Considerations When Looking at Video Conferencing Services

7 months ago

Photo Review: LEGO Ghostbusters Ecto-1 (#21108)

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Underwater Photography: Rhinopias, Mariona, and Pygmy Seahorse

4 weeks ago

Philippine Farmers: Is the craft dying?

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Recent posts

SCUBA Test: Samsung PL120 and SH100 WiFi Camera with Seashell Housing


Above: Jan in his complete pro UW setup

The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands. The irony is that a lot of the action happens in the city Manila. In its odd state, you would think that for a country that is surrounded by water, we would have at our disposal a stable of underwater cameras or housings with underwater cases for sale in most gadget stores. Sadly this is not the (underwater) case. **Pun Intended**

If you take a look at the UW housing landscape in the Philippines, save for a dedicated store that deals with UW housings, it is quite rare to find manufacturers outfitting underwater cases for cameras. The reason isn’t so much as lack of demand, but warranty. It is very hard to put a warranty tag on a decent acrylic housing that can be submersed at depths of 100+ ft. Not that it would flood. But the risks may be bad for business.

Nonetheless, bringing down a camera to the underwater depths has its rewards. I for one have been diving for more than 2 years, shooting amateur UW video for a little more than a year, and indulging myself in underwater photography for a little over six months.
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Catch The Geeks every Wednesday from 2PM to 4PM at Flippish.com

For the past three months I’ve been the host of a new tech show over the Internet. The Geeks is essentially me and my co hosts going on for two hours, trying to make technology fun and easy to understand for everyone.

We aired Mobile World Congress 2011 live over the Internet
We were the first local show to debut the Samsung Series 9 laptop.
We were the first local show to demo the ASUS Transformer eee Pad.
We brought you the best local analysis of E3 2011.
We demoed the ACER Iconia laptop.
We did a show off of Android devices that were not yet available in the market.

Tomorrow we’re doing a tablet stand off. The BlackBerry Playbook vs the iPad 2 vs the ASUS Transformer. It’s really a battle between all the tablet operating systems sans the HP Touchpad which isn’t here yet.

The live stream opens every Wednesday from 2PM to 4 PM at Flippish.com/vjlive

Join me and my co hosts Chrina Cuna and Sheena Dian every Wednesday if you have nothing better to do on a lazy Wednesday afternoon.

HTC ChaCha: The Facebook phone you’ve been waiting for! (Part II)

This is the second part of a two part series. Part I can be found here.
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Kick Ass Department of Tourism Ad


[Click on image for bigger size]

Apparently this is not a fake campaign. It’s blooming with awesomeness and controversy, I wasn’t too sure if it was indeed material from the DOT. But it is. This is a part of a series launched by the DOT and SMART and will be all over the place soon. To fully appreciate this ad, you need to see the fine print at the bottom:

** This value driven campaign promotes the Philippines to its own people, many of whom opt to travel abroad unaware of their country’s beauty. “Tara na” means let’s go.

As to whether I only need to pay PHP 4,050.00 for a round trip ticket, that I am not sure. But I guess that’s not the point, is it?

I also highly doubt its meant to belittle Thailand. For generations, Thailand has fast become a major backpacking route for Europeans as it is part of the banana pancake trail. This trail is a rite of passage for Europeans. How can we possibly compete with a backpacking tradition?

Maybe it’s time to start new traditions.

What a brazen ad. What a HUGE improvement from the previous failed campaigns. This one doesn’t speak softly. And it may even carry a big stick.

Net of it all, it’s brilliant. It’s viral. It’s controversial. I love it.

Samsung Galaxy S II: Best smartphone for 2011?

N.B. You can pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S II by following these instructions. Retail price is PHP 29,990. Discounted price is PHP 26,990.

For the past three weeks I’ve been playing with both the prototype and the actual unit of Samsung’s lastest Android gem, the Galaxy S II. I first got to hold the device back in Mobile World Congress ’11 in Barcelona and it is, without doubt, the most highly anticipated smartphone in the Android universe because it’s simply mind blowing.

