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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

LTO: no longer latoy-latoy

mug shot taking at LTOI was at the LTO last week. I had to renew my license which has been 5-months expired.

LTO uses some electronic gadgets to aid in its license application processing.

The first gadget is a webcam. It’s not high-resolution at all. No need for high-res photos for a 1x1 picture printed on our license cards, ‘di ba?

What’s silly is this lady who operates the camera.... Alien invasion? Dehins, that's the webcam LTO uses to get a Digital ID photo.Over the loudspeakers, she would announce a name and call that person to her window. Then, over the blaring speakers, she would command “Atras! Tingin sa camera! Pirma!”

It’s embarrassing for some people, you know, especially the karaniwang tao. Malay ba nila that this round thing peeping out of the window is a camera. Suggestion to LTO: Why don't you post written signs beside each gadget saying
"Tingin sa camera ->" 
"Pirma dito ->"
The second gadget is a signature capture ultramagneticpop device. It has a stylus and a white band where people are supposed to write their signature. Of course, you wouldn’t see your signature on the device. It’s like writing your signature using a pen without ink. (See for more details on this gadget).

Write your signature here. Opo, wala talaga yang tinta.Both inputs to the camera and the signature capture device come out in the new license, freshly printed and laminated with matching hologram-hologram pa sa likod. Nice and spiffy!

Before and After

All in all, I think LTO has improved a lot in processing licenses. I remember those times (the more I use that line, the more I feel I’m getting ooooold) when LTO would issue a temporary paper license and then stamp a notice saying something like: “valid for 60 days”. You’ll need to go back to LTO to claim the plastic card license. Gone are those days.

This time around, it took me around 3.5 hours (8am to 11:30am) to secure my license. There was a bonus, you know. I got to secure a license to drive two wheeled vehicles! I think it cost me an additional 30 mins or so to get that additional restriction code allowing me to drive a motorcycle. Other than that additional processing time, it was soooo easy to get that motorcycle license.

In fact, it was my first-time ever in my entire lifetime in this whole world that I ever drove a two-wheeled motorized vehicle … evah! It was my first time to drive a scooter and I managed to get a license to drive it! (Okay, okay, so the system wasn’t perfect enough to screen out crazies like me).

The license renewal was an almost worry free morning. Except for one thing ...

There was this security guard.
When I entered LTO and was at his “inspection” station, he asked me
“saan po sila, sir?”
I said
“renewal ng license”.
“Meron na ho ba kayong requirements? Ang NBI clearance at police clearance?”
I said ... nothing. I said nothing as I contemplated what he just told me.

Last time I renewed my license, I could not recall any need to get a police clearance.

I was quiet, looking at the security guard, contemplating whether I should go home and retrieve my NBI clearance among my files.

Without much insistence from me, he relented to my silent stare:
“Sige sir, paki-tanong niyo nalang po sa luob ”
I went in and processed my license. Three and a half hours later, I asked the same guard:
“Saan kailangan ang NBI at Police clearance?”
A discussion ensued. I made it clear to him that HE told me that an NBI and police clearance were required. Of course, he denied it.

Imagine if other people believed him when he told them that they needed an NBI and police clearance. Haaaay .... Purnada ang isang buong araw ng maniniwala just because this one security guard gave wrong information.

Other than that, I’m happy with the improvement of LTO.

There still are fixers hawking whatever services, asking trivial questions hoping to get you into a conversation, trying to be useful. But even without them fixers, the process is smooth enough. Just requires a little patience.

And you’ll need some street smarts to ward away the “masasamang elemento” like that mis-informing security guard. Jerk!

Driver Edong

Jerk = change in acceleration with respect to time
(Did I remember Prof. Sy-Siong correctly?)


Monday, May 30, 2005


I’m here, I’m here! For those who have missed me, even just a little bit, I’m here.

In the first quarter of the year when I was extremely busy with academics and my thesis, I always found time to write an article or two each week.

Now that I am out of school (yes, I have joined the ranks of our country’s out of school youth), I haven’t written much. It’s ironic that the past two weeks I haven’t been able to blog.

