Mobile phones, services and applications. PCs, PDAs, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Internet, gadgets, electronics, photography. A technology-life journal ... Relaxed prose, sometimes witty, sometimes funny, reflective and insightful. Short and sweet. Filipino.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Mao Tse Text

I've always wondered how Chinese type their SMS messages.

I prodded my classmate, Li Ling, to show me.

On her Sony-Ericsson phone, she has both western and Chinese characters. She changes some settings then proceeds with her demo.

First, she shows me syllabic characters, known as pin yin. She types the western spelling of a syllable (example "ni") then the corresponding chinese syllable-symbol can be selected.

Using her phone, I was able to type the greeting "ni hao ma? (how are you)" in Chinese characters.

Second is Chinese symbols for words. Her keypad had 8 chinese basic strokes. Combining two or more of these 8 strokes will result to a word in Chinese script.

So Li Ling took a piece of paper, wrote down a symbol, then dissected it into the basic strokes. I clicked the phone keys corresponding to the basic strokes. Easy.

And what do you know! I can text in Chinese! Ü ü

Let me try ... "Sio pao". "Ma mi". "Lo mi". "To kwa". "Mao Tse Tung". Cool! Now I just need a Chinese text-mate to exchange non-sense with a crazy Pinoy like me. Li Ling isn't crazy enough.

Then she takes some time with her phone, tries to restore to the old settings. She couldn't restore it! I said, "let me navigate through the chinese menu, you tell me what the characters say, then let's find the right settings."

Umiling si Li Ling. Then she gestured - her index finger pointing towards the side of her head, Li Ling traced circles around her ear.

Aba, buang din pala 'tong Li Ling na 'to, a! Tulad ko. "Bu Ang".

- "ed win"

P.S. I learned Chinese phrases thanks to my friend's temporary fixation with the Chinovela "Meteor Garden". Kaya minsan, when she calls, I answer the phone saying "Wei?" ü ü


Thursday, July 22, 2004


I dropped by my yahoogroups mailing lists. Ph-mobile's Jim Ayson asks a pop question: What's our current count of mobile phone subscribers in the Philippines?

Forum members are quick to share these estimates: 15Million (Smart), 10M (Globe), 0.6M (Sun) plus a few hundred thousand on Nextel and others. That brings us to around 26Million cellphone subscribers in the Phils.

Tutal, clueless na rin lang ako sa balita, let me share some excerpts from a case I read today:
Projected Demand for Cellular Mobile Telephone Service*
Year - Cellphone Subscribers
1992 - 0.09 Million
1994 - 0.10
2000 - 0.70
2002 - 0.75
2004 - 1.75
2010 - 1.52
* from the National Telecommunications Development Plan (NTDP), info dated July 2003.
Obviously, the government was clueless that the Philippine mobile industry was to grow more than 250% in ten years.

Clueless. I wonder what the govt's projections for economic growth was ten yrs ago.

- edwin
mobile blogging via SmartPhone

Link(s): Some NTDP info


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Techie Lola

[Sequel to Techie Grrrrl]

When I entered our building one morning, there was a lady seated in the lobby, with pepper-grey hair woven in a tight hair-bun, waiting, stooped down, tinkering on something in her palm.

I passed behind her, then saw what she had in her hand. A PDA! Whoa, photo opportunity! Blog opportunity!

I retraced my steps and spoke to Lola (grandma). I introduced myself. I explained that it would be a great if I could take a photo of her and publish it on my website. (For all girls out there, if you hear a proposal like this, just say "NO!") I said it would be "a nice image of a 60 years young lola using a PDA". She obliged.

She introduced herself as Mrs. Chupungco. (I learned later that she was just 74 years young, turning 75). I happen to know one of her daughters, Ana who teaches in Pisay. Then I met another daughter who works in AIM. Mrs. Chupungco was waiting patiently in the lobby with her PDA. Mukhang may ka-date si Lola.