This phone deserves to be reviewed from two perspectives: (1) as the successor to the first Samsung Galaxy S which was also highly popular and (2) from the perspective of an Android device and how it compares to the competition.
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Samsung Galaxy S II Preorder Discount Details (Discounted Price P26,990 )

Get this phone now!

Thank you to everyone who joined the previous contest. So, exactly how much is the Samsung Galaxy S II? The phone will retail in Manila with an SRP of P29,990. Congratulations to the following winners:

1. Nina
2. PauLorenzo
3. Desrei P. Balla

Thanks for leaving a valid email address. The PR agency of Samsung will give send you details on how to claim your prize.

———

PREORDER MECHANICS

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A Hunt for the Rhinopias

Over the weekend I took part in an event loosely coined as the ‘Hunt for the Rhinopias.’ As a diver and a photographer, it’s the latter that urges me on to keep diving because of the sheer challenge of underwater photography as a hobby. Before taking photos underwater, I’d scoot through a dive site in 45 minutes. When I started photography, our dives turned to a slow crawl as we explored every square inch of the reef to find shrimps, crabs, slugs and other critters.


Our gear on display for the Rhinopias photo hunt.

There was word circulating among the divers that a yellow Rhinopias frondosa, more commonly known as the Weedy Scorpionfish or the Popeye Scorpion has been spotted in a dive site called Red Rocks in Anilao, Batangas. The Rhinopias is extremely rare and there happened to be one in Anilao sitting on the reef at 30 ft deep. At that depth, we spent two dives of 80 minutes each, taking turns to photograph this rare scorpionfish that is camouflaged to look like a yellow patch of sea kelp.
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LG Optimus Black at PHP 19,990.00

LG has been in the habit of churning out decent Android devices the past couple of months. The new Optimus Black P970 is no exception. Running on Android OS 2.2 (upgradable to 2.3) the Optimus Black can be defined as a decent looking smartphone that gets the job done. It’s main selling point is the NOVA display technology making this smartphone shine the brightest while saving power. LG claims that this NOVA tech is more efficient than AMOLED / LED screens which is an obvious stab at Samsung’s Galaxy line.

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Contest: Guess the Price of the Samsung Galaxy S II!

Last week I asked you to guess brand and model of our mystery phone. Well, it was unanimous — everyone seemed to get it right! The photo shown was the back part of the Samsung Galaxy S II. I’ve been playing with it for a couple of weeks now and the good news is that Samsung Philippines is making this phone available very soon!


This is the Samsung Galaxy S II running on Launcher Pro with a custom icon pack download.

We decided to tweak the contest a bit to make it more exciting. Since we all know the phone, now we have to guess .. THE LOCAL SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE! You can search for clues all over the Internet — the USD price and if you owned the previous Samsung Galaxy S, you might have some idea of how they will be pricing this next model.

The 3 winners will get a special gift pack from Samsung. Secret =)

Contest Rules:

1. Leave a comment to enter the raffle. The comment should be your estimate for the Suggested Retail Price.
2. You can leave as many comments as you like.
2. Please leave a valid email address so that I can get back to you if you win.
3. This contest is open till Monday, June 13 11:59 PM.
4. This contest is open to Metro Manila residents only as the winners will need to pick up the prize personally.
5. I will be choosing 3 winners at random using a web randomizer. Yes it’s at random. Not SRP accuracy.
7. If for some reason there are contentions / issues with the contest, I reserve the right to take appropriate actions. All decisions are final.

Through the Underwater Lens: My Macro Photography Gallery

One of the reasons that keeps me underwater is the thrill of finding new critters to photograph. This is a partial gallery of my favorite shots using a 60mm macro lens and one strobe. I am blessed to be a Filipino living in the richest oceans of the world. The truth is, we have to see it to believe it: I hope these photos can inspire you to learn more about our beautiful country. It’s already beautiful topside, but the real beauty is what lies beneath the surface.

This is my official entry to Blog Action Day 2011.

A highly territorial tomato clownfish (named after its deep red color) defends its anemone home from almost anything that swims by.

