes worth of calls and 80 posts to 1 social networking site -- all valid for one day only. Again, there are 3 sites to choose from, Facebook, Twitter and Friendster. You may only choose one.

How to subscribe to Smart AllTXT Combo Plus Promo?

There are 2 steps in availing of an All Txt Combo Plus package (Registration procedure courtesy of Smart Communications):

1. Register online at smart.com.ph/buddy (Visit this Smart Buddy official website for more information on this promo. Don't forget to read full terms and conditons and FAQ's via the same link.)

Click on the All Txt Combo Plus Banner Ad. You will be redirected to the All Txt Combo Plus registration website.

Select which social network you wish to register to – Facebook, Twitter or Friendster.

Enter your Smart Buddy mobile number.

A verification code shall be sent to your mobile number which shall then be entered online.
Upon successful verification, you will be asked to log in to your Facebook, Twitter or Friendster account using your existing username and password.

Upon successful login, you may now customize your All Txt Combo Package:

a.) Select 10 friends to follow.

b.) Customize your texts and define how many etxts shall be assigned for posting to your Social Network and how many texts shall be allocated for sms updates from your Social Network.

c.) The default settings for texts is 10 posts to your SN (Social Network) and 30 updates from your SN for All Txt Combo Plus P25 and 20 posts to your SN and 60 updates from your SN for All Txt Combo Plus P50. Customized texts will take effect once you avail of a new All Txt Combo Plus package. If you have already availed of an All Txt Combo Plus package, the customized settings will take effect on your next purchase.

d.) You’re done, now get an All Txt Combo Plus Package!

Online registration is one time only. You don’t have to re-register if you avail of a new All Txt Combo Plus package. However, if you wish to avail of all three packages (All Txt Combo Plus Facebook, Twitter and Friendster), you need to register to each SN online at smart.com.ph/buddy.

2. Avail of an All Txt Combo Plus package via Eload. (AllTXT Combo Eload will be ready by August 12, 2010).

After registering your Social Networking account and mobile number at smart.com.ph/buddy, you may now avail of an All Txt Combo Plus Package of your choice via registration or Eload.

To avail via Eload:

All Txt Combo Plus Facebook 25

1 day


100 Smart SMS/ MMS + 10 all-network SMS + 5-mins Smart calls + 40 e-txts

FB25 to 2526


All Txt Combo Plus Friendster 25

FR25 to 2526


All Txt Combo Plus Twitter 25

TW25 to 2526


All Txt Combo Plus Facebook 50

2 days


200 on-net SMS/ MMS + 20 off-net SMS + 10-mins on-net calls + 80 e-txts

FB50 to 2526


All Txt Combo Plus Friendster 50

FR50 to 2526


All Txt Combo Plus Twitter 50

TW50 to 2526


To avail via Eload: Go to your nearest Smartload retailer and ask for the All Txt Combo Plus package of your choice.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Globe WiMax 4G goes Prepaid

So it’s bound to happen — Globe Telecom’s 4G/WiMax Service is now offered in prepaid plans. Just buy the WiMax modem and load it up to get unlimited internet all day.

The WiMax modem starts at Php2,990 (one-time) and all-day unlimited internet costs Php60. Speed is up to 512Kbps.

Reloading is done via Autoload Max, Share-A-Load, GCash, prepaid cards and even through bank ATM or credit cards.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Better e-Commerce in the Philippines with Shopinas

We attended the soft-launch of this new online storefront service of Air21 called Shopinas a couple of days ago. Based on their presentation, I think it’s going to be the beginning of the proper way to shop or sell merchandise online here in the Philippines.

Shopinas is a site where you can set up your own storefront to sell your items. How is it different from other sites with similar service? It’s a total end-to-end solution that will benefit both shoppers and buyers. From setting up your store, to payment processing up to delivery of the package backed by one of the country’s trusted courier service, Air 21.

With Shopinas, buyers and sellers will be more at ease and comfortable when doing business online because of the following:

Approved merchants in Shopinas will have the Sure Seal Trustmark. Sure Seal is the first Business Verification Service for online business here in our country. They’re like the local counterpart of Verisign or Thawte, letting buyers know that they won’t be scammed.
Payment Systems

Stores in Shopinas will inherit the numerous ways buyers can pay for the merchandise. You can pay through Air21 and Mail & More’s e-wallet, the iBayad. There’s also the traditional method via Visa and Mastercard or Paypal. Soon, they will also incorporate GCash, Smart Money or ATM payments.

Payment per transactions is held by Shopinas until buyers are satisfied with their order. They have three days to settle any dispute regarding the transaction until the money is released to the seller.
Backend Hosting

Sign up with Shopinas and see how easy it is to set up and customize your storefront. You can even use your own domain name while being hosted in Shopinas. Or you can just mimic the look of your site then link your Shopinas site from your own website.

Delivery won’t also be a problem thanks to Air21. You will receive a startup kit when you set up your store to take care of packaging. Package your items and arrange a pick-up and delivery from Air21 for each transaction. Air21′s tracking system will be used so buyers can check the status of their package.

Shopinas is owned by Lina’s Group of Companies’ Air21. Merchants won’t have to deal with technical issues while enjoying a complete e-commerce site. And buyers won’t have to worry about scammers and fraudsters.

The site is still new but they are aggressively adding new features and ironing out existing ones. Better sign up and start early so you can get your store name and get established at Shopinas. The first 100 merchants to sign up will enjoy free premium account for 6 months.