She held the stylus like a pro, jabbing and gliding the stylus on the PDA's touchscreen. She says her daughters teach her about these technologies. It was a Casio PDA, at least 3 years or older. It had some scotch tape at the hinge - perhaps a quick and dirty solution to a cover falling apart. I surmised the PDA was "outgrown" by one of the daughters. I guess this is what is called a "hand-me-UP".

When asked what she uses her PDA for, she said she just plays Solitaire.

Three hours later, Mrs. Chupungco was still there (after their mom and daughter date). Still patiently playing Solitaire. Sabi ko nga in the past na with technology, many Pinoys can be alone but not lonely.

If the editors of Gadgets or T3 or M|Ph find their way to this story, they just might get Mrs. Chupungco for next cover model. Tingin niyo?

Cheers to Mrs. Chupungco, our Techie Lola!


Read more: Techie Grrrrl, Alone but not lonely


Tuesday, July 20, 2004


I received this from my Telco at 6:32 last night ...
Ur opinion is important to SMART. R u satisfied wid Smart hotline? Rate 1,2,3,4 or 5 (1 lowest, 5 highest) and send answr to 60077 free of charge.

Then received this around 6:34 last night ...
Ur opinion is important to SMART. R u satisfied wid Smart hotline? Rate 1,2,3,4 or 5 (1 lowest, 5 highest) and send answr to 60077 free of charge.

This morning, I woke up at 5am and found a message in my cellphone received at 1:18am ...
We did not receiv ur reply. R u satisfied wid Smart txt-hotline? Rate 1-5 (5 highest) and send to 60077 free of charge.

-----Original Message-----
From: Me
Sent: 7/20/04 5:02:37 AM
To: 60077
Subject: 4

Instant auto-reply...
Thanks for answering. Ur input will be used to improve Smart customer service.

My wife was already awake by this time and heard my texting. I could imagine this line she had in her head which we use to biro each other when the other is texting: "Sino ba yang ka-text mo, nandito naman ako!!?? ü"

I explained kung sino ang ka-text ko this early in the morning. And why my ka-text is replying so promptly at 5am!

Smart talaga. Buti hindi ako nagising nung nag-text kayo at 1am. Kundi, 1 din ang ini-feedback ko sa inyo! ü

Peace out ü

- edwin
Hi to High and Mags ü


Monday, July 19, 2004

Airfagev Moves Mountains

Huli ako sa balita.

I learned many days late that Smart came out with a promo that offered high end cellphones at low prices. I read about it via posted by good friend and site moderator Marlboro Red from Davao. MR's announcement was a hot topic, getting more 200 replies within 5 days or so. Exciting! Ang daming gustong kumuha ng phone!

I tried to get a Voyager for my wife last friday, the last day of the promo (It was later extended by 3 days). Lo and behold, huli nanaman ako sa balita! The Voyager wasn't available anymore! Ubos na daw ang stock since two days ago. Other Nokia and Sony-Ericsson phones were still available.

I couldn't help but think that airfagev, a community of SmartPhone users, is a big factor for the high demand for the Voyager. Airfagev moves mountains! ... Or at least it moves Smart's inventories of the Voyager.

Check out the airfagev forum and EB photos* and you'll see a bustling community helping out each other in all SmartPhone concerns. Airfagev has also become a software and hardware development network where members exchange ideas, skills and knowledge to further maximize the use of the SmartPhone.

For all this, credit goes to Rey Vegafria for creating Airfagev; And also the Airfagev community for making it what it is today -- a real community supporting SmartPhone users here and around the world; a real community where friendships are formed in the chatroom/forum and then spill-over to real life EBs.

Just ask DyeySy who met his girlfriend in an Airfagev EB. As DyeySy says: "Salamat, fagev!".

Mabu-hey ang airfagev!

ka edong

* EB - short for Eye Ball; Refers to a face-to-face meeting of people who have prior interaction through other means (text, chat, forum etc.). In this case, a meeting of Airfagev members who've known each other through airfagev forums or chat.


We: telco price-war victims

Imagine getting a phone worth P30,000++ for free just by promising to pay the telco P800 or P1,200 every month for two short years! That's what the Telcos are doing now.

