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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

My Blog in Her Pocket!

Show  me show me show me what's in your pocket!Ang hi-tech nitong kaibigan ko! Technobiography is with her anytime she wants to read it. My blog is in her pocket!

Itago nalang natin siya sa pangalang MM. MM is a good friend from our college days. Ang betterhalf ni MM, itago natin sa pangalang CC. CC is an airfagev friend and fellow SmartPhone enthusiast.

MM has been following Technobiography from the start. She is one of the regular visitors from whom I feel pressure when I see them visiting Technobiography every day or two. She has kept her silence the whole time, though, never posting any comments on Technobiography. But everytime MM and my wife talk, MM is always updated with the latest posts on Technobiography.

I met up with MM and CC last night at Powerbooks Greenbelt III. This approximates the conversation we had about Technobiography:
MM: Hi Edong, ang gwapo mo ngayon!
Edong: O, ba't di ka na dumadaan sa blog ko!
MM: Oo nga, eh! Hindi na ako nakaka-visit sa blog mo. Pero binabasa ko pa rin siya.
Edong: Pa'no yun?
MM: (shy pa kunwari) Dina-download ko nalang sa Pocket PC ko.
Edong: (Nan-laki ang mata) ... Talaga?! Patingin!
I was delighted to hear her news for two reasons:

First, this is the first time ever that I've seen another person actually reading Technobiography from her mobile device. Oooohhh, I'm so pleased! Even I don't read Technobiography on Brosia (my SmartPhone).

Second, this is the first time I'm going to see what Pocket Technobiography looks like on a pocket PC.

MM says she just downloads Technobiography unto her pocket PC and then reads articles while on the road. Kewl, huh?!

I coerced MM into showing me her pocket PC. I think it was a Compaq. I wasn't paying much attention to the gadget, more on the content. In the thick of the frantic Landmark "uwian na" foot traffic, I stopped to appreciate Technobiography on MM's pocket PC.

What a deeeelight! Kakatuwa! MM's got my blog in her pocket!

Show  me show me show me what's in your pocket!I insist on getting some images! I want to show everybody what Pocket Technobiography looks like on a Pocket PC!

I was deeply moved (deeply!) by the fact that my little alien attacker displayed oh so nicely on Pocket Technobiography. CC ably assists madame MM and beams me some screenshots of Pocket Technobiography.

Pocket Technobiography Table of Contents
Screenshots of Pocket Technobiography in a Pocket PC using MobiPocketAliens Attack! Images are also displayed on Pocket Technobiography

MM takes out her Sony-Ericsson camera phone and snaps a photo of CC sending me the screen shots via Infrared (IR). My Brosia (an HTC Tanager, aka Smart Amazing Phone I) doesn't have bluetooth.

How does MM send me the photo from her Sony-Ericsson?

First try was MMS! Aba, mayabang 'tong kaibigan ko, a! Boy oh boy, MM is quite a Techie Grrrrl!

Second try was IR. The IR method failed twice. Minutes after we parted ways, I received the image via MMS.

Now. Who wants Technobiography in his/her pocket?
Come and get Pocket Technobiography care of!
While you're at it, you might as well get The Scobleizer, blog-idol from Microsoft (see
Also download Ordinary Gweilo who's blog inpired me to start Technobiography.

Ka Edong

Read: Get Pocket Technobiography, Brosia Almighty, Edong's Dreams - Brosia, Techie Grrrl, Techie Lola


Saturday, March 26, 2005

My Gmail Travails

Aliens Attack!!!! Linked from without permissionTwo Gmail stories and a Gmail tip:
  • Aliens Attack my Gmail
  • Gmailing my parents
  • Gmail syncing

Aliens Attack my Gmail...

There was another attack on my Gmail account. The attempts were made on March 24. I know because e-mail alerts landed in my secondary e-mail box with subject lines: "Google Password Assistance". Curiously, the last of 5 alerts was in Español. It said: "Asistencia de contraseñas de Google".

I am not sure who/what triggers these alerts. My suspicion is that a person/alien tries to guess my password. After many tries, he/she/it clicks on the "forgot password" link to get a hint on what sort of password I might have.

I've decided that this will be the last time I'm blogging about these attacks on my Gmail account (unless there is a real serious reason to blog about it.) I'm starting to think that the more I blog about it, the more I get exposed to other people looking for a Gmail account to hack. (Different sorts of people find themselves in Technobiography. Google is one of my biggest referrers.)

I'm starting to think that this is a case similar to prank calling (Remember? Once upon a time before we had text scams, we had prank calls.) The more I give this person/alien "attention" by writing about their attempts to get into my Gmail, the more they'll try. So I'll keep quiet about it next time.

So here I am, about to change my Gmail password once again. And crossing my fingers that no more alien attacks come my way.

Gmailing my parents

My parents have a computer here in Baguio. It's almost 5 years old and we haven't taught our parents effectively enough for them to master sending e-mails. Sometimes it's a technical problem, sometimes it's a user problem, sometimes its a teacher problem (that's me or one of my brothers!).

Yesterday, I reformatted my parent's PC and configured two new POP Gmail accounts on Outlook Express. Wahoo! I was excited for them already, excited to see them back in the learning curve and hopefully not swerving.