I have so much to write about, so many ideas in my mind to turn into written words. My thumb hasn’t been fast enough to mobile blog my ideas. When will my blogging pace ever catch up with my thoughts?

Yet to blog:
Hotspot hunting
Edong Skype-walker
My LTO adventure
Norah Jones, Superstar
Pambansang technologies (TV, Radyo, Videoke, DVD)
Bat Edong goes to Gateway
Ka Edong explained
Ka Edong’s dreams concealed (or censored?)
I played Gunbound in 1993!
ka edong
naghahabol ....


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Speaking G-Cash-ese

We've got a G-Cash discussion going on Markku's blog. Here's what I posted just a while back:
I’m an outsider looking into G-Cash. So far, the business model I’ve seen Globe doing is that they’re earning through:
1.) SMS messages sent for G-Cash transactions
2.) service charges (which I believe is small compared to number 1 above).
3.) (theoretical) revenues from partner merchant fees (inserted on technobiography: fees charged by Globe *to* the partner merchant)

What I have not had the chance to observe is whether Globe is earning via fees (if any) Globe charges to partner merchants like National Bookstore or Burger King.

I think Globe is at the point where they’re still building up their merchant network; at the point where they still need to convince partner merchants to join the network.

My sense is that if and when Globe has established a good G-Cash network, other companies will start going to Globe and asking Globe: “You’re so galing, you have so many subscribers who can use G-Cash to pay my company. Can I join your merchant network?”

And _then_ Globe can go for revenues from partner merchant fees.

I was a Mercury Drug two weeks ago. I bought a pack of chocolates to demo G-Cash to my Vietnamese friend, Hien. And also to zero out some of my excess G-Cash. I asked the kahera whether they’ve been getting G-Cash transactions. The kahera (and bagger) estimate around 2 transactions per week (cough … measley! … cough cough).

ka edong
Join the fun discussion, comment here.

Oh, by the way ...
It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.
- Benjamin Disraeli, Speech at the House of Commons

edong tasyo

Search Technobiography: G-Cash
Read: na-gets


Txt Exclusion

I received two SpaSMS (unsolicited Spam SMS) this morning in a span of 20mins.

Fly to USA to watch d MTV Movie Awards LIVE this June! Get daily MTV calendar logos + juicy tidbits 2earn entries! P2.50/day. DTI#2175. Txt MTVCAL to 688 now!
Scores? Game scheds? fresh,same-day news in SMS? We know u want 'em all! So subscribe now! Text SLAM SMS ON to 38303. P2.50/txt

I'm usually tolerant of these and would just delete them immediately. But my patience is short this morning.

I immediately called Smart's customer service (*888 on Smart SIM cellphones) and spoke to a customer service representative named Molder.

I explained that I do not want to receive any of these SMS advertisements.

Molder said he will file a "Txt Broadcast Exclusion" request with (reader, pls join me in making the "quotations" hand sign with two fingers of both hands) the "technical group". He said I should expect the action accomplished in 24-hrs.

So I'm expecting that beginning 9am on May 20, I will never ever receive any "Text Broadcasts" on my Addict Mobile SIM.

Let's see if this (finger sign with me!) "Text Broadcast Exclusion" request really works.

Read: Telkulet

Ka Edong
maikli ang pasensya


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Digitally Disconnected ... Not!

I'm not as digitally disconnected as I wanted to be during this ten day sojourn "away from things."

Last night, after wandering the dark drizzly streets of Surigao City, I found myself cozied up in ... (why am I not surprised) ... an Internet café!

I was pleased with my choice of Internet café.

The place was quaint and homey, with dimmed lights and a red sofa at the corner. In the background, Bob Marley was blaring out "Buffalo Soldier". One gamer was seated on a big pillow playing GunBound on a computer atop a small wooden platform.

I was welcomed by a young couple around my age - the owners of the café. They spoke to me in their dialect. Though I didn't understand them, I replied: "Internet. May bakante pa?"

They made space for me. The male owner, Ernest (?), had to peel off his 5-yearold pamangkin from one computer. "Customer, 'day. Tagalog. Usap kamo!" he explained to the frowning little girl.