Land registration goes high-tech

Ready to fork out your life’s savings for a property to call your own and later bequeath to your children?

You need to verify if the real estate you’re buying actually exists, and the Land Registration Authority (LRA) will help you with that—electronically.

The LRA has made a bold move to comply with the E-Commerce Law and to turn its century-old manual registration into a technology-driven system through the so-called Land Titling Computerization Project.

Computerization uses physical references such as municipal maps, cadastral maps, and others in combination with satellite imaging to show the placement of new and existing registered lots in relation to each other.

The software employed uses the lot dimensions and border landmarks stated in the title.

LRA deputy administrator Ofelia E. Abueg-Sta. Maria told the Inquirer that the electronic plotting is not only an added service to owners of newly titled land. It also helps in verifying the validity land titles, which takes up about 40 percent of the agency’s daily activity.

“There are times when the land plotted is shown to take up the space of other existing land titles, or apparently takes up part of a road! These are warning signs to potential property buyers,” she said.

The computerization project is also seen to protect the original land titles from normal wear and tear, disasters such as fire and flooding and mismanagement.

Files are easily retrievable and are stored in electronic form in the LRA offices and in an “offshore site.”

The LRA’s services include original registration; subsequent registrations (registration of transfers, mortgages, etc.); divisions and consolidations of registered parcels; registration of condominiums; reconstitution of title (i.e., replacement of lost or destroyed titles); replacement of owner’s duplicate of title; and amendments of certificates.

To date, 81 registries of deeds of the LRA have been automated out of the target 168 by 2011.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Samsung introduces the Champ

Here’s another cheap, sub-Php5k phone to further convince you to switch to a touchscreen mobile phone experience. The Samsung Champ (GT-C3303K) is designed for mobile users who are ready to switch to touch technology without breaking the piggy bank.

Samsung Champ (GT-C3303K)

The Samsung Champ has a 2.4” full touch display on its compact body. Its main screen features an extended 3×3 widget menu format with options for clock, calendar, shortcuts, and my buddies. It comes with a built-in FM Radio and also makes a great MP3 player with its support for up to 8GB microSD. As for apps, you can download java applications straight from Samsung Apps.

With a stylish and ultra compact design, the Samsung Champ is a portable solution for users who will no longer need to sacrifice design for rich features. The device also has a curved form factor and comfortable grip and consumers can choose from a variety of colors: deep black, espresso brown, sweet pink or chic white.

Samsung Champ (C3303) Specs:

* Network: GSM, EDGE (850/900/1800/1900)
* Display: 2.4” 262K TFT LCD (240×320)
* Camera: 1.3 Megapixel
* Video: H.263+AMR, MPEG4 + AMR
* Audio: MP3 Player, Wireless FM Radio
* Value-added Features: TouchWiz Lite, Embedded Stylus Pen, SNS Link, Image Editor, Fake Call, SOS Message
* Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1, USB v2.0
* Memory: Internal memory: 25MB / External memory: MicroSD (up to 8GB)
* Size: 96.3 x 53.8 x 12.97mm, 80g
* Battery: 1000 mah, Talk time: up to 3 Hours, Standby time: up to 250 Hours
* Price: Php 4,980

DepEd mulls Wiki-style textbook review

The Department of Education (DepEd) is considering partially crowdsourcing the evaluation of public school textbooks by posting manuscripts of these online for public scrutiny.

"Ilalagay sa website ang manuscript, so that may transparency. Makikita na ng mga tao kung may mga mali-mali. At the same time, dapat sabay habang ineevaluate. So there is the public scrutiny at the same time may expert evaluation ng material," said Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Alberto Muyot at a press conference today in Pasig City. Muyot is one of four new undersecretaries that were appointed earlier this week by new education secretary Bro. Armin Luistro.

(We're planning to post the manuscripts online, for transparency's sake. That way, people can help us spot errors. This will be done along with an official evaluation. So there is public scrutiny and expert evaluation of the material.)

Criticism over errors

The DepEd has been criticized numerous times over the years for publishing textbooks allegedly riddled with errors. DepEd textbooks currently undergo yearly evaluation by a team of master teachers, subject area experts, content experts, and language experts from both within DepEd and top academic institutions. Books are evaluated not only for errors, but also for how well their cover learning competencies, grammar, and their use of language and visuals.

Piracy concerns

However, some publishers are concerned that posting textbook transcripts online may make their copyrighted materials vulnerable to piracy.

"Baka i-download na lang 'yan o kopyahin. Pinagiisipan namin kung paano namin magagawa na maraming makakakita, and yet, ang concern naman ng copyright owner ay matugunan," explained Soccoro Pilor, Executive Director of the Instructional Materials Council Secretariat, which is in-charge of the textbook evaluation process.

(Some people may just download or copy the textbooks. We are trying to decide how we can make the manuscripts available to many, while also addressing the concerns of the copyright owners)

Planning, mechanics underway

The DepEd has yet to finalize the mechanics of their plan, which they intend to execute this year. The first batch of textbooks that will undergo this process will include Filipino textbook for grades 1 to 6 and science textbooks for grades 3 to 6. These textbooks will reach public school classrooms by school year 2011 to 2012.

Crowdsourcing —the act of outsourcing tasks to large groups of people through an open call_ has become a popular way of managing information on the internet in recent years. One of the most well-known examples of its success is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia written entirely by volunteers using collaborative, web-based software.