But I encountered this error:
A secure connection to the server could not be established. Account: 'xxxx', Server:', protocol: POP3, Port 995, Secure(SSL): Yes, Error Number: 0x800CCC1A
I checked configurations and re-checked settings and re-read the instructions on Gmail. I tried using the Gmail auto-configuration tool. I also Google searched "0x800CCC1A" hoping for a solution. Nada.

After isolating some problems, I made a drastic move. And it worked. So, here's my little contribution to the Gmail knowledge base:

If you encounter the same problem as I, it could be that you're using a version of Outlook Express (in my case Outlook Express 5 on Windows 98) that Gmail could not authenticate properly.

Suggested solution: Upgrade to Outlook Express 6 (OE6) or higher.

Got it? In the words of Ka Rey Vegafria of "Hope this helps!"

Gmail Tip: Gmail Syncing

Did you know that you can "sync" your web Gmail with your Outlook Express Gmail?

Specifically, online messages are copied to your Outlook Express. And not just "Inbox" messages are copied to Outlook Express. Even "Outbox"/"Sent Items" messages get "synced".

Example, if you send e-mails from your Outlook Express Gmail account, your sent messages will also appear on web Gmail's "Outbox". Conversely, all your sent message on web Gmail will be copied to your Outlook Express. What I've done is to create an Outlook Express filter so that all sent messages from Web Gmail are stored in an Outlook Express folder named "WebGmailSent".

Now, where's the setting on OE6 that let's me download only text and not attachments of my Gmail? And how do I download my entire Web Gmail addressbook and save them on my OE6? Any tips or leads from you guys?

Read: Who the h** wants my Gmail??!!
Search technobiography: Gmail
Visit: Gmail POP configuration

Still to blog:
  • "Ka Edong" explained
  • My WiFi Hotspot Hunt



Monday, March 21, 2005

OT: Jun-jun the Parking Man


Side Note
When I first spoke to him under the shade of the stand-by electric generator, his eyes were on the road. His eyes were always on the road. I asked him if he would mind if a group of three AIM students were to ask him a few questions. Even as he watched the road and the cars that passed by, he agreed.

Two hours later, our group of three classmates – an Indian (Manish), a Cambodian (Rith) and I (Edwin), a Filipino – crossed the street in front of AIM and went to meet Jun-jun. This is what we found out.

Jun-jun grew up in Davao. At age 15, he came to Manila where he met a lady who would later become his wife. They now have three children, ages 10, 9 and 8. We asked Jun-jun how old he was. He said he was 31. Rith commented: “You don’t look your age.” Later into the conversation, we discovered that Jun-jun miscalculated his age. He is 34. I thought maybe his birthdays come and go without remembrance.

Jun-jun worked in the past in construction. But pay was low (around P150 per day) and seasonal. He also worked as a jeepney driver in the past. I discovered this when he showed us his address on his driver’s license. He was embarrassed to say that his license was expired. He explained: “Walang pang-renew, eh” (I don’t have money to have it renewed.)

Jun-jun now spends his days guiding motorists into parking slots. Today, he started at 11am. He had in his hands 19 pesos – his earnings after 3 hours under the sun, waving cars into parking slots – and was quick to add that he hadn’t eaten yet. He considers himself lucky when he brings home P100. “Swertehan din, panapanahon lang.” (It’s just luck.) He sometimes receives only P80 or even less. He’ll be in this parking area with an empty stomach until the evening. This is when young teens and yuppies come to have food, drinks and fun at Greenbelt III.

He, on the other hand will have to ride a jeep to home in Taguig. He spends P14 for the jeep. On lean days he’d try to get a free ride (“sabit nalang”).

Home for Jun-jun is a shared home with his “kababata” (childhood friend). His family of 5 shares a home with his friend’s family of 3. Jun-jun doesn’t pay rent. He just contributes for food if he can. He spends whatever is left from his day’s pay for food.

He doesn’t give his kids any baon (allowance). The kids receive bread their aunt. Although their public school does not collect tuition fees, Jun-jun says that the school projects are a big burden. His three kids have many school projects within the year, some of which cost him up to P150. Other expenses like books, notebooks, and clothes for his children are bulk financial needs at the start of the school year.

This is where he gets help from his friends (kababata, kabarkada) and relatives (ninong, mga ninong ng mga kababata). They don’t charge him any interest, nor do they demand payment after a certain period. The agreement is that Jun-jun pays back whenever he can. Often, he doesn’t get to repay them. The largest amount that he was able to borrow was P1,000. This was used to buy clothes, school supplies and food for the children.

Jun-jun related with excitement the past Christmas when he received a gift from a man. The man had a conversation with Jun-jun. After seeing Jun-jun’s family picture, the man gave him P300. Jun-jun said he was very thankful and that it was a big blessing. He used the money to buy clothes for the kids (“pang-Christmas sa mga bata”) and for a little Christmas dinner.

We asked Jun-jun if he ever borrowed from a 5-6 money lender. “Wala naman akong pambayad.” (I have nothing to pay.)

We asked Jun-jun if he ever tried the services of a pawnshop. “Wala naman akong isasanla.” (I have no items to pawn).

We asked Jun-jun if he knew of any credit groups in his area. He said that he was aware of a credit cooperative in his area – “Kaanib”. He has a few friends who avail of Kaanib’s services.

But Jun-jun never considered trying Kaanib. “Masyadong maraming requirements.” (There are too many requirements). He said that he never even inquired. He said that applicants of Kaanib were required to have a house and a business “at marami pang iba” (and many other requirements) but could not identify these other requirements.