In the middle of "getting away", I find myself checking mail, checking for comments on my blog and (can't ... sssstop ... ssssself ...) replying!

The fact is, I was rarely unconnected during my trip. I had my mobile phone with me and had a cellphone signal more often than I wanted it.

Thus, I've been able to check my e-mail even while travelling amidst the rolling hills of Malaybalay. Not exactly a feat I'm proud of. If I had stopped myself from getting connected -- THAT would have been a feat for me.

Now I'm in a van criss-crossing the mountains to my next destination while mobile blogging.

So much for attempting to be digitally disconnected.

Read: MoBlogging on

Ka Edong online
Typed on Brosia
Sogod to Tacloban


MoBlogging Strikes Back

It's back! Mobile Blogging on Blogger is working once again.

It had been erratic in the past. E-mailed articles got delayed by days and sometimes weren't posted at all.

But it's back and with enhancements. It allows users to post text or photos (am not sure about audio files) by sending an e-mail from their mobilephone to .

A *separate* blog will be created. Users will need to claim and register their blog if they want mobile posts to be posted in their existing blog.

This works so far for US mobile phones. What works for me now is the old e-mail posting of blogger. (On your blog account, go to Settings > Email).

But with this old e-mail posting, I don't know if posting images will work. Well, it's about time I try...

Read: Bogged Blog Bummer
Visit: On the Go with Blogger Mobile

Ka Edong
MoBlogging thru Brosia at 70kph
e-mailing via GPRS


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Gmail puzzle: auto-reply

Gmail doesn't have a vacation message function.
I'll be on-and-offline in the coming days so I wanted to give an auto-reply to people who send me e-mails.

So what I did is ...
1) used the forwarding function of Gmail
2) forward Gmail messages to my "" account that has an auto-reply function.
3) the account I used so happens to be my mobile e-mail box.

But that didn't work. First is because the auto-reply ends up in MY Gmail box and not in the e-mail sender's inbox.

Second is that I end up receiving my Gmail messages in my mobile phone (because my phone is configured to access my account). I want to be on vacation but this setup inadvertently allows me to read my e-mails on the go. We don't like that .... :-( .

So, do any of my readers have any solutions for this Gmail puzzle?

How can Gmail users configure an auto-reply in our Gmail account?
Ka Edong
the subscriber that cannot be rich

typed on Brosia
at MTS


The Patient is Out

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"Nagpadala sa LBC, Na-Buang"

Insanity: Doing the same thing and expecting different results.
I sent a package via LBC to my wife who was in Davao. I saw that LBC had a service for tracking packages via SMS. Masubukan nga.

I was expecting it to be like FedEx’s online web tracking. When I used FedEx’s online tracking of a package I sent to my sister in Australia, I “watched” the status of the package. I “watched” it as it went through Philippine customs, was in flight, was in Australian customs, and then for delivery and finally delivered! Ayos!

I was expecting something similar from LBC package tracking via SMS. It wasn’t anything close. Here are my SMS queries (P2.50 each) and the responses of LBC Track:

Query: LBC HELP (sent to 211; Tuesday, 12:25:58AM)
Welcome to LBC HELP! To track a package, type: LBCTRACK [tracking#] ex. LBCTRACK 12345678; To find a branch, type: LBCFIND [location] ex. LBCFIND Antipolo. Thank you for using LBC Help!
Query: LBCTRACK 400001302xx (sent to 211; Tuesday, 12:27:09AM)
400001302xx (05/02/2005) Package is for delivery. For assistance, call 854-4848. Thank you for using LBC Help!
Uhmmmm… right. Pero tell me something I don’t know yet….

The next day, I Queried: LBCTRACK 400001302xx (sent to 211; Wednesday, 2:47:21PM)
400001302xx (05/03/2005) Package is for delivery. For assistance, call 854-4848. Thank you for using LBC Help!
Para ka naming sirang plaka, paulit-ulit.

