Considerations When Looking at Video Conferencing Services

10 months ago

Disney CARS by Takara Tomy (TOMICA) now available in Manila

2 days ago

Underwater Photography: Rhinopias, Mariona, and Pygmy Seahorse

4 months ago

3 Reasons to Try Out Handwriting Again

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Recent posts

NFC Demo with the Nokia C7 at the Jump Store in Megamall

SMART-PLDT opened the JUMP Store yesterday in MegaMall’s CyberZone. In spirit, it’s much like the Apple Store in the US allowing customers to really get their hands dirty with technology. As a Class-A geek, I was impressed with two things in particular: they had the never before launched HTC Evo 3D smartphone and an upgraded version of the Nokia C7 sporting NFC technology. This post will talk about NFC technology.
(more…) A Pinoy YouSendIt =)

UPDATE: Just found out who runs the site. It’s good to know that SendMoNowNa is actually being run by three good friends from the industry — Raffy and Sara of Globedez and l33t web designer Jec of Bayan who helped me out long ago with a podcast series. Good to know that the site is under trusted hands.

I use YouSendIt and Dropbox a lot for sending and sharing huge files. Good to know that there’s a local “version” of this file sharing service called Send Mo Now Na! I love it! Clean interface, Facebook login integration (FB login fixed!), free and paid plans, and a 30 day validity for files to share. It’s actually a decent replacement/complement to YouSendIt as the latter now limits file sizes and only stores links for 7 days. At least Send Mo Now Na stores it for 30!

If you’re wondering what the difference is between the paid plan and free plan is:

With a Premium Account you can download without any wait times and limits.
Your Premium SendMoNowNa account also allows you to upload to 5 files at the same time.
SendMoNowNa also becomes advertising free once you log-in.

Check it out!

Let’s Dive ASIA!

Diving in the Philippines is EPIC. But that doesn’t mean the SCUBA sites around Asia aren’t worth visiting. In fact, they’re fantastic. South East Asia is coral triangle territory so if I did have a bit more money I’d love to go on trips to the following places:

This Week is Shark Week. Here are photos I took diving with sharks.

This week is SHARK WEEK. We commemorate one whole week to the shepherds of the ocean. They keep the population of other fish in check, affect movement patterns of other fish and ensure that the groupers and other big reef fish do not explode in population and kill off reef life. Our lives are tied so closely to sharks, it is ironic we have created the biggest smear campaign against them.

I dive with sharks. Here are some photos I took of some of them. Some of these are 3 feet long. Others 6-10 ft long. There are a couple of sightings in Anilao and that’s a big deal. Diving Tubbataha, sharks are everywhere — in the hundreds. From the boat, you can see 80 ft down. They’re circling the chase boat welcoming you as you backroll into their domain. The most graceful are the thresher sharks that dive deep into the ocean and surface for food. Their whip-like tails stun their prey. The most peaceful are the whale sharks — the gentle giants, the labradors of the ocean with mouths that look like airconditioners sucking up all the plankton it can find.


When you’re with them, you can’t help but feel a deep respect for these ocean shepherds, and they feel very disconnected from what Hollywood and the media show us on television.

The best moment of my life (so far) was caught on video with a whale shark making eye contact with me.

A Tribute to Fabio

It really seemed like the contest was rigged for Old Spice Guy to pull a fast one over Fabio. Be that as it may, I congratulate Fabio for his amazing sportsmanship in the ‘Mano a Mano en El Bano’ contest. This post is a tribute to Fabio and in fact I was able to pull out an old video which I recorded together with Kate Alvarez back in 2007. The old video host was junked and I do realize that 3 years is a long time for digital and now we have everything on YouTube and Vimeo (funny too since I did mention Megavideo’s claim to fame to be “better than YouTube” — where are they now? HA!). So I have re-uploaded the video for all to see.

In this video Kate and I dissect the Italian male model as a template to romance novel covers. Enjoy me from 2007!

Spot the celebs!

SMART x HTC from Styles Entertainment Group on Vimeo.

Summary of the SMART + HTC Partnership party and the launch of the HTC ChaCha Facebook phone. This event trended on Twitter worldwide.

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.

Catch The Geeks every Wednesday from 2PM to 4PM at

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

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.

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.

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.




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.

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.


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.

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