Manish asked Jun-jun an interesting theoretical question. “If you had the chance to receive P500, how would you use it?” If I recall correctly, I think his first response was “pambili ng pagkain.” (to buy food). He later added that he will give the money to his wife so that she can start selling banana-cue (a snack of sweet banana on a stick). He added, “magaling magluto ang misis ko.” (my wife cooks well). “Lahat ng pera, binibigay ko kay misis”. (I give all my money to my wife).

Jun-jun said that his wife had tried the banana-cue business in the past. I asked him how come they don’t have that business now. He replied “walang capital” (no capital). I probed just a little more the reason for non-continuance of the business. But I relented because he might feel offended with my questioning.

After almost 45 minutes of animated story telling, I suggested that we bring the discussion to a close.

At this point, he told us that he thought we were going to interview him and offer him a job! I felt embarrassed. We explained that the interview was for a research.

Our group gave Jun-jun a total of P620 as a token of appreciation and as a means to help Jun-jun and his family. The gift was spontaneous (the details of which our group opt not to discuss in class).

Jun-jun expressed his deepest appreciation. He said he would give it to his wife to use for the banana-cue business. He even offered to take us to their residence to check on the business.

We expressed our thanks for his time. But Jun-jun replied “ako ang dapat magpa-salamat sa inyo” (it is I who should say give thanks.)

We, an Indian, a Cambodian and a Filipino, crossed the street and went back to AIM. We took some time to discuss and reflect. Pondering about how our interview went and especially reflecting on the amount Jun-jun received, the group came up with a thought:

“Wouldn’t it have been better for Jun-jun
if the money was lent to him instead of given to him?”



Give or Lend dilemma

It was a thought that came after Jun-jun received the money. There was a big discussion first on what was better for Jun-jun and on whether it was acceptable to modify the kind of help we offered him.

I was thinking, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jun-jun would splurge a big part of the money on food for himself and for his friends. There were, afterall, a few other parking men who saw how much Jun-jun received. While we were crossing back to AIM, I saw him walking away from his usual spot with a friend in tow, presumably to have a bite to relieve his stomach. I wonder how big a bite he’ll take on this lucky day.

I did find him rather sincere. But there was a part of me that was thinking, “isn’t he playing a role so that we would give him money?”

This thought was aggravated when Rith told me that he was sure that he heard Jun-jun ask (in English) for money. On the other hand, I was sure that Jun-jun did not say anything to that effect. After a long discussion and explanation, I reconcile these two views this way: perhaps Jun-jun’s actions may have communicated to Rith that Jun-jun wanted money from us. Rith added: “That’s why I turned my back. It (asking for money) was wrong.”

Despite all these, our group reflected on how things would have been different had the money been lent to Jun-jun. If the money was lent, he would be more cautious about using the money. He would ensure that the money would not go into waste and that he would gain more regular income from the capital.

I was extra cautious about Jun-jun receiving money from us. When Jun-jun was given the first P20 bill (in the middle of the interview when he showed us that he had P19 in his hands), I told him “hwag mo sanang masamain” (please don’t be offended). He accepted the money.

Frankly, I’m confused (I generally consider this good). I feel that Jun-jun would have benefited more if he had the chance to borrow money instead of being given money. But on the other hand, he does have sources of credit – friends and relatives. And how has he used the money borrowed? He probably used it for consumption.

Jun-jun has no chance to save enough capital for any business. Whatever little he owns, he spends for survival. Whenever he borrows, it is not for capital but to get him across urgent and important financial needs. He does not have the opportunity to borrow capital for a business.

A gift

There were a couple more issues that came into play for our group. The cash gift was given out of sincerity and “from God through us”. It was intended to be a one time helping hand. But none of us in the group had the inclination to have a 50-60 day financing relationship with Jun-jun.

At one point, we thought we would just take on the invitation of Jun-jun to visit his home. That would be a total of two engagements with Jun-jun. If we could verify that they had used the money for a banana-cue business (like a loan utilization check), that would be enough for us to sit back and say “we did some good”.

I felt that his expressed need was a lack of capital. (This is what he said was lacking for them to set-up their banana-cue business.) It was almost automatic for him to decide that the money received was going to be used for a banana-cue business. It was as if he and his wife have been dreaming of the chance to set-up this business.


Jun-jun the parking man (Case B)

A micro-credit scheme for Jun-jun

Our group started to formulate a micro-credit scheme for Jun-jun. This is what it came out to be:

· The P500 would be a loan to Jun-jun
· Interest would be zero
· Jun-jun would have a coin bank which will be “parked” at an agreed place, perhaps with an AIM guard.
· Jun-jun must drop in P10 per day for the next 50-60 days (missing a day or two is acceptable).
· The coin bank would have a sheet of paper with 50 squares and he should sign one square each time he dropped 10 pesos.
· We will explain to Jun-jun that at the end of 50-60 days, the P500 will be used to help another person the same way the P500 helped Jun-jun.

With this scheme in mind, our group agreed to go back to Jun-jun and make a proposal.

When we crossed the street, Jun-jun wasn’t there. One of his friends said Jun-jun either went to have lunch, or just took a break and would come back in the evening.

This is a story of an Indian, a Cambodian, a Filipino and a parking man who always kept a watchful eye of the road and the cars that passed by.

And when opportunity drove by, where did it take Jun-jun the parking man?