Maya-maya, isa pa, baka sakaling makita ko dito kung nakarating na yung package ng wife ko: LBCTRACK 400001302xx (sent to 211; Wednesday, 8:18:19PM)
400001302xx (05/03/2005) Package is for delivery. For assistance, call 854-4848. Thank you for using LBC Help!
Syemes! Textin ko nalang kaya wife ko.

I texted, and my wife told me she had received the package by Wednesday afternoon.

Last nalang, let’s see if the SMS tracker will say “package delivered at [time and date]”. Query: LBCTRACK 400001302xx (sent to 211; Thursday, 12:36:30PM)
This information is not available at the moment.
One side of me wanted to curse. But my schizophrenic other self started chanting: “positive energies … positive energies come to me …” kasabay ng aking kamay na kumakaway, kumukuha ng positive aura mula sa paligid papunta sa aking mukhang pumapangit dahil sa inis.

I therefore conclude, USELESS! LBC Tracking was useless for me and cost me P12.50. Mabuti pang nag-text nalang ako sa aking wifey. Naka-twelve sweet nothings pa sana ako.

There are gems of SMS services in the Philippines. But there’s a lot of crap too. It’s a matter of finding those gems and using them appropriately.

Patient Edong
Pavilion #7

Read: How's my Kariton? Call Hotline…
Visit: LBC


Monday, May 09, 2005


Hooked on the Mirror Project
On this hook
In this bathroom
In this house
With MDM Friends
On our celebration outing

I reflected some more...
Edwin, Maya 1, Maya 2, Maya 345

Read: Ofoto, my Fotos

- Edwin


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Misc Missing

There's a new Managemet course for people arranging pageants like Miss Universe, Miss Philippines, or Miss Dinalupihan and the like. The course is called Miss Management.

(Sina Tito, Vic at Joeeeey ...)

And then there's this true story about a friend who regularly gets Missed calls from her ... uhm ... Admirer.

When my friend asked the admirer why he keeps giving missed calls, admirer explained that...
A missed call means I miss you.
Ten missed calls means I miss you so much!
(... Barkada'y duuu-madameeee...)

Mush overload? Here's more, a text message that goes ...
I Miss you so! Konti nalang, I'll Misis you na!
Guess who's line that is ...

(Eeeeaaaat Bulaga!)

Miss-ter Edong
moblogging on Brosia
missing my homey


Kiss my Batt

I recently got a new cellphone battery for Brosia, my SmartPhone. Whoa, ganito pala ang pakiramdam ng may magandang battery. Liberating. I’m no longer tormented by my unpredictable and unreliable old cellphone battery.

Nuon, I’d have to bring along my charger wherever I go. I miss some calls because of lowbatt. Miscommunication abounds when SMS messages aren’t delivered on time.

I also stopped mobile blogging because it eats up my battery. I stopped reading e-books on Brosia.

But now, with my new batt, I’ll be able to do all that and more!Yey!

Just in time for my cross-country surface travel from Davao to Manila…

Kelan kaya ako magkakaruon ng pocket PC?

kiss my batt,
ka edong


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Tech Gets in the Way

Sometimes we are unconscious that we let technology get in the way of our relationships with our friends and family.

It is common to see a group at a restaurant table and most of them are stooped down on their cellphones texting like it was a matter of life and death. Inadvertently, they fail to make the most of their limited time with the friends who are right beside them, in the skin.

Another manner that tech gets in the way is when people keep snapping photos or keep recording videos of an event. The view-finder or the lcd display gets in the way of *experiencing* the event instead of just *capturing* the event in digital bits and bytes.

Ibaba mo kaya muna yang camera and enjoy the scenery. What use is recording it when you can't remember how it *felt*?

Last of my examples is how technology sometimes makes us less diligent about investing time and effort to strengthen a relationship. Here's my story about tech getting in the way ...

Maya and I were having dinner at Yoshinoya at Megamall. Megamall has a newly constructed walkway outside the ground-level shops facing EDSA.

A familiar figure -- hairy and plump, with a signature stride espousing kewlness -- peeps through the glass panel separating the restaurant and the walkway. I recognize the creature immediately, flash a big smile and point both dirty fingers index fingers at him in recognition and salutation.

Its Emong, a good friend from UP Eng'g! (btw, I take full credit for giving him that palayaw).