I heard from various forums that Smart came out with the "high-end phones at low prices" promos on July 9, as a pre-emptive strike to counter Globe's promo which came out last July 15, Thursday.

Smart took a six day lead over Globe in offering the high-end phones at low price. I figure, this could cost Globe millions of pesos worth of subscriptions just because Smart did their promo 6 days ahead.

But the price-war is just getting hotter. Smart extended its promo by three days. Bangayan na ito.

The telcos need to approve their sudden glut of new subscriber applications. I heard from one of the telcos that approval is 2-3 weeks after application. (Aren't they worried that the other telco might do it in less than 2 weeks?)

The telcos have resorted to a surer method of getting subscribers who will pay promptly (unlike somebody I know). It's called "Auto-debit".

The bottom-line is: "It's not the number of applications you get but the number of subscribers you lock-in."

So, who will win the telco price war? I don't care too much. You know who reeaaaallly comes out the winner in this war? The consumers! As Pong pagong used to say .... Weeeeeeee!

- edwin


First time, no sweat

There's always a first time.

First time kong sumakay ng Aircon Jeep ngayon. It's a jeep that plies a route called the Ayala Loop.

The driver is his own barker, leading the passengers through the door on the RIGHT side of the driver's seat. He has a mechanical lever so he can open and close the door from the driver's seat.

The driver is his own conductor. He passes out a small plastic basket. The passengers know the chore and each one drops in the P10 fare.

Aircon, walang pawis pag-dating ng office/school, mabilis, convenient. Suliiit! ü .

But it takes away my liesurely 10-minute walk in the soothing morning sunlight peeping through the Makati skyline. When I am not rushing, I'l take my walk instead of the aircon jeep.

- edwin
walang pawis, 7:40 on a Monday morning

Read: Pasa Pamasahe


Saturday, July 17, 2004

Yellow Monster - a photo printer story

My wife and I were at MegaMall last night. As we were walking, we noticed a crowd gathered around a yellow computer monitor. We investigated ...

We were in the midst of an instant photo printer called Kodak Picture Maker G3 - a Yellow Machine. It's a digital photo printer. We had a good crowd with us observing the lady holding a phone (Nokia 6600?), printing images of her daughter. She sent the images to the Picture Maker via Bluetooth.

Siyempre, naki-usyoso kami. The picture maker had a flat touch screen with various photo editting functions. Photo enhance, crop, zoom, rotate, brightness, contrast and most of the basics. It also had a variety of borders to choose from.

What's unique about the Yellow Machine is the many ways by which you can send your digital image to the machine. After seeing bluetooth work, I wanted to check if it could read my SmartPhone's MMC card. After 3 attempts, we still couldn't get the machine to read my MMC.

We shifted to IR. It was a breeze sending the photos via IR. Then we got on with editing. Clip there, zoom here, borderize everything. Yung saleslady learned some new tricks when me and my wife tinkered with the Kodak Yellow Machine.

It costs only P20 pesos per 5R (?) print. And you have the choice of putting 1, 2 or 4 photos per 5R sheet of photo paper. Rather cheap and very convenient. We got our two prints within 25 seconds of giving the print command.

Earlier, I mentioned that you can send images in a variety of ways. You can send JPG, TIF and BMP through: Bluetooth, InfraRed, diskette, CD, MMC/SD, CompactFlash, Memory stick, and another card format I'm not familiar with (MX ba yun?).

But there was one more slot below the touch screen which wasn't labelled. I wondered what it could be. What format was it?

Aha! Credit card payments!? I investigated further, took out my credit card and put it in the slot half-way. It fit! I showed my wife and the saleslady. Sabi ko: "Ang galing naman nito!"

Then I pushed my card all the way in. It went right through into the machine without any resistance!!!!! Whoa! Give me back my credit card!!!! It was as if my card fell into a chasm in the belly of this Kodak machine!

We looked for an "eject" button, or a function on the screen where we can command the Yellow Monster to spit out my credit card. But to no avail.

We later realized the slot was where ID photos come out. It was an output slot, not an input slot. Stupeeeed.