Read: a peek into My microfinance project.
Other OT (Off-Topic) articles on Technobiography



Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Text Scam (?) - "tonights lotto draw"

Received this message this morning:
Sent: 3/15/05
From: +6392043905**
Hello! ths s ALBERT ROA,
I'm 1 of the officer 4
tonights lotto draw f u r
interestd 2 get the suertres,
last 2, easy 2 & 4digit #
call ds #092157333**
Sending e-mail to NTC ( ; txtscam Ad) and Lotto ...

Updates ...

Note: Some numbers and contact info are intentionally masked

12:15 pm. Tuesday

Called NTC.
A gentleman asked me if *I* was the one who received the txt message and if I still had it in my phone.


He asked me to write down the complete and exact text message including the time, date and sender of the message. He said I should include my complete name, phone number and address and affix my signater. He asked me to send that information to fax# 9217128.

"Sir, napadala ko na po iyang impormasyon na iyan via email sa"

He said they will wait for the message to reach them. We exchanged names. I wrote down his name for reference.

Tue, 15 Mar 2005 15:37:05

Sent another e-mail to NTC.
Cc: "" []
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005 15:37:05 +0800
Subject: Re: Text Scam - tonights lotto results

I spoke to Sonny Guayco of NTC hotline reporting what I suspect is a text scam.

He told me to provide my contact numbers and address.

Find my contact information below.

Please inform me about your investigation. Just contact me if there's anything I can help you with. Thanks.


[snip](contact details)[/snip]

8:43 am, Wednesday

I received an email reply from Engr. Cuenca (chief, ospac-technical).

He wrote:
"kindly send us the complete text of the message with a request to block said number"
I replied:
Dear Engr Cuenca,

Thank you for your response.
> kindly send us the complete text of the message with a request to block said
> number

Find below the full text of the message.

I am requesting that the number +6392043905** (sender of message) be blocked.

I am also requesting that the number #092157333** (number in the text message) be investigated. It is possible that the owner of this number could be an accomplice or a victim.

Thank you,

Edwin S. Soriano

(quoted from previous e-mail)
> >> I'm providing you the full text of this message i received this morning:
> >>
> >> Sent: 3/15/05 10:06:37 AM
> >> From: +6392043905**
> >> Hello! ths s ALBERT ROA,
> >> I'm 1 of the officer 4
> >> tonights lotto draw f u r
> >> interestd 2 get the suertres,
> >> last 2, easy 2 & 4digit #
> >> call ds #092157333**

A few days after receiving the text

I called the number in the message (#092157333**) from a payphone. In my first two attempts, the cellphone rang but nobody answered. In the third attempt: "The subscriber cannot be reached." Hindi daw siya pwedeng maging mayaman.

I would have loved to talk to the person at the other end of the line.

11:54 am, Tuesday

From: webmaster
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 09:24:20 +0800
Subject: RE: Text Scam - tonights lotto results

Dear Ma'am,

We strongly advice you to refrain from entertaining such text messages
as these are just hoaxes and scams put up by lawless elements who use our
agency's name to swindle cash, from unsuspecting individuals like yourself.

We thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and rest
assured that appropriate legal actions will be taken to put a cease to this
recurring incident.

Good day and God bless.

Thanks Webmaster. These are things I've figured out too.

More updates when I have any ....


Read: Block Ko Mukha Mo! - Fight Against Cellphone-Related Crimes


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Explorations: G-Cash Mines

I've been using my G-Cash extensively in the past many months. I'm using it as a regular G-Cash user and also as part of my studies. Through all these, I've found out a few more details about G-Cash and also struck some golden insights. Are the ideas gold or fools gold? Let me share them with you.

P10,000 limit / P40,000 limit

I've read and heard about these limits in the past, but had to experience it to remember it.

One time, I was preparing to bring P20,000 worth of G-Cash to Laguna. I found out that I couldn't load P20,000 worth of G-Cash in my G-Cash account. G-Cash accounts have a holding capacity of P10,000.

I asked the cashier, "hindi ba P40,000 ang limit?" They explained that the P40,000 was the daily transaction limit that one G-Cash account can accommodate. [These limitations are installed because of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).]

Let's say for example I need to receive P40,000 via G-Cash from my mother in Baguio. She'll need to send the G-Cash to me in in four installments of P10,000 each. Each time she sends me P10,000, I'll need to cash-out (convert G-Cash to cash) the P10,000 that I have in my G-Cash account so that my G-Cash balance is back to zero. This gives enough space in my G-Cash account to receive my next P10,000 of G-Cash.

And, in all those transactions, it could mean we'll be spending P800 in transaction costs ....

Service charge: P10 or 1% of transaction amount

The minimum transaction cost is P10 when you Cash-in (convert Cash to G-Cash) or Cash-out (convert G-Cash to Cash) at Globe business centers. They had a promo last time I cashed-in: waived service charge.

But using the regular fees, that would mean my mom would spend P100 on transaction fees for every P10,000 she sends to me. Total of P400 in transaction fees for P40,000 sent. I, on the other hand, will spend a total of P400 cashing-out my P40,000 worth of G-Cash. (Transaction costs vary among G-Cash partner merchants).

That hurts my wallet. Considering that my mom could instead deposit the cash in my BPI account and be charged only P50 or less.

