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.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Converged Machines (Part I)

To gadgets enthusiasts, don't be fooled. This isn't about consumer electronics. :-p

POS MachineEver notice that herd of 5 or more machines next to kaheras in department stores? The ones that slurp your credit card or where you finger in your PIN and it spits out your receipt.

They're called Point-of-Sale machines (POS). They have at least a card reader, a keypad, an LCD display and a printer for those credit card payments. And each bank or credit card network has their own POS machine.

That's why there's a herd of them taking up so much real estate on those cashier tables. It's quite a hassle for the kaheras. Sometimes she could get strangled when the POS's "tail" (those twirly cables that connect the POS to the cash register) get entwined in other POS's tails.

Well, SM slaughtered these herds of unruly POS machines. The POSse is gone and solo mighty POS took their place.

Mighty POS (I just named it such) handles all cards from BPI-EPS, MasterCard, Visa, Electron, Equi-PCI, SmartMoney, BDO cash card and whatever have you. Mighty POS is complete with keypad, card reader (slurp!) LCD display, printer and that twirly tail! Kulang nalang ay bar code scanner to read price tags and bluetooth to eliminate that twirly cable.

Systems converged. That's a big plus for SM as they've eliminated thousands of POS machines which is a potential source of thousands of problems. They've regained their precious kahera desk real estate. Now the cashiers have space to lay down when tired ;-p !

Mighty POS is also good for any other new entrants in the credit card biz. New companies no longer need to provide any additional POS machines.They just need to integrate with Mighty POS.

That's also good news for G-Cash. I can imagine that we will one day be able to pay SM via G-Cash through Mighty POS.

SM won't need a hundred G-Cash cellphones (one per kahera) to accept G-Cash payments. I imagine that an SM mall will need just one GSM modem connected to the system running Mighty POS's (Mighty POS's boss).

POSible? Elbisop!
Pwede? Edewp! ;-p

- Edwin? Niwde!

Abangan: Converged Machines Part II - ecPay at 7-11

Read: Yellow Monster - a photo printer story , Haaay ... My BPI Buhay
Search Technobiography: G-Cash


Friday, November 26, 2004

Cellphone Snatcher Bitten by Bulldog

Here are excerpts from an on Computerworld Philippines entitled "Anti-theft solution for mobile phones developed":
“Bulldog protects your mobile phone from thieves,” Jayree Chua, president of Bulldog’s creator Boogs Software, told Computerworld Philippines in an interview.

“If your cellphone is stolen, you can simply activate your Bulldog by sending a text message – accompanied by your activation code – to you phone number. When the code is activated, the phone’s keypad and power will be deactivated, rendering your mobile phone useless.”

True to its name, the Bulldog application will trigger a loud and non-stop barking sound once activated. This alarm is enough to attract attention to the phone, its location, and its current handler.
My Comments:
  • Distribution of the App is through "peddlers" - individuals who install the app from their own gadgets. This will be a slow distribution model.
  • P350 - not bad
  • only the high-end series 60 Nokia models and Sony Ericsson handsets are capable of supporting the Bulldog applicatio
  • They should start distributing it Over The Air (OTA) and collect payments via G-Cash
Grrrrrrrr Arrrrf!

- Edwin

Read the Complete article on Computerworld:
Anti-theft solution for mobile phones developed
by Grace S. Clavecilla, Senior Writer; Computerworld Philippines

Read: Edong's Dreams - Anti-Cellphone-Theft Wireless Leash, Txt2Protect, Block Ko Mukha Mo! - Fight Against Cellphone-Related Crimes, Cellphone Theft - Inquirer's Special, Cellphone Insurance (on airfagev), Warren's take on Cellphone snatching


Thursday, November 25, 2004

Extra Challenge - ang Pambansang Field Trip

I'm watching actress Lorna Tolentino taking the job of a care giver in Canada in Extra Challenge, a reality-TV show on GMA.

Like many Filipinos from Batanes to Tawi-tawi, I've followed the travails of many a-challengers in various "real-life" adventures....
Extra Kwentuhan

I rode an ordinary bus where Angel Aquino was the all-sweat konduktora shepherding her flock of pasaheros, weaving her bus through the urban traffic.

I took a joyride in a van with Alfie Vargas and Alessandra de Rossi that took us through Bulacan and ended up in Sagada.

I've been on a trip with Joyce Jimenez, Andrew E, Patricia Javier (?). We went to around India, Malaysia, Thailand seeing their sites, got exposed to their culture, dancing their dances, listening to their songs and chants.