Sheesh. It was an exciting time with the Yellow Machine, but it sucked to have my credit card eaten by the Yellow Monster. I will have to go back to MegaMall later to get my credit card. Hope it hasn't gone into shreds. But then again, I wouldn't mind if it did.

- Edwin

The Yellow Machine/Monster is located outside Watson's, near Cinderella, 2nd floor of MegaMall, Bldg A. Look for Michelle, the saleslady who we gave a lecture to. Enjoy!

Update: 2 August, 2004

Last week, Hedda, a college friend, was calling me on my cellphone. I didn't answer as I was in class (ang bait ko, 'no?). Then she texted me "Edong! nasa akin ang card mo!!!!".

Hahaha! Isn't that such a coincidence that my card, the one that triggered Kodak to pull-out their machine, ended up in the hands of a friend. It was a nice laugh we had when we told our side of the story.

I gave her a link to this article. And since then, I've been getting hits from Eastman Kodak, USA. So, to you guys at Kodak, sorry for the inconvenience! I still have a positive review of the Yellow Monster Machine, don't you think?

And Hedda, thanks for bringing back my card! Yan tuloy, mas-madali na ulit akong gumastos. herps!


Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Pasahero: "Mama, bayad."
Drayber: "Paki-abot lang po ang load."
I rode the jeep this morning then realized I didn't have any small bills.

When the jeep reached the end of the route, I slid my butt across the now empty jeepney seat and told the driver: "Pwede ko ba kayo bayaran ng cellphone load?"

He gave a confused look. I explained. He was surprised by the proposition. Then he smiled and said: "okay lang" (translation: nevermind). I gave him the only piso I had in my pocket.

This idea of jeepney fare payment via pasa-load came from Sir Tommy Lopez. Imagine having this sign inside jeepneys: "God Knows Hudas not pay. Pasa-load ur pamasahe 2 - 09201234567"

Not unlikely. Not unlikely.

- edwin

P.S. I will pay for two people tomorrow, regardless of which jeep I ride.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004


I have nothing to blog as I walk home.

How boring. Where's my technology life?!

Oh well, might as well blog about the book I borrowed from the libe.

It's entitled "TXT-ING Selves - Cellphones and Philippine Modernity" by Pertierra, Ugarte et al. It's been oft quoted since its publication in 2002. It was the first extensive research about our Filipino texting culture. I've scanned the book and it's quite insightful.

Of interest are the case studies -- unique stories of how the mobile phone is changing the Filipino lifestyle and psyche.

But, to borrow a line from my former boss, the book's only liability is that the authors are from La Salle. [Just kidding! ü (w nudge sa tagiliran)]

- edwin
Blogging through my cellphone while walking through Glorietta


Tech Encounters: VideoConZilla

Tech Encounters is my new theme within TechnoBiography.

Tech Encounters are short stories of my casual encounters with technologies. I won't try to go into the specifics of the technologies. I'l focus more on describing my experiece (or lack thereof) with the technology.

VideoConZilla: The Global Distance Learning Center

You have Yahoo VideoCon and you have Yahoo VideoCon. It's videocon the size of a matchbox with the clarity of dirty contact lenses.

But what we have in AIM is VideoConZilla! It's giant VideoCon on two widescreens (approx 5'x6') connecting to as many as 5 locations around the globe in realtime.

This VideoConZilla is the Global Distance Learning Center (GDLC) at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

GDLCI attended a conference at the GDLC last friday at 4 o'clock in the afternoon ... or evening, or morning depending on whose time-zone. Our main speaker was French Economist, Dr. David Camroux in Paris (local time: 10am). His main audience was Manila with more than 80 listeners.

We also had an international audience from universities in Thailand, Australia, Sri Lanka and Korea. We had foreign students in most of these venues; Filipinos, Indians, Vietnamese, Germans, Czechs, Koreans, Thais and other nationalities in the 5 locations.

We were all simultaneously linked to these locations via video and audio. The GDLCs in each country had at least two broadband lines to accommodate all video and audio feeds from the other countries.