I think it's in Globe's interest to change the charging scheme for G-Cash transactions. They have to make it more consumer friendly. Imagine, I'm infusing cash into the G-Cash network and they're asking me to pay! What's worse, the more money I infuse into the G-Cash economy, the more I pay in transaction fees! Hmmm... looking for logic ....

My thoughts: Keep that P10 flat rate for any amount of Cash-in/cash-out transactions. Afterall, it takes as much time and resources to for Globe to entertain a P100 cash-in compared to a P10,000 cash-in. In fact, waive that P10 if the cash-in transaction is more than P5,000 and encourage people to use G-Cash.

More thoughts on transaction costs

I touted the G-Cash remittance service back in November (read about my Ronald example here) . But here's what I found out. There are remittance services that charge flat rates for any amount sent.

For example, over the counter deposits to ATM accounts from inter-regional Landbank branches cost P50 only.

On the other hand, if you use the remittance service model, the remittance service provider (in the article, Ronald and his sister are the remittance service providers), will incur 1% charges when they transact with Globe. That means Ronald will need to charge on a percentage rate too, like 5% of remittance amount, for example. It will be difficult to compete with Landbank with that pricing scheme.

That's another reason for Globe to junk the 1% service charge and stick to P10 for G-Cash transactions.

Ooops! I sent P100 to a dead SIM!

I was low on battery, had to load more G-Cash, had to off-load some of the G-Cash from my G-Cash account. (One option was to send P100 to my brother -- but, after 5 months, he hasn't figured out why he couldn't register his G-Cash account).

So I borrowed a service phone from Globe and off-loaded (transferred) some G-Cash from my G-Cash account to my brother's account. From memory, I keyed in my brother's cellphone. G-Cash asked me to confirm transfer of G-Cash to an unregistered G-Cash account. I confirmed.

Next day, I found out, I didn't transfer G-cash to my brother. I transferred G-Cash to my dead Globe number - a post-paid account that I terminated back in 2003.

Bummer. What would a dead SIM do with my G-Cash?

I wrote my friend at Globe about this. I wasn't raising hell or anything. Just wanted to let them know. She helped me get back that P100. Thanks, J! I also forwarded to J this episode about a displeased Smart customer.

Statement of account

I had to get a copy of my G-Cash Statement of Account. I did get it. But it wasn't a normal transaction for the Globe business center I was at. The staff needed to consult two other managers to confirm whether they're allowed to give me my Statement of Account. They gave me a piece of paper - a photocopy of print-outs of my transactions since November. Great!

I say it wasn't a normal transaction because the Globe lady needed to literally cut and paste tape the print-outs so that they come photocopied nicely on one page.

Which brings me to another service....

Transaction inquiries

G-Cash has a service where you can access information of your last transaction(s) via text.

But what I find valuable is transaction inquiries based on reference numbers of specific transactions.

Each G-Cash transaction (cash-in, cash-out, purchase, phone-to-phone transfer) has a reference number. The sender and receiver in a p2p transfer receive identical reference numbers.

For the purposes of clarifying information gaps or resolving disputes, I think it is important for customers to access transaction information based on the reference number.

Say I sent G-Cash to my brother. If my brother says "I didn't receive it" (maybe he just didn't receive the transaction alert), will he take my word that I sent it? If he checks his balance and finds P100 added, how will he know that it indeed came from me?

If there is a way to get transaction information via reference number (e.g. ref number 231455), I'll just tell him "Kuya, just text 'info txn 231455 [your m-PIN]' and send to 2882. That will give you the transaction details showing that you received P100 from me."

Having this kind of service will free-up some Globe time with less customers inquiring about their past transactions. Furthermore, it will help resolve the any disputes on sent/received G-Cash at the ground level.

International remittances/payments via + G-Cash

simple. Get as a partner of G-Cash in international remittances. Xoom has their userbase, has marketing, has a network. G-Cash can become an additional delivery system for Xoom in the Philippines.

Furthermore, it will allow technopreneurs to receive payments from international clients. That will be a big help for our technopreneur and for the economy. (Read mig's story about xoom)


These G-Cash experiences are mine. My G-Cash gold mine. So what's the conclusion? You tell me. Did I strike gold or fool's gold?

Read: G-Cash - My Accidental Friday G-mmick, G-Cash = Everybody's Remittance Service.
Search Technobiography: G-Cash



Edong's Dreams: Xtreme Blogging

linked to without permission from Bloggers
1 Sports Utility Vehicle
30 days
7,100 islands
4,000 kilometers
10 key cities
10 Blogger EB's
10 Extreme Adventures
Thousands of eyeballs around the world

This is (drumroll....)
Xtreme Adventure Blogging!

This idea came up after a long e-mail discussion with Migs, Sassy and Abe. We were talking about how to get blogs sponsored. And this is where the idea continued in my mind ...

5 Xtreme Adventure Bloggers: XBloggers

Start with "auditioning" XBloggers. Ask Pinoy bloggers to write an article(s) on their own blog explaining why they should be chosen to be one of the 5 adventure bloggers. You'd expect all sorts of submissions ranging from the crazy, the makata, the hilarious, the rocker, the cutsie collegiala, the punk, the geek or geekette, the mother, the enlightened one.

Screening pa lang ng prospect bloggers, it will engulf the blogging world na, just like a TV Ad "road block" does. (TV Ad Road Block - an advertising style where a TV Ad is launched simultaneously on all channels).