Click for the full gallery.
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Week 1 Winners!

Hello all,

I’d like to announce the first batch winners of my little contest. Random lot draw picked the following winners:

1. Christopher Ceniza
2. Lia Espina Lopez
3. Eros Bast

You’ll receive an email soon from < >.

It seems that almost everyone had the same guess! But that doesn’t mean I’m going to confirm it. At least not yet. =) In any case, I’ve been playing with this phone for quite some time. In fact, I had its previous version and doing a bit of comparison, there are a few aesthetic improvements. One of the most noticeable is, well the 8MP camera which I already showed you previously. What I didn’t show you yet was the 2MP camera up front which was iffy on its ancestor — not all units had them. Nonetheless, the megapixel bump doesn’t make sense unless you increase the memory, which is 2x over with this model. From 512MB internal RAM to a complete 1GB on this second iteration.

We’ll be showing off more features this week! More guessing (LOL) and more prizes!

Manny Pacquiao “pecks a punch” for HP Veer Commercial

The news is true: Manny Pacquiao is HP’s newest endorser. It seems that he’s representing their entire product line, starting with the HP Veer. I actually got to play with the Veer before and I must say it’s going to sell like hotcakes –it’s really small! This is my photo of the Veer side by side the Palm Pre 3.

HP Veer

Effing Brilliant! Nestle delivers Ice Cream to your home via Facebook

There’s a not-so-secret Facebook group where most, if not all the PH-based digital suppliers hang out. It was here that Ricky Baizas showed us Nestle’s Ice Cream Party delivery service. I definitely KNOW that if your brand uses social media to generate sales then you’re doing the right thing.

https://www.facebook.com/nestleicecreamparty

The only catch is that you have to place an order worth at least PHP 1500.00 if you wish to customize what you get in the ice box. Otherwise you can order for as low as PHP 950.00 Quite understandable. This is why Nestle has positioned this service as an ice cream party package. After you add them up on Facebook, you’re redirected to the order form where you can input the quantity and pay via COD. Orders must be booked 3 days prior for residents of Manila.

As an added bonus, you can even customize your order so that it comes with the ice cream bike + manong!

Contest: Guess this phone! (Clue # 1 | Week 1)

— CONTEST ALERT!!! —

OK it’s time for a simple contest. For the next 3 weeks I’ll be giving away a secret bag of IT goodies from a donor. It’s so secret, even I don’t know what it is (of course I won’t mention the brand — that would spoil the fun!). But that’s fine — the contest is really easy. I just need you to guess what this phone is.

Here’s the first clue: As you can see from the close up, it has a 8MP camera. As an added bonus, notice the rugged back plate.

Contest Rules:

1. Leave a comment to enter the raffle. The comment should be your guess for the name of this phone (brand and model).
2. You can leave as many comments as you like.
2. Please leave a valid email address so that I can get back to you if you win.
3. This contest is open till Sunday, June 5 11:59 PM.
4. This contest is open to Metro Manila residents only as the winners will need to pick up the prize personally.
5. I will be choosing 3 winners per week at random using a web randomizer. I will be giving out more clues as the week progresses and each clue (each post) will have one winner each. So yes, a total of 3 winners per week. I will choose 3 winners from the every “clue post” per week. This makes it easier to win because that’s less effort on your part.
6. BONUS: On the final week I will be raffling off a phone. I will pick from those that guess the correct model / brand.
7. If for some reason there are contentions / issues with the contest, I reserve the right to take appropriate actions. All decisions are final.

Good luck and have fun =)

Facebook bans ‘Like’ campaigns

For those unaware, Facebook updated their Promotional Guidelines early this month. Here it is.

“You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.”

What this means is that you cannot use features such as Likes, checking in using FB Places, and tagging a photo as part of contest mechanics. Furthermore, contests should be run using an App. Check out Woobox or Wildfire for your promo needs. On a more interesting note, I’ve heard that the DTI is actually enforcing this.

Can I just say .. THANK YOU LORD! These Like campaigns are really annoying.

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