I've seen through Osang how a DH in Hong Kong has to forego time (maybe a lifetime) with her own children to tend to someone elses kids.

I watched two "newly-wed" celebrity couples live a day in a squatter area under a bridge. Chyna Hortaleza washed clothes without water(!) while Nancy Castiliogne "lost" one of her foster children.

And through the exploits of these adventurers on TV, I learn about the situation of Filipinos in slum areas, of the extra-ordinary lives of ordinary Filipinos, about other peoples cultures, about a life other than mine.

It's voyeurism and pag-usiyoso at its best. This show has reached heights in mainstream infotainment that neither Probe Team nor Hiraya Manawari have attained.

Because this TV show is taking the nation on a field trip one place at a time, hundreds of thousand TV sets at a time.

- Edwin

Visit: Extra Challenge Blog


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Filipinos Text. Will the world listen?

An e-friend, Heinz Bulos (we've never met face to face but have crossed paths many times via e-mail or in various online discussions), has a story on the Philippine mobile phone scene in Businessweek (Asian Print Edition, Nov 22, 2004 page 28) entitled:
Filipinos are getting the message
Text messaging is the rage here. The trick now is to spread the word globally

Some excerpts from Heinz's article:
  • Once a month, 24-year old Jane Manarang drops by the McDonald's in her busy Manila neighborhood. But she's not there for a burger and fries. Instead, she is stopping by to cash an electronic check. ... "It's so fast," marvels Manarang. "I receive a text message, and I can quickly get cash."
  • 6 billion Text messages sent monthly by the Philipines' 28 million mobile users
  • Customers of both Smart and Globe can load up their phones with electronic funds they can use for both phoning and shopping. When they shop in a store, they pay by sending a text message that transfers the credit to a retailer's account.
  • Philippine ex-pats have made some 15,000 transfers of cash, for a total of about $2 million, since the Smart Padala service was introduced. That's a drop in the bucket compared with the $7 billion that Filipinos working abroad send home every year, but enough to buy a whole lot of Big Macs.
The Philippines is setting a global trend, aren't we? Although Japan has made mobile innovations that are many years ahead of the rest of the world, adoption of their technologies aren't easy because of the incompatibility of the system (Japan uses the i-mode, mobile communications platform whereas the rest of the world uses GSM and CDMA or related platforms).

The Philippines is bound to be the trend-setter. There's a huge opportunity for us here. And many companies have taken notice with the mushrooming of mobile content and mobile services companies in the Philippines.

We're also the ideal test bed for mobile apps. It's easier for us in the Philippines to try out and learn new mobile apps compared to our European or American counterparts.

Now, will the rest of the world listen to us? If the message is of value, maybe.

Exciting, ano?

Now back to my schoolwork ....

- edwin

Read Heinz's full article on BusinessWeek: Filipinos Are Getting The Message
Search Technobiography: Smart Padala, G-Cash


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Webby Awards People's Choice - Choice ko 'To!

Eversince the Philippine Web Awards introduced SMS voting for People's Choice Awards, I regarded the award less of a popularity contest and more of a "paramihan ng load (read: pera)" contest.

airfagev!I'm part of an online community, Airfagev, that's in the running for the "Community" category of the Philippine Web Awards. Airfagev is a community of SmartPhone users where visitors get to exchange tips and tricks, files, programs, skins, tones and, most importantly, build friendships! [The other website in that "Community" category is Global Pinoy.]

I don't like the SMS voting. It's a money making scheme, that's what it is. Whoever has more money will win - that's the bottom line. Of course, the more supporters, the more votes cast (and the more revenues for the telco and the SMS voting engine).

If I were to create a voting system that's really more of People's Choice, I wouldn't allow the same phone to vote for the same website more than once. Thus, it's the number of voters who voted for the site, and not the amount of load a voter has.

Nevertheless, both communities were texting like crazy to beat the deadline earlier today at 12 noon. I saw the votes pile up right before my eyes while I texted in my own share of votes! Ang daming gumagastos para sa kanilang sariling community. Each text vote costs P2.50 per send.

It was a very close call. Around 1400+ 14,000+ votes (worth almost P4,000 P35,000!) for each community at the end of voting period kaninang tanghali. We'll find out the final results later at the awards.

Bottom-line for me: The airfagev members have shown how much support it gives to the community. Not just in terms of votes, but more importantly, in terms of volunteerism, support (moral and technical support), friendship and even long term relationships.