Selection: Get a good group of prolific writers who can tell a story in many different ways. They'll be going through similar experiences and you'd like them to have a variety of writing styles and blogging styles. You'd also want to have some of them maintain photo, video and audio blogs throughout the 30 days of adventure blogging.

1 Sports Utility Vehicle

We want one major sponsor for the event. That's where the mullah will come from. I'm looking at Ford.

Ford Motors came out with an event last year: "Live in it to Win it". Five strangers, crammed inside a Ford Ranger in a test of mental sanity and nasal endurance. Whoever stays in the Ford Ranger the longest gets the SUV. I think the winner stayed there for 1 month. One measley month's suffering for a Ford Ranger!

If this event was worth the Ford Ranger and all the marketing and logistics of Ford, I imagine that Xtreme Adventure Blogging would create a media salvo too.

I want the event to be good to Ford, so I want to give them what they want. They're into outdoor adventure type of events like driving up to Pinatubo. So I'd like to give them events that will allow people to see different aspects of the Ford SUV in all sorts of adventures in all sorts of places.

30 days, 7,100 islands, 4,000 kilometers

I imagine starting off at Baguio, my home town. Going up to Pagudpud or Banawe, down to Pinatubo, then Clark/Subic, Manila, Quezon Province, Bicol, crossing over to Leyte, Ormoc, Cebu etc ... You get the drift don't you?

10 key cities, 10 Blogger EB's

I want to cover all the major cities. I want the Ford SUV to be talked about and blogged about and photographed in so many places around the Philippines. Just like what BatJay does with Spiderman. ;-)

And, I want to have blogger EB's in the major cities. Why? We want to party! This will also provide media events for the local and national press to cover. And lastly, it's nice meeting people in the flesh when you've mostly seen them only online.

I could also imagine maybe GlobeQuest or Airborne sponsoring these events in their hotspots. I imagine streaming video, or video clips or instant blogs going up during these events. Naalala ko kasi si ppcsurfr Carlo Ma. Guerrero. He was blogging from his pocket PC during the Airfagev Anniversary EB from a newly sniffed Wi-Fi hotspot.

10 Extreme Adventures

And, the center piece of what will attract the bloggers, the major sponsors and the press: Extreme Adventures!

Bungee jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, para-sailing, skiing, whale watching, snorkelling, diving, online gaming ;-), tuba harvesting on 3 storey high coconut trees, coastal cleanups, bayanihan style lipat bahay ... you know, those sorts of stuff...

The idea is to get stories and different perspectives from the 5 XBloggers.

Thousands of eyeballs around the world

This is a chance to find out whether blogging, as a medium, can be used as a major advertising campaign. I know we'll be needing the support all multimedia in the event - like TV, print, radio etc... But I'm playing with the idea that blogging will tell the whole story. And not just one whole story but at least 5 whole stories.

Will the world will watch this Xtreme Blogging Adventure? What do you think?


The ideas in this Edong's dream are a cross between some favorite TV shows of my wife and I: No Boundaries, Extra Challenge, Amazing Race, Adventure Racing, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (Ha! did you see that 5 bloggers in an SUV connection?), $100 Dollar Taxi Ride, and the many adventures documented through blogs/websites which were followed closely by online audiences.

For example, there was a cross-channel solo-sailer, a team of climbers to mount everest, and a cyclist who (separately) documented their daily experiences on a web journal. There's even a travelling blogger who gets invitations from around the world to sleep over for a night or two. And that's the centerpiece of his blog and he gets to travel for free! (Readers: if you find the link to the blogs or the news items of the events I'm referring to, please share them.)

I also played around with "tourism" as a central theme for the event. I was thinking of "10 Fiestas" instead of "10 Extreme Adventures". This is still a possibility. Wouldn't it be nice if these XBloggers went from the Panagbengga (Baguio Flower fest) to the Araw ng Dabaw, to the Sinulog, to the Ati-Atihan and the Pahiyas. Wouldn't that be a big string of blogging events? But the timing si crucial. I thought "10 Extreme Adventures" would make the theoretical major sponsor (Ford) happier.

There was also this idea of diversifying the blogs and writing product reviews for different mobile gadgets and services during the 30 day expedition. Like laptops and cellphones and PDAs and Wi-Fi hotspots and GPRS/EDGE internet access. This is still a possibility, but I might make the event less clearcut and a bit cluttered. 30 days travelling and 10 extreme adventures is a whole looooot to blog about.

What to do? what to do?

What is needed to make this Edong's Dream a reality? Well, if I were Donald Trump, it would be easy.

What is needed, maybe, is an event organizer. One person or group who would put together the details of the idea, put together the costs, the logistics, gather the media connections and resources ....

And most of all, sell the idea to sponsors like:

SUVs: Ford, Mitsubishi (Adventure)

Telcos: Smart (AMP, Infinity), Smart ACES (cellphone signal via satellite) Globe (Platinum), GlobeQuest, Globe WIZ, PLDT, EDGE (?), Airborne

* TV - Digital Tour, Gameplan, Sports Unlimited, Motoring TV shows, Studio 23, ABS-CBN, GMA
* Print - Gadgets, mph, C!, Rev, T3, FHM, Computerworld
* Web - Pinoyblog, INQ7's Infotech, Computerworld
* Radio - Radio Stations (spare me the Love), a nationwide radio network that can follow the Adventure Bloggers in their inter-island expeditions.
* The by-standing Bloggers - The emerging media in my mind. The blogging populace will be both the audience and the medium that will multiply the event a hundred fold when they write about "watching" the XBloggers online.