I immediately walk towards Emong. But here was a piece of glass separating me from my friend.

Close encounter of the weird kind: Opo, siya po ang may kagagawan!Here was Emong looking like a blowfish inside a glass aquarium. I realized that I couldn't talk to him directly unless we started shouting through the slit of the glass door. Another way was for me to walk around to the mall entrance and come face-to-face with the other.

We instinctively take out our cellphones, prelude to a modern ritual of exchanging phone numbers between re-acquainted friends. I typed my number on my phone, showed the number to him and then he dialed my phone.

Man, good to hear your voice, Emong! Musta mga anak? Dalawa na nga ba? Uy, kumpleto na ang quota! Uyang and ... what's the name of your son? Si Cele, musta? Uy, nagka-kilala kami ni BatJay, a - si Jay David! Talaga, andito pala siya ngayon? yadda yadda yadda. (fade out)...

It was a fun conversation, made possible by our cellphones but separated by glass.

But how about a handshake? Wala...
Apir, pare! Disapir nalang...
How about a bearhug? Hug-in mo sarili mo...
Let me rub that belly for goodluck! 'Di pwede...
Do you still smell the same? Ewan...
Let me land some punches on those man boobs abs! Pano kaya?...

We could have done all of these "skin" stuff if we chose to walk a little to meet each other in the skin instead of just making a cellphone call.

So near yet so far. Tech got in the way.

I'll end with a quotation from my good friend Hien from Vietnam. This is what he said when I asked if he brought his camera to our little despedida lunch with friends.
We don't need a camera...
We take a picture with our eyes, our hearts and our minds. Then we'll remember...
Sniff sniff,

Jedi Edong aka "Ang Solo"
after Jedi graduation

Read: International Day for Texting, Textiquette


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

How's My Kariton? Call Hotline ...

I swear it's true!

You know those wooden karitons pushed along the bumpy roads of the metro by people collecting scrap metal, paper or other recyclables?

I saw this sign on a kariton:
Hows my kareton? Txt 091x-1234567
Heto pa isa:
Funny ng mga Pinoy, 'neh?

But I've observed something else in the metro in the past few weeks. Almost all taxis, jeeps and buses in Manila have this sign on their back-ends:
How's my driving? Call/Txt LTFRB Hotline 0921-4487777
The sign also includes the contact number of the vehicle operator.

This move is all nice (intentionally frail adjective). It gives LTFRB an instant feedback system to protect commuters from erring drivers of public utility vehicles. But is there concrete action resulting from this hotline? Or is it just another way to put some money in some "enterprising" employees?

Some thoughts:
  • I wonder what action LTFRB will do when they receive a report.
  • How many reports do they get? Can they process all of these towards concrete apprehensions/penalties to the erring driver/operator?
  • I recall reading about TXT-Usok - smoke-belching reporting via SMS. It required three five reports of the same vehicle before the gov't agency acted upon a smoke belcher. Even then, the smoke belcher had *three* chances to satisfactorily pass an emmissions test. So, all in all (i recall) the thousands of txt message reports resulted in only a handful of apprehensions. Is this the same fate of LTFRB's hotline? Let's see.
  • At least LTFRB's is cheaper at 1peso than Txt-Usok's 2 to 2.50 pesos.
  • Yun nga lang, reports to LTFRB's hotline will not be anonymous. The lack of anonimity could be good too because it makes people more responsible in reporting.
  • I wonder when we'll have a "How's my driving" sign above red license plates.

In sum, technology is just an enabler. If the people behind the technology are not intent on achieving a desired impact, walang silbi ang kahit anumang ka-high-tech-an ek ek.

I'd love to hear any news regarding LTFRB's hotline and their actions and *outcomes*. Do share if you have info or comments.


ka edong
(Re-typed this article because the previously written one evaporated while submitting to

Read: Your latest txtmate and phonepal: Government (a 1-yr-old list I compiled while I was at Digital Philippines), Edong's Dreams: Taxi Beacon, Bote! Dyaryo! SIM!
Visit: LTFRB, Txt Usok ( forum)