We live, we learn, we chat, We are Airfagev! A community, a family! Truly-ly! [jump]

Mabu-hey ang Airfagev!

ka edong

It was, not Global Pinoy, that we were up against afterall. Kaanib put out more than 10,000 SMS votes in the last 12 hours of voting period. Airfagev didn't get the People's Choice award for the Community Category (that one went to Kaanib). Airfagev didn't get the award either for Judge's Best Community Website (that went to Global Pinoy).

We did walk away, however, with a special award though from Microsoft. More than that, we've walked away with the recognition that an online community spread across the globe CAN get together for a cause that they believe in.

To everybody at Airfagev, thank you for showing me that a virtual online community like Airfagev is so real.

- edwin
aka Ka Edong

Read: Airfagev moves mountains
Search technobiography: Airfagev
Airfagev related forum threads: To master rey, Congrats


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Bogged Blog Bummer

My blogging speed has been reduced.

In the past, I've been able to think, write, edit, post articles from my phone to the web all within 5-10mins. The only slow poke was my thumb which couldn't keep up with my thoughts.

But Blogger has had some technical problems since late October. A server or two bogged down. And there were delays in delivery of e-mails sent to Blogger supposedly for instant posting to the web. There were times when my articles didn't get posted until a day or two after.

Ain't that a bummer?!

Since then, I haven't been posting articles as fast as before. And my thoughts would evaporate before they see print.

So now I'm posting via email from my phone on thursday and expecting this article to appear on friday or saturday.

My next article: Dual SIMs, Multi SIMs, and all that SIMs.

- edwin
late for Prof Limlingan's class


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Skype - Sky's the limit on IDD calls

Skype is an online service that let's you make Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Skype's no limitcalls. It's free if you're calling Skype-to-Skype (users who have downloaded the software). You can also call any landline in the world for a minimal fee.

Unlike other VOIP services, Skype doesn't have any membership fees. It is able to do this because the service does not require large servers to acommodate calls. It uses the PCs of Skype members all across the globe.

By the way, have I mentioned that Skype was made by the same creators as Kazaa - the downloading software that relies on peer-to-peer connections?

The thing that struck me was that ... it uses other user PC's in the Skype network as a conduit for the calls. I'm sure that people are hesitant to use this because of the potential security issues. Imagine your phone conversation passing through other people's PCs! [insert horrified face here!]

But the membership of Skype keeps growing. Their website now announces that they've served close to 2.5 billion minutes of calls and

Heto pa! Skype has a version for Pocket PCs! Thus, a Pocket PC user could walk up to a Wi-Fi Hotspot, run Skype and then make IDD calls to other Skype users for free! I better ask Carlo Guerrero of if he has tried this already.

Here's Warren Mira's take on Skype and VOIP

I wonder what ever happened to . I remember back in 2000, friend Mark Delfin asked our high school batchmates in the US to send him their phone numbers. He played around with Net2Phone and was able to call our friends in the US for free from his internet shop's internet connection.

I visited Net2Phone to find out how they're doing. But with this by-line:
As a global leader in communications and voice technology, Net2Phone delivers low-cost calling services to individuals and businesses worldwide.
... I have no interest in it anymore. I'm allergic to "low-cost". I'd take "free" anytime. ;-)

My brother tells me that our friend, Aloy, has a gadget that connects directly to their LAN switch. From there, she is able to make IDD calls to her boyfriend abroad. One to sawa daw! Matanong nga what she uses ...

- Edwin

Read: Our weekend eSkype
Search Technobiography: 24/7, celebabad, Skype
Search the Web: Skype


Monday, November 15, 2004

Gmail's got POP3! Where's mine?

I read from Airfagev that Gmail has POP3 already! Boy, have I been waiting for this!

But, what the hey!? Where's my POP3? I couldn't access it from my Gmail account settings. :-( . There must be a little delay in rolling out the POP3 service. Hmph! Let's wait a while.

Read Gmail FAQs on POP3. You need to be logged in Gmail to view FAQs.
Here's a screenshot of the settings.

- Edwin

Read: Gmail Security Flaw?, Where's Gmail?
Search Technobiography: Gmail
Search: POP3 Gmail


Friday, November 12, 2004

Tech FriEDay - Whoa, they're giving away cash!

Globe is giving away G-Cash when subscribers load their pre-paid cellphones through AutoloadMax at Mercury Drug counters.

Load P50-P99 at Mercury and you get P25 G-Cash. Load P100-P150 and you get P50 G-Cash.