It was a nice experience. Our speaker had a "presence" in our room, he connected with us through his brilliance and sense of humor. He had rapport with his global audience, even if he was many oceans away. Through our VideoConZilla, our speaker was WITH us.

Unlike some speakers who can be so close yet so far away.

- Edwin
To follow: The modified open forum, talking mute & some GDLC conference photos.


Monday, July 12, 2004

OT: Dragon Bro

I saw a dragonfly.

And I saw it an unexpected place: inside a bus on my way to Makati.

dragon broI watched the dragonfly perched on the window sill of this aircon bus. It wasn't colorful, but it caught my attention. It's been a long time since I last saw a dragonfly.

They say that the population of dragonflies in a city is an indicator of air pollution. High air pollution brings down the dragonfly population.

I watched the color-un-ful dragonfly twitch its wings in the light of the early morn. I took a bite from my sandwich - road breakfast prepared by my wifey. Then when I looked back at my color-un-ful co-passenger in this bus, Dragonfly was gone.

I think I forgot to brush my teeth. Sorry Dragon bro.

-- edwin
Visit: The Firefly Brigade


Monday, July 05, 2004

My Poetry and Kuya Germs

(Sequel to International Day for Texting)

After a couple of beers, a stomach full of pulutan, and a stomach ache from all the laughter, we walked back to homebase via our school backyard (Greenbelt).

Along the path, behind a curtain of bamboos, I heard a voice. She was speaking in poetry. I investigated, peeped through the slender bamboos and found a group of people surrounding a small platform. Onstage was the voice and her poetry. Candlelights swayed with the light breeze. People, seated on the cold concrete floor or cozy sofa, listened intently, taking turns reading poems, giving their applause to the letters and words woven, to the poetry spoken.

I wanted to read too! But I didn't have any poems memorized.

Brosia to the rescue! ü

Through Brosia, my SmartPhone, I accessed one of my old websites, Guro Sa Cuyo. From the website, I was able to get copies of some senti poems I wrote as a volunteer teacher in Cuyo group of islands in Palawan.

I had the poems on my phone. I was anonymous in this crowd and had a few beers already. I was ready to debut in poetry reading in front of this audience. I had my whole spiel ready. It would go ...

"Magandang Gabi! I'm Edong.

"The bamboos, the Makati breeze and the light drizzle make a perfect backdrop for my poems. I retrieved these poems from my website (show cellphone to audience).

"I wrote these poems in Cuyo, Palawan where I was a volunteer teacher in a barrio high school without electricity, TV nor any running water.

(dramatic pause)
Moonlight Dance

He breathes one more time then asks for a dance.
Bamboo shivers at the request.
She never refuses Wind.
They sway to the tune of a whisper only they can comprehend.

aug 4, '98 9:42 pm
Mailab stroll

Takipsilim sa Balading

Muli, isang araw ay lumipas
Kabuluka'y muling ibinaon
Inihip ng hanging amihan
Sinayawan ng higanteng kawayan
Kinumpasan ng tagak, tinalikuran

Nalulula ako pauwi, nasusuka
Malagkit ang inulanang putik
Takot madulas, takot bumigay ang lalamunan
Lunok lang ng konti, tingala sa nagnanakaw na kadiliman
Bukas, isang araw nanaman


As I read my last line in a faint whisper, I raised my head to find my audience awestruck. They understood me. They felt my words. Some were quiet, dumbfounded. One girl had foggy spectacles from the tears flowing down their eyes! I got a standing ovation!

My anonymity was ruined, the press photographers were taking photos of me! A man approached me. Light emanated from this man. It was Kuya Germs! He invited me to read my poems in his "Walang Tulugan" show.

Then I felt a raindrops on my skin. I awoke from my day dreaming. The rain began to pour. I was next in line to read my poem. But they had to stop this poetry reading event lest everybody goes home like a basang sisiw.

My poetry reading debut was ruined! The poem in my phone is still waiting to be spoken. It will have to wait longer until Kuya Germs walks up to me again.