Gadgets: IBM, Apple, Samsung, Nokia, O2XDA, Kodak, Canon (digital and video cams), iPod mp3 players, CD/DVD players etc.

Cities: Tourism offices of Baguio, Cebu, Pagudpud, Sagada, Anilao, Boracay, Surigao, Davao, CDO, Bohol, Tawi-tawi (!) and others

What do you think? Send me an e-mail or write your comments below.

If there are any event organizers out there, I'd like to audition for Xtreme Adventure Blogging!

Whew! Nice to have an idea written down. Now I can continue doing my thesis.


Friday, March 11, 2005

Todo na ito! Call/Text rates are falling

TM Todo Text, Todo TawagTodo na ito! Just saw the TV ads of Touch Mobile (TM) last night. They're bringing down the prices! Ayos! The call it "Todo Tawag Text" for unlimited calls and "Todo Text" for unlimited text messages. (Update: Smart now has "Smart 25/8". Read on...)

Now, TM subscribers can call and text unlimited with the following rates:
* P50 for unlimited text messages (for 5 days)
* P300 for unlimited calls and text (for 30 days)
TM chose to offer unlimited text separately from unlimited calls/text. Sounds okay. I'm sure there are a lot of people who are not inclined (or who do not have enough to spare) to shell out P300 for unlimited calls/text.

TM's "promo" is slightly more expensive than the P250 call and text unlimited service of Sun Cellular. Sun's P250 is valid for 30 days and applies for both unlimited text and unlimited calls. There's a smaller denomination of P100 which is valid for 10 days.

TM says it's a "promo" (Promo Duration: March 8-April 7, 2005). I think they're just calling it that as a marketing strategy. I bet that this service will continue even after April 7.

So, will there be an exodus from Sun Cellular to TM?! You bet!

I spoke to my friend in Palawan and told her about TM's new service. She's excited to try it out! I personally want to try it out. I'll need to make many phone calls to the wab op my wayp when she goes out of town.

Will Smart join the low call/text rates band wagon?! You bet, Oh bet! Smart came out with "Smart 25/8". I'll send you to Mig's blog for details on "Smart 25/8".

Search Technobiography: Sun Cellular, TM
Read: Globe's FAQs on TM Todo Text, Todo Tawag Text

- Edwin


Who the h** wants MY gmail account!!!????

In the wee hours of this morning, somebody tried to get into my gmail account. Who the hey wants MY gmail account!!!????

Who'd be interested in my e-mails, I wonder? Here's how I found out:
(updated March 16)

When I opened my Gmail account this morning, I found this in my inbox:
From: Gmail Team []
To: ******me*******
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2005 19:40:36 -0000
Subject: Re: [#22552***] Google Password Recovery Support

Thank you for contacting us. You are receiving this message because you
indicated that you are having trouble logging in to your Gmail account.

There are a few common reasons why Gmail users sometimes have trouble
logging in to their accounts. If you cannot log in, please follow this
troubleshooting checklist:
I immediately replied:
From: Edwin S. Soriano [****me****]
To: Gmail Team []
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 08:52:01 +0800
Subject: Re: [#22552***] Google Password Recovery Support
1.) i did not ask for password recovery assistance in the past two weeks.
2.) I have a personal and a corporate gmail account (which currently forwards to my personal gmail account). Which email account was this password recovery inquiry sent to?
3.) I'm concerned that somebody tried to access my gmail account. Do you have more information about the location/identity of this person trying to access my gmail account?

Edwin S. Soriano
Makati, Philippines
Here's another email I got
To: ***me***
Subject: Google Password Assistance
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2005 11:39:35 -0800 (PST)

To initiate the process for resetting the password for your
****me**** Google Account, visit the link below

So! I wonder who was trying to access my gmail account? Should I be flattered, like I was when I got blog ispamd? Or should I be alarmed?

Or should I relax? ;-) ... I think I'll do that. It's good for the heart.


Want your own gmail account? Get one of your own, let me invite you.

Update March 16

I received a response from Gmail. Below is my latest e-mail to Gmail:
To: Gmail Team []
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2005 08:45:41 +0800
Subject: Re: [#22552***] Google Password Recovery Support

I was hoping to get information on the computer (IP Address,
geographic location) of the person who tried to access my account. I
guess it's too much to ask for that information from your group. I'll
use the tips you sent. Thank you!