This is the boldest promo of G-Cash I've seen so far. It's like giving out cash. The P25-P50 G-Cash received through the promo allows the subscriber to purchase items using G-Cash.

I was starting to wonder if Globe had that much money to throw away. The simple answer is: "Yes, they do!" We all know that the two Telcos are raking in millions of pesos everyday from the 23+ million Filipino cellphone subscribers.

But come to think of it, they're able to give G-Cash just by making some of their cellphone load "free".

Example, I load P150 at Mercury, I get P50 G-Cash. All Globe is doing is -- Globe takes my P150, converts P50 to G-Cash, converts the remaining P100 to P100 worth of load, and finally gives me P50 worth of load for free. Gets? Thus, for my P150, I get P50 of G-Cash and P150 worth of load.

Neat, huh? This promo is good for Globe, it will accellerate the adoption of G-Cash.

By the way, downside is - the G-Cash isn't creditted immediately. The G-Cash will be creditted within 48 hours of loading at Mercury. Sayang. It would be a lot better kung instant G-Cash agad. Para magamit na agad yung G-Cash habang andun ka sa Mercury.

I don't get the logic behind this promo's delay in G-Cash delivery. Any ideas?

- Edwin
Pagdating ni Tita Iam

Read: G-Cash series - part 1, part 2, part 3
Search Technobiography: More Tech FriEDay, More on G-Cash


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Gmail Security Flaw?

I found a report on Sassy's blog about a Gmail security flaw. It had a link to an Israeli newsarticle. I had to verify it with sources more familiar to me than that Israeli news agency.

The source I got, The Register and LinuxSecurity, were sites I used to read in my past Internet researches. But even The Register quoted the Israeli newsarticle. Well, I guess it's natural for an Israeli news agency to pick up this news. The hacker who discovered the security flaw is an Israeli.

Read more about the Gmail security flaw at The Register, LinuxSecurity and Nana

Am I worried? Not really. I know Hotmail and Yahoo!mail went through similar security problems in the past. And nobody would be interested in hacking my Gmail account. And if anyone did, I'd be flattered! hehehe. ... Kids, don't try that at home!

- Edwin

Read: Oh my Gosh My Google! - Googling my PC

Search Technobiography: Gmail, Google
Search Google: Gmail Security Flaw


Sunday, November 07, 2004

OT: I Got Gift Rapped!

I was at the UP Chapel one afternoon attending a mass for a friend. After the mass, I was about to go home and I walked to my brother's car. Then there was a young girl who skippity skipped towards me.

I already expected her to start whining with a glum face and an open palm extended to me ...
Sirrrr ... pahingi po ng baryaaaaaahhhh ... pambili lang po ng pagkaiiiiiiin. Sige na siirrrhhhh .....
Kids Gift RappingBut then she surprised me! She wrapped her arms around her chest, covered her mouth with one hand, started swaying left to right while her knees bounced up and down in a rhythm. She started to rap to a beat, saying:

sir, magandang umaga po
ako'y mag-ra-rap para sa inyo
She was later joined by her friends...All three of them started to do a rap ensemble!

One was doing the percussions
toomph toomph tssh! toomph toomph tssh!
The other was doing the record scratching
ooo-ooo, eeee errrr eeee errrr eeee! ooo-ooo, eeee errrr eeee errr eeee!
And finally the third would rap their cause.
Kami po'y mga bata
nanghihingi ng pera
kahit konting barya
They would take turns in doing the rap, accompanying with the voice-percussions and the voice-record scratching. And they would dance to the beat like professional rappers do. Andrew E, Slim Shady, make way for these three kids!

They gave me the chance to be their first recording studio through my SmartPhone, Brosia.

Here's what they sounded like...
(Click the "play" button below to hear the kids gift rap!
Filesize=143Kb, length=1min 5seconds of rapping fun!)

Baby Girl

(Heto) nanaman ako, Si baby girl
Kami rito sa UP nanaman
Heto nanaman ako ay bumabalik
nag-ra-rap dito sa simbahan

Nandito kami ni Christina
humihingi po sa inyo!
Penge po ng barya
pambili ng pagkain

Sana naman po, kami'y mabigyan
pambili ng pakain


Nandito nanaman kami sa UP
Nanghihingi ng barya kahit piso lang
pamili ng kanin, oooo ulam
pwede po makahingi?
pwede po, please naman, nagmamaka-awa.


Parang may isang anghel sa aking labi
Na nakalutang sa ulap at nangingiliti
(Para ring) tulad ng ulam na hain ni inay
Siguro buong mundo'y magiging mapayapa
at masaya!
They weren't begging, really. It was closer to carolling. They were presenting to me! They were giving me a present, a gift!

Kids Gift RappingIt was the first time I encountered such a performance. I was so deeeelighted and I just had to share it with you. They enjoyed posing for the camera too!

They got double of what I would normally give to a street kid. As I drove off, I kept thinking about these kids, jolly and creative. I was thinking this must be a trend all around town. But I haven't heard that kind of performance from other kids yet. These kids were unique. They were entrepreneurs.

With those smiles on their face and their proud performance I thought, "They were enjoying life, weren't they?"

Come to think of it, maybe they were enjoying the moment. But were they enjoying life?

They knew I was delighted with their performance. I reciprocated with the jingle of a handful of baryaaah. I hope they were masayaaaah, even for a sandaliiiih.

Break it down!

- MC Edong

Read: Tech Joke! - The Bishop's Microphone, OT: Dragon Bro
Search Technobiography: OT (Off-topic)


Saturday, November 06, 2004

Send cellphone load from other countries

I found a Globe AutoloadMax advertisement in the papers today. It allows OFWs in other countries to send load to relatives in the Philippines. People in HongKong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Saipan, Guam, US, Canada and the UK can send AutoloadMax (cellphone load) from selected Filipino stores/remittance centers in these countries.

The cellphone load goes directly to their relative in the Philippines. I wonder how much charges will be...

I also wonder how difficult it is for Filipino stores in other countries can start becoming AutoloadMax retailers? If Globe makes it easy enough to become an AutoloadMax retailer, they could expect many OFWs to set up an AutoloadMax business. Ang alam ko, at least in HongKong, it's very easy for Filipinos to load their *own* Smart or Globe cellphones in HK because of the proliferation of cell cards.

Next, these AutoloadMax retailers should be the next remittance centers. Pero siyempre the telcos will be more selective sa remittances. That's a sensitive transaction, masisira ang remittance service ng Smart or Globe kung may manloloko who wouldn't deliver the remittance correctly.

If recall correctly, Smart also has a service that allows sending of load from Japan and HK. But I think it requires the sender to buy a pre-paid card or one of the debit cards that are popular in that country.

- edwin

Read: Edong's Dreams - Mobile Services for OFWs


Friday, November 05, 2004

G-Cash kicks butt, but ... (Part 3 of 3)

This is the third of my three-part G-Cash series of articles. In this article, I’ll write about what I have observed about G-Cash. You’ll also find a comparison between G-Cash and Smart Money, their ease of use, their domain of usage. I will talk about what I perceive Globe is doing to promote G-Cash. Furthermore, I have a few ideas on how G-Cash should be promoted. These are in no way exhaustive studies, just my personal usyosero analysis of my experiences using G-Cash.

I toss this up in the blogosphere and invite you, my readers, to share you thoughts about the article and the ideas within. Tuloy po kayo, see what my mind has been up to...

Ang nakaraan ...

In Part I and Part II of "G-Cash: My Accidental Friday G-mmick", I described how National Bookstore and Burger King handled G-Cash transactions fairly well, while I wasn't as lucky in the Mercury Drug branch I went to. I also wrote about the juicier issues I encountered at LBC and Globe Hub.
After 30 minutes walking two kilometers, going to two LBCs, two Globe Hubs, I finally got G-Cash! G-olly! Who would be crazy enough to go through what I went through just to get G-Cash?
At, sa pagbabalik ng G-Cash, huling kabanata, ngunit Episode I pa lamang ...

I. G-Cash vs. Smart Money

Barriers to entry

To be able to take advantage of Smart Money’s many uses, a subscriber needs to apply for a debit card. This requires filling-up a form and waiting for the card to be mailed to the applicant.

On the other hand, G-Cash requires only an SMS registration. After SMS registration, users will be able to send and receive G-Cash or make G-Cash purchases (at partner merchants) immediately.

There are ways to avail of both services without any need for registration. For example, receiving an international remittance through Smart does not require a Smart Money card, although the delivery system makes use of Smart Money. As for G-Cash, I was able to transfer G-Cash to my brother who had not yet registered in G-Cash. I needed to send a confirmation to proceed with the G-Cash transfer to a cellphone that was not yet G-Cash registered.