On Tue, 15 Mar 2005 07:52:23 -0800, Gmail Team wrote:
> Hello,
> Thank you for your message.
> Emails like the one you received are automatically generated when someone
> attempts to use the password recovery link on the Gmail login page with
> your username.
> To ensure the security of your account, we suggest that you take the
> following measures:
> 1. Change your security question.
> - Choose a question only you know the answer to and that is not associated
> with your password.
> - Choose a question that cannot be answered through research (for example,
> your mother's maiden name, your birth date, your first or last name, your
> social security number, your phone number, your pet's name, etc.).
> - Choose an answer that is memorable, but not easy to guess. Your answer
> should be a complete sentence.
> 2. Create a unique password.
> - Be creative. Don't use words that can be found in a dictionary.
> - Use at least six characters.
> - Don't use a password that you have used elsewhere.
> - Don't use keyboard patterns (asdf) or sequential numbers (1234).
> - Create an acronym. Don't use a common one, like NASA or SCUBA. Don't
> make your password solely an acronym, combine it with numbers and
> punctuation marks.
> - Include punctuation marks. Mix capital and lowercase letters. Include
> numbers.
> - Include similar looking substitutions, such as the number zero for the
> letter 'O' or $ for the letter 'S.'
> - Include phonetic replacements, such as 'Luv 2 Laf' for 'Love to Laugh.'
> - Don't make your password all numbers, uppercase letters or lowercase
> letters.
> - Find ways of getting random letters and numbers such as opening books,
> looking at license plates or taking the third letter from the first ten
> words you see.
> - Don't use repeating characters (aa11).
> - Don't use a password that is listed as an example of how to pick a good
> password.
> Tips for keeping your secret question, answer, and password secure:
> - Never tell anyone this information and don't write it down.
> - Never send this information by email.
> - Periodically change them.
> To change your secret question or password in Gmail:
> 1. Log in to your Gmail account.
> 2. Click 'Settings' at the top of any Gmail page.
> 3. Click 'Account Settings.'
> 4. Click 'Password' or 'Secret Question & Answer' under 'Edit Personal
> Info.'
> 5. Click 'Save Personal Info' to make your changes.
> Please note that we aren't able to provide you with information about
> attempted logins to your account including, but not limited to, the IP
> address from which the attempted login was made, and the time and date
> attempted logins occurred.
> We hope you enjoy Google's approach to email.
> Sincerely,
> The Gmail Team


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Blogging Abstinence

I haven't been writing blogging much lately. It's not that it's my sacrifice for Lent. It's just that I want to graduate together with my classmates.

I've been working lately on my thesis. My thesis is about mobile commerce for microfinance. I'm working on a lot of juicy stuff. But I'll be quiet about it while we're polishing things. Sssssshhhhh...

I have a couple of articles in my mind. They've been there for a long time and I've swept them under my cranial carpet all these weeks. Here's a preview of some articles upcoming:

  • Edong's Dream: super secret title - Hwag ko muna isulat ang title. It will be a give away, eh. Pero the dream came about after a discussion with migs, abe and sassy on sponsored blogs. We had a series of emails to each other. This Edong's Dream came about a few days after we put the ideas to rest.
  • My G-Cash Affair Explorations: G-Cash Mines - I've been using G-Cash extensively over the past months. I've learned a few more things about G-Cash that I'd like to share. I also have a few ideas on "what could be". Ah ... ideas, ideas, ideas ...
  • Mano y Mano: Cash vs Smart Money vs G-Cash
  • Mobile Services for OFWs - We had a class last Monday and our guest was Winnie Monsod. It was a good exchange of ideas about how to help OFWs with their finances. So that they have something to come home to after years of toiling in a foreign land.
  • VAS Difference (Part III) - iluv of Smart, g2p of globe, person locator, starcaller (read about it on migs blog), Globe Kababayan, ano pa bang iba diyan?
  • Bagsakan na! - The call and text rates are dropping! What has happened? Di ko nga alam, di ako nakakapag-basa. Sina Arnold, estee, airwind, bobby, nakiki-balita pero 'la naman akong mai-alok. heto nalang muna, technorati search: sun cellular 24/7.
  • Blogshares!
To my regular visitors, thanks for coming back! Thanks for the comments too. Don't miss me too much! Konti lang! ;-)

And if you come to Technobiography and my articles are stale ... transfer to na-gets. At least that one I get to update almost everyday.




Thursday, March 03, 2005

Audio Blogs

I've spent 20 minutes online looking for an Audio blog that can handle my "needs". And because I'm such a cheapo, I didn't find any that suited me. (read: "where are the free audio blog services?!")

Oh well, I might as well share with you what I've found and how I'll handle my audioblog needs ....

Record over the Web user BlogRecorder™
Supports popular weblog services and tools
Add and configure multiple weblogs
Moblog by phone (up to 60 minutes)
Upload an MP3 or WAV file
Organize your audioblogs with playlists
Customize your player's style and color
More features here
... And last but not the least, not free. Next!

audblog is a service that provides bloggers with the ability to post audio to their blogs from any phone. At the end of the trial sign up we will provide you with the telephone number...all you have to do is call the number and the world hears you. Use it to make a difference...Use it to make your voice be heard.
... And last but not the least, not free.

Now what! I'm looking for a place to upload audio files of focus group discussions (FGDs) I conducted yesterday. I'm having them transcribed so I'm looking for a way to share them more easily. There are around ten WAV files (I plan to convert them to mp3 first) and the largest file is more than 12 Mb! Turning out to be not easy ( ... uhm ... uneasy?).

So! do you know what i've decided to do? Use a Gmail account to share it! Haha! I'll open a Gmail account and send the username and password to the transcriber.

I haven't done it. I'm doing it in a while. What I plan to do is attach the large files to an e-mail and send it to the e-mail account's self. Will it work? I'll try to update when it works. And, if you're really interested, maybe I could share the account with you.

Post a comment if you're interested. Topic of FGD: m-commerce in microfinance. This is the result of my four weeks doing ACTUAL m-commerce transactions at two microfinance groups in Pagsanjan and Sta. Cruz Laguna.


(added april 25 2005)
Read: Audio Blog - Greeting from Christmas Past 1980, OT: I Got Gift Rapped!