Keyword-driven vs. Menu driven

Smart Money is menu driven through the SIM Tool Kit, more popularly known as the STK. Amounts, mobile-Personal ID Numbers (m-PINs), recipients and other information are entered through a menu.

G-Cash makes use of SMS to invoke transactions. The downside is that users will need to know the keywords and access number to use the service. Another downside is m-PIN security which will be discussed later.

Domain of usage

Smart Money can be used in any shop that accepts MasterCard. Furthermore, it can be used in any ExpressNet or Megalink ATMs around the country.

G-Cash has a short list of merchants that accept G-Cash transactions. I’m sure Globe is trying to widen this network of merchants.

Both Smart Money and G-Cash services can be used on a person-to-person basis i.e. sending virtual cash from one subscriber to another subscriber of the same service. But G-Cash is in a better position to promote person-to-person transactions because of the low barriers to entry.

II. What Globe G-Cash is up to

Awareness, initial promotions

G-Cash is barely three weeks old as of the time of writing. It is being promoted through print-ads, TV ads, radio ads, flyers and billboards. Obviously, they are at the awareness level, enticing consumers to at least take a closer look at the service.

In a recent print ad, Globe was promoting three uses of G-Cash: pabaon, pang-regalo, pambayad utang. This is the way to go. They need to promote G-Cash as a convenient way of sending (virtual) cash across geographic barriers (more on this later).

Still at soft-launch, are they?

Aside from marketing the service to consumers, they are still at the level where merchants (e.g. National Bookstore or Burger King cashiers) are still getting accustomed to G-Cash transactions. One National Bookstore cashier said that they underwent a training on G-Cash, but that they weren’t able to do actual G-Cash transactions during the training.

Globe and its partners have some technical issues to address. A Globe Hub cashier reported slowed the slow response of their computers when G-Cash transactions are processed (see part II). An LBC personnel shared that their IT department needed to install additional settings to include G-Cash in their computers.

III. What Globe G-Cash should be up to

Need to increase their network of partner merchants

Partner merchants like National Bookstore or Mercury Drug require adjustments in their cash register machines to accept G-Cash transactions. This is a barrier for Globe that slows down the pace of widening their merchant network. It would have been easier for them to widen their merchant network if there weren’t any need for technical changes in mechants’ machines.

(To illustrate, Smart Money doesn’t need to do anything for a merchant to accept Smart Money. Any merchant that accepts MasterCard can accept Smart Money transactions.)

G-Cash should work on widening its network of partners. It was a good start when Globe included LBC and Cebuana Lhuillier among their merchants. That’s where a big market of domestic remittances go through. But Globe should go a step further and enlist big merchants like SM, 7-11, Jollibee etc. to widen their merchant network fast. If any Globe user will be able to pay for a Chicken Joy using one’s phone, that would be one additional reason (not necessarily compelling) to use G-Cash.

Promote wider personal use

At the same time that Globe is widening the G-Cash partner network, Globe should also show subscribers even more ways of using G-Cash. The print ads saying: “Pabaon, pang-regalo, pambayad utang” – this is just the start of it.
  • Take a look at the Ragnarok gamers. They sell weapons or potions or even characters to each other. And do you know what they use to pay for these virtual items? They use cellphone load or cellcards! Now gamers can sell virtual items through G-Cash.

  • There are hundreds of websites in the Philippines that have items to sell. But there aren’t many ways to collect payments. We have a member in Airfagev who has a library of e-Books. She accepts donations through pasa-load. Now she’ll be able to accept donations through G-Cash. G-Cash is an instant (*instant!*) payment gateway that can be used by anyone to accept payments. Take a look at the clientele of PayPlus, a payment gateway that makes use of ATM accounts. That is the same kind of clientele that G-Cash should promote their services to.

  • In every town fiesta or in every church, people solicit money for raffles, for pageants or for fund-raising. But they solicit only from people they are in direct contact with. That’s because of the physical nature of having to get cash. But with G-Cash, people could solicit from their relatives in the city or in other parts of the country.

Create G-Cash business models

Globe should take a tip from Smart which re-packages some Smart services and provides businesses for small entrepreneurs.

Let me explain.
  • PasaLoad was originally promoted as a friend-to-friend load passing at the cost of the sender. Smart came out with posters and flyers that promote retailing of Smart Load using Pasa-Load (not e-Load). Now anybody can provide PasaLoad services and charge customers for it. No need for any applications or special SIMs. All Smart did was to “legitimize” the paid service through a business model and some posters and flyers. Thus, increasing the velocity of load retailing.

  • Another example is Smart Partner. Read about the Smart Partner business model in this previous article.

What’s the lesson? G-Cash is highly versatile. It gets its versatility from the ease by which people across the archipelago can send each other "almost cash" G-Cash. Globe should find ways to make G-Cash part of the top of mind payment options especially for remote payments.

  • For example, I’ve already discussed a business model for anybody who wants to be in a domestic remittance business (See G-Cash: Everybody’s remittance service).

  • Another business model Globe could look into is money changing. The cash-in and cash-out G-Cash transactions of Globe Hub, LBC and Lhuiller are, in essence, just money changing. But put all the Globe Hubs, LBCs and Lhuillers together, how many hundred outlets will you get? I bet that figure is less than half of the total number of moneychangers you have in every nook and cranny of this archipelago?

    The point is, if Globe can promote G-Cash conversion through moneychangers, they could increase their network of G-Cash outlets and G-Cash users. And that doesn’t require any technical changes in any cash registers, just some posters and flyers.

G-Cash pump-priming and a barometer of success

I have a question:
How much faith does Globe have in G-Cash? How much does Globe believe in the forthcoming ubiquity and usability of G-Cash?

I could almost hear my high school friend in Globe saying:
G-Cash is great! It’s awesome! It will take the place of cash!

If Globe has so much faith in G-Cash, I say to Globe:
Then you should pay employee salaries using G-Cash.

This is not a hollow proposition. I make this proposition for two reasons.

  • First, I see it as a mechanism to pump-prime the G-Cash system.

    From the way my G-Cash transactions went in the past weeks, there is much left to be desired. It is appears that hundreds of partner merchants and cashiers still need to get accustomed to G-Cash transactions. If Globe subscribers go to a Mercury Drug outlet and try to pay via G-Cash but the kahera doesn’t know how to accommodate the transaction, the easiest thing to do is … pay cash then forget all about using G-Cash forever and ever, a-hem.

    But, with hundreds of Globe employees lugging around some G-Cash, this G-Cash will inevitably find their way to the partner establishments of G-Cash.

  • Second, when Globe is ready to give G-Cash salaries, that will be the indicator that G-Cash is already mainstream.

    When the time comes that I can go out of my gate in the morning without my wallet and only my cellphone, and then pay the tricycle driver G-Cash, pay the MRT G-Cash, pay our school cafeteria G-Cash, purchase a ticket to Australia using G-Cash, give a sampaguita vendor G-Barya, buy a cup of – ah! by then, G-Cash had arrived!

Let’s think out loud

G-Cash has huge potentials that are just waiting to be discovered. It is important for Globe to facilitate the growth of usage of the service by introducing innovative ways of using G-Cash as a payment gateway that connects the archipelago through mobile commerce.

G-Cash can kick butt. But Globe has a lot of work to do before the global m-commerce butt gets kicked.

I’d like to end with an insight that I choose not to discuss at length in this article. Instead, I open it up for discussion to all visitors. Let me know what you think.

The Telcos are becoming banks. They are creating services that encourage subscribers to store money in the coffers of Smart (through Smart Money) and Globe (through G-Cash).

Where will this lead the telcos?
How will it affect the Filipinos, their love affair with the cellphone and the way they transact business?
What good tidings will this bring to regular cellphone totting, ambi-thumb-trous Filipinos?

- Edwin

I'm looking forward to your comments.
Come back next week on Friday, November 12 for another dose of FriED Technobiography.
Lets exchange ideas about technologies and how they influence our lives.

Read: G-Cash: My Accidental Friday G-mmick (Part I, Part II), Links - Smart Padala
Search Technobiography: G-Cash, Smart Money, Smart Padala
Visit: G-Cash on Globe, Smart Money and Smart Padala on Smart
Google Search: G-Cash, Smart Money, Smart Padala


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Get FriED! - G-Cash on Technobiography Friday

Get FriED! Get Technobiography Friday's feature on G-Cash tomorrow!

Technobiography Friday, November 5, features the conclusion of the three part series about "G-Cash: My Accidental Friday G-mmick".

In Parts I and II, I discussed my G-Cash transactions (or lack thereof) with National Bookstore, Mercury Drug, Burger King, LBC and Globe Hub.

In the last part, I will be discussing what G-Cash could and should be, how it compares to Smart Money, how both services could be used by the common man on the street. I'll also be discussing some usability and security issues of both services.

See you tomorrow!

- Edwin


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Second Sun

I just got my second Sun SIM. Here are some Sun stories and some more Sun tips.

I gave my first Sun SIM to my mom yesterday. I hope kuya taught her how to use it. She might need to switch SIMs and that isn't easy for her.

Now we'll be able to cele-babad with mom. The downside is, she reported getting a headache the last time we did celebabad. She thinks the long exposure to the cellphone gave her the headache. I think the extended conversations with any of her mentally retarded sons gives her headaches.

My classmates and I were at 70's Bistro for the Beatles night. It was jam packed! Smokey, sweaty and noisy. I decided to dial-a-friend (doesn't that sound familiar ... "Goodbye!"). So I called Rosana's Sun cellphone from my Sun cellphone. She answered. I felt a hard slap on my shoulder. It was Rosana who was seated next to me. I was calling Sun-to-Sun to my seatmate.

I passed the phone to Dikoy. And, amidst the noise, smoke and loud chatter of people, they were able to talk from opposite sides of the table. Their call lasted for more than ten minutes. All this for free and brought to you by Sun Cellular.

This is the kind of irresponsible cellphone usage that shouldn't be tolerated! Kids, don't do this at home! Making these kinds of calls needlessly clogs up the Sun network. Sige tayo, the Sun subscribers will be on the losing end if too many irresponsible cellphone users like me make useless calls from across the table.

The suggested retail price of the Sun SIM is P150. But these SIMs are selling like hotcakes - so hot that some cellphone stalls sell them for P180 to P200 each! Ahhh, The LOSS of supply and demand.

Tip: When I buy Sun SIMs, I ask how much it is. If they over-price, I move to the next stall without batting an eyelash.

I also buy at stalls. There's a better chance of choosing an easy to remember cell number like 092x4844884. Doesn't that number rock?

Tip: I just inspect the dozen or so SIMs that the stall has and see if they have a nice number on stock - one that rocks.

In the Sun Shops in malls, it isn't as easy to choose a nice number. I think they usually just give you one SIM from their stock. And then you're stuck with a random number like 092x3957428. Doesn't that number suck?

Blogging while walking. I haven't done this in a long time.

Search Technobiography: Sun Cellular


Windows goes Lite

Windows is set to come out with a pared down version of its operating system, Windows XP. Dubbed "Windows XP Starter Edition", this bare-back OS is designed for users in developing countries that could not afford to purchase the full licensed version of Windows XP.

This is an indication that Windows is starting to take notice of the important market in poor countries. In the Philippines, for example, many users would rather purchase a P100 pirated version of WinXP or even use the open source Linux instead of a prohibitively priced Windows XP. Now, with Windows XP Lite, it's at least a bit easier to access legal software.

XP Lite doesn't have all the features of the regular WinXP. It's best suited for begginer users. It has a souped up tutorials section. But there are limiting factors. For example, users can open only up to 3 applications onscreen at a time, and users can't install Instant Messaging.

Microsoft is marketing Windows Lite in pilot countries Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in the next few months. Russian and Indian versions will soon be available.

Given its limitations, I think Windows Lite won't gain much popularity in the Philippines. There are just too many options (read: many stalls in Greenhills) and an XP Lite seems still prohibitive -- if not for the price, maybe for the software limitations. In the remote possibility that Windows comes out with a WinXP Lite Visayan or Tagalog edition -- maybe Filipinos will consider using that.

Let's see how it turns out. Malay natin, it just might be what our barrio internet cafes need.

- Edwin

Reference: "Microsoft Offers Low-Cost Ware in Asia Project," by Rebecca Buckman, page A8, 2 November 2004, Asian Wall Street Journal.

Search: Windows XP Starter Edition


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Technobiography - Finalist in the Philippine Blog Awards 2004

Philippine Blog Awards 2004Man, what am I doing right?! I wonder ... I better find out soon, before I end up fixing what isn't broken. Hehehe....

Technobiography is one of 12 finalists in the Philippine Blog Awards 2004 in the category of "MOST INFORMATIVE BLOG SITE OF THE YEAR".


Too bad they don't have a "CRAZY BLOGGER OF THE YEAR" Award. I should have been in that category.

Visit Philippine Blog Awards 2004 to see a full list of finalists. To all the finalists, Goodluck! ... And to the less fortunate, Good looks! (biro laaaang!!!!) ;-)

Keep on blogging, ka bloggers!

- Edwin
back in the box

Read: "Blog, don’t clog, says IT enthusiast"